Armada Secures His Place in History Winning Genesis 4

Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/VGbootcamp

Adam “Armada” Lindgren cemented his spot in history, winning his third Genesis title. The win came over Joseph “Mango” Marquez, making it three wins in a row in a Genesis Grand Final for Armada. Armada’s run of dominance continues as he narrowly edges out Mango in the winner’s bracket and follows it up with one of his strongest finals performances ever.

Mango and Armada were destined from the start to meet again in Grand Finals. In four Genesis tournaments, no other players have made Grand Finals. It took Armada squeezing by Johnny “S2J” Kim in top 64 to even stay in winner’s bracket, and then avoiding losing 3-1 to Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman in winner’s finals. At the same time, Mango had one of the more difficult losers bracket runs to make this rematch possible.

After falling 3-1 to Armada, Mango went straight into a loser’s bracket match with William “Leffen” Hjelte, who fell into losers before top 8. In a rather sub-par top 8, Leffen vs. Mango stands out as a must-watch match. The intensity and stakes of this moment added the extra pressure, and made for a wild set. Mango took the 3-2 victory, but that’s after falling behind 2-1 in games, and even down in stocks on both games four and five. It was a set that will be remembered.

Genesis is known for its memorable moments. Mostly because of the rivalry between Mango and Armada that started at Genesis back in 2009. Four Genesis’s and still no other player has broken into the top-two. M2K had the best chance to break up the streak at G4, when he was up a stock on game four, up 2-1. But in the end, Mango and Armada found themselves facing off in Grand Finals.

The finals matchup that seemed as if destiny had intervened, felt lackluster in the end. Armada thoroughly dominated Mango, beating him in less than nine minutes, with a three-stock victory on game three. Armada went 6-1 overall against Mango, and a staggering 4-0 on Yoshi Island, which was Mango’s primary counter-pick.

Mango seemed to have used up all his mental fortitude just getting back to Grand Finals and wasn’t mentally prepared for the robot that is Armada’s punish heavy Peach. It was a showing of Armada’s consistency and mental strength, as even when he’s down 2-0 to S2J or losing to M2K, he never plays like he’s out of it. He always sticks to the game plan.

Here are the final results at Genesis 4:

1.Alliance Armada (Peach/Fox)

2. C9 Mango (Fox/Falco)

3. Echo Fox M2K (Marth/Sheik)

T5. Liquid Hungrybox (Jigglypuff)

T5. Panda Global Plup (Sheik)

T7. Tempo Storm Axe (Pikachu)

T7. G2 Westballz (Falco)

 

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Genesis 4: Smash Doubles Bringing the Hype

Photo courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/commons/images/a/ab/G4logo.jpg

The doubles events have delivered at Genesis 4, with upsets, new faces in top 8, and extremely high-level play. After a lackluster day one, with the Smash Crews somewhat falling apart with top players exercising their right to skip the event, doubles made up for it.

The lead story of the day is the brilliant play from arguably the most underrated team in Melee doubles: William “Leffen” Hjelte and Mustafa “Ice” Ackakaya. They took out the second seeded Swedish duo of Adam “Armada” Lindgren and his brother, Andreas “Android” Lindgren. The set went to five games, and the Fox-duo of Leffen and Ice combined the excellent team spacing and synergy with their constant ability to survive the Swedish brother’s team combos.

Ice and Leffen advanced to winner’s finals and will face off against the top overall seed, and hometown favorite, in PewFat. Kevin “PewPewU” Toy and Zac “SFAT” Cordoni had little trouble disposing of every team in their path. They beat Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman and Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma in a quick 3-0.

Afterwards, the most successful Melee team in history (M2K and Hbox) ran into another up-and-coming doubles team, with Jeff “Axe” Williamson and Justin “Plup” McGrath. The Pikachu and Sheik composition allowed for supreme edge guarding and the back-and-forth hits from both Plup and Axe. The estranged team only lost on game 5 to Ice and Leffen, so this team is a serious threat to make a loser run and win this event.

Unfortunately for Plup and Axe, they face Andorid and Armada first thing tomorrow morning. In the only other matchup between these two, the Swedish team got the better result. In winners, the question is: can anyone take out the world’s most consistent Melee team in PewFat?

PewFat’s strength is dominating individual matchups while always being in range to help their teammate. Ice and Leffen excel in the same areas, so this could potentially be a bad matchup for the top seed. The key in losers will be to take stocks from Android early and often, as we saw in the loss to Ice and Leffen.

Smash 4 Doubles Bringing the Hype

Unexpectedly, Smash 4 doubles has stolen the show at Genesis 4 day two. The meta-game is clearly still developing and the use of Cloud has almost become necessary in team compositions. Obviously, Cloud has the strongest follow-up finishes with his limit break, and teams are finding interesting ways to use him optimally.

The champions, Elliot “Ally” Carroza and Leonardo “MKLeo” Lopez Peres, had MKLeo on Cloud, ready for any of Ally’s Mario back throws. The win came over the Japanese team, Rei “komorikiri” Furukawa and Ryuto “Ranai” Hayashi, who managed to reverse sweep the top seeded team at Genesis 4 in Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrio and Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada.

