By Jason “Nardwell” Mani and Jamie “JAMJAR” Jacobs
Every week we will be posting a look back at the previous week in Smash. This week we see the results of a revitalized Apex Series, take a bite out of the Big Apple and find Smash 64 at the core and check out how players prepared for one of the biggest weekends of Smash 64 to date.
Apex Series 2016
After its most recent year of strife the Apex Series valiantly returned for 2016. This would be the year that marks the beginning of a rebuilding period for the Apex Series. This put enormous pressure on TO’s and event organizers alike, as they attempted re-establish the Apex name as one of the premier tournament series. At this time, we can call it a success, as the event was able to bring in the right talent to run the tournaments as smoothly as possible. The venue was perfect for an event of this kind, having all the necessary amenities. Most of all, the revival installment of Apex held a light and fun atmosphere. As great as the organization was for this event, you are here to read about Smash 64, aren’t you?
This year’s Apex saw lower than average attendance for its Smash 64 contingent. This was mostly due to the wavering confidence, but as we so before they did an excellent job at restoring that confidence. It was also a side effect of the biggest Smash 64 exclusive event yet happening on the same weekend. SNOSA II drew much of the top 64 talent to California, yet there were those who were not able to make the trip and Apex provided them with a great stage to showcase their skills. Top talent included Stranded and Fireblaster, two of the North East’s biggest names. Cobr and Star King, a pair of “retired” stars, brought their skills back to the console scene after spending most of the year limited to mainly netplay. The remaining 51 competitors came from all across the Eastern seaboard from as far south as Georgia, in the form of NTA, to as far north as New Hampshire. CTG came all the way from Texas, however, the award for farthest traveled goes to 7 Blanks who came all the way from Japan. Many scenes were well represented, as Northern Virginia (NoVA) brought Mr. Sir and Dizzle while NYC brought Zeppelin and Kelvinheit. Shears’s disappointment could be felt from across the country, as Maryland was nowhere to be found, despite their close proximity and feisty competitive spirit.
Pools ran fast and loose as eight of the 13 or 14 competitors advanced. As little as two or one, if you had a bye, wins got you into the top 32 bracket. Winners side of top 32 was filled with players at or near the top of their local power rankings. Two of the biggest upsets on winners side was Mr. Sir over Maliki and DFX over NTA. Mr. Sir’s Samus was able to overpower Maliki’s Captain Falcon and Pikachu to take the match in three games. DFX versus NTA was not nearly as close DFX was able to 2-0 the struggling NTA who was forced of his preferred character, Mario, in multiple games that day. All else went according to plan on winners side, as the top four seeds, Stranded, Fireblaster, Cobr, and Star King, all advanced to Top 8. Losers side was a bit more interesting. Maliki stormed through losers, not dropping a game until Round 4 for a chance at Top 8. Unfortunately, it was not in the cards as he fell to Sedda 2-0. Zeppelin and NTA also made excellent runs to Round 4. NTA upset CTG and Zeppelin upset Mr. Sir in two games each, earning both spots into Top 8. The last expected piece of Top 8, Bloodpeach, mounted a run into Round 4 of his own, but he and his Yoshi were taken out in three games by the upstart DFX.
Top 8 was set and the competitors were ready to scramble for the title. The biggest surprise was DFX, no one had him on their radar, despite a strong performance at Pound, and he was able to sneak into Top 8 after a big upset over NTA and a great set against Bloodpeach. He carried this momentum into Top 8 and tactfully commanded his Fox against Zeppelin’s Falcon and Pikachu in three games that came down to the last stock to move on to Losers Quarterfinals. The other match of the first round of losers Top 8 saw NTA clashing with Sedda. Sedda would lock in his Fox for the whole set but NTA would go Falcon the first game then Mario for the rest when Sedda took game one in a last stock situation. Games 2 and 3 NTA was able to gimp Sedda’s Fox into submission. Game 4 Sedda found his mojo again and took it in an easy 3 stock. Unfortunately for Sedda, NTA refused to go out in game 5, claiming victory despite fighting from behind most of the match.
