MD/VA (Maryland/Virginia) is home to arguably the most talented pool of smash players in the world. With iconic weekly venues like Xanadu, high level play is always on display in Maryland. So when top players from other states come into town to face MD/VA’s finest, great action is sure to follow. This is where the Glitch tournament series comes into play. “Glitch” is a (now) yearly Smash tournament at Xanadu. It is by far the most dynamic and interesting smash tournament ever conceived. Glitch is home to smash 4 singles, doubles, Amibo tournaments, low tier tournaments, customs tournaments and more. With so many exciting events, the tournament sees a large amount of attendees each year, always delivering on the hype. With last years Glitch 3 being such a classic, let’s take an early look at Glitch 4.
One of the most exciting parts of Glitch is the speculation as to which out of town players will be attending. Luckily for us however, most of the speculation is over, and barring some extremely late registration, we already have a good idea of who’ll be attending.
P1 Captain Zack is one of the most exciting Bayonetta players in the world! Fiveprime
Along with the usual MD/VA crowd and other locals (including myself), big name players from other regions will be there. High caliber players like Gavin “Tweek” P1 Dempsey, Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby, Zack “P1 Captain Zack” Lauth Brian “Cosmos” Kalu and more will be in attendance. Needless to say this will be a stacked event, and the local stars will definitely have a chip on their shoulders.
There is still a week left for players to register for the tournament so more players could enter. There have been rumblings on twitter from a few top players who could possibly make it. Nothing is set in stone just yet, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
This could very easily be a Bayonetta dominated tournament and that isn’t a bad thing at all. With four of the best Bayo players in the world all attending, we could see some very unique, high level Bayonetta play. This isn’t the end of the world if you aren’t a fan of Bayonetta however. There are a couple of key players who consistently beat Bayonetta, who could really turn the tides. Dabuz is on a roll this year and is making a serious case for being #1 in the world. Dabuz is unfazed by the Bayonetta match-up, and consistently slays the competition. Cosmos is another “Bayo Slayer” and could definitely shake things up in bracket. Both players have been on fire as of late and are players to watch at Glitch 4.
Glitch is such a dynamic and unique tournament that it really could go any way. With so many skilled players likely facing new opponents, upsets are sure to ensue.
P1 Tweek has all the tools to dominate the Glitch 4 competition Dbltap
Many would have last years champion Chris “Wadi” Boston as their favorite to win it all. But with so much more competition incoming, Maryland’s best player will have a tough road in front of him. While many would love to see Wadi get a rematch in grand finals against Dabuz, I think there’s another player who could win it all. P1 Tweek has been seemingly unstoppable as of late and I think he could clean up this tournament. Tweek is the best and most dynamic Bayonetta player in the world in my opinion. What separates him from other Bayo players is that he has such solid secondary characters to cover his bad match-ups. My prediction is that Tweek will dominate this tournament and prove that he is the best Bayonetta in the world.
My Prediction Tweek Over Dabuz 3-2
Who do you think could win Glitch 4? Let us know in the comments down below!
Featured image courtesy of Smashpedia.
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Balance is maybe the most important aspect of a fighting game. While no game can ever truly be 100% balanced, devs must do their best to achieve a decent balance. When a fighting game becomes an esport, (whether intended or not) Tier lists will be formed and the community will begin to decipher which characters are better than the others. Every game is going to have their bad characters. If every character had the same strengths and weaknesses, they would have no personality. This type of system for creating characters would get boring to play very fast. However there are certain cases of characters being remarkably bad. So devoid of viability that they stand out from others. Today we’ll be looking at the meteoric fall of Smash 4 Jigglypuff.
Melee Jigglypuff had great Hitboxes and great options Aminoapps
Jigglypuff wasn’t always a terrible character. Puff was actually pretty good in smash 64 and great in Melee. Melee Jigglypuff was a great example of a risk/reward style character. She’s light so she gets KO’d early but she’s powerful enough to hold her own and take stocks quickly. Melee Puffs biggest skill was her ability to hit rest more consistently. Rest is the epitome of a risk/reward move, being one of the most powerful moves in the game. It kills at very low percents, but is not easy to hit and leaves you venerable to attacks if missed. This dynamic made Puff very deadly but also very venerable. Hitting rest can definitely clutch out a close game and help you make complete a comeback. However if you miss it, you’re almost certainly dead.
This combined with her great air mobility and edge-guarding ability made for a stellar character in tournament. She currently ranks 5th best on the official Melee Tier list. Puff was an amazing character, then Brawl happened. Brawl is definitely the black sheep of the smash franchise, and signified a darker time in the series. It was dominated by one character and divided the community, but was also the beginning of Puff’s downfall. Jigglypuff was heavily nerfed from Melee to brawl and it was obvious. Her ground speed was worse, she was slower, rest was less powerful and harder to hit and she had terrible range. All of this combined with Brawls very defensive play style made for terrible match-ups all across the board. She ranks as the 3rd worst character on the brawl tier list and would only get worse as time moved on.
Brawl Jigglypuff was bad, but smash 4 Jigglypuff is inexcusable. She’s such a laughably bad character that it’s honestly confusing and even seems intentional at times. One big reason for Puff getting worse since the release of brawl was the fact that she never changed with the times. Brawl was a very defensive game which made a slow character like Puff much harder to use. She had no real options for chasing a camping opponent. Smash 4 took this concept of not adapting Puff for a new engine and took it even further. Jigglypuff is terrible in Smash 4 because she has just about every possible disadvantage a character could have. She’s very light which means she dies very early, which in theory isn’t the end of the world.
However when this is combined with the rage mechanic things get bad fast. Puff will die at insanely low percents when hit by an opponent with rage. Even worse is the fact that she almost never gets to benefit from rage, since she will almost never live into the higher percents. Rest, her one ace in the hole is also much weaker and much harder to hit because it doesn’t have many true follow ups. Rest is also much more of a risk than a reward now because of RNG. If the opponent doesn’t get the screen splat or star KO death animation (which is completely random) they can easily punish Puff after dying by the rest and possibly kill her for it. Rest is hard enough to hit, but getting punished for landing it successfully is a bit harsh.
