By Jamie “JAMJAR” Jacobs and Josh “BarkSanchez” Brody
The 64 Free For All is a question session with some of the biggest names in Smash 64, plus a bonus section for our own BarkSanchez to voice his thoughts. 6 questions, 4 top personalities. Today we have the three top seeds of Apex 2016 and its TO to give their opinions.
- Apex has had a troubled past with a variety of issues. With a new team taking over, they aim to regrow the brand to something worthwhile. Considering the smaller turnout this year, what goals should the organizing staff have to help ensure the future of this series?
Tommy “Stranded” Speziale: Given the troubles at the prior tournaments the series held, I think a great step forward would be to have it run as smoothly as possible. We need to run our brackets on time and have wise use of our stream time. Given that Pidge is the TO at this event, I expect nothing but great success.
Javier “Fireblaster” Romero: Make the players happy. Just run the event well and avoid any screw ups. As long as the event provides and does exactly what it said it would, all the expectations players had would be met and more. It cannot make the same mistakes previous Apex events have made.
Rob “Cobrevolution” Stone: There was already the hiccup regarding Capos, with them not responding to his email in a timely manner and not honoring his early bird registration. I’m not a fan of that kind of thing, or the delayed responses regarding schedule and stream and such. As it stands, they have to make sure to not unfairly disqualify anyone, give the games the stream time they were promised, provide enough setups, and run things on time. As the tournament series continues, they’ve gotta look to pick up more sponsors and be a hell of a lot more transparent, as well as get pot bonuses and bigger named players to endorse them.
Stef “pidgezero_one” Kischak: First and foremost, to run a tight ship and handle any hiccups gracefully. Events starting on time, no issues with the venue, participants being able to get answers to their questions while present and paying out participants on time…these are all very basic expectations in 2016, some of which were not met in previous Apexes, but participants at the very least leave the event without a bad taste in their mouths. If this year’s Apex runs smoothly, various people who have chosen not to attend have stated they’d be willing to consider it in the future.
- Past Apex events have been legendary 64 tournaments, including some of our scenes most well known sets. What could happen this year to continue that legacy?
Stranded: Given the small turnout for entrants, continuing such a legacy will definitely be a struggle, borderline unobtainable. Nothing will beat the infamous USA vs. Japan Grand Finals or the Isai vs. Boom set. I guess I just have to style in Grand Finals and put on a great show for the viewers 🙂
Fireblaster: This is rough for Apex because Snosa II is happening in the same weekend on the West Coast and that one got a lot of attendance from the top players in NA. One thing that Apex could do is to just be a really well run event so that it gets a good reputation and the players want to return and attract all those that were wary of the Apex name. This would guarantee that they get a good payoff in terms of high level talent the following years.
Cobr: For this year, if the usual suspects don’t perform to the best of their abilities, it could shake things up a bit and provide some memorable sets. It’s not like we’re going to be seeing the highest level Smash possible, but this is an opportunity for people to make waves. I’m not gonna talk myself up, but I know a lot of people underrate me, and I know I can surprise people. The same goes for Star King – imagine if he beats Stranded. It’s something that a handful of people can see happening, but everyone else would scoff.
pidge: I don’t think we will have anything this year to match up to the hype of previous years as far as spectator value is concerned, the spectator value will come from the introduction of hidden bosses to the main stage. Who knows where the next Derek is hiding?
- Due to the smaller turnout, some lesser known players will have their first chance to shine on the national stage. Who is the biggest threat to break through in a big way at this event?
Stranded: While thinking of players who can break through to the spotlight two names come to mind: Maliki and CTG. I’ve seen Maliki’s skill more than anyone and I know what he’s capable of. I’ve seen CTG’s potential so him making it far in bracket wouldn’t come as a shock to me. They’re the sleeper cells LOL.
Fireblaster: Probably Zeppelin. Based on recent weeklies, he has reached No. 1 on the ELO ranking for the NYC SSB64 weeklies while overtaking Firo, who was a Top 8 finisher at Pound 2016. If he can adapt to new playstyles he hasn’t seen before, he could go far in the bracket.
