Swong Wins The 2023 Dr. Mario Championship: A Back-To-Back Victory

Swong with 2023 DrMC Trophy
Source: aGameScout

Swong showed up to the 2023 Dr. Mario Championship (DrMC) to defend his title as the Dr. Mario Champion.

New to the Qualifying round was the Immunity Pool, where 8 players competed against each other for the top seeding ranks. The players with a winning record (above 50% win rate) automatically qualified for the tournament with the highest seeding ranks.

The Top 2 from the previous year’s tournament and the Top 2 from each of the three Regional tournaments that year were eligible to compete in the Immunity Pool.

Basically, Swong was in the Immunity Pool as a Top 2 finisher from last year’s tournament along with 3-time Champion, Packie.

Swong’s Qualifying Performance

Swong vs Packie in Qualifying Game in Immunity Pool
Swong and Packie facing off in the Immunity Pool. Racing each other to clear the remaining viruses.

The first game in the Immunity Pool had Swong and Packie facing each other, which was a rematch from the 2022 Finals. The entire game was neck and neck. Towards the end, Swong had 2 viruses left, while Packie had 3 viruses left to clear. Eventually, Swong managed to clear all of his viruses to win the game. There are 2 ways that a player can win the game, they either clear all of their viruses first or their opponent tops out.

That game turned out to be significant because both players had the same win rates and Swong qualified as the #1 seed based on head-to-head victory over Packie.

Although Packie had the #2 seed, he had to face Snipe (2020 Champion) in Round 2 (Top 16). That epic match went to a Game 5 Decider where Snipe won the game and match.

Swong managed to avoid facing another Dr. Mario Champion in the early rounds by winning that qualifying game against Packie.

The Tournament Begins

Swong’s Round 1 opponent was Sara Sparkle (#32 seed), who had advanced to Round 1 by sweeping Chococat in Round 0. (Swong had a bye to Round 1)

In Game 1, Sara misdropped a Blue/Yellow Capsule, leading to an early Top Out.

Game 2 lasted longer. Both players were slowing each other down with their combo play. As Sara attempted to lower her stack with a Red/Yellow combo clear, Swong pulled off a triple combo clear that caused a 3-piece Garbage drop on Sara’s board.

This prevented Sara from lowering her stack by doing the Red/Yellow combo. The stack continued to pile up. Eventually, Sara topped out, giving Swong the 2-0 lead in the match.

Game 3 was neck and neck until Swong found a creative Quad combo that cleared 4 viruses, cleaned his board, and dropped a 4-Piece garbage on Sara’s board. Swong continued to create combo clears that dropped additional garbage on Sara’s board, causing a top out. With that, Swong had swept the match and advanced.

Round 2 – Taking on an Underdog

#1 Seed vs #48 Seed in Round 2 (Top 16)

Surprisingly, Swong’s Round 2 opponent was JB Henry, who barely made it into the tournament as the #48 seed. JB had knocked out the Vince Clemente (#17 seed) and Larvae (#16 seed) in Round 0 and 1, respectively, to reach the Top 16.

In Game 1, JB took the lead in virus count. Later on, Swong got a series of combos that slowed JB down. The game was neck-and-neck. As JB was going for a combo clear, he misdropped a Blue-Yellow capsule, causing him to top out and lose the game.

In Game 2, JB misplaced 2 of the Blue-Yellow capsules, blocking off the 2 columns on the left. As JB tried to lower his stack, a blue garbage drop put extra pressure on his board, causing him to top out.

Both players were neck and neck in the middle of Game 3. JB’s stack was getting high from the onslaught of garbage drop. As JB was about to top out, a yellow garbage drop lowered JB’s stack. He was not dead yet. Until Swong pulled off a Quad combo that blocked JB’s L-Clear combo opportunity. This prevented JB from lowering his stack, so he topped out immediately. Swong swept his matches back-to-back to advance to the Top 8.

Down to the Top 8

2023 DrMC Quarterfinals – Crimson vs Swong – Source: aGameScout

Swong’s Quarterfinals opponent was Crimson (#9 seed). Who is a 2020 Semifinalist and 2021 Quarterfinalist.

In Game 1, Swong created a series of combos that blocked off the right side of Crimson’s board. Crimson managed to clear that specific wall of garbage, but it had slowed her down as Swong was ahead in virus count. Towards the end, Crimson’s board was getting high. Column 6 was blocked off, and Column 4 started getting high from the garbage drops. The tall stack and increased speed caused Crimson to top out.

