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Published July 31, 2023

How could I be so wrong? This is a question I’ve had on my mind for the last seven months. Honestly, I’ve been sitting on it for longer. It feels like I put so much time every week into my major previews, only to have my final prediction for the tournament turn out completely wrong. What good is all this information and active effort I spend into previewing events if I don’t actually have a clue as to what will happen?

If articles could take the form of food, today’s edition of Monday Morning Marth would be a gigantic corncob boiling out in the sun. I’m going to revisit my last five major predictions – all which went wrong – and compare it to what actually happened before trying to figure out where it went wrong.

GOML 2023

Heading into this event, the chase for No. 1 was a three-person race: Zain, Cody Schwab, and Jmook. Each of them had won two majors and had different arguments for No. 1. Zain had recency and consistency, Cody had the head-to-heads, and Jmook’s individual major wins held the most prestige. When it came to predicting who would come out on top of this three-person race, I looked at each of these player’s projected paths at the tournament. I am now going to copy and paste three sentences from my preview that continue to haunt my dreams.

However, when you look at their current projected paths, it’s hard to not see Jmook as having the best potential path. As of right now, Jmook’s journey from Top 128 to winners’ side of top eight is Plat, Morsecode762, Soonsay and Mango. Relatively speaking, that’s exactly the kind of bracket Jmook fans want to see.

Jmook, of course, ended up getting 33rd place at this event. Not only did he lose to Morsecode – he was swiftly 3-0’d, which is a result that I do not think anybody in the world could have anticipated. It wasn’t like Jmook lacked any kind of Samus experience; not that long ago, he had just beaten Wevans, a Samus main who’s in contention for Top 50 right now. But, you know, maybe I underrated Morsecode and didn’t properly account for matchup experience. That’s not too unreasonable of a mistake, and technically, there is precedent for Jmook being caught off guard vs. a broadly “weird” character. What truly went wrong, however, was the 3-0 loss to Skerzo that eliminated Jmook. I think if you asked me for odds before that set, I might have honestly said 9:1. Jmook had practically ran over or survived any Fox who wasn’t Cody or Leffen. Even moky had yet to crack the code in multiple attempts. Skerzo does, to his credit, have a Sheik-slaying reputation, but so do SFAT and Aklo: both players whom we saw Jmook trounce.

The last thing I did was examine what the winners bracket paths to top eight ended up being for both Zain and Cody. Cody went through JJM (instead of KJH), Lowercase hero, Zuppy and aMSa; Zain had Maher, Ben, Spark and KoDoRiN (instead of lloD). Looking at these paths and comparing them to Jmook’s, I’m still scratching my head. How could I have known that Morsecode would 3-0 him and that Jmook would lose his best matchup immediately after? The only thing I learned was that Jmook vs. “players he hasn’t prepared for” is apparently a huge red flag.

Fete 3: By The Sea

I hate giving him credit for anything – because he is the master of the humble-brag and beyond insufferable when he is correct – but Wheat has always had a good eye for when Hungrybox will perform well and when he won’t. The trick: either outcome happens when you least suspect it. Wheat saw the group of players attending Fete and thought to himself two things: “This looks great for Hungrybox, and it’s exactly why he won’t win.” I, on the other hand, thought this was dumb. All Hungrybox had to do was avoid Zain, win a coinflip vs. aMSa, continue his long-established stretch of owning Jmook’s soul, and defeat a field that he had great matchups against. You couldn’t manufacture a better return to glory for Hungrybox than this event.

In all fairness, I did come close. Hungrybox got to winners finals through doing most of what I thought he’d easily do, and then Jmook suddenly beat him for the second time ever. On one hand, I have to roll my eyes. Had Hungrybox defeated Jmook, it was very well possible that he could have set himself up for a favorable rematch in grands vs. him or aMSa. But truthfully, it wasn’t the first time Hungrybox blew favorable odds. He had similarly great chances of winning CEO 2023 right before Panda sent him to losers bracket early. And that’s not to bring up how Wizzrobe came out of a competitive coma to stuff his Jigglypuff, forehead first, green headband and all, into a woodchipper.

Is there merit to the “Hungrybox only wins/loses when you least expect it” theory? My brain tells me no. He just won last weekend’s Smash Factor X, which he entered as a solid favorite, and his other notable win from last year was Wavedash 2022, where the only surprise result was dropping a winners set to KoDoRiN. At the same time, you can’t really say that about his wins at Riptide 2022 or GOML 2022, both which he won in fashion that seems damn near unrepeatable: beating Plup, who’s basically owned him since 2021, through loser’s bracket and shocking Cody Schwab in a shenanigan-filled winners semifinals match. The truth is, Hungrybox wins at big events don’t happen that much for me to give a definitive answer. Maybe the mere fact of it being an unlikely occurrence says enough.


