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.

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.

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.

Smash N’ Splash 3: Return to the Oasis

By Josh “BarkSanchez” Brody

Smash N’ Splash returns for the third iteration of the annual June series, featuring Smash 64 for the second year in a row. Moving from the Greater Chicago Area to the Wisconsin Dells, this year looks to be bigger and more stacked, as many skilled players from all over North America have traveled out, presumably for the water park. Amongst that group are competitors from 13 U.S. states, Canada, and Mexico, including 4 of the SSB64 League’s Top 10 ranked players. The revolutionary Waterfall Tournament Format (WTF) will also make its way to the Midwest’s premier water park, exclusively for Smash 64. There will be no shortage of matches for players of all skill levels, as well as viewers.

Leading the pack of competitors is the Canadian titan, SuPeRbOoMfAn, splashing back onto the scene following a brief but noticeable absence from North American tournaments. Since Genesis 4, it appears Boom has switched back to maining Captain Falcon, the character he is most well-known for, and arguably most dangerous with. Despite a rough start to 2017, Boom has looked like his old self since returning to Falcon, with dominant victories over Wizzrobe, BarkSanchez, and all of Australia.

Wizzrobe, on the other hand, looked poised to take that next step into the top tier of players, following a swift 3-0 victory over SuPeRbOoMfAn in Top 16 of Genesis 4. However, he lost his next match to KYSK, and in Top 6 he was defeated by Dext3r, who he had sent to Loser’s bracket the day before. Going into Florida’s Frame Perfect Series 2 with the expectation to repeat his big upset from Genesis 4, he instead looked lost on his home turf in a matchup he normally dominates, against Boom’s Falcon. He then fell prey to one of 64’s biggest upsets, falling apart in a set he had in his hands against BarkSanchez, who he had utterly dominated on Winner’s Side just hours before. Wizzrobe has shown the potential to take down the best in North America, but he will likely have 2016’s Most Improved Player, Dext3r, standing in his way. The young Yoshi prodigy comes into Smash N’ Splash 3 with recent losses against three of the top five, yet Wizzrobe is known for hitting the lab and coming back stronger than ever.

Dext3r continues his red-hot pace to finish 2016, with a fourth place finish at Genesis 4, and a third place finish at Let’s Go! With these impressive finishes also come a pair of victories against Tacos, and a win against BarkSanchez. The fiery Pikachu main has an opportunity to show his victory against Wizzrobe wasn’t a fluke, however, he’ll likely have to fend off Shears’s Yoshi first. If he can handle a mini-Yoshi gauntlet, can this monster from Mexico channel his incredible momentum into the unthinkable, and challenge SuPeRbOoMfAn? If Boom sticks with his signature Falcon, it creates an unfamiliar character matchup between these two. While Dext3r has a chance to continue his fervorous pace, there is no chance Boom is content with sitting back and letting the world think Peru’s Alvin is the king of the Falcon vs. Pikachu matchup.

Accompanying Dext3r from Mexico is a man of endless surprises, Tacos. Following a rough end to 2016, Tacos has bounced back from a brief hiatus with solid performances at both major’s he’s attended in 2017. At both Genesis 4 and Let’s Go!, Tacos’s only losses were against Alvin and Dext3r. With Alvin absent this time around, a window of opportunity may present itself for Tacos to catch the top three off guard. Over time he has shown himself capable and dangerous with Yoshi, Pikachu, Captain Falcon, Kirby, Donkey Kong, and even Jigglypuff. Although he is likely itching for a chance to launch himself into another contest against Dext3r, he’ll find himself on the opposite side of the bracket, which definitely holds meaning in a tournament SuPeRbOoMfAn is attending. It’s been almost two years since Tacos has faced Wizzrobe; a matchup very likely to work its way into the Wisconsin Dells this weekend. None of this matters if Tacos can’t tackle the elephant in the room this weekend.

BarkSanchez has been arguably the most volatile player in 2017, with huge wins against three of the top ten ranked SSB64 players, but he has suffered losses against unranked players, been the victim two reverse 3-0s, and has looked lost in several high level sets. Bark likely to play Tacos in top 16 in a rematch from NJ’s 4th Quarterly Rapport, where Tacos handled him in Winner’s Finals, yet fell victim to Baltimore’s dynamo in a two set Grand Finals featuring a flurry of character swaps between the two players. With wins against all of Taco’s top characters, and a milestone victory over Wizzrobe, Bark presents an element of surprise in a bracket that features an already unstable top 8.


