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Published May 9, 2022

Monday Morning Marth’s Smash Summit 13 Preview

Smash Summit 13 has a lot to live up to. From Summit’s most competitive iteration ever to the literal greatest tournament of all time, the series has had a recent stretch of memorable events. As I’ve done before, I’m going to break down each invitee’s chances of doing well.

Basically, I’m grouping players into different tiers based on how I expect them to perform within this competitive field (not necessarily their overall ranking). I will briefly summarize their current standing in the community landscape, occasionally talking about who they would or wouldn’t want to see in their bracket. At the end of the column, I will make my pick for who will win Smash Summit 13.

Someone Has To Finish In Last Place

On rollback, Indiana’s Blue has taken sets from Ben and NoFluxes. In person, he notably eliminated Michael from Riptide. Summit will be an amazing experience for him, even if it’s a tall order to beat anyone here. If I had to pick someone other than DarkGenex, it’d be Salt, someone who is still a totally different caliber of player from what Blue’s used to.

It’s wild how DarkGenex went from stream monster to meme master to good player to community leader to all four. While he’s definitely on the lower end of the “Summit competitor” skill spectrum, put on your thinking cap. Imagine “Snow Halation” taking a set from Frenzy or Mango. Or better, if DarkGenex just randomly dismantled Hungrybox again. Actually – I personally asked him to throw if either of the last two seemed like they were going to happen.

You can never really count out Salt, someone who’s taken sets from iBDW or SFAT. At the same time, going to an event where every single attendee is dangerous vs. Captain Falcon will make things harder. I could see him challenging lloD, but the reality is that Salt is probably an underdog against most people here. Then again, that was the case for many of his wins.

If Sora beat Leffen or iBDW here, I would be totally unsurprised. That said, the upper echelon of this tournament is filled to the brim with the best representatives of non-Fox characters. It’s going to be really difficult for Sora to stand out, even among his peers, who have more balanced matchup spreads than he does. That’s not to say that Sora can’t beat any of the players here; just an unfortunate draw in terms of where he’s likely to do well and where he’ll find challenges.

Ninth Place Picks

With recent wins over aMSa and Hungrybox, as well as an excellent Genesis performance, n0ne is clearly back. However, this attendee field includes so many Falcon slayers: Zain, Leffen, Plup, Mango, iBDW, Jmook, Pipsqueak, Frenzy, and even someone with loads of experience in the ditto like Salt. I suspect n0ne returns to Earth here.

KoDoRiN has especially cleaned up his matchup spread vs. Fox, Captain Falcon, and Peach, recently beating iBDW, lloD, and S2J. I wonder though – how long-term are his Sheik woes? At an event where Jmook, Plup, and Leffen are in attendance, KoDoRiN’s got a long road ahead of him. I’m not convinced he can dodge more than one of them.

Before upsetting Mango, it felt like lloD was beating up one of moky or Hungrybox every week. With that said, Summit has the type of players we’ve seen him show mortality against. Zain, Leffen, iBDW, Plup, and Jmook stand out as daunting challenges, but if there’s one person lloD doesn’t want to see across from the setup, it’s Hungrybox, whom he’s never beaten on LAN.

Mango once said that his biggest demon was himself. While it sounds cliche, right now, that seems to be the case. I know everyone goes through slumps, and if Melee were just about being able to beat Zain, Mango would be much higher on this list. However, strictly in terms of predicting how he’ll do in a tournament, I have no confidence that he’ll make it that far at this specific point in time.

Rounding Out Top Eight

Pipsqueak’s America trip has already netted him sets over the likes of Axe, Swift, Krudo, Chem, SloX, Salt, Skerzo, and many others. I’d love to see how he takes on n0ne, given how convincingly Pipsqueak has beaten most of the Captain Falcon players around his level. I view him like Sora, but within this specific field of attendees, I like Pipsqueak’s chances a lot.

POST PUBLISH UPDATE: Well, this sucks. Pipsqueak got COVID, so he’s not going.

For someone who we haven’t seen in the States for most of this year, Frenzy is a strangely good fit for this Summit field. I like his chances vs. Mango, n0ne, and Sora since they’re all strong matchups for Frenzy does well in. Besides, if you had to pick someone to bring Jmook back to Earth, why not go with the guy who beat him at Smash World Tour Championships? Frenzy is my underdog pick here.

I previously estimated Hungrybox’s chances at winning Genesis before the event. If you don’t feel like reading it, I was pessimistic in part because of how terrible his matchup spread was vs. the top tier of players. You’d imagine that I’d have a little more faith after a month where he beat Mango and aMSa, additionally and finishing second to Zain at Pound, right? Surprise – I don’t.

iBDW showed some of the greatest Fox gameplay ever in his Genesis run, and yet he’s had a stretch of weak showings. iBDW tends to perform better at invitationals than he does at open events, so I’m cautiously optimistic that this tournament will be a bit of a rebound. Still – it’s hard to ignore the two consecutive non-top eight showings, the latest coming in his own home region.

Dark Horses For Winning

These are Jmook’s head-to-heads of his last three events, all in order: 1-0 vs. iBDW, 1-0 vs. Plup, 1-0 vs. lloD, 1-0 vs. n0ne, 1-0 vs. Gahtzu, 1-0 vs. Sora, 1-0 vs. Zuppy, 1-0 vs. Wally, 1-0 vs. Salt, 0-2 vs. Zain, 0-1 vs. aMSa, 0-1 vs. Hungrybox, 0-1 vs. Aklo, and 0-1 vs. Frenzy. Until we see him take a big step backward, it’s time to treat Jmook like he belongs in this tier.

In spite of a surprising 13th place exit from Genesis 8, pretty much nothing has changed from my initial estimation of Plup other than that Ginger, who just won the most stacked regional of the year, and Jmook, the silver medalist at Genesis, are trending toward being Top 10 players. It happens. I see no reason to view Plup significantly differently from how I did before Genesis.

Issues with televisions aside, I’m confident in Leffen’s ability to go back-and-forth with Zain, as well as solidly beat Hungrybox. In the past, I would have been a little pessimistic about his chances vs. iBDW or some of the field. Today, with iBDW slumping, Mango trending downward, no Wizzrobe, and no aMSa, the path could be opening up for a Leffen victory. And yet…

The Overwhelming Favorite

…It’s Zain, dude. Other than Leffen – maybe Mango, if he somehow puts it together for a deep bracket run – Zain is dominantly favored against every single opponent here. Until he loses, the default expectation should be that he beats whoever is thrown at him. I fully expect Zain to win Smash Summit 13 and, frankly, making a guess for anyone else is just theater.

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