The Japanese invasion is real. Even despite ZeRo (Gonzalo Barrios) scraping his way through losers to win Frostbite 2017, the Japanese tremors reverberated around the entire venue on Sunday afternoon.
It’s known how strong the Japan Smash 4 players are, but it wasn’t clear exactly how strong until this weekend. The surprising part was the players who ended up at the top of the results page. It wasn’t the usual names, like Abadango (Yuta Kawamura), Kameme (Takuto Ono), or Ranai (Ryuto Hayashi). It was the play of Lucario main Tsu and Olimar main Shuton that shocked everyone with improbable runs in their first international tournament.
Additionally, Japan had its moment in the regional crew battles. The talented Japanese squad pulled the biggest upset of the weekend, taking out the American squad. The theme continued from Saturday night to Sunday morning. Kameme started the day off sending MKLeo (Leonardo Lopez Perez) to losers bracket. Tsu followed it up by squeaking out a win against VoiD (James Makekau-Tyson), and took that momentum all the way to grand finals.
On top of that, Shuton was able to eliminate the world number two, and Tsu took the winners finals set over the greatest of all time, ZeRo. It was a proud day for Japanese Smash. It seemed to start the trend of upsets that followed throughout all of top 48.
The Losers Bracket Bloodbath
Both MKLeo and Ally, two of the heavy favorites, finished outside the top five. Tweek (Gavin Dempsey), who had been on a tear in the last couple months, ended his run in the first round of top 48. The early upsets on Saturday created one of the scariest losers brackets ever. Ranai played Ally (Elliot Bastien Carroza-Oyeca) in round one losers. That’s two of the worlds best players facing off in an elimination game right away.
In any case, top players were falling fast and early. It set up improbable losers runs, including Ally running through the gauntlet, and Shunto taking out four of his fellow countryman before slipping in the top 8. When Tweek and Ranai both are eliminated in round one losers, it shows just how tough Frostbite 2017 was.
On a day filled with electric finishes, Grand Finals did not disappoint. Tsu showed early on that despite the stock count, he can use Lucario’s comeback mechanic to stay in any game. If his percentage raises past 130% he suddenly becomes impossible to hit. ZeRo was the only one capable of finding those kill moves in clutch situations.
Combined, the two played three sets. In all, the final set count was 7-6, with ZeRo’s Diddy Kong getting the win on last stock, last hit. It was the first time all day anyone was able to catch the elusive Lucario main.
As always, ZeRo’s adjustments came into play and ended the unsuspecting tournament run from Tsu. It was America’s first look at Tsu. Based off of today, it won’t be the last time we’ll be seeing the Lucario main.