Much to everyone’s surprise and delight, Breath of the Wild made an appearance as the first game of the Nintendo World Championships 2017. The first test of skill in this year’s competition, players had to test their skill and balance at Selmie’s Spot, shield surfing their way through the advanced course’s perilous slopes.

If you’ve played the shield surfing mini-game, you know that it can be quite a formidable test of thumbstick prowess. Shredding your way through the Hebra Mountains requires quick thinking to avoid obstacles, calculated use of the paraglider, and some serious shield surfing proficiency to keep up Link’s momentum while finding the best downslopes to the finish.

Along with the already daunting list of challenges, contestants had only three minutes to reach the finish line. While some showed off their shield surfing mastery, many competitors fell prey to the meandering wildlife, treacherous cliffs, and scattered dead ends throughout the course. As tough as it might have been, I can’t think of a more appropriate opener for a tournament that resurrected a deep cut like Bird & Beans and pushed two players through a highly competitive versus match in Super Mario Bros. Deluxe.

Throughout the tournament, players battled across a variety of games, from Balloon Fight to Tetris to ARMS, and more. Those who weren’t able to continue through regular stages found themselves pushed into the “Underground”; pitting fallen players against one another for a chance at redemption, and one last shot at the finals.

Rising from the “Underground” brackets to challenge Nintendo World Championships 2015 title-holder John Numbers, was seasoned competitive Smash Bros. veteran, Thomas “Ito” Gonda. In a scene straight out of The Wizard, Gonda and Numbers fought neck-and-neck through three challenges in Super Mario Odyssey, culminating in a heated boss fight sequence. With Numbers hot on his heels, Gonda became one with Cappy, overtaking the boss just in time, and claiming his victory. Thomas, who described himself as a permanent runner-up, secured his place in Nintendo history among other champions the likes of Thor Aackurlund, Jeff Hansen, and John Numbers.

Congratulations to Thomas “Ito” Gonda for making a major comeback, dominating the competition, and taking home the title of champion at the Nintendo World Championships 2017.

You can watch the whole tournament below, and be sure to tune into the intense shield surfing competition (from 38:50).