MKLeo and Ally took out the Japanese pair twice, once in winners round 2 and again in grand finals. It was a huge statement for both teams. Considering every player in grand finals was from outside the United States, it was also a huge day for international Smash fans.

 

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Genesis 4 Preview: Will The Top Seeds Run the Table?

The importance of the Genesis tournament series for the longevity and growth of the Super Smash Bros scene can’t go understated. It’s a legendary event that has produced arguably the best Smash sets of all time. It’s where the Joseph “Mango” Marquez and Adam “Armada” Lindgren rivalry began. Genesis is history, and more history will be made this weekend at Genesis 4.

Genesis 4 will be the biggest Genesis to date. Six individual Smash tournaments. 11 overall events that will be taking place, including Rivals of Aether and Street Fighter V. Two crew battle tournaments, one for Smash 4 and the other for Melee. It has something for every type of fan.

The main events will be Melee and Smash 4 top-8. The competition for the doubles tournaments and even Smash 64 will be fierce and deserve your attention though. 3,000 players are registered and ready to compete. Here’s a preview for every single event happening at Genesis 4 this weekend.

Smash 64 Singles

Smash 64 has significantly less entrants than the other two Smash games (185 for singles), but the story lines and competition is still top notch. Recently signed Daniel “SuPeRbOoMfAn” Hoyt, who won Super Smash Con to round out 2016, is once again the heavy favorite. In terms of dominating his personal game, no other player in the Smash community comes close.

The field has nearly every player in the top 10, so expect some of the more notable names to reach top-8. Boom won’t have an automatic trip to winner’s finals. Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett is a rising star and a real threat to take out the game’s best. His second-place finish at Super Smash Con showed his potential. Wizzrobe is slated to play Boom winners round 2 in top 64 which could be on upset alert.

Outside of those two, classic names like Isai, the Mexican players Arturo “Mariguas” Nunez Hernadez and Distrito “Dext3r” Federal, and the ever so dangerous Peruvian slayer Alvin “Alvin” Leon Hara will also be in attendance as the second seed. It’s a stacked field, but the real story will be whether Boom can win another Smash 64 major.

Winner Prediction: SuPeRbOoMfAm (sorry, he’s just too good)

Smash Melee Doubles

Don’t sleep on Melee doubles this weekend; the top five teams will be in attendance, and certain teams will be put to the ultimate test. PewFat, Kevin “PewPewU” Toy and Zac “SFAT” Cordoni, had a great 2016 as the year’s best team, but let’s see how they perform at an event with M2Box (Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman and Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma), team Alliance (Armada and Andreas “Android” Lindgren), and team Europe (William “Leffen” Hjelte and Mustafa “Ice” Akcakaya).

Therefore, the winner of this event is nearly impossible to predict. Even Mango and Johnny “S2J” Kim could make a run. An event of this magnitude with players taking the doubles side seriously will result in some of the highest-level teams matches possibly ever. Most of the teams registered, who have a shot at winning, are combos of players who have teamed before and have chemistry. It will be a great gauge on the best doubles team in the world.

Winner Prediction: PewFat

Between Hungrybox’s hand issues, the northern California crowd, and the introduction of PPU’s Fox play for counter-picks, it just feels like it’s finally their time to take a Genesis.

Smash Melee Singles

Three Genesis events and three Mango vs Armada grand finals. Will it happen again? The biggest hurdles for the possible quadruple rematch is easily Leffen and Hungrybox. Hungrybox made huge strides in 2016, and despite a hand injury, can ruin everyone’s fun by winning. Leffen, on the other hand (get it?), missed last Genesis and is a huge threat to ruin the Genesis script.

Furthermore, this could be the event of the breakout star. Players like SFAT, Ice, Justin “Plup” McGrath, and James “Swedish Delight” Liu have been threatening to take out the top-six players for the better half of last year. Genesis 4, with the extra month of preparation, could be the event one of these names creates a Melee upset that will never be forgotten.

In addition, expect the brackets to be filled with upsets. A tournament with 80 of the top 100 players in attendance is sure to set off some unfamiliar matchups and results. Expect the unexpected; last year Michael “Nintendude” Brancato took out M2K before top 8. If I had to bet, I’d say a God falls before top-8.

In the end, the event will almost surely come down to if anyone is good enough to beat Armada. He has been on a tear of tournament wins in the winter months, and it’s unclear if the Swedish snipers reign of terror is ending. That said, Mango will be playing in front of a raucous crowd all cheering for him, and we all know what happens when Mango gets momentum and a crowd behind him.

Melee is the marquee event this weekend, with 1,700 players signed up. The matchups in top 64 will all be entertaining, from Ice facing off against Sami “DruggedFox” Muhanna, to the Evo runback of Jeff “Axe” Williamson against Otto “Silent Wolf” Bisno. The story lines will be endless and the amount of high-level Melee waiting to be played is staggering. There’s a reason most Melee players consider Genesis the holy grail.

