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.