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 ARMY’s Twitter – will take down, if requested.
In the weekend before CEO, Melee still saw quite a few noteworthy tournaments. At Esports Arizona, in the June edition of the Battle series, the SoCal Ice Climbers ARMY ended up winning, with Axe finishing only fifth, his worst placing at an Arizona tournament in a while. Wizzrobe won Clash Tournament’s Smashadelphia 2018, while Slox came out on top at the 2018 New England Invitational. Elsewhere, Hungrybox breezed through Overlords of Orlando 3, while Ryobeat took Nebulous, Pioneers Edition (a bar tournament that featured quite a bit of Tristate).
1. Finally, Dart! vs. Ice
Last weekend, we saw the longtime Midwest hidden boss face off against the German legend in grand finals at TSVO SSBM Cup 2, despite Dart! being sent to losers early.
Ice is amazing. Feels good to push someone of his caliber. Can't wait to do battle with him again! Won 100€ + a 50€ gift card in a raffle. This tournament was so fun, I love the German scene these guys are so awesome. 😎🇺🇸🇩🇪🎮
— Josh Nienhueser (@Dart_JTN) June 23, 2018
You know, smashers haven’t really seen that much of Ice this year, but sometimes it’s easy to forget how good he is. To be fair, Dart! wasn’t playing too well, but Ice nonetheless whooped him to the tune of a JV3, three-stock and two-stock. It’ll be interesting to see these two play more.
However, watching their set this weekend, as well as watching AbsentPage and Medz beat La Luna at Esports Arizona, made me irrationally upset, to the point where I needed to get something off my chest.
2. A Plea To All Marths
Stop avoiding Final Destination against Fox. There are so many reasons why going Yoshi’s, Fountain of Dreams, Battlefield or any of the other stages is sub optimal, but let’s start with the most obvious one: Fox players hate FD against Marth.
Can you imagine being a marth main and having a 7-3 stage vs fox and convincing yourself it was acceptable to not practice on it because “you aren’t an FD marth”
— Eryk (@Ambisinister_) June 24, 2018
The take above is a little hyperbolic, but if you think matchup ratios should reflect results at the highest level it’s actually not that far off. In Mew2King and Leffen’s last ten games on the stage against each other, the record is, you guessed it, 7-3 in Mew2King’s favor. This is obviously not proof that the matchup is inherently 7-3 (otherwise, Jigglypuff would be the best character in the game), but it’s a good indicator that this specific stage is likely and significantly Marth favored.
In Dart! and La Luna’s cases, you might argue that avoiding Final Destination might have made sense. AbsentPage, Ice and Medz have capable secondaries (Sheik/Marth, Sheik/Marth, Marth), which could understandably scare off Marth players, who might not want to risk any chance of a pace change and would rather keep playing on stages that they see their opponent more likely to stay Fox on.
Simultaneously, doesn’t the same logic apply for any stage? You’d be hard pressed to argue that Sheik holds a noteworthy advantage against Marth on FD than on any other stage. Furthermore, the pace/character argument doesn’t make too much sense either, as the Marth player would still be at a counterpick or set disadvantage. The reasons just don’t add up.
In addition to the obvious buff in punish game that Marth receives on FD, it’s also far easier to edgeguard Fox, which I think is the bigger factor in why Marths should always go here. Moreover, there are so many more ranges and positions that are additionally favorable for Marth, due to the ground game being emphasized.
Is FD a guaranteed win? Probably not. It’s still high variance enough to where Fox can certainly convert really hard off his openings. But none of this should change the obvious fact that this stage is by far Marth’s best counterpick against Fox.
Step it up, Marths.
3. Scattered Thoughts from Esports Arizona
Man – ARMY is such an impressive player. I remember hearing about his rise in SoCal and thinking that he was just another wobbler (much like I admittedly do for any Ice Climbers player). Upon seeing his improvement over the last year, particularly the beginning of this year, when he started taking more local sets from many of SoCal’s best, I had to give him credit. Nonetheless, I was still cautiously skeptical.
Upon watching him play more, I’m increasingly impressed by his strong fundamentals. In a swift change of fate from their heartbreaker set at The Big House 7, in which Axe reverse 3-0’d him, ARMY destroyed Axe at Esports Arizona, sweeping him with relative ease. Throughout the set, you could see Axe noticeably play on tilt from getting read so hard, like at the start of one of their games, when ARMY chased him down onto the top platform within seconds and insta-wobbled him. Props to ARMY for also defeating AbsentPage and MikeHaze at the same event.
Speaking of those two Fox players, how about Medz? He’s consistently a perennial “this guy is really good, but doesn’t go to much outside his region” player, one who I swear by watching him play is Top 50, but probably doesn’t have the results to back it up. I wasn’t even too surprised that he eliminated Axe and La Luna from the event – he’s taken sets from the two of them before.
There are two traits that stand out to me about Medz: his speed and his strangely proficient recovery game. I’d imagine both come from playing with Axe for so long, but if you watch him play another set, be sure to look out for them.
4. Smashadelphia: The Most Wack Top 8 Ever
By Top 6, its fate was clear. Stango and Bones, both of Philadelphia Melee’s last defenders were out at 7th from the tournament. But the two weren’t just defending Philadelphia – they were defending any chance of me watching and enjoying this event.
I can’t front. I looked at top 6 and saw Wizzrobe vs. lloD in winner’s finals, with Junebug, Juicebox, Milhous and Drephen in loser’s bracket. Never have I nope’d out of watching a tournament so quickly (although winner’s semifinals between Drephen and Wizzrobe was great for four games).
Seriously. Five Sheiks and a Peach.
That’s right, this entire segment was a build up to a joke about Wizzrobe.
I’m done here.
What I Like:
- CEO coming up this weekend!
- An excellent report on Melee and video games as a whole from PBS
- The Melee Stats Podcast is finally available on iTunes!
What I Don’t Like:
- Smasher stink dominating public Smash discourse yet again
- Supporting arduino use at tournaments without UCF
- Not Smash related, but what the hell was that Westworld season finale?