Baltimore rarely travels alone, and Smash N’ Splash is no different. Shears, 64’s outspoken mastermind, has made claims of earning top 8 as Fox. More likely than not, Shears will stick to his Yoshi, as he has had the most success with the dirty dinosaur since switching mains a year previous. While Shears has built his reputation on feasting on Falcons, he earned arguably his biggest win so far by taking down the Pikachu of UK’s Jam at Beast 7. Shears is expected to clash against Dext3r, who has not faced yet Shears’s Yoshi. Baltimore’s prehistoric predator is not to be slept on, however, Dext3r has shown top-level dominance in the matchup by taking down Wizzrobe and Tacos on the grandest stage.

Combo Blaze and Dogs_Johnson are both expected to represent the Midwest in top 8. Combo Blaze has played very close against BarkSanchez, but has yet to unravel the mystery of Shears. He is expected to get another opportunity in a rematch from Pound 2016, however, Shears’s Yoshi may present a whole new enigma. Dogs Johnson is fresh off of a big win against Shears at Michigan’s Called Out tournament, where he shocked the audience by pulling out a last resort Jigglypuff to take down Shears’s Yoshi. This time he will likely face another Baltimore challenger in BarkSanchez. If these two meet in bracket for the first time, Dogs will be ready to take on a PIkachu, with plenty of experience against his teammate and sparring partner, B33F.

 

Follow along with the bracket on Smash.gg and head over to the Smash 64 League Twitch to cheer on your favorite players. Division play of the Waterfall Tournament Format will be held Saturday June 3rd starting at 1pm and Top Eight will be held on Sunday June 4th at 11am.

Battle Arena Melbourne 9 – Here comes the Boom

By Jesse “Sweetchilli” Rosenberg

Have you ever paid good money for something and then regretted your purchase almost immediately? Maybe it was a bad meal or a car that ended up having a plethora of mechanical issues.

Regardless, if you have ever made any purchase without fully considering the consequences, then you can probably identify with myself and half of the SSB64 entrants at BAM9. Upon seeing that they are on SuPeRbOoMfAn’s side of the bracket, some have been heard muttering things like “I’m gonna make a sick losers run”, “I’m gonna tear a path through losers bracket” or, if you are like me, “Why did I contribute to the Boom fund when he’s just going to send me to losers bracket in round three?”

All bracket bitterness aside, Boom coming to Australia is easily the most exciting part of Battle Arena Melbourne 9. He is the first high-level international player to journey to the land of kangaroos and everyone attending the tournament is hoping to learn a lot from playing him over the weekend.

But Boom is by no means the only reason to watch this tournament. The lineup for this BAM is insanely stacked with Australian standards. The strong representation comes from Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and even a lonesome Queenslander. To use the words of the tournament organiser Indefa, “the bracket’s fucked”.

To add further fuel to the flame, this tournament is straight off the back of the Melbourne Monthly, where Pete – 63rd on the SSB64 League rankings – lost to DSC, bringing to an end a three year long era where he won every Australian tournament he attended.

It’s a volatile time for Australian Smash, with a range of exciting matches being played throughout the weekend. Here are some of the more hype matches you won’t want to miss:

Birdies vs Jonga – Predicted for Winners Round 3

This rematch is from the recently uncompleted Sydney regional BoomHunter, where Jonga came up and took out Birdies to sit in Grand Finals. Combo-Lord Jonga has proved that he is more than capable of dealing with Kirbys, but will Birdies bring a different mindset to a tournament with serious money on the line?

James3927 vs Quincy – Predicted for Winners Round 3

In a recent online tournament, Quincy lost to James’s DK in Grand Finals, and returned to Discord proclaiming “STFU. LUCK. I SHOULD’VE WON!”, despite the fact that he’d just been reverse 6-0’d. Quincy has had an incredible rate of improvement since joining the online scene just over a year ago, but will James’s power up from Let’s Go! in the United States be too much for Quincy’s Pikachu to handle?

