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Published December 13, 2021

Throughout the weekend, Smash Summit 12 felt like it was on the cusp of something special. Between aMSa’s dominant pools performance, every single player winning a set, Leffen coming all the way from Sweden to eliminate Hungrybox, Magi becoming the first woman to ever make a supermajor top eight, and Zain showing his trademark brilliance for most of the tournament, it seemed as unpredictable as an event has ever been. But the most miraculous outcome was actually what we saw in front of our eyes the entire time.

Holding off Pipsqueak in a five-game thriller, defeating Hungrybox in the Smash Summit 11 rematch, reverse 3-0’ing Leffen, stopping a red-hot aMSa in his tracks, breaking a eight-set losing streak vs. Zain, and sweeping the greatest player of all-time in grand finals – itself snapping a nine-set losing streak – iBDW won his second major ever on Sunday. Bar none, it was the best performance of his career, as well as one of the most unlikely first-place runs at a supermajor ever.

Taking home silver, Mango had a more up-and-down event. For standards of potentially being able to win the tournament, he had a terrible showing in pools, where he lost to aMSa and SFAT in fairly convincing fashion. He followed it up in the gauntlet stage by squeaking by Tyler Swift  and beating KoDoRiN to make the final bracket from winner’s side. Here, he barely crawled out with a win vs. Wizzrobe, lost to Zain in winner’s, practically robbed Leffen in loser’s quarters, once again clutched out the rematch against Wizzrobe, and somehow beat Zain in one of their strangest sets ever before running out of gas in grand finals.

It would take way too much to fully recap everyone. Instead, I’ll do is jot down some quick takeaways below for each player before moving into the rest of the column. Worst case, I’d be happy to do a combined Summit and Smash World Tour mailbag in the future.

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Quick Takeaways from Smash Summit 12 (for everyone else)

  • Zain:  He will end 2021 with winning records over everyone he played except Mango (4-5) and Wizzrobe (1-1), and yet he’ll only have first place finishes at three notable events: Four Loko Fight Night, SCL Season 2 (counting this cumulatively), and Smash World Tour NA East Finals. Let’s not mince words – Smash Summit 12 has to be incredibly disappointing for someone who looked like the best player in the world for most of this year.
  • Wizzrobe: Wizzrobe had to run through the Falco gauntlet at this tournament – Magi (1-1), Ginger (1-0), and Mango (0-2).  Not to mention, he spoiled Leffen’s return twice and put the dagger in aMSa’s chances of winning a supermajor.
  • aMSa: The heavens were finally opening up for a Yoshi to win a major. For two days, I legitimately thought aMSa might be the best player in the world…until he ran into the worst possible top eight draw and, in all likelihood, his two hardest opponents.
  • Leffen: If we want to talk about brutal, getting reverse 3-0’d by three of the world’s best players (Wizzrobe, iBDW, and Mango) is about as soul-crushing as it gets. I hope we get to see more of Leffen; he’s not too far away from winning this kind of tournament and, at bare minimum, he’s good enough to beat Hungrybox.
  • Hungrybox: Not to pour salt on the wound, but I thought it was very unlikely that he would win this tournament. If anything, the lopsided nature of aMSa’s 3-0 over him in winner’s bracket makes me more convinced that he’s a long shot to win any major in the short-term.
  • Magi: Hidden underneath all the craziness of this event was an excellent showing from the first woman to ever make a major top eight. She ‘merely’ beat Wizzrobe, Pipsqueak, SFAT, and null (in a tie-breaker) to do it.
  • Ginger: I don’t know if this event changed my mind about Ginger. He beat Magi and null, but KoDoRiN and Zain were always going to be tough. To be frank, a dropped set to Sora is likely a bit more analogous to his previous loss to Flash, in the sense that the player who beat him is probably a bit better than what most people anticipated.
  • SFAT: It’s a shame that SFAT finished in ninth place. As far as I’m concerned, snapping a nine-set losing streak to Mango is more important for his future trajectory than losing to two other people he’s struggled with (Zain and Magi) or falling to aMSa.
  • Tyler Swift: Although the set count doesn’t necessarily show it (1-5) this was a good event from Tyler Swift. I’m not convinced that Axe would have done significantly better vs. iBDW, Pipsqueak, Hungrybox, Mango, Leffen, and Sora.
  • Free Palestine: Speaking of players who initially had a rough start to the tournament, Free Palestine overcame getting beat up by Mango, aMSa, SFAT, and Pipsqueak – four very “capable” competitors – to defeat KoDoRiN, a borderline Top 10 player himself, before falling to Hungrybox. He clearly earned his spot.
  • KoDoRiN: This is sometimes how Summit goes: you clutch out sets over Ginger and Sora in pools, you lose to a contender for No. 1 in the world in a heartbreaker, lose to another contender for that spot, and then get upset by a pretty scary fourth seed of another pool for last place.
  • Sora: It feels weird that Sora finished in 13th place. For beating Ginger, looking competitive with the Marths, beating null and taking SFAT to the wire, he needed to get by Tyler Swift, an elite player of a character he gets no practice against, to not finish in last place.
  • null: Poor null. Beating Magi – something even SFAT couldn’t do this year – wasn’t enough. He had to do it again, and as a result of losing a tie-breaker best-of-three, he had to play Sora in the Australian’s best matchup. Then, upon losing to him, null ran into Ginger in loser’s.
  • Pipsqueak: Similar to Tyler Swift, I don’t think the set count (2-4) reflects how formative this event was for Pipsqueak. For someone who hasn’t competed in North America since his breakout, beating Free Palestine and Tyler Swift is certainly nothing to sleep on. I hope nobody is dumb enough to hold losses to the tournament’s eventual champion, Leffen, Hungrybox, and Magi against him.

