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Published December 3, 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.

Happy December! In the weekend before the release of “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” Melee had a strangely packed weekend full of stacked regionals and semi-large events.

Despite not playing his main, Leffen won DreamHack Winter 2018 over the rest of the European field. In New Jersey, iBDW took Fireside Open 2018, the annual Rutgers event Just last night, S2J finished first Fight For SoCal while on the other side of the world, Sanne, a rising and highly locally active Japanese Fox, stunned the world by defeating aMSa twice to win Battle GateWay ~Sunshine~, which you can read more about here.

Over in Australia, SA Nick won The Big Cheese. In the Midwest, lloD took home gold at the PGH/NEOH Invitational, and Prince Abu won Kill Roy: Vol. 4. Finally, local Falco star lint came on top at GIGA HoG 3 in Connecticut.

1. Character Spotlight: Donkey Kong

It’s rare that you’ll see me mention DK in this column. Despite DK’s strengths, he is among the most grotesque characters in Melee, with a laughable shield, absurdly big hurtbox and a pitiful vertical recovery. The idea of a Top 100 Melee player dedicating himself to entirely maining DK is inherently absurd.

Last weekend, however, there was no monkeying around (or all monkeying around). At Fight For SoCal, Ringler finished an impressive seventh, and took wins over Hyprid and OkamiBW. Meanwhile, Twotran defeated both Zamu and Cob at Kill Roy: Vol. 4, where he ended up placing fifth. To top off the weekend for DK, Rotisseriedeluxe won the PGH/NEOH Arcadian.

So does any of this mean anything significant for the leader of the bunch? Honestly, probably not, but at least there’s still hope.

2. A Competitor’s Guide on How to Deal With Casuals In Ultimate

Look, guys. It’s a good time for Smash, but an annoying time for competitive fans. Posts about character’s facial attributes are gaining more attention among smashers than tournament results. Suddenly, people who don’t play in tournaments are given equal weight of opinions about the Smash series to people who dedicate a huge portion of their lives to Smash as a lifestyle. This is inevitable for any new Smash release.

Even worse for Melee players, if you tell people who buy the new Smash game that you’re into Melee, you’re going to be at a disadvantage. The images conjured in the average person’s head for Melee players is not pretty. Hell, it’s not even pretty for fellow Melee players  –  imagine how much worse it’s going to be when someone thinks the reason you’re disinterested in other Smash games simply boils down to “there’s no wavedashing.”

Well, I’m here to tell give you some advice. This is how you deal with casuals when Ultimate comes out.

  • Don’t fall for the bait. You’re all newcomers to the same game. Your past tournament experience in other games won’t mean shit in the eyes of your non-competitor friends when you’re all playing for the first time. You’re going to hear a lot of really stupid opinions on certain characters or tactics; just let people have their dumb opinions and slowly nod your head.
  • Be friendly. Heading into a Smash party, you want to avoid all negative and standoffish stereotypes typically associated with Marth mains – er, I mean competitive players. In addition to not failing for bait, as mentioned above, just be an enjoyable person to be around. Even if you’re winning all the time (or losing!), regardless of if you’re a competitor or not, just be fun to be around. Honestly, basic social skills are really all you need when it comes to Smash. That being said…
  • Abuse any and all exploits. The fact of the matter is that barring you having a leaked version of the game or significant competitive experience in  Smash 4, chances are that you and your casual friends will be very bad at the game. So if you’re a competitive player, chances are that you’ll  be able to find something faster than your friends or others. Exploit the hell out of it and enjoy that dark satisfaction you get when you win and when your friends become inevitably salty and want to play something else. That’s when you pull out the GameCube and suggest Melee.

Note: This part of the column was a joke. Please don’t take it personally if you’re a competitive or casual player.

3. Monday Morning Mailbag

Do we need ranks within tiers? It is a tier list, not a rank list. This causes a lot of the controversy. Imagine if we said that Fox, Marth, and Puff are all top tier and order doesn’t matter. More consensus. – thorSmiles

Boo! Controversy is part of the fun! On a serious note, I’d probably say your idea would be a “safer” play, but I don’t think  that it would be particularly meaningful without order within the tiers. People like lists more than groups for a reason.

The term “natural” is often attributed to Mango, but I think that Hbox is kind of like “a natural” himself in that he understands the game in a way that he cant articulate (or doesn’t care to). I think this is an underappreciated aspect of his character. – HitboxOfASnail

Hungrybox’s positional recognition and intuitive decision making is among his biggest natural strengths. It’s prodigy-esque in how quickly Hungrybox will find advantageous positions for Jigglypuff against other characters.

I’ve talked to a few Top 100 players who have played Hungrybox in tournament, and their explanations for the skill gap between them and Hungrybox usually involve mentioning their incredulity in how someone with such little or under-displayed technical knowledge of Melee could be such a dominant player. They also typically mention his discipline as a player; that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win and that he’ll make them work for every opening they receive.

Anyway, my word on Hungrybox doesn’t mean as much as others, and talking about his success will bring up the droves of both supporters and haters to overanalyze and generalize him.

You’ve done your top 5 smash raps. What are your top 5 GR smash videos? – JoseElEntrenador

I’ll let GR Smash sort out that one.

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