Technical snafu can’t stop America’s defending QuakeCon champion

When you're the champ, not even bugs can keep you down.

Image via id Software

The defending QuakeCon champion will be returning to Dallas later this month, in spite of stiff qualifying competition and a technical mishap.

Shane “rapha” Hendrixson was among 12 players to qualify for this year’s Quake World Championship duel tournament. Hendrixson overcame a stacked field of North American competitors in doing so, but his run wasn’t without challenges.

The biggest threat to rapha’s qualification proved to be Canadian Andrew “gellahsak” Rider. Himself a tenured Quake veteran, gellahsak pushed rapha to a decisive third game in their best-of-three series before the defending champion was able to recover and emerge victorious. Rounds vacillated between quick bloodbaths and extended cat-and-mouse engagements, showing off the full range of Quake Champions duels.

It wasn’t just gellahsak’s skill that proved a challenge to rapha, however. The very game conspired to disrupt rapha’s plans when a technical issue causes him to dramatically lag during a critical sequence in gellahsak’s series-opening win. The game played on without pause and rapha was able to recover, but it was an inauspicious moment as developer id continues to work on Quake Champions weeks away from the biggest Quake tournament in years.

Rapha wasn’t the only notable player booking his ticket to Dallas. Experienced players like Chance Lacina and Tim “DaHanG” Fogarty also powered through in the upper bracket, as did Daniel “carnage” Sturdivant, who has become one of the most prominent faces in Quake Champions with his frequent streaming and skilled play.

The lower bracket gave second life to gellahsak, who qualified alongside returning QuakeCon competitor Thomas “griffin” Wall.

In qualifying for the team-based Sacrifice game mode, such favorites as rapha’s Team Liquid squad and carnage’s Team Johnson were able to pull through. This was by far the biggest stage yet for the chaotic mode that is reminiscent of single-flag CTF, and the action proved at times difficult to follow even as commentators did their best to keep track of the constant frags.

Qualified players will now have a few weeks to practice before QuakeCon and the Quake World Championships, which begin Aug. 24.