On Sunday, Axe won the Battle of BC 3, a two-day British Columbia regional that featured many of Melee’s best players right under the “gods.” Notoriously in the event’s top eight was its loser’s set for seventh place between Fauxhebro and Chango, in which the former forfeited the last match after a nearly three-minute period of refusing to approach Chango while behind, despite Chango’s lead and successful use of a heavily defensive style throughout the set.
In other news, the traveling Bladewise successfully won Liquid Crystal Melee over in Japan on Saturday. Similarly, Slox took first place at Quarterly Rapport 5 in New Jersey, while Professor Pro won Murked 4 The People over in London.
1. Quick Battle of BC 3 Takeaways
- Axe said after the post-tournament interview that he was more confident in his play than ever before, even stating that he finally thinks he has broken through to the “god” level. His victory shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise, but his choice of wording does make me wonder: given the state of many top players who have basically only attended Genesis or not competed in Melee at all for the year, how do you evaluate inactive players like the “gods” against people who are actively dominating the competition?
- S2J and Zain are similar players who have pretty much gone to any notable tournament every other, if not every, weekend to consistent success. How would you compare them against players like Wizzrobe or Mew2King?
- Late last year, I wrote about the interesting case of Hax, and how his records against the upper echelon level of competitors (players within the 11-30 skill range or so) were indicative of someone who was a Top 15 player, but how his consistency against the rest of the field was suspect. With a victory over SFAT coming at BoBC3, Hax already has a pretty notable resume over the last four and a half months, in which he has also beaten Swedish Delight, KJH, La Luna, Captain Smuckers, Drephen, and Rocky. Not all of these wins on their own are too surprising, and Hax still has his DQ problems (see The Script 2) and occasional early exits (see The Gang 2), but they cumulatively point toward a promising trend for his return to the top level.
- Can I confess something that might be kind of hypocritical of me (given my stance toward wobbling)? I loved watching Chango shamelessly camp Fauxhebro, even knowing that Fauxhebro was already playing at an extreme disadvantage without wobbling allowed at BoBC3. I saw a lot of people complain about Lovage and Toph’s commentary during the set, but I thought they did a phenomenal job of setting up Chango as this brick wall and villain for Fauxhebro to overcome, as well as give context to why the set was happening the way it happened. There were other gripes I had with the two (particularly Lovage’s use of “ooo” every time something significant happened on screen), but as far as the Fauxhebro-Chango set goes, I had few complaints.
- In general, campy sets are actually pretty interesting from a viewer and competitive standpoint. I’m not sure how I’d best explain it or somehow convince a reader that this is consistent with my anti-wobbling beliefs, but I think the best way I’d put it is that what Chango did isn’t so much a game-breaking tactic as much of an active decision made by a player to disengage from any potential risk and limit their opponents decisions. Wobbling is using a technique that stops your opponent from controlling their character.
- It’s not like Fauxhebro had zero chance of winning. All things considered, this set went to game five and he was only down a stock before he gave up. I think the end of this set makes it seem a lot worse than it actually was watching the two play.
- On a more positive note, if you haven’t seen MojoMonkey reverse 3-0 Eliot, go watch that, especially if you’re a fan of low tiers.
- Zain finally beat S2J!
2. The state of Melee’s top ten
If you’re a fan of a lot of Melee’s top players, it’s been a tough time. Here’s a quick recap on how each of them are doing.
Hungrybox won Genesis and is gearing up for another stretch of tournaments through the spring and summer. Armada retired and is now unsure of his future in Ultimate (which makes me wonder, what exactly is his plan if it’s not competition involved? Going full-time with streaming?). Leffen dropped out of Genesis midway through, hasn’t entered another Melee tournament and is also uncertain about his time in Ultimate.
Plup is in the middle of a break from competing in Melee. Mango had a pretty poor showing at Genesis, all expectations considered, and is already hesitant to travel to anything that doesn’t carry supermajor prestige. The same goes for Mew2King.
Zain is active, but Wizzrobe isn’t, and per his registration at different events coming up in the future like GOML, he seems to be prioritizing Ultimate over all other Smash games. Similar to Zain, Axe is still active and so is aMSa, at least when he has the opportunity to travel.
So what do you do if you’re discouraged by your favorite player not attending events or prioritizing competition ahead of their careers and health?
3. Root for the grinders!
Find new players! If you care about Melee, and not just the brands of your favorite players, don’t be upset at them for doing what they think is right. Support the people who are putting in the time to in turn support what ultimately keeps Melee alive ahead of everything else: tournaments!
I’m not saying players like Mango or Leffen don’t support the scene – the exposure they bring is fantastic for competitive Smash’s visibility even if they don’t attend as many events as some community diehards like myself would love. But if you love watching Melee events, there’s no shortage of players and personalities to root for.
When I was at Genesis and saw the last stock of Magi vs. Mango, I can sincerely tell you that I do not remember a single person in the venue expressing any semblance of disappointment that Mango lost. Magi in particular, given an extremely compelling backstory and recent circumstances, is an example of a player whom I highly recommend that people support.
Magi isn’t the only one. Take a look at a player like AbsentPage, who nearly burnt himself out on attending an ungodly amount of tournaments before coming back due to support and encouragement from his fans. Or Captain Faceroll, Fiction, iBDW and Ginger, each of whom are tourney grinders and active personalities in Melee. The list goes on.
People today don’t know it, but there was a time when the gods of today were the “new” stars, and when the inactivity of older players like Ken, Azen, Isai, PC Chris and KoreanDJ seemed to mark a low point of the scene. Change is natural for the scene; if you truly love Melee, don’t be scared.
4. Monday Morning Mailbag
“What international smash scene do you think has the most hidden talent?” – TedEmptyReturns
Mexico, free. For reference, Eddy Mexico is currently ranked No. 11 in the country. Without looking up more players, Javi, Bimbo, Aza, Valdo, .jpg, Yu and Far! particularly stand out via the eye test and results.
Based on what I’ve seen from local streams and annual Smash Factor events, they seem to specialize in the faster paced matchups way more than against floaties, but Mexico still goes pretty deep in talent. In fact, I’ll take it a step further: in an 8v8 crew battle, I think Mexico beats or outright destroys the actives of New England, New Jersey, Philadelphia, both Carolinas, Georgia, Texas, San Diego, Chicago, Northeastern Ohio, every non-Michigan Midwest state and a lot more American regions that people claim are just under elite status. Mexico would also clean house against the United Kingdom, Austria, Australia, Germany and probably still beat Japan and Sweden due to more depth.
Who do you see higher ranked by the end of the year, iBDW or Faceroll?
I like both of these players for the future, but I know you’re looking for one answer, so I’ll give one. When I jokingly asked iBDW on stream why he hadn’t defeated Hungrybox yet he told me something in chat along the lines of “give me three tries and I will.” I can’t really say how meaningful of a predictor this is, but you asked for an answer for a coin-flip question, so I’m giving you an answer based on totally arbitrary criteria.
How high will Zain’s SFAT winning streak go?
I think it will reach 16 before SFAT finally gives up and starts playing Captain Falcon or someone else. It’s looking pretty bleak.