64 Free For All: Super Smash Con 2017

By Jamie “JAMJAR” Jacobs

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 four contributors to our scene who will all be competing at Super Smash Con 2017. The incredibly technical Red Link from Brazil: Kort. The author of this very article: JAMJAR. The true power behind Team Mejor: JaimeHR. The showrunner of the big event: Justin.

  1. What is the one thing you would want a TO to do to make an event great?

Tommy “CAFIL | Kort” Keselik: I don’t have anything special in mind. I’m very glad with the work of the few people who spend their time growing this community. But for the community in general, I wish people were more kind to international guests. It’s not easy for us to come here to play.

Jamie “TSW | JAMJAR” Jacobs: Something I wish more TOs would do is not something that can be done on a whim, but would require effort over a decent amount of events. More TOs need to develop working relationships with people who generally volunteer to help out. Let these people who do a good job take on more and more tasks. Eventually, these volunteers can be highly dependable helpers for the TOs. Too often, our TOs are highly frenzied and don’t feel they can depend on people to help them out, leading to a rather hectic atmosphere around the event.

Jaime Hernandez “RG | JaimeHR” Rodriguez: Well I think there isn’t much that TOs (at least for 64) aren’t doing already in order to make events great, Snosa III had an hour break from the tournament and served pizza to everyone, I was very surprised with that and I don’t think any other Smash tournaments have ever done anything like it.

However, the one complaint I always read or hear about at every game tournament is that there’s always next to no setups dedicated to friendlies/free play, I understand that in order to have a tournament to run as smoothly as possible there has to be enough tournament setups, but at the same time those “tournament only” setups tend to stay unused when there’s no matches left to be played on a certain pool or bracket, if someone dares to pick that setup up to play friendlies there’s a big chance that they will be kicked out from it in order to have another tournament match yet to be played. A “free play/salty suite” area, that’s available not only before or after the actual tournament but for the entire duration of the event, would be a very welcome addition to a lot of players that want to warm up or just play casually.

Security is another issue that I would like to address as it has been a hot topic on the last few months, unfortunately we have had people getting their equipment stolen from the venue which is not cool at all. Security is tricky because people want to feel safe by being sure their stuff isn’t going to be snagged by a random person but at the same time they don’t want to feel like they are being treated like potential thieves by checking everyone’s bags before entering or leaving the venue.  Having a secure environment to play our favorite game must be a community effort rather than a TO’s responsibility, now don’t get me wrong here, TOs definitely have to look into taking security measures to prevent theft or any other kind of disaster, but the community itself needs to take responsibility as well.

Last thing would be having 24 hour venues! Haha, they are costly, true, but it is always good to at least try to have them by setting up a compendium like what they did for Genesis 4, where enough money was raised to have a 24 hour open venue for Friday night. It may not work but at least the option is there for those who are willing to spend extra cash to have an SSB all nighter on a bigger place than a hotel room.

Justin “Justin” Wykowski: Having enough setups for extra-friendlies is always a plus.

2. Mariguas finally broke through and won his first major at GOML 2017. Who will be next to achieve that great feat?

Kort: Z or Dext3r. Z deserves more than anyone.

JAMJAR: Wizzrobe seems to be the obvious answer to this. He has shown the ability to play with the top of our game, so no doubt he should be the next one to break through. He has such great instincts for this game, he often does exactly what he needs to do to win, very rarely taking unnecessary risks. He will very soon break into that upper echelon.

JaimeHR: Wizzrobe, without a doubt, he has the potential to break through to win a major, he was close to doing it at last year’s SmashCon, he’s already proved that he is capable of taking out almost anyone at Genesis 4, and just like Doomsday, every time Wizzy’s taken out, he comes back stronger for the next round and you can’t beat him with the same trick twice.

Another candidate is probably Dext3r, the guy loves this game a lot and takes it very seriously, he has worked hard on learning matchups, playstyles and improving his tech skill and decision making in order to make the right move all the time. His best trait is that he never gives up.

The most improved player of the year (for me at least), Zero (not Sm4sh ZeRo, lol) is also someone who I think may eventually win a major, he’s been placing in Top 8 very often after Genesis 4 which, if I’m not wrong, has been his only underperforming tournament of 2017, he’s been getting a lot better after that.

Justin: I think TheZ and Dext3r are both improving VERY quickly and will be knocking on the door soon.


  1. What do you think 64 can do to convince the other games to try out the Waterfall Tournament Format?

Kort: I’m not sure if I like the waterfall bracket yet.

JAMJAR: I don’t know if there is any one specific thing we can do to convince the other games to take the leap. Just keep running efficient brackets, showing that the increased number of games is not a hindrance to a smooth bracket experience. Keep showing and expressing the positive aspects of WTF. Eventually, some other TO will be willing to take a risk and make a splash.

JaimeHR: I think the Waterfall Format or something else based out of it is going to be the future of game tournaments, because it is the closest we can get to a fair tool to measure a player’s skill and it also makes the tournament experience a lot more exciting for the “non-pros” which represent at least 80% of tournament entrants.

The only thing holding the Waterfall Format back from becoming the standard is that many TOs are still skeptical of its good results, as it is still lacking solid numbers. What 64 needs to do, is to keep using this format on as many events as possible, also promote its use on small tournaments by making a few adjustments, for example, have 2 divisions instead of 4 if there aren’t that many players. The point is to try to have as many players as possible to know about the Waterfall Format and experience first hand how much of a difference it is compared to the current format, this way more people would appreciate the new format and eventually ask about it for other games.

SmashCon 2017 is an excellent opportunity to show off and test the Waterfall Format and prove other TOs that it does work as a worthy successor of the double elimination format.

Justin: I guess it really would have to start from the ground up. Get some locals doing it, then a whole region – and then you can start to have the national conversation. But there’s not much of a chance of going the other direction – just too many established systems.

4. What do you do to prepare yourself mentally for a tough set?

Kort: I’m not a strong player in regards to the mental aspect. I just try to have fun. Make some combos, you know.

I don’t want to beat people. I just want to get better at the game. What I actually need to be feeling well for a tournament is to rest well, eat well and stretch every day.

I’m starting to feel hand pain nowadays. I’ve been taking care of that for the past 4 months with acupuncture. Also every night I use a thay balm before sleeping in my hand. I pass it on my hands then put on a medical glove and sleep with it. It gives you a burning sensation on your skin but it’s actually helping your blood circulation to go to your hands. People use this balm for everything in Thailand, even for headaches, it is very popular there. The next day my hands feel totally new. It’s just crazy and overpowered. My acunpunturist told me to use it.

JAMJAR: This is something I have struggled with on and off, but I feel I have recently started to figure it out. I simply go into a set not necessarily looking for a victory, but with a set of goals in mind. I have always tried to approach events with 3 tiers of goals, but recently I have done the same with tough sets. I know I won’t win every set against players around my level, so I have decided to focus on completing tasks in each set, so I feel I gained from my losses as well.

JaimeHR: I actually did not think about this before when I first started going to SSB tournaments in North America, I already had a clear idea about who I could beat and who would definitely take me out, so my first thought was “as long as I don’t play this guy early, I’ll do fine” and if I did get to play that one player, then I would say “that’s it, at least I’ll have fun in this last set”, you can say that I already gave up mentally which it was what I used to do, something I realized over the years is that this was the wrong mentality to have and I should get rid of it.

What I do now is not to worry much about it and try to forget who’s the guy I’m about to play, many people tend to unconsciously defeat themselves mentally just by knowing they are going to play against a top player and get nervous, which cripples their skill to the extent where they will make a lot of simple mistakes like missing really easy edgeguard opportunities to dropping standard combos because they keep thinking more about the guy they are playing rather than their own game plan and lose focus of what’s important, playing the best you can and having fun.

