In one of the most unpredictable regional top eights in recent memory, partially due to the DQ of Hax and the controversial ban of AbsentPage before the tournament, it was the Fight Pitt VI champion and no. 6 seed Colbol who took home the gold at Pittsburgh’s Fight Pitt 9 on Saturday. Here, he flipped the script from a potential 6-0 to a reverse 3-0 in set two of grand finals, withstanding an onslaught effort from a red hot and home-state defending Stango.
Though Stango ultimately finished in second place, his loser’s run came with additional victories over Boyd, Lucky, JakenShaken, Gahtzu, whom he also sent earlier to loser’s bracket, and Cactuar. It was among several other notable performances by Marth players at the event, which also included Kalvar sending the tournament’s no. 1 seed Lucky to loser’s bracket early and other top eight appearances by Kalvar (fifth place) and Cactuar (third place), both who also played Fox.
On the same day of Fight Pitt 9, Super Smashed Out 8 had its own surprises, with Sunn, an Ice Climbers player who was the regional’s no. 9 seed and formerly ranked in New York City, defeating Slox, Fable and lintgod to win the event over the Tristate-heavy field. Along with Sunn’s victory came a wild run to third by Fable, a ranked New Jersey Sheik main who took sets over Ryobeat, G$, Warmmer and Vortex at Super Smashed Out.
In other regional news, SFAT won Super Gator Games in NorCal, while Professor Pro won the UK’s Quartered 13.
1. A Brief History of Fight Pitt
Fight Pitt started as a Pittsburgh (PGH) Smash monthly in 2013. Most of you reading this probably weren’t around back then, but the scene had just made it back to Evo for the second time and there was no such thing as SSBMRank. The player base as a whole was much smaller, meaning that most regions had groups of 20 players or so – maybe 40 if the players were from a larger city.
At the first Fight Pitt, the nationally unknown and locally respected Sheik main SilentSwag came out on top over The Lake and about 28 other people. Half a year later, Fight Pitt II only draws 28 people, but Abate, PGH’s best player, is actually in attendance. This time, as expected, Abate bodies the field.
Around Fight Pitt III, Mango moves to the Midwest, partially as a result of being a new father, thus he’s a common sight at events within NEOH and the Pittsburgh (PGH). Keep in mind that this is late 2013 – Mew2King is still making a career off traveling for Smash events, obliterating basically every non-top tier region’s best player with Roy, and winning any tournament that has to do with Smash. With Mango guaranteed to play at Fight Pitt III, 95 people show up, and unsurprisingly one of them is Mew2King. The field stands no chance against these two, and in all three of their sets, they take turns destroying each other before Mew2King comes out on top.
The 174-entrant-strong Fight Pitt IV in the following April (2014) holds another Mew2King-Mango clash, and they go back and forth for another three sets. Because they are so much better than everyone else at the event, and also due to the event running far past its scheduled time, Duck actually ended up forfeiting his scheduled loser’s finals against Mew2King in the interest of keeping the tournament running. You can watch the grand finals below, in which Mango, Mew2King, and the two commentators – Wife and Husband – seem to be the only people in the empty venue. Seriously; if you haven’t ever seen these sets, they are a relic of 2014 Melee. This is so unimaginable for most people; that two of the game’s greatest all-time legends would be chilling at a random Midwest event, playing their matches with annoyed venue owners and police who could not give less of a shit about their “career.” Eventually, Mango takes first.
But despite a 262 people making Fight Pitt V seem like it was destined to enter national significance, Hungrybox is the sole god in attendance come November. Though Colbol takes him to the brink in a thrilling grand finals, Hungrybox still ends up in first, and the series disappears for all of 2015. Finally, by April 2016, Fight Pitt comes back with its sixth edition. Fight Pitt VI isn’t expected by anyone to be a national, but it draws 264 people, including Colbol, the previous runnerup. This time, with no Hungrybox in his way, he dominates the field, only seriously challenged by third placing Duck and dizzkidboogie, the second placer at the event and its breakout star.
The series once again disappears and returns a year later in Fight Pitt 7, rebranded both from Roman numerals and now having new leadership, with current TO Gumball and two other organizers (Bambi and Ihavesonar) also in charge. Fight Pitt 7 sees a slight dip in entrants, with a slightly disappointing 215 coming partially because of CEO Dreamland happening on the same weekend. And for the first time in the event’s history, it switches from being run over two days to becoming a one day Saturday event. Regardless, KJH beats down the still-talented, but relatively ho-hum Midwest field.
A year later in April comes Fight Pitt 8, this time with a stacked field of nationally-ranked contenders like lloD, Colbol and KJH, respective regional legends such as Drephen, AbsentPage and Santiago, as well as rising talents like Kalvar, the multi-regional Polish and Slug. Out of 215 attendees, lloD finished in first.
However, it was Saturday’s Fight Pitt 9 that might just be the most exciting Fight Pitt in its history. Given the unique nature of the regional’s history – from shifting status’ as a monthly to a potential national to an annual super regional – as well as the shifting leadership around the series and what seems to be sustained efforts to keep it alive through generations of different TOs, I’m thrilled to see where it goes from here.
Because of Fight Pitt’s location, I’ve always seen its differentiator from other regionals as being a battlegrounds of sorts between the Midwest and Northeast (New England, Tristate and mid-Atlantic regions like Philadelphia and MD/VA). For next Fight Pitt, if it happens, I have one request: 10v10 Midwest vs. Northeast crew battle.
2. The EFPR: Edwin’s Top 25 right now
Normally around this time of year, I would rile up the Melee Stats team to develop the next part of our seasonal rankings. There’s just one problem though: since Genesis 6, Melee has been in a pretty dry state. I wrote about this last week, but one of our Top 6 from 2018 doesn’t play any more, another one DQ’d out of the only significant Melee tournament he entered all year and the other three have been MIA since February. As a result, we’re not comfortable with releasing an authoritative list.
But notice the focus on “we.” Thankfully, I am far more shameless and willing to make an ass out of myself if I’m wrong, so without further adieu, here’s the occasional addition of EFPR: the Edwin “Feels” Power Ranking: a completely non-statistics, gut call, hot take based, recency-biased, Top 25.
- Captain Faceroll
You’ll notice that I chose to exclude Wizzrobe, and this is because I don’t believe he’s given any indication for me to count him as an active player right now. Based on his stream and current registration for events, he seems to be all-in on prioritizing Ultimate ahead of the other Smash games. I’ve also chosen to exclude players like lloD and n0ne, due to them not entering notable tournaments all year, as well as any players who have outright quit, left the scene or have seen recent dips in performances at what little they’ve attended.
3. Monday Morning Mailbag:
Did you find it frustrating that the negative part of BoBC3 (the IC’s puff shenanigans) dominated the discussion about the tournament and generally overshadowed the awesome top 8 and Axe’s run? – thegrooseisloose18
Thoughts on Hax’s current trajectory? Where do you see him ending up on the 2019 & 2020 rankings? Will he ever get back to his peak form? – Taco_Dunkey
Plup, Leffen, Mango, Hbox, Mew2king, PPMD, and Armada will never enter Melee singles at the same tournament ever again. True or false? – get_in_the_robot
What Melee tournament series do you consider to be the most prestigious and which one do you consider to be the most influential? – JFMV763