Following a heart-breaker of a week in which he failed to qualify through the vote-in process for Smash Summit 11, Wizzrobe dominated the competition at Rollback Rumble: The Big One, where he beat 2saint, KoDoRiN, TheSWOOPER, OkayP and MoG to win the tournament and make his grand return to Summit. 2saint also qualified for the event in a second place run where he beat KoDoRiN, S2J, Kalamazhu, FatGoku and Blues Clues.
Over the Atlantic Ocean, it was Trif who came out on top in the European bracket for The Big One. Here, he beat Professor Pro, Frenzy and Levingy to win the tournament. Finally, across the Pacific Ocean, Shippu, the longtime top Japanese player, broke a long hiatus away from the game to defeat Sanne and Satoshi to cement himself as the in-region king of Asia.
During The Big One, Hamyojo announced the launch of a new mod of Melee – a separate game called “Beyond Melee,” which includes new characters, changes to existing Melee cast members, new gameplay mechanics and other stages.
Smash Summit 11 Deep Dive
A year and four months ago, all in-person Melee events halted as the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the world. On July 15th, 2021, we’ll finally get our first significant LAN event. Boasting the largest prize pot – $140,000 – in Smash history, Smash Summit 11 may just be the most exciting event we’ve had in years.
If you’re familiar with the Monday Morning Marth series and you’ve seen my big event deep dives before, you’ll know what’s coming next. If you’re not: I will be reviewing all 16 players attending Summit and listing them in order of how I see their chances at performing in the event.
The People’s Choice
There’s no player who’s gained more attention in the last month than Yingling. After years of organizing tournaments for the Arizona Melee scene – most notably Smash Camp – and being a respectable in-region player, Yingling found himself at the center of the greatest Summit campaign of all-time. Boosted by his friend The Cheat, as well as his region and his connections across the entire Melee community, Yingling received the most amount of votes in Summit history. It’s an underdog story that we should all admire.
With that said, he is the worst player to ever attend Summit. Don’t get me wrong – I’m here for it and we basically see four people finish in last place anyway – but I’m looking at the field, and it’s not looking pretty. If I were to guess, his best chances are versus Aklo, who’s never been a surefire win against Falco. Crazier things have happened in Melee history, so you can never really say never, but either way, it will be exciting to watch and root for Yingling.
Top 8 Dark Horses
If this were just a strict ranking of players, 2saint would have a case for being at the top of this tier. He definitively had better rollback performances than Hungrybox and seems like one of the most improved players of the last year. However, the Summit field is just brutal for his matchup spread. 2saint will have to play people who are outright better than him or noticeably strong vs. Jigglypuff. Out of the attending players, 2saint probably wants to face Axe or n0ne, but against the rest of the players above him, he will be even at best and massively disadvantaged at worst.
Pipsqueak is many things: a two-time guest of Melee Stats, a Monday Morning Marth pick for breakout player of 2020, a Top 5 player in Europe and, as of most recently, a Smash Summit 11 competitor. The fact that he’s this far down my list says a lot about how stacked the field is. I would never count out Pipsqueak in a Fox ditto – and, strangely enough, he has a solid understanding of characters across the cast to where he’s a tough out for aMSa, Axe, 2saint and even Hungrybox. But if I were him, I’d want to avoid Captain Falcon and Marth like the plague.
LSD is my pick for second-most interesting player to watch at the tournament. I like their ability to beat any Fox, Falco or Jigglypuff they face in bracket. However, while LSD seems to be working toward having a better gameplan against Captain Falcon, they remain the strong underdog against Wizzrobe and n0ne. I have also seen nothing to make me think they would come close to beating Plup, Axe or aMSa. LSD has much of a chance to be in winner’s finals as they do for losing every set.
Top 8 Contenders
The most infamous taunter in the Melee community has a similar matchup spread to Pipsqueak. Like his Swedish counterpart, Aklo is no slouch in the Fox ditto and would be a scary opponent for aMSa and Axe. Where Aklo is a little different is that we’ve seen him consistently beat top-level Sheiks and he has a steadier track record of performances against Marth. For this reason, Aklo would be a relatively difficult draw for Plup, and he is probably among the safer picks against LSD (evenish). With that said, I’m not as hopeful about him vs. n0ne, Wizzrobe, Mango or Zain.
aMSa’s entire career has been defined by performing really well, having people doubt him and then proving them utterly wrong. So keep this in mind when I say that this event will be the toughest test of his career. I don’t doubt his chances against LSD, 2saint, Hungrybox, SFAT, Plup or even Mango, but between Zain, the two Captain Falcons, and the spacies at this event who aren’t going to be caught off guard by Yoshi, I’m more skeptical of aMSa than ever.
Hello darkness, my old friend pic.twitter.com/yn9mUhStxl
— CLG SFAT (@SFAT) July 11, 2021
In terms of how their brackets could turn out, I consider SFAT to be on the same tier as moky, but with less explosiveness and a higher baseline. As much as he may not want to admit it, SFAT would need to avoid Zain to have any shot at winning the tournament. On a positive note, I would take SFAT over Plup, aMSa and Axe, but though he’s beaten them before, Mango and Wizzrobe are still long-term favorites over him in the head-to-head, and, honestly, so is Hungrybox.
