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…
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)
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.
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)
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.