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 NotifyEsports’ Twitter – will take down, if requested.
So far, July has felt mild, with August looking like the premier month for nationals, but regardless, there were still notable events that happened last weekend. MDVA Peach lloD won SoCal’s Even Bigger Balc. Over in Spain, Germany’s Ice won Superbou 2, defeating Trifasia, ChuDat and Professor Pro consecutively to win the event. On Saturday, the Texas Jigglypuff Aperture, who somehow was allowed to compete, won the Philly Melee Arcadian, while Slox won Mass Madness 21 in New England.
1. lloD Conquers SoCal
The MDVA Peach finished 2017 as one of the year’s players unquestionably trending upward. He struggled with consistency issues for the first quarter of the year, but at Bigger Balc, we saw lloD at his finest.
AHHHHHHHHH I WON MELEE AT EVEN BIGGER BALC DJSNFIRIWJWNSOANABQUFJTOWOWJEHEIEKW
— lloD @ EBB (@lloD74) July 9, 2018
I don’t know about Peach enough to say for sure, but against S2J, who has years of practice in the matchup and infamously blew a 2-0 lead against Armada last year, lloD showed quite a bit of expertise in against Captain Falcon. Of note was how he could catch Falcon’s jump and actually engage with S2J at mid to close ranges, which is no easy feat.
lloD also played excellently against SFAT, three-stocking the NorCal Fox to close their set in convincing fashion. The other opponent he sent to losers, however, deserves a segment of his own.
2. Is 2018 the year of Faceroll?
For the longest time, I thought Captain Faceroll was a relatively one-trick pony, known for grinding out tournaments and being the new-school tech chaser. As it turns out, that’s actually not true at all; he is one of the most exciting players to watch today.
While he does boast a strong tech chase game, Faceroll’s option coverage with Sheik is actually extremely creative. One thing I’ve noticed he’s especially strong with using Sheik’s other moves, like her tilts and soft aerials, to extend combos, sometimes in scramble situations that don’t have a clear answer. I feel like Faceroll often gets thrown into the “tech chase” category of Sheik players, but his play actually reminds me of KirbyKaze, one of the few Sheik mains historically proficient in the Fox matchup.
Faceroll’s fourth place at EBB, which included wins on HugS and La Luna, only added to his strong 2018. Though he had an underwhelming showing at Full Bloom 4 (33rd, losing to Kalamazhu and Lucky), Faceroll’s excellent 13th at Flatiron 4 came from defeating Slox and S2J. Defeating Ryobeat, FatGoku and 2Saint were also impressive for him during his 25th placing at Genesis 5.
He’s not perfect – Faceroll has room to work on the Peach matchup and his career records against the top tier of SoCal are still very negative – but if you see him take down your favorite Marth or spacie in Top 32 of a national, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
3. Ice is Nice
Save for a glimpse of potential from his 13th at GOML 2018, Ice has been mostly quiet this year. He gained a Red Bull sponsorship and has talked publicly about wanting to take competition more seriously after injuries derailed him for the second half of last year, but he’s also had a clear drop off in play.
Heading into Superbou 2, Trif had likely already passed him for the No. 3 spot in Europe. With Amsah defeating Ice at Awakening 2018, I wasn’t sure what to make of the German legend.
But boy, was I wrong to doubt him. Ice beat not just Trif in winner’s semifinals in convincing fashion, but also ChuDat, for whatever that’s worth now, and swept Professor Pro, who himself had a nice run to grand finals after wins over Trif, Overtriforce and ChuDat.
I didn’t notice anything particularly different about Ice’s play than in the past, but winning a tournament featuring Europe’s second tier of talent is a promising sign for his progress. At the very least, I can safely say there is no player in the world who thoroughly disrespects his opponent in as satisfying of a fashion as Ice does when he plays.
4. A Word From the Progenitor of FendrickLamar vs. Scar
Progenitor might be a strong word, but screw it – this beef wouldn’t have blown up without me. For context, I asked the “who would win” question during a segment of the Melee Stats Podcast where I ask the fellow hosts and guests on the show a series of rapid fire “hot take” questions.
Given that I knew Fendy was going to be our special guest on the show, I figured I’d ask him, a well-known confident and charismatic public figure, a lighthearted question on if he would defeat another community figure in a best-of-five. I chose Scar because he had lighthearted banter on an episode of the Reads, specifically referring to Fendy in blatantly over-the-top and clearly joking manner.
Unsurprisingly, Fendy’s response blew up, though a lot more than I initially thought it would. Scar even released a video that if it were accurate could have been titled: “The People’s Champ Backs Down,” but still gained a ton of support from his fans.
So, who’s my money on if a money match were to have ever actually occurred? I think Fendy is unquestionably the better player right now. Even Scar would admit it. Denying that Fendy is the favorite would be borderline delusion.
However, on the big stage in an exhibition match, and in a high variance matchup like Marth vs. Captain Falcon, Scar has a puncher’s chance, especially if he had time to prepare. And quite honestly? I think it could be good for our scene.
Fendy and Scar – both of you guys have big enough egos to where I know you’re reading this right now. So here’s my proposal that I believe can settle this, er, “dispute.”
1. A planned first-to-five on the Friday evening of a major.
2. Rather than each of them putting their money on the line against each other, each person should have a charity they represent or have raised a certain amount of money for. Perhaps the two could play at Smash The Record, if it’s happening this year?
3. Market the match as a battle between two different voices of the Melee community: the people (Scar) vs. esports (Fendy). Not sure how to flesh this out, but I’m sure it could work.
If any of my readers have ideas for how to make this a reality, let me know!
What I like:
- Ice’s two zero-to-deaths to close out his set against Trif.
- Ranking season approaching!
- The first ever Melee Stats Patron: Stoc$! Shoutout to a good friend of mine and supporter.
What I dislike:
- July feeling relatively dry in terms of Smash tournaments, compared to years of the past.
- The scorching hot weather outside, even in the Northeast.
- Not Smash related, but why would the Lakers sign Rajon Rondo after picking up LeBron James? This is like Team Liquid signing Triple R to be Hungrybox’s new doubles partner.