A lot of people also worry too much about losing, they see it as a bad thing, but defeat is actually what makes us improve faster, because it tells us that there are still things we don’t know about the game that the better players know, losing doesn’t mean you are bad, it only means that you still have room for improvement and is also a natural part of the learning curve that everyone should appreciate. Rather than asking yourself “How do I win?” the actual question you should be asking is “Why did I lose?”

Justin: I don’t know who else is answering these questions – but read their responses for this one. I’m what you call an “non-viable character”.

  1. What will be the Top 8?

Kort: Alvin

wario

Mariguas

Isai

Boom

Fukurou

Dext3r

Kurraba

 

JAMJAR: This Top 8 is going to be crazy, I can’t even begin to predict the exact placings. Rather than giving the order, I will just name the 8 I feel have the best shot at making it.

wario

Alvin

Boom

Isai

Mariguas

Fukurou

Wangera

Wizzrobe

 

JaimeHR: Well, based on the current events and the amount of talented players we are going to have this year at SmashCon, deciding for a solid Top 8 prediction is really difficult.

First, we got the Japanese players, perhaps the toughest competition for anyone who gets to play against any of them. Fukurou and wario are the ones that I’m most certain that will make it to Top 8 as both have taken titles from big names already, I personally would not be surprised if we see a Japanese Grand Finals.

Next, is the neutral game mastermind from Canada, SuPeRbOoMfAn. Perhaps the only SSB 64 player that’s gotten more trophies and medals than his room can hold, has won almost everything in North America and is certainly looking forward to get another SmashCon 1st place title.

But there is a saying: “you can’t always win”, and that’s what the unstoppable force that is Alvin from Peru has showed us this year taking victory after victory against the big names of SSB64, despite an underperforming debut at last year’s SmashCon, he now has the chance to define himself as the best ever, Alvin vs. wario is the absolute most anticipated match in the game’s history.

Then we have the ever improving Mexicans: Dext3r and Mariguas, whose talents at adapting and learning from their mistakes will definitely play a big role on their path to Top 8, they both have showed us that they can take on anyone.

With all the strong international competition there seems to be no hope for America making it to Top 8, but Wizzrobe AKA “Wizzy” may have something to say about it, he’s “The Legend Killer” of SSB64, the hero America needs to face against the international titans.

However, the hero America wants is none other than the fan favorite: Isai. They say that if he actually tried he could win anything, he tried at GOML and got close to a perfect run until Grand Finals, Smash Con could be the place where we may witness the return of the legend or its end.

Tldr: my top 8 players would be (in no particular placement/order)

Fukurou

wario

SuPeRbOoMfAn

Alvin

Mariguas

Dext3r

Wizzrobe

Isai

Justin: This has honestly gotta be the toughest Top 8 to predict. I know everyone probably says that before every big tournament, but it just feels impossible to guess. Not only is this the most top-heavy stacked 64 tourney of all time – things like Mariguas beating Isai at GOML really shakes things up. So that said  – gonna go with my gut:

  1. Isai
  2. wario
  3. Boom
  4. Wizzrobe (random gut guess)
  5. Alvin
  6. Mariguas
  7. Fukurou
  8. tacos

  9. Why is Arms the next great esport?

Kort: I don’t know the game.

JAMJAR: Nintendo + wacky new character design = instant win. Also Twintelle.

JaimeHR: ARMS is just genius in every aspect, from its reveal to the gameplay mechanics. Like Steve Jobs revolutionized the phone, Nintendo has now revolutionized the concept of a fighting game and it wasn’t Smash that did this like many would have thought, this is because according to Masahiro Sakurai, the man in charge of its development, clearly stated that Smash Bros. was meant to be a casual party game and he hates competitive Smash and he shows this in every sequel by making it (worse than SSB) radically different than the later, it got faster then slower then shinier, but never with competitive play in mind (for glory in Sm4sh is a joke lol).

But then someone at Nintendo finally stood up and said: “we should make a REAL fighter” and that’s how ARMS was born, who else would name their definitive fighting game with such a generic word that everyone knows it, even if English is not their main language? Nintendo, that’s who! That’s what I call a marketing mastermind.

The key aspect of ARMS to become a serious eSport is that since it was revealed, Nintendo made it really clear that this was their first (true) competitive fighting game, that’s the reason this game has an actual ranking system and is being heavily supported by the developers, and speaking of which, these people are very serious about making the ultimate esports fighting game, so much that their producer Kosuke Yabuki showed us a glimpse of ARMS’ real, complex, depth metagame in an exhibition match against a random guy who happened to be the 2017 ARMS Open Invitational Champion at E3, where he completely obliterated the “champion” and made him look like a scrub. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Yabuki is constantly training in secret to stay unstoppable because he knows where the big money is going to be once ARMS overshadows League of Legends!

Justin: Because Legs are so last year?

The Big One: Super Smash Con 2017 Preview

By Josh “BarkSanchez” Brody

In 2016, just one year after its inception, Super Smash Con established itself as the “Super Bowl” of Smash 64. The 2017 iteration of this prestigious tournament series has been tasked with the lofty expectations of matching the size and talent of last years roster, as well as generating a level of pure electricity that hasn’t been seen since Genesis 3’s top eight bracket. With the explosion of Smash 64 tournaments over the past year, attendance has become more spread out. However, Super Smash Con 2017 will play host to more top talent than any tournament ever seen, featuring nine of the top ten on the SSB64 League Rankings, along with Fukurou who is expected to be ranked in the top ten for 2017. With unprecedented regional diversity at the top, each clash has added meaning, and every player gives viewers a reason to be excited.

The Former Champion Returns

With the legendary Alvin from Peru attending his first North American, as well as four top-level Japanese players, and Isai himself tagging along, the sophomore year for Northern Virginia’s monstrous convention became the biggest and most stacked Smash 64 tournament of all time. Despite this, the Smash 64 community knew something was missing: their champion. Following the buzz created by his victory at Genesis 3, the community was met with shocking news when it was announced that the champion, Wario, would not be able to attend SSC 2016. One year later, and over a year and a half since he came from Japan to make his mark on American turf, Wario is back. Despite being ranked first on the SSB64 League Rankings in 2016, he has found his spot as the greatest Smash 64 player in the world contested during his absence, as Peru’s Alvin, previously ranked fourth, has dominated the North American scene for the entirety of 2017. Wario captivated the Smash 64 community in a unique way, with awe-inspiring technical prowess and flawless punishes executed with surgical precision, rather than risky, flashy combos. Following his performance at Genesis 3, an event that served as the catalyst for the #yearof64, every Pikachu player in North America was imitating Wario’s style, whether it was his  Up-B ledge cancel “Zip-Zaps”, his seemingly-perfected edgeguarding style, or his devastating kill-confirms. Despite the first set of Grand Finals being a three games-to-zero sweep in SuPeRbOoMfAn’s favor, Wario’s dominance the rest of the tournament, along with a clean record at Kansai 2016 and Japan Smash Cup 2016 led many to believe he was untouchable. While a portion of the Smash 64 community believed he still had something to prove, the rest saw Wario as the pinnacle of Smash 64. To them, he was Pikachu at his finest.

The Current Champion Defends His Title

Although he didn’t emerge victorious from his North American debut, Alvin has dominated the scene in the year since then. Looking to prove himself following his disappointing premiere, Alvin returned to the states for SuperBoomed, in New York City. Alvin came in as the fourth seed, and left the entire venue shocked as he double eliminated SuPeRbOoMfAn, and won Grand Finals in two sets over Mariguas. That tournament came to define Alvin as a smasher. As Mariguas defeated him in Winner’s Finals, and had him pushed to the brink in set one of Grand Finals, Alvin completely downloaded his opponent, completely shutting him down. Alvin gave his opponent an inch, and then took a mile himself. Contrary to Wario’s calculating, opportunistic style, Alvin plays with aggression and brute force, exerting pressure until his opponents crumble. The Peruvian Falcon/Pika main’s near-flawless performances at Genesis 4, CEO Dreamland, and LetsGo!, along with Wario’s surprisingly disappointing performance at Kanto 2017, have earned Alvin the one seed at SSC 2017, and perhaps the distinction of the strongest Smash 64 player in the world.

