Plup’s Luigi Pleases the Crowd at CEO: Dreamland; Mew2King Takes Home Top Prizes

The CEO: Dreamland win for Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman was impressive. He beat top seeded Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma, overcoming a 2-4 2017 record against Hbox. The bounce back win was a great story, but it took a back seat to the rise of Luigi.

The last month for Justin “Plup” McGrath was not spent playing Melee. Plup, being a top-10 player, spent the last couple weeks traveling across South Korea and focusing on anything but Melee. In his first tournament back, the readiness and performance was in question. Then, late Saturday night, Plup sent out this tweet:

In light of this tweet, Plup took to the CEO ballroom floor and proceeded to turn heads with a character most people would say couldn’t win a major. Plup’s Luigi was assumed a gimmick when the day started, but no one was thinking that at the end of the day.

Furthermore, Plup took out Michael “Nintendude” Brancato and Sami “DruggedFox” Muhanna, proving early on his Luigi was for real. He made it into a winners semifinal at a major by going all Luigi. It’s a rare sight seeing Luigi anywhere near Top 8. Stephen “Abate” Abate was the first Luigi to make a deep run at The Big House 5 where he almost brought the venue down with his win over Johnny “S2J” Kim (the invisible celing set). The play of Ben “Luigikid” Tolan making deep runs at SSS, and Eduardo “Eddy Mexico” Lucatero Rincon help legitimize Luigi with strong wins in Southern California.

The best part is Plup has no recorded tournament sets with Luigi, so in his first try he finished fifth. He gave the eventual champion, M2K, a ride before the inevitable readjustments coming from M2K’s counter pick of Marth from Sheik.

SFAT Loses the Runback

SFAT and M2K. Photo courtesy of YouTube.com/vgbootcamp

It’s rarer than rare to see a performance similar to Zac “SFAT” Cordoni’s at CEO: Dreamland. The only other player with similar results that come to mind is William “Leffen” Hjelte who has beaten multiple gods before he was considered one himself. SFAT is slowly developing those next level mind games to be able to compete with the likes of M2K and Hungrybox.

Despite a 2-16 lifetime record against M2K for SFAT, he entered grand finals up 3-2 in sets against a player who’s absolutely had his number. All signs pointed to SFAT winning his first major with Gods in attendance. But, as history has shown us before, never count out any of the Gods to get the reset win in grand finals.

M2K, who lost in game 5 against SFAT in winners finals, made key adjustments and played better on Final Destination. Two of the best players statistically on Final Destination played four games on the flat stage. The count was 2-2, but M2K took back stage control and forced his will on SFAT’s Fox.

Unfortunately, SFAT ran into M2K who has historically had his number. The southern California Fox main is creeping into the title conversation. He’s real close to breaking the ceiling, but M2K wasn’t going to let that happen at CEO: Dreamland.

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Smash Rivalries East vs West Crew Battle Preview

Smash Rivalries by Yahoo Esports, a return to a more crew focused Melee event that pins the two sides of the country against each other. It’s the most classic rivalry in fighting games: East coast vs. West coast. Players are representing more than just themselves and it creates a level of pressure unseen in a regular singles tournament.

The event itself will be held in California, and will consist of two teams of eight players, five hand selected commentators from both sides of the country, and a $15,000 prize pool. The tournament also has a singles and doubles tournament both with $5,000 in the pot ($5k for each event). 13 of the worlds top 20 players will be in attendance. It’s a star-studded affair.

However, it doesn’t seem like a coincidence after the success 2GG’s Civil War had with Smash 4. Crew battles generate rivalries and appeal to a different type of audience not always wanting to watch the singles tournament. If Smash Rivalries can avoid some of the Civil War pitfalls, like crew battle after singles concludes (salty players), the crew battle can be a highlight reel of clutch plays.

The teams are basically even. It’s definitely a pick em’ game with how tight these two rosters are. Historically, the West coast has been the best, mainly Southern California, aside from a few losses at events like Melee-FC. The Southern California crew (seven of eight players on West reside in California) has won the last two Big House crew events. Mango and the depth was the main reason behind the success.

Let’s take a look at the teams…

East
Juan” Hungrybox” DeBiedma, Florida (MIOM Rank: 2)
Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman, New Jersey (MIOM: 4)
James “Swedish Delight” Liu, New York (MIOM: 11)
Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallet, Florida (MIOM: 12)
James “Duck” Ma, Michigan (MIOM: 15)
Ryan “TheMoon” Coker-Welch, New York (MIOM: 21)
Daniel “ChuDat” Rodriguez, Maryland (MIOM: 22)
Sami “DruggedFox” Muhanna, Georgia (MIOM: 23)

 

photo courtesy of twitch.tv/vgbootcamp

Strengths: Top of the roster. Having to deal with both Hungrybox and Mew2King is going to be a problem. Both are capable of taking 4+ stock and could quickly turn the game in the East’s favor. Add the ability to neutralize certain players. Outside of Mango, Hungrybox was 25-2 against the West players in 2016. M2K has strong numbers and even better matchups with a counter pick. It’s going to be tough to game plan around M2K’s versatility.

