Getting You on Their Level: A GOML 2017 Preview

After a very successful introduction to the Get On My Level series in 2016, Smash 64 will make its return to Canada’s largest major in 2017. While this year’s iteration may be missing some pieces from the previous year’s captivating story lines, it has more top players, more international talent and more wildcard potential.

Top 8

What’s New

Half of the projected Top 8 for this years Singles tournament are making their debut in Canada.

The Smash community fan-favorite, Isai, will be making his way to Mississauga, and although his results in recent years have fallen, some die-hard fans still believe he has the talent to fill the hole left by the absence of SuPeRbOoMfAn. While his Fox ran into trouble recently at SNOSA, Canada has plenty reason to be terrified of his presence. They surely have not forgotten Beast 7, where Isai’s Link came back from Loser’s bracket, and dissected Revan’s Kirby in Grand Finals with surgical precision. If Revan can fend off a red-hot Zero, and Isai can avoid another early upset, which everyone has become quite familiar with recently, the two may run back the instant classic two-set Grand Finals. If Isai has his way, he’ll find himself up against a contender from the States’ other neighbor.

Mariguas will also make his way into the Greater Toronto Area this weekend, coming off an exhilarating performance at SNOSA III in Santa Ana. Early on it seemed he would be left in the wake of ïXï | Zero’s magnificent run. However, following his loss to Zero, he dominated Gyaki, swept Dext3r and the rematch against Zero, and also reset the bracket on Fukurou in Grand Finals. Mariguas has outplaced Isai at the events they’ve both attended in 2017, yet they have not faced off this year. After narrowly missing out on his first ever major victory at SNOSA III, Mexico’s top talent will be anxious to mow down his competition and vanquish his demons, the biggest of which may lie at the end of his bracket.

This pursuit may be aided by the fact that Mariguas will likely find himself on the opposite side of the bracket from Zero. Although he was unable to finish the job on loser’s side at SNOSA III, Zero surely left his mark, striking fear into the heart of Mexico, showing he can go mano a mano with their finest. Taking his next step towards being a true top level threat, Zero will be looking for any opportunity to build on his unreal resumé. He may even earn himself rematches against Isai and Mariguas, however, he will likely encounter Revan first. In 2017, Zero has tumbled with Fukurou, HandsomeTom, and Mariguas’s Kirby secondary, and while he has struggled against high-level Kirbys, it would be no surprise to see the young Falcon/Pikachu main come back from the lab ready for the challenge.

Also making Mississauga one of his many stops on an international tour is Brazil’s Kort, fresh off of several weeks of practice in the United States’ Midwest. On his most recent trip to North America, Kort scored a big upset against tacos at SSC 2016. In the past year, he has overtaken Banze for #1 in Brazil, and has fully developed his Pikachu, Captain Falcon and Yoshi to complement his notorious Link. Kort also trekked into the heart of the Peruvian Mecca of Smash 64 and most stacked city in the world, Tacna, and earned an impressive 7th place at Tacna All-Stars 2017. Over the past few weeks the outspoken captain of the CAFIL crew has won Masters of Midwest Smash, and placed 2nd at Called Out!, only behind SuPeRbOoMfAn. Kort now has his sights set on the rest of Canada in Boom’s absence.

Returning Threats

SSBMTL | TR3GTheZ made huge waves last year, notoriously bringing back his set against Derek, down 1-2 in games, and 1-4 in stocks against Derek in the Pikachu ditto. His monumental comeback fueled a run of his own, taking down fellow Canadian Revan, earning a rare win over long-time nemesis KeroKeroppi, and showing flashes of next-level potential as Fox against SuPeRbOoMfAn. This year he finds himself faced with a new set of players to overcome if he wants to keep the Cup in Canada. While he has yet to face Isai in bracket, Montreal’s leader has worked his way closer to victory over Mariguas in their recent meetings, coming one stock short of victory in a thrilling, tight set at Genesis 4. If TR3GTheZ can build upon strong performances over the past year, he may stand a chance of defending the homeland.