North America’s Hero Strikes Back

In the two years following Apex 2014, PG|SuPeRbOoMfAn was the man to beat, making victories against top players such as Mariguas and Kerokeroppi look routine. Although the Canadian conqueror was not flawless, falling short in a best-of-one character-locked tournament in Japan, and a Hyrule-legal tournament in Peru, Boom was the king of the north. Boom not only beat his opponents, he made sure they never stood a chance. But then, everything changed when Wario arrived. Following his defeat at Genesis 3, everyone was anticipating an exciting rematch at Super Smash Con, which never came. Boom continued to defeat everyone in his path, once again demonstrating his power. Before he could even earn another shot at Wario, Boom found another obstacle in his path: Alvin. Following three tough losses to Alvin, Boom has spent most of 2017 returning to his roots, as he has played exclusively Captain Falcon at the top level excluding one set against Revan’s Kirby. Despite a seemingly limited number of appearances in 2017, he appears completely revitalized, handling his previous toughest opponent in North America, Wizzrobe, on numerous occasions. While he maintains a solid stable of characters, Panda Global’s star 64 player has sharpened the tool that made him notorious, a Falcon capable of going toe to toe with the best players in the world. Despite being the third seed at the tournament, Boom may be the most well-rounded player competing, and perhaps when all is said and done, SuPeRbOoMfAn will hold the distinction of the best in the world.

The SNOSA Slayer Goes Global

Fukurou has long been known as the strongest Kirby player in the world. Being the second strongest active player in Japan is no small feat, especially considering he is contending with the likes of Wario, Wangera, and K Y S K, all of whom have had impeccable performances in North America. Fukurou’s first trip into the United States was fairly recent, being flown out to SNOSA III in June to contend with the likes of Isai, Mariguas, and Dext3r. While he was given some close games from Dext3r, Mariguas proved to be the only one capable of taking games, pushing him to a second set in Grand Finals. With Isai falling short of his expectations of being in the upper echelon of players, Fukurou missed an opportunity to prove he could contend at the very top, although his performances against Mariguas and Dext3r suggest he is more than capable. Super Smash Con will likely give Fukurou a chance to contend against one of the true titans of Smash, as he is expected to face off against Alvin. Before he can worry about the Peruvian, however, he will need to contend with Mariguas yet again, without the comfort of an extra set to keep him afloat.

Enter The Ring

After years of grinding, turmoil, and heartbreak, Mariguas found himself in Toronto, and it once again seemed as if he would fall short of his destiny. Despite coming within a hair’s length of victory on several occasions, it seemed at Get On My Level 2017, Mariguas would suffer yet another soul-crushing defeat. Mexico’s greatest weapon was quickly dispatched by Isai’s fabled Pikachu, and was currently being pushed to the brink by The Z’s Fox, sometimes looking lost in the matchup. Powering through a tense game five, Mariguas eyed a familiar scenario: only two sets stood between him and victory. Mariguas would seemingly take the most difficult route possible to earn his first major victory, sweeping Isai’s Pikachu in set one of Grand Finals, vanquishing one of his demons, and clutching out an intense set two in five games. The first player to ever defeat Isai’s Pikachu in a full set, let alone two, showed off his championship ring with pride, and looked onward to Super Smash Con. With all of the momentum one could ask for, Mariguas will likely be faced with haunting memories of past opportunities that slipped away, as he is on a collision course with Fukurou, and Alvin. He has proven capable of taking sets off these players in the past, and with his recent victory fueling the fire within, the odds may find themselves in his favor this time around.

The Dragon Slayer

One year ago, Frys|Wizzrobe found himself in Grand Finals against SuPeRbOoMfAn, above all of the Japanese talent, above Isai, and above the rest of North America. The young Yoshi expert was the true storyline of the tournament, demonstrating his expertise against players who before then could have been considered the best Yoshis in the world. Since then, Wizzrobe has had his ups and downs, featuring his first set win against SuPeRbOoMfAn, as well as several disappointing upsets. Despite a few roadblocks, he has continued his rise to the top level at a breakneck pace, taking Boom to several game five multiple times in recent months. With this familiar opponent projected to stand in his way earlier than usual in bracket, Wizzy has a chance to turn those game five situations into an upset victory. Wizzy would enjoy nothing more than to force Alvin into a familiar, haunting scenario: facing off against another top-level Yoshi.

Isai

Although revered by the greater smash community, Isai comes into Super Smash Con 2017 without a major tournament victory since his return last January. Diehard fans would blame his constant character switching, with the expectation of his Pikachu earning victory if it ever was given the chance. Traveling to Toronto with every intention of freeing the beast, Isai’s Pikachu would finally be displayed at full power during Get On My Level. After cruising to Grand Finals without dropping a game, the unthinkable was happening: a full-powered Isai was about to get swept, six games to zero, by Mariguas. Despite mounting a monstrous comeback to bring the final set to game five, a three game comeback proved to be too much for the notorious Northern Californian. A few rough performances in 2017 have placed Isai as a fringe top eight seed, although few would be surprised to see him return as a rejuvenated top threat with more Pikachu practice under his belt. The projected matchup against Wario could bring back memories to many of the exhibition matches between the two at Genesis 3, where they seemed near evenly matched.

No Rest for the Wicked

Wangera’s appearance at Genesis 3 inspired a new generation of Puff players, some of whom were losing hope in the character. Taking down Isai’s Fox and Pikachu, two challenging matchups for Jigglypuff, Wangera changed the way many played the game, showing puff is capable of long combos offstage, and unique defensive maneuvers. The Japanese socialite returns to the scene of his somewhat disappointing follow-up to Genesis 3, where he fell in a close five game set against TR3GTheZ, and lost the rematch against Isai. Despite this, most will remember Wangera’s Super Smash Con performance for the tense, last second hit against Dext3r for the come-from-behind timeout victory which earned him a spot in top eight. The joyous Jiggly is expected to square off against Alvin, which would provide a unique matchup, as Peru has yet to contend with a top-level Jigglypuff. However, if Wangera has any hope of earning the opportunity, he’ll likely have to relive his exciting set against Dext3r.

Japan’s Dragons Return

Last year saw the debut of three highly anticipated Japanese Yoshi mains in North America. While Bonobono and Prince were the favorites, they both fell early. Prince earned a ninth place spot, which while disappointing, was still a respectable placing in such a stacked tournament. Kurabba came in as the underdog of the three, however he powered through his bracket, taking down the likes of Alvin and KeroKeroppi before facing off against his comrade from Japan, Wangera. Kurabba’s recent victories against Wario also offer a compelling argument for him as a sleeper pick to sneak into top eight. Prince returns to improve on his performance one year ago, facing an even tougher field than before. If he hopes to prove he just scratched the surface of his abilities the previous year, he’ll likely have to exact his revenge in a rematch against Mariguas, who kept him out of top eight in 2016. It may be a tall task to face such a red-hot player so early, however, no one would travel across the globe looking for a free pass.