Winners Semifinals was ready to go, with Stranded and Star King as the first match. Star King took game one of the Kirby versus Pikachu match up. His Kirby was able to catch out Stranded multiple times, two stocking him in the end. Games 2 and 3 both came down to scary last stock situations, but Stranded and his Pikachu were able to clutch them out. Game 4 ended up being a blowout as Stranded turned on the gas, five stocking Star King’s Kirby. The other side of the bracket saw Fireblaster facing off against Cobr, a continuation of a rivalry recently seen at White Rose Monthly in November, and Shots Fired II in March. Cobr decided to go Kirby versus Fireblaster’s flashy Yoshi in game 1. Despite Cobr’s best efforts his Kirby was no match of the combo machine that is Fireblaster’s Yoshi, and game 1 ended in a decisive 2 stock. Game 2 saw the same match up and it was more of the same and Fireblaster took it with an even more convincing three stock. Game 3 saw Cobr switch to Captain Falcon, which swung the matchup in a complete 180 in terms of his fortune. Cobr was able to give Fire a taste of his own combo medicine, stealing a win on a missed recovery by Fireblaster. The Falcon matchup forced Fireblaster to counter with Mario for game 4. Fireblaster was ahead for most of the game but Cobr evened it up to a last stock situation. In the end, he was able to capitalize on an edgeguard after dropping a Falcon standard combo. Game 5 looked like Cobr had Fire figured out as he went up four stocks to one. Fireblaster worked his way back, amazingly taking the final game and the set a classic uair to usmash combo, moving on to face Stranded in Winners Finals.
Losers bracket plodded on mundanely as dominance was the name of the game for Quarter and Semifinals. All three ended in 3-0 sets. Star King defeated NTA, Cobr defeated DFX and then Star King defeated Cobr in Losers Semifinals. Winners finals between Stranded and Fireblaster started out strong for Fire as he decidedly two stocked Stranded’s Pikachu with his Yoshi. Game 2 saw Stranded counter with Falcon against Fire’s Yoshi and came back with a two stock of his own. Game 3 Stranded switched back to Pikachu and kept up the momentum with a strong three stock. Game 4 arrived and Stranded switched to Kirby as well as to an original controller instead of the Hori he was using all tournament. This game Fire fought back hard but it wasn’t enough, in a last stock situation a fsmash from Stranded led to a simple ledgeguard and Stranded advanced to Grand Finals. The Kirby versus Yoshi match up continued to haunt Fireblaster as he faced Star King in Losers Finals. Three close games later and Fireblaster was eliminated while Star King had a chance to take on Stranded in Grand Finals.
In Grand Finals Star King and Stranded faced off in three Kirby versus Pikachu matches. Star King was able to keep each game close but in the end Stranded overpowered him and took home the title of Apex 2016 Smash 64 Champion. In the end Stranded took Apex 2016 rather easily but it was not a complete sweep. He dropped a game each to Fireblaster, Star King, and The Smash Writers’ own JAMJAR. His competition was fierce and fought hard to keep it close but his fast hands and superior tech skill won the day.
Thank you to Pidgezero_one and all other event TOs for running one of the smoothest tournaments yet. Also thanks to the streamers for presenting the beautiful game of Smash 64 so well. Full brackets can be found on Smash.gg and replays are available on the Bifuteki and Smash Studios YouTube channels.
Small Scene Spotlight: New York City
This week we travel to the Big Apple of New York City, as a programmer extraordinaire has created a quickly growing scene out of an established Melee group. Jesse “khz” Hertz had been a part of the management of Nebulous Gaming for some time. He had always been interested in starting a Smash 64 scene, but the details never came together. In January of 2015, he made a concerted effort to get a scene going, as none of the potential tournament organizers were able to guarantee they could attend on a regular basis. Turmoil took over Nebulous later that year, as a venue change was imminent so these plans had to go on the back burner.
In August of that same year, the Nebulous team ran a successful Kickstarter fund to help obtain a new venue. At this time, khz was intent on starting a 64 scene, as he had always wanted to get good at the game. He had played on netplay but was unhappy with the results, either beating down on unskilled players or getting beat down himself. He wanted something consistent where he could train with equal people in person. Being undeterred in his quest, khz reached out to his Smash connections and was introduced to a man who could help him organize a scene. James “Jimmy Joe” McGurl proved to be exactly what was needed for Nebulous, filling a variety of roles and helping khz ensure everything could run smoothly.
