By Josh Brody
For the third consecutive year, Genesis 5 has included Smash 64 in its events, making it one of the premier West Coast tournaments. Eight of the top 15 ranked players on the 64 League Rankings will be in attendance, giving G5’s roster a terrifying level of top talent. Paired with solid depth in the form of several West Coast sleepers, January’s annual super-major promises to be a wild ride from start to finish.
Genesis is a familiar name by now in the Smash 64 community, but this year offers a few new and exciting reasons to tune in. As has become expected, G5 will be the first iteration of the NorCal super-major to run the Waterfall Tournament Format, for a better competitor experience, and many more exciting and closely matched sets. In years past, Genesis showcased many talented Japanese players making their first journey to the United States to compete, however G5 will be bringing in well-established threats from Japan, fully experienced in North American Smash tournaments. G5 will also debut community-voted streamed pools matches, making the spectator experience as enjoyable as possible from start to finish. On top of that, Character Crews make a return following a successful run at Boss Battle 3, featuring a slightly different selection of characters. With all of that being said, some people prefer the classics, with the Combo Contest getting its runback.
Community-Voted Pools Streaming
In the endless effort to improve stream viewership during pools matches, the 64 League announced an open-voting system for Genesis 5. The first approach of its kind, the voting system allowed the Smash 64 community at-large decide which matches from each wave of pools would be displayed on stream.
Singles Placement Pools
Freean vs. hipstur
Hipstur, known for his very flashy Fox style, will by no means have an easy path to Division 1 in his placement pool. Freean has wins over Masterhandjob, Dark Gentleman, SotoH, and many others since he became a full-fledged Luigi main. Hipstur will aim to shut down any attempts of approach from Luigi, as Freean will utilize any chance he gets to unleash the green plumber’s terrifying punish game.
Madrush vs. Shihman
Madrush had an excellent year in 2017 as far as Falcon dittos go, with big wins against lord narwhal, Darkhorse, and Janitor. He comes into the new year following his debut on the 64 League Rankings with a target on his back. Shihman had a huge win of his own at the end of the year, with a stunning upset of TR3GTheZ in placement pools at Boss Battle 3. Like many players on the West Coast, Shihman proved his status as a threat in 2017, but sadly lacked the appearances and consistency to solidify himself. Shihman is capable of holding his own in the ditto, however, he may use this opportunity to unleash his pocket Luigi.
Daniels vs. Dishier Wand
Daniels, a rapidly rising player to close out 2016, unfortunately suffered several setbacks in 2017 due to his health. He appears ready to bounce back in 2018, with high hopes to make Dishier Wand his first victim. Texas’s young Falcon main had a solid debut year in 2017, with wins off of Shihman and Wookiee, and will be more than happy to take on the combo-happy Pikachu main.
Horbie vs. Blondekid
In a marquee matchup of East Coast vs. West Coast, NYC’s Horbie will face off against Northern California’s Blondekid. Horbie is coming off of a career year with wins over HAMMERHEART, Darkhorse, and Yobolight, while Blondekid has quietly become one of NorCal’s most improved and toughest regulars. These two long-time veterans of the scene managed to fly under the radar for years. However, with Horbie’s recent success, and Blondekid’s steady improvement, both players are hopeful they can start the year with a notable win.
Brody Bros. vs. Nintendude and Isai
In a throwback to Apex 2012, the NorCal duo of Isai and Nintendude have reunited and are expected to be an oppressive force in doubles. The “Brody Brothers” Josh Brody and Darkhorse have a deep history in doubles against Nintendude, with none of it favorable for them. It won’t get any easier with Isai in the mix either. It has yet to be seen if team NorCal will opt for a combination of Pikachu/Mario, or stay true to the nickname of “Bang Bros.”, pulling out the classic Mario/Luigi team that brought them glory many years ago. One of the strongest teams in the US will face off against two of the strongest teams players in Smash 64 history, in what could be an explosive matchup.