Home Improvement

One could make a case for two of the most improved players over the past year to make waves this weekend, as Dext3r and Zero could rise up once again as new threats. Mexico’s Dext3r has proven over the course of 2017 that his title as “2016’s Most-Improved” was no fluke. At Genesis 4 he made a triumphant return to top eight at a Super Major to chants of “No more ninth!”, earning himself a fourth place finish. Victories over Wizzrobe, Isai, and Tacos have solidified his status as a top contender, and Dext3r will be hungrier than ever for a shot at payback against the Japanese Puff that haunts his nightmares. Texas’s Zero, on the other hand, likely has more fond memories of Super Smash Con 2016. His breakout performance featured victories against Firo and Bonobono, along with a close three game set against Prince, before being taken out by Dext3r. He has since established himself as a true top eight threat, with victories over Mariguas, Isai, and Revan. Although he’s had rough outings against Yoshi recently, falling to TR3GTheZ’s Yoshi at Get On My Level 2017, and Wizzrobe’s Yoshi at Low Tier City 5, perhaps a return to the scene where he upset Bonobono can provide him the inspiration needed in a projected rematch against Wizzrobe.

A Loaded Field

Earning the distinction of the most stacked tournament of all time leaves much room for shakeups, as demonstrated by the completely unpredictable top 32 bracket seen in Chantilly just one year ago. While there’s too many noteworthy players to fit in a small preview, for possibly the first time in Smash 64 history, an entire top 16 bracket holds no certainties and few likelihoods. No seed is solid, and no players are safe. From top to bottom anything goes this year.

Wizarding 101: Volume II. Preference, Audience and Finding Your “Style”

By Jeremy “Professor_wizard” Davis

Hey everyone, Professor_wizard here, back again to write some more about commentary. This time I have some topics I am really excited to talk about. They include the more individualistic aspects of commentary, the ways commentators can be different and how to achieve this.

Let’s get into it!

The Hard Truth

Before I give any advice on finding your style and catering to your audience, I have to talk about a truism of viewership and commentary that is sometimes hard to hear: there are ALWAYS going to be people who are not fans of your commentary.

It is just a fact that viewers have different preferences. Especially in the world of gaming viewership there is no established expectation on how to approach commentary (more on this later). The fact is that not everybody wants the same things. In fact, there are many viewers out there who are not fans of commentary at all, and would prefer to just watch with game sounds.

Now, in a lot of scenarios this is an “embrace the haters” kind of moment, but I will offer some slightly different advice: you cannot please everyone. Say it with me: you cannot please everyone. That does not mean you should ignore criticism, but instead you should be able to identify what is helpful criticism and what is a difference in preference. This is crucial for improving your commentary.

The key to filtering through critical feedback to find points for improvement is to try to consider who is watching and what your goals are for adding to the match for those viewers. Which leads me to my next topic.

Audience: From Supermajor Pools to Basement Grands

Audience matters a LOT. Are you commentating R1 of your twelve person biweekly or Grand Finals of Genesis 5? It does not take too much experience to see that commentating is going to be different between these two.

But there are times it can be a bit more subtle than that. Even commentating bracket of a 64 exclusive is different from commentating a multi-game supermajor. Are most of the viewers new to the scene and the game? Or are they familiar with the characters and players? If you are trying to take my advice from the previous section and appeal to the largest audience you can, thinking about who that audience might be is something commentators need to consider and prep for prior to hopping on the mic. So how do you prep for different audiences? I don’t have the space here to go over every circumstance you might commentate for, but instead I will go over two main dichotomies to keep in mind while considering how to proceed.

The first axis of dichotomy is: how new or experienced is your audience? This is something that is often discussed in Melee and Smash 4, as they often have events with lots of new viewers. If you are catering to newer viewers, it is important to point out things that may be a bit more obvious to experienced players, but are crucial to understanding how the game works. For instance: Kirby’s up tilt or Falcon’s grab can start really easy combos, and are therefore big threats the opponent has to work around when playing against them. This is something that may be a bit too obvious to say to someone really familiar with the 64 scene, but to a newer player,  explaining that it is a reason why not to approach Kirby from above actually has value to those viewers. For more exclusive events where there may be high level play going on, and more of the viewers are long time 64 watchers, they want to hear about the small adjustments being made to limit advantages like a strong command of top platform.

The second major dichotomy revolves around the stakes of the match. And this goes back to the most important ideal of commentary: what are you adding to the match? What I really mean here is that high level matches hold the attention of the audience and the job of the commentator is to accentuate the play with insights and energy. But what about games that are extremely one-sided? Or games that are low level? These are matches that may become a bit boring for the viewers, which leads to them being bored with the commentators as well. How do you add to the match? The general rule of thumb is when the match is close, follow the action closer, when it is not, talk about the bigger trends and narratives. If the matches are one-sided, commenting on how one player is making mistakes repeatedly is not very exciting, taking a step back to discuss a narrative may be more interesting.

How each caster pair approaches each of these scenarios depends on their strengths and weaknesses. Which leads me to my last section…

What is “style” and where do I get one?

The most important thing I can stress in this article is that not all casters are going to approach things the same way, and that’s not only OK, it’s a good thing. I have so far spent a few thousand words in the last two articles telling commentators what I think they should and should not be doing. But the real secret of commentary is that there are usually some wrong answers, but probably no “right” answers when it comes to the most basic question: “What should I be saying?”

If you want a good rundown of what NOT to say, and some hints on what to say if you are at a loss, you should check out Volume I. More or less everything else falls under the purview of “style”.

Now unfortunately, it feels impossible to tell someone how to cast in a specific style. The advice I can offer is 1) listen to other casters and try to absorb parts of commentary that most resonate with you, and 2) experiment with things you want to try. The only way to know if a commentary idea you have will be successful or not is to try it out, listen to how it sounds later, and ask for feedback on how it went.

The last thing I will say on style is to bring it full circle: not everyone will like every style, and you cannot please them all. Try not to take it too hard if someone in twitch chat would rather mute the stream, but also do not be stubborn and ignore all criticism citing “I just have a different style”.

Parting Thoughts and Feedback

The final takeaway that applies to all the above is that feedback is really important, but how you take it is just as critical. The best thing to do to improve on commentary is to keep an open mind when hearing criticism, and then make some decisions yourself on how best to internalize them.

I hope this volume has been helpful in trying to highlight some of the more individualistic aspects of commentary. Commentating is really important for the 64 scene, and there is always room for more commentators out there. Look out for another article in this series in the future, and let me know what you think on twitter.

Jeremy Davis is Puff/Kirby main from the Indy64 scene. Much better known for his commentary than his play, he also helps run /r/ssb64, and is a PhD candidate on the side. You can find him on twitter @Prof_wizard.

Getting You on Their Level: A GOML 2017 Preview

After a very successful introduction to the Get On My Level series in 2016, Smash 64 will make its return to Canada’s largest major in 2017. While this year’s iteration may be missing some pieces from the previous year’s captivating story lines, it has more top players, more international talent and more wildcard potential.

Top 8

What’s New

Half of the projected Top 8 for this years Singles tournament are making their debut in Canada.

The Smash community fan-favorite, Isai, will be making his way to Mississauga, and although his results in recent years have fallen, some die-hard fans still believe he has the talent to fill the hole left by the absence of SuPeRbOoMfAn. While his Fox ran into trouble recently at SNOSA, Canada has plenty reason to be terrified of his presence. They surely have not forgotten Beast 7, where Isai’s Link came back from Loser’s bracket, and dissected Revan’s Kirby in Grand Finals with surgical precision. If Revan can fend off a red-hot Zero, and Isai can avoid another early upset, which everyone has become quite familiar with recently, the two may run back the instant classic two-set Grand Finals. If Isai has his way, he’ll find himself up against a contender from the States’ other neighbor.

