Super Smash Bros and why Esports are so special

I’ve had a love for competitive video games ever since I was able to hold a controller as a young child. The thrill of battling it out with interesting characters against friends and family was very appealing to me. Fast forward to today and competitive gaming is bigger than it has ever been. Fighting game tournaments are streamed to millions of viewers, and even aired on television. Players are being signed by professional teams to do what they love for a living. What was once seen as a simple fad, a passing trend, has become bigger than anyone could have ever imagined. The world of Esports is so unique and interesting, and offers an experience unlike any other.

The tournament experience

One of the biggest differences between Esports and traditional sports is the level of accessibility. If you want to play in a regional fighting game tournament that top players will be attending, you can just register online. Any random player can easily be pit against the greatest player in the world just by how the brackets play out. This simply isn’t seen in traditional sports. You cant just register online for an NFL game and play against the pros. Not to take anything away from traditional sports, but it’s not in their nature to offer this experience. That accessibility should not however be mistaken for easiness. Just because any random Joe can enter a tournament, doesn’t mean they’ll get very far.

I myself can attest to this. I’ve been playing Smash 4 for a few years now and I consider myself to be pretty good. I study the game, watch almost every tournament, and keep up to date on new advanced tech.

Nothing can prepare you for the big stage other than competing on it
SB Nation

I beat just about all of my friends and people at my university, and look to improve every time I play. This however simply isn’t enough. Glitch 4, a regional Smash 4 tournament in Maryland, wrapped up a few weeks ago, and many top players attended. The Venue was near me so I registered early and did my best to train with the best players I knew. The day of the tournament arrived and I got destroyed, going 0-6 in my pool, only taking one game off of one player. So what went wrong? I’m decent enough at the game, how could I perform so poorly?

Rising to the occasion

First off, this was my first ever smash tournament, so I saw that outcome coming a mile away. But more important is the skill gap most games have at the competitive level. Being the best player in your group of friends means absolutely nothing if you’re not consistently playing in tournaments. Just like in any other sport, you have to train against the best to be able to compete with the best. This goes for any game, not just smash. The upside to this is that if I wanted to, I could attend the venue weekly tournament and play as many skilled players as I can to improve my performance (which I will in the future).

This is where Esports truly separates itself from traditional sports. If a top player lives in your region and frequents a nearby venue, you have access to them by attending also. Chances are you’ll get to play against them and get hands on experience of what it’s like to play a professional. I personally got to play against AF Justin “Jebb” Boston who is currently the 9th best player in MD/VA. (Maryland/Virginia) Even though I lost it was great to play against such a high caliber player. These interactions are so valuable to someone looking to improve their play.

Coming together

Lastly I want to talk about how big a role community plays in Esports. Any competitive video game scene you can think of began with a group of people bonding over a game they enjoyed. The very first tournaments for games like Melee, were held in peoples basements and garages. Small scale events among friends that blossomed into something much greater. Even though the size and scope of things are much bigger now, the community feeling is still very strong. Video game communities (usually) treat each other well and welcome newcomers with open arms. Speaking from my own experience, I’ve made many new friends just by playing smash with them. And when I got the chance to meet top players like p1 Tweek, P1 Captain Zack and EMG Mistake, they were very friendly and made the tournament experience just a bit more enjoyable.

The world of Esports is a very unique and genuine experience to be a part of. It’s wonderful to see the field gaining much more popularity now, and seeing players make a living from it. The only place to go is up for Esports. With the level of accessibility being so wide open, the next big hidden boss player could be you!

The Competitive gaming scene has grown quite a bit
SSB Wiki 

How do you feel about competitive smash, and Esports as a whole? Let us know in the comments down below!

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TSM ZeRo might not be coming back to competitive Smash after all

When Smash for switch was announced, the smash community was set ablaze with hype. Not just at the prospect of a new Smash entry on Nintendos latest flagship console. But also because it gave us all a slight glimmer of hope, that TSM ZeRo might possibly come out of retirement early. This current Smash 4 season has been a lot different without ZeRo at every tournament. However it has also been one of the most interesting seasons to date. There was much speculation about whether or not Smash switch would all but force ZeRo to return to competitive play. however after viewing a video he released last week, that speculation could be all but over.

