gamecube controller

Is the GameCube controller essential for Smash’s future?

The GameCube controller is a treasure to many competitive Smash players. Whether it’s Melee, PM, Smash 4 or even using a GameCube controller adapter for Smash 64, this is clearly a controller that many players hold dear to their hearts. Nintendo shocked many players when they went out of their way to release a GameCube controller adapter for the Wii U version of Smash 4. Additionally, many people customize and personalize their GameCube controllers thanks to services such as Control in Color.

It was even discovered in October that the Wii U’s GameCube controller adapter is now usable on Nintendo Switch. While this was discovered to be a surprise even to developers, this hasn’t stopped competitive Smash players from being excited for GameCube controller support for the inevitable Smash on Switch.

The GameCube controller is very much intertwined with the history and competitive history of the Smash Bros. series. However, this brings up an interesting discussion point. Is the GameCube controller essential for the future of Smash Bros.? Do future games in the series need compatibility with the controller that players have grown so used to since Melee? Let’s talk about it.

Overwhelming Prevalence of GameCube Controllers in Competitive Smash scene

If you go to a Smash tournament, you’re going to see mostly GameCube controllers being used. It’s just an inevitability. Even for the likes of Project M and Smash 4, where those games offer a variety of controller options, most players still decide to use GameCube controllers. So much so that anyone who doesn’t use GameCube controllers are considered to be outliers. People who use the Wii U Pro Controller or the Nintendo 3DS or the Wiimote/Nunchuk combo as controllers for competitive play are few in number at Smash tournaments.

gamecube controller

The GameCube controller: a sight that dominates high-level play. There are many positives and negatives to this legendary controller. Image: Kotaku

This isn’t inherently a bad thing, though. Many players continue to use the GameCube controller in later Smash games merely because of muscle memory. This makes sense. Instead of high-level players having to readjust to different button locations, grips and so on, they can comfortably rely on the controller they’ve used throughout multiple Smash games. On one hand, the consistency of the GameCube controller throughout most of the Smash games makes it easier to interchange between games. If a Melee player wants to get into Smash 4, they don’t have to overcome the barrier of learning a new controller configuration. This makes getting into different Smash games easier for players who are already familiar with other games in the franchise.

It could even be argued that this consistency makes it easier for new players to be introduced to Smash. If a newcomer to the Smash series learns how to play with the GameCube controller, they can arguably have an easier time with getting into any other Smash game of their choosing. The consistency of GameCube controllers makes competitive play more accessible to newcomers.

Issues and LONG-TERM concerns with gamecube controllers

gamecube controller

Aziz “Hax$” Al-Yami suffered an injury from using the GameCube controller. Is this a reason why the Smash community should become more willing to use different controllers? Image: Twitter

On the other hand, though, high-quality GameCube controllers have become a luxury. With many GameCube controllers having been produced over fifteen years ago, many controllers are beginning to show their age and not work properly. This has gone on to inflate the prices of high-quality GameCube controllers. This was briefly rectified with Nintendo selling GameCube controllers to coincide with the release of the Wii U’s GameCube controller adapter, but now even those are starting to climb in price. This escalation in price can make the player base that uses GameCube controllers become more exclusive over time.

Many people don’t want that to happen. As a result, parts of the Smash community have been considering how to go about this issue. The Smash Box and the lesser-known Smash Stick are examples of the community trying to brainstorm alternatives to the GameCube controller. Both of the mentioned examples replicate more traditional arcade fighting game controllers.

 

There are issues surrounding the GameCube controller, which is what makes people, myself included, begin to question the GameCube controller’s longevity. Does it really have a place in future Smash games?

The Question of the Gamecube controller in future smash games

gamecube controller

The Smash Stick is one of a few approaches at an alternative for a competitive Smash controller. Image: YouTube

The Wii U’s GameCube controller adapter was announced less than a month before the Wii U version of Smash 4’s release. Before this, many people were anticipating the Wii U Pro Controller to become the competitive player’s controller of choice for the Wii U version of Smash 4.

If the GameCube controller were to not be an option in a Nintendo Switch installment of Smash Bros., would it be difficult for competitive players to adjust to a new controller? If this were to happen, the likely controller of choice would be the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller (which is an excellently crafted controller, by the way). Would this switch (pardon the pun) of competitively used controllers really make a big difference in the Smash community?

