By Josh “BarkSanchez” Brody
One of Smash 64’s largest exclusive tournaments makes its return to Indiana this weekend, as the third edition of the Boss Battle Series kicks off on Friday. Boss Battle 2 had it all, it had food provided, housing included and crew battles. It even gave birth to some true comedic gems, such as SuPeRbOoMfAn’s notorious walk-up song, and Janitor drowning in pools. Indy64’s Bacorn has kept the Smash 64 community well-informed of everything packed into Boss Battle 3; however, the event has also managed to create a few pleasant surprises along the way.
Indy64’s B33F generated excitement near the end of registration with the announcement of Character Crew Battles, an event never before attempted at a Smash 64 major. A fun and unique addition to the lineup at Boss Battle 3, this event pits full crews of a single character against each other, with a crew representing each character except Pikachu and Kirby. The Fox crew aims to run away with it, featuring an incredibly dangerous one-two punch at the top with TR3GTheZ and Lowww, while hosting some strong depth throughout the roster. Despite losing Tacos and Fireblaster to DK and Mario respectively, Team Yoshi is poised to do some damage as well, with sHEERmADNESS and Shears at the top, along with a similar level of depth. The Falcon crew, with the loss of Boom to the Link team, and the addition of KeroKeroppi, could be the strongest crew led by a player who doesn’t main the character. With some creative balancing efforts and interesting choices by top players, several crews such as Mario, Samus, DK and Link could be dangerous sleepers as well. While traditional crew battles are single elimination, this event will be run as a double elimination bracket. While this is not as appetizing as Waterfall, it allows for more matches than a typical crew battle, while being reasonable with time constraints. A successful running of this bracket could open the door for future events to run character crews, and perhaps even improve upon the concept.
The Single Pikachu Kirby Ruleset (SPK) isn’t anything new for doubles anymore. However, this weekend features the first appearance of Team Luv (Tacos and TR3GTheZ) in an SPK doubles tournament. Team Luv will be the first top-level team to enter a SPK tournament, as well as the strongest team affected by the ruleset. While one of the two players will have to switch off of their doubles main, both are notoriously strong with the entire cast in singles, which could make for some very unpredictable matches. TR3GTheZ came out on top at GoML teaming with Isai where the two played a host of characters, rarely challenged by the competition. However, Team Luv will have to face SuPeRbOoMfAn, who they’ve never beaten before, forming a formidable duo with Dext3r. While Boom’s Pikachu is one of the biggest doubles threats in the world, his strength with the cast could prove invaluable, as Dext3r’s strong singles secondaries may not be ready for top-level doubles. Although these two teams are leagues above the rest of the competition, there is no shortage of strong teams vying for Top 8, or potentially even Top 4. The Bang Bros. from Baltimore, BarkSanchez and Shears have a strong résumé and a solid claim to the #3 spot, but they will have their hands full with the strong pool of talent closing in on them. KeroKeroppi and Czar are both known for their singles prowess rather than doubles, but with the two best friends finally teaming together, they could have the star power and synergy to break into a shaky top 4. NaCl and CTG have proven to be a force in standard doubles, and in theory SPK should make them even stronger. The two have built a strong reputation in recent years, and have come close to breaking into the next level on several occasions. KD3 and HAMMERHEART are fresh off of a strong performance at MVP vs. MoMS, despite falling just short in Grand Finals, and have shown in 2017 that they’re a tough team to tackle. Fireblaster and $$$ Jim $$$ have a tough path but could build upon their success from CEO Dreamland, while Lowww and Antarctican hope to continue the trend of online teams’ success in SPK doubles. The ruleset shouldn’t have a huge impact on the teams seeded for Top 8 besides the top two teams, however it could shape their paths through the bracket. With a very diverse group of teams, there will be no shortage of interesting matchups to check out.
All eyes for singles will be on KeroKeroppi, seeing how he fares in his return from a long hiatus. In his prime, he would have found himself in the #2 spot at this tournament. However, due to tough losses to Dext3r, tacos and TR3GTheZ, followed by his year away from Smash, he finds himself in the 5th slot. The spots underneath Boom have no guarantees, whether or not Kero works his way up there, as the gap between the next three players is minute at best. Dext3r has had the most success in the past twelve months, although TR3GTheZ and tacos are both still capable of taking him down. BarkSanchez, Fireblaster and Hero Pie have solidified their spots rounding out Top 8, but face some dangerous threats, both familiar and mysterious, that could steal a spot in the final bracket.
KD3 has made a name for himself tearing down regions such as NYC and Florida, but wants nothing more than to finally make a big splash in the major scene. With a plethora of characters at his disposal, he has an answer for anything that gets thrown at him and a surprise for any obstacle in his path. With wins over KeroKeroppi and Firo under his belt, perhaps he’ll add some new names to the list on Sunday.
Finally able to make his way away from the East Coast, Lowww has a shot to dominate outside of Philadelphia and show he’s arrived as a true top threat on console. Boasting an incredible level of matchup knowledge and a strong understanding of the game as a whole, Lowww has the makings of a top player, as consistency is key. While he seems to favor his trusty Fox as of late, his Falcon provides a dangerous backup plan if necessary. He’ll likely find himself with yet another difficult path, although he has the potential to power through and chalk up a few more big wins.
Finding himself in a bracket of out-of-region talent that finally does not match him up against fellow Floridian Loto, sHEERmADNESS can now free the beast and show the level of talent that has allowed him to take sets off of players such as Fireblaster and BarkSanchez. Having managed to fly under the radar in recent years, sHEER could sneak in a few upsets if he’s on his game. With plenty of time to prepare for this event, his notorious grinding could pay off big with plenty of unsuspecting victims still sleeping on the former “legacy fraud.”
Czar has slowly been working his way back in the major Smash 64 scene, potentially encouraged by the return of Kero. With the two becoming regulars at the Nebulous weeklies in NYC, Czar has been able to demonstrate that he is still a strong player, while many would suggest he has room to level up even further. How unfortunate would it be for the rest of the bracket if he found his old form just in time for this weekend?
Boss Battle 3 has found itself to be a haven for online talent, and while players such as Lowww and sHEERmADNESS lead the pack outside of Top 8, such as hydra and SKG could find their true breakout performances this weekend. Hydra’s performance at Snosa III, featuring big victories against NaCl and SotoH, put him on the map for Boss Battle 3 with high expectations. SKG’s console debut at CEO Dreamland saw him take down Nintendude and NTA, but the dominant online competitor has much loftier goals in his follow-up performance. While SKG’s path will unfortunately likely lay through fellow online players, he’ll have plenty of chances to beat his seed and land himself on the radar. Hydra’s path will more likely feature a slew of console talent, with well-seasoned veterans such as Marbles and CTG ready to stop him short. If Hy continue their improvement on console, the bracket could become very interesting come Sunday.
These players will have their hands full with other familiar threats such as CTG, Loto and HAMMERHEART. In the modern era of Smash 64, no one is safe.