Birdies vs DSC – Predicted for Losers Semifinals

I’ve got $40 riding on my boy Birdies right here, so you know where I want this to go, but what I want is completely unrelated to the outcome of this match. DSC’s Falcon has  previously proven that it is able to deal with most Kirbys. But Birdies is another kettle of fish, and to take the words from the mouth of the infamous Dim Sims and Chips himself, “I might get Kirby’d.”

Kuromatsu vs Mitch – Predicted for Losers Round 7

These two have a long and colorful history. Last year, at Project Melbourne 2, Mitch overcame Kuro’s Yoshi without too much trouble in Losers Finals. But this isn’t last year, and Kuro has beaten Mitch multiple times over the last 12 months. Some say Mitch has lost his mental fortitude, while others claim that Mitch was pissed or hung over those times he lost to Kuro, and you should shut up if you know what’s good for you.

So don’t miss out on Australia’s first installment of BAM9: Here comes the Boom

Stream: twitch.tv/ssb64

Time: Saturday May 13th 5a.m. EDT

A Let’s Go! Waterfall Spotlight: It’s All in the Game

By: Josh “BarkSanchez” Brody

A typical preview focuses on the Top 8 or Top 16 sections of a bracket. An analytical look at a projected Alvin vs. BarkSanchez set or Mariguas vs. Dext3r set would be standard. However, Keystoned’s debut of the Waterfall Tournament Format (WTF) showed the 64 community that almost no one is safe when Double Elimination is taken out of the equation. WTF provides competitors and spectators with a large volume of exciting, closely matched sets, and presents better opportunities for rising talents to prove themselves. Rather than focus on a very small percentage of the event, in honor of this new format and the changes it brings to competitive Smash, this preview will be a showcase of a slate of exciting sets to expect in the first round of the tournament.  This is a showcase of some of the only truly guaranteed matches this weekend.

A single set from each Placement Pool has been selected to be featured, ranging from the main headliner match, named “Last Stock”, to the less notable, but still quite interesting, “JV6” section. Each section will have a number of sets relative to the stock count referenced in the title. Being that there are more placement pools (24) than the stock counts add up for, an additional section at the end features a few other interesting matchups.

 

Last Stock

CTG vs. Mr. Sir

These two began 2016 at Genesis 3, locked in an intense battle. Mr. Sir seemed to have the Samus-Puff matchup on lockdown, when CTG threw him a curveball: a pocket Captain Falcon. A lot has happened since then, with CTG earning himself 50th on the SSB64 League Rankings, while Mr. Sir missed out on a spot on the rankings, despite rapid improvement. CTG followed up his success of 2016 with strong notable wins, including two against the 35th-ranked Shears and one against the 39th-ranked Marbles. Mr. Sir’s 2017 essentially began with an unbelievable dismantling of 24th-ranked Fireblaster at Keystoned, one of the biggest upsets of the year. These two meet yet again, two players with very different styles, both having built strong reputations, playing a fairly unexplored matchup.

While Puff is known to be an explosive character, CTG’s style is more patient, relying on mind games and trickery. Expect CTG to surprise Mr. Sir with unusual tactics, and attempt to pull him out of his comfort zone.

Mr. Sir, on the other hand, has studied Jouske’s legendary Samus, and created his own game plan. A surgical, methodical player, Mr. Sir and his Space Girl will aim to download CTG and expose any bad habits or mistakes from the slippery Puff main.

Will the Pound rise again in Baltimore? Or perhaps the bounty hunter will cash in? Regardless of the outcome, expect this one to go down to The Wire.

 

Two Stock

Shears vs. Yunque

One of 64’s biggest names, Shears threw the entire community for a loop when he announced in 2016 he was switching from Pikachu to Yoshi. While he will occasionally revisit his pocket Pikachu, Shears’s best wins in 2016 and 2017 have been with Yoshi. Most interestingly, this switch helped Shears become very successful against a character he previously struggled with: Captain Falcon.

Yunque’s 2016 was mostly quiet. However, the seasoned veteran capped off the year big time, double-eliminating Fireblaster on his own turf at the final Grid Games Weekly of 2016. Yunque pulling out a pocket Falcon was completely unexpected, and using it to take down New England’s most dominant player caught everyone by surprise.

