By Josh “BarkSanchez” Brody
Boom has landed, beard fully present. Controllers and underwear? Not so much.
The weekend everyone has been waiting for is finally here, and Pound 2016 couldn’t come any sooner!
The big show kicks off Friday night with the Pound 2016 Salty Suite, at The Cave Gaming Center in Fairfax. The Salty Suite will host a variety of intense matches, with money, regional pride, and even Nintendo 64 cartridges on the line.
The event will get off to a quick start, with two up-and-comers dueling with Nintendo 64 cartridges up for grabs. Baltimore’s Moonshoe and Northern Virginia’s Ice King both expect to make quick work of each other. Considering the high stakes of this match, it appears both players are confident they will breeze through this match. Moonshoe and Ice King have both made significant strides since joining the scene in 2015. They hope to make their scene proud while not losing their copies of Conker’s Bad Fur Day (seriously, it’s worth like $80).
New York’s duo of Firo and th3kuzinator are expected to make an appearance as well, after challenging BarkSanchez to Donkey Kong dittos with money on the line. A dong expansion overload may just take over the event.
The Salty Suite will also feature the latest installment of one of Smash 64’s greatest rivalries: Fireblaster vs. BarkSanchez. This money match serves as the sequel to the notorious Genesis 3 Money Match, where Fireblaster clutched out a Game 5, last stock, high percentage victory. BarkSanchez rallied back from an 0-2 deficit to force Game 5, and subsequently rallied back from a 1-3 stock deficit, only for Fireblaster to pull through under pressure. These sets always feature plenty of shield breaks, 19-eggs-eggs style edge guards, Yoshi “hhnnng” noises, and Pikachu zip-zaps! With BarkSanchez up 6-5 in sets (with the assistance of a most questionable self-destruct), can Fireblaster tie it up?
The headliner of the night will be the Maryland vs. Virginia 12 character crew battle. The full line-up won’t be finalized until the night of, but the probable entrants are:
|Projected List of Competitors|
|Bark The Shark||Star King|
|Teflon Ron||Mustard Tiger|
Maryland and Virginia have long fought for supremacy of their region Virginia’s captain Clubbadubba has successfully defended his home turf, but was unable to succeed in his invasions of Baltimore. Can the captain lead his troops to victory as they prepare for their biggest battle yet in this fierce Civil War? Or will the Maryland flag be planted in Virginian soil for the first time by the end of the skirmish?
Fast forward to Saturday morning: the main event begins. The schedule is chock-full of more than 12 hours of Super Smash Bros. 64, beginning with Doubles pools at 10:00 a.m.
With most of MDVA inexplicably lumped together in pool A, there looks to be plenty of in-fighting early on. This pool features the unstoppable force of SuPeRbOoMfAn and Tacos, as well 2015’s surprising brotherly powerhouse of Darkhorse and BarkSanchez, also known as Barkhorse. While the former is expected to breeze through their competition, Bark and Dark have plenty to look out for in their pool. Fox (a.k.a. LD) and The Protagonist eliminated the brothers from Super Smash Con, and look to be stronger than ever with Fox on his controller of choice this time around. Clubbadubba and Drought may get to them first, as this couple turned doubles team has developed a solid duo with positive chemistry. Other potential sleepers include the New York duo of JimmyJoe and th3kuzinator, as well as Baltimore’s Shears and [Daniel] Mears team.
Pool B features Super Smash Con runners up Fireblaster and Revan, as well as the classic duo of Nintendude and Firo. The former put in work at Super Smash Con, eliminating the hot-handed dual Fox team of The Protagonist and Fox, unfortunately falling short in Grand Finals. Nintendude and Firo, on the other hand, haven’t teamed since Apex 2015. However, don’t expect the unconventional Mario/Ness duo to let that get in their way. One of the most experienced teams around, these two don’t disappoint. Pool B also features another threatening brotherly duo, lord narwhal and Dr. lampy. The brothers most recently teamed at Super Smash Con, where they powered through a tough team of Clubbadubba and JimmyJoe, but were kept away from glory by two Baltimore teams: Barkhorse, and Fox/The Protagonist. They’ll return to Virginia hungry for revenge. Keep an eye on the online warriors KnitePhox and Combo Blaze as well, as these two look to establish online dominance over console players in teams. These two incredibly technical and stylish players are projected for a solid teams debut. However, JAMJAR and Nardwell, The Smash Writers, look to take the whole thing.
Doubles Top 8
While Boom and Tacos are heavily favored to win the tournament, the competition is quite fierce. Revan and Fireblaster made Grand Finals at Smash Con, but do they have what it takes to win it all this time? Or will another team take them down first? Look for Barkhorse to try to sneak into the Top 3, potentially facing fellow Baltimoreans Fox and The Protagonist for a second time along the way. A big question looming forTtop 3 candidates Nintendude and Firo: is Ness still viable in 2016? It’ll be interesting to see how they adjust to their first performance in a Dreamland Only ruleset. The Narwhal brothers should make a strong statement to start Top 8, but they’ll likely have to face one of the two Baltimore teams that took them out at Smash Con as they work through the losers bracket. Anything goes for spots 2 through 4, with numerous teams that could land in any of those places.