Oh and I forgot to mention SHE IMMEDIATELY DIES IF YOU BREAK HER SHIELD!
Getting no love
With Smash 4 getting consistent balance patches it’s crazy to see that Jigglypuff has never been touched in any of them.
Players use the Hashtag #BuffPuff in protest of Jigglypuff being seemingly ignored by the devs AminoApps
Smash 4 is a much different game today, compared to the vanilla version. But throughout every patch, every buff, every nerf, two words have defined Smash 4 Jigglypuff: “No Changes”. Nintendo, and Sakurai definitely pay attention to the competitive scene and have historically patched the game accordingly. So it doesn’t make much sense that Puff has never been changed even slightly. Low tier characters are bad because they have fewer options than that of their counterparts. A great example is Ganondorf, a character who is next to Puff on the tier list and yet much better. Ganondorf is slow, gets combo’d easily and doesn’t have best options to escape disadvantage. However he is heavy so he lives longer, and he is insanely powerful.
Ganon can very easily kill you in 3 solid hits if you’re not careful because of his great killing power. He’s still a bad character, but he can still get the best of you if you’re not careful or make a mistake. Jigglypuff does not have this. Sure it’s possible to land a clutch rest on an opponent if you read a roll or catch them slipping. But the fact that she has to work so hard just to get a chance to possibly win, makes every fight an uphill battle.
Jigglypuff went from being of the best characters in smash to being a “joke character”. There must be some underlying reason for Puff to be so neglected by the devs. which is a shame because if she was a bit better, the community might have possibly been able to advance the meta and make new discoveries about her. But with the devs doing all they can to make her a chore to play, that may never happen. Maybe Jigglypuff can make a return to greatness in Smash 5, until then she will continue to be the laughing stock of Smash 4.
What do you think of Jigglypuff in Smash? Feel free to let us know in the comments below!
When VG Bootcamp announced that they would be closing the iconic Xanadu games venue back in January, people were shocked. Xanadu was a staple in the Maryland-Virginia Smash scene and was loved by many. So when VGBC announced that Xanadu would be making a return to a new, bigger venue in Maryland, the hype was real. The new Xanadu is a much bigger and better venue for smash and the reception from the community was amazing. The new venue is more than people could ever ask for. Xanadu reopened for their weekly Smash 4 tournament and it was an instant classic.
A new venue is sure to attract top players and this Xanadu was no exception. Just about all of the old regulars were in attendance as well as a special guest.
Dabuz was poised to Dominate the Maryland Smash Venue Youtube
The Xanadu regulars fought an uphill battle all tournament against Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby, the #6 player in the world. Dabuz hails from New York so the MD-VA natives certainly had a chip on their shoulders. Confidence boost aside, Dabuz dominated the tournament. He didn’t lose a single set and coasted his way to a winners bracket 3-0 victory over Chris “Wadi” Boston. Dabuz won it all but the tournament as a whole was definitely one to remember
Running the GAUNTLET
There were many great match ups throughout the tournament and a few definitely caught my eye. Mr. E Vs ZD in losers semis was a very interesting set.
Mr. E is usually known for his Marth/Lucina but he switched it up by picking Sheik. Many were skeptical about this pick because he rarely picks away from his mains but it turned out to be a great decision. Mr. E got off to a bit of a shaky start in game 1, barely clutching out the game. ZD came right back with a vengeance and won game 2 in a last hit situation. Mr. E battled back and won with a dominating Game 3 performance to take the set and prove that his Sheik isn’t just a plash in the pan.
Winners Finals was a crazy 20 minuet set between Dabuz and Wadi and was not without controversy. Game 1 was intense and went down to the last hit. Wadi’s MewTwo was at very high percent and was fighting back hard to make a comeback. Dabuz’s Rosalina and Luma however has something to say about that. Wadi miraculously hit a disable on Rosalina but with Luma still active Dabuz was able to triple jab MewTwo and send him flying. Dabuz absolutely escaped game one and narrowly avoided the comeback. The rest of the set was back and forth and looked to be tipping in Wadi’s favor. With a 2-1 lead going into game 4 things looked good for Wadi, but this didn’t last long. Dabuz fought back with a great game 4 that tied the set 2-2.
Till the bitter end
Despite any controversy, Dabuz deserves all the credit for this historic victory! Youtube
On to game 5, a hard fought battle that could have easily went either way. Dabuz dominated the second stock, but Wadi made another convincing comeback attempt. Just as Wadi had Dabuz in a bad spot and closed in for the kill, his forward air traded with Luma, causing them both to go flying. unfortunately however Wadi was the first to hit the blast zone causing him to ultimately lose the set.
Certainly a heartbreaking loss, but Wadi fought his way back into grand finals for a rematch against Dabuz. But this time things were much more anti-climactic. Dabuz destroyed Wadi, who switched to Rob in game 3, if that’s any indication to how he was feeling about the set. From barely losing 2-3 to being speedrun in a 0-3 loss. Controversy aside Dabuz had a great run and dominated the competition, overcoming some daring odds to win the grand reopening, of Smash at Xanadu.
Did you get to see the Smash 4 action at the Xanadu reopening? Tell us what you thought in the comments below!
The Hype train just keeps on chugging. Nintendo recently revealed that they would be holding an invitational tournament at this years E3 showcasing Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch. With such a big announcement coming so soon after the reveal of the game, the hype is skyrocketing throughout the community. With E3 slowly but surely approaching, let’s take a look at why this is such a huge announcement.
Ever since the reveal trailer for Smash Switch the community has been hard at work trying to figure out more details about the game. The discussion has been centered around if it will be a completely new game (Smash 5) or some sort of Smash 4 deluxe edition. no one knows for sure what exactly the game will be, but this announcement gives us a few clues.
We could see the inklings in action sooner than later Youtube
The last time Nintendo held such an event was back at E3 2014 for the upcoming release of Smash for Wii U. This tournament showcased the games new gameplay and mechanics by throwing players right into the fray. Fast forward almost four years and here we are approaching E3 2018, and yet another Smash invitational. This could be the final clue we need to decide whether or not this is a new game.