Weaknesses: Lack of depth. The East has underrated talent, but the bottom half still can’t match up with the West. If it comes down to depth, it’s tough to see a situation where the East prevails. Despite their head-to-head records, players like ChuDat, TheMoon, and DruggedFox can be a liability in the wrong situation. A lead will be extra important if they have to fall back on the bottom half of the roster. That said, all three of those mentioned are hovering around an even record against the West roster.

X-Factor: Duck. Samus can be a hassle and most Fox mains still don’t have a handle on the matchup. Duck proved this with a second place finish at Full Bloom 3. With a West team full of Fox and Falco mains, Duck could be the counter pick answer. His play, as of late, has been great and he’s starting to get more marquee wins on his resume.

Sleeper: ChuDat. Yes, Ice Climbers can be hard-countered with a Fox or PewPewU who has a strong record against Ice Climbers. But, we’ve seen Chu pull off the unbelievable upsets. He’s unquestionably the best Ice Climbers player, and his grab setups continue to improve. He had the potential to beat a player like Mango and get whooped by Lucky’s Fox.

West
Joseph “Mango” Marquez (MIOM Rank: 3)
Zac “SFAT” Cordoni, Northern California (MIOM: 7)
Westin “Westballz” Dennis, Souther California (MIOM: 8)
Jeff “Axe” Williamson, Arizona (MIOM: 9)
DeJuan “Shroomed” McDaniel, Northern California (MIOM: 11)
Kevin “PewPewU” Toy, Northern California (MIOM: 14)
Johnny “S2J” Kim, Southern California (MIOM: 16)
Joey “Lucky” Aldama, Norwalk (MIOM: 19)

S2J and Mango after TBH6 Crew Battle win. Photo Courtesy of twitch.tv/vgbootcamp

Strengths: Depth. The East lacks depth, while the West has eight top-20 players. The ability to throw out Axe, Westballz, and SFAT after Mango is a luxury. Almost every player has a positive record against the East squad excluding matches against Hungrybox and M2K. Outside the Gods, it’s clear the West has the personnel edge.

Weaknesses: Character Diversity. The Four Spacie mains will make it tough to counter pick against an East team with plenty of character options. There’s no floatie characters as all are fast fallers, which will give players like Wizzrobe and TheMoon the chance to take the advantage with a strong punish game.

X-Factor: Mango. Anytime Mango is involved in a crew battle it’s most likely going to come down to his overall performance. He has the highest stock ceiling with the best punish game with his Falco. His punish game is what makes him so dangerous in crew battles. Mango builds momentum quickly through his punish game. The only problem is the East had two Gods to throw at him; but if he gets a favorable matchup, watch out.

Sleeper: S2J. He has a favorable record against most of the East squad, and despite tougher matchups with his Captain Falcon, he can still generate plenty of momentum. He’s shown in the past that his nerves are meant for these types of events. At The Big House 6, S2J held off William “Leffen” Hjelte to win the crew battle regional tournament.

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Mew2King Wins First Major in 2016, SFAT Takes Out Mango

Courtesy of twitch.tv/tourneylocater

Courtesy of twitch.tv/tourneylocater

It’s been a long time coming for Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman, who has been on the brink of taking major tournaments over the last couple years, but unfortunately struggled with certain top players that prevented him from winning the big prize. However, M2K’s luck changed this weekend in Houston, Texas at Clutch City Clash.

The event was host to 22 ranked Melee players, including four top eight finishers at Evo and the fan favorite Joseph “Mango” Marquez. The event had 270 unique entrants for Melee and 618 total players (that includes Smash 4 and Melee) making it a fairly large event with a $2,000 prize pool.

The script, as it usually plays out, reads that Mango tears through a bracket with no Hungrybox, Leffen, or Armada, beats M2K in a close set and takes home the top prize. The predictable became unpredictable when Zac “SFAT” Cordoni, a rising star in the Melee scene, was able to double-eliminate Mango. SFAT’s overall set count against Mango was 6-2, winning both sets 3-1, 3-1.

SFAT’s dominating performance in the top 8 is extremely rare in today’s tournament scene. Mango rarely ever struggles against SFAT, with an overwhelming lead in games over the Northern California Fox main. But this has been no ordinary summer for SFAT, who has had his best average placings at majors in his career in 2016. He’s also starting to consistently beat players in the top six.

Even with the huge momentum gaining win over Mango, SFAT struggled against M2K’s Marth in both winners and Grand finals. The overall set count was 6-3 in favor of M2K, but SFAT did push M2K to a game five in winner’s finals. M2K managed to win on 100% of his counter picks with having Final Destination in his back pocket and being so proficient on Yoshi’s Island with Marth’s ability to get players off stage and gimp on the small stage.

