By Josh “BarkSanchez” Brody
After a bit of a holiday lull following Don’t Park on the Grass, Florida Smash 64 is preparing for the first notable tournament of 2017, Smash Conference LXIX! This modestly sized, yet stacked tournament, will feature many familiar Florida faces, as well as some intimidating out of state competition.
Florida’s Top 3 of Wizzrobe, sHEERmADNESS and Loto will have their hands full fending off their well-matched outsiders. The numerous invaders looking to claim this battleground state this weekend range from some well-known nomads to some rarely seen powerhouses.
KeroKeroppi leads the pack, lured down by the Florida 64 crew, hoping their young stud Wizzrobe can finally beat the man who has proven a sturdy obstacle at previous events. KeroKeroppi and Wizzrobe have played three times in the past two years, with Kero holding a flawless record. However, their most recent matchup at Get On My Level 2016 saw Kero forced to work his way back from a two game deficit to pull off the 3-2 comeback victory. With both of these players improving at a breakneck pace, either one is capable of coming out on top. Perhaps Wizzrobe finally claims victory on his home turf? A hype timeout or a last minute comeback victory between these two would not be surprising.
Zero will also make his way out of Texas to take his shot at the sunshine state, accompanied by a man Florida considers one of their own, CTG. An appearance from Zero, usually reserved for Texas tournaments, or Supermajor events, establishes a serious threat to Florida’s Yoshi duo, Wizzrobe and sHEERmADNESS. Over the summer, Zero defeated Tacos’s Yoshi at one iteration of Don’t Get Hit in Texas, eliminated Japan’s Bonobono at Super Smash Con 2016 and took a game off of Prince at the same tournament. Zero’s strong performances in 2016 have catapulted him up the rankings; however, it has yet to be seen if he can overcome the struggles against Pikachu that have plagued him in the past. Strong performances against the Florida Yoshis would get him far, but his skills against Pikachu and Kirby must match if he wants to stay afloat.
Zero will have his work cut out for him, as he will be put to the test fairly early if he faces the Baltimore duo of BarkSanchez and Shears. Bark came out victorious against Zero on his home turf to cap off 2015, but times change, and Zero’s marked improvement in 2016 could be too much for the nomadic Pikachu main to handle. BarkSanchez has played very close to Stranded and KeroKeroppi in the matchup, and even kept up with SuPeRbOoMfAn’s legendary Falcon, while slaughtering all others who challenged him. Zero would love the chance to exact revenge against the stalwart Pika main; however, Bark will be extra motivated for an opportunity to reclaim his spot above the fresh Texan star. Shears represents a sleeper threat to Zero, as he has a flawless record against Falcon since establishing himself as a true Yoshi main. Both Shears and Zero have strong records in the Falcon vs. Yoshi matchup, and while Zero has stronger victories, Shears has made fools of his opponents time and time again. Shears has proven himself a very crafty player over the years, but Zero’s style of punishing Yoshi matches up very well against Shears’s usual tactics.
Dtan will enter Smash Conference LXIX, riding an incredible performance at Boss Battle 2 where he double eliminated Shears, defeated BarkSanchez and logged in a well-played set against KeroKeroppi. The Colorado desperado also lured out Isai’s fabled Pikachu at Super Smash Con 2016, after taking a game off of his Fox, and notched an impressive 33rd place finish in his first tournament outside of Colorado. Dtan looks to be a real contender, with the potential to knock out virtually anyone in his path at Smash Conference. He will be joined by Da Bear, the Colorado-proclaimed best player in the region, who also nabbed a notable 33rd at SSC16. Colorado’s hidden ace still remains relatively unproven; however, if Colorado’s claims hold any weight, he will prove to be a Top 5 threat this weekend.
CTG is a more familiar face in Florida, as he has made his way out to several regionals, including both iterations of the Come to Papa tournament series. The tricky Jigglypuff main has previously slipped past numerous Florida opponents in style, and has his sights set on revenge against sHEERmADNESS and Wizzrobe this time around.
Smash Conference also solidifies the return of seasoned veteran and top commentator Greginator. Greginator attended several Southern Florida regionals in 2016; however, he has been largely inactive since Apex 2015, where he defeated the then-fresh upstart, BarkSanchez. Two years out of the Smash 64 meta and missing the #yearof64 may hurt Greginator’s chances, but those who are familiar with the Pika/Falcon dual main know not to count him out. With some determination and some veteran’s experience, he may find a way into Top 8 yet.
Florida was one of the most active scenes in 2016, with numerous regionals, several weeklies and biweekly events. They have defended their turf from Georgia many times in the past year, and will aim to make sure Grahamaglam, SeñorHen10r and caneut’s return to Florida is far from peachy. Georgia may have their sights set on Loto, whose strong 2016 performances shot him up to third on Florida’s Power Rankings, as well as the formidable Marbles; however, they may run into more than they can handle from Antwon420, bamster, and Deathcpo, holding up the 7, 8 and 9 spots on the Florida PR respectively.
You can follow along with the bracket starting at 11am on Saturday January 9th on Smash.gg and Top 8 is planned to start around 1pm and to be streamed on MVG League’s main channel. Smash Fests will also occur on Friday and Saturday nights and can be viewed at twitch.tv/jerrysapartment.