Keystoned II Preview: Returning to the Birthplace of WTF

By Josh Brody

Keystoned II

The rise of the Philadelphia Smash 64 scene from late 2016 through early 2017 also brought about the rise of a new Smash 64 annual event: Keystoned. The inaugural Keystoned event in 2017 was the first large-scale tournament to run the Waterfall Tournament Format, a system conceived by New York’s Dark Gentleman and optimized by Baltimore’s Shears, which has since become the standard for Smash 64 majors. With an entire year to adjust to the format and a lineup that features 20 of the 64 League’s Top 64 ranked players, Keystoned II expects to live up to the unpredictability and excitement of the first.

Placement Pools

Following the trend set by Keystoned in 2017, the 2018 iteration features massive placement pools, all stacked from top to bottom. There are many exciting matchups, some familiar and some new, scattered throughout these pools.

Josh Brody vs. Loto

Florida’s veteran Captain Falcon main, Loto, has thrust himself back into notoriety in recent years, earning himself a spot on the 64 League Rankings in 2017. Faced with a matchup he’s very familiar with, he could give Brody a run for his money. In theory, all he needs is four grabs.

Czar vs. KD3

Philadelphia’s rising star, KD3, has a chance to build upon his ever-expanding résumé with a big win against a formidable veteran. His recent trajectory suggests he should be more than capable of dispatching the Mario/Luigi main in his path. However, he could be caught off guard in his first high-stakes matchup against the “Bros”.

Stevie G vs. Yobo

Penn State’s Stevie G returns to the scene of his best performance yet, where he made Top 8 at Keystoned 2017 with wins over Star King, Finio, and MasterHandJob. Yobo will have a chance to relive his own success, as he also attempts to repeat a Top 8 performance, which featured victories over Shears, Jimmy Joe and The Protagonist. An unpredictable matchup between two evenly skilled players, which will likely end with a globally ranked player finishing third in their Placement Pool, is almost unthinkable.

The Protagonist vs. Yunque

An uncommon character and player matchup, a well-traveled solo Fox main from Baltimore, versus a more reclusive mostly-solo Jigglypuff main from New England, may be the most unique set amongst the higher seeds. Traditionally considered to be a disastrous matchup for Jigglypuff, recent years have seen the scales tip back into Jigglypuff’s favor. The impact of Yunque’s 2:00 AM showdown with Nintendude at Shine 2017 may be seen in this set, when the time comes.

D1 / Top 8


With the level of closely-matched talent below SuPeRbOoMfAn, the flow of Division 1 and Top 8 is anyone’s guess. Every player brings excitement to the bracket in their own way, however, there are a few unusual suspects that add a uniqueness to Keystoned II’s top phases.

Zero, a surprise entrant making his way from Texas, proved himself to be a threat to some of the strongest players in the world in 2017, taking sets off of Wizzrobe, Mariguas, and Isai. Although a win over Boom may still be out of reach for him, a victory over Sleepy Fox, more commonly known as LD, would speak volumes for his matchup knowledge. Perhaps he even has new strategies to test out against Boom’s Kirby this time around.

Sleepy Fox sightings are rare in recent years, but they always leave an impact. Long considered to be a Falcon slayer, he is expected to face several high-level Falcons, which could put his skills to the test like never before. Although SuPeRbOoMfAn opts for Pikachu against Sleepy Fox, Zero and Lowww’s Falcons are dangerous to any Fox main.

Lord narwhal is a well-established and perhaps consistently underrated talent. Despite a tough loss to Madrush in Placement Pools at Let’s Go!, which he quickly avenged in Division 1, the North Carolina scene’s father and top player maintained a very clean résumé in 2017. His close set against Alvin at SSC 2017 hangs over him, however opportunities against Lowww, Robert, and Fireblaster could prove big for his status as a top player.  

Robert had a quiet 2017, although he had his best tournament yet at SSC 17, featuring wins over Fireblaster and KD3, and a close set against Wizzrobe. The young netplayer should be anxious for opportunities to challenge new foes, such as lord narwhal, Czar, and Zero, but he may also appreciate another opportunity against Fireblaster. Robert will have plenty of chances to continue his upward trend into 2018, with an absurd amount of close competition to contend with.

ZPK Dubs


Near the end of 2017, Hitstun 5 in Texas introduced a “Zero Pikachu Kirby” (ZPK) Ruleset for doubles, the first usage of full character bans in a tournament of its caliber. An experimental ruleset with the goal of encouraging players to branch away from Pikachu and Kirby, to create a more diverse field of characters. For its first run, ZPK offered some interesting teams, although there were clear favorites from the get-go. With seven Luigis and six Marios, more than half of Top 6 was comprised of Mario/Luigi teams.

Hitstun Top 6 Doubles

Following up on the usage of the “Single Pikachu Kirby” (SPK) ruleset at Keystoned (2017), Keystoned II has gone one step further, running their own ZPK doubles event. With a roster of players approaching “major” status in both size and skill level, Keystoned II will offer an even deeper look at the trends and consequences of banning Pikachu and Kirby.

SuPeRbOoMfAn has once again joined forces with the strongest available player, Fireblaster, and is once again a heavy favorite for first place. The two other teams which filled out Hitstun 5’s Top 3, Josh Brody/Darkhorse and Shears/Loto, will face a deeper and more established talent pool if they want to repeat their performances. The inclusion of proven teams such as KD3/HAMMERHEART and Czar/KeroKeroppi, along with dangerous sleeper teams such as Lowww/SKG and MasterHandJob/Sleepy Fox, makes this tournament tough sledding for top 3 hopefuls. Spectators should be excited to see how several strong Fox players perform in a meta without Pikachu or Kirby.