Despite being the favorite between these two, Shears has struggled with Jigglypuff in 2017, with a loss against CTG, a player he had previously beaten. Very few would be surprised to see Yunque use that matchup to his advantage, and come out with the upset. However, if Shears is able to take down Yunque’s Puff, he’ll be chomping at the bit if Yunque attempts a counterpick.

 

HAMMERHEART vs. Infinite OC | The Protagonist

Well known by the Netplay community for years, HAMMERHEART didn’t become a consistent console presence until the very end of 2016. The online Samus main has become one of Philadelphia’s strongest weapons, also packing an intimidating Jigglypuff, as well as a newfound pocket Falcon. HAMMERHEART had a breakout performance at Keystoned, taking down several formidable opponents including Fireblaster, Darkhorse and Mr. Sir.

The Protagonist had a breakout performance of his own the same day, defeating the SSB64 League’s 34th-ranked player, Star King, 59th-ranked Jimmy Joe, as well as Dark Gentleman. This strong performance follows an impressive Genesis 4 placing as well. A veteran of Baltimore’s 64 scene since the beginning of Smash @ Xanadu weeklies, The Protagonist is finally beginning to emerge from the shadows of a stacked region with a newfound game plan in 2017.

HAMMERHEART has a wealth of experience and results against numerous characters, including Pikachu, Kirby, Captain Falcon and even Yoshi. However, he has yet to be tested by a truly adept Fox, a character many would consider problematic for Samus and Puff. The Protagonist is no stranger to Puff, with plenty of experience against Darkhorse. They say the protagonist usually wins, but the Coolblade clan’s star will do whatever he can to antagonize this Baltimore Fox.

 

 

Three Stock

WTF illustration
A simplified explanation of WTF

Star King vs. hipstur

One of two matchups between SSB64 League ranked players, this would have seemed to be a lopsided match at the beginning of the year. With Star King making a nearly complete switch off of Kirby and Yoshi to Fox, he is coming off of a shaky performance at Keystoned. Despite this, a veteran with his level of experience as a top player is never to be slept on.

With hours of experience against 16th-ranked LD, a.k.a “Fox”, hipstur is no stranger to the Fox ditto. Originally known for his style, and precise usage of shine incorporated into combos, hipstur has developed an advanced neutral game capable of competing with his newly Fox’d counterpart.

Two old school players in a rarely seen high-level Fox ditto with plenty of flash from hipstur, and Star King’s impeccable combo game, will definitely be a sight to behold. Hipstur won’t hesitate for a chance to snag a big upset in a very familiar matchup and show Star King that “Fox is Fox.”

 

Shalaka vs. Dogs_Johnson

Shalaka, the Chilean Ambassador of Smash, is a rare sighting in North America, especially outside of a Super Major Tournament. The Pikachu main did damage during his visits last year, taking down 54th-ranked Dajjal, 40th-ranked NTA and 22nd-ranked BarkSanchez. After earning a 28th place on the SSB64 League Rankings in 2016, Shalaka makes his return to the States to a tournament experience offering a volume of sets well worth the trip.

Anyone in Indiana will tell you Dogs_Johnson’s Falcon defeated Banze’s Pikachu in a money match at Super Smash Con 2016. As impressive as this may be, bracket matches are a whole different animal. In the past year, Dogs_Johnson has overtaken veteran Saltsizzle as the best in Indiana, and has become a top threat in the Midwest. However, he is still hunting for a statement win at a major tournament.

In a matchup of new age vs. old school, Dogs_Johnson has shown he can stand up to South American Pikachus, but can he make it happen in bracket? Shalaka’s strong punish game is unlike anything Dogs_Johnson is used to, and will likely make or break this unforgiving matchup.

 

KD3 vs. Horbie

In 2017, KD3 has turned his nickname of “Local Legend” from somewhat of a light-hearted joke to a prophetic vision of things to come. He made waves at Keystoned, taking sets off of Fireblaster, NTA and HAMMERHEART. Following a strong performance on his home turf, KD3 traveled to take down Horbie in enemy territory at Nebulous in NYC, nearly taking down hidden boss Lowww as well.

Horbie also had a great performance at Keystoned, taking down one of Philadelphia’s top players, Finio, as well as exacting revenge against Darkhorse, who defeated him a week earlier at New Jersey’s 4th Quarterly Rapport. An incredibly adaptive player, Horbie will look for similar revenge against KD3 early on at Le’ts Go!