As convincing as this evidence is we cant speak to soon however. If we are to draw direct comparisons to he launch of Smash 4, some things don’t line up properly. Smash 4 was revealed over a year before the invitational tournament, let alone launch day. The reveal for Smash 4 came with gameplay footage as well as a character reveal. We still haven’t seen any Smash Switch gameplay yet, which does not align with Smash 4’s reveal. Smash Switch also was revealed much closer to the games launch, coming in the same year. Either way we’ll definitely find out exactly what this game is at E3. But there is even more to look forward to with this tournament.
The inevitable return
I’ve talked about Zero’s retirement many times in the past so I won’t go over it for a millionth time. We all knew he likely wouldn’t be gone for long and this tournament being announced all but confirms it. This is exactly what Zero said could bring him back to the competitive scene. A new iteration of Smash with new characters, possibly even being Smash 5. As much as he has been enjoying his time streaming and being away from competitive play, he will be back soon. I think he might have just waited until the game released later this year to return but this tournament changes things.
This invitational tournament is definitely calling his name. Now he can get an early look at the game, and get a feel for its mechanics if it is Smash 5.
Could Zero make his return where it all began? Youtube
It will be even more interesting if the game is very similar to Smash 4 or Smash 4 deluxe. I think that such a thing could tempt Zero to even consider returning to the current season. New characters would certainly shake up the meta and could be an irresistible offer to him. Lastly how fitting would it be for Zero to make his return on the same stage he started on. Zero won the first ever Smash 4 tournament back at the 2014 E3 invitational. It was the first of many tournament wins for Zero and started an amazing career. It’d be awesome to see him make his return, where it all began.
Who could we see
As much speculation as the community has been doing about Zero returning, nothing is confirmed. We still don’t know who Nintendo will be sending to the tournament just yet. But based on the past we can make some good assumptions. We know they will bring some prominent figures in the community. This always starts with some of the best tournament players. One player I’m sure will be on the big stage is NRG Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada. He is the undisputed king of Smash 4 streamers, and one of the communities most loved personalities. I’m pretty sure Zero will be invited as well but it honestly could go either way. other than top players we should see some big Nintendo Youtubers on the stage. This is in line with how Nintendo usually handles events like this and I see no reason why this would change.
Lastly I want to talk about someone I would love to see at the invitational. This is a long shot, but I would absolutely love to see Desmond “Etika” Amofah in the tournament.
Etika would bring the hype to the invitational for sure Youtube
This is a bit unlikely because Etika isn’t necessarily Kid friendly and could rub Nintendo the wrong way. Etika may have a history of being very vulgar and outlandish at times, but he would be a great addition. His passion and enthusiasm for Nintendo is unrivaled. He would bring a level of hype and excitement that has never been seen at a Nintendo event. He’s a wild-card, but if invited, Smash Switch will have even more hype surrounding it.
No matter what happens This tournament is huge. we all knew E3 was the next big event to look forward to for Smash Switch. But this tournament means that on June 11th we will finally have an answer to our many Smash Switch questions.
What do you think about the Smash Switch E3 Invitational? Feel free to let us know in the comments down below!
The PGR (Panda Global Ranking) ranks the top 50 Smash 4 Players every season. This season is much different than others, because the greatest player in the world (Gonzalo “Zero” Barrios) retired at the end of last season. With the top spot now up for grabs many (including myself) have speculated who will take the thrown this season. There are a few players that have been favorites to become the new “best player in the world” and rightfully so. But out of all these usual suspects on the PGR I believe NRG Nairo will rank number one this season.
The Fan Favorite
Nairoby “Nairo Quezada is a smash player who needs no introduction. Representing NRG Esports, Nairo is a very flashy player who is always a fan favorite. Don’t let his flashy play style fool you though, he is one of the most deadly players ever to grace the game. Nairo has been very consistent with his PGR rankings; placing 3rd for the past three seasons.
With his trusty Zero Suit Samus, he runs through tournament brackets and rarely places outside of top 8. One of the biggest reasons Nairo remains so consistent is how much he practices. You’ll find him streaming over on twitch almost every day, and his streams always attract a lot of dedicated viewers. He has such great game awareness which can definitely be chocked up to him practicing so much.
No matter the tournament, Nairo will almost always have the crowd on his side. This was seen most during what was maybe the highlight of his career back in 2015. During the MLG World Finals in 2015, Nairo became the first player to ever beat zero to win a tournament. This win ended Zero’s streak of over 50 tournament wins in a row. It was Nairo’s crowning achievement, but I believe that he will soon have a new accolade to add to his resume.
Over the hump
The closest Nairo ever got to being ranked number one on the PGR was when he was ranked number two back in the PGR V1. Since then he has been ranked number three every season, but I think that’s going to change.
With Zero gone things are going to be a lot different, that’s for certain. Many speculate that Leonardo “MK Leo” Perez will be the next number one player, and rightfully so. MK Leo was one of the few players who could at least somewhat consistently beat Zero. Leo has been dominating as of late and definitely could become the next Number 1. But With Nairo already having a set win over MK Leo early in the season, I think he has an edge.
Nairo also gave Zero a lot of tournament trouble and has taken quite a few sets off of him. Now that we are in a meta where Zero no longer attends tournaments I think Nairo might just get over the 3rd best player hump and ascend to the top spot. This isn’t to say that he couldn’t do it if Zero was still playing; but the fact that Zero isn’t playing gives him a huge boost.
Nairo is one of Smash 4’s most clutch players and it shows every time he plugs his controller in. He plays so many characters at such a high level, that it’s almost impossible to counter-pick him. Nairo delivers impressive results and is rarely seen outside of top 8, sometimes coming from the depths of losers bracket to win a tournament. When you combine all of these factors with the fact that one of his toughest opponents is no longer playing; it’s not hard to picture him being crowned the best player in the world.