Cobr: CTG and Zeppelin could pull off some things that would put them on the national radar. A few lesser known players like Mr.Sir and the NYC kids also have the opportunity to be on stream and get their games out, get people talking.
pidge: This one I don’t know. American players are not my strong suit. I’m expecting good things from Zeppelin though.
- Who would you be most excited to face in bracket and why?
Stranded: I would be most excited to face Fireblaster in bracket. Although we’ve played many times, it’s always interesting, he has a very high record against me and I have to catch up one set at a time.
Fireblaster: Either Zeppelin or Star King. I’ve never faced Star King in bracket so that would be a matchup I can finally encounter. I’ve heard that Zeppelin has improved a lot since the last time I faced against him and he has taken several games off of Firo so it would be cool to see the difference.
Cobr: I wouldn’t mind playing some people I haven’t had the pleasure to before. Of the Top 16, I’ve played like 10 of them in tournament…including about 8 against Javi. Really, though, it would be for the fans for me to go Samus against CTG or NTA.
pidge: CTG or Dizzle. I love Puff dittos. If only I had entered!
- What is your prediction for Top 8?
Stranded: 1. Me
4. Star King
Fireblaster: 1 – Stranded
2 – Star King
3 – Fireblaster
4 – Cobr
Tied for 5th – Zeppelin, NTA
Tied for 7th – Maliki, CTG
Cobr: I can’t see any of us Top 4 seeded players [Stranded, Fireblaster, Cobr, Star King] missing out on Top 8. I think the other people to scoot in will be CTG, NTA, bloodpeach and Zeppelin.
pidge: Stranded, Fireblaster, Cobr/Star King, CTG, NTA, Maliki, Sedda
- Who is DONG | Bonerstorm and who will he play as?
Stranded: DONG | BONERSTORM IS A SCRANDBOB. Nothing but a no name who tried to be funny while registering. I’ll make a joke of his name if we meet up in bracket.
Fireblaster: Rumors have it that he defeated Wario in a first to 10 with a GameStop third party controller and Polygon Link. If he isn’t too bored to show up to play, nobody stands a chance.
Cobr: He is MATTS! You already know who he’ll play.
pidge: I have no idea who he is, but he has a lot of memes to live up to.
Free Barking with BarkSanchez
The idea behind this section was for brief thoughts, but with two high profile tournaments there is no way this can be too brief.
Apex is looking more interesting than I had expected. The Top 3 all went to Shots Fired 2, where we saw Fireblaster get revenge over Cobr for White Rose, and Stranded get revenge over Fireblaster for pretty much every tournament they had played each other in previously. The infamous Stranded DK game. Star King, on the other hand, was last seen at The Laboratory in Hatboro, PA, a few months back. He went all random and narrowly lost to Shears, happening upon several of his strongest characters, although his Samus may have been the most impressive. He wasn’t so fortunate in losers, getting swept by Cobr as he got some mid-low tiers. His antics help him remain mostly an enigma in terms of seeding; Apex 2015 seems like a long, long time ago.
However, I am most interested in seeing Fireblaster’s path through this bracket. A player capable of beating anyone in the bracket, but also capable of dropping sets to anyone in the Top 4. I think Stranded might have to break out his Pikachu this time.
I’d like to see Maliki get over his tournament nerves, but I see Mr.Sir being a sneaky candidate for an upset here. CTG has made waves in 2016, but I’d like to see him and NTA make names for themselves on a larger scale in the console scene. My heart grieves for ND64 | Bacorn, who escapes the Kirby clutches of Amida in the Midwest, only to deal with an underrated rising Kirby player in fellow Smash Writer JAMJAR, in a match that will likely decide who makes it out of pools via the winners side.
Sad to say Doubles looks kinda small scale, I expect a Cobr/Star King vs Fireblaster / Zeppelin Grand Finals. I will be pulling for my fellow Smash Writers, JAMJAR and Nardwell, as well as fellow MDVA Mr. Sir teaming up with eliot
Apex took a great first step in regaining the 64 community’s trust by asking pidgezero_one to TO. A well-run revival is almost guaranteed with one of 64’s finest TO’s, which could inspire more people to trust Apex down the road. This looks like a fun tournament and I’m pretty salty I can’t go, but I’m sure you can all understand: