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The future of competitive Smash: A hopeful outlook

As the year comes to a close, now is as good a time as any to discuss the future of Smash. Last week, we discussed the concerns and troubles that competitive Smash has experienced throughout the past year. This week, however, it’s time to have the second part of that conversation. While there certainly continues to be concerns regarding the financials and growth of Smash as an esport, there’s more positive and hopeful aspects of competitive Smash to talk about.

One of the most powerful things about the competitive Smash community is that, no matter how little money and coverage surrounds Smash Bros. in comparison to other esports, the community remains as loyal and dedicated to the games they love. This past year is proof that the Smash community is as alive as ever. What helps prove this was the abundance of incredible tournaments throughout the year, in addition to the growing diversity of represented players and characters in tournaments. Can we hope that these trends will continue into 2018 and beyond? What should the Smash community strive for as we look to the future of Smash as an esport? Let’s talk about it.

2017 as an example of the future of tournaments

The health of any esports community can be measured by both the quality and quantity of major tournaments. Smash is no different. Thankfully, this year has seen the prevalence of high-quality Smash tournaments throughout the year, and a large contributor was 2GGaming. Throughout the year, 2GGaming provided viewers with more Smash tournaments than they had provided in any year before. Tournaments such as Civil War and the 2GG Championship provided highly competitive, exciting tournaments for viewers.

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Leonardo “MK Leo” Perez won the 2GG Championship, the tournament that capped off the 2017 2GG Tournament Series. Image: Twitter

Additionally, they were organized, structured and presented in an incredibly professional way. This professional presentation goes a long way to allowing Smash to provide positive impressions to non-fans. In the coming year, if more events have the high-quality production values that 2GGaming exemplified this year, then we could see Smash begin to garner many new viewers, and gain more attention as an esport.

The 2GG Championship Series kept major tournaments at a consistent pace throughout the year. This series also allowed viewers to more easily stay up to date with high-level players. Over the past few years, Smash has struggled to have a consistent stream of content for viewers to keep themselves busy with. This year’s 2GG Championship Series serves a good blueprint for what other tournament organizers can accomplish in the years to come. Nevertheless, continuing to organize tournaments consistently and professionally will help Smash grow its viewer audience, something that certainly needs to be done.

The variety of Players and Characters

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Eric “ESAM” Lew’s win against Elliot “Ally” Carroza-Oyarce at 2GG Civil War was considered by many to be one of the highlights of the entire year. Image: YouTube

2017 was the first year in Smash 4’s life to not see the arrival of any downloadable content or patches that affected the balancing of characters. As such, this year saw some stabilization in the competitive Smash community. Now that the dust of new characters and rebalancing of old characters has settled, players have used this year as a chance to finally grow used to how characters perform in tournament, without having to worry about the possibility of patches affecting balance.

This caused some experimentation within the community. This year, we saw many well-known players pick up new characters. A good example of this was when Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios began using Lucina in tournament to accompany his trademark Diddy Kong. In addition, we also saw the continued main and secondary use of characters that aren’t considered top tier, such as with Matt “Elegant” Fitzpatrick’s Luigi and Eric “ESAM” Lew’s Samus, among many other examples. Tournaments throughout the year brought viewers a more diverse pool of played characters, which kept tournaments exciting and diverse to viewers.

I hope that the variety of characters and playstyles that we saw throughout 2017 continues in future tournaments in 2018 and beyond.

Looking to the future of Smash

Smash has always been at a disadvantage as an esport. Unlike many other esports, Smash doesn’t receive much financial backing at all from its creators. This makes it difficult for competitive Smash players to make a full-time career out of their love for the game. And yet, this year, we saw so much passion and camaraderie among Smash players. This year served as a reminder of how much competitive Smash players love the game that they play.

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Competitive Smash continues to be played at large events such as EVO. It’s an exciting time to be a fan of Smash. Image: Twitter

I feel that the future of Smash, though certainly having some legitimate issues and concerns, is a bright one. A large reason for this is the competitive community for the game. The players that we see in major tournaments – their personalities, their playstyles, and their presence – they keep us coming back. While the competitive Smash community itself certainly has flaws just as any community does, it’s clear that all competitive Smash players are determined to keep providing viewers with great sets at great tournaments for years to come.

With the rumors of a Nintendo Switch port of Smash 4 still up in the air, along with so many great major tournaments in recent memory, it’s hard to see competitive Smash going anywhere. This year was a year of growth for competitive Smash. If we continue to see this level of growth, professionalism and diverse playstyles and characters, then we could see Smash become even bigger.

Nevertheless, it’s an exciting time to be part of the competitive Smash community. With that said, what do you think? Do you think this year was a good year for Smash? What do you think the future holds for the competitive community? As always, join the conversation and let us know!

 


 

Featured image courtesy of DBL Tap.

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From our Haus to yours.

Super Smash Con 2016: Bringing the Community Together

Super Smash Con is this upcoming weekend and will be holding tournaments for every single Smash game ever released by Nintendo. The tournament will be running singles and doubles for every game and will be filled with rank players across all games.  It’s a convention put on by the Smash community for the Smash community.

