By Josh “BarkSanchez” Brody
With two weeks passed, we have all had plenty of time to let the air out following the mass pandemonium that was Super Smash Con 2016. Nothing is guaranteed anymore. The top four that would previously have seemed all but set on paper now shows holes. SuPeRbOoMfAn is still the favorite to win, but tacos will be pumped up for a chance to close the gap. Tacos has no time to feel deflated following the most disappointing performance of his Smash career. Look for him to take what has slipped through his grasp more than once this year: his first win against Boom. Meanwhile, the number 3 seed BarkSanchez also came out flat in another disappointing supermajor performance, while number 4 seed Fireblaster is coming off an impressive loser’s run. Neither of these two will need extra motivation to steal second place. They will, however, need to be at the top of their games to maintain their place among the elite. One thing is for sure: no one will feel cheated out of a great show this weekend in New England.
Biting at the heels of Bark and Fire will be Shears and Dajjal, both consistently impressive players on the big stage. Baltimore’s Shears, originally from New England, hasn’t missed a step with his Pikachu at big events, despite training his Yoshi almost exclusively outside of majors. Dajjal, a New Hampshire Kirby/Fox/Donkey Kong player, formerly known as Karajan, joins Fireblaster as one of the top players of the New England region aiming to defend their home turf. The Northeasterners will have to tackle the MDVA trio of Mr. Sir, Shears, and BarkSanchez before worrying about fending off Boom and tacos. SPY | Nintendude and Mr. Marbles round out the top 8, although they’ll have their hands full fighting off several seasoned veterans. Yunque from New Hampshire, Madrush21 from Colorado and Mr. Sir from Northern Virginia all make for formidable second seeds in their pools, capable of sneaking their way into top 8.
Shine marks the major debut of a large portion of the New England Smash 64 community. While Fireblaster brought a large core of Connecticut players to SSC, some of the strongest players from the Connecticut weekly scene, Grid Games Weekly, will be making their debut at Shine. KaZ and Gildo, Fireblaster’s two strongest protégés, enter their first major as strong sleepers from their region. Hotline and Natendo are also strong candidates to burst out on the scene in their first big event, following months of training from their Yoshi-sensei. They will join Daddy’s Milk, Sun Vulcan and Greeno, all fresh off a long weekend at SSC, for a chance to make a name for themselves and an opportunity to display the results of Fireblaster’s months of work building a 64 scene.
Massachusetts also features several players active in the community, or their local scenes, who will be making their major debut. Heny935, the(.)(.) and Bread have all honed their skills at the Excelsior Smash 64 events in their home state. Purtle has also seen action at Excelsior games, making the transition from netplay to console after years of activity, while DONG | Bonerstorm will get an opportunity to apply what he learned from Apex 2016 in order to build a legend out of a legendary name. The New Hampshire trio of Dajjal, Yunque and Zuko have made trips to Massachusetts alongside Connecticut to help the growing scene train, and perhaps take their money. Shine will be a good opportunity for the new scene to test its mettle.
They will be a part of a fierce battle to make Top 32 bracket, featuring players from numerous regions across the country. A to the Z, a Ffox/Kirby main formerly known as Andykinz, has attended several events including Super Smash Con, and will be joined by Michigan’s top player, the Ness/Puff main Scoback, to form a solid one-two punch. Tyhiggz and LLCStoism hope to make Ohio proud, while KillaHertz leads his Nebulous crew into the heart of Boston, a land not too kind to New Yorkers. Tonester, B.I. and Shihman will join Nintendude as NorCal representatives, with Shihman coming hot off of a double elimination upset of Nintendude at Truth or Dair 4 last weekend. Finally, Apparition the Ambassador and Sunflower are making the hike all the way from Pennsylvania, although Apparition will be fighting for Baltimore as a proud member of the Super Smash Bros. League’s Baltimore Club. Anything goes come Saturday afternoon, as many of these regions will clash for the first time ever.
Doubles at Shine will feature SuPeRbOoMfAn and tacos approaching with a familiar strategy of teaming the top two players together, a plan which earned them first place at Super Smash Con 2015 and Pound 2016. Nintendude and Fireblaster each have incredible doubles records both together and separately; it would be no surprise for them to give Boom and tacos more trouble than they bargained for. BarkSanchez and Madrush have reuinited the winning team from Boss Battle 1, hoping that team BarkRush can “BarKrush” the competition once again. Team ShearMarbles and DajjalBread, the 4 and 5 seeds respectively, will aim for success in their first endeavors, attempting to overcome the experience the top 3 teams have together. Keep an eye out for teams Michigan (Scoback and A to the Z) and Norcal (Tonester and B.I.) to take advantage of their team chemistry to push into the top 5.
Smash 64 Top 32 Singles will be streamed by Great Value Smash starting at 3 p.m. EST on Saturday. This team is responsible for streaming the Grid Games Weekly so Smash 64 fans are likely to recognize this group. The Top 8 bracket will be streamed by VGBC starting at 11 a.m. EST on Sunday. Doubles bracket will be streamed by Big Blue eSports starting at 6 p.m. EST on Friday.