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Published September 10, 2018

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 DJ Nintendo’s Twitter; will take down if requested.

In standard earth-shattering fashion, Hungrybox won DreamHack Montreal 2018 on Sunday, not dropping a single game. Though the event wasn’t as stacked as initially planned, it still had many of Canada’s best players and internationally renowned competitors.

The weekend also featured other regionals. Plup won Florida’s Unrivaled XI, while Slox won GIGA HoG in Connecticut. At Michigan’s Here Be Mid Tiers 3, local Ice Climbers Quang won, taking two sets from KJH in the process. The last week of Smash also involved heavy community discourse surrounding the safety of tournament attendees, due to the recent ban on longtime Ganondorf Eikelmann, who had documented cases of assault and abuse.

1. La Luna’s Losers Run & Other DreamHack Takeaways

2018 has been a year of ups and downs for La Luna. Referred to as “Marth Westballz” by my fellow Melee Stats member Ambisinister, La Luna has been among the most high variance players in Melee; and that’s especially been true in a year where he’s gone from defeating Westballz to losing to Stockholm Syndrome.

But following a 3-1 loss to Ryan Ford in winner’s quarters, La Luna took off. In loser’s bracket, he blew by Falco (a power ranked Montreal Falco), Trulliam, HugS, Moky and n0ne to eventually finish in second. His game count during this stretch: 15-2. The only one of his top eight sets I wouldn’t recommend watching is the set against Moky, which is every Fox player’s worst fear embodied in three matches. I’ll spare the details.

Despite this, Moky added yet another strong tournament to his 2018 resume. Though he finished a ghastly 129th at Evo and was inches away from upsetting Shroomed at Shine, Moky had quite the return to form in Montreal, defeating 2saint and Ryan Ford. Moky finished within the Top 50 of the summer’s MPGR, so with another strong showing, he could perhaps make it to Top 40 or higher.

DreamHack wasn’t all good news for its Canadians. Kage finished an underwhelming 17th at the event, which added to yet another loss to add to the lengthy column of L’s that Ganondorf players had to take over the last week. The two players who sent him to loser’s, Buckee TheBortBusDriver (a 2017 SSBMRank Hidden Boss) and Montreal No. 3 Lunar Dusk, ended up finishing ninth, alongside fellow Canadian talents Legend and Falco.

Ontario Marth Nightmare ended up finishing only 13th at the event, but was reportedly only allowed to play under the condition that he wouldn’t be shown on stream. This brings me to my next point.

2. DreamHack, what are you doing?

If this is true, is this the most baffling decision a tournament organizer has ever made regarding a players ability to enter a tournament? Not quite outright indifferent nor actually doing anything to protect tournament attendees, DreamHack somehow managed to reach an unsatisfying middle ground, both enabling a potential predator, but still valuing optics enough to where it doesn’t want to associate with him.

During the event, many of my friends told me that were it not for the financial benefits that would go to Nightmare, they would be rooting for his success, just so that DreamHack would have to find a way to deal with him during singles top eight. Speaking of which, what exactly was its plan if he made it that far? Allow him on stream? Play his matches off stream, as it did when he made top eight in doubles?

If that’s the case, what about other attendees? Could they theoretically refuse to play against him?

There’s so much wrong with this decision. Either allow him at the event and state that you value your moral judgment over your community’s feelings of safety, or ban him. I’m fed up with this wishy washy bullshit.

3. Jumbled Thoughts From The No Good, Very Bad Week For Smash

Let’s make something clear: cases surrounding players like Eikelmann, Nightmare and Mafia are not a new concern. Last year, Weon-X was banned from events in his region for being an abusive partner. Vidjogamer has a history of abuse and shady behavior around women in the scene. The list goes on.

I’d be willing to bet a large sum of money that there are several more publicly unknown cases of notable community members who have abused other smashers. Several research and studies have shown that experiences like sexual assault are typically under-reported; and for a scene that just half a decade ago used to casually say the word “rape” in its vernacular, you’d be naive to think this isn’t the case. I’m dreading the inevitable anti-feminist backlash and nitpicking of this point, but for argument’s sake, stick with me here.

Women, along with victims of assault, abuse, sexual violence and more should be enraged at how issues like these are discussed within our scene.  For instance, take the Mafia case within New England. In my experience, when people discuss it, it’s typically positioned around his ability to play a video game, and it’s not beneficial to the victim.  Rather than just asking ourselves if offenders can be rehabilitated, we need to seriously consider how we help victims of assault and concern ourselves with their safety, not romanticize redemption for wrongdoers.

Alex “The Party” Wallace appeared on the Save Melee Committee podcast last weekend and discussed more of the problems inherent with the above, also mentioning the implicit question that comes up in a related topic , “does everyone have a right to compete in Melee?”

I highly recommend watching this episode, due to her talking about the issue in a far more nuanced, meaningful and insightful manner than I ever could. Her answer is a definite no, as is mine.

I don’t know what else there is to say, other than that the serious issues I briefly mentioned above are not “drama.” They’re symptoms of a problem that still plagues Smash today; and we are a long way from finding a solution. If the broader cultural shift over the last year, regarding exposing sexual assault, harassment and discrimination within gaming, media, entertainment and other industries, has shown anything, it’s that this is an ongoing conversation that requires listening to the people it affects, protecting them and holding abusers accountable.

4. Monday Morning Mailbag:

Summit 7 is coming up, who are some players you would like to see be voted in to Summit? – Marcurial

There’s so many players I’d love to see come into Summit for novelty and entertainment reasons, but also a lot of hidden talents that could benefit from competing against top players. Here’s my quick six, assuming that PPMD, Druggedfox and Crush are off the table. I’m also going to assume that Summit will automatically invite the Big Six, Zain and Wizzrobe.

  • aMSa: I considered not including him because I detest watching matches with Yoshi, but it felt wrong.
  • Axe: See above, but with Pikachu.
  • Westballz: He’s a really fun personality and I’d love to see a Mango-Westballz set.  Also, it would be nice to see him shut everyone up with a good performance.
  • iBDW: A fellow Northeast player? Check. Strong personal matchup chart? Check, except maybe against Ice Climbers. Young? Check. And he plays Fox? I’m sold.
  • Rishi: He plays Marth.
  • Jerry: Every Summit needs a hero.

For rankings purposes, how do you value a loss to ChuDat? Officially, he may not be top 50, but his performance against Hbox, Hugs, etc feels atypical for a sub-T50 player.-  JoseElEntrenador

Even during his last year or so of underwhelming performances, is there any doubt that if we see ChuDat vs. HugS or ChuDat vs. Mew2King in bracket, we’re worried for his opponents (or thrilled for ChuDat)? I think it depends on who plays against him, but who knows?  At this point, he’s basically a sleeping giant, right?

I’m not going to necessarily say people who lose to him are washed, but I’m also not leaping out of my seat if he has a performance like Shine. ChuDat is just an anomaly within Melee; a player who can both take Hungrybox to the brink, but also lose to 42nd in the same month. A set against him simultaneously means everything and nothing.

What, if any, matchup(s) between two top ~30ish players has not happened recently that you would like to see the most at a big tournament? – johnny_mcd

There’s too many of these to list all of them – some that go beyond Top 30, but I’ll try my best.

  • Junebug vs. PewPewU – or any Marth on the planet.
  • Rishi vs. Armada.
  • Westballz vs. Axe.
  • Zain vs. aMSa (I don’t think this will be close, but I’m curious to see how Zain approaches this).
  • Anything involving PPMD, Druggedfox or Crush.

 

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