Winner Prediction: Armada

It’s hard seeing anyone beating this guy at the level he’s playing at right now. Mango can win this tournament but it will take some diligent play and making sure he gets a shot at Armada in Winners bracket.

Smash 4 Doubles

Smash 4 doubles is still in its infancy. The team that wins is usually the two best players, as opposed to the best strategy, character choice, and the most skill combined. Keeping that in mind, Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios and Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada are clearly the best team. The only other team even on a comparable level is Elliot “Ally” Bastien and Leonardo “MKLeo” Lopez Perez.

It will still be interesting to watch the different team compositions and styles. Japan will have two of the more interesting teams: Yuta “Abadango” Kawamura and Takuto “Kameme” Ono, plus Rei “Komorikiri” Furukawa and Ryuto “Ranai” Hayashi. They will present interesting styles and a possible threat to the top players. Jason “Anti” Bates and Salem will be the other team capable of winning the entire event.

As is the case for every tournament at Genesis 4, the focus will be on if anyone can take out the top team. Nairo and ZeRo are incredibly talented players with chemistry. There are some serious contenders who could beat out those two, but it’s unlikely at this point.

Winner Prediction: Nairo and ZeRo

Smash 4 Singles

ZeRo is once again the favorite to take Genesis. He’s starting to return to form after a sporadic 2016. But with that, it’s safe to say Smash 4 is the widest open tournament of them all. It’s not out of the question to wonder if a player not named ZeRo can win Genesis.

MKLeo wasn’t at Genesis 3 or many of the 2016 majors, so this will be his first real test at a major. He has shown the ability to hang with anyone. Ally is another player who can win this event. He’s clearly not fazed by large crowds (Evo 2016 champion) but has unfavorable draw in bracket (he’ll face ZeRo in Winners Semifinals).

Even a couple years into Smash 4, the meta game still is developing. It makes these major tournaments more fun because the results can be random at times. ZeRo might be the clear-cut favorite, but the rise of Cloud players like Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey and Kimorikiri are lurking, waiting to pull off the upset. That’s not even mentioning players like ANTi, Salem or Larry Lurr who have taken out every single one of the top five players, including Zero.

Winner Prediction: MKLeo

This is MKLeo’s moment. Here is a kid the Smash world has been waiting on for the past two years, and he has finally got his chance. If anyone can take out ZeRo and run the table, it’s the versatile MKLeo.

I hope I provided fans with a guide to what to watch for this weekend. It’s impossible to predict what will happen. One thing is certain though, it will be entertaining to watch it all unfold.

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Genesis 4: Day Two Melee Singles Recap

    Photo courtesy of vgbootcamp

Genesis 4 day two has come to a close. There are eight Melee players remaining and four doubles teams still eligible to take home the Genesis trophy. Day two had fantastic matches tied in with some upsets, but the trend in top 64 was finishing off players 3-0.

Plup Pulls the Upset of the Day
It’s not often William “Leffen” Hjelte gets beat 3-0 in a set. But Justin “Plup” McGrath did just that. He not only swept Leffen, he two stocked him in every single game of the set. Straight domination by Plup’s Sheik, who kept Leffen’s Fox in the corner. His edge guard conversion rate was high.

Plup will enter champion Sunday on winners side of top 8. He matches up against Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman. The two are practice partners, but M2K has an overwhelming advantage in the set count. However, Leffen did qualify for top 8 by eliminating Daniel “ChuDat” Rodriguez.

Mango vs Armada Winners Semifinals
Genesis will get the famous rivalry between Joseph “Mango” Marquez and Adam “Armada” Lindgren, but not in the Grand Finals. Mango was questionably ranked in the fourth slot, setting up the matchup with Armada. Mango had a strong 7-3 record against Armada in 2016, but the match should come down to the wire.

The most likely scenario is winner of this set wins Genesis 4. Mango already sent Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma to losers bracket with a 3-1 victory. Each game was close, but Mango had counter-pick advantage. Hungrybox will face off with Jeff “Axe” Williamson, who’s having a good tournament.

S2J Thrills the NorCal Crowd
Easily the most intriguing set of day two was when Johnny “S2J” Kim sent the crowd into a ruckus and pushed Armada to the brink. Armada is rarely ever in that situation, so it was a key moment for S2J. His neutral game shined as he was landing long combos and evading attacks efficiently.

Unfortunately, his edge guards fell apart on game 5, as Armada got the reverse sweep. S2J eventually went on to get dismantled by Axe’s Pikachu to finish right outside the top 8. Even Armada looked shook at certain points against S2J.

Upset Results
Rishi “SmashG0d” Malhotra managed to take out James “Swedish Delight” Liu before top 64. SmashG0d went on to lose to Weston “Westballz” Dennis, who qualified for top 8 losers, but had another good performance at a major.

Swedish wasn’t the only top-15 player to fall to a lower seeded player. Mustafa “Ice” Ackakaya lost to Southern California Ice Climbers 3-0. Army did finish at his highest career placing, losing 3-0 to Joey “Lucky” Aldama. Lucky ended up winning six games in top 64 and finished one spot outside top 7.

