In a wild second edition of the National Melee Arcadian, featuring some of its top seeds drowning in pools and failing to make top eight, it was second seed bobby big ballz who took home the gold, overcoming an early loss to Far! to successfully tear through loser’s bracket. To add onto the surprises, Krudo, a Florida Sheik who stunned many through a dominant showing through winner’s bracket.
As expected and referred to before, NMA2 was a bloodbath. Featuring out-of-nowhere results, like Arizona Jigglypuff Scape double eliminating lintgod in pools, rising 2019 star Bimbo falling at 13th place, local favorite NUT drowning early, it was just about the most pound-for-pound stacked event of the year. As a side note: a predominant theme at this Arcadian was the success of three characters in particular: Falco, Sheik, and Luigi.
In other Melee regional news, Fiction won the stacked New Jersey regional King on Sunday. He overcame n0ne, KJH and a surprise scare from low tier hero and potential top 100 player Qerb, who notably went up 2-0 against the eventual tourney champion.
1. The Paradox of Arcadians
One of the central ideas behind Arcadians existing is that they give “lesser” players a better opportunity to win. Its inherently anti-“open” bracket elements aside (in not allowing people of a certain skill threshold to enter), an Arcadian is supposed to create a more fair experience for players who want to compete with people closer to their skill range and not waste money playing versus competitors they have no shot at ever beating.
Here’s the reality though: Melee isn’t the kind of game where the disparity between a nationally unranked Ice Climbers player and Mango is the same as your region’s best amateur tennis player and Roger Federer. In fact, that’s the exact kind of opponent I’m most terrified of Mango facing off against, but that’s another topic.
Looking at NMA2, I struggle to see a scenario in which even players who are ranked from 70-100 on the current MPGR would ever be favored more than 50 percent of the time. I’m not saying they wouldn’t win, but I’m saying each one could also drown and I wouldn’t be surprised at all. Hell, there are players ranked Top 50 I could see finishing in less than first place.
When you analyze it, the NMA2 didn’t actually create an experience for players beneath the threshold of top competition. What it actually achieved was drawing a lot of nationally unrecognized (relatively) talent from their local regions. Is that a value-add to our scene? Probably. But I don’t think it’s fair to act as if players like BBB or Krudo are somehow completely out of the range of top competition.
These are people who have set wins over nationally ranked players (Krudo’s first victories that comes to mind are locals against Gahtzu, but they’re still good resume results). If Captain Smuckers vs. Krudo happens at a national, his baseline might be solidly higher, but it won’t be out of Krudo’s skill range. That Smuckers isn’t allowed to compete at a National Arcadian comes from an arbitrary restriction.
NMA2 was a really cool event, and I’m not trying to shit on its existence as much as just question the basis for Arcadians as a whole by using the NMA2’s ridiculously stacked nature as a microcosm. I think there is a place for exclusively allowing nationally unranked players to shine, but I’m not sure the “Arcadian” format would work as well as another format, like say an invitational. Moreover, I’m skeptical about the local value of Arcadians.
If you’re from a region, like New Jersey or MD/VA, think about it. Is there a huge skill disparity between the players ranked in the late 20s of your region against the No. 9 or 10? How about talented inactives who perform really well at nationals but just never have the time to be locally active? Chances are that the skill gap isn’t so big – and even more pressingly, by running big events that exclude a segment of the competitive field, you’re actually incentivizing the inactive talents and just-outside-PR players to compete instead of actually providing a basis for newer level players to have a fair and useful competitive experience – which should be the whole point of an Arcadian!
In a way, the idea of Arcadians plays into “ranking culture” (which I’ve had reservations about before, despite my seemingly obvious associations with voting collectives). It feeds into other issues of competitive fairness and even top player worship. But those are just my base thoughts. What do you think?
2. Edwin Player Spotlight: Snowy
Any time there’s a player within an obscure region who dominates their competition, I immediately pay attention to them. Snowy had actually caught my attention earlier by being Armada and Leffen’s Jigglypuff practice for Hungrybox, but he eventually became the San Antonio No. 1 by a pretty fair margin not too long ago.
Due to his age and seemingly lopsided experience in the Fox matchup by practicing with the two Swedes, I mentioned Snowy as someone to look out for in 2019. I wasn’t sure of his matchup spread overall because his results at bigger events were a little hard to draw a conclusion from, but you’d figure that receiving world class practice in one matchup could have a ripple effect on his overall play. Plus, he had already really impressed me via watching him play on stream.
Well, it’s five months into the year and Snowy has shown himself to be more than just a local talent. Starting at Genesis 6, where he defeated Kalamazhu and took a game off Mango, he then just defeated Swedish Delight and Colbol – the Fight Pitt 9 champion – last weekend to eventually finish fifth at King.
There’s not really too much to say here other than that Snowy is someone to continuously be on the look for in 2019. In a time of Melee where our best player is a Jigglypuff main, with many top 100 Jigglypuffs following in his steed, you can add another one to the list in Snowy. A third strong regional or national could all but cement his jump to the next level.
3. Monday Morning Mailbag
What players do you expect to qualify for Summit? Who would you want voted in? – self-flagellate
I would love to see Magi voted in, but I’m not sure about how likely a campaign would be, given unusual circumstances. Regardless, in addition to excellent Falco play, it would mean so much for a scene that’s for so long been interpeted, and sadly romanticized as a boy’s club.
As for ofher names, I think iBDW and Fiction are two solid contenders, Fiction’s god awful Summit ad withstanding. I would also be pretty down for Captain Faceroll to make it, as well as Colbol, Gahtzu, Stango, Jerry and a lot of the Mid-Atlantic to Atlantic South talent that exists. Yes; this includes bobby big ballz, though I really hope his history of less than stellar outbursts at events has stopped, because it’s the one thing that sincerely worries me about him having a bigger platform, though my personal interactions with BBB have been mostly positive.
On the topic of dark horse picks – sometimes derisively referred to as “meme” choices – I’m going to throw one name out who had Summit consideration in the past, but was quickly forgotten about: Qerb. Given how strangely impressive and documented his resume has been in 2019, I really think this could be the year where if he doesn’t make Top 100, at least he could have a stunning underdog campaign as Melee’s last low tier hero (depending on how you see aMSa). Qerb, or anyone from New Jersey, if you’re reading this, Summit 8 is your chance.
Do you think another PNW player is gonna make top 100 this year? Such as Chango, Espi, or myself – Aura
Probably? In my mind, Bladewise, Ka-Master, and Iceman are strong locks or close to locks for Top 100 for starters.
Beneath them, you, Chango, Espi, Fauxhebro and Dacky would be my picks to potentially make Top 100 with the right bracket and results.
On a final note: I am deciding to officially retire the “Can X player make Top 100?” questions. My basic answer for all of these is “maybe.” Plus, you can think of more creative questions!