On Sunday, Trif won Teaghlach Online, beating Frenzy and MINT. It was Trif’s third notable victory of the year, complementing his previous big rollback wins at The Big One (EU) and Phoenix Blue Online.
A day before came a slew of notable events from across the globe: the Midwest, Atlantic South, Vancouver, Russia, Australia, and Mexico, among other regions. I won’t recap each of them here, but it might honestly be the most amount of regions to have note-worthy tournaments over a whole weekend.
In other news over the weekend, my dear friend tafokints and Marth main comrade brought back Commentator’s Curse for a special episode. The two recapped the general topic of “money in Smash” as well as how to grow the community.
It feels like forever ago since we’ve had in-person supermajors. Before the pandemic, events like Genesis and The Big House were mainstays in every year of Smash. As long as they were around, everything was going to be okay.
However, I wanna revisit another annual event, one that was actually my favorite. While the Shine series never quite made it to the same level of prestige as other major tournaments, it’s the one that I hold dearest to myself and the one I will be dedicating today’s column to breaking down.
This week marks the five year anniversary of the Shine series. In today’s column, I want to talk about what made Shine so special and its greatest sets ever.
Shine: The Ultimate Major Experience
I’ve gone to Genesis, Evo, and The Big House. I’ve also attended countless regionals in New England, the Tristate area, and California. Take from me when I say that Shine was the best out of all them.
There are several reasons why I love Shine. As a resident of Boston, it’s right next door – and even 2019’s Worcester iteration wasn’t too far away. The food in both areas is excellent, the locations are beautiful, I haven’t heard of any smashers feeling unsafe, and there’s plenty of good hotels, motels and AirBnBs that you can find at a reasonable price.
— ESPN Esports (@ESPN_Esports) August 25, 2016
But the greatest thing about Shine had everything to do with being inside the venue. It’s the only major series that truly prioritizes the in-person experience. The community is better for having events like Genesis and The Big House, but as I’ve written before in this column, I’ve had many problems with finding available setups at them. I’ve gone to four Shine events and have never had a problem with getting matches in, even when I’m knocked out of bracket.
I can’t help but feel like this is in part due to Shine’s roots being New England. This is, after all, not just a scene with roots as deep as MLG, but the testing grounds for The Melee Games. It’s no surprise that one of the initial draws of the Shine series was its crew battle bracket: something that notably had very little to do with online views, and more to do with ensuring that people had an additional incentive to play the game in, well, in real life.
Combine this with Shine’s annual “Stay In Your Lane” brackets. It’s not even close as far as which tournaments give attendees the most structured chances to play meaningful matches and friendlies. In the quest to make Melee events profitable and sponsor-friendly – a venture I wholeheartedly empathize with – this is something that sometimes tends to be forgotten about.
If you put the game in people’s hands and make them feel like their matches matter, they will want more of it. Sometimes, it’s that simple.
The Greatest Moments in Shine History
Because Shine has never really had the level of stature as The Big House or Genesis, it’s hard to immediately think of all-time great sets from Shine. In fact, when writing this column, I immediately thought of a set that, per the rules of the tournament, did not actually happen.
With that said, the series does have its own interesting mini-history of matches between top players, notable cross-regional showdowns, and bits of New England lore. In this part of column, I will review my favorite moments in Shine history. Some of them you might have otherwise forgotten or never known – and others are merely personal memories that I hold dear.
- Dr. Z – yes; that Dr. Z – catching Axe completely off-guard in Shine 2016 crews and sending him to the shadow realm before taking a stock off KJH. His crew would win by two stocks.
- Juggleguy four-stocking Kalvar’s Marth in game one, losing by two stocks to Kalvar’s Ness in game two, and then winning a sort-of-close-but-not-really game three. Kalvar would become a Top 100 player a couple years later, while Juggleguy would win the amateur bracket at Shine and all but stop taking competing seriously.
- Making it out of pools at my first major ever, in part because my personal demon in college, who was seeded to play me, didn’t show up.
- Mew2King looking at SFAT funny after getting counterpicked to Final Destination
- Mew2King asking Loadspiller if it was legal to wobble above 200% in game 2, Loadspiller dropping the wobble while distracted, and then Mew2King immediately obliterating Nana, taking the next stock, and ruthlessly killing Nana again before losing the stock at 298 percent. This is a real thing that happened.
- Mew2King beating Shroomed in Sheik dittos after, mid-way through the set, telling Shroomed that he was going to drop the no-chaingrab agreement they had.
- Shroomed sending Wizzrobe to the cleaners in the only full Marth-Falcon set the two ever played.
- Plup beating Leffen with Samus one last time for the fans.
- S2J almost ending Ice’s life with a chair.
- S2J beating Plup in an incredible Falcon-Samus set where it felt like S2J might actually lose.
- S2J’s Pokemon Stadium combo vs. Mew2King, but also just the entire set in general.
- This absolutely bonkers grand finals between Mango and Hungrybox that everyone else forgot about because Hungrybox won. Wheat, Ambi, and I all jumped out of our chairs and yelled out loud at this specific moment.
- Plup wanting to go all Samus at Shine again, but instead of sticking through with it, he changed his mind vs. Free Palestine and Jerry.
- Making it out of pools after assuming I was just never going to be competent at the game again.
- Ricky 2-0’ing TheRealThing early in the tournament.
- Kalvar earning his best out-of-region victory at that point vs. Bladewise in an incredibly tight five-game set.
- Swiftbass defeating shabo, like, two weeks right after he finished in 13th place at a local.
- Swiftbass looking completely out of his element against Top 30 player in the world MikeHaze and then randomly making a three-stock comeback in game one before finishing off an anticlimactic 2-0 for Top 64.
- Gahztu trying to dropzone knee SFAT in the last game of their set, right before SDing, losing his next stock, and, thankfully, holding on to win the first ever major top eight set of his career.
- Mango vs. Zain, chapter three.
- Zain defeating Hungrybox for the first time ever, followed up by my popping off so hard that I punched a chair, and then Zain beating him again to win his first ever major.
- Kalvar putting on the “APSY” tag in his money match with A Rookie. The tag stood for “A Pussy.” Yes; it’s amazing shittalk. No; he did not win the set. I can’t find the VOD anywhere, but I swear that this was real. UPDATE: it’s here. Hat tip to EuO.
- Lint reverse 3-0’ing A Rookie and restoring pride to New England. Sadly, I don’t think this set is streamed.
- Slox vs. TheSWOOPER in a long, tense Tristate showdown that I believe happened off-stream.
- Insanely close five-game set between Spark and Jakenshaken with amazing commentary that I somehow remember quite vividly – Jackzilla calling PC dropping the “PC Chris drop,” and Chroma pointing it out.
- Swedish Delight beating Hungrybox in Game 1 with Sheik, going Fox – aka “Slox Jr.” – the rest of the set, barely losing, and then explaining to me his theory: that he can only ever defeat Hungrybox on Battlefield with Sheik, and that it’s impossible to do it anywhere else.
- moky sending Leffen to loser’s bracket early after going down 2-1 in the set.
- iBDW knocking Leffen out of the tournament at fifth place.
- Me asking Wheat, “Wanna leave?” right before grand finals, Wheat watching the first stock of Hungrybox-S2J and then telling me, “yeah, I’ve seen enough.”
Thanks for the memories, Shine. Hope to be at another iteration soon.