By Josh “BarkSanchez” Brody
Players from all over the Western Hemisphere will be making their way to another Smash 64 tournament, just weeks after the wild ride that was Super Smash Con 2017. The 64 community has been waiting to return to Boston, following the high-end tournament and community building experience presented by Shine in 2016. With a host of exciting matches from top to bottom, along with premium production value from New England’s local streamers, Great Value Smash, the inaugural edition of this growing tournament series truly set the bar for the Smash 64 experience at multi-game majors. With some familiar faces, along with some formidable additions to the projected top eight, this year’s tournament aims to level up over last year’s competition.
Were it not for the sudden dropping of SuPeRbOoMfAn just days before the event, the spot for first place would be hotly contested. However, Alvin has earned a spot as the clear favorite on paper, although viewers will be closely monitoring the bracket for a chance to see him square up against Wizzrobe. Alvin’s struggles against Yoshi were a big storyline following his North American debut in 2016 and still remain a question despite his dominance in the past year. After a commanding performance over wario at Super Smash Con 2017, his loss to SleepyFox, also known as LD, reignited discussions about his abilities in matchups unfamiliar to the Peruvian Smash scene. If Mariguas and Wizzrobe’s matches play out similarly to their most recent face-off at Don’t Park on the Grass, Alvin will be presented with a much more familiar matchup, as he has dominated Mariguas since their memorable sets at SuperBoomed.
High expectations were placed upon Mariguas following his historic victory over Isai at Get On My Level 2017. Unfortunately, Mariguas fell short in his attempt to build upon his success, losing his SSC 2016 rematch against Prince and running into his kryptonite, Alvin, early in losers bracket. Wizzrobe has outplaced Mariguas at several events since their meeting at Don’t Park on the Grass; however, with the two on a collision course once again, Mariguas will aim to cement his dominance in the head to head matchup and earn another shot at Alvin.
During the first eight months of 2017, Wizzrobe has faced off against SuPeRbOoMfAn seven times, despite only having six different tournament appearances. While he would never turn down another chance to challenge the Canadian great, without Boom in his path, spectators will be watching in anticipation for a rematch with Mariguas and perhaps a long-awaited duel against “The Squirrel” himself, Alvin. Wizzrobe has proven himself incredibly powerful against the field, setting him up quite nicely to display his talents at the highest level.
Top eight at SSC 2017 had an unfamiliar face, as BarkSanchez backed his way onto the main stage. While he scored clutch wins against talented players who typically outperform him, the Baltimore Pika main was at times presented with a fortunate bracket, featuring questionable play from Isai and a familiar regional foe, SleepyFox. Facing the daunting Wizzrobe in top eight, Bark was prepared to face a foe he had most recently defeated, but was promptly tossed out. Bark has shown he can compete with players at the top; however, he would be more closely matched in a possible revival of the eternal rivalry between he and Fireblaster.
Eight months into 2017, Fireblaster had not missed out on a top eight yet. The long-standing Yoshi veteran rolled into Super Smash Con and made a statement with a decisive win over Kort, who had defeated tacos in the same venue a year earlier. While he failed to build upon his victory that day, Fireblaster will have a strong field of players at Shine, both above and below him, to help fuel his momentum and keep him on his toes. While he would surely love the opportunity to show some impressive up and coming talent that they still have much to learn, he may have to settle for several familiar veteran faces, barring a significant bracket shakeup.
Last year, the nickname “Local Legend”, affectionately given to KD3 by his local scene, could have been considered somewhat of a joke by veterans of the Smash 64 community. As the Philly Smash 64 scene has exploded in 2017, KD3 has lived up to this moniker, traveling into the heart of powerful regions such as New York and Florida and coming out victorious. Along the way he has taken sets from ranked players such as BarkSanchez, Fireblaster, Firo and Marbles. The Pennsylvania native will have plenty of opportunities to take down ranked players this weekend and perhaps cement himself a spot on the rankings in 2017.
Year two in the spotlight for CTG has treated him well, as he has taken many successful trips around the country. His most triumphant conquests have been in his frequent trips to Indiana and Florida, where he has scored big wins against players ranked above him, such as $$$ Jim $$$, Marbles and Shears. Texas’s notorious Puff main put in work on his home turf, earning himself a solid 5th place spot at Low Tier City 5. After missing out on Super Smash Con, CTG will be well-rested, and the pound will surely rise again in Boston.
Except for LetsGo! in April, Yunque has mostly been seen at local tournaments in the greater New England area in 2017. The veteran Jigglypuff has provided fierce competition for Fireblaster at several Shattered weeklies in Connecticut with the two trading sets. These rivals are likely to face off yet again in Division 1 pools, which could feature a full arsenal of characters between them. If Yunque should fall, he is projected for a Shine 2016 rematch against Marbles. Yunque could see this as an opportunity to put his Captain Falcon secondary to the test, after his Puff fell short in their previous duel.
Marbles has seen his share of struggles outside of Florida in 2017, however he returns to the scene of one of his strongest performances in the past year. At Shine 2016, Marbles took down Yunque and Shears, both of whom he is projected to face off against in bracket this weekend. Before he works his way into the bracket, he will have a shot at revenge against Baltimore, as he is expected to match up against Darkhorse. The Floridian would quickly jump on an opportunity to prove his region is a top contender in the US.
The schedule for Shine 2017 can be found here. Stream duties will be handled by the Great Value Smash team, alongside EMG | Darkhorse. The stream will be presented on twitch.tv/ssb64 and twitch.tv/ssb64_2 for a wonderful dual-cast setup.