End of the road?

TSM ZeRo retired on top of the Smash 4 world
Twitter

ZeRo recently released a video answering the million dollar question we’ve all been asking.  He spoke about how much he was enjoying being able to play games other than Smash. How much he loved streaming and interacting with his fans. Most importantly he spoke on how relieving it was to be away form the many pressures of competitive play. Not just the pressures of competing, but also the pressure of having to be the best year in and year out. Ultimately he concluded that he won’t be returning to competitive play when Smash switch releases. Rather he will focus on becoming a prominent figure in the community, who can help players become better.  He wants to be deeply involved in the community for the game and create content for the game, without having to worry about competing or being the best.

One of the biggest points he touched on was how much love he had for Smash. He’ll always be involved in the community, he just doesn’t want to compete anymore. At least not now with how much he’s been enjoying his time away. Being away from the pressures of competing and worrying about being the best. The community has been very supportive of his decisions, but it’s still a bittersweet outcome. It is disappointing to know that ZeRo may never compete at the same level as the smash 4 days but there is a very important message to take from this.

Looking forward

ZeRo’s retirement paved the way for a new Smash 4 champion to be crowned
Youtube

TSM ZeRo is the most iconic Smash 4 player, and is certainly a big part of why the game became so successful as an Esport. This competitive season has been much different without him. However it has also been a very interesting season. The fact that we will finally have a new #1 player in the world crowned this season is huge. Players have been rising from the proverbial mid-card to prove their worth and rise higher in the ranking. The Meta has even changed a bit, as no one played Diddy Kong on the same level as him. All of this isn’t to imply that the game is better off without ZeRo. Rather it’s a look into the natural life cycle of a competitive game and even life

ZeRo’s reign as the best Smash 4 player was amazing, but it’s time to move on. He did, and it seems like the community is doing the same. It almost seems like poetic justice that the next iteration of Smash is coming so soon after ZeRo’s retirement. Making the last Smash 4 season before Smash switch belong to another # 1 player in the world. Lastly I think this also provides us all a very valuable lesson.

One can never know exactly what it feels like to be in the shoes of someone who appears to be on top of the world.

Do you think there is any possibility that ZeRo will return to his dominant competitive ways? Let us know in the comments down below

 

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Glitch 4 2018 preview

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.

Special Guests

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.

Predictions

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!

 

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The Fall of Jigglypuff In Smash

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.

Origins

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.

The definition of AWFUL

jigglypuff saw a sharp decline on the tier list
Omni Universial Gaming

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!

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A Realistic Smash Switch wish list

Smash Switch is coming much sooner than we could have ever hoped. The hype surrounding the game harkens back to the old days of speculating over Smash for Wii U rumors. There has been a lot of speculation over what new additions will be make it into the game. Even though we still don’t have 100% confirmation that this is a new entry most signs point to that conclusion. So with smash Switch slated release later this year, heres a list of additions we’d like to see.

First Party Characters

With Smash 4 including characters like Cloud strife from Final Fantasy 7, the possibilities are endless. However, when looking at possible candidates, we have to stay realistic.  That being said there are realistic possibilities for new characters, now that the Splatoon inklings have been confirmed. We’ll start off with characters from existing Nintendo IP’s.

I think Xenoblade Chronicles  could use a bit more representation. With

Pyra and (or) Rex would make great additions to Smash
Source gaming

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 being released not too long ago, what better way to represent the franchise than by putting at least one character in. Pyra and Rex would both be good fits for Smash in my opinion but if we had to choose one I think Pyra would fit the best. Seeing as Shulk made it into Smash 4 already it would be nice to geta female representative from the franchise. Besides Pyra is such a cool character in Xenoblade and it’d be a shame if she missed out on joining the battle.