Box Betting – A New, Revolutionary Form of Melee Bets

For my Smash Summit 12 preview, I put Hungrybox beneath aMSa for ranking players in their likelihood to win the tournament. A dear Melee Stats patron – who shall not be named – argued with me, telling me that I was underestimating Hungrybox’s chances. He claimed that it was ridiculous of me to do this and say on Waiting for Game that the former world No. 1 had functionally “zero” shot of winning the tournament. Of course, I thought he was completely full of shit. More importantly, I was salty because he said that I didn’t know math.

After a bit of banter, we decided to make a truly special bet. It is this bet which I’d like to share with the rest of the world; a betting format that I believe will become the new standard for Melee side-betting. I call it “Box Betting.” The terms of the bet went as follows:

  • I would set odds for Hungrybox vs. every single player he would face in bracket and take the opponent. Essentially, I’d be functioning as “the house” but instead of picking the favorite in each set, I would be betting on Hungrybox’s opponent.
  • My patron would then accept to the odds that I set up and bet on Hungrybox or decline them and decide not to bet.
  • The currency for this bet: the amount of months subscribed to Hungrybox’s Twitch channel.
  • The person with the higher amount of net-months-to-be-subscribed-to-Hungrybox’s-Twitch-channel will do so at the end of Smash Summit 12.

As followers of mine will know, I’m quite familiar with side-betting, having been on the receiving end of a few bad Ice Climbers-related bets. But working on this one gave me unusual glee for reasons that I can’t adequately describe. Before the event, I sent him odds for Hungrybox in every possible set he could play. I have bolded the ones we actually bet on.

NOTE: if you’re unfamiliar with reading these odds, the number to the left, in this context, represents how many times more I see Hungrybox’s opponent winning. For example, in a 5:1 bet, that means I believe that Hungrybox’s opponent will win five sets for every single set that Hungrybox will win, ergo, successfully betting on Hungrybox will net you five times as much as if you were to bet on Zain.

  • Zain – 5:1 odds
  • Mango – 2:1 odds
  • Wizzrobe – 3:1 odds
  • iBDW – 3:1 odds
  • Leffen – 2:1 odds
  • aMSa – 1:1 odds (I initially had 2:3, but my patron insisted, to his credit and presciently, that he wouldn’t bite unless it was a coin flip)
  • SFAT – 1:8 odds
  • KoDoRiN – 1:4 odds
  • Ginger – 1:4 odds
  • Magi – 1:8 odds
  • Tyler Swift – 1:8 odds
  • Null – 1:8 odds
  • Pipsqueak – 1:8 odds
  • Sora – 1:4 odds
  • Free Palestine – 1:15 odds

I ended up winning the bet, 3-0. However, only 25 percent of my motivation for writing this was to gloat about a friendly competition. This bet motivated me to set betting odds for every single Top 16 match. I wanted to do this so much that while I was out bowling for my brother-in-law’s birthday, with my phone about to run out of battery, I deliberately turned it on airplane mode connected to the King’s Bowling public WiFi, and had S-F, one of the Melee Stats team members, message me pertinent updates on the tournament. I thankfully got home a bit after Leffen beat Hungrybox and was able to watch everything else live.

It would take too much time to overview every single bet, so I’m going to point out a few trends that particularly stand out when reviewing the tallies (which I will then round to around similar betting odds rather than cite exact percents). Keep in mind that no money was involved, so take this with a grain of salt.