Mariguas will also make his way into the Greater Toronto Area this weekend, coming off an exhilarating performance at SNOSA III in Santa Ana. Early on it seemed he would be left in the wake of ïXï | Zero’s magnificent run. However, following his loss to Zero, he dominated Gyaki, swept Dext3r and the rematch against Zero, and also reset the bracket on Fukurou in Grand Finals. Mariguas has outplaced Isai at the events they’ve both attended in 2017, yet they have not faced off this year. After narrowly missing out on his first ever major victory at SNOSA III, Mexico’s top talent will be anxious to mow down his competition and vanquish his demons, the biggest of which may lie at the end of his bracket.

This pursuit may be aided by the fact that Mariguas will likely find himself on the opposite side of the bracket from Zero. Although he was unable to finish the job on loser’s side at SNOSA III, Zero surely left his mark, striking fear into the heart of Mexico, showing he can go mano a mano with their finest. Taking his next step towards being a true top level threat, Zero will be looking for any opportunity to build on his unreal resumé. He may even earn himself rematches against Isai and Mariguas, however, he will likely encounter Revan first. In 2017, Zero has tumbled with Fukurou, HandsomeTom, and Mariguas’s Kirby secondary, and while he has struggled against high-level Kirbys, it would be no surprise to see the young Falcon/Pikachu main come back from the lab ready for the challenge.

Also making Mississauga one of his many stops on an international tour is Brazil’s Kort, fresh off of several weeks of practice in the United States’ Midwest. On his most recent trip to North America, Kort scored a big upset against tacos at SSC 2016. In the past year, he has overtaken Banze for #1 in Brazil, and has fully developed his Pikachu, Captain Falcon and Yoshi to complement his notorious Link. Kort also trekked into the heart of the Peruvian Mecca of Smash 64 and most stacked city in the world, Tacna, and earned an impressive 7th place at Tacna All-Stars 2017. Over the past few weeks the outspoken captain of the CAFIL crew has won Masters of Midwest Smash, and placed 2nd at Called Out!, only behind SuPeRbOoMfAn. Kort now has his sights set on the rest of Canada in Boom’s absence.

Returning Threats

SSBMTL | TR3GTheZ made huge waves last year, notoriously bringing back his set against Derek, down 1-2 in games, and 1-4 in stocks against Derek in the Pikachu ditto. His monumental comeback fueled a run of his own, taking down fellow Canadian Revan, earning a rare win over long-time nemesis KeroKeroppi, and showing flashes of next-level potential as Fox against SuPeRbOoMfAn. This year he finds himself faced with a new set of players to overcome if he wants to keep the Cup in Canada. While he has yet to face Isai in bracket, Montreal’s leader has worked his way closer to victory over Mariguas in their recent meetings, coming one stock short of victory in a thrilling, tight set at Genesis 4. If TR3GTheZ can build upon strong performances over the past year, he may stand a chance of defending the homeland.

Last summer, Revan looked poised to ascend to the next level of players, as he made a name for himself taking down top level Yoshis, and earning a Top 8 spot at the largest Smash 64 tournament ever. 2017 has not treated him well, as the cerebral Kirby main from Ottawa struggled in his limited major appearances. The fierce young competitor is fully expected to bounce back to his winning ways, aided by the comfort of his home turf. While he’s gotten closer to defeating his rival, TR3GTheZ, with each set, he’d rather not have to fight a fellow Canadian early in bracket. He’ll likely face Zero early on, but it’s no secret Revan will be eyeing a rematch with Isai, daring him to bring out the Link once more.

Although he started off the year strong, BarkSanchez has tapered off a bit in recent months. In the past he has proven capable of taking sets off of top level players, he has also seen himself surpassed by up and coming players such as Dtan, Zero and Joshi. Bark’s element of volatility could add to an interesting bracket, where he is likely to face unfamiliar opponents, such as Mariguas and Kort in Top 8. Bark has missed Top 8 two of the past three majors, but after being cut short by Derek in bracket last year, he intends to make up the difference with a strong performance deep into bracket this time around.

Although the unexpected presence of Derek cut Fireblaster’s bracket short last year, Connecticut’s father of Smash 64 and resident Yoshi main should have a more clear path to top 8 this year. One of 2016’s most frequent travelers, he has made his appearances less often in 2017 but has had strong major placements this year. Despite being the victim of a few upsets, and has not quite made as much ground on those ahead of him as he’d like, he has strong wins over ranked players sHEERmADNESS and NTA, as well as hot rising talents KD3, HAMMERHEART, and Yobolight. A very driven player, Fire will not pause at the opportunity to break the status quo and shake up the bracket.

The Wildcards

What’s New

While Isai has cemented his status as Smash 64’s ultimate element of unpredictability, ïXï | Fray has taken Derek’s place this year as GOML’s wildcard. With years of netplay experience under his belt, his level of talent is no mystery to followers of the online Smash 64 scene. Fray’s high level Ness play has drawn comparisons to long-time veteran Firo, with some believing the netplay warrior may have even surpassed him. While that has yet to be proven, Fray will have an opportunity to state his case in his first console tournament against a stacked roster of competitors.

Returning Threats

While the Smash 64 community both inside and outside Canada are familiar with Snorlax, most cannot predict what he will do at GOML 2017. In the true spirit of a wildcard, the Kirby/Pikachu main character locked to Donkey Kong at GOML 2016, throwing the entire venue in a loop. A capable player of the entire cast, the Toronto native could potentially sneak into the Top 8 with his most proficient characters, or perhaps snag a few upsets with the bevy of options at his disposal.

The Sleepers

What’s New

Accompanying Kort in his voyage north is fellow CAFIL member, the barefoot Brazilian Lorenzo. Following his breakout performance at Boss Battle 2 where he earned 7th place, the solo-DK main has continued to build his resumé. The nomad from Brazil earned 13th at Tacna All-Stars 2017 and 4th at Called Out!, unfortunately being eliminated by Kort at both events. The first solo-DK main to make Top 8 in a North American Major will be eager to toss around some Canucks this weekend if he can avoid running into his fellow Brazilian yet again.

Even Matchup Gaming’s lone Smash 64 representative, EMG | Darkhorse, will be making his first trip north beyond the wall. Baltimore’s resident Falcon/Puff main, a perennial sleeper, can be a terrifying presence when he finds his zone. Darkhorse is coming fresh off of a dominant performance in bracket at MVP3, with clean sweeps against Yobolight and Robert, and a bracket reset in Grand Finals against BarkSanchez. The bearded Baltimorean will surely be hunting for a soul-crushing Falcon Punch-combo, one that is worthy of his Clip of the Week videos.

Returning Threats

It may seem crazy to call YBOMBB a sleeper, but the veteran puff main needs to pull off an upset if he wants to return to Top 8 again this year. In recent years he has also added a Falcon and Yoshi to his arsenal of characters, which he may need if he hopes to contest Fireblaster or BarkSanchez for a spot in Top 8. Despite his long periods of absence from the major tournament scene, anyone caught sleeping on the Toronto veteran will surely be punished.

A promising young talent from Ottawa, Janco has been steadily improving over the years under the tutelage of Revan. Janco’s best tournament yet unfortunately came at the expense of his mentor, as Janco sent Revan to losers en route to an impressive 9th place finish at Lets Go! Although expecting him to take down Mariguas in winners side might be a bit much, he may see some familiar faces in a potential losers run if he can pick up from where he left off in Baltimore.

The Other Guys

What’s New

Michigan will be making the short trip across the border with a solid core group to visit their neighbors in Toronto. While they are without their captain, Scoback, and their outspoken region representative, Rocket, they aren’t pulling any punches. They will be led by Andykins and EG, both of whom have recently surpassed their captain following years of dominance. Andykins made Division 1 at Lets Go! and scored a big upset against Darkhorse, while EG has steadily made a name for himself as a top threat in the Midwest. Both players are expected to face off against the wildcard, Fray, and with years of Ness experience under their belts, they will take full advantage if he happens to falter. Jsmirk has been gaining ground in the Midwest as well recently, and with Velocity Jones, Cracker Jones and Hack among the crew, Michigan hopes to make a mark in their neighbor’s yard.