One of Nairo’s biggest achievements, defeating Zero in Brawl at Apex 2014. Will he stand tall once again? Twitter
Since its release in 2014, there has been one player dominating the scene: Gonzalo “Zero” Barrios. Since he retired last month, the top spot is wide open. There are a few players who have consistently been ranked highly but now they have the chance to take it to the next level. With Zero now gone anything is possible and we are guaranteed a new number one ranked player. Ever since the PGR (Panda Global Ranking) system has been ranking the 50 best players in the world, no one has been able to dethrone Zero. This year will be the first time that someone else will take the top spot. Here are five players I think have the best chances of taking the number one spot
Let’s start off with the current number two ranked player in the world. Saleem “Salem” Akiel Young Just signed with team liquid after a red hot
2017. The Bayonetta main is approaches every game with a slow methodical offense centered around patience. His incredible tech skill paired with Bayonettas’ deadly moveset make for a very volatile pairing. Salem Racked up huge results in 2017, placing first in three S tier events. His most notable win coming at EVO 2017 where he shocked the world defeating by defeating Zero in set two of grand finals. Salem is rarely seen outside of top 8 of any event he attends, and consistently delivers amazing results.
Salem is currently number two in the world, but he came very close to dethroning Zero. A lot of his biggest victories last season came against Zero and he became a bit of an achilles heel for him. With Zero gone Salem is definitely poised to take the top spot that just narrowly eluded him last season.
Free Agent Dabuz
Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby is often known as Smash 4’s most consistent player. You can find him in just about every top eight with his tried and true Rosalina.
Smash 4 king of consistency, Dabuz Courtsey Liquidpedia
Dabuz doesn’t get all the credit he deserves because he’s not a very flashy player but he is very effective. He took first place at two S tier events last season which was a personal best for him. His play is very calculated and combined with the dangerous potential Rosalina has, he can produce some scary offense. Dabuz does a great job of keeping a wall between his opponent, using Luma to keep opponents out at all costs. He is a very skilled player but sometimes struggled against Zero.
Even with one of his biggest wins of last year coming against Zero, he could stand to improve. Zero being gone could possibly be the final step that leads to Dabuz rising up among the ranks.
Echo Fox MVG MK Leo
Leonardo “MK Leo” Lopez Perez is one of Smash 4’s most prolific players at only 16 years old! Given the nickname “prince of smash” he is often considered to be the best player in the world now that zero is gone; even after ranking 4th on the PGR.
Leo is simply on another level when he’s playing. Whether he plays Marth, Meta Knight, or cloud, he is precise and deadly. He’s the best with just about every character he uses and it shows in tournaments. He has two S tier wins along with one A tier win and consistently places high. The thing that really sets him apart is how successful he is against Zero, as he was definitely one of Zeros’ demons last season.
Leo is very calculated in his movements, from spacing to execution. His tech skill is amazing and many believe he will be the next to be crowned the best in the world.
Smash 4 fan favorite, NRG Nairo Courtesy SSB World
“The Peoples Champ” Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada is always a fan favorite. Next to Zero he is the PGRs’ most consistent performer as he has placed third for the past three seasons. With his Zero Suit Samus by his side he is well equipped to clutch out close games or destroy whoever comes into his path. Nairo is very active in the community as he streams almost daily to a large audience, and has a massive social media presence. However he is much more than just an icon online as his results speak for themselves. He only had one first place finish last season, but it was an S tier event and he placed second at a few other tournaments. He also was only outside of top 8 two times last season. In a game where many top players will have the occasional bad tournament, Nairo always has a great run.
Nairo also did well against Zero and was one of his biggest rivals. With him gone Nairo is definitely a favorite to take the top spot this season.
Ok now hear me out, this is a bit a of a wildcard. Matt “Elegant Fitzpatrick was ranked 11th best in the world last season and isn’t necessarily a favorite to take the top spot. But I believe that he has the tools and the momentum to have a great chance at taking it. He’s the best Luigi player in the world and he is a very explosive player. He has very respectable tournament results and while he hasn’t gotten first place at a huge event yet, he is always threatening.
Elegant didn’t get to travel as much as the others on this list last year, but I think if that changes this season, we could see a changing of the guard in the Smash 4 scene. Elegant is such a skillful player and his dedication to the game, and impressive tech skill make him a player to watch in the race for the top spot.
Who do you think will take the number one spot this season? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!
Fans of fighting games need no introduction to the importance of the EVO Championship Series. For years, this event has provided countless hours of intense top-level play for various fighting games. While the event often takes place in the U.S., this year saw the emergence of EVO Japan, which took place from January 26 – 28. The event saw tournaments for some of esports’ most popular fighting games – Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, to name a few. But among the games played at EVO Japan, there was one that stood out. There was a game that had something to prove. And that game was ARMS.
Going into the event, it was easy to look at EVO Japan as a “make or break” point for ARMS as an esport. On one hand, the event served as a possibility to show off the game’s competitive community to the world. However, at the same time, if ARMS underperformed in regards to viewer engagement and impact, then ARMS may not get another opportunity to be played on a world stage. With EVO Japan’s ARMS tournament having come and gone, it seems that the latter of these two may have been the fate for ARMS.
ARMS’ Grand Finals were entertaining, but did it do enough to convince people that ARMS can be an esport? Image: YouTube
In terms of numbers, ARMS had over 320 entrants, which was the smallest amount of entrants in any game played at the event. However, this is understandable given that ARMS is a new intellectual property that is mechanically unlike any other fighting game and has a competitive community that isn’t even a year old yet.
Mirroring the game’s player count in the tournament, ARMS didn’t get a significant amount of buzz during the tournament. Moreover, the videos-on-demand for ARMS’ tournament at EVO Japan have received significantly less views than other games featured at EVO Japan.
Despite what the game’s dedicated fans hoped, ARMS failed to make a significant splash among the more recognizable, reputable games at EVO Japan. Another blow to the ARMS’ competitive community was the recent confirmation that the game would not be featured at EVO 2018 later this year. However, ARMS’ poor performance at EVO Japan and the game’s absence at EVO 2018 aren’t enough to effectively kill the game’s future as an esport. Does ARMS have enough in itself to warrant a healthy future in esports?
A Skill Ceiling that may be too low…
One of the most important things about any esport is its watchability and viewership. ARMS’ watchability has been a question for many. As with almost any other fighting game, it’s clear to see that top-level ARMS players have a great level of skill. However, ARMS lacks two things that many fighting games benefit from: immense depth and spectacle.
