SoCal Regionals 2017 preview: Street Fighter V and Marvel vs Capcom Infinite

SoCal Regionals has been a staple and one of the few times the fighting game scene takes its talents to the most talented region in the United States. The event will feature 12 separate tournaments including the worlds first major Marvel vs Capcom Infinite tournament. The focus will be on Street Fighter V, but there’s enough for all types of fighting game fans to keep them interested.

The four main events will be Street Fighter V, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, Tekken 7 and Injustice 2. Marvel will be the most intriguing because it’s a new game, but the SFV tournament will have the most fire power with all the heavy-hitters showing up. All the other events have significantly lower turnouts.

Unfortunately, the event as a whole has much lower turnout than expected. The reason for this is the tournament overlap, which is spreading out the talent. TGS, EGX and CEOTaku are all happening and plenty of Street Fighter and other players are playing elsewhere this weekend. A large portion are still making their way to California, but this explains why the turnout has dipped.

Street Fighter V

Street Fighter V is going to be a mix of the regular Wednesday night fight crew intertwined with some Japanese players and a slew of top-20 players. The favorite heading into the weekend will be the juggernaut Punk but players like Darryl “Snake Eyez” Lewis, Eduardo “PR_Rog” Perez, Justin Wong and momochi could be a problem for Punk.

PG Punk. Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/evo2k

Based off bracket projections, it’ll most likely come down to either Snake Eyez, PR_Rog or 801Strider on the winners side. There’s plenty of potential upsets along the way with names like NO RESPECT, Veloreon and ChrisT waiting to take out the top names. Top 64 will be separated into four separate 16 player brackets that get funneled into top 8.

In terms of must-watch matches, the potential for upsets is there for a lot of these match ups, but I’m looking more towards underrated threats to make deep runs. BrianF vs Smug is a set I’ll be looking forward to. Two of the best Balrog players facing off once again. NO RESPECT with his patented Urien going up against Momochi (and Justin Wong). K-Brad against Verloren could decide that entire pool.

SCR won’t feature the heavyweight bouts, but there’s enough talent to watch a whole bunch of high quality matchups. It’ll also be interesting to see if any of the top four fall. Punk has had early bracket trouble in the past, and there’s names here that players aren’t necessarily prepared for.

Marvel vs Capcom Infinite

Expect the unexpected with Marvel Infinite. Obviously with the game being released last Tuesday the depths of the mechanics and characters won’t be close to fleshed out. Early tournaments are more for feeling out certain strategies and even more importantly, CHEESING.

Week one tournaments almost always come down to cheese. Cheesing essentially means using cheap tactics that haven’t been learned to counter yet and winning. It’s a fleeting feeling of superiority, but it’s undoubtedly effective in the early stages of a fighting game. Let’s look at the players who might take advantage of this at SCR.

Looking at the names attending, it seems pretty straight forward who’ll be able to quickly adapt and have a chance to take the event. The first names to focus on are the veterans: Justin Wong, NYChrisG, Cloud805 or RayRay. Any of these guys are capable of winning, but week one tournaments usually aren’t about talent.

In the end, it will be a combination of a gimmick team or strategy, a lot of luck, and the overall experience of a dedicated fighting game player. At the same time, natural talent can compensate for lack of experience. Expect to see new players giving experienced players a run for their money.

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“When you have practice partners like Justin Wong, K-Brad, and PR Balrog; you have to try really hard to be bad” Splyce’s Ryan “Fchamp” Ramirez

Every scene has its heel. And the FGC is filled with them. Whether it be Smash’s William “Leffen” Hjelte or Marvel’s Christopher “ChrisG” Gonzalez, every scene has someone that they love to hate. To a lot of people, one of Street Fighter’s heels is Ryan “FChamp” Ramirez. Known to have an air of cockiness on stage, FChamp is a relatively humble guy when you get to talk to him. With FChamp being one of the few people playing vanilla Street Fighter characters, and that character being Dhalsim no less, it’s becoming harder and harder not to root for him as he continuously racks up Top 8’s.

Shortly before he competed in the Top 8 for Street Fighter V at Evo 2017, I was afforded the opportunity to talk to Fchamp about what had allowed him to not only make that Top 8 but stay consistently on top. 

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Melee’s Competition Committee good for the community despite shaky start

It’s about time the Smash community formed a governing body to watch over all competitive decisions. For a long time, the onus has been on the individual tournament organizers to make the decisions without any real discussion on practicality. It’s been a mixed bag of results, seemingly changing from week to week.

