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Published March 7, 2022

Returning Players: Captain Smuckers

Last week, I talked about Slox, a previously ranked Top 100 player who’s had somewhat of a mini-resurgence over the last six months. I picked him because he’s from the state that I started playing Melee in. The response to this article was overwhelmingly positive, so I decided to do it again for another player from Tristate who’s been having a bit of a mini-resurgence as well.

For today’s column, I want to examine Captain Smuckers’ resume since his return in July 2021. Just like last column, I’m going to give a brief summary of his career before talking about his return to competing and his latest performances. Then, I’ll give a rough assessment for where Smuckers would roughly be seeded at a supermajor featuring everyone.

Captain Smuckers’ Career in a Nutshell

It might sound alien to so many players today, but when Hax quit Captain Falcon in 2014, a common talking point throughout the scene was that if Hax couldn’t do it, nobody could win with him. People were placing the character as low as 10th on the tier list and Hax’s reputation among the rest of the scene erred much closer to people like aMSa and Axe for character innovators than it did to other comparable players within the scene. In subsequent years, players like Wizzrobe and S2J would push Captain Falcon further and continue to have success on a national level, but truthfully, you didn’t have to look that far. Within New York City, Captain Smuckers took the mantle of the city’s premier Captain Falcon.

I’ve been to a lot of Smash tournaments in my life. I know what type of players tend to be crowd favorites. No region goes harder for their player of choice than New York City for Smuckers. I’m not exaggerating. I’ve seen people literally leap over chairs, fail, and then try to do it again just to watch him play a set against someone else. If Captain Smuckers were up four stocks to one on your grandmom in round one pools and hit two knees in a row, you’d probably still hear Ryobeat yelling “OOOOOOOOO” and see G$ doing a cartwheel behind him.

The broad story of Smuckers’ career is something along the lines of this: he starts off as a hidden boss of sorts in 2015, able to go toe-to-toe with Top 100 players, but with no national experience. Then, in the next four years after that, he becomes a routine presence in top eight of Nebulous (later on, Hax’s Nightclub and The Nightclub) each week, also traveling to larger events, where you could usually find him in Top 64 or so. The peak was finishing No. 42 on the 2018 MPGR, a high ranking that came in part because of him winning The Gang Hosts A Melee Tournament, a regional where he figuratively slapped the shit out of Zain in grand finals and casually reverse 3-0’d Crush.

When the pandemic happened, Smuckers played in a few Netplay weeklies before disappearing. He re-emerged when The Nightclub came back in July 2021. From then on, this is mostly where you can find him. Below, I have listed his head-to-heads against notable top players and regionally respected competitors.

Captain Smuckers In Recent Times

  • 0-5 vs Aklo
  • 0-6 vs Jflex
  • 0-1 vs Jmook
  • 1-0 vs 2saint
  • 0-1 vs Swift
  • 0-1 vs Zealot
  • 0-1 vs Panda
  • 1-1 vs 404Cray
  • 1-1 vs Wally
  • 3-1 vs Whiskers
  • 1-2 vs SloX
  • 1-1 vs JoJo
  • 2-1 vs Bbatts
  • 1-3 vs Just Jason
  • 3-0 vs TheSWOOPER
  • 1-2 vs Warmmer
  • 0-2 vs Salt
  • 3-1 vs Dawson

Taking a look at Smuckers’ resume above there’s a lot to digest. It reminds me of Slox’s resume in the sense that Smuckers’ main strength is his ability to hang with his peers. If we treated his records from “404cray” to “Dawson” as indicative of how Smuckers would perform against “Top 51 to Top 125 players,” he overall performs 17-15. Now, what isn’t listed above are some of Smuckers’ upset losses against mid-level players in Tristate, but I’ll be real – I don’t really care about these. Having looked at the data a bit more, trending positive against the sheer depth of talent within this region says enough. I also know he was switching to using rectangles for some portion of last year, so I don’t think many of the upsets hold much predictive weight for how he’d perform at a major.

For last week’s deep dive on Slox, I correctly guessed before my research that Skerzo would be a good point of comparison. Heading into this week’s column, I wasn’t sure of who I could place Smuckers around. So in a similar fashion to what I did before, I’m going to take a look at Salt’s resume just within 2022. It’s not the most scientific method – I’m covering a shorter time span – but it’s just easier to look at and provides a useful amount of information.

  • 0-2 vs SFAT
  • 0-1 vs S2J
  • 0-1 vs Ginger
  • 1-0 vs Lucky
  • 1-0 vs KJH (Falco)
  • 0-1 vs Soonsay
  • 0-1 vs SFOP
  • 0-1 vs Swift
  • 2-0 vs Medz
  • 1-2 vs bobby big ballz
  • 0-1 vs billybopeep
  • 0-2 vs Zealot
  • 0-1 vs Zamu
  • 0-4 vs Zuppy
  • 2-0 vs Ben
  • 1-0 vs Panda
  • 2-1 vs Eddy Mexico
  • 0-1 vs Jflex
  • 0-1 vs Shroomed
  • 1-1 vs Mot$
  • 1-1 vs Drephen
  • 1-0 vs Aura
  • 4-7 vs Mekk
  • 0-1 vs Far!
  • 0-1 vs Casper
  • 2-2 vs Slowking
  • 0-1 vs JSalt
  • 1-0 vs Bbatts
  • 2-0 vs Pappi
  • 2-1 vs Dawson
  • 1-0 vs Steech
  • 1-1 vs PanterA
  • 1-0 vs Lunar Dusk
  • 2-0 vs Captain Smuckers

Although I think Salt has a more consistent resume than Smuckers, remember – we’re only looking at how they do vs. peers. There’s lot of similarities to find here. Against players from “Eddy Mexico” to Smuckers himself, Salt has a 21-19 record, not too different than how Smuckers does. I would also attribute Salt’s “upset” ability against the top level in part due to playing a broader spread of people. Intuitively, I think it’s easier to score a greater rate of upsets when you play more top talent vs. if you play the same people ranked above you repeatedly.

Based on what I’m looking at, I think Smuckers is probably around Top 100 to Top 120 level. This would make him good enough to be seeded first in his pool at a supermajor. My hard call is that after doing this, he upsets some Top 50 Peach or Marth player on the way to Top 32 winners side, and after doing that, every New York City smasher at the event starts doing this on the walls of the venue.

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