Similarly to Hungrybox, Westball had some hand injury issues last week. His injury has not affected his game play, as Westballz has looked super strong. He qualified for top 8 by beating Zac “SFAT” Cordoni. It was a slaughtering, facilitated by the fact that SFAT wasn’t mentally prepared.

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Genesis 4 Smash Draft 2017 Preview

Photo via https://smash.gg/tournament/genesis-4/smashdraft

It’s finally Genesis week! The world’s most historic Smash tournament will take place once again in San Jose, California and host thousands of Smash players. On top of the standard single and double events, Genesis will be running the Smash Draft crew battle tournament: A single elimination, 5 vs. 5 melee crew battle tournament that will be happening on day one of Genesis 4.

The teams were drafted on the Scar and Toph Show. There are eight teams, captained by the names mentioned below, seeded based on rank, and draft position set by the lower seeded players deciding where to pick first. Kashan “Chillindude” Khan was the last seed so he got the first overall pick.

Therefore, the top seeded, Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma, will face off against Chillindude’s crew in round one. Got it? Now, the results of the draft were all over the place. Some players picked solely based off rank and prestige, while others wanted more well-rounded teams (or to play with the homies).

Last year, Team Hbox took home the Smash Draft title over team SFAT, with one of the strongest crew battle teams ever assembled (two God’s). This year, the field is wide open. Crews are more balanced and there’s less potential gimmicks and shenanigans compared to last year. It should be a down-to-the-wire tournament

Here are the teams:

#1 Overall Seed: Team Hungrybox

Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma (Jigglupuff, MIOM Rank: 2)

James “Swedish” Liu (Sheik, MIOM: 11)

Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett (Captain Falcon, MIOM: 12)

Stephen “Abate” Abate (Luigi, MIOM: 40)

Colin “Colbol” Green (Fox, Marth, MIOM: 25)

Strengths: Team Hungrybox will be one of the strongest teams at this event. Not only do you have to take out two extremely dangerous players in Swedish and Wizzrobe, but then an additional four stocks off Hungrybox. It also helps that this team has five unique characters to throw out at any given time.

Weaknesses: Abate is somewhat of a wild card considering he hasn’t attended many major tournaments in the past year. Colbol has the potential to take out top players, but has been trending downwards recently with his Marth play.

X-Factor: Wizzrobe has shown in the past that he can take out a God or at least push their limits. If he shows up and gets the crowd behind him early on, look out for Wizzrobe to pull an upset. Following up his aggressive style with Hungrybox will pay dividends in the end.

#8 Overall Seed: Team Chillin

Khasar “Chillindude” Khan (Fox, MIOM: 36)

William “Leffen” Hjelte (Fox, MIOM: 5)

Edgar “N0ne” Sheleby (Captain Falcon, MIOM: 18)

David “KirbyKaze” MacDonald (Sheik, MIOM: 29)

Theodore “Bladewise” Seybold (Peach, MIOM: 39)

Strengths: The overall depth of this team isn’t great, but N0ne and Leffen are players capable of turning games around quickly. Leffen can stock tank and take out weaker players with plenty of stocks remaining. N0ne has the jaw-dropping ability to turn games in his favor with Falcon’s combo game.

Weaknesses: Overall, this team will struggle against deeper teams. They have no distinct counter-pick advantages outside of Bladewise. If N0ne and Leffen don’t play above their usual skill ceiling this team will fail.

X-Factor: KirbyKaze. KirbyKaze has been flirting with retirement throughout the better half of 2016. He’s still capable of beating top-players, just based off his skill level, but the question is if he’s in practice or not? If he is, that adds an entirely new component to this team’s game plan.

#2 Overall Seed: Team SFAT

Zac “SFAT” Cordoni (Fox, MIOM: 7)

Dejaun “Shroomed” McDaniels (Sheik, MIOM: 10)

Kevin “PewPewU” Toy (Marth, MIOM: 14)

Austin “Azusa” Demmon (Peach, MIOM: 57)

Justin “Syrox” Burroughs (Fox, MIOM: 67)

Strengths: The crowd. The Northern California “big three” in SFAT, Shroomed, and PPU will garner the most audience support, and in this environment, that’s huge. This team will surely have the most chemistry and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses better than any other team.

Weaknesses: Azusa is an up-and-coming Peach main, but he’s put into a big spot here. His goal is not to come overwhelmingly negative in terms of stock count. SFAT, as the captain, will have the option to counter-pick with his Peach, though.

X-Factor: Syrox. Syrox has been on fire in the last two months and is gaining confidence. The NorCal big three will do their thing, but the matches will be won on the back end with Syrox’s performance. The young Fox main could surprise some people.