Kimimaru and Hydra vs. tacos and Alvin
The Mario brothers themselves, Kimimaru and Hydra, were last seen at the scene of perhaps the biggest upset in the history of Smash 64 doubles. Soon after dispatching the Brody Brothers, the twins dismantled Dext3r and Mariguas; to say they made waves would be an understatement. The two accomplished this feat at just their second major teaming together, the implications of which are staggering. On the other side is one of several teams comprised of strong players missing their usual teammate, Alvin and tacos, who form an intriguing wildcard team. While tacos has established himself as a dangerous weapon regardless of who he’s paired with, Alvin has yet to prove himself at the top level without Isai. Paired with a skilled teammate, against an imposing level of teams talent, this could be the perfect opportunity for Alvin to step out of the shadows of his usual teammate and truly shine in his own right.
Team Mejor vs. KeroKeroppi and Cobr
Whether they’re playing their classic combo of Pikachu/Mario, or experimenting with double Pikachu, Team Mejor is always a sight to behold. Although asking for an upset could be way too much, the combination of KeroKeroppi and Cobr can be dangerous in its own right. Most spectators will want to tune in for next-level teams combos against a very talented team. However, it will be fun to see the chemistry between two strong players and friends as they take on 64’s most notorious duo.
Genesis 5 will play host to a Smash 64 Combo Contest for the second year in a row, with reigning champion k y s k returning to defend his title. K y s k dazzled the crowd in 2017, with creative and precise item combos that threatened to completely redesign the combo contest metagame. However, following the Super Smash Con 2017 combo contest, it is fair to wonder what k y s k will try to do to keep pace with Prince in terms of pushing the envelope. He will also have to contend with perennial threats in tacos and Alvin, as well as the wildly talented, yet volatile Janitor, amongst other hopeful contestants.
All capable of comboing with the best-of-the-best, these three players have shown flashes of brilliance. However, they have each just barely fallen short in their previous endeavors. Tacos has displayed daring creativity with each combo, and could potentially take it all if he polishes up his ability to close out his combos. Alvin will be hunting for his first high score from judge SuPeRbOoMfAn. However none can blame the Canadian, because Alvin’s knack for creating long and exciting combos comes with a tendency to drop his combos almost imperceptibly. If he can keep his combos true, he can give k y s k a run for his money this year.
Janitor on the other hand, is still trying to live up to the expectations set for him by the community, and himself. Janitor seemingly possesses technical abilities to rival that of Prince, but is unable to respect his own limits. The Southern Californian fan-favorite may finally opt for a short-but-sweet approach this year, after finding himself unable to maintain composure during his insanely elaborate and demanding attempts last year.
It is impossible to attempt to predict what lies ahead following each combo contest, as no one could have foreseen any performance capable of topping Prince’s victory at Super Smash Con 2016. Spectators, and even competitors were left wondering if there was any going back from the Pandora’s Box of item combos that k y s k unleashed at Genesis 4. Every event has left questions, and each time Japan has fired back with answers. The question at this point should not be whether k y s k can surprise viewers once again, but rather can anyone from the West finally snatch victory away from Japan.
Boss Battle 3 introduced an oft-discussed but never implemented side event: Character Crew Battles. The first iteration of these crews opted to exclude Pikachu and Kirby, but showcased stacked teams for Mario, Fox, Donkey Kong and the rest of the cast. With a slightly more limited participation in certain areas, Link, DK, Yoshi and Ness are absent. Careful adjustments were made similar to Boss Battle 3 to help balance the crews, making for some interesting compositions.
While on paper the players accompanying him don’t appear to be as strong as the other crews, k y s k could lead the Kirby crew on a rampage reminiscent of Revan’s slaughter in Lets Go!’s Draft Crews. The Mario crew appears top-heavy, yet dangerous as well, with the twins Kimimaru and Hydra leading the way.