The first weekly was a huge success, as 15 enthusiastic Smashers attended and showed the world what New York was all about. Subsequent weeklies would have similar or lower numbers as the scene continued to solidify. Every so often, guest stars would make the trip to New York, including the Koroshiyo clan, a number of the MDVA players, and resident retired New Jersey player Rob “Cobr” Stone. In recent times, the day of the weekly changed due to waning numbers on Fridays. The move to Wednesday has been a huge success, as the past four weeklies have seen numbers larger than ever before, averaging just over 16 attendees.
The top players of this scene can be easily broken down into two tiers. The top tier is populated by Firo, Kuzinator, Jimmy Joe and Zeppelin. Firo is the top player of the scene, having the most impressive showings at nationals and regionals. Dual maining Link and Ness, this red-headed wonder aims to prove that all characters are viable. Kuzinator is a Yoshi main who has sadly been absent in recent weeks. However, he is a strong player who has won many of the weeklies prior to his absence. Jimmy Joe is not just a good looking master commentator. When his Pikachu and Jigglypuff are on, he can beat anyone in his scene. Zeppelin is the most recent addition to this tier, as the Captain Falcon main has been on the rise, recently taking two sets off of Firo’s Link and showing his strength in an impressive placing at Apex 2016. The second tier consists of khz, Dark Gentleman, Kelvenheit and Reptar. Maining Kirby, Jigglypuff, Pikachu and Captain Falcon respectively, these four have all taken sets off the top players in the scene but cannot do so consistently. They each have their obvious weaknesses in certain matchups but are eager to prove their worth.
Moving forward, the organizers of this scene have big plans for Nebulous. Their main long term goal is to continue to grow their overall numbers to the point they are the largest scene in our game. Currently they are close, as the past four weeklies have averaged just over 16 players, but other large scenes pull numbers just above that. They also want to stabilize their numbers, as past months have seen large fluctuations in attendance. Certain players need to be convinced to attend more consistently. Their second goal is to host a major. As they are sponsored by Hitbox, they are able to be granted a sum of money in order make a large tournament as amazing as they want. They hope to finally host a major some time in the next year, though they recognize the need to find just the right date, as the yearly 64 schedule has quickly become packed with majors.
Nebulous Gaming is certainly one of the most exciting scenes 64 has to offer. Its leadership is eager to grow and has the ability to do just that. They have the potential and resources to become a premier scene and are quickly attaining that status. Keep an eye on the Facebook page in the future for any announcements. Their weeklies are streamed on Hitbox on Wednesdays, so make sure to tune in and check out this fun scene. Thanks to an ingenious bit of programming by khz, their videos are instantly uploaded to YouTube after each set ends, so make sure to subscribe there if you cannot watch them live.
Pre-Snosa SFS #22
The Snosa II super week kicked off with a stacked Sixty Four Somedays weekly. This week was packed full of talent looking to hone their skills for the main event on Saturday. Top talent included SuPeRbOoMfAn, Kerokeroppi, Heropie, and Janitor to name a few. As Boom sidled easily into Winners Finals and awaited his next victim exciting things were happening elsewhere in the bracket. In a highly anticipated East versus West match up Kerokeroppi faced off against Hero Pie. The two decided to lock in the character the whole set. Kero with Captain Falcon and Hero Pie with Fox. Hero Pie was able to covert Fox’s combos and throws into easy edgeguard situations against the easily gimped Falcon. All three games Hero went up early and despite Kero keeping the games close in the end Hero Pie prevailed and took the set in a 3-0 sweep. This sent Kero to Losers Bracket where he was able to defeat Janitor and Wookie in two five game sets. Hero Pie was devoured by Boom in Winners Finals and therefore would meet Kero again in Loser Finals for a rematch. This set was like day and night for Kero. It’s as if he flipped a switch and remembered he could grab. Losers Finals Kero was able to overpower Hero Pie’s Fox with dash grabs and pressure. This shut down the combo and throw set ups Hero was using to get easy edgeguards in their previous meeting. Game three saw a Falcon ditto and Kero was able to win it in a last stock situation. This sent Kero on his way to Grand Finals and his first chance at Boom it what could be many in this weekend of Smash. After Boom’s Pikachu defeated Kero’s Falcon in a decisive three stock game one. Boom decided to have some fun and go with random characters for the rest of the set. Game two he got Luigi. Luigi’s uair combos left Kero feeling helpless with his Falcon and Boom took the game. Game three Boom picked Samus. He was able to space exceptionally and had the immense patience required in the Falcon versus Samus match up. In the end they were all smiles and having fun as Kero landed a fast fall dair but fell to his death faster than he could launch Samus. The full bracket can be found on Advancedbrackets.com and replays are currently available on the LAS Twitch channel.