#7 Overall Seed: Team Zhu

Julian “Zhu” Zhu (Falco, MIOM: 31)

Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman (Sheik/Marth, MIOM: 4)

Ryan “TheMoon” Coker-Welch (Marth, MIOM: 21)

McCain “MacD” Lavelle (Peach, MIOM: 26)

Santiago “Santi” Pinon (Falco/Sheik, MIOM: 43)

Strengths: Counter-picking M2K. Zhu decided to choose a spot where he could grab a Melee God (M2K) in exchange for team depth. Using M2K in specific situations will decide how far this team goes in bracket.

Weaknesses: Depth. Outside of M2K, every other player ranks outside the top-20. TheMoon is capable of pulling off upsets, but this team must face a team with three players in the top-15. It will be a struggle after M2K.

X-Factor: Zhu. Zhu will be the one making the coaching decisions, so using M2K and TheMoon at the right time will be key. Zhu can also make waves with his Falco, given the right stage.

#3 Overall Seed: Team Duck

James “Duck” Ma (Samus, MIOM: 15)

Weston “Westballz” Dennis (Falco, MIOM: 8)

Mustafa “Ice” Akcakaya (Fox, MIOM: 13)

Kalindi “KJH” J. Henderson (Fox, MIOM: 34)

Abshihek “Prince Abu” Prabhu (Jigglypuff, MIOM: 42)

Strengths: Depth. Once again, Duck chose depth over grabbing a top-player. Luckily, he still landed Westballz and Ice, who have shown in the past they can carry teams in crews. Duck also provides a direct-counter for Fox-heavy team compositions.

Weaknesses: Lack of character diversity. Yes, Prince Abu and Duck have unique characters, but there are three spacey mains on this team. If opposing teams have player’s adapt in those matchups, it could be tough for this team to advance.

X-Factor: Duck. The timing of when to use Duck will decide games. If he’s put in the right situation, this team could surprise everyone. Certain players really struggle in the Samus matchup and that could be the difference.

#6 Overall Seed” Team Silent Wolf

Otto “Silent Wolf” Bisno (Fox, MIOM: 20)

Joseph “Mango” Marquez (Falco/Fox, MIOM: 3)

Johnny “S2J” Kim (Captain Falcon, MIOM: 16)

Sami “DruggedFox” Muhanna (Fox, MIOM: 23)

Hugo “HugS” Gonzales (Samus, MIOM: 38)

Strengths: Mango. I don’t think it’s even a question at this point who the best crews player of all time is. Mango never seems phased by the gravity of the moment and feeds off the crowd more than anybody. If he gets off to a good start, he’s almost impossible to slow down in crews.

Weaknesses: A team of fast-fallers. Outside of HugS on Samus, the rest of the team is susceptible to heavy combos on each character choice. It’s a team of explosive damage characters, but playing more skilled teams will force them to play more defensively.

X-Factor: S2J. Johnny was able to pull off one of the best performances in Smash history at the regional crew battles at TBH6. He was able to take seven stocks against Florida and he took out Leffen in one of the most heart wrenching sets in recent memory. Along with Mango, S2J can finish matches off with style.

#4 Overall Seeds: Team Nintendude

Michael “Nintendude” Brancato (Ice Climbers, MIOM: 17)

Justin “Plup” McGrath (Sheik/Samus, MIOM: 6)

Jeff “Axe” Williamson (Pikachu, MIOM: 9)

Aaron “Professor Pro” Thomas (Fox, MIOM: 24)

Mike Haze (Fox, MIOM: 28)

Strengths: Team speed. The character diversity will be important for this team, but overall this team might have the best team speed outside of Team Duck. Expect technical, fast games with players like Axe, Plup, and Professor Pro.

Weaknesses: Mike Haze. This team doesn’t have many weaknesses, so Mike Haze’s lack of experience in crews at this level could play a factor.

X-Factor: Plup. Plup plays two characters at an extremely high level, so if this team needs a Samus pick, he’s capable of making the switch and staying consistent.

#5 Overall Seed: Team ChuDat

Daniel “ChuDat” Rodriguez (Ice Climbers, MIOM: 22)

Adam “Armada” Lindgren (Peach/Fox, MIOM: 1)

Joey “Lucky” Aldama (Fox, MIOM: 19)

Sam “Laudandus” Rohrer (Sheik, MIOM: 33)

Diaki “Rudolph” Ideoka (Marth, MIOM: 52)

Strengths: Armada. He’s the best player in the world and never loses to players below his skill level. He’s almost guaranteed to go positive in each match.

Weaknesses: Inexperience. Laudandus and Rudolph didn’t participate in last year’s Smash draft, so this is an entirely new experience for them. An event like this might overwhelm the newcomers.

X-Factor: ChuDat. Armada will go positive, so this team needs one other player to carry the team, enter ChuDat. His Ice Climbers can and will be a direct counter-pick, but more importantly using Chu’s unorthodox, sometimes annoying style to get to opposing teams.

Go here to make your bracket predictions here. My predictions are here, check back for more coverage on the Smash Draft.

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ZeRo Wins 2GGenesis Stopping Komorikiri’s Losers Run

If 2GG’s Genesis practice event is any indication, Genesis 4 will be wide open. Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrio took home the top prize. That doesn’t highlight the flurry of upsets and intense matches that took place elsewhere though. The losers bracket was a bloodbath.

