It’s a bold thing to name your production company “Beyond the Summit.” There’s a close-to-explicit statement in there, that you plan to reach the top, then go past it. Somehow, BTS lived up. So much so that now a “Summit” is just what you call a quality invitational tournament. And “Summit-style” is becoming the “kafkaesque” of esports—a term so ubiquitous that you can feel the full meaning fall away in real-time.
When all the meaning and legacy do fall away, and you lay BTS bare, what you have doesn’t seem impressive at first. A relatively small company based out of Ontario, California that puts on bespoke esports tournaments—often, invitationals with a uniquely relaxed vibe, set in a living room, where commentary isn’t set and professionals can fluidly step to the mic.
With that small-scale model as their climbing gear, BTS scaled esports media. Year by year, the little company grew—and grew independently—until BTS became a respected name across several esports. Smash, Dota, CS, and recently TFT—if BTS was running a tournament, you were in for something good.
If BTS was running a Summit for your esport, then you were in for something exceptional. Something your esport would simply not get anywhere else. BTS cultivated a vibe that felt impossibly relaxed for competitive esports—and that vibe got pro players to behave like influencers, starring in self-deprecating skits and lounging on a couch while revealing the layers of the game even the casters and analysts struggled to see. Somehow, Summit had become one of the smartest and dumbest esports events out there. (Dumbest in the best possible way.)
Before any of us knew it, BTS really had gone to the summit and beyond—changing what the ideal esports tournament looked like. Now, when you look at the future of esports, it’s “summit-style” all the way down. Twistzz is shooting nerf guns at nitr0 during tech pauses. The LCS is bringing in QTCinderella and emulating Eric Andre.
So even as BTS dies, it still lives, that “Summit-style” becoming more popular than ever before. As the dust settles, we see a company that reached for something more—and got there. A small company that not only reshaped esports, but a number of lives within it.
Below are some of those lives, those people, that BTS changed. You’ll find a video montage as well as full statements from five of our players in three different esports, speaking to how much Summit did for them and their scene. These statements have been edited, but mostly for brevity and cleanliness. To everyone once at BTS, we can’t thank you enough. Hopefully, this gets close.
“I've only attended one summit and unfortunately it was cut short by the fact that I ended up catching COVID. [...] But I mean those two days [at TFT Summit] were like two of the best days of my entire life. Just being able to meet everybody and hang out with all my friends that I've talked to so much online, in such a stress-free environment was better than anything I ever could have begun to expect.
Competing in a Summit was really, really fun. In TFT we haven't really had many official LAN events. This is pretty much the first of its kind, to be honest. LAN was just way better than online play could ever be. Just being next to the people that you're playing and being able to talk to them and talk shit a little bit [...] it was really fun to experience something like that.
Favorite moment: Winning big with a longtime friend
If I had to choose one favorite moment at Summit, then it would definitely be when me and Souless won the entire tournament. [...] I was sick with COVID at that time when we won but it was definitely still my favorite moment, being able to share a victory with Souless who I've known for like four years now. I never really got to hang out with him IRL but Summit made that possible.
Shoutouts to the staff (and Zane)
The staff was all super nice, super kind, super inviting. Getting free food catered to us, I didn't expect it, but it was really fucking nice. And Zane [Bhansali]. Especially Zane. Zane helped us out with so much, so much stuff.
It was just more than I ever could have expected. I can definitely say it was one of the best experiences of my entire life and I'm really sad to see that there will never be a TFT summit 2.”
I gotta say, Beyond the Summit: pretty damn good. I'm gonna miss them. I've been memed on in countless skits and other random stuff like building a dog house. I'm like, “This is great!” I've had many many tragedies happen in bracket that's—in retrospect really funny how consistent it is. [...]
In all honestly, I really do appreciate Beyond the Summit for all the events they ran, how much they helped the scene, how nice it was to be able to go there and get constant practice. They were always really, really, really, absurdly nice people really doing their best to put on a good show and make sure everyone there was happy. It was always, of course, [great] for people watching [too].