The competitive anticipation of the Wii U version of Smash 4, before the GameCube controller adapter was announced, is a possible indicator that the Smash community would be willing to move on from the GameCube controller if it were no longer an option. While many still hoped for the inclusion of the GameCube controller prior to the adapter’s announcement, there were equally many players that were willing to to use the Wii U Pro Controller for the game.

While GameCube controllers can be used on the Nintendo Switch, they weren’t specifically intended to work on the Switch. This means that there’s no inherent guarantee that the Switch’s inevitable installment of Smash Bros. will allow the use of the GameCube controller.

Where do you stand?

gamecube controller

Is the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller capable of becoming a standard for competitive play? Image: IGN

This is a difficult matter to take a definitive stance on. I think people would ultimately be willing to move on from the GameCube controller to something new, if the GameCube controller wasn’t an option in future games. But what do you think? Do you think future Smash games should ax the GameCube controller, or do you think that all future Smash games need to include GameCube controller support? As always, join the conversation, and let us know!


 

Featured image courtesy of Mashable.

 

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From our Haus to yours.

How Final Smashes could be competitive

Every Smash Bros. game has features that are never seen in competitive play. Among these includes the likes of Final Smashes. What allows a character to perform a Final Smash is a Smash Ball. Since this is an item, however, it is unused in competitive play. But that hasn’t stopped people from discussing the possibility of Final Smashes being in competitive play in future games.

Final Smashes

Image: Liquipedia Smash Wiki

In June of this year, Alex Carducci, known as “RelaxAlax” released a video discussing what the next Smash game could be, which you can watch here. There are many great ideas and points raised in Carducci’s video, but there was one in particular that really resonated with this author.

In the video, Carducci collaborates with other individuals in the competitive Smash scene. One of these collaborators includes D’Ron “D1” Maingrette, who discusses something quite intriguing. Maingrette discusses a situation where competitive matches would be three stocks.

If one player still has all three stocks and the other only has one stock and is at high percent, the disadvantaged player is given a Final Smash to assist them to even the odds a bit. What makes this idea so intriguing? Let’s discuss it.

Final Smashes can provide spectacle

Simply put, having powerful and flashy Final Smashes be present in a select handful of matches would be exciting to watch.

There’s a fair amount of spectacle in Melee and Smash 4 when we see fluid combos, punishes, and spikes. But seeing a super attack be used to help even the odds in a two-stock difference match would be unlike anything else that we see in competitive Smash. Seeing the over-the-top, large-scale Final Smashes would be a treat in competitive play.

final smahes

Final Smashes could provide great spectacle to matches that may uninteresting otherwise. Image: Gameranx

That said, Maingrette’s point about Final Smashes only being available in a two-stock difference is a key factor. Spectacular attacks can be great to see, but if they’re in every match, they’ll quickly lose their luster. The component of having a “pity” Final Smash to help the player behind two stocks will make seeing Final Smashes common enough to see in a few matches, but rare enough not to present in most matches.

Moreover, if future Smash games allow stocks to be taken as quickly as is possible in Melee, then Final Smashes bringing down differences of two stocks to only one could make for positively invigorating matches.

Final Smashes could allow for otherwise less exciting matches to become far more entertaining to watch. In the long run, this Final Smash factor could keep viewers invested in matches they may not find themselves as engaged with otherwise.

The Balancing Component

Final Smashes

Could transformation Final Smashes such as Lucario’s remain intact if Final Smashes were part of the meta game? Image: Smashpedia.

Of course, if Final Smashes were to become a larger competitive gameplay element, then they would clearly brings up the question of balancing. While there are many Final Smashes that can easily take off a stock (Marth, Cloud, Bayonetta, etc.), other characters have less directly effective Final Smashes. Rosalina’s Final Smash is widely considered to be one of, if not the worst Final Smash in the game since it struggles to kill any combatants due to it having limited range and power.

But Rosalina is one of the best characters in Smash 4, which leads into a balancing questions. Should Final Smashes be balanced depending on the strength of the base character? Should weaker, less competitively strong characters (Kirby, Zelda, etc.) be given stronger, more effective Final Smashes to compensate? And should stronger characters (Bayo, Sonic, Mario) be given weaker Final Smashes?

Another question to be consider is in regards to Final Smashes that involve transformation. Sonic, Charizard, and Lucario are three examples of characters that transform into a stronger form of themselves for their Final Smash. These can result in ending one stock and doing damage to the next stock. These types of Final Smashes have a significant advantages over other Final Smashes in the game. Most Final Smashes are single attacks that can end one stock, but doesn’t inflict damage onto the next stock. This would make transformation Final Smashes the most advantageous in the game. So should they remain as they are, or should anything be fair game for Final Smashes?