Much like in doubles, SuPeRbOoMfAn is heavily favored to win it all. However, we’ve seen that these tournaments are not necessarily a cakewalk for him anymore. Despite a poor performance by his standards at Hitstun 3, KeroKeroppi has taken games off of Boom before. Tacos nearly sent Boom to losers at Genesis 3, making the perennial champion appear mortal. Wizzrobe has always given Boom fits, and Fox 2.0 looked nearly unstoppable at his most recent event. Fireblaster, Revan, and BarkSanchez are all incredibly talented players who could very well exceed expectations, although Boom is realistically out of reach at the moment.
How They Can Win
Boom: Continues his trend of North American dominance, showing that as the other players improve, he manages to stay two steps ahead of them. Quadruple thunder?
Kero: Despite his Pikachu being 3-stocked once again by Darkhorse’s Captain Falcon, Kero’s Kirby maintains its status as a dinosaur slayer, taking down Fireblaster and Tacos as he has in the past. Kero gets the matchup he’s looking for in Game 1 against Boom, answering each counterpick with one of his own. Kero’s long-fought goal of being number one is realized, and no ones’ moms are ever safe again.
Tacos: Wielding his controller with its freshly-removed pause button, Tacos eeks out a close victory against the dynamic Kirby main, Revan. Fortunately, he plays yet another Kirby afterwards, getting his revenge on Kero for Super Smash Con. He opts to pass on the Wizzrobe approach, rather he overwhelms a notoriously patient Kero with a mix of unpredictable approaches and inescapable punishes. Continuing where he left off at Genesis 3, Tacos assaults Boom with a flurry of creative combos, and near flawless parrying. The Dirty Dinosaur proves to be untouchable.
Wizzrobe: The prodigy exposes Fox’s mortality, regardless of which controller he uses. Despite missing numerous edgeguards, Wizzy shows that strong reads trump quick reaction times, converting consistent neutral wins into death combos, as he sends Fox back home to Corneria. Wizzrobe showed at Apex 2015 he’s capable of reading Boom’s approaches. 2016 has brought Wizzrobe more patience and more optimal approaches; he finds a successful balance between the two, establishing himself as an unstoppable force and an immovable object.
Fox: The only Fox main left alive approaches the stage with his polished Xbox 360 adapter. Combining inhuman reaction times with his character’s absurd neutral game, each competitor falls before him,struggling to approach him, and subsequently being comboed to death as they fail. Even Fox proves to be edgeguardable by the best of the best, yet he isn’t off of the stage enough times for it to matter. Everyone almost immediately rethinks the tier list.
Revan: The scrappy Canuck beats tacos for the second time ever, smothering him with his signature quick and relentless playstyle. For Kero, however, Revan slows it down. Similar to their set at Gauntlet III, Revan plays along with Kero’s patience, turning a clean neutral game into devastating combos. Riding high from his momentum, Revan shocks Boom as he applies inescapable pressure alongside airtight punishes. Boom for once doesn’t walk away victorious, but USA players are left bitter knowing that Canada still goes home with the win.
Fireblaster: Fire continues to play on another level at majors. However, this time he cannot be stopped. Calm, cool, and collected, Fireblaster turns every touch into a stock using innovative and flawless tech. He takes down Kero’s cast of characters with impeccable timing and reads followed by precise death combos, as well as quite afew shield breaks. Fire utilizes his tech skills acquired from rhythm games, and spacing abilities honed in fighting games, forcing Tacos and Boom to follow his game plan.
Bark The Shark: No one shows up. Winner by default.
The fun answer? The meteoric rise of some “rando” from Maryland continues as Bark scores a win over Clubbadubba for the first time in Virginia. Bark faces Boom with newfound patience, baiting his approaches, and following up with clean, Wario-esque edgeguards. Bark’s formulaic dismantling of Yoshi leaves Wizzrobe helpless. Intense vertical patience, intelligent aerial spacing, and precise edgeguards lead the way to victory. In another rematch with Kero, Bark overwhelms him with a signature mix of aggressive approaches and next-level spacing. Boom revisits Bark in Grand Finals, but is unable to win two straight sets. In less than a year and a half, Bark goes from being some random scrub, to number one in North America, and hell freezes over.
Now which seems more realistic?
Players to Look Out For:
Combo Blaze, lord narwhal, Firo, and Clubbadubba could all potentially sneak into the Top 8. Firo seems most likely to make the cut based on matchups and the bracket layout; however, the other three could potentially pull it off with a few upsets. Anyone caught sleeping on these guys will not be happy when Sunday rolls around.