The Spotlight Revisited: Lake Havasu City

Lake Havasu City’s budding Smash 64 scene has seen tremendous growth and evolution since we put them in the spotlight in March. Members have been joining the group left and right, due to the diligence of Cody “Daniels” Daniels in advertising his scene and pushing its members to be as active as possible. Some of the most exciting moments of the past few months include: a few players taking their first sets off the unstoppable Daniels while inching closer to ending his reign of terror as top player in Havasu, a stacked PR tournament being held for the entire state of Arizona and the revving up of the hype engine for Operation Desert Smash II.

In the past six months, the size and stature of Havasu has grown immensely. Daniels claims that 10 members have joined the scene, with 6 of them being regulars who are now deeply in love with the game. This brings the scene to a total size of 30 members, quite a feat for a small city nestled in the heart of the desert.

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Dusttin (Left) taking on Daniels (Right) in Grand Finals.

 

With increased size comes increased competition, as the jostling for the top spots of the scene have been fierce and many. Melee-convert Seantos is a more recent addition to the scene, though he has picked up the game faster than anyone Havasu has seen before. He has quickly jumped up the ranks and even took a game off a member of its top 4: Aces. The battle for the third spot has been extremely contentious, as Aces and Sonicfuzz have frequently taken sets off each other and off their scene’s No. 2 seed. Sonicfuzz even took a set off of Daniels’s main, Fox, recently, perhaps cementing his spot as the third best player. These two are long time dedicated members of Havasu Smash, proving their worth since the scene’s beginnings. However, the most impressive threat to the reigning champ has been Dusttin, who has managed to take a number of sets off Daniels and nearly took a tournament two weeks ago! Despite all this, Daniels has still not lost a tournament yet, though he is certain that Dusttin will be the one to finally win a Havasu weekly that the founder is in attendance for, likely sooner rather than later. The rankings of Havasu have certainly solidified recently, creating a hierarchy that will surely be filled with exciting upsets in the weeks to come!

As Lake Havasu Smash has grown and flourished, Daniels and the other leaders of Arizona Smash decided to host a series of PR tournaments for the entire state. The second in a series of three tournaments was held at the Daniels abode, bringing together five different regions of Arizona. While the majority of the 20 players were from Havasu itself, representatives from Phoenix, Bullhead City, Kingman and Tucson also made the trip. This was a great opportunity for the locals in Havasu to measure themselves against the rest of the state and stake their claim to a high position on the Power Ranking. While Havasu did have the best overall showing, with 5 of the Top 6 placings coming from its ranks, they were not able to claim the first place crown. Freean, a strong Falcon and Luigi main from Phoenix, proved too much for Daniels to handle in Grand Finals. Synth and John Q, two stalwarts who drove over 6 hours to attend, were also noteworthy for their skill and great attitudes. The final leg of the PR series will be held in Phoenix in October, after which we will see the unveiling of the ranking.

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Daniels (Center) giving his own personal touch to TOing the Arizona PR Tourney.

Finally, Lake Havasu City will once again be home to one of the great events in 64: Operation Desert Smash II. More than fifty of the top players and names in Smash 64 will be making the journey to this oasis in the desert, for what will be a weekend retreat filled with Smash and fun. This will be the second major for many of the members of Havasu, as eight of its members attended SNOSA II in June. The preparation for this event has been has been an ongoing, arduous task, as people have long been helping organize flights for top players. This has truly been a group effort, including tasks such as volunteering to carpool people from the airport in Las Vegas, situating the house to hold the entire event and creating overlays for the stream. This legendary event is just a week away and the excitement in Havasu is starting to boil over!

Havasu Smash has truly been an underdog story. Against all odds, a small city in the middle of the desert has become one of the premier scenes in 64. Despite none of the players being on the truly elite level, these players have been among the most active and dedicated to this game we all love. This is evident in the confidence of their leader, as Daniels is confident that before the end of the year, 10 more members will join the ranks. A Smash revolution has started in Arizona, something that cannot be stopped.

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