An interesting future to consider

Is the “pity” Final Smash a likely component of future competitive Smash? Maybe, and maybe not. Regardless, discussing the possibilities of components of the metagames of future Smash games is important. It makes us consider what we like about playing and watching competitive Smash. It also makes us consider how we think competitive Smash could be made more fun to watch for spectators.

Seeing Final Smashes occasionally in competitive play could make for interesting matches. It could lead to an interesting future for Smash – one where a lot of initially uninteresting matches suddenly become exciting thanks to the Final Smash offering a comeback factor.

And now, we bring it back to you. Would you like to see Final Smashes in competitive play? What would you prioritize to make them balanced? As always, join the conversation and let us know!


 

Featured image courtesy of Nintendo via smashbros.com

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Hungrybox wins GTX 2017 with clutch victory over Armada

The recipe for Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma’s success against Adam “Armada” Lindgren is to stay within striking distance. Aggressive on game one, gain counter-pick advantage and win game five on Yoshi’s. The win at GTX 2017 marks Hungrybox’s third Grand Finals victory over Armada this year.

GTX- 2017 main stage. Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/vgbootcamp

Once again, Hungrybox adds another improbable championship run to his list of career achievements. In reality, it’s Hbox’s droid-like ability to stay calm in the frenzy that wins him tournaments. Over the years, he’s developed those late-game situations with rest setups and it’s what makes his Jigglypuff style so strong.

Correspondingly, Hungrybox has earned his title of most clutch player once again. Armada is a machine in today’s game, but even Armada is susceptible to nerves under pressure. Armada’s route to a championship is built on winning game one of a set. It allows him to get counter-pick advantage for a potential game five. At the same time, Hungrybox managed to get ahead in two separate sets with an aggressive game plan.

However, it wasn’t a blemish-free day for Hbox. Even with five set wins over Fox, Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman got the best of him in the winners bracket, but Hbox didn’t drop a set the rest of the day. It’s no surprise considering two of his opponents have pocket Foxs specifically for Hungrybox’s Jugglypuff.

Shroomed earns a spot on The Summit

Another key point, DaJuan “Shroomed” McDaniel earning the Summit spot, giving it to the highest placing non-invite player. Shroomed had to out-place Johnny “S2J” Kim and Sami “DruggedFox” Muhanna, who both started in losers bracket.

Luckily, Shroomed didn’t have to win a set in top eight to qualify. He fell quickly to Armada and Zac “SFAT” Cordoni, losing 3-0 in both sets. S2J almost pulled off the upset over SFAT, 3-2, but that’s the closest any non-invite got to Shroomed. Early in pools, William “Leffen” Hjelte fell to Lovage in a best of three. That loss reverberated through the bracket and Shroomed turned that into a Summit invite.

Mew2King Improving against Armada

M2K in top eight. Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/vgbootcamp

M2K had arguably the second best day outside of Hungrybox. As M2K stated in a tweet, he was actually the only one to beat Hbox at GTX. A near win against Armada would’ve been his first in 2017, and only his third in the last three years.

Despite the numbers, M2K’s Marth had a better showing against Armada’s turnip strategy. He had both a game one advantage and a 2-1 lead, but couldn’t win on his counter-pick. Hungrybox has the mental advantage over Armada in those situations, M2K still struggles to win when the game is on the line.

Nonetheless, his pocket Fox pick against Hungrybox is starting to win at more than a .500 rate. In fact, M2K’s Fox seems to be having the most consistent success against the Puff lately. The problem for M2K has always been winning the second set, and Hungrybox has a more fluid game plan.

M2K is improving, but it’s still unlikely that he gets over the Armada mountain anytime soon. Joseph “Mango” Marquez and Hungrybox are still the only two players capable of beating Armada.

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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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Featured image courtesy of twitch.tv/redbullesports

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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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

Leffen Wins Second Consecutive Get on My Level Melee Title

Ice and Leffen. Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/evenmatchupgaming

What is it about Canada that makes William “Leffen” Hjelte untouchable? Is it the Canadian crowd that’s passion boils over into the gameplay? Or possibly, Leffen just feels more comfortable north of the border. Whatever the case, Leffen now owns two Get On My Level trophies.