I’m here to tell you that “The 25” is a step in the right direction.

Lack of diversity

Before I dive deeper, I want to address the Adam “Armada” Lindgren situation. Armada, the greatest Melee player in history, left his post on the committee to make way for a female representative. The fact that all 25 members were male was a reality check and Armada took it into his own hands to right this egregious wrong.

Smash Sisters at Shine 2017. Photo courtesy of twitter.com/smash_sisters

Yes, the amount of females in the community is a small percentage compared to males, but that’s what makes it even more important to reach out to females. Women have almost zero representation or voice in this community and that dissuades others from potentially entering tournaments. Giving females a voice is paramount to easing the tension females feel in this community. Also, giving power to females could be beneficial to the scene as a whole.

So, good on Armada for recognizing this great indifference and taking action. It might not seem like a big deal to some, but what’s the point of a rules committee if not everyone’s voice is heard. Even the smaller and less vocal groups. The committee is still considering options at this point, since Armada’s departure, but it’s forcing them to consider on a female member.

The committee itself has been under severe scrutiny with many community members missing the point of its creation. Above all else, it was formed to create fairness for all competitors as the scene adapts to new technology and formats.

Shine 2017 is a great example of this and it also helped spawn the CoC. MattDotZeb is as experienced as they come in Smash and even he came across a situation that has never been dealt with before. The decision to make UCF legal and mandatory was an innovative idea, but the perils of trying something out is not being prepared if something goes awry. The situation led to a controversial decision that left the community angry.

It’s not the first time either. Situations like Shine happen a few times a year in seemingly big spots. It’s hard enough for organizers to deal with running the event itself, but having to make stressful decisions with time constraints is something else entirely. That’s where the CoC comes in and can help out.

Despite what some think, the CoC is not a power grab setup for Melee dictatorship. It’s not mandatory. It’s just an outlet of experienced and professional people to give assurance and assistance to tournaments and events. It will help streamline everything and get more consistency from different events.

“The Melee Competition Committee (CC), which includes the Leadership Panel (“The 5”) and the At-Large Panel (“The 25”), was formed so that we’d have a process in place for prominent tournament organizers, players, and influencers to come to the table, and unify rulesets at a critical point in our history. In a time when players were clamoring for consistency, fairness, and clarity in regards to Melee gameplay rules across events, we brought some of the community’s biggest names together to make their opinions accountable: in exchange for having the power to make lasting change, they’d have to make all votes and amendments public.”

The structure

Shine 2017. Photo courtey of twitch.tv/vgbootcamp

The structure is setup to promote accountability down the line. No one can deny the members of this community being the right choice in helping manage decisions. It was a carefully selected group of some of the pioneers of the Melee community along with some lesser known names. The diversity is there from players, coaches, player managers, tournament organizers, streamers and even historians.

However, the lack of women is appalling, as stated earlier. My only problem is the five members heading the operation. Self-proclaimed power and importance of opinion seems unjust, and while they’re here to get the decision-making process started, it feels as if those five will be making most of the decisions.

It’s an incredibly important time for Melee and the CoC is here to make it last and strengthen our events. While I’ll disagree with some of the methods used when creating this committee, I also see the benefits of having a governing body. This is not the Melee backroom, where all discussion are kept private. The CoC promises to keep everything out in the open for the public to see. It’s a test run and we’ll see if it actively makes the Melee community more appealing to players.

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Redbull Gods and Gatekeepers: A fresh new idea with mixed results

Melee’s at a stage in its development where trying new things is not only fresh and new but necessary. Singles tournaments are great, but the audience needs something to keep them interested aside from singles. Crew tournaments could be that outlet.

Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman showed us the potential of teams and how different compositions can work.

Yes, the M2K team was absolutely stacked: Shroomed, Duck, and Zhu create a rather tough opponent, but that wasn’t the main story coming out of Gods and Gatekeepers. No, the main story was the emergence of possibly the bigger underdog of the entire tournament.

Team SFAT. Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/redbullesports

Zac “SFAT” Cordoni passed up depth in favor of teaming with his best bud and doubles partner Kevin “PPU” Toy. Now those two are incredible players, but the addition of Army and Ryan Ford was seemingly their downfall. Logic would say the best team is deep and not relying on any one person or strategy (hence why M2K’s team won), but that’s the exact strategy SFAT employed to reach the Grand Finals in WINNERS.