“Pega” was the victor of Grand Finals for ARMS at EVO Japan. Image: YouTube
Let’s take Super Smash Bros. Melee as an example. When you watch top-level play, it looks significantly different from watching beginner-level play. Melee has advanced techniques, wavedashing, and many character-specific toolkits that make each individual player’s playstyle feel different from one another. This has helped keep Melee in the esport spotlight for so long – despite the game being over fifteen years old.
At least as of the time of writing, ARMS lacks this level of depth, which hurts both the number of players and viewers of the game. Watching the ARMS tournament at EVO Japan, one can certainly see that the players in the event were using advanced techniques and movement. However, when watching, one may ask: how much can top-level play develop beyond this tournament?
It’s unclear if ARMS’ competitive metagame can develop much further than it already has. While ARMS was enjoyable to watch at EVO Japan, the technique displayed in the tournament didn’t seem much greater than technique displayed at the ARMS Invitational at E3 in June of 2017. Part of what makes esports entertaining to watch is seeing the development of top-level play. It’s exciting to see how players for our favorite esports can get better, and push what’s possible in the game.
The Issue of Characters
One final critique is with the game’s characters. Characters are the bread and butter of fighting games – especially for fighting games that are esports. Games like Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Tekken 7, and Street Fighter V have a vast variety of characters with different playstyles and toolkits. Tournaments for these games can be exciting to watch just from seeing different characters being represented. Also by seeing the different playstyle and techniques that accompany those different characters. Watching a Smash 4 tournament and suddenly seeing more obscure characters like Wii Fit Trainer, Shulk, or Mr. Game and Watch can suddenly make that tournament more interesting.
Fighting games live and die by their characters. Do the characters of ARMS feel different enough from each other? Image: Smashboards
ARMS lacks this. Unlike most fighting games, the most significant thing that changes a player’s techniques and playstyle are the “ARMS”, or weapons, that they choose for each round. The character you pick when playing ARMS only affects certain character-specific moves, that can allow them to charge their attacks. Some characters, like Master Mummy, have stronger grabs, but for the most part, characters are defined by unique gimmicks.
These gimmicks include Spring Man’s rage factor when he gets below 25% health, Ribbon Girl’s multiple jumps, Mechanica’s hover, Master Mummy’s regeneration when he blocks, among others. But are these enough to make each character feel significantly different to watch from any other? No, probably not. ARMS’ characters only impact complementary techniques. The main techniques and depth of ARMS’ combat comes from which “ARMS” the player chooses.
Unfortunately, the variety of “ARMS”, while fairly sizable, doesn’t feel vast. Many “ARMS” are the same or recolors that have different elemental properties. There are only a few types of “ARMS”, such as umbrellas, whips, boomerangs, and so on. If there were a greater variety of different types of “ARMS”, then ‘ARMS’ combat could begin to feel more vast and different. As is, though, there are not enough that significantly change up players’ techniques and playstyles, making competitive play not feel as interesting as it could be.
Can ARMS be Saved?
As much as one may critique ARMS as an esport, many people would still love to see ARMS become an esport in some capacity. However, the odds of that happening are certainly not in the game’s favor at this point. With Nintendo recently confirming that there will be no more significant updates, nor anymore DLC characters and stages, the game itself will likely remain as it is now.
One of the most restrictive things from ARMS becoming an esport is actually in consideration of the fact that players are constantly locked on to one another. If players could freely roam around 3D arenas, somewhat like the Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm games, then ARMS could become more interesting.
ARMS is noticeably absent from EVO 2018’s roster. Image: Shoryuken.
The story of ARMS is an admirable one. It fought hard to become an esport, and it continues to have a vibrant and dedicated community. However, the game simply didn’t have enough in it to grab much attention on the esports stage. Can ARMS be saved and become an esport? It’s unlikely, but ARMS builds a great framework for sequels that could become esports. It has great competitive potential as a franchise, but there needs to be some tweaks to the core design of the game. Getting rid of the constant lock-on, and having characters feel significantly different from each other is already enough to make a sequel that has more competitive capabilities.
So does ARMS have a future as an esport? One would argue that it does through a potential sequel that fixes and improves upon the framework of the 2017 game. As is, ARMS seems like it doesn’t have enough to pull in viewers and become an esport. But the franchise is still young, and becoming an esport is a possibility if future installments take good steps forward.
But what do you think? Do you think ARMS can be an esport, or do you feel that a sequel to the game has better chances? As always, join the conversation and let us know!
The Evolution Championship Series held it’s first ever event in Japan recently. Organizers wanted to host an EVO event in Japan back in 2011. Unfortunately these plans were postponed indefinitely due to the big earthquake that occurred that year. Now, 7 years later, Japanese fighting game players had their chance to win a prestigious fighting game event without having to travel internationally to participate.
The country showed up in force. Online warriors that never travel abroad surprised many who had not seen them on a live stage before. It kept the competition fresh compared to many of the tournaments streamed in the US. The matches were fierce and unpredictable, and made for a wonderful viewing experience, especially live. For those of you that couldn’t attend, or could only watch online in the wee hours of the morning, don’t worry! The Game Haus has you covered.
Days one and two
The crowd at EVO day 2. Image taken by The Game Haus
Days one and two of EVO Japan took place at the Ikebukuro Sunshine City Community Center building. There weren’t many signs indicating where to go, but after wandering aimlessly for a few I managed to find the event space. I was greeted by cacophonous noise and a pair of girls passing out free Red Bull to attendees. The floor was naturally separated by game, and every seat was filled with participants playing casuals. Each game also had a special stream area setup, and these games were projected up on the walls for those that wanted to watch. The event used a large stage in the back to present the top 8 of games that would not be present on the final day.
There was a small section of stands near the entrance for vendors to sell gear or promote new games. Both BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle and King of Fighters XIV’s new DLC character Oswald were playable on the floor. Unfortunately, the lines stayed long even to the closing moments of the last public day. High level players and pros from each game played against each other during their time off stream. They would even play against relative new comers to give them pointers on their play. I considered joining in for some Street Fighter V casuals myself, but saw that the row in front of me was filled with Mago, Dogura, Itabashi Zangief, Momochi, and Tokido, and I decided against embarrassing myself.
