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 GameTyrant. Will take down if requested.
On Sunday, Hungrybox won GameTyrant Expo 2018 in Utah, while his rival Leffen finished first at Red Bull EWKND in Sweden. For other tournaments over the weekend, the United Kingdom successfully defended its home turf at MURK3D, with Professor Pro taking first and Setchi double eliminating the visiting Trif. In Virginia, Junebug won Thanks for the Invite, and Kalvar withstood an early loss to local Ganondorf player Wjang to eventually win MMOM Bi-Monthly 15 in Massachusetts.
1. Irvine Succeeds!
GT-X was expected to be a relatively top heavy tournament. So what exactly were the two SoCal local grinders doing in top eight over the likes of players with more career success than them?
Captain Faceroll’s showing included victories over AbsentPage, who Faceroll defeated earlier this year, and Ginger en route to seventh place. In fact, he could have potentially placed even higher were it not for dubious circumstances behind his match with the frustratingly set-delaying Wizzrobe.
It took Michelangelo four years to complete the Sistene Chapel. If I am to create beautiful Melee, it requires but four minutes.
— Existential Wizzrobe (@ExistentialWizz) November 5, 2018
However, there’s no mistaking that Squid was the hero of GT-X. After years of impressive regional showings contrasted by ho-hum nationals, the Irvine Falco had his best performance yet. In addition to defeating his local kryptonite Faceroll in top eight, Squid beat Luigi Ka-Master, Westballz and Bananas.
Separate of their gameplay, I feel like these two fly under the radar in comparison to other SoCal players, and the two are among the most active local players in their region. It’s great to see them succeed on a bigger stage – and I can’t wait to see what more surprises lie in store for each one.
2. GT-X 8 Takeaways
- Another week, another victory for Hungrybox. Without Armada in his path, can someone pick up the mantle as the Hungrybox counter?
- Mango beat Zain! Forget everything else; someone alert the presses! I also love bringing back the Fox against Hungrybox on Dreamland, but Mango struggled heavily to switch back to Falco afterward. Perhaps he should test the waters with Falco to start the set and close it with Fox after the Dreamland “turning point” of a set.
- Zain somehow beat Wizzrobe at the same tourney he lost to Mango at. Melee’s in a strange place.
- At this point, does SFAT need to develop a Captain Falcon counterpick for Zain?
- ARMY has to feel really dumb about those taunts.
- What a strange tournament from Bananas. He beat Axe, but lost to Mango and Squid.
- Tournaments, please make sure this shit doesn’t happen. This is absolutely unacceptable.
3. The Alternate Outcome for No. 1
I alluded to it before, but as time goes on, Smash Summit 7 looks like a battleground for No. 1 between Hungrybox and Leffen. However, I find this framing somewhat simplistic. What happens if neither of the two win?
Maybe I’m crazy for this, but couldn’t you still reasonably have Armada at No. 1 for the year? Hungrybox has won everything since his retirement, but it’s not as if he’s done so in overly dominant fashion. The rest of the field has performed so inconsistently (save for Leffen, who has disappeared outside of an underwhelming showing at The Big House 8) and even Hungrybox dropped a set to Duck.
Armada hasn’t attended much, but when he has, he’s still finished highly or overcome early losses to destroying nearly everyone else (Smash Summit 6 and Evo 2018). If you were to just compare by the numbers, the only weaknesses Armada has are a loss to Swedish Delight, a heavily losing record against Leffen and a back-and-forth head-to-head with budding Smash Ultimate player Mew2King. His strengths are a dominant record on Hungrybox two major victories and positive records against the field.
Leffen’s biggest case against him for No. 1 on the year was his stretch of having Hungrybox tear out his heart from his chest for several sets in a row. Hungrybox’s issue of dropping sets to players considered well below his skill level might come from attending several events but considering Armada’s much-documented history of slaying everyone considered even slightly below him for years, I don’t think this points sticks as a defense for Hungrybox.
If Plup, Mew2King, Zain or even Mango somehow manage to win Summit over Hungrybox and Leffen, it will lend more credence to the idea that no one was consistent or convincing enough to sit in Armada’s throne.
4. Monday Morning Mailbag
Edwin I know you got a top 5 smash raps power ranking let’s hear it – Catalepsy
Little do you know how much thought I’ve unironically given this question. Let’s start with an honorable mention to the Palmdale Smash Music track by Creepy Fingers. I wish crews today made these kinds of hype songs – shoutout to the Creepy Combo.
- Good Clux by H2YL. Seriously, try listening to this track and not laughing your ass off at Azen and Anden’s incomprehensibly bad verses. Warning: the track has heavily homophobic language, but it was also written by teenagers in the early 00s, if the “Renegade” instrumental wasn’t already a giveaway. Its presence on this list is more by virtue of it being a trailblazer for Smash hip hop.
- Nice Shot Hugo by Chillin. I feel like this flies under the radar and is criticized for being too much of an in-joke between two old friends, as opposed to the actual bad blood behind Respect Your Elders. That’s horseshit. The context behind Respect Your Elders makes it more memorable to people, but the actual bars are way more funny and accurate in Nice Shot Hugo, which fully embraces the memey discourse around HugS’ results, his status in the Smash scene and even Chillin’s own place in the community. These are still culturally relevant themes today.
- P5’in It by NEO. Seriously, just listen to it. I wish majors had this kind of marketing today. It has badass bars, punchlines that’ll make you scream “OOOOOHHHH” and a bumping instrumental. Honestly, you could put a lot of NEO’s work in this spot, but this one stood out.
- Metaknight Da Bess You Ever Had by NEO. The Drake impression, lines, Brawl nostalgia and accuracy of the lines are great. The only downside is that it’s not relatable for a lot of younger smashers, but this is still clever and hilarious.
- Going Up (Who Next?) by ARMY. Is it too early to put this up as the best Smash rap ever? Everything about this diss track is great, from the production values to the lines and the most catchy hook in Smash rap history. The obvious Tupac references also immortalize the track.
I know what a lot of you might be wondering: where’s Respect Your Elders? Well, the diss track isn’t that impressive in hindsight. Many of the lines don’t hold up today, and what really stands out is its boisterous obliviousness. This was actually a time when Chillin thought he might have had a shot against Leffen. Most of what he predicted to be Leffen’s downfall or weak points were completely wrong, if not fixed over time. Its existence, as well the consequences of its existence, carries it more than the actual track itself.
I’d also like to give a special mention to a secret diss track that a secret Melee Stats member has worked on over the last year. It’s quite long, but I can safely say it is without a doubt the most savage, unfiltered and brutal diss track I’ve ever heard – so much to where they have vowed not to release it. Any boundary you can think of, it crosses. The song’s ruthlessness makes Pusha T, Eminem and Tupac look like Barney the Dinosaur, and it’s not even complete. Once it is, it will easily jump up to No. 1.
Alas; the member has only one condition for its release: that the Melee Stats Patreon receives 500 subscribers. If you want to hear the track in its fullest, subscribe and we’ll release by this year. Or don’t!