A classic East Coast rivalry between New York and Philadelphia, this salty rematch featuring a prodigy with a diverse cast and a studious Kirby main out for revenge could also be a look into two players ready to step up to the next tier of players.

Lets Go Pools Tyhiggz
An illustration of all 24 pools at Let’s Go! Image made by tyhiggz

Four Stock

K | $$$ Jim $$$ vs. EMG | Darkhorse

At New Jersey’s 2nd Quarterly Rapport, these two had a close set, with Darkhorse clutching it out with his rarely used Kirby. One of two matches between nationally ranked players in Placement Pools, this rematch would be ranked much higher, if not for Potassium’s 64 representative claiming he switched mains to Pikachu. A character switch from Jim would play right into Darkhorse’s hand. Or is it all an act? The amount of trash talk between these two makes this rivalry fun. Perhaps Jim’s new Pikachu knows a trick or two to catch Darkhorse off-guard, or is his talk of downgrading characters all just a smokescreen?

 

SKG vs. Yobolight

Making his major debut at CEO Dreamland, SKG earned convincing wins against 37th-ranked Nintendude and NTA. However, he felt uncomfortable opting for the characters that have earned him success online, instead pulling out his Pikachu and Kirby.  Yobolight is no stranger to Pikachu, taking down Jimmy Joe at Keystoned and Shears’s Pikachu at several events. Yobolight has a variety of characters to counter SKG’s high tiers, but will we perhaps see a curveball thrown from the online warrior? SKG has been waiting to bust out the Jigglypuff, will he be ready to at Let’s Go!?

 

Robert vs. Loto

One of several notable netplayers at Let’s Go!, Robert made the leap in 2016 from average to nationally ranked player, earning 47th on the SSB64 League Rankings. Loto has been experiencing somewhat of a renaissance in Florida, momentarily surpassing Marbles on their PR. Loto’s Falcon has had much success against the Pikachus, Kirbys and Yoshis of Florida, but will it be enough to take down this rapidly-improving Pikachu main? If Robert opts to pull out his Kirby, look for Loto to counter with a dangerous Fox as well.

 

bp vs. Joshi

Bp burst back onto the scene with big wins against Star King, Shears and Mr. Sir at Keystoned. Originally from Peru, Joshi has quickly become one of the strongest in NorCal, with a Kirby that rivals 53rd-ranked SotoH and a storied PIkachu capable of serious damage, although he is reluctant to bring it out. Will this Peruvian newcomer be able to handle a high level Yoshi? If his Kirby is too much for bp to handle, bp may meet him in the ditto, for a thrilling conclusion.

 

 

Five stock

Lowww vs. Freean

Freean’s dedication to Luigi following a switch off of Captain Falcon has rewarded him with solid performances, including an upset of SotoH at Genesis 4, and he looks to continue that trend at Let’s Go! On the other hand, Lowww has shown himself to be quite adept at low tier matchups, dismantling Firo at the Big Apple Smash monthly in January. A skilled Luigi player against a talented Fox, Falcon and Pikachu player should be a very refreshing matchup to watch.

 

Clubbadubba vs. Supa

At first glance, Clubbadubba’s switch to Donkey Kong would make most consider this matchup to be a slaughter. However, Clubba has a great opportunity to use matchup knowledge to his advantage and punish Supa. Supa’s Fox, Falcon and Pikachu have the potential to overwhelm Clubba, but any mistakes made will be quickly exploited by the NoVA DK. Another unexplored matchup with quick stocks and plenty of fun, cheesy tactics.

 

Marbles vs. Daniel

The veteran Marbles is no stranger to the Falcon matchup, punishing his opponents with surprising platform movement and quick shield drop approaches, as well as devastating combos. He will be hungry for Baltimore revenge, after being upset by GT at CEO Dreamland. Daniel is fresh off of claiming a $200 bounty on fellow Baltimore smasher BarkSanchez, showing he has what it takes to tangle with high level Pikachu players. Can Daniel “The Instructor” school Florida in a mutually familiar matchup, or will Marbles roll over him?