The last day of EVO Japan took place in central Akihabara in a relatively small venue when compared to the first two days. There were no frills, no casuals, and almost nothing left but standing room. No one seemed to mind though; it was high level action that we came for, and it was high level action that we got.
Super Smash Bros. WiiU
MKLeo accepting his trophy. Image taken by The Game Haus
1st: Echo Fox | Leonardo “MKLeo” Lopez (Cloud)
2nd: Yuta “Abadango” Kawamura (Bayonetta)
3rd: DNG | Takuto “Kameme” Ono (Shiek/MegaMan/Cloud)
As the only non-Japanese player in the Super Smash Bros. Top 8, MKLeo was the only man in the bracket not playing with home-field advantage. This isn’t to say he was necessarily the underdog, but all eyes were on him in these grand finals. MKLeo had a decent head start by entering the grand finals in the winners bracket as well, but Abadango had proven himself in the losers finals by taking Kameme out 3-0. For Abadango, this was a potential revenge match as well, as MKLeo knocked him into the losers bracket earlier in the top 8.
The first match began with MKLeo as Cloud and Abadango as Bayonetta. In my preview article I mentioned that I didn’t really follow competitive Smash much, but it was difficult not to be enthralled the energy in the room as both players fought for nearly a full minute with over 100% damage each. MKLeo took game one with a fortuitous air slash that sent his opponent off screen.
Undeterred, Abadango stuck with Bayonetta for match 2. It seemed he learned a thing or two from his first match against Leo’s Cloud. Through a series of great air juggling and impressive edge guarding, Abadango was able to take both of MKLeo’s stocks in under 2 minutes. Leo knew he needed to make a change, and came back ready for round 3.
Bayonetta had a much more difficult time getting attacks in on Leo’s 3rd round Marth. No matter the approach or strategy, Marth stood ready to zone with his Dancing Blade special. Though things looked dicey when Abadango nailed some aerial combos, MK Leo ended up taking the 3rd round without losing a single stock.
Though he won with Marth in the 3rd round, MKLeo went back to Cloud for the 4th and what would be final round of the tournament. It appeared he gathered himself a bit after his win as Marth. His Cloud looked more confident, and more willing to contest Bayonetta’s advances. That isn’t to say that the game was one sided. Quite on the contrary, though Abadango took MKLeo’s first stock when he already had over 100% damage on his final stock, he looked like he was poised to take the game too. In the end though, MKLeo finished the round, and brought the EVO trophy home for Echo Fox, for Mexico, but most importantly, for himself.
1st: ROX | Knee (Paul/Bryan/Steve)
2nd: ROX | Chanel (Eliza/Alisa)
3rd: N.M | GURA (Geese)
Chanel resetting the Tekken 7 bracket. Image taken by The Game Haus
What surprised me most about the Tekken Grand Finals was the amount of versatility top players in Tekken have with their character picks. In the Grand Finals series alone the two players from ROX cycled through no fewer than six different characters. As a player of Street Fighter, I’m used to seeing players have one main character with maybe one alternate that they pick up for specific match ups. Tekken is clearly a different beast.
The first round began with Knee on Bryan Fury while Chanel picked Akuma, a character that he seemed comfortable with previously. Chanel may have been anticipating Knee to pick Paul Phoenix, who Knee used extremely effectively in his previous matches. The Bryan pick seemed to catch Chanel off guard, as Knee dismantled his opponent. Chanel needed to lose another round with Eliza before finding his groove with Alisa. Using Alisa, he managed to come back from his 2-0 deficit to reset the bracket, and force Knee into a second best of 5 match.
Knee seemed confident in his Bryan pick enough to start out the set with him, but Alisa still proved too strong. After rethinking his strategy, Knee switched to Steve Fox, giving him more mobility against Alisa’s attacks. This appeared to be the counter he needed, as Chanel’s Alisa could not keep up. After a surprising yet ineffective switch to Lucky Chloe by Chanel, the final round came down to Knee’s Steve and Chanel’s Eliza. Though Chanel put up a fight, his teammate’s boxer ended up taking the EVO trophy.
Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2
Nage accepts his prize money alongside a dancing Cup Noodle. Image taken by The Game Haus.
1st: NAGE (Faust)
2nd: OMITO (Johnny)
3rd: GGP | Kazunoko (Raven)
I’m honestly a bit torn about the results of the Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 tournament. As a Johnny player myself, I rooted for Omito for most of the tournament. I find his unique movement style fun to watch, if challenging to play. That didn’t stop me from enjoying the chaos that was watching a high level Faust player climb up the ladder.
For those unfamiliar, one of Faust’s main mechanics involves him throwing random objects on the battlefield. These items can be as mundane as a small hammer that deals damage when it hits. They can be a great utility as well such as a spring board that launches the opponent in the air if they step on it. The items can also be darn near OP such as a black hole that roots enemies in place, or a giant meteor shower that covers most of the screen. A good Faust player has to react to these random items to try to get the best conversion possible, which is exactly what Nage did during the grand finals.
Omito put up a great fight. These grand finals could have easily gone to either player. I honestly wondered when some of Omito’s combos were going to end as he put on a display of just how much he knows about Guilty Gear and it’s systems. He even managed to reset the bracket before Nage took the final set 3-2 in a series that went down to the very last round. For fans of the game, it doesn’t get much more hyped than that.
Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition
1st: Infiltration (Menat/Juri)
2nd: John Takeuchi (Rashid)
3rd: Hx | CYG BST | Daigo Umehara (Guile)
Street Fighter V Top 8 posing after Infiltration won. Image taken by The Game Haus
I think the whole of Japan released a disappointed sigh when Daigo Umehara was eliminated from the event. Few fighting game players can be called a Legend in their scene, but Daigo is definitely one of them. If he were to win the first ever EVO event in Japan, it would have felt like destiny. Alas, it was not to be. Infiltration’s Menat was able to use her superior range to out-zone Daigo’s Guile.
It wasn’t just Daigo who had trouble with Infiltration’s Menat. Until John Takeuchi knocked Infiltration into the loser’s bracket during the winner’s semi-finals, Infiltration’s Menat looked nigh invincible. Takeuchi played a patient game, waiting for Infiltration to come to him before making his attack. He found that Infiltration was able to react to almost any offense thrown at him, and decided to give himself space to react to Infiltration instead. Infiltration quickly realized that Menat was not going to win him the match, so he switched to Juri. Juri’s unique rhythm threw Takeuchi off for a game, but the mental damage may have already been done, and Takeuchi sent Infiltration to the losers bracket.
