Despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and lack of support from Nintendo, the competitive Smash scene refuses to die. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments have completely moved online. While these tournaments can be a very different experience than an in-person tournament, it has also given the spotlight to upcoming talent.
A young player named Carlos “Sonix” Pérez has won eight Smash Online tournaments since April and placed in the top 5 in 21 further tournaments. Despite his victories, the young Dominican talent has become infamous instead of a successful fan favorite. The reason for this is the deep-rooted hate of the Smash community caused by his choice of character and playstyle.
Gotta run away fast
Sonix, as the name might suggest, almost exclusively plays Sonic in Smash Ultimate. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s roster is filled with characters and abilities that can be infuriating to play against. Sonic is unique because he is the fastest character on the Smash roster. While this might seem like it could lead to a dynamic and fast-paced playstyle, it rarely plays out like this.
Due to his high base speed, as well as his special Spin Dash move, Sonic is able to relocate on the stage faster than any other character, which gives him the opportunity in almost all matchups to dart in and out of combat at will. This leaves the opponent with very little opportunity of counter-play. Even further, once a skilled Sonic player has a lead, he can simply choose to keep his distance from his opponent. Sonic then forces them to approach him, which put´s the other player at an even bigger disadvantage.
This is further amplified by the online experience players are forced to play in during the pandemic. Due to Nintendo’s less-than optimal network for online play, even the best players who can normally react to almost every frame of movement can struggle to combat Sonic. This became abundantly clear in early May of this year during the May Major Tournament
Sonix becomes Infamous
Sonix always was a good online performer. As COVID-19 began to take over the United States, Sonix was able to choose from more Smash online tournaments so he was able to join more tournaments as well. Of course, this meant that he now had to regularly compete against the best players of the game. At the Quarantine Series May Major on May 2, many well-known players joined the fray. Despite the high quality of attendees, Sonix was able to reach the semifinals. There he faced Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey. Ranked as the 3rd best player in the world, viewers expected him to win the set easily.
Instead, Sonix beat him 3-1, including a match that would enter the history books of Smash. Sonix timed out Tweek while both of them still had 2 out of 3 stocks left. Tweek knew he could not carelessly approach Sonix without allowing him to extend his lead even further. Meanwhile, Sonix embraced the slow style in that game, winning the match due to a percentage lead. When Tweek tried to turn up the speed, he was able to win a game. Then Sonix responded by punishing Tweek´s aggression and went on to win the series.
Sonix went on to defeat Leonardo “MkLeo” Pérez in both the Winners Finals and Grand Finals to win the tournament. On paper, this was a great achievement, but he had sealed his legacy.
Sonic would become the most debated topic in the Smash community from this point on. Players hated the characters, tournament organizers considered banning the character, and Sonix continued his controversial success online. Smash players have always reacted badly to a playstyle that they are not used to. In Melee, Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma received hate for his Jigglypuff years before Sonix even began to play competitively, but has now established himself as a prestigious player after years of struggle. It might take years for the community to accept Sonic and his playstyle and the hate will probably never disappear completely. As for now, people are getting spoiled when they try to watch a tournament video on YouTube. If the dislikes are high, Sonix won the match.
You can also follow Leonard @LeonardUfer on Twitter for more articles by me or to contact me