 

Fireblaster vs. MasterHandJob

Fireblaster struggled in placement pools at Keystoned, but after a strong performance in bracket, as well as at CEO Dreamland, his Yoshi will be prepared for any challenges early on at Let’s Go! While MasterHandJob has done well against local Yoshis, Shears and Yobolight, Fireblaster is on a completely different level. MasterHandJob’s unique style of Pikachu makes for a very fun watch, but most will be looking to this one to see just how destructive an expert Yoshi can be even against a very talented Pikachu.

 

Czar vs. Everyone

After an incredibly long hiatus, Czar has made his way back to the competitive scene, with high hopes and expectations. If his performances at Super Smash Con 2015 and Old Fish in 2016 are any indicator of his current level of play, he should overwhelm his pool-mates with the Bang Bros. If his hiatus has slowed him down, there are several sleeper threats in his pool that won’t let him get away with a sloppy win. The East Coast metagame has missed the presence of such a powerful Mario and Luigi, and even his secret Pikachu could add a surprise this weekend.

 

JV6

Preston vs. Razz

A smart, consistently underrated Kirby from Toronto against a volatile Falcon, Yoshi and Luigi main from Philadelphia with a dangerous punish game.

 

GT vs. Andykinz

A salty rematch from Shine 2016 where GT notched a 4-1 stock comeback against Andykinz to come out on top.

 

Time Machine vs. Maliki

Maliki returns after a significant hiatus, aiming to fulfill his Koroshiyo destiny, against the ever-improving second year player, Time Machine, a.k.a. DFX.

 

V vs. ty. | tyhiggz

A flashy and excitable Baltimore native coming off a very impressive performance against Fireblaster at Keystoned, faced with the Ohio Yoshi main fresh off a big regional victory at MoMS 6.

 

Dark Gentleman vs. Grahamaglam

A new age Puff mastermind with experience against high level Link play, faces off against Georgia’s beloved Link main who happens to bear the title of North American Reverse-Main Champion.

 

iXi | antarctican vs. Jay_mute$ the legend

An inconsistent but dangerous old school Falcon main up against a new star who upset Time Machine, Captain Fabulous and Yobolight before nearly taking down Jimmy Joe at SuperBoomed.

 

 

Others of Note

lord_narwhal vs. Madrush21

Old school Falcon dittos between two veteran players.

 

Captain Fabulous vs. DROC

A model of Montreal flash vs. a hidden Pennsylvania talent.

 

Box765 vs. Sedda

Ohioan Mario main with plenty of Fox experience takes on a long-time online Fox veteran.

Beast 7 Preview: Trumping the Euro

By Jamie “JAMJAR” Jacobs

The long-standing and legendary European Smash tournament series has finally entered the 64 arena. Beast 7 will be the first iteration of this European major to host an official tournament featuring the series’ first entry. The European 64 console scene has been stagnant for some time, being essentially absent from the viewpoint of the North American scene. Jamie “Jam” Jahanpour has represented his continent in a handful of North American tournaments over the years, but the 64 community has never borne witness to the European scene at large. Featuring a large contingent of international talent, Beast 7 will be the first opportunity in the modern era to show the world how Europe stacks up. With only a thriving online group that is holding the European scene together with weekly events, the hope is that Beast 7 will revitalize the dying console scene, allowing Europe to experience the 64 renaissance along with the rest of the world.

The organizers of this event did a wonderful job of ensuring that it will have high-level international talent, something that is key to drawing the attention of fans around the world. In a bold move, Beast 7 allowed the legendary Joel “Isai” Alvarado to be a crowdfunding goal for 64. Isai’s attendance at events over the past couple years has been key to appealing to the casual Smash crowd and bringing in viewership numbers. His attendance will surely bring the hype, as he is able to play all characters in a successfully aggressive style. Along with Isai, North America is sending five other players who are ranked on the Super Smash Bros. 64 League Rankings. Thomas “Revan” Dykes, Josh “BarkSanchez” Brody, David “Shears” Shears, Michael “Nintendude” Brancato and Dillon “CTG” Grandy are these other five, and all have the capability of making waves at this event.

