CHICAGO, IL --- Furious button smashing and the roars of excitement from passionate fighting game fans thundered from the Red Bull Conquest regional qualifier in Chicago at Ignite Gaming Lounge on Saturday. Over 200 gamers competed in their quest for the title of best fighter in the Midwest.

But, only three champions conquered the competition. 

Marcus “THE COOL KID93” Redmond, Marquis “Shadow_20z” Jordan and Steve “Mr. K” Shannon won in Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, Tekken 7 and Guilty Gear Xrd REV2, respectively, and advanced to the National Finals in Washington as the three-player team that will represent Chicago. 

Chicago hosted the first stop of a series of tournaments that will take place in 15 cities, such as Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York and Orlando, across the nation. Players at any skill level registered for the games of their choice through smash.gg.

Jourdan Kerl on Twitter

The competition is set to go at the first stop on the #RedBullConquest Chicago regional qualifier. The event features the best players in Tekken 7, Guilty Gear, and Street Fighter V. https://t.co/KfVPyOAahh

Noah Vandercook, Head of Events at Ignite Gaming Lounge, described how it was exciting, yet nerve-racking, being the first stop for the nationwide circuit, but he said having “local hands on deck” to run the operation made everything more special for the city. 

“At the end of the day, what will be here tomorrow is the community, and we made it that much stronger because of this event,” Vandercook said. 

The lights dimmed, and the fighters readied their joysticks. With the stage set, the road to the Finals began. 

Final Round…Fight!

CHAMPIONS 

Chicago’s Trio that will compete at the National Finals in Washington, D.C. from Nov. 16-18 (L-R: Marquis “Shadow_20z” Jordan, Steve “Mr. K” Shannon and Marcus “THE COOL KID93” Redmond). (Courtesy: Red Bull)

The winners successfully exerted their dominance as each avoided a run through the loser’s bracket to earn the position as the best in their respective titles. If players lose a match, they had one more chance to redeem themselves through the lower bracket and winning the loser’s finals meant players could possibly take a rematch in the Grand Finals against the person that knocked them out originally. 

Cool Kid’s Street Fighter V match against Rob “RobTV” Burney nearly forced him into the loser’s bracket, but he stuck with his muscles on fighter Abigail and pulled out the win. Even if he didn’t come out on top in Chicago, Cool Kid said nothing could have stopped him from getting to D.C. 

“I told my wife, ‘we will fly to every region if I lose,’” Cool Kid said, describing the importance of Red Bull Conquest. “Washington, D.C. is so historic. I never thought I’d be going there.” 

In addition to the trip, these champions earned cash prizes and a Red Bull Conquest regional championship joystick and headset bundle for winning at this event. Looking ahead to the next stage of competition, the stakes became even higher for every gamer.

Red Bull Esports on Twitter

The action won't stop all day long - SFV pools action is still going strong at #RedBullConquest. Who's gonna win the championship stick? https://t.co/TpWXlmXZM7

For the Tekken champion, however, the day was about more than a victory. 

Shadow suffered a back injury exactly one year ago that left him hospitalized, but that did not stop him from competing and winning at today’s event. With everything that happened to him, he shared advice that he believed could help the next person become a regional champion.

“Practice every day,” Shadow said. “But, watching videos is probably the most important thing because you learn more about your own character and its matchups.” 

WHAT’S NEXT 

On an all-expenses-paid trip, the three-man unit will compete in D.C. from Nov. 16 - 18 against the winners of the other regions. 

The overall first place team at National Finals will be awarded $4,500 to be split between the three players and round-trip airfare, lodging, and entry to the Evolution Championship Series in Japan 2019.

Jourdan Kerl on Twitter

The Chicago #RedBullConquest trio is complete. @Redmond2393 representing SFV, @_Shadow20z playing Tekken 7, and @STLMrK will represent in Guilty Gear. These men will move on to compete in the National Finals in November for a trip to EVO Japan 2019.