Zack “CaptainZack” Lauth, a top Smash Bros. player known for his Bayonetta skills and dancing antics, announced on Twitter that he will not be allowed to compete in the upcoming Smash Con tournament. The news comes in the heels of a larger controversy, where Lauth, 17, claims that he asked a former pro to throw matches at big tournaments.
Elliot “Ally” Carroza-Oyarce, 28, used to be a pro competitor in the Smash Bros. circuit, until he revealed that he had pursued a relationship with Lauth while he was underage. Carroza-Oyarce admitted the relationship and consequently was forced to retire from the scene following a lifetime ban by the SSB Conduct Panel, an advisory board that found Carroza-Oyarce guilty of other instances of abuse as well.
The situation got even messier this weekend, after Lauth posted a statement on Twitlonger where he says that he was growing frustrated with his poor performance in tournaments, and this feeling was worsened after watching Carroza-Oyarce do well in his own matches. These negative feelings led Lauth to ask Carroza-Oyarce to lose against high-profile opponents in an attempt to end the problematic relationship.
“I believed he should not have been allowed to play,” he wrote. “I told Ally to throw to Zackray at Prime saga, and Nairo at Momocon,” he continued, linking apparent conversations between him and Carroza-Oyarce. Prime Saga had 842 attendees this year, while MomoCon 2019 saw 1,700 attendees. Zackray recently played in the top 10 at Evo for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, while Nairo placed in the top 20 for the same tournament.
“I vow to never try to manipulate a match result again,” Lauth continued in the Twitlonger post.
Shortly after revealing this information, Lauth said he would not be allowed to compete in Smash Con, a tournament which had 1,380 participants last year.
“Based on information provided by Zack on Twitter, the tournament staff at Super Smash Con felt it was inappropriate to allow Zack to compete in our event,” a Smash Con representative told Polygon. “Attempting to fix the outcome of a match is strictly forbidden in our rulebook and those were grounds used to make this decision.”
Polar Ace Esports, the organization that sponsored Lauth during his Smash Bros. competitions, also said that it was dropping Lauth due to the match-fixing.
“I completely agree with the decision and I will gladly take responsibility for my actions,” Lauth said. “I will still attend the event, but I’ll simply be there as a spectator.”
While some on social media have criticized Lauth’s actions, as they compromised the integrity of large-scale competitions with top players, it’s worth remembering that he is still a victim in all this — Carroza-Oyarce was in his late 20s while pursuing a relationship with someone who was a minor at the time.
Update: Clarified Lauth’s Twitlonger comments, added mention of the SSB Conduct Panel’s verdict, and included Smash Con’s new statement.