ZeRo took care of busisness and looks like the favorite heading into next week. However, the inspired performances of Rei “Komorikiri” Furukawa and Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey, who both started the day fighting out of losers round one in TOP 48, ended the day at second and third respectively.

Furthermore, both competitors took out a handful of top players. These two had one of the most unlikely runs in Smash history. Here’s the names of players Komorikiri took out alone on Sunday: Griffin “Fatality” Miller (3-0), Samuel “Dabuz” Robert Busby (3-0), Wesley “6WX” Alexander (3-0), Tweek, and finally James “Void” Makekau-Tyson, before falling 3-1 to ZeRo. That’s quite the list of names for Komokiri, and shows just how strong his game is heading into Genesis 4.

The Photo a courtesy of 2ggt

His ability to choose between his original main in Sonic and his current main in Cloud is a scary proposition for most players. On top of his outstanding performance, Tweek was able to take out the Mexican phenom: Leonardo “MKLeo” Lopez Perez (3-2) in a tight set. Tweek, who is well known on the east coast for being an extremely talented player, got his signature win. But how does he follow it up next weekend?

Remember, this event was just a precursor to Genesis, so players may not have been showing off all their strategies. It was definitely a measuring stick for players to see how they look against the world’s best a week before the big event. If this weekend is any indication, next week will be filled with unfamiliar results.

The next 2GGT saga will be held in the Midwest. This will be the first saga hosted in the Midwestern United States. Check back here for more in-depth Smash coverage as we head into Genesis week!

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Awesome Games Done Quick 2017: Does Speedrunning Have a Place in Esports?

Image via http://core0.staticworld.net/images/article/2015/01/gamesdonequick-100538610-large.png

Awesome Games Done Quick has transformed from a small, fairly unknown event, to the gaming industry’s leading charity event. It has attracted attention from industry giants, as well as the general gaming fan who peruses Twitch. It’s not only meant for Speed runners any longer, as the wide scope of the event has reached an entirely new level. But does it have a place in esports?

The event, if you’ve never heard of Games Done Quick, is centered around a week-long marathon where some of the most well-known and best speed runners of various games from around the world show up to show off their specific speed run. In the last three years, the event has completely exploded in popularity. The average number of viewers, attendees, and most importantly, donations, have sky rocketed in recent years.

I talked briefly to Mike Uyama, the creator of Games Done Quick, about the events history and future: “Our first marathon was Classic Games Done Quick in January 2010, which was inspired by The Speed Gamers. Long story short, the marathon ended up taking place in my mom’s basement and raised 11,000 dollars for international aid organization CARE,” said Uyama.

Since 2015, Games Done Quick has raised over $1 million in donations at each of the last four events (including Summer Games Done Quick). To put that into perspective, the NFL raises $3 million on average for charity. A niche community has nearly matched one of the worlds business juggernauts in the National Football League in terms of donation totals. That’s simply incredible and shows the power of speed running.

Speed running isn’t a new idea, people have been beating video games as fast as possible before the internet age.  It’s now just coming to light the sheer entertainment value of speed running. The skill and time dedicated to improving and optimizing these runs is incredible. Most of the top speed runners are often extremely talented gamers in general, and the skill sets transfer over to other aspects of gaming.

Here’s Dram55, one of the most talented speedrunners in the community, playing Joe And Mac 2 yesterday at AGDQ 2017:

Speed Running’s Place in Esports

Esports is a new, growing idea that’s just now starting to take on massive investors. It’s centered around competitive gaming and has formed an entirely new industry. Speed running started basically the same way as competitive gaming. It wasn’t started as a business venture, but to see if you were the best player at your favorite game.

Now, speed running, thanks to the invention of Twitch and Games Done Quick, has shown there’s plenty of interest in this niche hobby. Enough interest to the point where teams and investors might see the speed running community as a place to get exposure and make money. Runners like Mychal “TriHex” Jefferson, Clint Stevens, and Caleb Hart are just a few examples of players with massive online followings.

I don’t want to give the wrong idea here. The speed running community isn’t asking to be included in esports. Frankly, most speed runners could care less as that’s not the goal of speed running. But inherently, a community based around skill in video games and entertainment through someone else playing a game should probably be included in the esports side. It should be considered in the same vein as other competitive games.

“Speedrunning in five years might have tournaments, even more of it will be streamed, and maybe giant races will be broadcast.” Said Uyama

Speed Runs Live is a site that started as a platform to connect speed runners looking to race other speed runners. In this respect, Speed Runs Live applies directly to esports, and as Mike Uyama stated, races and tournaments could become a more prevalent part of the community. It’s unlikely the racing side becomes as popular as just the standard speed run, but it’s a sub-section of the speed running community that can’t be ignored.

Awesome Games Done Quick 2017 is currently taking place this week so make sure to watch and donate. As the industry grows, expect more emphasis to be placed on speed running. It’s an untapped market that has potential to grow. Its place in esports is unclear now, but the more research and eyes on the community will push future investors towards speed running.