While the rest of the crews were crafted with solid skill distribution throughout, the Jigglypuff and Pikachu crews appear to be the most well-rounded. The Fox crew is deep enough to make moves, but their potential is contingent on Alvin’s strength and consistency on Dreamland. Falcon features a tough one-two punch of Janitor and Madrush at the top, but will need solid performances from rising talent Dishier Wand and not-Falcon-main HaM to keep up.
If there’s anyone capable in these crews of putting a stop to the looming Kirby threat, it would be Jaime’s Samus. Along with SotoH, the two of them have their work cut out for them, barring a surprising performance from Hunter or Eggmcmuffin. On paper, the Luigi crew has a tough road ahead of them. However, the team has several experienced Luigi players with a good spread of skill and character familiarity which could give them the edge against other crews.
The top-ranked player on the 64 League Rankings for 2017, Fukurou, makes his first appearance since meeting his match in Jyrem, the Peruvian formerly known as Gerson. The Kirby master’s summer could best be defined as a display of “bend, don’t break”. He dropped sets to both Mariguas and Wangera, but returned to end their tournaments in both instances, en route to first place victories at both majors he attended. Fukurou’s sets against SuPeRbOoMfAn and Alvin went down to the wire at SSC, and he will have his hands full if he’s forced to face them again. Sadly he’s expected to face his fellow Japanese Kirby, k y s k, if Wizzrobe fails to claim their rematch.
Alvin returns to action, determined to redeem himself following a double-elimination by Wizzrobe at Shine 2017. Although he’s surely hungry for the opportunity to exact revenge and quell any claims of a “Yoshi problem”, Alvin is aiming first and foremost for a path through SuPeRbOoMfAn and Fukurou into Grand Finals. Alvin’s record against Boom is clean since his debut in the United States, although each set has been a nail biter. Even if he’s able to come out on top yet again, he’ll have to improve on his past performance against Fukurou if he wants any chance at avoiding a rematch with Boom in losers bracket.
SuPeRbOoMfAn enters Genesis 5, still hunting for his first victory in Northern California, whilst facing tougher opposition than the previous two years. With months to train and potentially tip the scales in his favor, Boom has the perfect opportunity for redemption. With memories of intensely close sets against Fukurou and Alvin in 2017 ingrained in his mind, Boom carries the burden of the hopes and dreams of North America. The multi-character battles between him and Alvin are a sight to behold, although some may be more excited for the potential rematch of the instant classic SSC set against Fukurou.
K y s k had a spectacular debut in North America at Genesis 4, however he was surely not satisfied with third place. Making his way back to the United States, expect k y s k to push SuPeRbOoMfAn, Alvin, and perhaps even Fukurou to their limits, with his smothering Kirby style alongside a more polished Pikachu and Captain Falcon. The reigning Combo Contest champ dominated last year’s competition leading into Top 6, yet was unable to contend with Alvin and Boom in the end. He surely has no issue with the idea of a rematch against Wizzrobe, but the kid could throw some tricks his way this time around.
Wizzrobe’s most recent tournament appearance was easily his most impressive, as he went into Shine 2017 with a mission, and came out successful. Wizzrobe double eliminated both Mariguas and Alvin in fairly convincing fashion, despite an unexpected hiccup in the form of Alvin’s Mario. Despite a strong summer performance, if Wizzy has mixed feelings about returning to Northern California, it’s easy to understand why. In one of his finest moments, Wizzrobe finally took down SuPeRbOoMfAn in a 3-0 sweep. The magic stopped there, however, as he suffered a sweep in the other direction by k y s k, before losing a tight set against Dext3r in Top 6. With the latter not present this weekend, Wizzrobe’s most likely obstacle is his rematch with k y s k.
The chances of Isai staying at the six spot are incredibly low. Whether he pulls off an astonishing upset against Boom, or loses quickly to Cobr for a chance to play more Splatoon 2, Isai’s trajectory remains predictable in its unpredictability. Regardless of the destination, the journey is always interesting with Isai. Whether he’s using Luigi against Wizzrobe, Pikachu against Mariguas, or Samus against Josh Brody, there is no shortage of highlight-worthy moments during his sets.