Another likely addition is a fighter from Nintendo’s latest new IP, Arms. Arms is a very interesting fighting game with unique mechanics. However it never really caught on and became the next big Esport they wanted it to be. While there is still time to accomplish that, I think a great way to increase interest in Arms is to put a character or two into smash. Putting existing fighting game characters into smash should be an easier task than for other characters. Many people have their first exposure to a character in smash and go on to play the games those characters are from later. This could be great for smash and also Arms. Another popular choice is Waluigi for the Super Mario bros series. However seeing as he is a support trophy in brawl and Smash 4 this could be unlikely.

3rd party characters

This section is always a bit of a long shot because licensing and other legal things can get in the way of this. That wont stop the speculation however. A very popular 3rd party candidate that would be a very welcome addition is Crash bandicoot. At first glance this would seem very unlikely. But with Nintendo announcing that the Crash Bandicoot Nsane Trilogy is coming to Switch this summer, this seems much more likely. Crash could make for a very interesting character in smash and would definitely win over the fans.

Shovel Knight won over the indie gaming scene a few years ago and has gotten the port treatment to Nintendo Switch already. Seeing him make it into Smash would be very welcome. His iconic shovel could make for some very interesting combat and movement mechanics. Seeing as Sakurai loves to make a character as faithful to their original game as possible, Shovel knight could be an amazing addition.

WE NEED SNAKE BACK IN SMASH!
Youtube

Lastly (and this is very unlikely) Snake needs to make a return. Seeing a character as iconic as Solid Snake make it into Smash was a dream come true. So it is no surprise that fans lamented his not making it into Smash 4. Seeing snake go one and done was such a big disappointment because he was very well designed. His play style was very unique as it centered around laying traps and baiting your opponent to get the kill. As much as the fans would love to see him return, this is very unlikely. With Hideo Kojima not being at Konami anymore and Konami still owning Metal Gear, it doesn’t look good for Snake. But if at all possible, Snake would be perfect to make a return to Smash Switch.

Stages/ mechanics/Misc

More tournament legal stages will certainly liven up the competitive scene
The oblivian studios

Giving every stage an omega (flat) form in smash 4 was a very welcome addition and made many stages tournament legality. However there is definitely room for improvement. One way to add more life to omega stages is to add a neutral platform option to all stages. This would add some variety to the list of tournament legal stages and make stage counterplay more interesting. New stages with less hazards would also be very much appreciated. Even though Smash isn’t a competitive only game that does still appeal to a casual crowd, this would do wonders to the competitive scene. A good balance of casual and competitive stages would keep both hardcore competitors and casual players happy.

This one may be a bit controversial but I think rage should return for Smash Switch, but with a few tweaks. Rage is a very interesting mechanic that forces players to pay closer attention to percents and adapt throughout each match. However it can lead to some very janky outcomes when combined with certain moves. To remedy the problems that rage can introduce, I think rage should begin at much higher percents. Rage should start at 100 percent and still cap at 150. Also, set knockback moves need to be nerfed in a way that doesn’t kill players at 3%.

There are many things that could possibly make it into the game but only time will tell what we get. With E3 2018 just a couple of months away, we will definitely see what this game has to offer very soon. Who knows, it may very well not even be a new game. But whatever it may be, we don’t have much longer to wait to find out.

What do you want to see in Smash Switch? Let us know in the comments down below!

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Player Spotlight: Ally

Huge news in the Smash community yesterday as Elliot “Ally” Carroza announced that he would no longer be playing for Cloud 9 Esports. This news comes as a bit of a shock seeing how high caliber a player Ally is. Fellow players and smash lovers alike voiced their support on Twitter yesterday, and there was a great feeling of unity throughout the community. Ally is a smash 4 legend and still one of the best players in the world. However, one can’t deny the fact that his performance has been lacking as of late. His tournament results have taken a noticeable drop since 2016. Most recently he got 13th place at Smash Masters League Battle for Las Vegas, which is a bit low for his standards. Despite his recent struggles Ally is still a force to be reckoned with.

Rather than lament over his new found free agency, let’s look back at some of Ally’s greatest moments.

The best mario

Ally is without a doubt the best Mario player in the world, period. His mastery of the character is on full display every time he plays. Mario is the type of character that can be played in several different ways. Just about every Mario player has their own unique play style, but no Mario is like Ally’s.