The final sequence in game 5 of Winners Finals collectively brought up the blood pressure of anyone watching. SFAT nearly had a gimp (killing your opponent by  taking away their recovery) by teching the side of Yoshi’s Island stage and hitting M2K out of Marth’s dolphin slash recovery, but M2K being as smart as he is, dolphin slashed again and stage spiked SFAT off the bottom.

M2K barely advanced, sending SFAT to face Mango once again in Losers final. Mango switched back to Fox, after losing two games with Falco and one with Marth in the first set against SFAT. However, the result stayed the same. SFAT was better off-stage with his edge guarding, and showed off his strong grab-combo game.

SFAT’s composure throughout his top eight run was impressive, even in games he was down he never seemed nervous. He was down in three of his six wins against Mango, but made in-game adjustments to take the set.

Unfortunately, M2K’s play style doesn’t allow for on the fly adjustments as much as Mango. His methodical, optimal play means you have to come into the game with a strong game plan and SFAT didn’t necessarily have that in Grand Finals. M2K took the set 3-1, with three two-stock victories. The only win for SFAT coming off a full stock comeback on Pokemon stadium in game three, giving M2K a chance to counter pick Final Destination.

It was M2K’s first major win since PAX Prime back in August of last year (the famous Leffen 6-0). M2K didn’t have to face his worse matchups like Hungrybox or Armada, but the fact that he got a major win under his belt heading into Super Smash Con is a good sign for the Marth main for Cinnaminson. We might get to see the “return of the king” once again in 2016.

07_clutchcity

TOP 8 Placings:

1. Echo Fox/ MVG/ Mew2King (Marth, Sheik)

2. CLG SFAT (Fox)

3. C9 Mango (Falco, Fox, Marth)

4. G2 Westballz (Falco)

5. Tempo S2J (Captain Falcon)

5. mYi Ice (Fox)

7. Kingsmen The Moon (Marth)

7. Arc (Marth)

MK Leo Takes The Rematch Over Mr. R at Smash Factor 5

Smash Factor 5, a tournament Smash 4 fans have been waiting for centered around one rivalry: if Ramin “Mr. R” Delshad could get his revenge on Mexico’s best Smash 4 player, Leonardo “SF HDG| MK Leo” Lopez Perez. After the surprising upset at Smash Factor 4 in 2015 in which Leo took home the title a week after Mr. R finished second at Evo 2015, all eyes are focused in on the rematch between these two.

The event this year provided some bigger names and had more attention going into this year than last year. Samuel “DT Dabuz” Busby made an appearance as the highest ranking player, but not even he could stop the rematch from happening in the Grand Finals. Mr. R was able to conquer his demons and send Dabuz to losers early in top 8, and MK Leo finished the job as he eliminated Dabuz in losers, beating him 3-1.

The Grand Finals were set. The moment Mr. R had waited for, for almost an entire calendar year was here. And similarly to 2015, MK Leo seemed to have every answer for Mr. R’s more methodical, zoning-type play style with Sheik. The 15-year old rising star once again seemed to take his game to another level.

Before the bracket was reset, MK Leo turned to his alternate character Marth, a character that Mr. R beat a couple months ago 3-0 at Get On My Level 2016, but that result didn’t deter MK Leo from making the character switch. He not only won on Battlefield in game one, but won both of Mr. R’s Final Destination counter-picks, despite being down a stock in both games.

MK Leo, who has one of the most efficient combo games in all of Smash 4, showed that even when he’s losing the neutral game he makes up for it by stringing together long combos and getting solid edge guards. Mr. R struggled getting back up from the ledge, and MK Leo made sure to keep him cornered with retreating forward-airs and zoning with dancing blade.

Some may have considered the switch back to Meta Knight after MK Leo reset the bracket, sandbagging (playing down to your opponent), but let’s remember this is still his main character and Mr. R still had a firm grasp on almost all three of those losses. Mr. R just got hit by well-spaced tippers and lost all of the 50-50 situations. Mr. R also took a quick two-stock off MK Leo’s Marth in the first game on the second set, so a character switch was warranted.

MK Leo was once again able to show off his consistent and deadly kill set-ups starting with his up-air chain combo’s into Meta Knight’s powerful up-B. Any time MK Leo landed a dash attack or got below Mr. R, that more often than not ended up in MK Leo taking a stock by going vertical against Mr. R’s Sheik.

The low percent stock kills took their toll and Mr. R starting getting hit by unsafe options.  The mix-ups from MK Leo threw Mr. R off completely. He even got a low percent stock off Meta knight’s tornado by waiting out Sheik’s air dodge. MK Leo seemed to have every answer in this matchup and once again had his grasp on the mental game against Mr. R.

With the home crowd behind him cheering him on, MK Leo was once again able to take out Mr. R (3-0, 3-2) and win another Smash Factor tournament. The win once again opens up the question of whether or not MK Leo should be considered a top 5 player. MK Leo seems pretty sure of himself….

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