By Josh Brody
This weekend, Toronto once again plays host to Canada’s sole Smash 64 major: GOML 2018, featuring new faces and a new twist on the Waterfall Tournament Format. The inclusion of divisional play brings a more familiar format, while the addition of play-in brackets, or “Wildcard Brackets”, gives fringe players an opportunity for a thrilling, last-ditch effort to advance. The removal of placement pools, paired with the creation of larger divisional pools, might give players more sets against players in their own skill range, allowing for more meaningful, competitive sets, though the larger effects of this radical change will be further assessed after the event.
The competition at the top level went through a significant shakeup for the second year in a row, with three of the top four from last year’s bracket being replaced by other incredibly dangerous names, including SuPeRbOoMfAn, Wizzrobe, and Derek. Isai and Mariguas gave the world a few instant classics last year, but there is no shortage of excitement expected from their replacements, responsible for several memorable sets of their own.
Despite nearly a year lying between GOML 2018 and the most recent matchup between Boom and Wizzrobe, the rivalry feels very much alive. Although it tends to be one-sided in terms of the final outcome, Wizzrobe often manages to push Boom to the brink, something no other player (bar Isai) in North America has proven capable of. At Smash N’ Splash 3, Wizzrobe took Boom to Game 5 in Grand Finals in a set full of nail-biters, while at Smash Con he squandered a strong start with a failed shield-break punish that seemed to sap him of his competitive edge. Even though these two are expected to face each other at least once, a talented roster of players lay behind them, eager for their shot to bask in the northern lights.
Several other Canadian talents re-emerge, after remaining quiet for most of 2017 and 2018, with a chance to remind the world why they’re feared. Revan hasn’t been seen since early 2017, when he scored wins against Isai and Josh Brody, but was handed surprising losses by Shalaka and Janco. The young Kirby prodigy has performed well in GOMLs past; however, he hopes to avoid elimination at the hands of his neighbor TR3GTheZ for the third year in a row. TR3GTheZ also seems to be invigorated by playing in his home country. In previous GOMLs, he has taken down KeroKeroppi, Zero, Revan, and Derek, and nearly defeated Mariguas in the Fox vs. Pikachu matchup. TheZ was last seen in a Fox-locked Boss Battle 3 performance where he slipped early in Placement Pools to Shihman, barely edged out CTG, and let the Fox Crew down vs. Tacos’s Donkey Kong. Despite this, he is yet again a top 3 threat, itching for a return to Grand Finals after coming up short in 2017. He’ll likely face Wizzrobe for the first time in almost two years, and Josh Brody for the first time ever, creating some unusual matchups.
Fray and Derek, the notorious online heroes from previous GOMLs, also return to the scene to finish what they started. Derek began GOML 2016 shakily, dropping an early set to Fck Vwls, before going on a legendary loser’s bracket run. He took down Shears, Nintendude, Josh Brody, and was robbed of a huge upset vs. TheZ with an untimely activation of Whispy Woods. Fray on the other hand, came on strong with a huge victory over Kort and a memorable performance of his own against TheZ before falling short against Darkhorse. The two will be joined by an old-school online prodigy, Killer, who hasn’t been seen at tournament since 2015, when he took down LD and Josh Brody during a surprise visit to Xanadu. If he’s still anywhere near his previous levels, he will emerge into D1 as a huge threat.
GOML 2018 will be streamed on twitch.tv/ssb64, starting with doubles pools at 10 AM EST on May 19th, ending at 10 PM with Singles Top 16 round robin. It will recommence at 11 AM the next day with singles Top 8 and finish off the event with the final run of doubles.