 

Coincidence or not, Leffen took care of business in back-to-back years with dominating performances. At GOML 2017, Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma was the victim of another strong winners bracket run from Leffen. It wasn’t a clean sweep, but every game Leffen came out victorious rather convincingly. He had three separate three-stock wins and two two-stock wins.

After achieving another doubles title with his European partner Mustafa “Ice” Akcakaya, Leffen’s play showed a singles championship run was possible. Edging out DaJuan “Shroomed”McDaniels and Zac “SFAT” Cordoni started the run on Saturday as the momentum carried over to Sunday. Leffen only dropped one game before his matchup with Hungrybox.

Luck is always a factor

Competition breeds story lines because of the passion in which one competes. In this, characters are developed and a plot is set in motion. The famous Mango losers bracket runs, or Mango reaching Armada in Genesis grand finals is an example of this. All these patterns that develop over-time feel as if they’re scripted. How or why does life work like that?

I’m not trying to get existential over Melee, but Leffen’s performance feels as if it’s another example of certain patterns that don’t seemingly make senses on the surface. As I tried to explain earlier, the reasoning for this is unknown. It seems to be a combination of many different factors with a hint of luck.

Does the absence of Armada, Mango, and Mew2King from GOML push destiny along? Absolutely. It’s a different tournament with those names in the bracket, but here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter. Leffen came to defend his title regardless of who’s registered. Luck is a factor, but he still had to go through players that have bested him in the past.

 

The Grand finals

Hungrybox is 4-1 against Leffen in 2017. Even with some success against Hungrybox in the past, it’s still a mighty difficult task for Leffen to beat a player who has much more experience playing with the stakes as high as Grand Finals. The largest advantage for Leffen being his understanding of the Jigglypuff matchup.

Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/evenmatchupgaming

 

Facing Hungrybox is unlike any other Puff main. Yes, Leffen plays the correct way to beat the character, but it’s an entirely different thing to try and outsmart, and outperform Hungrybox. That’s what makes this performance even more special. From the start of game one, it was clear who had the advantage. Leffen built large leads and stayed committed to his solid game plan.

A year after running the gauntlet at GOML 2016, Leffen comes back off a 2017 filled with plenty of struggles and wins his first event of the year. Ironically, his last win came against Hungrybox at Don’t Park on the Grass at the backend of 2016. It’s a performance to get him back on track after failing to make Evo top 8.

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Featured image courtesy of YouTube.com/evenmatchupgaming

Echo Fox dominates Evo 2017

Echo Fox invested heavily into their fighting game team early in 2017, signing a plethora of talented players in the hope of winning tournaments. At the conclusion of Evo 2017, Echo Fox as a team walked away with four medals and two golds. The investment into the first “super team” in fighting games has paid off handsomely.

Equally important, Echo Fox landed six players in the top 8 and many more in the top 16. The next closest team is Panda Global with three. Special performances propelled Echo Fox to one of the strongest performances from a single team in Evo history.

Certainly, the play of Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi and Kim “JDCR” Hyun Jin put the 2017 squad into the discussion of best team ever. Tokido wins the marquee event in Street Fighter V, and has a dominating effort in both Injustice 2 and Tekken 7.

Tokido in Grand Finals. twitch.tv/evo

In a stroke of genius, Echo Fox bought out the Tekken free agent market before the release of Tekken 7 and have been winning everything since. Evo was no different. JDCR looked dominant taking home the gold, while Choi “Saint” Jinwoo finished second.

Everyone’s chasing Echo Fox

Panda Global is the only team that is anywhere in the vicinity of Echo Fox. Punk’s loss to Tokido was a complete heart-breaker and stole away an Evo Street Fighter for Panda Global. PG is also the only team with players across multiple games and platforms performing well. One medal and three top 8 appearances in three separate games.

SFV pools at Evo.

Not to mention, there’s only five teams with multiple players reaching a top 8. Noble, Splyce, Liquid and CLG had two each. It was Echo Fox far ahead of the pack. The Fox squad had more medals than the next best team had top 8 placings. It was a complete wreck.

In other instances, players still don’t have the sponsors. BlazBlue top 8 didn’t have one player sponsored, but that’s not much of a surprise considering the majority of players hail from Asia. The problem is that the few sponsored Asian born players all play for Echo Fox. With no more MadCatz, Echo Fox swept up all the talent.

Who will be the next team to make a big move in the fighting game free agent market? The best team at Evo changes nearly every year, especially with more teams joining the fray. It will be interesting to see if Echo Fox can hold that title again at Evo 2018.

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