Returning Threats

Most of Eastern Canada showed up in force the previous year, and they plan to do so again in 2017.

Fck Vwls was the catalyst for Derek’s losers run in 2016, pulling off the big upset that knocked him out of winners bracket early. Like most of Eastern Canada, he’s maintained a fairly quiet 2017, although he’s made trips to Florida and Michigan to show he’s still dangerous. JOKER, formerly known as B link, has gone on somewhat frequent hiatuses over the past few years. Despite this, he’s still one of the top threats in a stacked Toronto crew, an impressive feat. Preston has been faced with some tough brackets recently, but snagged a strong win against one of the Midwest’s best, Dogs_Johnson, at Called Out!, giving him reason to feel good coming back to his home turf. Sextc and Captain Fabulous, formidable foes from Ottawa and Montreal respectively, could sneak in an upset or two as well if they don’t go down styling.

64 Free For All: Get On My Level 2017

By: James “JAMJAR” Jacobs

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 four major names from the host country of this event. The rising star who took names at Let’s Go!: Janco. The creative mind behind some of the best video content in 64: Preston. Possibly the most dynamic player in Canada: TR3GTheZ. The TO of the event with an unorthodox character: NessKhalifa.

1. This will be the first console major for online legend Fray. How do you expect he will perform at this event?

Justin “Janco” Cahoon: I personally hope Fray does well, but I’m not overly certain if he will play as well as he does online. I believe he uses an XBox controller, which from personal experience isn’t the worst thing to adapt from. If he has the adapter and has been getting used to the differences between console and online, I think he could do quite well, and definitely make Top 8.

Preston “Preston” Kwan: Although a performance like Derek’s at last year’s GOML would be  crazy, Fray might fall short of that just because he plays Ness. With that being said, I think he’ll do well as long as he’s used to the movement on console, which he said he was practicing. I would be surprised if he didn’t get Top 16 and he has the potential to make Top 8.

Marco “TR3GTheZ” Jardak: Fray is very good. I don’t know how he will do though, seeing as he plays with an XBox controller online and this will be his first console event.

Vincent “NessKhalifa” Polsinelli: I think he will do quite well. I think it will be similar to what Derek did last year. He’ll be this online warrior showing up for the first time and will stumble at first. Maybe not do too well out the gates but he’ll shake off the struggeles, get some of that pressure alleviated and have a really strong finish. Looking at his bracket, I predict he will get 9th or 5th depending on how he does against Kort!

2. GOML has positioned itself in a rather unique way, as it is a rare major that will be hosting all 4 mainline Smash games. What do you think of this move? Is it smart or unwise?

Janco: I like the fact that all the games are there, as it allows people that would normally only play Melee or Smash 4 to try the other games, and vice versa. I think it benefits all the games to be at the same tournament, and could help the growth of each game.

Preston: I’m indifferent on whether it’s a smart or unwise decision. GOML is allowing all 4 Smash games to get the spotlight and I commend them for doing so.

TR3GTheZ: I don’t want to talk poop about Brawl but I think it’s objectively bad. Bad game.

NessKhalifa: It has its pros and cons. I think sometimes when SSB64 is a part of majors like this it can get forgotten and not get the attention it truly deserves. It all depends on the major and how much focus they want to give us as an event. If the SSB64 tournament is done right at a multi-game major of this size it does great things for exposure. Melee, Brawl and Wii U players may enter a 64 event or catch top 8 on stream or in person and may fall in love with it like we all have.

3. Despite having a ton of top talent, Canada’s only major for 64 has been GOML for the past 2 years. Do you think this is enough of a showcase for the country’s up and coming talent? Or should something different be done to foster the scene?

Janco: I don’t mind having only one big tournament, since Canada’s population is severely lower than the States, but is about the same size. It also makes sure that everyone attending brings their A-game, as it’s the only big tournament a lot of Canadian players attend. I would have liked to see more players from the states attend, however.

Preston: Having GOML as Canada’s only major for 64 is enough to showcase our talent. However, I think another major would help us grow as a country even more. I can see either Montreal or Vancouver having the best chance at having the most success hosting a major for 64. Whether it be a 64 exclusive major or a multi-game major (Battle of BC maybe?) is another question.

TR3GTheZ: Idk man. Now that Boom is in Toronto, there isn’t any relevant competition outside Ontario/Quebec NO OFFENSE!

NessKhalifa: It’s rough up here for a Smasher. The scene is almost non-existent out west and even worse on the east coast. Only notable scenes are from Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. All these scenes have strong weeklies and Toronto has a strong monthly getting occasional visits from Montreal and especially Ottawa. But when it comes to majors the numbers just aren’t there. A lot of US players either don’t have passports or can’t be bothered to come up here. I don’t blame them though as Canada doesn’t come down to the US as often as I think we should. GOML is the only multi-major in Canada for 64 to leech onto, but keep your eyes open for a potential 64 exclusive coming early next year for Canada.

4. Last year’s GOML saw Derek have an epic run through losers, taking out quite a few notable players on his way to 5th after a close loss to TR3GTheZ. Who is positioned to break out this year in another impressive way?

Janco: Derek is an absolute beast, so I don’t think we will get such an impressive run of that caliber for a bit from a relatively unheard of player. In terms of people I think could break into that next level, I’ve always thought Cwic-beam, a Yoshi from Ottawa, has had the potential to start doing really well and make a few upsets, so that would have to be my best bet.

Preston: In terms of being a relatively unknown player and having a breakout performance, I can see Fray or Janco having the potential to replicate Derek’s run from last year. I also see Lorenzo and Darkhorse making impressive runs.

TR3GTheZ: Fray.

NessKhalifa: Well I already mentioned Fray above, but Janco is going to turn some heads at GOML. He got 13th last year and an impressive 9th at Let’s Go! Dude is only 19 and is getting good at a fast rate. This is the tournament where everyone knows his name.

5. What will be the Top 8?

Janco: My top 8 would probably be 1. Isai 2. Mariguas 3. Z 4. Revan, 5. Zero 5. Bark 7. Fireblaster 7. Janco

Preston: 1. Isai 2. Mariguas 3. Zero 4. TR3GTheZ 5. Revan 5. BarkSanchez 7. Kort 7. Fireblaster

TR3GTheZ: Winner will be Isai or myself.

NessKhalifa: 1. Isai 2.Mariguas 3. Zero 4. TR3GTheZ 5. Revan 5. Fray 7. Fireblaster 7. BarkSanchez

6. Why is Canada better than the USA?

Janco: Canada is only better if you look at our top 5-8. Anything past that and it sorta just falls apart. The USA has far more diversity in terms of good players. If you look at the top 50 in both countries, Canada would get washed. We need to step up our game when it comes to our depth.

Preston: We have mounties and they’re basically centaurs.

TR3GTheZ: USA should stick to Melee.

NessKhalifa: We got ketchup chips, Coffee Crisp, poutine and better quality strip clubs and weed.

East Meets West: SNOSA III Preview

By Josh “BarkSanchez” Brody

SNOSA returns for a third year, and while it sports similar numbers to the previous year, the tournament has taken on almost an entirely different look from the previous iterations. The original Smash 64 exclusive series has adopted the fairly new Waterfall Tournament Format and a sparkling new venue at Santa Ana’s Esports Arena, while also earning the distinction of being the first 64-exclusive tournament to host traveling competitors from Japan. While the Western Hemisphere has reigned supreme at each event since Wario’s victory at Genesis 3, Fukurou could change that in the absence of SuPeRbOoMfAn and Alvin.