I’m gonna miss them. Great organization, always on their shit making sure [they have] the best content possible. [...] Sucks to see you guys gone, but I understand how it is. You know, maybe when things are better you guys can reopen BTS’s doors.
I'm literally recording this right after a day of Ultimate Summit 6, but I'm gonna keep it nice and short and simple. I've been loving summit since they were in the house. I'm gonna miss it. I'm gonna miss it a lot. It meant a lot for me because Summit is the best tournament, free—I'm just gonna say it. It did a lot for me because I got a lot better from it as well. Really, really, really grateful to get to experience it. So yeah, I’d just like to say thank you.
Showing up to Summit for the first time was an amazing experience. It was very unique, where it kind of brought me back to when I was younger. It felt like you're just at a LAN party, you know, playing with your friends and I think that's, that's what made Summit unique. It gave everybody such a fun and relaxed vibe. [...] Of course everyone there wants to win but I feel like the experience was the social aspect and just how calm and relaxed it was, and how there were so many people to make sure you're having fun and having a great time. [...]
I remember just before it was announced that you guys weren't able to continue going on I was literally [saying] to some people [that] I wish there could be another CS summit event. I had so much fun at those events. It's an absolute shame to see you guys go.
Favorite moment: Fish Taco Fiasco
I think the one thing that was always super funny that you guys did was the media days. I remember the first media day that I did was with optic and you guys would reenact movie scenes for the media day pictures. I think on optic in 2017 we did a Sandlot as a picture. [...] You guys would always find the funniest and goofiest things to do for us and it was so enjoyable. It was not like any other media day that I would do.
And I remember the second one that I was at was with the Liquid. My first event with liquid actually. The media day there, we did the Office theme, which was super funny. Everybody was talking about it, especially the Elige meme face that you guys have made him super iconic for.
I remember [...] I was able to win a summit event, which was awesome. We were gonna go play against Cloud9 in the Grand Finals and you guys always had amazing catering there. There was always amazing food for everyone. The fridge was always stocked with drinks and snacks and food. (Like I said, it really just felt like you're at your, your friend's house, you know, just hosting LAN Party.)
During that day before the grand final, you guys had fish tacos out And I'm just like, “Man I know I have to play a best of five grand final in a bit but, man, these fish tacos are amazing.” And I remember I ate so many of them and then I had to go play the grand final versus Cloud9. And this is also my first event with my team and so [I’m] trying to give a really good impression and play well and help them win the event. And I remember right when the Grand Finals started, I had so much pain in my stomach for eating so many of those fish tacos that, luckily since [we] were playing in the house, there were bathrooms nearby where I could just say, “Hey guys, I need to take a tech pause, I need to use the bathroom real bad.”
And I had to use it so many times throughout the final that Cloud9 was like, “Dude what is going on with these tech issues? Is someone's mouse broken or something?” “Nah, NAF has to use the bathroom a bunch of times because his stomach is dying.” [...]
Unfortunately, back in the day, I was more shy or introverted. I would have loved to have been able to sit on the couch [and] cast some games. I remember playing and then rewatching the games and seeing all of NIP is casting my game—super fun. [...] You had the famous TACO story with fallen, you know, “Did we come back? Of course not.” We will always have that legendary clip.
Shoutouts to the Staff
To everyone at Beyond on the Summit, I'm sorry for everything that has happened and that you guys have to close down. I wish that wasn't the case at all. I was really hoping for another CS event because you guys treat all the players in the event [well] and the way you guys do things are just amazing. Everybody always had a good time there. [...]
Shout out to you guys for having such amazing food amazing catering for all the players, and all the memories of the media days.[...] The vibe and everybody there was always just super friendly, always made sure that you're having a good time. [...] No other event really gave that feeling. So again, thank you so much to everybody that hosted those things.
Summit was an amazing experience. I never got to experience a tournament where they had catered food, different types of food, every single day. We were playing in a house with all these pro smashers, playing Melee constantly. It was an amazing and beautiful experience. And I definitely enjoyed my time.