Outside of Zain, who would certainly end his bracket run, moky’s got a fighting chance or is outright favored against everyone in the field. The problem is that while he may have an advantage in many matchups (I would straight up favor him over aMSa), it’s asking a lot of moky to likely win a ton of Fox dittos, dodge Zain and – even if favored – potentially need to defeat LSD, a terrifying Fox slayer in their own regard.
n0ne had a breakout 2020, briefly slumped at the start of 2021, and now seems to be back in shape. While he can beat everyone at the event individually, the question is if he can put it all together for a weekend. In addition to being down in recent times vs. Mango, Plup, SFAT and iBDW, he has never beaten Zain, and he lost his last sets against Wizzrobe and 2saint. For what it’s worth, he beat aMSa in their last set at Genesis 7 and hasn’t played Axe since the Stone Age (a loss at GOML 2018).
If The Stars Align…
If it weren’t for a certain other Pokemon main, Axe would have the most notable dropoff in results and activity from a top player. It got to a point where after the Black Empowerment Invitational, Axe just stopped playing Pikachu at rollback events. Well, now’s the chance for Axe to prove he’s back. The ability to be favored over the No. 1 player in the world is a big enough value add for Axe’s potential to win the event. Other than that though, he’s got a mountain to climb against Hungrybox, 2saint – who double eliminated him at the Black Empowerment Invitational – and a field of terrifying spacies.
I’m not gonna pretend like I have any goddamn idea on how Hungrybox will perform. This is someone who was simultaneously up on Aklo, SFAT and Ginger over the last two years but was dropping sets to people like Harry Pogger, Blues Clues and Dawson, not to mention he was getting farmed by Ben. Hungrybox’s performance at Smash Summit 11 will be the biggest indicator for if the last year and a half of results carried any predictive value. The rise, fall, and potential return to his “throne” makes Hungrybox – by far – the most interesting player to watch this tournament.
2saint was my first friend in smash and he's been my best friend since we started playing
surreal we get to go to a summit together
absolutely wild, so fucking happy
— Panda | iBDW (Cody Schwab) (@iBDWSSBM) July 12, 2021
iBDW is the player who has always been the figurative bridesmaid, but never the bride. Except for vs. Zain and Mango, iBDW is favored against everyone else he plays in bracket. He may very well be the third best player in the world, but he’s going to need to figure something out against those two. We’ve seen him drop sets to players in winner’s bracket only to make deep loser’s runs before, so as bluntly as I can put it, that can’t happen here if he wants to win the event.
Could Win Summit
The champion of SCL Season 2 Week 3 is the only person in the world over the last two years (on rollback) to defeat Mango and Zain at the same event. Wizzrobe is also fresh off a victory at The Big One. Nonetheless, losing his last sets against SFAT, moky and iBDW should be worrisome as is a potential rematch with Plup from their lopsided LAN exhibition match. While Wizzrobe did defeat Axe in their last set, Axe has typically held the advantage on LAN. I see Wizzrobe’s spread as similar to n0ne’s but with the main difference being that Wizzrobe has won a LAN major before and seems more difficult to upset.
Yes; Aklo, moky, SFAT and iBDW are, on paper, terrifying draws for Plup. Yes; by the numbers, Zain and Hungrybox might also be difficult for him. But at the same time, this is Plup we’re talking about; the same person who beat Gahtzu and Wizzrobe through a wall while also sending Mew2King back to the retirement home on LAN. If you’ve been following his stream, Plup is seriously grinding Melee more than ever, playing mostly Sheik, not just his Fox. He looks just like the Plup who won Genesis 5 and nearly came close to stealing Smash Summit 9 from Hungrybox.
Okay; let me just make something clear: Zain should be considered by most people to be the favorite to win the event. No player was even close to No. 1 over the last 18 months the way Zain was. Frankly, it was as utterly dominant as a stretch as you can find in Melee history. So, why is Zain not at the bottom of this column like he’s been for so many of my previews? A few reasons: with Axe at the tournament, Zain has to prepare for his longtime bracket demon. He has to do this while balancing preparing for Wizzrobe again, maintaining his dominance against all of the spacies, and making sure that he doesn’t slip up in an otherwise favorable but nowhere-close-to-guaranteed head-to-head against his chief rival; my pick to win Smash Summit 11.
Mango’s 15-year career has had many twists and turns, but his current phase might be the most compelling. Unlike before when he dominated the entire scene, messed around with Mario, returned to the throne, and then struggled to consistently beat Hungrybox and Armada, Mango really seems so much more dedicated to get back to No. 1 than he’s ever been. Today, I trust Mango far more vs. the field than I might have in the past, and I also trust his ability to overcome a three-set losing streak against Plup’s Sheik more than I expect Zain to defeat Axe. If there’s a time for Mango to re-assert himself as the king of LAN Melee and not buster out at Summit, it’s now.
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