Two months after his Genesis 6 victory, Hungrybox came out on top at Pound 2019, where he overcame an early loss to Mango to defeat S2J, Zain, Plup and Mango twice to win the major. It marks yet another first place finish for Hungrybox, who has won every single Melee event since placing second at last August’s Shine.
Hungrybox’s success was met by a bit of controversy in which a member of the crowd threw a crab at the Pound champion. The tournament’s organizers subsequently banned the harasser from the venue. There’s yet to be a national-level decision on his status for events, though Nintendude wrote online that he would not allow the crabthrower in question at his tournaments any more.
The person who threw the crab has been identified and he will not be welcome at any future events that I'm TOing. Really unfortunate that such a good top-8 was marred by this incident.
— Michael Brancato (@NintendudeSSB) April 22, 2019
Following up on this ridiculous situation with the most awkward transition of all time, in other news, Fiction won NorCal’s nJoycon over Spark and ARMY. Over in France, Trif took home the gold at HFLAN over Ice, who made his first appearance at a larger European event in months. And in Champaign, Illinois, Prince Abu won House of Paign 21.
1. Quick Pound Takeaways
- In what world could anyone have ever predicted that the story of Pound 2019 would involve a damn crab being thrown on stage?
- Hungrybox’s loser’s run had him tear through three of his hardest opponents. This is probably just under his The Big House 7 run in terms of impressiveness.
- Mango’s set against Plup and the winner’s set against Hungrybox featured some of the best play I’ve seen from his Fox in a year. Although he ran out of energy in grand finals, its first set was quite doable. The ending might be disappointing for Mango fans, but this is overall quite encouraging. I expect to see more of Mango’s Fox on championship Sunday, and his Falco before top eight.
- And to think; Zain was one stock away from going up 2-0 on Hungrybox.
- One of the funniest storylines of the event: figuring out who was going to take Leffen’s spot in his bracket. It led to wacky scenarios like Kaeon vs. Chu in the winner’s round of sixteen.
- One crazy run came from Amida, the inactive formerly ranked Kentucky Jigglypuff. He had the major run of his life, in which he earned wins over 42nd and HTwa.
- Cool Lime too had a pretty great loser’s run in which he notably took 2Saint’s soul, leading the New York Puff to switch to Fox game four and start playing with one hand while on extreme tilt during his last stock.
- One other funny, though sad note: Gahtzu bodying the entire Marth clan under Zain (PPU/La Luna/Kalvar) in a row for loser’s bracket.
- I’d like to give a huge shoutout to Vickram for having the luckiest day of his life and winning all three Melee sidebets we made with each other. It left me with 25 fewer dollars.
- One really quick thing I want to ask: can anyone find a video of ChuDat being four-stocked in tournament? To my knowledge, it has never happened, but this is such a strange statistic I thought about while watching him at Pound, and I’m not sure if it’s true or not.
2. Edwin Attends: Pound 2019!
At first, my weekend was looking pretty bad. My late night flight was delayed even further, leading me to cancel and schedule a train in which I’d reach Baltimore in the early morning.
After the long train ride, I immediately cabbed to my hotel, grabbed breakfast with a smasher I was rooming with, and passed out. I sincerely apologize to Nintendude and the Pound TOs for request a pool change and then not showing up to my pool, but I needed the sleep. It happens – and I’m probably never going to travel to another three-day major if I don’t take that Friday off again. It’s just not worth risking delays that are out of my control.
I hadn’t been to the venue since Pound: Underground, so I felt pretty impressed with how remodeled and larger a lot of it felt. It easily fit all the attendants and despite the initial stuffiness of the main venue near the stage, I found that the main friendlies area could seat a good amount of people.
I know I’ve been really preachy to tournament series about this, but TOs: I cannot emphasize the importance of friendlies enough. It really makes or breaks the Day 2 experience. The lack of friendly setups at Pound, let alone no implementation of a ladder, amateur bracket, or even some kind of friendlies matchmaking system, should not be shrugged away as inevitable problems for larger events. I know it seems like I say this for every tournament I go to, but it’s also just true.
I also have to say that the location for Pound is really underwhelming if you don’t have a car. As a result, I cannot really imagine that too many players – specifically those who aren’t from the Mid-Atlantic or carpooling from elsewhere on the East Coast – would return for another iteration. There is very little in the area to do within reasonable walking distance, and given the tournament’s lack of setups, it really stood out as a flaw that much more.
Now were there awesome sets to watch? Yes – and I’d like to mention the following in particular, for non-top eight sets.
- Slox vs. Jerry. It’s not a classic Leffen-style bodybag of a Fox ditto, but the way Slox completely shuts down everything Jerry does is pretty remarkable, especially given Jerry being fresh off wins over Lucky and KJH.
- Mango vs. Axe/KJH. On the 4 Stock Podcast before the event, I mentioned that I thought Mango could be in danger against some of the people in his path. It turns out these two nearly beat him.
- Tiramisu vs. Zealous5000. Every region has “that Fox player” who destroys Marth. Tiramisu is New England’s version of that. I don’t believe this set was recorded, but if it was, it’s worth a look.
As for Top 8 itself, the first half was excellent, while the second half’s “highlight” involved a literal crab being thrown at Hungrybox. By the way, this should go without saying, and I hate that I am somewhat obligated state it outright: please don’t throw shit at players on stage. I think the crab situation might honestly be the most stupid out-of-game controversy I’ve seen at a major top eight ever, and it was the only thing that I think which could have made the end of top eight even more deflating.
Regardless, while I’m pretty uncertain on if I’d attend a hypothetical Pound 2020, I’m glad I came. For the future, I strongly recommend that the TOs to consider a venue shift for the future, or at least if they stay in the same location, offer way more setups. Thank you to the TOs for running the event!
3. National Attendance Thoughts
One of the really fun things about Melee is getting to travel out of region to larger events. Since graduating college in 2016, I’ve not only gone to Atlantic City, but also Las Vegas, Oakland, Detroit, Philadelphia, and now Laurel, Maryland for Smash-related activities. I don’t regret any of my trips and am grateful for meeting new people, as well as talking to those who encourage and support all my work.
Currently, the only upcoming event I’m basically guaranteed to attend is Shine 2019, but depending on how the process for printing physical editions of my book goes, I might be running a panel about Melee history at CEO 2019. I also am hoping to attend The Big House 9. That said, my life is at a really weird crossroads where my professional career and personal hobby growth have stagnated. I’ll have to prioritize one over the other moving forward, or at least rethink how I currently portion my time.
Either way, this column will still be here each week! Thanks as always for reading and supporting my work.