Here’s how they did it:

According to the rules, if a set extends to a game five, it’s no longer a one-vs-one match and turns into a doubles match to decide the winner. The key for team SFAT was: by any means necessary, force other teams into a game five. Considering SFAT and PPU make up the best team in the world it seemed to be a solid strategy.

For this reason, SFAT’s team was able to pull off upset after upset and fall into winners finals and eventually grand finals. Two game five wins over Daniel “ChuDat” Rodriguez and Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett’s teams propelled them to a second face finish. The struggles came when they got behind 2-0 in the set early and had to win out with bad matchups.

Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/redbullesports

However, M2K’s team, despite falling to Wizzrobe’s squad, didn’t have to rely on strategy. The four players on the team knew all it took was winning the individual matchups. Yes, teams could compete with them, but the overall talent was clearly a step above the rest of the competition.

The Upsets

However, the crew battles did something that no tournament has done in quite a long time. It evened the Melee playing field. It was a nice change of pace to see names not usually in the spotlight making huge plays.

Ice warming up. Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/redbullesports

 

The inspiring Marth play from Medz to upset team Mango 3-0. The doubles performance from ChuDat’s Ice Climbers and Weston “Westballz” Dennis to take out Leffen. Each of the top seeds fell in the first round – that’s something that has never happened in singles.

A team comprised of two fringe top-50 players almost won the entire event. Regardless of your opinion of the tournament format, there’s no denying it presented a myriad of surprising and fun results. I hope to see more of these types of tournaments in the future.


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Hungrybox busts out of his slump amid controversial and wild top 8

Shine 2017 was a microcosm of the year it’s been for Smash. It ended with a struggling Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma breaking out of his slump and beating Jospeh “Mango” Marquez’s new found Falco. Prior to that matchup, the Sunday afternoon was filled with bedlam and plenty of controversies. It was a good time for everyone not named MattDotZeb or Leffen.

ChuDat and Leffen in set one. Photo via twitch.tv/vgbootcamp

The Controller Controversy

Now some might think the University of Central Florida (UCF) played a major role in a decision made by the Shine tournament organizers on Sunday. That was unfortunately not the case. In fact, all the controversy that has dominated the headlines comes from a new mod from the 20xx team that was made legal before the event started.

If you haven’t heard, William “Leffen” Hjelte lost an extremely close set to Daniel “ChuDat” Rodriguz in the top 8, but according to the tournament rules, the set had to be replayed because the Universal Controller Fix (UCF) was turned off during the set. It was a complete oversight by the Shine crew, but one that isn’t completely shocking considering this is one of the first events to run with UCF on during play.

In short, Leffen noticed that the UCF was off and went through the necessary channels to field his complaint. His complaint was heard and despite losing the set, the Shine organizers decided to replay the entire set – a decision that has since rocked the Smash community.

Unfortunately for ChuDat, this oversight was at the expense of his tournament placing. It not only erased one of the more exciting sets of 2017 but actively changed the results. Opinions aside, mistakes happen and though it was a pretty glaring omission, Chu decided to play the set out. And let’s remember, these players aren’t playing for fun. If it’s in the rules it must be handled accordingly.

S2J after beating Shroomed 3-0. Photo via twitch.tv/vgbootcamp

The Curse is broken

Changing the subject, let’s talk about the play at this event. Aside from a flurry of second round upsets, the emergence of Johnny “S2J” Kim was the real story. It’s not only that S2J was able to do the seemingly impossible, but the fact that he did it in the most impressive way imaginable.

Moreover, most people will walk away from this tournament remembering the image of S2J landing the knee on Yoshi’s Island top platform to finally beat Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman. A week prior, I watched in amazement as S2J ran circles around Professor Pro in Europe. At Shine, that intense, mesmerizing speed showed up again and pushed S2J to his best major result ever.

It was a dazzling display of follow-ups, tech chases, and staying one step ahead of his opponents based off of his reaction timings. It was one of those moments where the sheer amazement of what a person was able to accomplish in the game boiled to the surface. The ending of the “curse” got one of the best crowd receptions all year and for good reason.

Hungrybox the slump buster

Finally, after a month of avoiding Hungrybox, the world got to see what character decision Mango would make in the matchup. Obviously, Mango has made a consorted effort to stick with the bird, but not having to face Hungrybox seemingly played into the decision. At Shine, all those questions were answered.