Last summer, Revan looked poised to ascend to the next level of players, as he made a name for himself taking down top level Yoshis, and earning a Top 8 spot at the largest Smash 64 tournament ever. 2017 has not treated him well, as the cerebral Kirby main from Ottawa struggled in his limited major appearances. The fierce young competitor is fully expected to bounce back to his winning ways, aided by the comfort of his home turf. While he’s gotten closer to defeating his rival, TR3GTheZ, with each set, he’d rather not have to fight a fellow Canadian early in bracket. He’ll likely face Zero early on, but it’s no secret Revan will be eyeing a rematch with Isai, daring him to bring out the Link once more.

Although he started off the year strong, BarkSanchez has tapered off a bit in recent months. In the past he has proven capable of taking sets off of top level players, he has also seen himself surpassed by up and coming players such as Dtan, Zero and Joshi. Bark’s element of volatility could add to an interesting bracket, where he is likely to face unfamiliar opponents, such as Mariguas and Kort in Top 8. Bark has missed Top 8 two of the past three majors, but after being cut short by Derek in bracket last year, he intends to make up the difference with a strong performance deep into bracket this time around.

Although the unexpected presence of Derek cut Fireblaster’s bracket short last year, Connecticut’s father of Smash 64 and resident Yoshi main should have a more clear path to top 8 this year. One of 2016’s most frequent travelers, he has made his appearances less often in 2017 but has had strong major placements this year. Despite being the victim of a few upsets, and has not quite made as much ground on those ahead of him as he’d like, he has strong wins over ranked players sHEERmADNESS and NTA, as well as hot rising talents KD3, HAMMERHEART, and Yobolight. A very driven player, Fire will not pause at the opportunity to break the status quo and shake up the bracket.

The Wildcards

What’s New

While Isai has cemented his status as Smash 64’s ultimate element of unpredictability, ïXï | Fray has taken Derek’s place this year as GOML’s wildcard. With years of netplay experience under his belt, his level of talent is no mystery to followers of the online Smash 64 scene. Fray’s high level Ness play has drawn comparisons to long-time veteran Firo, with some believing the netplay warrior may have even surpassed him. While that has yet to be proven, Fray will have an opportunity to state his case in his first console tournament against a stacked roster of competitors.

Returning Threats

While the Smash 64 community both inside and outside Canada are familiar with Snorlax, most cannot predict what he will do at GOML 2017. In the true spirit of a wildcard, the Kirby/Pikachu main character locked to Donkey Kong at GOML 2016, throwing the entire venue in a loop. A capable player of the entire cast, the Toronto native could potentially sneak into the Top 8 with his most proficient characters, or perhaps snag a few upsets with the bevy of options at his disposal.

The Sleepers

What’s New

Accompanying Kort in his voyage north is fellow CAFIL member, the barefoot Brazilian Lorenzo. Following his breakout performance at Boss Battle 2 where he earned 7th place, the solo-DK main has continued to build his resumé. The nomad from Brazil earned 13th at Tacna All-Stars 2017 and 4th at Called Out!, unfortunately being eliminated by Kort at both events. The first solo-DK main to make Top 8 in a North American Major will be eager to toss around some Canucks this weekend if he can avoid running into his fellow Brazilian yet again.

Even Matchup Gaming’s lone Smash 64 representative, EMG | Darkhorse, will be making his first trip north beyond the wall. Baltimore’s resident Falcon/Puff main, a perennial sleeper, can be a terrifying presence when he finds his zone. Darkhorse is coming fresh off of a dominant performance in bracket at MVP3, with clean sweeps against Yobolight and Robert, and a bracket reset in Grand Finals against BarkSanchez. The bearded Baltimorean will surely be hunting for a soul-crushing Falcon Punch-combo, one that is worthy of his Clip of the Week videos.

Returning Threats

It may seem crazy to call YBOMBB a sleeper, but the veteran puff main needs to pull off an upset if he wants to return to Top 8 again this year. In recent years he has also added a Falcon and Yoshi to his arsenal of characters, which he may need if he hopes to contest Fireblaster or BarkSanchez for a spot in Top 8. Despite his long periods of absence from the major tournament scene, anyone caught sleeping on the Toronto veteran will surely be punished.

