64 Free For All: Let’s Go!

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. 6 questions, 4 top personalities. Today we have three SSB64 League ranked players and a legend returning to the game after a long hiatus. The Canadian Kirby automaton: Revan. The most improved player of 2016: Dext3r. The long lost mythological Mario Bros. main: Czar. The man who holds our entire scene together: Shears.

1. Let’s Go! continues quite a few trends that were popularized last year. It offers a continuation of both large-scale 64-only majors and the all-inclusive payment model for attendees. How do you view these attempts to differentiate 64 from its fellow Smash games?

Thomas “Revan” Dykes: One of the best changes I think 64 is making is that tournaments are starting to care more and more about the tournament entrants. In how tournaments used to be run (and still are done in other communities), attendance really felt like an obligation. If a tournament was run, nobody cared how seeding at the bottom was done, as the lower level players didn’t matter. In the same way, DE bracket is the most effective way to eliminate the lowest level players from your event as quickly as possible. If a tournament failed, it would rarely be the fault of the tournament organizer but rather of the local scene for not showing up, despite the tournament not appealing to their needs. The way 64 is moving seems to be a much healthier, much more logical way to run an event and I’m sure the scene is gonna be in a much better place because of these changes.

Yoshua “Dext3r” Peral Castillo: This is incredibly awesome, I don’t have to worry about anything like food or where can I sleep and most of the time this is decisive in my decision to actually attend a tourney. With this, I just have to think about having a great time, about adjusting between matches. I really like this approach because this will feel like vacation and give me the opportunity to interact with other players beside just playing and watching the finals. This makes everything more fun and easier to get better by interacting with other players. And free beer? I’m so down for that.

Cesar “Czar” Guzman: I’m a bit on the fence in this one. I think it’s cool to finally start seeing the 64 tournament emerge with exclusive 64 tournaments in order to establish the scene as one that can hold its own in the competitive field. On the other hand, I also think that the 64 community’s dependence on other Smash communities allows them to expand their scene into the communities of other Smash games. Either way, I think 64-exclusive majors can help grow the 64 community in the long run.

David “Shears” Shears: I think it’s necessary. If 64 wants to grow and be sustainable it needs to give attention to its majority customer base by providing an outstanding hassle-free experience without hidden fees and it needs money going back to 64. At multigame majors, profits don’t get reinvested, but with 64 exclusives it compounds to a better 64.

2. Under the leadership of David Shears and the SSB64 League, Let’s Go! seems to be raising the bar for any and all Smash events going forward. One particularly exciting development is the inclusion of a variety of events, ranging from a massive YOLO bracket to draft crews. What is one event you would like to see implemented at future tournaments?

Revan: No specific event comes to mind. I don’t really think it’s too important what side events are at a tournament, but I think just having something on the side can really make a big difference. For example, I don’t think anyone really cares if an event choses to have YOLO over Low Tier, or Low Tier over One-Handed Smash, but just having a bunch of fun events on the side can definitely add a bunch to the tourney experience.

Dext3r: When I was sharing a room with kysk, taimai and yu-kun at G4 they said that in Japan it is very common to see shorter versions of 12 character battles. For example 3, 4 or 5 character battles; I would love to play or watch an exhibition event like this. Some fun rules can be implemented like randomly picking your characters or low tiers in 3-5 battles or variations.

Czar: One thing I’d like to see in future tournaments is a crew battle or 12-character battle of NA vs. Japan. Events like this are very much an important aspect of Melee and Smash 4 tournaments, and it would be awesome to finally see each regions’ best players throughout the world duke it out in a crew battle!

Shears: If I could think of an event, I would’ve added it to Let’s Go! already. For real though, a co-ed doubles bracket to encourage people to bring wives, GFs, etc. and turn the events into a more welcoming environment instead of people having to leave significant others at home and making this a hidden hobby

3. Let’s Go! will see the full unveiling of the Waterfall Tournament Format. This new format was first used at Keystoned, the regional 64-exclusive event in Philadelphia, to great success. Some have expressed concern about this large departure from Double Elimination. What do you think about Waterfall Tournament Format?

Revan: I like Waterfall. Endurance seems to be a bigger factor for this format and I know some people were expressing concern about that, but I don’t think that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Even if this format turns out to be super exhausting for some players, I’m happy that we’re willing to give it a shot. If this format is successful at Let’s Go! I could definitely see it becoming the norm.

Dext3r: I heard Keystoned was a lot of fun and people got to play way more matches rather than just losing twice and being out. I think that’s very good, but also heard it was played in too few days and this forced people to play to the point of exhaustion. So performance can decay  and make you do worse; I’m really looking forward to playing this format so I’m not really sure how good it is this but it’s going to be interesting.

