After a heartbreaking loss in last year's grand finals, the esports team at the University of Texas at Arlington came out swinging in the 2017 Heroes of the Dorm. The video game tournament, hosted by Blizzard Entertainment and featuring their competitive free-to-play game Heroes of the Storm, pit hundreds of college teams against each other before moving to bracket play with 64 teams.
The grand prize? The players' college tuition paid in full. And lots of glory, naturally.
UT Arlington didn't just win -- they dominated. The team went 29-0, remaining undefeated throughout the tournament.
They ended it all with a hard fought win over a team from Louisiana State University that was played at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada and streamed live on Facebook.
Heroes of the Storm is a team-based fantasy action game in which players choose from a variety of Blizzard heroes (from games like Warcraft and Diablo), each with varying skills and attributes, and work as a team to destroy the opposing team's "core." Team composition is key, and the number of strategic possibilities is staggering.
The University of North Texas, the University of Texas at Dallas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and the University of Houston also had teams that made it to the top 64, but only UT Arlington made it to the "Heroic Four."
After the grand finals win, UTA team captain Yusuf "Kure" Sunka said, "Last year a couple members of [Arizona State University], they went on to succeed in [the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship] off of the momentum of their win. So we're looking to do the same thing: keep maturing as a team and this is only a first step for us."
Eugene "Yuuj" Tseng, a finance major, had been on the stage before, but as a runner up. He's been with the team for years and has been fighting for this moment for a long time.
"Now you're here, the confetti is yours," Blizzard's esports correspondent Anna Prosser Robinson said to Tseng on stage after his team's victory. "Tell me how you feel."
"We finally won something! It's been so long," Tseng said into the microphone, as misty eyes turned into laughter.
Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard, said in a statement, "Congratulations to the 2017 Heroes of the Dorm champions, UT Arlington, for an awesome run through this year's tournament. The teams competing represent the future of competitive gaming, and it's been a thrill seeing them in action. "
Other UTA players on the winning team this year were Richard "Kladeous" Tran, Toby "EToby" Park, Kevin "EKevin" Park and Tony "Lifexshort" Lam.
You can catch the entirety of the "Heroic Four" bracket play, including the UTA vs. LSU grand finals match, on the Heroes of the Storm Facebook page or in the video player below.