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Echo Fox’s Mega Deal Will Start New Era of Fighting Game Player Acquisitions

Photo via https://twitter.com/echofoxgg

A super team in the fighting game community has been formed and signed by former NBA champion Rick Fox’s Esports team Echo Fox. Echo Fox acquired Justin Wong, Yusuke Momochi, Yuko “Chocoblanka” Momochi, Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi, Leonardo “MK Leo” Lopez Perez, Dominque “SonicFox” McLean, and Brad “Scar” Vaughn, bringing their total fighting game division up to nine players. What does this mean for the rest of the fighting game community?

Echo Fox already sponsors Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman and Julio Fuentas, two well-established players, and now add seven more players to their arsenal. Echo Fox meticulously selected these players, nearing the end of their contracts, to represent the Echo Fox name. They add three top-20 players in Street Fighter V, the best Mortal Kombat X player, and a rising Smash 4 star.

Additionally, Echo Fox was created as a League of Legends team, but the team funded by Rick Fox and managed by his son have now invested heavily in fighting games. Nine players under contract make Echo Fox the team with the largest fighting game department. It’s the single, most lucrative, contract negotiation a fighting game team has ever signed.

Fighting Game Community Will Benefit

Photo via https://twitter.com/echofoxgg/status/817145836916252673

The insurgence of wealthy investors into the fighting game scene is a welcomed sight. If a team can pay many top-players more than market-value, which in turn will help more players get paid, then the scene will grow. Echo Fox is the first team to ever make a bulk signing of this many quality players. Expect more deals like this from larger organizations in the future.

From here on, players’ value will only continue to rise as more money will be available in esports. The value in return for teams is great exposure on a burgeoning scene. The signing of players from three separate teams indicated Echo Fox believes in the fighting game community. It also shows this team is here to win.

Look at Kennth “Kbrad” Bradley, one of the few players still under contract at Evil Geniuses, who called out Justin Wong last week. The formation of this super team created rivals and players looking to topple the Echo Fox empire. It provides extra story lines and adds jealousy and anger to the equation.  Echo Fox poaching players from Evil Geniuses absolutely ignited a fire to the remaining EG players.

With NBA teams getting involved with Esports, teams with the capital will target players for similar bulk deals. This could be the start of a business trend. Other teams should sign more players just to compete with Echo Fox. It should start off a chain reaction.

Overall, these signings give Echo Fox the best chance to win tournaments; that’s the most important factor, all things considered. Contract details haven’t been made public as of yet.

 

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The Local: Hungrybox’s Injury Issue, Salem and M2K’s Performances at Smash Conference

Genesis 4 is still two weeks away. The Smash world will now focus in on these next two weeks to prepare for one of the marquee events of 2017. Tournaments have slowed; aside from Smash Conference, there has been no high-level matches since Don’t Park On The Grass. That said, there’s still plenty of news to cover around the entire Smash community.

Hungrybox Struggled with his Finger Injury

Photo via https://twitter.com/LiquidHbox/status/816358130611318785

Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma was not the main story of this weekend, but his finger injury suffered last week playing dodgeball has his Genesis 4 status in question. Hungrybox did say on twitter that he’s planning on playing at Genesis 4, but that he might have to switch up how he holds his controller and try a different button press for his aerials (he usually uses the Z-button).

However, Hungrybox did make an appearance at MVG”s Smash Conference in Florida this weekend, and he didn’t look like his usual self. On top of losing to players he often beats, Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman and Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett, his aerial spacing and conversions on hits were clearly not as precise as normal.

Hungrybox will play at Genesis 4, but how effective his play will be is still up in the air. He has two weeks to rest or practice holding his controller different ways.  A half healthy Hungrybox can still make a deep run, but it’s hard to see a scenario where he takes out a God with a busted finger.

Mew2King Wins Smash Conference for Melee

M2K got the win, but the real story was Wizzrobe and Zac “SFAT” Cordoni’s performances at this event. SFAT went 1-9 against M2K in 2016, but early in 2017 he took an early 5-3 game lead with a set win and a game five loss at the Smash Conference. He even had success against M2K on Final Destination, taking two games off him.

On the other hand, Wizzrobe nearly outshined everyone by taking out Ryan “TheMoon” Coker-Welch 2-0, SFAT 3-0, and Hungrybox 3-0. He unfortunately fell to M2K, a matchup that’s known to heavily favor M2K. His performance doesn’t go unnoticed though, and is a building point heading into one of the biggest events of the year.

Finally, M2K earned his first tournament victory of 2017, but it did not come easy. SFAT had him on the ropes on game four in the second set, but a bad positional decision from SFAT gave M2K the corner, and eventually the edge guard. The entire match favored SFAT’s pace of play, but in the end, M2K was able to repeatedly overcome large stock deficits to win.