In light of Hungrybox struggling against the likes of Justin “Plup” McGrath and losing to M2K’s Fox, it was unclear when he would make his turn back into a top three. Any knowledgeable Smash fan would realize it was only a matter of time. It took a more conservative and focused effort but Hungrybox finally got back to his place on the pedestal.

On the other hand, Mango’s had another strong August. The return to Falco pushed that along, but with no Adam “Armada” Lindgren waiting in the shadows and a slumping Hungrybox, Mango had a little easier time maneuvering through the bracket. The first real test for his Falco finally presented itself: Hungrybox’s Jigglypuff.

Now conventionally, Falco hypothetically wins the Jigglypuff matchup. But, as we all know, Hungrybox has elevated Puff outside the modern meta-game. It no longer becomes a Jigglypuff matchup when facing the experience and skill of Hungrybox. Most pros, including Armada, believe Fox should be the pick for Mango, but others opinions have never influenced Mango before.

Mango stuck to his principles and didn’t switch off Falco until desperation time. At that point, it was too little too late, but there was more success in that matchup for Mango than with Falco. Mango didn’t do necessarily a bad job with Falco, but the limitations in Falco’s grab game and kill-setups were apparent. It was an important win for Hungrybox to get him back on the right track and should present Mango with another tough decision in their next meeting.


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ZeRo returns to form at SCR Saga

Two months removed from his last S-tier win, Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios was able to reach the top again after a number of near misses, by beating MKLeo at SCR Saga. It was the return of ZeRo’s last stock magic, as he was able to pull himself out of a variety of difficult situations to take his 10th win of 2017.

For reference, it’s been a tough couple of months for the undisputed champ. A near miss at Evo 2017 and Dreamhack while watching Salem parade around his trophy. Second place at both Super Smash Con and Low Tier City. It wasn’t just that he lost, either. It was the way that he lost. Losing in situations he normally came out victorious by not letting the pressure exceed the moment.

However, it showed that it was just a matter of time before he reclaimed the top spot. After a strong performance this weekend, any talk of him not being the best player in 2017 should be off the table.

Photo courtesy YouTube.com/2ggaming

Last stock magic

When Zero is at his best, he takes early percent stocks and is constantly running in-and-out of attack range. At SCR Saga, the audience saw that in droves. In many instances, Zero would bait out a certain recovery option to setup a dair spike at the ledge with Diddy Kong. Larry Lurr and MKLeo unfortunately took the bait and paid the price.

By no means was it a perfect day for ZeRo, but it was characteristically a day in which ZeRo takes the crown. He’s no stranger to coming back from a deficit and in many cases was forced to overcome entire stock leads. This goes back to his ability to set up low percent kills and punish accordingly.

The day Bayonetta took over

No, a Bayonetta main did not win this event. There was none in the top three. But, there were three in top eight. Prejudice aside, Bayonetta mains are starting to make a clear push towards the end of the bracket. SCR Saga is just the first example of all the top Bayonetta’s playing well enough at the same time.

As a matter of fact, the world’s best Bayonetta main in Salem struggled mightily against the new up and comer Bayonetta in Mistake. Mistake forced Salem off of Bayo and onto Greninja. Salem was out placed by the two other Bayonetta mains (Captain Zack and Mistake) and this weekend seems to be a turning point.

Captain Zack after eliminating Nairo. Photo courtesy YouTube.com/2ggaminng

The sudden emergence of Mistake and the elevation of the meta through Salem has given Bayonetta new life. And at SCR Saga, it was a mix of play styles that all proved to be effective. Salem stayed defense heavy, while Mistake played all out aggressive and Captain Zack stayed in the middle of that spectrum. The group of players as a whole are improving.

Larry Lurr and MKLeo are close

It’s only a matter of time for Larry Lurr and MKleo. Both players are seemingly always right there, but have a few player matchups that hold them back. SCR Saga was another example of this.

To enumerate, Larry Lurr has now been in this situation many times in the past few months. His Fox continues to improve and another bracket similar to what he faced at Evo could mean an S-Tier major win. For MKLeo, he’s known as a champion already, but he seems back on track to start winning events again.