The Smash 64 community has worked together once again to help Fukurou, Hiyo, and Gyaki attend Snosa III. While Fukurou has staked his claim over the past few years as perhaps the strongest Kirby main in the world, Gyaki and Hiyo emerged into the spotlight following impressive performances at Kanto 2017. Hiyo’s explosive Yoshi combos powered him past Prince, Japan’s strongest Yoshi player, and into a 9th place finish. Gyaki shocked the community by defeating Kurabba, Taimai, Wangera, and taking a set off of k y s k, finishing in 2nd place with Link.  Super Smash Con 2016 saw three Yoshi players travel from Japan, with some unexpected results. Bonobono was upset early, and fell at 17th place, while Kurabba vastly exceeded expectations and earned a 7th place finish. The notorious combo machine, Prince, had a strong 9th place finish as well. However, after seeing the least technical of the three yoshi players have the most success in a North American tournament, many in the Smash 64 community questioned what role the differences in versions may have played. Gyaki, on the other hand, faces a transition in which his character is considered to be vastly weaker. After taking down some of the strongest Japanese players to venture into American territory, Gyaki is believed to have the talent to overcome these changes and compete with the Pikachus, Kirbys, and Falcons of North America. Fukurou leads the Japanese entourage with an imposing Kirby, potentially the best in the world. Fukurou has dominated high level Japanese players like Wangera, k y s k, and Maha, and shown the ability to compete with Wario as well. While Fukurou may be seen by some as a favorite to take the tournament, Gyaki and Hiyo may be sleeper picks to make Top 8, or perhaps even Top 4.

Also part of the compendium to bring out Japan, Mariguas and Dext3r will also travel to compete in Santa Ana. JaimeHR will be joining the Mexican crew as well, along with SOMRERO and Weedlypuff, two fairly new players first seen at Smashenada. Without Boom to defend North America, Mariguas stands as the West’s strongest competitor. Mariguas has dismantled the Canadian Kirbys Revan and Handsometom, but appeared lost against k y s k at Genesis 4. With Fukurou offering an even tougher challenge than k y s k, Mariguas may be faced with an impossible task, unless the past five months of training have been rigorous enough to match up with the daunting Kirby main. None of this will matter if Dext3r has his way and takes down Fukurou first. 2016’s most improved player has kept on rolling through 2017, and has been very vocal about his desire to face and defeat the Japanese Kirby king. While on paper this matchup wouldn’t seem in his favor, the passionate Pika player has proven to be very dangerous when he can gather momentum. With wins over Wizzrobe, Tacos, and TR3GTheZ in 2017, Dext3r would love nothing more than to keep the wins rolling and overwhelm the Japanese invaders. JaimeHR in recent tournaments has shown the threat of a Pikachu, which has proven to be a dangerous addition to his arsenal after taking out Stranded at Genesis 4, and taking games against Mariguas. With some of his infamous “Turbo Mode” magic, Jaime could definitely cause a shakeup in the top of the bracket if he finds his groove. Japan is often seen as the pinnacle of Smash mastery, but Mexico might be too strong for them this time around.

Norcal’s crew features a solid core, such as their formidable veteran Shihman, and recently recruited free agents from Socal, Blondekid and Bard. While these guys, along with most of Norcal’s Power Rankings, will be showing up in force at Snosa III, the most intriguing story out of the region will feature the Mario Twins: Kimimaru and Hydra. Since his breakout console debut at Genesis 3, Kimimaru has been atop the Norcal power rankings and a consistent threat at majors. His identical twin brother Hydra made his console debut a year later at Genesis 4, and is expected to have made significant strides towards matching his brother. The two made waves at Genesis 4 with an unheard of double Mario team, taking out Jimmyjoe and Smash Jesus, breaking into Top 16. Kimimaru is already a threat to break into Top 8, but hasn’t yet snagged a win against a top North American player. Keeping a red-hot pace of improvement with the Red plumber, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see Kimimaru pull off an upset or two and break into the next tier of competitors. Hydra also turned some heads at Genesis 4, and if the twins truly are identical, he may be only a weak up air into up smash away from Top 16 as well.

While Southern California’s resident celebrity, Kyletree, will not be present to defend home turf, the rest of their top players will be ready and willing to take up arms against a crowd of invaders. Los Angeles natives Heropie and Janitor are well-known as lurking threats in the city of angels, however, they have recently recruited another ranked threat from the east coast, Cobr. Despite a slow start from the New Jersey nomad, he’s coming fresh off of his biggest win yet against Kyletree. He might not run into the matchup at the top end of this tournament, but his expertise will certainly be useful in powering him to Top 16. Janitor has yet to score a major performance that can earn him top level recognition, but he’s shown flashes of his potential, most notably taking a set off of JaimeHR. Heropie on the other hand has been a threat as one of the best in the United States for over a year now, with victories over JaimeHR and Isai. Socal’s top crew is stronger than ever, as it sets its sights on Mexico, and perhaps Japan as well.

Rounding out the Top 8 threats are some familiar, yet still fresh names in the United States. Zero, BarkSanchez, and Dtan. Since his breakout performance at Super Smash Con 2016, Zero has been a consistent threat at the top, looking especially powerful against Falcons and Yoshis. He is chomping at the bit for a shot against Hiyo, another Japanese Yoshi to add to his list. BarkSanchez has had his ups and downs in 2017, however, wins against Tacos, Wizzrobe, and Alvin have given him top level consideration. After nearly defeating Dext3r in the Pikachu ditto at Smash N’ Splash 3, it would be no surprise if he finished the job at Snosa III. Dtan has rivaled BarkSanchez for the greatest rookie year in Smash 64 history, with huge wins against Kerokeroppi, BarkSanchez, and Kimimaru. Although he wasn’t projected to make top 8, it would almost be more of a surprise to not see him there on Sunday.

64 Free For All: SNOSA III

By Josh “BarkSanchez” Brody and Jamie “JAMJAR” Jacobs

The 64 Free For All is a question and answer session with some of the biggest names in Smash 64. 6 questions, 4 top personalities. Today we have three players from the western part of North America and a legendary Japanese player. The mind behind SoCal Smash: Wookiee. A rising star SoCal rallies behind: Heropie. The enigmatic, doubles master JaimeHR. The legendary Kirby master from Japan: Fukurou.

  1. Snosa III will be the first modern North American 64 major to try out a 4 stock ruleset for singles. How do you expect competitors and fans to react to this change?

Alex “Wookiee” Jungsten: I think there will be a very positive reaction. With all of the crazy hype sets that will be at Snosa, I think four stocks is going to make it a really good event. As for the viewers, I hope it also becomes even more enjoyable.

Alex “Heropie” Ornelas: I think overall there will be a positive reaction. Some people are old school and don’t like the 4 stock game, but I think we should try it out considering that 64 has been known to have some pretty long sets.

Jaime “JaimeHR” Hernández Rodríguez: Well I’m personally not a fan of 4 stock matches and Dreamland only (lol) but if that’s what the community wants, I’ll just roll with it. There’s definitely going to be mixed reactions about this change, from the ones that don’t really care at all to those who feel that 1 less stock will force players to play more carefully, thus making matches take longer. There’s also the people that are going to think that we are Melee now or something.

Fukurou: I think it will be very good for the community to do, however fewer stocks means it is easier for the weaker player to win.

  1. The hype surrounding Snosa seems to be significantly less than what we have come to expect from 64 majors. Why do you think this has happened? What can events do to truly bring pre-event excitement?

Wookiee: I think people are going to be very surprised at how hype the tournament is going to be. I am very confident to say I feel bad for the people not attending. This is probably going to be one of, if not the best Smash 64 exclusive majors that has been run to this date.