In the grand finals, Infiltration went with Juri from the get-go. He continued to be a thorn in Takeuchi’s side, constantly interrupting his rhythm with Juri’s far
reaching normals and well timed invincible reversals. The pressure clearly got to Takeuchi, who began to play much more aggressively in hopes of turning the tide. By the time he regained some of his composure, Infiltration had already reset the bracket. Though he did better in the second set, Infiltration still took the tournament 3-1.
An annual event
The Grand Finals Venue before it was crowded. Image taken by The Game Haus
I suppose I can’t speak much further than next year, but a representative came on stage at the end of the event to announce that EVO would be indeed returning to Japan next year. The crowd erupted in applause. No one was sure if it would happen given the rough history of trying to bring an EVO event to Japan. I couldn’t be more excited to see what games show up at EVO Japan next year. If Dragon Ball FighterZ is still popular, it’s highly likely it will make an appearance. In the next year both Soul Calibur VI and BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle release as well. EVO Japan may be in the past, but the future looks just as exciting, if not more so.
Featured image taken by The Game Haus.
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This weekend, for the first time in the history of the tournament, EVO will host an event in Japan. This seems strange considering that a large number of the games played at the tournament were created by Japanese developers. Of course Japan hosts its own tournaments for said games, but EVO has become one of the largest annual fighting game tournaments in the world. Top Japanese competitors for years have had to travel to the United States to compete for EVO’s considerable prestige and prize pool. After almost twenty years, things are finally changing. Let’s take a look at the games present at the first annual EVO Japan.
ARMS – 327 Competitors
Image courtesy of Shoryuken.com
Unfortunately, EVO Japan may be ARMS’ last showing as a main event at a tournament of this scale. After the initial positive reception, interest in the game declined rapidly outside of a core group of enthusiastic players. Nintendo seemed to sense this too. The developers announced in December that the Version 5 patch would be the final major content update for the game. While they claimed they will still make balance patches as necessary, it is difficult to see the statement as anything other than a nail in the coffin.
With that said, 327 is no small number of competitors. Though by far the smallest competition pool of the tournament, it’s commendable for what is arguably a niche title even among fighting game fans. If EVO Japan is where competitive ARMS play ends, at least it’s a great opportunity to send it off properly.
Tekken 7 – 1202 Competitors
Image courtesy of Shoryuken.com
Tekken is a game about complicated family issues that tasks the player with mastering equally complicated juggle combos. Compared to the previously mentioned game, Tekken has nearly four times the number of competitors at EVO Japan. This makes it the second largest competition at the tournament and it’s not difficult to see why. Tekken has somehow managed to be not only a competent and satisfying fighting game, but one with characters fleshed out by a cohesive, if convoluted, story. Since its debut in 1994, it has grown to a cast of nearly 40 playable characters on disc in Tekken 7. Many will argue that some characters aren’t viable in competitive play, but the amount of different characters picked in competitive play still feels large. The diversity in the character roster means that matches are hardly ever boring to watch.
The game also has a leg-up in popularity over some of the other games by being a staple at many arcades in Japan. Despite having its roots in the arcade scene, Street Fighter developer Capcom decided against creating arcade cabinets for the series’ fifth iteration. Tekken has been there to fill that void, and its popularity may have gained a bit of a boost as a result.
Super Smash Bros for WiiU – 757 Competitors
Image courtesy of Shoryuken.com
I’ll start this section off with the disclaimer that I’m still new to the competitive Smash scene. As someone who plays the game casually, I am amazed at the amount of knowledge high level players have about what I thought of as a party game for so many years. Without that knowledge, it is sometimes difficult to keep up with the action. However, it is easy to see that the Smash community is one of the closest knit fighting game communities that exists. Whereas other competitive fighting games receive support from their developers after the game gains traction, Nintendo has left the entire fate of the Smash competitive scene on the players themselves. Prize pools tend to be smaller as a result, so the top players have to commit a lot of themselves if they hope to make a living.
But this atmosphere makes Smash compelling to watch, and it is why the community is so close knit. They aren’t competing for the largest prize pools. They aren’t receiving as much support as the other games. Without that additional hype, many would lose interest after a time. The people left are there because they love the game, and they want to be the best at it. If that doesn’t make for some compelling, high intensity games to watch, then I’m not sure what does.
GUILTY GEAR Xrd REV 2 – 1187 Competitors
Image courtesy of Shoryuken.com
When it first released in 1998, Guilty Gear had some stiff competition in the 2D Fighter genre. At the time, there were not many fighting games that could compete with the hype surrounding Capcom or SNK’s games. 1998 was a particularly competitive year, seeing the release of Street Fighter Alpha 3, Marvel vs Capcom and King of Fighters ’98. Guilty Gear still managed to find its niche with a unique music style, colorful characters and over the top combos.
Compared to other fighting games I’ve played, I find the combat system in Guilty Gear to be the most complex. Learning jump cancels, roman cancels, the tension gauge and various other systems often proves too much for my poor brain to comprehend at once. This makes watching play between those who have mastered these systems so enthralling. The combat is fast paced, visually stunning and incredibly technical. Even without knowledge of the game’s systems, it’s worth a watch.
BlazBlue: Central Fiction – 595 Competitors
Image courtesy of Shoryuken.com
BlazBlue is commonly considered the spiritual successor to Guilty Gear. While the Guilty Gear brand was experimenting with new genres with the release of Guilty Gear 2: Overture in 2008, developer Arc System Works also released BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger into arcades late the same year. At the time there had not been an updated arcade release of a Guilty Gear game since late 2006. Something was clearly needed to refresh the arcade scene, and BlazBlue was the answer.
There are certainly similarities between BlazBlue and Guilty Gear. Characters move in much the same way, and you can even see the inspiration taken in some of the main character designs. The action is just as fast paced and high-execution as its predecessor as well, making it an absolute joy to watch. While the latest Guilty Gear chose a more cell-shaded 3D art style on a 2D background, the current BlazBlue retains its original sprite animation art style, so there is plenty of reason to watch both if you’re a fan of “Anime Fighters”.
