This series is a tribute to standard “Monday Morning Quarterback” columns in traditional sports. In it, I discuss my quick takeaways from the last week of the Smash community. Consider this a mix of news and mild takes. Featured image from 2GG. Will take down if requested.
On Sunday, Leffen won The Mango: Homecoming. SFAT finished in second place, which awarded the NorCal Fox the final spot for the upcoming Smash Summit 7.
For other tournaments during the weekend, Ohio Ice Climbers Boyd won the Champaign regional House of Paign 19. This was notable because it also featured the likes of runnerup KJH, lloD, Rishi, many of the Midwest’s best and Mew2King, who played Pichu for most of the event.
Over in central New York, DJ Nintendo won See Me On LAN 2, defeating 2Saint. The tournament also featured a surprise performance from Sheik main Jmook, Central New York’s best player, who finished in third place and dominantly swept La Luna in winner’s bracket.
1. Top 8 Thoughts from The Mango: Homecoming
- Not to sound like my good friend SaveAsUntitled here, but this top eight had so many fun narratives. From it marking Leffen’s first serious tournament back in the United States since The Big House 8 to Westballz’ mega-loser’s run and most of the top eight players battling for the final Summit spot, I felt more thrilled watching this top eight than any sub-majors in quite some time.
- For so much of the year, SFAT has played the role of gatekeeper to the top echelon of play. You could expect two constants from most of his majors: that he’d mostly beat players ranked beneath him and subsequently receive a dunking from Zain for ninth place. If SFAT can follow it up with a breakout at Summit, he’d look his best since mid-late 2016.
- Swedish Delight’s third place at this tournament is another excellent showing, and he came close to defeating SFAT and Leffen, two especially formidable opponents for any Sheik. Then again, if I asked Swedish about his performance, he’d probably tell me that he was lucky he didn’t run into MikeHaze (who he is 0-5 against).
- I know Westballz just lost to Kurv before taking down Cactuar, Ginger, Duck and Kalamazhu, but hear me out: what if…Westballz is actually better against floaties than he is versus fast fallers? Seriously; I’d be curious to see how accurate the “Westballz is better against fast fallers” trope really is.
- One of the most surprising upsets at the event: Kalamazhu over ARMY. You might note the inherent absurdity of giving special mention to Peach victory over Ice Climbers (especially when he beat S2J at the same event), but take a look at Kalamazhu’s history against the character. It’s not pretty, and this is a great step forward for him.
- Here’s a special shoutout to ranked San Diego Captain Falcon and Ganon player Surfero, who defeated Bananas and Moky at the event, finishing 17th.
- Speaking of local Falcons, how about Zeo? He finished 13th, defeating a slew of local killers and Tai.
- Poor Fiction; I thought he had a great chance to make a splash here. He was my sleeper pick for the last Summit spot.
2. House of Paign 19
Going into this event, I joked with many of my friends about how Boyd would win the tournament because of his predicted matchup with Mew2King. But with the god playing Pichu and entering loser’s bracket early, Boyd had nothing to worry about.
Through his underdog run at the Midwest tournament, Boyd beat Kels, ORLY, Rik and KJH twice to finish first. Off the top of my head, it strikes me as more out-of-nowhere than Captain Smuckers’ victory at The Gang Hosts A Melee Tournament. Given Boyd’s impressive resume and consistent attendance at larger events throughout 2018, his House of Paign 19 victory will likely cement him for a spot in SSBMRank for the year.
In hindsight, Mew2King playing Pichu was a sign for most of the chaos to come. Sheik main Pleeba, Iowa’s current No. 1 and former ranked player in Illinois, sent Rishi to loser’s bracket in round one of top 64. Similarly, Midwest Fox main Russell defeated Zamu in the same round, but that was only the beginning.
Rik swept Michael, who then destroyed Zamu in loser’s bracket. Cob sent Kels out of the tournament at ninth place. Mew2King randomly picked Marth against Esquire, apparently being okay with playing full Pichu against PRZ, but not wanting to lose before.
Years from now, we’re going to look at this event and wonder what the hell happened. Or at least forget it existed.
3. Quick Thoughts on Smash Summit 7
- The potential Hungrybox vs. Leffen clash for No. 1 – their 2018 head-to-head leans Hungrybox, but Leffen is trending upward. I don’t know who to pick between the two.
- How funny would it be if Plup just won Summit and threw everything into chaos? It’d be kind of fitting: beginning the year with a splash at Genesis 5 and then closing it by winning the most prestigious Melee invitational. Then again, Plup doesn’t tend to do too well at Summit.
- I’m strangely curious about Mango’s character choices against not just Hungrybox, but other players. How about the return of his Mario or Captain Falcon on Final Destination against someone like Axe or Zain?
- I really hope Mew2King doesn’t bring out his Jigglypuff for any part of this event.
- Don’t sleep on Slox and Swedish Delight in teams. They had an up-and-down showing at The Mango: Homecoming, but their history together makes them one of the most impressive duos on the East Coast. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them finish in the top four.
- We’re going to see aMSa for the first time at an American major in what feels like forever. Be thrilled!
- Can Wizzrobe overcome either of his two demons (Plup and Mango) at the event?
- Does Mango finally win a major in 2018?
4. Monday Morning Mailbag
Hungrybox or the field for Summit? – sportsboy85
I’m going with the field, no question. Hungrybox just lost 3-0 to Duck at a smaller event, won The Big House 8 only after being handed a relatively easy bracket, and lost to Zain at Shine. Hungrybox might be the favorite, but he’s also not the same indestructible, late 2017 Hungrybox. If he had been tossing gods left and right, this would be another story.
Hypothetical: Let’s say a random smasher were to enter Genesis and proceed to 4 stock their opponent every single game, but they never enter another tournament. Assuming this person takes out several of the best current smashers, would this person make the year end top 100? How high would they be ranked? – andresalejandro1120
Four stocking everyone? Are you kidding me? This would be such an extraordinary feat that the regular rules of ranking players wouldn’t apply. The Melee scene would either indefinitely halt its activity until its community leaders got this person to compete or ban whatever game-breaking and new glitch person would had to have figured out to instantly win every game by four stocks.
If it’s the former, the competitive legitimacy of the Melee scene would be at stake if it couldn’t entice the most dominant single-tournament smasher to ever live. If it’s the latter, whatever technique they use is banned and they likely remain a dark spot in the annals of Melee history. So, no rank.
How high would Zain need to place at Summit for him to break into the Top 6? Or is there no chance, even if he wins Summit? – JoseElEntrenador
Barring an ungodly stinker from Mew2King and Zain finish in first place, it’s probably a little late for Zain to finish fifth, but it’s doable. I think it’s pretty unlikely though.
Zain’s issues with Captain Falcon throughout the year and his somewhat up-and-down record against every non-SFAT player within the tier below the top six makes me a little hesitant to put him above even Mango right now. Another tournament like Shine, however, would be huge for how he’s perceived moving forward.