Ally is without a doubt still the best Mario in the world.
Youtube

Ally’s Mario is special, combining many different play styles. Mario’s stellar combo game combined with Ally’s skill combine for some crazy custom combos. Many Mario players have tried and failed to replicate the magic that is Ally’s Mario. He’s simply unrivaled at playing the character, and should take credit for advancing the character in the meta.

Greatest moments

Ally has no shortage of iconic smash 4 moments. Being a top player back in the brawl days, Ally picked up right where he left off in smash 4 and immediately became a top player. Moments like his ridiculous air dodge read on Zero at Smash and Splash 2016, leading to a devastating dunk and ultimately his victory over the best in the world.

Ally delivering the mother of all Air Dodge reads to deliver a devastating dunk!
Youtube

Who could forget his epic comeback at the Big House 6 crew battle. being down 3 stocks to 1 against the best in the world, Ally somehow willed his way into a last hit situation. When ally closed in for the kill, he hit an up smash that set the crowd on fire, completing the legendary comeback.

While we’re on the subject of Ally beating Zero, his first victory was the most iconic. Get On My Level 2016 was Ally’s first win against Zero and it happened in his hometown in Canada. Ally landed the up smash heard round the world and was mobbed by the crowd as he won his first major, against Zero. Last and certainly not least is his dominating victory at EVO vs Kameme. Ally had an amazing winners bracket run and took grand finals over Kameme 3-1. Being a free agent at the time, his EVO victory led to him signing with Cloud 9. Although it is sad to see him leave his team of almost 2 years, I think he can make a comeback.

How can he rebound?

As good as Ally is with Mario, I think he may need some secondaries. Just about every top player has a few secondary characters they use to cover their bad match-ups. With so many of the best players in the world switching off of their mains, it’s interesting to see Ally almost never pick away from Mario. Ally truly is an example of a player living and dying by their main. Even when faced with the characters worst Match-ups, he’ll still choose Mario. While this amount of dedication may seem honorable, honor isn’t going to get you into top 8. I think Ally needs to pick up a few secondary characters to cover Mario’s bad match-ups. Learning a new character can be time consuming, and challenging, but it’d be worth it.

Lastly I think Ally needs to practice way more. He said himself that he hasn’t been training as much as he has in the past which will hurt anyone’s performance. Ally should start streaming Smash 4 on a consistent schedule. It’s a great way to have fun playing Smash and interacting with fans.

Ally needs to put in much more time practicing if he wants to get back into his winning ways.
Youtube

Who knows, it could even make him some extra money. Every bit of practice will help. No matter what happens Ally will always be known as a Smash God. He did so much to advance Mario in the meta, and will always be a fan favorite. Although he has been on the decline as of late, no one can deny that he is a Smash 4 legend. He will be back, and stronger than ever.

From one Mario main to another, best of luck Ally!

Do you think Ally will return to form? Feel free to let us know in the comments down below!

 

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Smash at Xanadu is back and better than ever

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.

Special Guest

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’s Sheik certainly impressed!
Youtube

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!

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Smash Masters Battle for Vegas was amazing

With so much hype surrounding the upcoming release of Super smash bros for Nintendo switch, one could forget about the current smash 4 season. However they would be foolish to do so. Smash 4 is in a very interesting place right now with the Smash Switch release looming. But that hasn’t taken anything away from the current season, as each tournament continues to deliver exciting action. Smash Masters League: Battle for Vegas wrapped up over the weekend, and did not disappoint.

Shockers

Fatality had a dominating performance!
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Lets start with the most shocking storylines of the tournament.

 

The biggest surprise was Liquid Saleem “Salem” Young not making into top 8. Salem is a very talented player and is currently ranked #2 in the world, but he has had a big problem the past few tournaments with beating certain players. His past 2 to tournament losses have been to Griffin “Fatality” Miller. Fatality’s Captain Falcon is no joke and once again was Salem’s Achilles heel. Salem is still a great player and hasn’t fallen off by any means, but he has slipped a bit. It is still very early in the season but I think Salem needs to do some soul searching and maybe even pick up a secondary to cover a few match-ups.

