This series is a tribute to standard “Monday Morning Quarterback” columns in traditional sports. In it, I discuss my quick takeaways from the last week of the smash community. Consider this a mix of news and mild takes. Featured image from NJzFinest’s Twitter – will take down, if requested.
Welcome to another edition of Monday Morning Marth. Last weekend offered a couple of Tristate tournaments won by Crush, as well as Wheat winning the Georgia Arcadian and Wizzrobe taking GHQ Regionals, despite Kels taking a set. Furthermore, the Melee community is still preparing for the next edition of Smash Summit, with Armada now in the United States for the first time in three months.
Disclaimer: This morning, Hax posted his “B0xx Manifesto.” I haven’t had enough time to review it in full detail, but if you watch the Melee Stats Podcast tomorrow night, you’ll hear more of my thoughts, along with others who are far more qualified – and less apathetic than I am – to talk about the topic.
1. La Luna’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Spring
Since his initially strong 13th place start to the year at Genesis 5, La Luna has struggled. He had consecutive runner-up showings at No Fun Allowed 2 and Esports Arizona, but it’s been downhill since then.
His 17th at EGLX was disappointing, while 25th at Full Bloom 3 left quite a bit to be desired. To make matters worse, his 9th at Noods Noods Noods: Oakland Edition and dismal 5th at Gemini last weekend only added to a season of mediocrity. These placings don’t even tell the full story.
At these four tournaments, he lost to Legend, Kalamazhu, lloD, Rocky, iBDW, AbsentPage and more. These are not bad players, but as someone ranked in 2017 SSBMRank’s Top 20, La Luna should not be losing consistently to players outside of his perceived skill range – especially Fox players ranked outside of the Top 50.
So what’s gone wrong for La Luna? It’s hard to say. From the eye test, he honestly just looks sloppier, less disciplined and distracted, a far cry from the Marth that eliminated Leffen at Evo 2017. I’m nobody to tell him what to do, but I can’t help but feel that if he spent more time at locals than he did in Mexico, he’d be performing up to his standards.
However, as one player falls, another rises.
2. AbsentPage is the Truth 2.0
In case you didn’t believe me from before, this man is the real deal. Along with a strong fourth place showing at Gemini, AbsentPage finished second at the Scarlet Classic at Rutgers University.
Last weekend, he defeated Swedish Delight, Rishi and La Luna, also taking a set off Crush in Fox dittos. Given his plethora of wins against other players (Gahtzu and lloD come to mind), these victories showcase the Minnesota prodigy’s expertise across numerous matchups.
I previously wrote that I thought AbsentPage was an easy pick for Melee’s Top 50 right now. After last weekend, I’m willing to put this guy in the top 30, if not higher. Sound ridiculous? Compare his resume with someone like Colbol. When we’re looking back at Smash Summit 6, we’ll be wondering why he didn’t get voted in.
3. Smash Summit 6 Cynicism
Is it just me or has the Summit voting process lost its luster? My friend KayB talked about this in further detail on last week’s Melee Stats podcast, but I’m starting to wonder if he’s on to something.
It might be due to exhaustion and repetition from previous editions of Smash Summit, with the amount of investment in them seemingly increasing with each edition of the tournament. Perhaps it’s the underlying dread that whomever we vote for as an underdog will ultimately be seeded to play a Big Six member and lose. That sounds defeatist at first, especially because it’s not Summit’s fault, but think about it.
Simply put, the current talent pool, while impressive, doesn’t necessarily offer rare or even upset-worthy matchups in the most likely seeding. I don’t say this to offend the qualifying players, but we’ve either seen many of these matchups before or practically know the outcome.
But who knows? According to Slime in a Reddit AMA, Beyond The Summit is using a modified Swiss format to run Smash Summit 6. I’m cautiously skeptical of how well this will work, given the fiasco behind last year’s round robin stages, but we’ll see if this could lead to more interesting matchups than ones predicted in a standard double elimination bracket. Maybe I’ll have to eat my words in a month.
4. Flatiron 3 Prop Bets
It’s hard to make a prediction for Flatiron 3 because more top players could attend. Therefore, I’ve come up with some prop bets for the event, based on who is currently attending. Take a look at them and let me know what you think, for over and under.
References to marijuana on commentary throughout Top 32 (4.2)
Taunts by Crush (6)
Number of pop offs in Top 8 (5)
East Coast players in Top 8 (3.5)
5. Where in the world is Armada (San Diego)?
I briefly mentioned this last week, but it warrants mention on its own now. Last weekend marked Armada’s return to the United States. Though he hasn’t entered a significant tournament since Genesis 5, the Swede could be making his first appearance on a tournament stream sometime this week, if not soon before Smash Summit 6.
This stretch of time is the longest span Armada has gone without entering a tournament. Intuitively, I think he’ll be fine due to the large skill gap that still exists between him and the rest of the field, but I hesitate to be confident in his chances to win a supermajor.
For reference, he’s lost his last sets against each of the top six, save for Mango. In his career, he holds positive records over all of them, but the more Armada’s gone without a major, the less relevant his past victories feel, even if he is still Melee’s greatest player of all-time. I’d still favor him over someone like Mew2King, but Leffen or Plup have been far more active.
That said, if there’s anyone that can prove any doubter wrong, it’s him. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Armada begin a seasonal stretch where he dominates everyone, but make no mistake: the former world champion of Melee has a hell of a mountain to climb.
What I like:
- Ambisinister’s new video detailing box-specific techniques
- iBDW against Marth
- Post-tourney tweets from Crush
What I don’t like:
- More UCF flat-earthing from another Marth player, or close to it
- BAN SMASH SUMMIT RAPS
- Post-tourney interviews with Crush