Smash 64

The original Smash game that started it all will be back at Super Smash Con 2016. The event is stacked with international talent and is expected to be the largest Smash 64 in the games long history. It will be the toughest test yet for a community that isn’t used to the large turnouts, with 314 players registered for the events.

Last year’s champion, Dan “Superboomfan” Hoyt, will be back to defend his title in both singles and doubles. The Canadian Smasher has been the best player in North America for the past five years, with Joel “Isai” Alvarado not consistently showing up to events.

Superboomfan’s been the best player, but he won’t have an easy road to another Super Smash Con title with players like Texas’s Eduardo “Tacos” Tovar and the best American player Joey “KeroKeroppi” Speziale, who finished third and second at last years’ event,  a solid performance for the event. Isai is always more than a threat to take his game to another level and take the event. He’s still widely considered as the best Smash 64 player in history.

The last time these players met in a tournament was at Snosa 2 in Pasedena, California where Superboomfan took out Tacos in Grand Finals. Isai finished third and Mexico’s best player Arturo “Mariguas” Hernadez finished fourth. Realistically, any of the top five players are capable of winning this event.

Courtesy of http://www.ssbwiki.com/Snosa_II

Courtesy of http://www.ssbwiki.com/Snosa_II

Expect to see the top players to be switching off their main characters constantly in certain matchups. The average characters played throughout a tournament is 2.43 and only players like Melee pro Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett and Abacus “LD” Zilch will rarely switch off their Yoshi and Fox picks. Aside from Genesis, which just recently made its return, Super Smash Con is the biggest event with the biggest payout for Smash 64.

It will be tough to take out Superboomfan who is so proficient with all his characters and in every matchup, but he’s not unbeatable. The crowd will get a good look at a game that didn’t have a chance at making a real competitive scene, but is still extremely technical and fun to watch.

(Look back here later for a full Melee preview)

Super Smash Bros Brawl

Super Smash Brothers Brawl is the game people feel is not on par with the rest of the franchise. Brawl players will tell you the exact opposite. The one game that doesn’t ever get the love and attention of the other three will be back at Super Smash Con and should provide some intense action.

The undisputed best Brawl player of all time will be in attendance. Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman had a run in Brawl on par with the great Justin Wong runs in Marvel vs Capcom and the long run Zero had at the start of Smash 4. He won last year’s event using the controversial character Meta Knight over Eric “ESAM” Lew, who surprised everyone by taking out the second best player in Brawl’s lifespan Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada.

Smash COn

The tournament didn’t necessarily have the viewership or notoriety of the other events considering most of Brawl’s best players have moved on or retired from playing the game, but the game did provide hype. Watching Jestise “MVD” Negron play his zoning game with Snake, a uniquely interesting character in Brawl, or Kero play the spacing game with Olimar is something we don’t see in any other smash game.

Yes, a majority of the entrants will play the standard Meta Knight, but even Meta Knight’s style is unique to Brawl and extremely hard to take your eyes off of. Brawl will add a nice blend of old and new players and characters that all have the same goal in mind: take down M2K and his insanely good Meta Knight.

We didn’t quite get the Grand Finals we were hoping for last year with Nairo falling out of the tournament to Esam’s aggressive Pikachu, but it’s hard to see a scenario where that doesn’t happen this year. The event, like Smash 64, has an incredible prize pool. M2K walked away with $2,235 after winning Brawl at Super Smash Con 2015.

Super Smash Bros. For Wii U

Comparing this year’s event to last years is going to be difficult. The entire Smash 4 landscape has changed, Gonzales “Zero” Barrios is no longer the juggernaut he was a year ago and the field is wide open. Considering the Evo 2016 champion Elliot “Ally” Bastien finished outside the top 32 at CEO 2016 only to come back two weeks later and win Evo tells you that the Smash 4 landscape is very fluid at this moment.

Super Smash Con should be no different. It’s nearly impossible to pick a winner or which character will win at this point in the meta-game. Anyone can lose to anyone, as proven by the fact that the last four major tournaments which all have different winners with similar player pools. It’s a complete toss up at this point.

The favorite would probably have to be Ally, who lost at last week’s Clutch City Clash, but took home top honors at the biggest Smash tournament of all time (Evo 2016).  Other names like Japanese best player and winner at Clutch City Clash, Yuta “Abadango” Kawamura, will be competing. The CEO 2016 champion Jason “Anti” Bates will also be in attendance.

Super Smash Con will boast the third largest Smash 4 event in the games short history which says a lot considering the next two events ahead of it were the two most attended events in Smash history. The community will also get the respect it deserves by catering to a Smash contingent audience with best of fives in all of top 32.

Expect to see a wide variety of characters throughout top 32 and names that you’ve never seen before taking out top players. Smash 4 is volatile so at an event this big upsets will happen and amazing players will fall before top 8.

Watch the entire event at: http://twitch.tv/VGbootcamp (hyperlink)

Check back to The Game Haus for more Super Smash Con coverage. You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ them on Twitter. We also have our own subreddit. Be sure to check out TGH’s newly revamped forums if you want to discuss with Blake or any of the other writers!