64 Free For All: Operation Desert Smash II

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 four players from regions, all famous for their different contributions. The legend from GOML: Derek. Leader of the growing NorCal scene: Duncs. Top Mexican player: Dext3r. The man who organized the whole tournament: Daniels.

1. A weekend like ODS is unique for the 64 community, allowing players of various skill levels to have greatly increased access to each other. What do you look forward to most with such an opportunity?

Derek “Derek” Bancarz: I’m really looking forward to being able to play all of the people I have been watching for so long. I’m an online player so I’ve never had exposure to playing these guys, so I am looking forward to meeting everyone and playing everyone, rather than just watching them play from a computer screen on YouTube or Twitch at home. That and also looking forward to being surrounded by people that love Smash, it’s a very welcoming community. Oh, and to challenging people on Saffron of course.

Riley “Duncs” Robinson: ODS has been described by many as a Smash “Retreat”, a place where players journey, from great lengths, to have a stress-free environment to be around their friends and counterparts whom are all there for love of the game. With very little notoriety as a “sought after destination”, Lake Havasu City, Arizona has become a must-see-must-do event for new players and veterans alike. I think what Cody “Daniels” Daniels has done for his regional scene, the community in general and dedication sets a nice bar of attainment for what players are capable of in creating such an event in great demand! Not having been to the first ODS in 2015, I look forward to going this year to what looks to have the potential of being better than the first, given the AMAZING international roster of attendees. Meeting the higher-level players on a more personal basis (compared to say, a multi-game, hectic major) will definitely give the attending players plenty of chance to interact, party and train amongst each other. I personally look forward to hanging with the players I’ve interacted with in the SSB64 Community Page and all the memelords in 64 Hell but have yet to personally meet. This game has some pretty interesting personalities, and that’s going to be exciting to be among them.

Yoshua “Dext3r” Peral Castillo: I’m looking to talking more with everyone since it’s pretty hard in majors, everyone just wants to play alot.

Cody “Daniels” Daniels: I look forward to spending my birthday weekend with a hugely diverse group of talented minds and partying like an animal. I look forward to finally playing Smurf for $500 and my fedora at the Salty Suite on Saturday night. Most of all, I’m looking forward to teaming with Kero and having some fun in doubles.

2. ODS represents a growing trend of individual 64 scenes hosting large and stacked 64 exclusive events, including such tournaments as SNOSA II and Boss Battle 2. Do you foresee this trend increasing in the future or will we continue to be largely stationed at multi-game majors?

Derek: I totally see this growing. SSB64 has basically been brought up from the grave over the past year or two. We’ve now had a tournament like SSC, with over 300 people and things like combo contests, with commentators from Melee/Smash 4 judging. This is the exposure that we needed and it’s happening. It’s not just people that go from 64 to Melee, people are going from Melee to 64 now. With the way the game is taking off I see tons of 64 exclusive events in the future.

Duncs: Havasu Smash and Indiana Smash, just a few names off the top of my head, have done an EXCEPTIONAL job bringing in top talent any chance they get! I’m sure more scenes will follow suit as it generates hype for the viewers at home, and the players physically there playing them. It has the potential to expose newer players, and new viewers, to the top level of Smash that can be watched or played. Personally, I’ve reached out to a few top level players for iterations of The End is Nair tourney series I founded in San Francisco, CA, where some have been able to make it up and grace us with their presence already, while some are still in the works and pending a confirmation from my end or theirs, but there are talks! Point being, our regional scenes are growing at an exponential rate, and I doubt the majors or supermajors like SSC, Genesis, Apex, etc will be the only places we can see the highest level play for much longer!

Dext3r: I think this is just the beginning, SNOSA and ODS are just the first ones,
this is just getting bigger and bigger; it’s just a matter of time to see more exclusive 64 tourneys
honestly, game dosent have 17 years for me, the game started 1 Janurary 2016.

Daniels: I foresee this continuing for only a short time. We’re still in this fragile, grassroots era like Melee was when they had their rebirth. Although, if and when we keep growing, tournaments like these will happen less and less as we get included in more majors. ODS is unique in the sense that the tournament is not the main focus. It’s a party, it’s a Smash retreat with a group of all the best players. With a tournament basically as a side event.

3. Havasu Smash is one of the fastest growing scenes in 64 due to a variety of reasons. What lessons can other scenes take from Havasu to promote their own growth?

Derek: Not sure what Havasu is unfortunately, so not too sure haha.

Duncs: Cody “Daniels” Daniels puts a lot of effort into recruiting new players, at a rate of nearly 2-3 steady players a month, if not more. He presents their scene’s appearance well, streams weekly, collects data for their PR and remains dedicated to his creation, it’s something to be proud of for sure! All of our scenes are doing great jobs to promote the game itself, but where most lies Havasu Smash’s success is the dependable stream for the viewers, and his commitment to making the regional scene grow larger.