Czar: I love the concept of the Waterfall Format! It allows me to compete with more players in bracket, and this format, as opposed to a regular bracket format, seems more indicative of the level of skill among players. It should definitely start being utilized in future tournaments.

Shears: Necessary. Double elimination is awful for competitive growth and a total failure. 25% of competitors go 0-2, 75% finish 2-2 or worse. DE is to tournaments as TPP was to trade deals, the worst. WTF is the future and will soon be the standard at all events, not just 64

4. For the second major event in a row, SuPeRbOoMfAn has had to back out of attending. However, the Peruvian titan, Alvin, will still need a challenger in Grand Finals. Who is now most likely to run the gauntlet and possibly take him down?

Revan: Alvin is pretty good, but I think he’s one of the most fragile of the top players. I feel like if anybody is gonna break into that top level soon it’s gonna be Bark. There are a bunch of people who are close: Z, Wizzrobe, Mariguas, maybe Tacos…and even though I don’t think that Bark is the best out of these guys, there’s just something really special about his play that I think hasn’t been explored that much. If Bark can just get really good at that special little thing I could see him start taking out the guys at the top.

Dext3r: You saying he is going to make Grand Finals?! Mariguas already beat Alvin at SuperBoomed, and you have players like TR3GTheZ who can be very unpredictable because the guy uses 20 characters lol. Tacos and BarkSanchez already took games off him. I can tell you that all contenders here are trying to find the weaknesses of Alvin and will be prepared to try to beat the titan from Peru, so there is a possibility of him not making GF.

Czar: Considering that he has taken a set off of Alvin at SuperBoomed, I believe Mariguas might have the best possible chance in giving Alvin a run for his money, or perhaps even beating him. But the level of competition in this tournament is fierce. I wouldn’t be surprised to see players like tacos, BarkSanchez, TR3GTheZ or Revan also take it.

Shears: We saw Bark do well at CEO but I don’t think he has a chance really. Without Boom or Wizzrobe I can’t see anyone really taking down Alvin. The next best are all Pika, Kirby and Falcon, and Alvin won’t go down to any of those 3 characters. If I had to pick, Fireblaster. I know he got JV6 stocked at SSC, but it was Game 3 and he convincingly 3 stocked him in Game 2.

5. What is your Top 8 prediction for Let’s Go!?

Revan: This is actually really hard. I’m probably gonna have to go with:
1. Alvin
2. Mariguas or TR3GTheZ, hard to tell which
4. Me
5. tacos/Dext3r
7. Bark/Zero

Dext3r: 1- Dext3r

2- Mariguas

3- Alvin

4- tacos

5- TR3GTheZ

5- Zero

7- Revan

7- BarkSanchez

Czar: My top 8 prediction is:

1) Alvin

2) Mariguas

3) TR3GTheZ

4) BarkSanchez

5) tacos

6) Revan

7) Zero

8) Fireblaster

Shears: 1. Alvin, 2. Mariguas, 3. Dext3r, 4. Revan, 5. TR3GTheZ, 5. tacos, 7. Czar, 7. Zero.

6. Fill in the blank. Let’s go _____________!

Revan: Literally anything but Baltimore.

Dext3r: MEXICO!

Czar: BarkSanchez!

Shears: Baltimore! Woo!

Free Barking with BarkSanchez

It’s been interesting seeing Dext3r coming out of his shell a bit lately, ever since ODS II. I remember sitting down next to him for friendlies at Apex 2015, my first major, thinking, “He seems like the most serious guy in the room.” Everyone in this community is fun, and wants to have fun.

Czar’s return should be huge for 64 as a whole. The return of another potential top player, so soon after losing two top players should definitely help the meta continue to develop. While Czar has shown he is quite adept with Pikachu, he has built his reputation with the Bang Bros., Mario and Luigi. A little over a year ago he was going toe-to-toe with some of the best in the country as Mario and Luigi, and he can definitely do some damage at Let’s Go!

I like all of the side events Let’s Go! has to offer, and Czar brushed upon a potentially amazing side event we could do for other tournaments. I like the idea of a North America vs. Internationals 12 Character Battle, except instead of the 12CB we could use the player-controlled story mode mod, a.k.a. The Boomputer. It’d be fun to see North America’s strongest player fight through an onslaught of foreigners, or the strongest traveler taking on all of North America’s defenders. The community should strive to create fun and innovative side events, like The Dark Gentleman did with the Boom Bounty at Keystoned, or Super Smash Con did with the Combo Contest.

It’s interesting what a tournament can be when you have the freedom to do basically anything you want with it. Let’s Go! won’t be the biggest tournament of all time, but it’s definitely shaping up to be one of the best. With months of the time, energy, blood, sweat and David Shears Tears put into the tournament, and with all of the hype surrounding it, won’t it seem slightly anticlimactic when the trophy just stays in Baltimore in the end?

Barking did nothing wrong.

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