A promising young talent from Ottawa, Janco has been steadily improving over the years under the tutelage of Revan. Janco’s best tournament yet unfortunately came at the expense of his mentor, as Janco sent Revan to losers en route to an impressive 9th place finish at Lets Go! Although expecting him to take down Mariguas in winners side might be a bit much, he may see some familiar faces in a potential losers run if he can pick up from where he left off in Baltimore.

The Other Guys

What’s New

Michigan will be making the short trip across the border with a solid core group to visit their neighbors in Toronto. While they are without their captain, Scoback, and their outspoken region representative, Rocket, they aren’t pulling any punches. They will be led by Andykins and EG, both of whom have recently surpassed their captain following years of dominance. Andykins made Division 1 at Lets Go! and scored a big upset against Darkhorse, while EG has steadily made a name for himself as a top threat in the Midwest. Both players are expected to face off against the wildcard, Fray, and with years of Ness experience under their belts, they will take full advantage if he happens to falter. Jsmirk has been gaining ground in the Midwest as well recently, and with Velocity Jones, Cracker Jones and Hack among the crew, Michigan hopes to make a mark in their neighbor’s yard.

Returning Threats

Most of Eastern Canada showed up in force the previous year, and they plan to do so again in 2017.

Fck Vwls was the catalyst for Derek’s losers run in 2016, pulling off the big upset that knocked him out of winners bracket early. Like most of Eastern Canada, he’s maintained a fairly quiet 2017, although he’s made trips to Florida and Michigan to show he’s still dangerous. JOKER, formerly known as B link, has gone on somewhat frequent hiatuses over the past few years. Despite this, he’s still one of the top threats in a stacked Toronto crew, an impressive feat. Preston has been faced with some tough brackets recently, but snagged a strong win against one of the Midwest’s best, Dogs_Johnson, at Called Out!, giving him reason to feel good coming back to his home turf. Sextc and Captain Fabulous, formidable foes from Ottawa and Montreal respectively, could sneak in an upset or two as well if they don’t go down styling.

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64 Free For All: Get On My Level 2017

By: James “JAMJAR” Jacobs

The 64 Free For All is a question session with some of the biggest names in Smash 64. 6 questions, 4 top personalities. Today we have four major names from the host country of this event. The rising star who took names at Let’s Go!: Janco. The creative mind behind some of the best video content in 64: Preston. Possibly the most dynamic player in Canada: TR3GTheZ. The TO of the event with an unorthodox character: NessKhalifa.

1. This will be the first console major for online legend Fray. How do you expect he will perform at this event?

Justin “Janco” Cahoon: I personally hope Fray does well, but I’m not overly certain if he will play as well as he does online. I believe he uses an XBox controller, which from personal experience isn’t the worst thing to adapt from. If he has the adapter and has been getting used to the differences between console and online, I think he could do quite well, and definitely make Top 8.

Preston “Preston” Kwan: Although a performance like Derek’s at last year’s GOML would be  crazy, Fray might fall short of that just because he plays Ness. With that being said, I think he’ll do well as long as he’s used to the movement on console, which he said he was practicing. I would be surprised if he didn’t get Top 16 and he has the potential to make Top 8.

Marco “TR3GTheZ” Jardak: Fray is very good. I don’t know how he will do though, seeing as he plays with an XBox controller online and this will be his first console event.

Vincent “NessKhalifa” Polsinelli: I think he will do quite well. I think it will be similar to what Derek did last year. He’ll be this online warrior showing up for the first time and will stumble at first. Maybe not do too well out the gates but he’ll shake off the struggeles, get some of that pressure alleviated and have a really strong finish. Looking at his bracket, I predict he will get 9th or 5th depending on how he does against Kort!

2. GOML has positioned itself in a rather unique way, as it is a rare major that will be hosting all 4 mainline Smash games. What do you think of this move? Is it smart or unwise?

Janco: I like the fact that all the games are there, as it allows people that would normally only play Melee or Smash 4 to try the other games, and vice versa. I think it benefits all the games to be at the same tournament, and could help the growth of each game.