I personally believe that there has just been too many 64 majors, which made it harder to market since we didn’t want to step on anybodies toes and interfere with their tournaments. It shows we have made significant growth however as a community. I was expecting less entrants due to people having gone to so many majors recently. Although we do have less entrants than what is expected, this tournament is STACKED. Go through the entrants list, even top 70 is going to be well known players. A Lot of good people are going to place lower than we think.   

I don’t think we need to do anything differently for our event. If people want to come, they can. For me as a TO however, I am just focusing on having a very high quality event, which everyone will come to see it is. We have the best venue a 64 major has ever had, the best stream equipment anybody has ever had access to, more set ups than we could ever need, Japan is sending three players, and we are in one of the best cities in the USA. It can’t get much better.

Heropie: I think people are underestimating how hype it will be. I can’t wait to watch the Japanese players play some of our top players. Anytime there is top level competition I think the hype will naturally follow.

JaimeHR: It is because 4 stocks is not popular! Nah, just kidding. It is hard to tell really, I think it has to do with the amount of Smash events that are currently happening throughout the year, there are a lot more tournaments featuring SSB64 than in previous years, back then we had at most 3 events that featured Smash 64 during the whole year and I think that’s what made those few tournaments so hype, because they were rare and everyone wanted to go. Now we have a lot more tournaments but the draw back now, I feel, is that now we are choosing which ones are “worth” going to more than others. Take Smash’N’Splash 3 as an example, that tournament was 2 weeks before Snosa and only got 63 entrants for SSB64, really good players were there that could build enough hype to bring out more participants but it just didn’t work, was it bad marketing? Or maybe people thought, “Oh, Snosa is more important, I should just save for that.”

As for building pre-event excitement, I think 64 majors are doing it great right now by bringing international players, the problem maybe was that there were other 64 events close to Snosa that actually seemed like they were competing for attendance, what needs to be done I think, is gather all the 64 TOs together and agree on which tournament will be labeled as “That Big Major that you must NOT miss” and help market it within their local tournaments and other non-exclusive Smash 64 events such as SSS or Smash’N’Splash 3 for instance.

Fukurou: Take care of the Smash community, and get more people to know about the game.

  1. Not long ago, the Super Smash Bros. 64 League announced an effort to create regional event circuits. Do you believe this is the direction our game should move? Why or why not?

Wookiee: I highly support the regional circuits. It accomplishes three big things that our community needs. It gives us organization, a motivation factor for the region’s players to attend a tournament, and a way for our community to start generating some money. The community is only growing faster and faster, and unlike the other Smash communities, we have a centralized organization that can oversee tournament quality and look for the best interests of the whole community. I think the 64 League is really going to do some amazing things over these next few years.

Heropie: I think it’s a good direction for the game to go considering the growth of the community in the last couple of years. The unity will be good and players now have an incentive to make it out to the tournaments.

JaimeHR: Circuits are definitely the next step into making SSB64 a more serious competitive (eSport?) game, the real question would be, is SSB64 ready? I don’t think it is yet, we are still debating which rulesets are the best for the health of the game, but once it is figured out, we can start talking with ESPN (haha).

Fukurou: No response.

  1. Some still say Isai could win majors if he played seriously with his mains. Some say he is playing seriously when he uses less developed characters. Do you think Isai still has it in him to win a major?

Wookiee: I think with any character at anytime Isai has the potential to win. I really appreciate him using other characters as it displays high level play with all of the cast, which I think this community needs to see. Any character can be good and win.

Heropie: Definitely. I think if he played Pikachu he could, but if he pulls out Luigi or some other joke character, he will get bodied.

JaimeHR: He has the means to win majors. Think about this, of all the strong NA players, Isai has the biggest character diversity, he can do well with almost the entire roster, potentially giving him an edge on matchup knowledge. His Link can’t take your C. Falcon? Then maybe his Jigglypuff can, probably Mario, Fox, whatever he feels like playing. We already saw him take Beast 7 with his Link against Revan, a top Kirby main, and that’s a matchup many consider in favor of Kirby.

Fukurou: I think Isai as stronger characters will win in tournament, but weaker character Isai will not.

  1. Who will be Top 8 at Snosa III?

Wookiee: 1. Fukurou
2. Isai
3. Mariguas
4. Dext3r
5. Hiyo
5. Gyaki
7. Dtan
7. BarkSanchez

Heropie: 1. Heropie
2.fukurou
3. Mariguas
4. Isai
5. Gyaki
5. Hiyo
7. Barksanchez
7. Dtan

JaimeHR: Isai, Fukuroi, Gyaki, Hiyo, Mariguas and Dexter will definitely get there unless they eliminate themselves early, then there’s 2 remaining spots that will be disputed between Bark, Heropie, DTan and Janitor, if TheZ and tacos don’t show up. (I’m not sure if Z and tacos are coming, lol)

Fukurou: I do not know anything about overseas players, but believe Isai will win if he plays his strong characters.

  1. Does Kirby beat Captain Falcon?

Wookiee: Kirby gets rekt. Falcon is too fast and his punishes are too solid.

Heropie: I think Kirby still beats Falcon. I do think the matchup isn’t as lost for Falcon as people thought because of his heavy punish game. He just can’t get up tilted. I’d say it’s close to even but in Kirby’s favor.

JaimeHR: Kirby destroys C. Falcon, it is a matter of who has an easier time landing hits, C. Falcon needs to win the neutral game then setup for a grab or upsmash to 0 to death Kirby, while the latter has an easier time landing any hit into pain (uptilt) and there’s not much C. Falcon can actually do even with good DI, you will probably destroy your stick first before even hoping to get out of that safely, most of the time he’ll end up off stage.

Alvin has proved C. Falcon can beat a good Kirby, but most C. Falcons will avoid that matchup in tournament and play someone else against Kirby and I’ve seen that happen many times so that should give us a clue of who wins the matchup overall.

In short, C. Falcon has to work harder and play flawlessly​, while Kirby can just avoid getting grabbed floating on top plat until Falcon loses his cool and starts making mistakes which Kirby loves to capitalize on.

Fukurou: I wonder if it is hard for Kirby to win consistently. But I think he is better.

Free Barking with BarkSanchez

One year later, new venue, new tournament format, new Fireblaster beef that sadly won’t be played out here. This summer has been tough on attendance due to flight prices, but I’m confident Snosa will build upon its past two years in bringing more energy and entertainment than ever.

The absence of SuPeRbOoMfAn and Alvin is very disappointing, however, it blows this tournament wide open. Many consider Fukurou the heavy favorite to win, but what if Isai “finds him worthy”? Many still believe his Pikachu would power him past any opponent. Perhaps Mariguas, not ready to be embarrassed by another Japanese Kirby, comes back ascended in the matchup and defends North America? Dext3r has not been quiet about his desire to play Fukurou, and seems very confident. Snosa III feels like the first Smash 64 tournament where the top three or four players could be arranged in almost any order, with only minimal surprise.

It’s interesting to note that while Fukurou comes from the land of four stocks, he acknowledges the volatility it adds. Perhaps there are players in Japan that wish to adopt five stock rulesets? It appears he struggled with most of the other questions. It’s great to see more Japanese players come out, but the odds seem stacked against Gyaki and Hiyo. At Super Smash Con 2016, the “Three Dragons” had pretty varied results, so there should be hope, as well as tempered expectations for Hiyo. Gyaki has a less forgiving path, although if he can adjust to the differences in versions he can perhaps mimic some of Isai’s success with Link.

Regional circuits are good, characterbans are bad, and 5 stock Dreamland-only with a 10 minute timer and No Whispy is the future. Thank you and #LoveSnosa.

Nothing good in life is free, except Wookiee’s Pika as Fox.