Just as shocking was just how well Fatality has been playing lately. Making a respectable losers bracket run, and once again taking out #2 in the world. Fatality has always been teetering on the edge of top 10 level play for a while. His recent tournament results have been stellar and have put him in a great position early on in the season. Fatality got knocked out at fourth place but made a huge push in top 8 and also toward his standings in the next PGR.

Notable Match-ups

Ally is upset by Brosinex…IN POOLS!
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There were many exciting matches at Battle for Vegas and all delivered on the hype. Kevin “Brosinex” Alvarado winning 2-0 over C9 Elliot “Ally” Carroza was a huge, hype upset. Brosinex’s Ryu definitely caught Ally off guard and led him to a game 1 comeback, followed by a dominant game 2. The crowd went wild as the hometown hero upset one of the best players in the world.

 

P1 Tweek Vs Echo Fox MVG Mk Leo was a very intense set that went down to the absolute final hit. In a game four situation Tweek’s Bayonetta aided him in a valiant comeback attempt. But ultimately he fell victim to an up throw at extremely high percent after whiffing a grab attempt. Tweek got knocked out at 5th place but put up a heck of a fight. Another thing to highlight is how we can without a doubt call Tweek the best Bayonetta, as he consistently beats other Bayonetta’s in the ditto. Tweek showed some true innovation with some slick new combos we rarely see from other Bayonetta’s.

Grand Finals

The thrilling conclusion to a stacked tournament!
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The Grand Finals stage was set with NRG Nairo taking on Echo Fox MVG Mk Leo. Nairo was seemingly unstoppable all weekend taking out all foes in his path, not losing a single set. He did so while taking out some of the best Bayonetta players in the process. Very impressive to see him consistently beating the games best character.

 

Mk Leo made an impressive losers bracket run after losing to Nairo in winners semis. This Set had a very big fight feel to it but didn’t last too long. Nairo didn’t necessarily dominate the set, but he applied non-stop pressure to Leo throughout. He had an answer for everything Leo could throw at him and never took his foot off the gas. Every time Leo got a slight lead, Nairo quickly answered with a ladder combo to end Leo’s stock.

Even after switching to Bayonetta Leo couldn’t overcome the peoples champ. In what was a bit of poetic justice. Nairo ended the set by taking a couple of extremely early stocks off of ladder combos to decisively win 3-0. NRG Nairo was consistent all weekend and pummeled the competition to another huge tournament win, adding to his #1 spot case.

Lastly lets looks at a few highlights from the tournament. First off NRG Nairo is REAL, just as real as predicted earlier in the season. Nairo is so consistent and definitely getting better each day. Next, Tweek is definitely the best Bayonetta. In a meta where more and more players are picking up the character, Tweek shines. He dominates the ditto (most of the time) and continues to innovate with the character. Lastly the Bayonetta “problem” is changing up a bit. Although more people are picking her up, players are adapting and finding ways to beat her. The meta is changing with every tournament, and it looks like we’re in for a very interesting rest of the season.

Did you catch Battle for Vegas on stream? What did you think? Let us know In the comments below!

 

Featured image courtesy of twitter.

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Smash Bros. on Nintendo Switch

Nintendo announces invitational tournament for Smash Bros. on Switch

On the morning of March 22, Nintendo Versus confirmed on Twitter that Splatoon 2 and the upcoming Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch will be featured in tournaments at this year’s E3. Specifically, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch will be featured via the Super Smash Bros. Invitational 2018. This event will take place on June 11-12 and will be streamed on Nintendo’s official YouTube and Twitch channels.

Super Smash Bros. Invitational 2018 Banner

Nintendo will be hosting the second Super Smash Bros. Invitational Tournament on June 11-12. Image: Nintendo Versus

The last two weeks or so have been ineffably exciting for every fan of Super Smash Bros. The announcement of any new Smash game, and the pre-release hype that comes along with it, is something special. It’s an event in and of itself. Since Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch was confirmed via Nintendo Direct on March 8, fans have already been discussing and speculating what this new entry will bring to the table.

The announcement of this upcoming Invitational tournament brings with it a lot of excitement for fans, both in and out of the competitive Smash Bros. community. But what exactly can we expect from this tournament? And why should competitive players be especially excited for this upcoming event? Let’s talk about it.