Competing at Summit meant a lot to me because it definitely was a stepping stone for my career. I ended up beating a lot of great players at that tournament that I've never beaten before, such as SFAT, Axe, and Mang0. From there, I ended up invited to other events like Yahoo eSports, DreamHack Austin. My career just skyrocketed from there—all because of Smash Summit. I think all the practice that I received at smash summit playing Leffen, playing Mang0, playing all the other pros, definitely put me to where I was in 2017, where I was a top 10 player.
Favorite Moment: Mafia and Chuper Saiyan
My favorite moment out of Summit would have to be playing Mafia with all the other pro players. That was probably the most hilarious moment of my entire career playing Melee, talking to a whole bunch of other Melee players, trying to convince people that I'm not mafia. [...] It just brought about a lot of laughs and I had a great time playing mafia. So I would say smash Summit, for me, was definitely [one of] the best parts of my life.
Out of every single tournament that I have attended, they also did some [of the craziest] videos where I turned into a Super Saiyan. They really bring out a lot of great personalities from the other players that you don't get to see when you're looking at them on a Twitch stream or when they're playing at a tournament.
(What’s even funnier is that ChuDat would go down 2-1 and beat Mang0 that Summit.)
Shoutouts to the Staff
To the Smash Summit staff I want to say guys, good luck out there. It is unfortunate. You can't really control life. Things happen and please try to look out for each other. If you need anything please reach out to me or please reach out to any of the Melee players. We’ll help you as best we can. And I just wanted to say thank you guys so much for creating a great atmosphere for the entire Smash community and we really appreciate you. Thank you so much.
I remember when they announced the first summit and I realized I couldn't go—I think it was either because of a work or school obligation. I remember, upon not going and seeing the stream and seeing everyone's run, I was like, “Man, I can never miss an event like that ever again.” So since then, I went to every single Melee Summit, and for the ultimate ones either attended as a VIP or did a watch party for it. And it's been just an amazing, amazing experience every single time that I go.
Competing at Summit really validated all of the hours and all the years I've put into Smash Bros. It's very rare for us to have, like, an event so well put together with such high prize pools and such high viewership, that it is almost the Mecca of Smash. Especially after EVO dropped Smash, it was up to us to make our own truly lauded events within the community. And I think Beyond The Summit really did that for us. It became a landmark event; you'd clear your whole calendar for it. Summit’s happening.
Favorite Moment: Summit 5 and Becoming Number One
My favorite moment at Summit has to be Summit 5. I ended Armada’s four-peat—almost a five-peat streak for him—but I ended it. Beat him in Grands in game five and that was the tournament [that] solidified me being the official rank one in the world for the first time. It was one thing to win an EVO or win some other big tournaments, but to really solidify rank one, it has to be unanimous. You have to win more events and beat more people than anyone else. Winning that summit was the nail in the coffin and I was finally able to start my rank one reign, so it was very, very special to me. Especially being in that mansion overlooking the LA skyline. It was a very, very positive feeling and one that I could wish I could relive at least once more.
Shoutouts to the Staff
My message to everyone who was a part of beyond the summit and who worked those events, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. It goes without saying that this will be remembered as the greatest series Smash Bros has ever seen. We have a lot of amazing tournaments, amazing open brackets [but] when it comes to an invitational I do not think there will ever be another company or organization that did it as well as Summit did.
To be part of a skit like Stalling… It's amazing how a team so dedicated—small, but dedicated—can make you feel like a rockstar just by doing that. So thank you for putting in the time for it. Thank you for making us feel like we were something bigger than what we ever could be. And I'm gonna miss it. I'm gonna miss it. I don't think anything will ever replicate the feeling of being at a Smash Summit. Thank you guys for the best tournament series of all time.
That feeling is still there
It’s heartbreaking to see Beyond The Summit go. But know that it’s not totally gone. Even as BTS leaves, that feeling of BTS stays. Soon to be immortalized by any number of other production studios that will invariably put their own twists on that familiar style. Through all the changes that esports undergoes, that groundwork, that legacy, that feeling is still there.