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Mango Goes with Falco and Wins Super Smash Con 2017

Fox or Falco? It’s the age old question going into tournaments for Joseph “Mango” Marquez. At Super Smash Con, Mango pulled out the bird and put on a performance that raises the question of wether or not Fox is in his future plans.

That said, Mango, at this moment in time, is the premiere Fox player in Melee. He’s won countless tournaments with Fox and has been the character he relies on when all else fails. It’s foolish to think he’ll ever abandon Fox, but at the same time, Falco seems to suit his play style more than Fox.

Mango’s Creativity with Falco
Mango’s got a brilliant mind for Melee. He’s able to constantly throw various looks at a player to keep them off balance. Falco’s play style is conducive to this and Mango is the perfect player to bring out the full potential of a character that’s been neglected by the rest of the scene.

In effect, Mango was able to play more to his style and dictate the pace of play. Top 8 was a show from Mango’s Falco. Fortunately, he didn’t have to face Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma so it was Falco all afternoon long and it was a display of Mango’s mixup game.

For example, let’s look at his two sets with Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman. In both sets Mango was able to control the stage by the virtue of Falco’s laser game. In his winners finals set against Justin “Plup” McGrath, the gameplay changed drastically. Mango adapted and played aggressively on Plup’s shield. Facing M2K, Mango emphasized the laser pressure and stayed clear of out of shield range.

The mixup game is a staple of the Falco meta. Mango made it imperative that the same option wasn’t coming twice in a row. Both Plup and M2K had trouble predicting what Mango was going to do and in many cases set themselves up for down-air finishers. The DI traps continually put Mango in advantageous situations.

Where does this place Mango?
Certainly, this win and his recent results at Evo have propelled Mango to second overall in the Melee ranks. Couple that with Hungrybox’s struggles against Plup, and it’s clear who’s been the better overall player. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Hbox struggle to this extent. He’s usually a guarantee to finish in the top three.Plup and Mango. YouTube.com/vgbootcampvods

As for Mango, it’ll be interesting to watch if he makes the change back to Fox at future tournaments. And yes, Adam “Armada” Lindgren didn’t make it to Super Smash Con, so his presence might make Mango change his mind. Mango’s Fox has a positive record against nearly every player outside of Armada’s Peach.

The next major event is Shine and the player list is nearly identical to SSC. Mango will have the edge heading into the event, but a face-off against either Hbox or potentially William “Leffen” Hjelte could stall that momentum. Unfortunately, Armada is not confirmed so we might not see a matchup with Mango till the fall.

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Ranking the biggest events in esports

In honor of it being the week of the International, I wanted to discuss the events that have helped legitimize esports. From DOTA to League, all the way to fighting games and Counter-Strike, each game has pushed the scene forward with events that not only grab the attention of esports fans, but even more importantly the general public.

The five events mentioned below have all played an important role in building up their respective scenes. They have not only been great for publicity but have also made careers in esports a reality. They have partially changed the communities in which these events take place. Here are the five most essential events today.

5. Call of Duty World Championships

Activision has made serious strides into making Call of Duty a premiere title within the esports landscape. The creation of the Call of Duty Championship, with prize pools over $1 million, along with the creation of Call of Duty World League, is the support this game needed.

It’s not only given fans more to watch each weekend but also gives them a reason to follow along as the season moves closer to the World Championship. In a short time, Call of Duty has become the premier console shooter and it’s thanks to this.

4. ESL CS:GO

Counter-Strike is different than the other esports. The scene doesn’t have one championship event that takes priority over the others. It’s an open landscape with many different events that offer plenty of payouts.

However, there’s one league that consistently puts together the most competitive and prestigious events. ESL has always been a major contributor to Counter-Strike dating back to 1.6, but in Global Offensive they’ve stepped up significantly. The one other event to rival ESL is Turner’s ELEAGUE which brought in a million unique viewers on Twitch alone.

For this reason, I have to mention Counter-Strike in this discussion. While it doesn’t have a keystone tournament like The International or Evo, the largest events in CS surpass any other event in terms of general interest. ESL is a great example of this, but there’s plenty of other tournaments that also take precedent in this argument.

3. League of Legends – Worlds

League of Legends wasn’t the first game to popularize the esports age, but it’s mostly responsible for the boom in popularity since the creation of the League Championship Series. The LCS has been a major success, in terms of growing esports, and has kept players interested in the game since release.