Smash at The Cave
Back on the best coast players were preparing for SNOSA II and Apex 2016. BarkSanchez and Shears along with Mr. Sir and Dizzle used this weeks Cave weekly to prep for Snosa and Apex respectively. Clubbadubba the resident boss was there to put them to the test and he cruised into Winners Finals. Bark was right behind him and the two faced off for a chance at Grand Finals. After five grueling Pikachu dittos Clubba was able to out zip zap Bark and send him into losers bracket where he would face Robert in Losers Finals. Here three more brutal Pikachu dittos ensued as Bark handily dismantled Robert in three games. Bark had earned a chance at revenge against Clubba in Grand Finals. The two would proceed to battle it out in five more Pika dittos. Bark’s Pika would out combo Clubba and reset the bracket. The reset saw five more Pika dittos ensue for a total of 18 Pika dittos in all of the finals. In the end Bark would emerge victorious and take some confidence and momentum into Snosa. The full bracket can be found on Advancedbrackets.com and replays are available on the NOVA SSB Twitch channel.
Manitoba had three invaders find their scene this week. EPad, Jorjito, and Ziggy all discovered the blossoming Manitoba Smash scene. In an interesting twist they ran a nine round, round robin group stage to help find a fair seed for the new players. The three newcomers swept the 2- 4 seeds and helped make for an interesting bracket. After EPad’s Falcon sent his fellow newcomer to losers bracket he too was sent to losers by Roman’s Fox. This gave us a rematch between SPLORCH and EPad. In the group stage EPad was able to easily 2-0 SPLORCH’s Kirby after two unfortunate SD’s by SPLORCH. Favor smiled on SPLORCH in bracket and he was able to eliminate EPad after three close games. After Jorjito was sent to losers he was forced to face his fellow newcomer. Jorjito was able to eliminate his friend 2-1. He then made a run all the way to Losers Finals where he met Talon. Talon won game one of the Falcon ditto but that would be all the winning he would do in Losers finals. Jorjito won games two and three in the same match up. Game four saw Talon counter pick Pikachu to try to gain an edge with the mix up, but he fell and Jorjito punched his ticket to Grand Finals. There Jorjito pulled out all three top tiers to try and defeat Roman’s Fox. One by one they were cut down and Roman prevailed over the invasion of the new comers. The full bracket can be found on Challonge and replays are available on the Manitoba Smash YouTube channel.
Want to be included in The Weekly Smashback results, have a small scene you want to see in the spotlight? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be sure to make you a part of a future edition.
The Smash Writers goal is to cover all things Smash 64. We are three guys all dedicated to growing and spreading the word of Smash 64. Remember to follow us on Twitter at @Smash_Writer and like us on Facebook for weekly previews, recaps, and much more.
|SNOSA II (SoCal)||Full Bracket|
|4th||LAS | Mariguas|
|5th||Koroshiyo | Kerokeroppi|
|7th||RG | Jamie HR|
|7th||BDSM | BarkSanchez|
|Apex Series 2016 (NJ)||Full Bracket|
|1st||Koroshiyo | Stranded||Twitch|
|5th||GIM. | NTA|
|SFS #20 Pre-SNOSA II (SoCal)||Full Bracket|
|Pre-SNOSA II Low Tier (SoCal)||Full Bracket|
|SNOSA II Singles Yolo (SoCal)||Full Bracket|
|SNOSA II Doubles Yolo (SoCal)||Full Bracket|
|1st||JimmyJoe & BarkSanchez|
|2nd||Dubs & Darkhorse|
|3rd||Boom & Connor|
|3rd||ToT & SotoH|
|Smash 64 @ The Cave (VA)||Full Bracket|
|Manitoba Biweekly (MB)||Full Bracket|
|Smash Loft #75 (QC)||Full Bracket|
|CFL Smackdown #82 (FL)||Full Bracket|
|SONA 12 (OH)||Full Bracket|
|Grid Games Weekly 64 (CT)||Full Bracket|
|Master Hand Monthly (IN)||Full Bracket|
|Nebulous Smash 64||Full Bracket|