Salem Takes Smash Conference for Smash 4

Photo via https://smashboards.com/threads/smash-wii-u-at-smash-conference-lxix-mvgs-finest-take-on-florida.444611/

Saleem “Salem” Akiel Young, a legend in Brawl for taking an Apex, earned another career victory by winning Smash Conference over Jamaal “Samsora” Morris Jr. The Bayonetta main had little trouble disposing of the other Florida players, only dropping one game the entire tournament. He made a statement by taking care of busisness in a tournament that featured the likes of Eric “ESAM” Lew, Jestise “MVD” Negron, and Andrew “ScAtt” Huntley.

Even M2K entered Smash 4 and made a splash before being eliminated by Esam. Esam, on the other hand, made an insane losers bracket run to finish third, after falling to Samsora’s Peach earlier in winner’s bracket. It was a tournament of mixed results, as ScAtt was eliminated in losers round two by Florida native, Day.  Strong players had to face off against each other earlier because of upsets, allowing for players like ScAtt, MVD, and dyr to fall out of bracket early in the day.

The consistent and balanced play of Salem and Samsora flashed. Both players had no trouble navigating through a tough bracket and might be two players to watch out for the rest of 2017.

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The Local: Kounotori Speaks about MasterHand and the Japan Melee Scene

photo via twitch.tv/amsayoshi

The off-season of Smash is here with almost a month off tournaments before Genesis 4. In times like these, it’s good to appreciate what makes players and events make up the community. The focus today is on the MasterHand events in Osaka, Japan. The Japanese scene is still a small niche community, but the tournaments rival any local or regional scene in terms of talent, in the United States.

Photo of Kounotori via twitter.com/kounotori_ssbm

Yosuke “Kounotori” Kono is the number one ranked player in all of Japan as well as the head tournament organizer for one of the most prominent regional in Japan. The MasterHand events are bi-weekly tournaments that attract many of the top Smashers. It’s the breeding ground for names like Masaya “aMSa” Chikamoto and Daiki “Rudolph” Ideoka, who have made an impression on American Smash fans.

For Kounotori, it’s a struggle as a tournament organizer to grow a scene that is focused primarily on Smash 4. “It is difficult to judge if the Japanese Melee scene is growing or not,” said Kounotori, “Japanese smash 4 scene is much more lively than Melee. And there are tournaments which are recognized by Nintendo officially. And recently sponsored players appear gladsomely like Nietono, Abadango, Komorikiri, Kameme and Ranai.”

The Effect of “Shachiku”

On top of Smash 4 being the main game in Japan, the general work culture often prevents players from improving their games. Several players must deal with life, as Konoutori puts it, as a “Shachiku,” which basically translates to an employer forcing long hours on its employee.

“Once a player becomes a Shachiku, they have no time to play Melee competitively any more. It makes competitive level go down and quench other players’ passion… its big loss,” said Kounotori. He noted that this is probably the main reason the Melee scene has stayed relatively small in Japan.

Japan’s Unique Play styles 

Despite lower average numbers than most American events, Japan has produced some incredible talent throughout the years. Ryota “Captain Jack” Yoshida is a legend in the Melee community, as well as aMSa who popularized the aggressive Yoshi style and found plenty of Yoshi tech. Names like Kounotori, Rudolph, and Flash (retired as best Sheik in Japan) have been on the brink of making deep runs at North American majors.

In the meantime, Kounotori talked about two of the better players in Japan who can’t travel. “K.F is Japan’s Best Jigglypuff. Unfortunately, he can’t attend overseas tournament because he can’t take consecutive holidays,” Kounotori continued on,”Tapioka, a Japanese top Fox/Falco. I think he’s never attend overseas tournament because of money problems mainly.”

Only a small portion of the Japanese scene can afford to pay to travel to American tournaments out-of-pocket. Some of the most talented players can only be seen at the MasterHand tournaments: Nanashi the top Samus main, S-Royal a strong Fox player, Shippu the top Japanese Peach,and Zoma who’s currently the best MewTwo player in the world.

The MasterHand tournaments are still the most consistent way for Japanese players to play the top-level competition in the country. BattleGateway, per Konoutori, is the highest attended event on average, as it’s held in Tokyo, Japan. “BattleGateway in Tokyo is about bimonthly or less but around 80 players attend,” said Konoutori. “Kansai (around Osaka) has as many strong players as around Tokyo. But total of players are less than Tokyo.”

MasterHand caps it at 64 players, but they do throw an annual tournament that has around 128 players called CrazyHand. It’s not the most wide-reaching tournament series, but it does attract good competition. Without Nintendo support, the entire effort falls on the shoulders of tournament organizers like Konoutori.

“The Japanese scene is much smaller than the US,” said Konoutori. “It’s not only about the number of competitors, but also ‘spontaneous contributors for community’. Of course, I really appreciate attendees (especially helping us set up).” It’s a team effort to provide Japan with a competitive tournament.

The tournament is streamed by aMSa every week, and even with smaller numbers it’s still one of the most entertaining regional because of the different styles. MasterHand will continue to develop players with unique outlooks on the game because they’re not influenced by American play styles.

As Kounotori said, “now the Japanese Melee tournament scene will manage on a small portion of players.”

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