Continually, the League of Legends season culminates into the World Championships, a month long tournament that brings together all the regional champions. League is essentially the only title currently that has a system that funnels into a championship event. 15 days of competition while a litany of the best teams compete for millions in prizes on the big stage of Madison Square Garden and other stadiums.

2. Evo

By the same token, no other event comes close to the history of the Evolution series. Dating back to 1996, Evo has been the linchpin for all the growth in the fighting game community. Evo has single handily brought the underground community into the Mandalay Bay Stadium.

It’s hard to say that any other event matches the intensity that Evo cultivates. Once a player gets on that grand stage, it’s almost a guarantee that something amazing will follow. It’s also the one event that doesn’t require any knowledge coming in because of the simplicity of fighting games. Anyone can enjoy it and more importantly, anyone can feel the hype generated from the world’s most prestigious fighting game tournament.

In spite of the fact that Evo has a significantly lower prize pool than these other events, it’s still considered by many to be the most meaningful tournament for the players. Coupled with the history, an Evo trophy means something more than just a check. It’s a chance to cement a legacy as one of the greats.

The International 7. Photo courtesy of GosuGamers

1. The International

Finally, we reach The International. It’s an event responsible for bringing in a new generation of esports fans. It not only has the highest prize pool in esports, but in a short time has become the most sought after trophy in the entire scene.

It’s a life changing event. The rush of playing for millions of dollars amps up the intensity levels. Even as a fan, the adrenaline begins to pump. It’s a wild ride from start to finish, and not one event has been a let down in seven years. Valve’s responsible for making it an event in every sense of the word. It’s no longer just a DOTA tournament, it’s a happening in the Seattle area.


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The Week in Smash: Tweek’s Consistency and MKLeo’s Return to Form

Smash never seems to take a weekend off anymore. Even after the tournament packed July, the month of August started with two smaller major events (or regionals) that divided the time of many top players. It’s the first weekend since Evo that a top tier tournament wasn’t taking place so it’s a good time to take a look at some of the smaller events.

The two main events this weekend happened in the south. Low Tier City 5, that took place in Dallas, Texas and Smash Factor 6 that was south of the border in Mexico. In terms of talent, both events had significantly smaller attendance from top players, but it allowed for the regions to display their best.

The top players that did show put on a show for those crowds. Smash 4 was the main story this weekend with many of the top 10 Melee taking a week off before Super Smash Con. Smash 4 still had the likes of Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios, MKLeo, Larry Lurr, and the surprise of the weekend In Tweek competing.

The problem was the two smaller events split up the talent, but in turn it gave us a good look at Mexico’s hidden Smash 4 talents. Yes, there’s plenty of good players outside of the Afro mentioned MKLeo in the Mexico scene. It’s not a matter of “if” the Mexico scene, it’s a matter of “when” they can fly these players out to events states side.

Smash Factor 6

In classic Smash Factor form, this tournament wasn’t going to leave us without MKLeo roasting Ramin “Mr. R” Delshad for the third time in a row. Let’s remember, MKLeo defeating a beaten down Mr. R at Smash Factor 4 is where Leo first burst onto the scene. It’s only right for MKLeo to handily and swiftly take down Mr. R at the tournament that helped launch his career.

Mr. R did take a set off Leo at this tournament, 3-1, but that just set up Leo’s incredible 10 game stretch where he only dropped one game. A 3-0 sweep over NAKAT, while going 3-1, 3-0 to finish off Mr. R and win his third straight Smash Factor.

Melee

The Melee side also had a similar mix of mostly local players with some top 20’ish players. Unfortunately, the Mexico Melee scene isn’t nearly as fleshed out as Smash 4 so it’s not the same type of talent pool. While there are some talented players, the whole is severely lacking compared to most American Melee scenes.

As for the tournament itself, the games were great and it had excellent storylines all the way up to Zac “SFAT” Cordoni winning the event. After losing 3-0 to TheMoon, SFAT narrowly beat out Johnny “S2J” Kim before getting the back against TheMoon.

In the games SFAT won, it was a steamroll. TheMoon was getting fooled by SFAT’s willingness to DI out at certain moments. He made it extremely difficult for TheMoon to get any of his patented Marth combos going against Fox. Outside of that, SFAT did an excellent job staying out of range and then moving in and getting run-up up-smashes for kills.

Low Tier City 5

It’s disheartening to see a community thrown event go to the wayside because of the influx of new tournaments. The once prominent Project M major In Texas has been relegated to more of a regional.