The King of Fighters XIV – 542 Competitors
Image courtesy of Shoryuken.com
From 1994 to 2003, developer SNK released a new main entry in the King of Fighters game every year. While spin-off titles were released with reasonable frequency, the time between main entries became few and far between. Released in 2016, King of Fighters XIV was the first main entry in the series in six years. Fans responded with the enthusiasm you can probably imagine. That being said, it is clear to see that KOF’s long absence from the competitive spotlight has done it some harm. Though the margin between it and BlazBlue is small, KOF is the second smallest tournament at the event.
That is not to say that it isn’t worth watching! KOF is unique at EVO Japan as the only 3v3 team fighting game. With a line-up of around 50 characters to choose from, team compositions are dynamic and diverse. For the most unique viewing experience at EVO Japan, you’d better take a look here.
Street Fighter V Arcade Edition – 2217 Competitors
Image courtesy of Shoryuken.com
We’ve arrived at the main event. At 2217 entrants, the Street Fighter V tournament nearly doubles the size of the next largest tournament. Developer Capcom received some harsh criticism early in the game’s lifespan as fans complained about server issues, lack of transparency in announcements and the absence of expected features. Since the game released in early 2016, Capcom has worked hard to slowly turn this opinion around. While players will always find something to nit-pick, the general consensus is that Street Fighter V is a much better game than when it launched.
Add to this the fact that the latest edition of the game, Arcade Edition, just launched less than two weeks ago with the addition of fan favorite character Sakura. More importantly, in terms of competitive gaming, it brought a laundry list of sweeping balance changes to individual characters, as well as the combat system as a whole. None of the players in this tournament have had more than a couple of weeks to adjust to these changes before competing. The 3.0 patch flipped the entire competitive scene on its head. Even if you’ve watched competitive Street Fighter before, it’s doubtful you’ll have seen anything like what’s about to unfold in Tokyo this upcoming weekend.
EVO Japan takes place in Tokyo, Japan from 1/26 – 1/28 Japan Standard Time.
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Midwest Mayhem 10 provided an emotional roller coaster for Smash 4 viewers on Saturday, November 25th. Most Valuable Gaming’s Saleem “Salem” Young went up against Team SoloMid’s Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios in the grand finals of Smash 4 singles. The two players have played against each other numerous times throughout Smash 4’s history. Perhaps their most well-known spar was at EVO 2017, where Salem won against ZeRo using Bayonetta’s infamous Witch Twist, making him the champion of EVO this year.
Saleem “Salem” Young won the final match of the set by initiating a Witch Twist combo with only twelve seconds left. Image: YouTube.
Barrios had placed first in the previous two Smash 4 singles at Midwest Mayhem. Barrios attempted to defend his throne and go for a “threepeat” at the event. He certainly put up a fight to accomplish this. Barrios and Young first played in Winners Finals, where Young won 3-1, putting Barrios in Losers Finals. This put Barrios up against Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey, where Barrios won 3-2. This reunited Barrios and Young, where they fought in Grand Finals of the event. After a bracket reset and two wins for each player in the second bracket of grand finals, it all came down to the final match.
History ended up repeating itself. Although Barrios attained a comfortable lead throughout most of the match and a timeout would have lead to Barrios winning the event, Young ending up killing Barrios’ Diddy Kong with a Witch Twist, ending the match with only eleven seconds left. You can watch the entire Grand Finals of the event here.
After watching the tournament, it occurred to this author that this tournament initiates some talking points that the Smash community can have. With that in mind, let’s discuss some takeaways from the tournament.
Barrios got cheered for at grand finals of Midwest Mayhem
Whether you consider yourself a fan of Barrios or not, no one can deny the legacy he’s left on the Smash 4 community. He is widely considered to be the best Smash 4 player to this day. At the Grand Finals of Midwest Mayhem, Barrios actually was enthusiastically cheered for by the audience attending the event. This is a bigger deal than it may initially seem.
Over two years after Barrios’ stellar winning streak has ended, it is encouraging to see such a large event have a grand finals that involves Barrios that has audience members cheering for both players. This creates a more even-sided competitive environment, where the best player isn’t considered unbeatable.
The Shifting landscape of competitive Smash 4
Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios (left) and Saleem “Salem” Young (right) shake hands after an intense Grand Finals. Image: YouTube
This leads into how much the competitive landscape of Smash 4 has changed over the past three years. Since the Wii U version of Smash 4 recently turned three years old, Midwest Mayhem does a good job at capturing what the competitive landscape has become over those three years. Midwest Mayhem featured a wide variety of characters used across the over three hundred entrants in the tournament. Additionally, the Grand Finals of this tournament shows exactly how much room for improvement there still is in Smash 4 for even some of the best players in the world.
Throughout their sets, Barrios repeatedly used Diddy’s up-throw into up-air, often waiting for Young to perform an air dodge. Young didn’t adapt to this situation until the final match of Grand Finals, where he finally jumped after Barrios performing an up-throw. Young failing to adapt quickly led to fair amount of his KOs throughout Young and Barrios’ total of fourteen matches played against each other. On the other side of that coin, Barrios often used Diddy’s Monkey Flip as a means of compensating for Diddy’s poor air movement speed. Barrios’ over-reliance on this move eventually cost him the final match of Grand Finals, with Young punishing Barrios’ Monkey Flip with an After Burner Kick into a Witch Twist.
This is important, in that it shows that everyone in the Smash 4 community – even two highly ranked players – still has room to significantly improve their play style. This Grand Finals is a good example of how much Smash 4 can still develop moving forward, which is exciting both as a player and as a viewer.
Moving Forward with Tournaments
Though Midwest Mayhem has come and gone, many more Smash 4 tournaments are on their way over the next few weekends. The 2GG Championship is next weekend from December 1 – 3, with the Smash 4 Boot Camp Invitational being held a week later on December 7 – 10.
What were your reactions and takeaways from Midwest Mayhem this past weekend? And what are you looking forward to seeing from the upcoming majors over the next few weeks? As always, join the conversation and let us know!