When You Give Odds, The Crowd Loves Momentum

If there’s anything that particularly stands out, it’s that the public tends to value someone’s performance at the same event as a far greater indicator than what’s necessarily expected before it. I noticed this for Hungrybox vs. aMSa, a set I had as a tossup in which the crowd solidly went aMSa’s direction (2:1). This was a case where they might have correctly valued aMSa’s first two days as a more relevant predictive factor than their long-time history. I have to admit that it convinced me to have their semifinals clash as a tossup.

At the same time, this isn’t always a great strategy. Coming off his 3-0 over Hungrybox, aMSa was riding high to where the crowd had iBDW as around a 4:1 underdog. Even more amazingly, the crowd wasn’t deterred upon aMSa losing. In loser’s quarters, I gave aMSa believers 4:1 odds and the crowd more than jumped on it, turning aMSa into a 2:1 favorite.

On a similar note, the crowd was willing to value ‘negative momentum.’ When given 15:1 odds on Free Palestine vs. Hungrybox, they only went about 3:1 in Hungrybox’s favor. The same went for Tyler Swift vs. Leffen, in which I offered 5:1 odds and and the crowd responded with going Leffen’s way merely by 2:1. Other matches, like SFAT vs. Zain, which I had at 15:1, got enough people to bite, as they only went Zain’s favor by 3:1. Interestingly enough, this did not carry over into loser’s, where the crowd slightly favored SFAT over Magi, barely above even.

Occasionally it seems like momentum can “transfer” from a ‘hot’ player to the person who beat them. After he defeated aMSa, iBDW headed into winner’s finals as a 8:1 underdog and some people immediately ran with those odds, with the crowd being only 3:1 in Zain’s favor. In the first set of grands, I was relatively skeptical of iBDW’s chances (5:1), and only two-thirds of the public were with me. My intuition says it’s overall probably something that the public tends to value with too much confidence in their predictions.

The Crowd Does Not Like Ginger

While I had only two bets on Ginger over the weekend, it was definitely a bit weird for me to notice how people did not believe in him at all. All things considered, I gave 4:1 odds for him vs. Wizzrobe…and basically nobody fell for it. In fact, the public thought it was inadequate, responding with picking Wizzrobe 90 percent of them. In other words, they thought it was more twice as worth it to bet on Tyler Swift vs. Leffen than it was to bet on Ginger beating Wizzrobe.

One of the other puzzling bets the public made was on null vs. Ginger. I offered 3:1 odds on this set for null, and the final tally only went slightly in Ginger’s favor. This is Ginger we’re talking about – a Top 15 player, Low Tier City champion, and someone with a big track record of beating Fox players. I suspect some of this might be carried over from null having split sets with Magi from earlier in the tournament, as well as his background of having trained with Mango, but I was very certain that he would beat null.

The Crowd Loves Mango The Underdog; Not Mango The Favorite

People seem reluctant to bet on Mango when he’s given moderate or favorable chances against the opposition. I had Wizzrobe as a 4:1 underdog heading into winner’s quarters and the crowd treated him, more or less, a bit under that at 3:1. Most fascinatingly, they were not big believers in Mango vs. Zain. In spite of Mango being up for the 2021 set count, they saw the 1:1 odds and immediately broke Zain’s way by twice as much as Mango. I even got a reply from my wonderful friend Zetts, who told me 1:1 did not seem right.

When I gave Leffen favorable odds (2:1), the crowd nudged Mango’s way a little bit under that (about 1.5:1 odds for Leffen). I adjusted the rematch with Wizzrobe to have Wizzrobe as a 3:1 underdog, and the crowd did the same thing again. However, I offered 2:1 odds for Mango vs. Zain in the rematch and all of a sudden, we had a coin flip situation. An easy explanation for how the public bets on Mango would be that his expected results, for whatever reason, “seem” very momentum-based, which we previously established as an influence in how people bet.

The Real Money Maker Is In the Edges

If you don’t feel like reading through a bunch of tweets with active voting results and listed updates with voting tallies and confusing numbers, I’ll list some particularly noteworthy bets. These are ‘edge’ bets where the public essentially treated these matchups as more volatile than I was willing to treat them.

  • Leffen vs. iBDW
    • Edwin: 2:1
    • Crowd: 1:1.25
  • Pipsqueak vs. Magi
    • Edwin: 3:1
    • Crowd 1:1
  • Sora vs. Tyler Swift:
    • Edwin: 1:1
    • Crowd: 1:2.5
  • Wizzrobe vs. Magi
    • Edwin: 2:1
    • Crowd: 1:1
  • Leffen vs. Mango
    • Edwin: 2:1
    • Crowd: 1.25:1

It’s getting late and I haven’t had my breakfast yet, so I’ll spare you the details on each one. But if you’re ever interesting in side-betting at majors, these are the “edges” that you need to confidently take advantage of in order to farm your friends – or, at the very least, get them to subscribe to Hungrybox. See you folks next week.


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