The ongoing Mortal Kombat 11 Pro Kompetition made its first and only stop in Canada last weekend, bringing players to the Great White North to compete for a chunk of points towards qualifying for the finals next year. Even with some of the world’s greatest players in attendance, the Mortal Kombat 11 tournament at DreamHack Montreal was unexpectedly won by a young competitor who had only just attended his first major event a few months prior.
As a premier event on the official Mortal Kombat 11 circuit, DreamHack Montreal represented a great opportunity for players looking to earn a spot at the Chicago-based grand finals. This made the tournament’s roster one of the deepest that the Mortal Kombat community has seen since the game’s launch, with talent like Evo 2019 champion Dominique “SonicFox” McLean, Evo 2019 runner-up Ryan “Dragon” Walker, Canadian heavyweight Alexandre “Hayatei” Dubé-Bilodeau, and many more making their way to Montreal to compete.
In the midst of these powerhouses, however, was a killer. A ninja killer, to be exact.
Jarrad “Ninjakilla_212" Gooden is a 19-year-old fighting game player from Atlanta, Georgia. After getting his start online, he attended his first major tournament just a few months ago. Despite Gooden’s relative lack of offline experience, he managed to place fourth at Community Effort Orlando this past June, taking out more established players like Tommy Tweedy, Julien “Deoxys” Gorena, and Ryan “Big D” DeDomenico along the way. Gooden was eventually eliminated by McLean, but nonetheless solidified his status as someone to watch on the competitive circuit.
DreamHack Montreal was a different beast entirely, though, and even with the Community Effort Orlando performance on his resume, Gooden was far from a favourite heading into DreamHack. Still, he slowly made his way through the bracket, quietly dispatching player after player before eventually qualifying for the finals.
From there, Gooden turned on the jets, first sending UK challenger Denom “A F0xy Grampa” Jones to the losers bracket, then doing the same to Walker and Gorena, thereby earning himself a spot in the DreamHack grand finals.
Meanwhile, Dominique “SonicFox” McLean had spent much of their time in the losers bracket after an early loss to Gorena. That said, they did the usual SonicFox thing and bulldozed everyone in losers, winning five straight matches to qualify for grand finals and give Gooden his CEO rematch.
On paper, McLean was the favourite; even though they would have to win twice as many games as Gooden to become champion, they had experience on their side. The finals matches played out much differently than anyone anticipated as Gooden turned the tables on the multi-time Evo champion using the newly buffed Liu Kang.
First using D’Vorah and then Jax, McLean failed to find footing against Gooden, eventually succumbing to the young upstart’s fiery onslaught. When the smoke lifted, Gooden sat pretty with a convincing 3-0 victory, earning his first offline championship just months after attending his first major tournament. McLean, as always, was all smiles even in the face of the unexpected loss. They later congratulated Gooden on the achievement via Twitter with the excitement of a true competitor.
“Ninjakilla is too good!” McLean wrote. “He’s definitely leveled up from the last time we played exponentially! I am getting pumped! The players are getting stronger and stronger!”
Although they got their start at a much younger age, McLean once sat in the same spot as Gooden: the young challenger who shows up and surprises everyone with their skills. McLean has since gone on to achieve greatness at tournaments across the world, but Gooden’s victory against the longtime player shows that no one can rest on their laurels, even the reigning Evo champion.