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

Cloud 9 Signs Tafokints to Coach; Liquid Crunch on the Importance of Coaching In Smash

Smash is trending towards the influx of personal coaches for top players. The recent signing of Daniel “Tafokints” Lee to Cloud 9 to coach one of the most experienced players in Melee, Joseph “Mango” Marquez, was the second significant player to sign on a coach.

Photo Courtesy of Liquipedia Smash http://wiki.teamliquid.net/smash/Tafokints

I talked to the first player to ever sign with a team as a Melee coach, not as a player. Luis “Crunch” Rosias was signed by Team Liquid back in July, 2016, to be a coach to one of the world’s best players in Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma. Crunch spoke to the effectiveness of Melee coaches and the impact it could have on a player’s success.

“Yeah, I think coaching is really effective. Juan never dreamed of winning Evo a few years ago when I started coaching him,” said Crunch, “It’s good to have a second set of eyes and to help boot camp before events.”

The results since Crunch signed on as a coach are undeniable. Hungrybox is having his best year as a professional, and it’s safe to say Crunch has had a serious impact on maintaining his level of play. Crunch’s main focus is analysis prior to events.

“Juan’s not great at analysis,” said Crunch, “I try to focus specifically on analysis. He needs someone to look over everything in more detail. It’s different for every player.”

Crunch talked about working through a players weaknesses inside and outside of tournaments. He pointed out Hungrybox’s match and player analysis needed some work, but that he excelled in other areas and didn’t have to work as hard on the mental approach. Each player has different needs that a coach has to work through.

“Mango talked about having someone to help him get to sleep on time,” Crunch continued, “M2k (Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman) needs a player he’ll listen to. He can play for hours with random players but could be getting better practice.”

Crunch went deeper into his approach to coaching in Melee. He spoke about the three main aspects he tries to focus on: “It comes down to three different types of roles as a coach. Sports psychology, as in keeping him warm and prepared mentally during a tournament. The second is analysis, and the third is having a practice partner near the same level who can help practice any situation,” said Crunch.

Coaches are the future of Smash. It might seem farfetched from an outsider’s perspective, but having a reliable person to help with all the aspects of being a professional Smash player can’t go understated. The Crunch and Tafokints’ signings are just the start.

“CLG was looking” said Crunch, “there’s definitely interest from some of the other larger teams.”

As a result, more Smash players will get signed on as coaches, as this niche role will soon turn into a necessity. Teams clearly see the value in coaching. This might make them more inclined to bring in coaches, to help keep players motivated and work through the struggles of being a professional Smash player. With two of the larger organizations in esports already signing Smash coaches, expect more top players to seek out a personal coach.

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