The Invitational’s Precedent

Gonzalo "ZeRo" Barrios and Reggie Fils-Aime holding 2014 Invitational Trophy.

Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime (left) presented the trophy for the 2014 Invitational to Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios (right). This was Barrios’ first of many tournament victories. Image: YouTube

The previous invitational tournament for Super Smash Bros. was held on June 10, 2014. The tournament featured sixteen selected participants from the competitive Smash Bros. community. The tournament was held as a means of promoting and showcasing the then-upcoming Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

So why bring this event back for the newest entry in Super Smash Bros.? Quite simply, 2014’s invitational did a phenomenal job at getting the casual and competitive Smash communities excited for the new release. Simply seeing the game in action and being played by very skilled players gave viewers around the world a sizable taste of what to expect in Smash 4. With selected commentators and players from the competitive community, in addition to the guest appearance of beloved series director, Masahiro Sakurai, the 2014 Super Smash Bros. Invitational was something to remember.

The tournament, while not closely following traditionally competitive rules for the sake of showing off the game’s features (such as stages, items, etc.), was a resounding success for Nintendo. Over 3,000 attendees were in the audience, and hundreds of thousands watched the event online.

What can we expect with this year’s invitational?

What makes this upcoming invitational tournament different from the one that we saw in 2014 concerns what we know about the game going into the tournament. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS were announced at E3 2013, giving Smash fans an entire year of information about the game. By the time of the 2014 invitational tournament, most people had a palpable idea of what Smash 4 was going to be like.

Thousands in attendance at the 2014 Invitational tournament.

The 2014 Super Smash Bros. Invitational tournament was a resounding success. Will this year’s be greater, given that we know very little about Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch? Image: YouTube

As of writing, there isn’t much that Nintendo has unveiled about Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch. The teaser trailer that Nintendo released on March 8 only reveals that Inklings will be in the game, a number of veterans appear to be returning, and that the game is scheduled for a 2018 release. Outside of that, Nintendo is being very secretive about this new entry. And it will likely stay that way until this upcoming tournament.

Unlike the tournament that we saw in 2014, the 2018 Super Smash Bros. Invitational Tournament can serve as Nintendo’s big blowout of what Smash Bros. on Switch will be. This tournament can serve as Nintendo’s method of showing off the game’s new content, some new characters and stages, and so on. And Nintendo officially unveiling so much content in front a stadium with thousands of attendees may lead to an infectiously exciting event, that all Smash fans should be eagerly anticipating.

A Competitive Edge

Similar to the 2014 event, this upcoming tournament will likely refuse to conform to conventional tournament rules (such as no items, non-intrusive stages, etc.) for the sake of showing off the game’s full range of content. In that sense, we shouldn’t expect this event’s focus to be exclusively on competitive players. That said, Nintendo may apply a different strategy than they did in 2014.

Last year, Nintendo launched the Nintendo Versus Twitter account, which has focused on announcing and highlighting tournaments for Smash 4, Splatoon 2, and ARMS. Recently, we’ve also seen Nintendo host tournaments more often. Nintendo has been pushing their games to be played competitively, most recently with the ARMS US and Canada Open. Can we expect Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch to serve as an opportunity for Nintendo to create a greater relationship with the competitive Smash community? It’s certainly possible, and the 2018 Super Smash Bros. Invitational Tournament could very well give a definitive answer to that question.

In any instance, this upcoming event is one that many should keep their eyes on. What would you like to see at this year’s invitational? Would you like to see Nintendo hold more of these? And do you think Nintendo will reveal any more information on Smash for Nintendo Switch prior to the event. As always, join the conversation and let us know!

 


 

Featured image courtesy of Nintendo via Nintendo Direct.

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Let’s talk about cloud in doubles

We’ve talked a lot about the Smash 4 meta when it comes to singles competition, but not much about doubles. Doubles play is a pretty big part of every tournament, even though it does take a backseat to singles. As a spectator, it’s very interesting to see what character combinations players use to compete against one another. But recently, we haven’t seen much of that in Smash 4 doubles, and one character may be to blame. Cloud absolutely dominates the doubles scene and has been the center of a lot of controversy lately. Many think he should be banned from use in doubles play to mitigate his prevalence in the meta. But, is this the best option?