Game 2 went the distance. Swong was ahead in virus count. Crimson pulled off combos to slow him down. Swong had 5 viruses left and set up a yellow horizontal clear that lowered the stack to eliminate the remaining viruses.

Game 3 was neck-and-neck at the end until Swong set up some creative horizontal clears that cleaned up some of the capsule residue on his board. Eventually, Swong cleared all of his viruses to sweep the match.

Semifinals: Same Opponent, Same Round

2022 DrMC - Swong vs Rodzilla
Swong and Rodzilla competing against each other at 2022 DrMC Semifinals
2023 DrMC - Rodzilla vs Swong
One year later, they face off in the Semifinals again

Last year, Swong had defeated Rodzilla in the Semifinals in his journey to winning the tournament. This year, he had to face Rodzilla (#5 seed) again in the same round.

Both of these players showed why they were in the Semifinals. None of them topped out in Game 1. It was a race to clear all of the viruses first. They both had creative combos that slowed each other down. Eventually, Swong was the first one to clear all of his viruses. Rodzilla had 9 viruses left on his board. Needless to say, the game was close.

Game 2 had a similar scenario. Towards the end, both players had 1 virus left to clear. But they were buried under a pile of capsule residue. The race was on to remove the pile and destroy the last virus in their respective boards. Swong won that race to take the 2-0 lead in the match.

None of the players topped out in Game 3. Not even the distraction of the crowd reacting to the other Semifinals match could throw Rodzilla and Swong off their game. The entire game was neck and neck, with Rodzilla having 10 viruses and Swong having 11. And then Swong pulled off a “fat log” that wiped out 5 viruses. After that, he quickly eliminated the rest of the viruses to win the game.

Swong had swept all of his matches to get back into the Finals.

Finals: Going for the Back-to-Back Win

Swong’s final opponent in this tournament was PanBanRichard (#23 seed), a newcomer who had defeated top-notch players such as Ibaar (2021 Finalist), Snipe (2020 Champion), and DMHero (2020 Finalist) to get to the Finals.

Game 1: Here We Go!

As expected, Game 1 was neck and neck. At one point, Swong in danger of topping out and depended on a Red capsule to survive. Finally, a Red-Yellow capsule showed up that lowered his stack and created a Quad combo. Swong’s stack started getting high again, and then he misflipped a Blue-Yellow capsule that closed off his stack, causing him to top out. Swong’s perfect tournament run came to an end.

Game 2: That Was Fast

In Game 2, Swong cleared the first row of viruses while PanBan struggled to survive. Swong’s combo play put pressure on PanBan’s board, causing PanBan to top out early. This tied the match 1-1.

Game 3: Breaking the Tie

In Game 3, PanBan was leading in virus count, while Swong’s stack remained high. A garbage drop prevented Swong from doing a Blue T-Cross clear that would have lowered the stack.

Later in the game, Swong misdropped a Double-Blue capsule in the middle column (Column 5), leaving only a 1 row opening on the top. A Yellow-Blue capsule was the next piece, which would save him. However, a fatal garbage drop went on top of the Double-Blue capsule, causing an immediate top out. PanBan won the game, putting him at match point with the 2-1 lead.

Game 4: PanBan at Match Point

During Game 4, PanBan was in position to lower his stack on Column 3, but a red garbage drop prevented him from doing so. This made the left side of the board nearly inaccessible. Moments later, he misdropped a Yellow-Blue capsule that cut off the right side of the board. Eventually, PanBan topped out.

Game 5: This Is It

In a repeat from last year’s Finals, the match was dragged to a Game 5 decider. This was it. Whoever wins the game becomes the Dr. Mario Champion. The crowd counted down the Deciding game.

The tensions were high. Players kept themselves composed and focused on clearing viruses and creating combos. PanBan’s stack was high up on the board. But there was an opportunity to lower the stack on Columns 1 and 2. However, a blue garbage capsule fell on Column 1, preventing him from shrinking the stack with a red capsule. Swong continued to create combos that put additional pressure on PanBan’s board with more garbage. The stack got too high, leading PanBan to top out. Swong became the 2023 Dr. Mario Champion, winning the tournament back-to-back.

Swong sings to bring the event to a close.

You can watch all of the matches here.

PanBanRichard and Swong with their trophies – Source: aGameScout
Previous Post
Jesper with the 2023 CTEC Trophy
Classic Tetris

Jesper Wins The 2023 Classic Tetris European Championship: We Have A New Champion!

Next Post
2023 DrMC Thumbnail
DrMC Timestamps

2023 Dr. Mario Championship: Timestamps