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.