How good is he?

One of the biggest problems people have with cloud in doubles is that he takes the fun out of watching the event, here’s why. Cloud is such a good pick in doubles play because his options and skillset increase drastically when he has a teammate.

This chart shows how many characters have won a major doubles tournament since 2016 and cloud wins by a landslide
Reddit

One of clouds most powerful tools is his limit mechanic. Cloud charges his limit meter, and when full his specials become deadly. In a singles match you can stop cloud from charging his limit much easier. But with a teammate he can get limit much easier because he has a teammate to run to the front lines and protect him. Another big problem is just how good clouds normals and aerials are. Clouds large sword and disjointed aerials allow him to handle two players at once much easier than any other character.

Because of this he can be almost impossible to deal with if his teammate can set him up for follow-ups properly. There are other reasons like his crazy good juggling ability and his sword just being tough to deal with, but it all ties into him being great in doubles. Now this wouldn’t be a big problem if only a few players played cloud, but this isn’t the case. Cloud is such a stellar character in doubles that just about every team has at least one. which is where the biggest problem comes in.

Not fun to watch

Doubles usually isn’t the highlight of any tournament, garnering far less viewership than singles competition. Smash 4 is entering its fourth year since release, so naturally viewership isn’t as high as in the past.

Double cloud is a deadly team combo
Amino apps

However doubles seems to be getting less attention every tournament and cloud is a big reason for it. With cloud being such a viable pick in doubles, you’re almost guaranteed to lose if you don’t have one on your team. One team that really brought this to light was the team of 2ggc Komorikiri and Echo fox MVG MK Leo. This duo dominated doubles almost every tournament not just because they’re 2 of the best in the game; but also because they both use cloud.

With more and more teams using cloud, it’s a rarity to see a doubles team without him. Cloud is obliterating the competition in doubles by a mile. Almost every tournament in the past year had a team with a cloud player winning it all. This is very problematic for a few reasons. If Teams with cloud always win, it changes the meta, it forces players to use the character just to be able to compete. If every team is using cloud, the fun in watching the event goes away. There are teams who pick different characters and mix things up, but they’re almost always beaten by a team with cloud. This has been hurting viewership and has brought up the discussion of a ban.

Should he be banned?

Banning a character in any game isn’t something that just happens overnight, it takes time and consideration. One big factor of considering a ban is how the character in question affects the meta. Back in the brawl days meta knight was banned in some tournaments because he was harming the game’s meta (no pun intended).

Cloud in doubles is a problem, but is it a ban-worthy problem?
Youtube

Meta Knight was so good that players would just choose to play him just to stand a chance. So almost everyone was playing only one character every tournament. One of the most iconic moments in brawl history when Nairo beat zero at apex 2014, was a Meta Knight ditto. Things like this shape the meta around a single character which is very harmful to a competitive game.

It also hurts viewership because people get tired of seeing the same characters being used in every tournament. Crowds go wild when a seldom used low tier character shines on the big stage, because it’s so fresh and exciting. Another thing to consider for a ban is how the community will react. Another option is to ban double cloud, because that combination is simply too much to reasonably deal with, without picking cloud yourself. Cloud is a very prevalent character and outright banning him will definitely rub people the wrong way. banning a character also makes a game look bad to outside communities. It makes people think your community can’t properly handle an overpowered character and just act rashly. so what should be done?

Solutions

I think having one “test tournament where cloud is banned in doubles would do the community a lot of good. Being able to see how the community reacts in a controlled environment would be very good in my opinion, and would certainly ruffle less feathers. Banning him outright is not the right move, and even though it’s much easier to do nothing, for fear of upsetting lovers of the character; we as a community have to respond. Smash Switch is right around the corner, and it’d be a shame for the same problems to plague the new game.

 

What do you think about Cloud in doubles? Should he be banned? Let us know down in the comments below!

Featured image courtesy of Dualshockers.

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From our Haus to yours.