Preston: I’m indifferent on whether it’s a smart or unwise decision. GOML is allowing all 4 Smash games to get the spotlight and I commend them for doing so.

TR3GTheZ: I don’t want to talk poop about Brawl but I think it’s objectively bad. Bad game.

NessKhalifa: It has its pros and cons. I think sometimes when SSB64 is a part of majors like this it can get forgotten and not get the attention it truly deserves. It all depends on the major and how much focus they want to give us as an event. If the SSB64 tournament is done right at a multi-game major of this size it does great things for exposure. Melee, Brawl and Wii U players may enter a 64 event or catch top 8 on stream or in person and may fall in love with it like we all have.

3. Despite having a ton of top talent, Canada’s only major for 64 has been GOML for the past 2 years. Do you think this is enough of a showcase for the country’s up and coming talent? Or should something different be done to foster the scene?

Janco: I don’t mind having only one big tournament, since Canada’s population is severely lower than the States, but is about the same size. It also makes sure that everyone attending brings their A-game, as it’s the only big tournament a lot of Canadian players attend. I would have liked to see more players from the states attend, however.

Preston: Having GOML as Canada’s only major for 64 is enough to showcase our talent. However, I think another major would help us grow as a country even more. I can see either Montreal or Vancouver having the best chance at having the most success hosting a major for 64. Whether it be a 64 exclusive major or a multi-game major (Battle of BC maybe?) is another question.

TR3GTheZ: Idk man. Now that Boom is in Toronto, there isn’t any relevant competition outside Ontario/Quebec NO OFFENSE!

NessKhalifa: It’s rough up here for a Smasher. The scene is almost non-existent out west and even worse on the east coast. Only notable scenes are from Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. All these scenes have strong weeklies and Toronto has a strong monthly getting occasional visits from Montreal and especially Ottawa. But when it comes to majors the numbers just aren’t there. A lot of US players either don’t have passports or can’t be bothered to come up here. I don’t blame them though as Canada doesn’t come down to the US as often as I think we should. GOML is the only multi-major in Canada for 64 to leech onto, but keep your eyes open for a potential 64 exclusive coming early next year for Canada.

4. Last year’s GOML saw Derek have an epic run through losers, taking out quite a few notable players on his way to 5th after a close loss to TR3GTheZ. Who is positioned to break out this year in another impressive way?

Janco: Derek is an absolute beast, so I don’t think we will get such an impressive run of that caliber for a bit from a relatively unheard of player. In terms of people I think could break into that next level, I’ve always thought Cwic-beam, a Yoshi from Ottawa, has had the potential to start doing really well and make a few upsets, so that would have to be my best bet.

Preston: In terms of being a relatively unknown player and having a breakout performance, I can see Fray or Janco having the potential to replicate Derek’s run from last year. I also see Lorenzo and Darkhorse making impressive runs.

TR3GTheZ: Fray.

NessKhalifa: Well I already mentioned Fray above, but Janco is going to turn some heads at GOML. He got 13th last year and an impressive 9th at Let’s Go! Dude is only 19 and is getting good at a fast rate. This is the tournament where everyone knows his name.

5. What will be the Top 8?

Janco: My top 8 would probably be 1. Isai 2. Mariguas 3. Z 4. Revan, 5. Zero 5. Bark 7. Fireblaster 7. Janco

Preston: 1. Isai 2. Mariguas 3. Zero 4. TR3GTheZ 5. Revan 5. BarkSanchez 7. Kort 7. Fireblaster

TR3GTheZ: Winner will be Isai or myself.

NessKhalifa: 1. Isai 2.Mariguas 3. Zero 4. TR3GTheZ 5. Revan 5. Fray 7. Fireblaster 7. BarkSanchez

6. Why is Canada better than the USA?

Janco: Canada is only better if you look at our top 5-8. Anything past that and it sorta just falls apart. The USA has far more diversity in terms of good players. If you look at the top 50 in both countries, Canada would get washed. We need to step up our game when it comes to our depth.

Preston: We have mounties and they’re basically centaurs.

TR3GTheZ: USA should stick to Melee.

NessKhalifa: We got ketchup chips, Coffee Crisp, poutine and better quality strip clubs and weed.