This a prime opportunity for Isai to win his first non-low tier tournament since Apex 2014. After a disappointing 13th place finish at Genesis 4 where he was double-eliminated by Japanese opponents, Isai should have an easier path to victory this time around. However, we can never know what to expect from the enigmatic legend, as he is known to play any character on a whim, which has led to his demise at each tournament since his return. Despite not attending the first major of the year, Revan has been on a tear lately. He earned an impressive 4th place at SuperBoomed with strong victories over Javier “Fireblaster” Romero and David “Firo” Eisenberg. This could be a great opportunity to really break out, as he is expected to finish second. Do not count him out in his potential sets against Isai; Revan is one of the fastest growing talents in the game. BarkSanchez is one of the most travelled players in the game. He attended all but one major in 2016 and showed up at many regionals across North America. The three seed of this event, it would not come as a shock if he managed to upset Revan to get his own shot at Isai. Bark took down Revan at ODS II over the summer, perhaps showing he has overcome his own issues with Kirbys.

Shears and Nintendude are projected to finish in 5th place, though some have cried foul over them being seeded below top European player Pol “Fruity” Garcia. Shears seems to be the gatekeeper for players aiming to make the rankings, as notable victories over the loud-mouthed dictator were key to many players making it onto the prestigious list. Proving the seeding wrong with a victory over Fruity would set him up for a match against Isai in winners and a tense duel with Nintendude in losers, which could be the most hotly contested set in the bracket. On the other side, Nintendude faces the difficult situation of competing in multiple games at a high level. Some have said this Melee Ice Climbers main has begun to stagnate in 64, but a victory over Shears or a close set with BarkSanchez could prove this long-time player still has some tricks up his sleeve. Finally, CTG is undoubtedly one of the quickest rising stars in 64. This Texan Jigglypuff main has been a frequent face in the midwest and Florida scenes; he has used his ability to fly to a variety of scenes to his advantage and has catapulted himself into the national discussion. Of particular note is a recent set against Bark at Smash Conference LXIX, after dispatching Shears in the previous round, CTG pushed Bark to his limits and was able to come back from an 0-2 deficit to force a fifth game. Despite his loss, CTG has been talking a big game since then, claiming he has finally overcome his Pikachu demons.

In regards to talent from across the pond, four names jump off the page. The aforementioned Fruity, Jam, Julius “King Funk” Vissing and Charles “Fuzzyness” Kimmelman. Fuzzyness is not expected to make it very deep in bracket, but the famed Melee Adventure Mode speedrunner has been a longtime fan of 64 and his attendance in 64 is sure to bring along his fans. King Funk is a long time European player who was one of the best for a long time. He even made a visit to North America to compete at Apex 2012 where he earned 7th place. His reappearance in the international limelight could be just what he needs to bring back his old talents. Jam is easily the most prominent name to the North American scene, as he has attended a trio of our majors over the years. At Apex 2014 he earned an impressive 9th place finish. His next two showings at Apex 2015 and GOML 2016 saw him fall back with a pair of 17 places. While the Pikachu main has long been the best competitor from the United Kingdom, some have claimed his skills have eroded due to a revitalized focus on Melee, though he is undoubtedly not a competitor to take lightly. Finally, Fruity is likely the most controversially seeded player in the tournament. His 4th place seed places him over players such as Nintendude and Shears. Despite being the best player in Europe, some have said this title should not earn him such a high seed without first proving himself. This Mario main is the best hope Europe has to put up a strong defense against the North American invaders, so watch out for him to show off just how strong Europe’s top talent is.

A couple sleeper talents to look out for are Baltimore’s Jacob “GT” Smith and Spain’s Martí “ShEiCk” Griera Jorba. GT, a relatively new Smasher, had a decent second half of 2016, making bracket at both Shine 2016 and SuperBoomed. Though he isn’t projected to make out of his pool this time, it would not be shocking if he put up a good fight against King Funk. ShEiCk is another name that some North Americans may recognize, as he was one of a few Europeans to attend Genesis 3. Though he did not make it out of his pool there, it seems his skills may have increased, as he is expected to advance to bracket and even win a round on the losers side.

Super Smash Bros. 64 at Beast 7 will begin at 3 PM CET, which is 9 AM EST, on Saturday, February 18th. It will run throughout the day, finishing the entire bracket in one day. The Top 16 bracket will be streamed on GeekyGoonSquad starting at 8 PM CET, which is 2 PM EST. For more information check out the Stream and Event schedules. 

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