Melee

It’s a nice change of pace when none on the top six show up. It gives viewers a chance to see matchups that don’t ordinarily happen. For example, Wizzrobe vs. Hugs in a winners Finals is something that’s never been seen. It also gives a talented, yet under appreciated region like Texas a chance to show their skill.

While Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett won the event, Bananas, an ice climbers player who took the spot of Wobbles, made some serious noise. Finishing fifth at a major the size of LTC5 is no joke. Names like MT (who beat Wobbles) and UncleMojo (who beat MT) also made another deep run. Both names popped up at LTC4 as well.

In the end, it was Wizzrobe’s tournament to lose and he did not disappoint. Despite a close encounter with Syrox, he made it through top 8 with a 9-3 record and looked dominant while doing so. Wizzrobe continues to improve and refine his craft.

Smash 4

Finally, the most newsworthy moment of the weekend: Tweek over ZeRo. Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey is redefining consistency. He hasn’t placed outside the top 8 once this season and now he has a win over Zero under his belt.

However, ZeRo did fall early in the bracket. A Texas Bayonetta main named Mistake who made it all the way to winners finals. Mistake went on to beat the most feared Bayo in Smash 4, CaptainZack, and finish third. It was a great run for him and the Texas crowd cheering him on.

Regardless, Tweek was the real winner this weekend. Similarly to Wizzrobe, Tweek ended top 8 with a 9-2 record and beat the best player in the world. Three tournaments in a row ZeRo has come up just short. It’s becoming a pattern. Tweek is also slowly moving up result pages so expect another win to come shortly after this one.

 

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Featured image courtesy of https://goo.gl/images/TMVXZh

BEAST 7 payout situation cannot be tolerated

The year is 2009. The Super Smash Bros Melee competitive scene is hanging on by a thread. Tournament organizers are untrustworthy and payouts at events aren’t always fully guaranteed. Due to this trend, the Melee competitive scene is nearing its end…

WAIT, it’s 2017 and the scene is flourishing. Modern tournaments are a great experience and the scene is filled with the best tournament organizers in the history of the scene. So, why are we still seeing a flux of shady dealings within some prominent organizations?

Armada via twitter.com/UGSArmada

Let’s focus on one situation that happened recently. By now, Smash fans have likely come across the video Adam “Armada” Lindgren made or the tweet sent out from Ramin “Mr. R” Delshad’s twitter account. In summary, the main organizer behind the Swedish based tournament series B.E.A.S.T. didn’t budget appropriately and is now not financially able to pay the players for an event that took place in February of this year.

This is not the first time this has happened in Smash. Infamously, Pound V paid out players five years after the actual tournament. But that was 2011 and the scene was much different back then. It was still a young community (in terms of average age) and without esports media and social media fully developed, situations like this could be slipped under a rug. In 2017, with a fully fleshed out scene, this is completely unacceptable.

For reference, there’s a major nearly every week in Smash. Players have to carefully plan out where to spend their time and money. If an event backfires, it can cost a player financially, especially if they aren’t compensated for their efforts. It’s a negative effect that’s detrimental to not only the image of the tournament but the scene as a whole.

Organizational ignorance should be met with legal action

Today, payouts should be done accordingly, and if not, legal action should be considered. Smash is out of the basement. It’s a professional scene now where players, organizers, and media members are making a living. Issues with missing finances can’t be tolerated like it was back when the spotlight wasn’t as bright.

Unfortunately, it’s not an easy topic to discuss because most of these community figures and players are all friends with history. And that’s where the leniency from players who haven’t been paid comes from, but at some point, the pleasantries need to stop and people need to take responsibility.

It’s great to see players like Mr. R speak out while the organization involved is directly telling him to keep quiet. That’s not only completely unprofessional on their part, but almost feels as if they’re extorting these players with the idea that they’ll never see the money they earned from winning. It doesn’t help the fact that the BEAST organizers are tip-toeing around the situation trying to avoid controversy. That’s a giant red flag.

In today’s context, it’s not nearly as big of a problem as it once was, but it’s still a terrible look for Smash when it happens. It’s hard for this community to be taken seriously when prominent members and organizations are acting like it’s 2009. Organizers don’t have the luxury of taking their time anymore, and as a community, more pressure needs to be placed on these organizations to pay up.


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Featured image courtesy of https://smash.gg/tournament/beast-7-1/details

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