Dext3r: I think the word is “Determination”, other communities should follow Havasu scene’s steps; just look at ODS, hard work looks awesome.

Daniels: Other scenes can learn that you have to stop waiting for a scene to come to you. It’s really not that difficult. As cliché as it sounds, it starts with you. Get a friend and start playing. Start turning other people and friends on to 64 and then start hosting 4 person round robins if you have to. Get SOME sort of organization and host a round robin once a month. Don’t worry about skill, you need numbers and entrants. Skill will come and Havasu is a great example of that. Get yourself and at least one other person so passionate about the game, and the rest will take care of itself.

4. What player attending ODS do you think you could learn the most from, both for your main and for your general gameplay?

Derek: As far as learning goes I think Mariguas, Tacos and Boom. Tacos is pretty offensive, which my game is lacking, so playing with him I may learn new approaches. Boom is pretty defensive and very careful with his attacks, so I can situationally learn from Boom, like what to do when the characters are at X and Y on the screen and how to capitalize on certain situations. Mariguas is a super smooth blend of the two from what I have seen. He’s becoming amazingly optimal and I could learn how to balance different playstyles through Mariguas, especially with rat. I generally goof around when I play and only really use rat when I feel the need for a win or if I’m close to a tournament now. So for my general gameplay I would say Boom because he’s at a very high level, and when we would play online we would use most of the characters which makes it fun and helps your overall gameplay and ability to play with the whole cast.

Duncs: Being a Jigglypuff player, who I feel like a lot of top-level players have a good handle on, despite being a main of Puff or not, are fully capable of showing me a few things with her that I can add to my neutral and option-select game. I’m really looking forward to playing lots of Luigi and seeing new things with him as well, he’s just too fun and SO underdeveloped in my opinion, so I’m looking forward to seeing other Weegies, specifically Phoenix’s Freean and New York’s Jimmy Joe (no offense Shears, you don’t know how to d-tilt, so you’re not always right).

Dext3r: SuPeRbOoMfAn definitely.

Daniels: Revan. I can’t wait to get a sesh in with him again. I’m gonna have a private set up on my side of the house so I can have 1 on 1 sessions with players without playing in rotation. And Revan, Revan’s at the top of my list.

5. What will be the Top 8?

Derek: Top 8? Derek and Boom in Grand Finals, that’s all I know, it will be a good Yoshi ditto.

Duncs: Two Canadians, two Mexicans, two East Coast, two West Coast.

Dext3r: My Top 8 Predictions:

1-SuPeRbOoMfAn

2-Dext3r

3-Tacos

4-Kero

5-Revan

5-Stranded

7-HeroPie

7-JaimeHR

Daniels: It’s so hard because there are SO many top 8 worthy players and it’s tough to predict but my list would be:

Boom

Tacos

Kero

Revan

Stranded

Dexter

Bark

Fireblaster

Derek and HeroPie as the wild cards.

6. Now for the most important question: could you beat Shears in a boxing match?

Derek: If he boxes like he plays Luigi it would be an easy W.

Duncs: Will a money match with a tall, lanky set of janitors in white gloves count as a “boxing match?”

And yes Shears, that’s a call-out.

Dext3r: I think he will beat me with 1 hand while playing Smash with the other lol.

Daniels: Could I beat Shears in a boxing match?! Boy, nobody can take this left hand shot, these are fundamentals.

Free Barking with BarkSanchez

So we’re boxing now, huh? I’d love to see any Smash community try to pull that off. ODS was an absolute blast last year, and as much as I love seeing all of the international players and the Titans of Smash 64, the natural feel of the 64 community is what makes this event. Whether it’s watching SotoH and Wookiee getting heavily inebriated as they play doubles, fun laid back commentary with Daniels and Revan as Boom 5 stocks everyone in the room or Madrush being everyone’s favorite Drunkrush, this event had a wholly different feel than any of the other events I’ve been to. It’s a Smash retreat, a Smash party, that just happens to have a stacked bracket.  This year it had to have a cap to keep it manageable as it is a house party, but despite a stacked summer slate of events, this was not the trip to miss out on.

Derek should be seeded below Stranded and Dext3r, one tournament is not enough results to place him that highly, but he could pose a serious threat to everyone above him. It should be interesting to see how other top players handle this fairly new (to console) challenger.

If JimmyJoe tries to spend 2 hours getting groceries before our doubles match again this year I’ll have a bit of a fit. Ditto for Socal and trying to drag us to Chili’s for four hours.

There are four ways to die this weekend: Boxing, putting pasty smashers in 120 degree weather, going up against Wookiee in Pool Basketball or alcohol poisoning. Regardless of the method, ODS makes sure everyone has a blast doing it.

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