Having written my LACS 5 preview before knowing what the post-LCQ bracket structure would look like, or the fact that Jmook was not going to be attending, I came fairly close to making a correct prediction. I ended up going with Cody Schwab due to my “dice rolls” method, but in all fairness, I thought his pound-for-pound chances were excellent. When it came to the event itself, he actually one-upped what I thought would happen in the case of a Cody victory by beating his toughest opponent in the field. A Cody appearance in winners finals vs. a Fox who seemed vulnerable in the Fox ditto; surely this time, I was correct.

Alas, it was not meant to be. Cody ended up losing a bit of a heartbreaker to Leffen before falling to Zain in losers bracket. In all fairness to Cody, LACS gave him tons of notable wins for the annual ranking period. It somewhat mirrors Leffen’s Ludwig Smash Invitational performance in that the third place finish obscures the fact that Cody actually left this tournament with a win over his biggest kryptonite, several other wins, and even a win over the guy who actually won the tournament – just a win that happened in the Swiss pools format.

I don’t regret making this prediction for Cody’s favor at all. This is one of those situations where I picked my horse before the race and it came inches short of winning. The only thing that I think possibly went wrong was the fact that Jmook ended up not being here, which helped Zain and Leffen, two of the other people who could have (and ended up defeating) defeated Cody at the event. Another underrated aspect of Jmook not being here: the fact that it hurt aMSa and Hungrybox, two of Cody’s best matchups in the top echelon. Still; it almost happened.

Tipped Off 14

Surprise: I did not end up writing a preview for this major. Instead, I discussed it on Waiting for Game with Wheat and wills, a commentator and TO from Atlanta. When it came time to make my prediction, I went with aMSa. He had a relatively great bracket path, only needing to defeat Mango, whom he beat through most of last year, to reach winners semifinals. From there, aMSa’s projected matchups remained fairly solid: any of Jmook, Aklo or Hax$ right into Zain, Cody Schwab, or moky. The latter two of these players have, admittedly, looked like Death himself for aMSa this year, but I liked his chances of avoiding them and playing Zain, someone who aMSa has done well against at the very least. When Polish sent Cody to losers bracket early, I thought that aMSa’s chances had improved even more.

It all went about to plan until the Mango set, one which I still do not understand how Mango won to this day. aMSa ended up making a mini-loser’s run to fourth place, beating Jmook, KoDoRiN, and Polish before running into the aforementioned Grim Reaper of moky. Mango has beaten aMSa before, so it wasn’t necessarily a free win for aMSa, but given where Mango’s results and competitive motivation were trending, I did see it as a situation that significantly favored aMSa. By the time he was sent to loser’s bracket, the likelihood of him dodging either of his two big nemeses took a nosedive.

Perhaps I should have known that the presence of two bracket demons in the same event should have drastically affected aMSa’s chances. Everybody has bracket demons, but moky and Cody Schwab have been notably more difficult – and at the time of the event were known to be extremely tall orders for aMSa to defeat. I don’t think that Zain, Cody, or even Mango had two opponents at this event who are long-term comparably hard opponents for them. This is going to be a huge problem for aMSa to win majors where they’re both there, even when they’re on the other side of bracket, if only because the margin for error on his end is so slim.

Battle of BC 5

This one hurts because I thought that moky would win the event. Instead of looking at bracket specifics or head-to-heads, I went with my heart and what I thought could have been the best story for the tournament. In spite of his three biggest roadblocks attending the same tournament, I loved moky’s chances against four of the other contenders to win the events. I went as far as to say that I thought he was outright favored over any of aMSa, Hungrybox, Cody Schwab, and Leffen. The real cherry on top, however, was my steadfast belief in moky’s consistency. I cited both his performances at Collision and The Come Up as proof that even when moky lost early, he tended to follow it up with deep losers runs.

That was not the case at Battle of BC. He ended up losing two very sloppy Fox dittos to Soonsay and Leffen, eventually finishing in ninth place – far from what I thought would happen. Now, I don’t think this performance is “bad” in a vacuum because moky ended up winning a set over KoDoRiN, another Top 10 player, but at the same time, I have to be honest: this is someone who I thought would actually win the event. With that as the standard, my prediction is unambiguously a failure.

Was the failure a dumb call in the first place or was it justifiable? I think the specific way that moky ended up losing – in two Fox dittos – was a bit surprising, but this is also a matchup that we’ve seen be effectively close to unpredictable. Cody, moky, Leffen, Joshman, Zuppy, Aklo, and Soonsay may not all have “1:1” odds vs. each other, but predicting how these seven players will perform in the ditto vs. each other is a fool’s errand, even if you can find some order here and there. I also have to say that if I am going to be tough on aMSa’s chances of winning a tournament due to two massive roadblocks, it’s only fair to do the same for someone who has three of them; and for Battle of BC, all three of them were in attendance. Had moky beaten Soonsay and taken down aMSa afterward, he would have had to have played one of Jmook or Mango anyway. Again – it’s not impossible for him to defeat them, but for making major predictions, it hurts his chances.

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