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Follow all your favorite players bracket runs on Smash.gg and see all the hottest matchups on Twitch.tv/bros_calamity.

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Genesis 5 Preview: California Dreamin’

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.

Doubles

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.

Combo Contest

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.

Character Crews

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.

Top 6

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.

Tune into the full schedule of events and streams at Genesis 5 over on the Super Smash Bros 64 League Twitch channel.

Boss Battle 3 Preview: Indy at It Again

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.

Singles pools begin at 10 A.M. on Saturday, September 30th and will be streamed on the SSB64  League and Pushblock Gaming Twitch channels.

Shine 2017: High Level Smash 64 in Boston

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.

The Big One: Super Smash Con 2017 Preview

By Josh “BarkSanchez” Brody

In 2016, just one year after its inception, Super Smash Con established itself as the “Super Bowl” of Smash 64. The 2017 iteration of this prestigious tournament series has been tasked with the lofty expectations of matching the size and talent of last years roster, as well as generating a level of pure electricity that hasn’t been seen since Genesis 3’s top eight bracket. With the explosion of Smash 64 tournaments over the past year, attendance has become more spread out. However, Super Smash Con 2017 will play host to more top talent than any tournament ever seen, featuring nine of the top ten on the SSB64 League Rankings, along with Fukurou who is expected to be ranked in the top ten for 2017. With unprecedented regional diversity at the top, each clash has added meaning, and every player gives viewers a reason to be excited.

The Former Champion Returns

With the legendary Alvin from Peru attending his first North American, as well as four top-level Japanese players, and Isai himself tagging along, the sophomore year for Northern Virginia’s monstrous convention became the biggest and most stacked Smash 64 tournament of all time. Despite this, the Smash 64 community knew something was missing: their champion. Following the buzz created by his victory at Genesis 3, the community was met with shocking news when it was announced that the champion, Wario, would not be able to attend SSC 2016. One year later, and over a year and a half since he came from Japan to make his mark on American turf, Wario is back. Despite being ranked first on the SSB64 League Rankings in 2016, he has found his spot as the greatest Smash 64 player in the world contested during his absence, as Peru’s Alvin, previously ranked fourth, has dominated the North American scene for the entirety of 2017. Wario captivated the Smash 64 community in a unique way, with awe-inspiring technical prowess and flawless punishes executed with surgical precision, rather than risky, flashy combos. Following his performance at Genesis 3, an event that served as the catalyst for the #yearof64, every Pikachu player in North America was imitating Wario’s style, whether it was his  Up-B ledge cancel “Zip-Zaps”, his seemingly-perfected edgeguarding style, or his devastating kill-confirms. Despite the first set of Grand Finals being a three games-to-zero sweep in SuPeRbOoMfAn’s favor, Wario’s dominance the rest of the tournament, along with a clean record at Kansai 2016 and Japan Smash Cup 2016 led many to believe he was untouchable. While a portion of the Smash 64 community believed he still had something to prove, the rest saw Wario as the pinnacle of Smash 64. To them, he was Pikachu at his finest.

The Current Champion Defends His Title

Although he didn’t emerge victorious from his North American debut, Alvin has dominated the scene in the year since then. Looking to prove himself following his disappointing premiere, Alvin returned to the states for SuperBoomed, in New York City. Alvin came in as the fourth seed, and left the entire venue shocked as he double eliminated SuPeRbOoMfAn, and won Grand Finals in two sets over Mariguas. That tournament came to define Alvin as a smasher. As Mariguas defeated him in Winner’s Finals, and had him pushed to the brink in set one of Grand Finals, Alvin completely downloaded his opponent, completely shutting him down. Alvin gave his opponent an inch, and then took a mile himself. Contrary to Wario’s calculating, opportunistic style, Alvin plays with aggression and brute force, exerting pressure until his opponents crumble. The Peruvian Falcon/Pika main’s near-flawless performances at Genesis 4, CEO Dreamland, and LetsGo!, along with Wario’s surprisingly disappointing performance at Kanto 2017, have earned Alvin the one seed at SSC 2017, and perhaps the distinction of the strongest Smash 64 player in the world.

North America’s Hero Strikes Back

In the two years following Apex 2014, PG|SuPeRbOoMfAn was the man to beat, making victories against top players such as Mariguas and Kerokeroppi look routine. Although the Canadian conqueror was not flawless, falling short in a best-of-one character-locked tournament in Japan, and a Hyrule-legal tournament in Peru, Boom was the king of the north. Boom not only beat his opponents, he made sure they never stood a chance. But then, everything changed when Wario arrived. Following his defeat at Genesis 3, everyone was anticipating an exciting rematch at Super Smash Con, which never came. Boom continued to defeat everyone in his path, once again demonstrating his power. Before he could even earn another shot at Wario, Boom found another obstacle in his path: Alvin. Following three tough losses to Alvin, Boom has spent most of 2017 returning to his roots, as he has played exclusively Captain Falcon at the top level excluding one set against Revan’s Kirby. Despite a seemingly limited number of appearances in 2017, he appears completely revitalized, handling his previous toughest opponent in North America, Wizzrobe, on numerous occasions. While he maintains a solid stable of characters, Panda Global’s star 64 player has sharpened the tool that made him notorious, a Falcon capable of going toe to toe with the best players in the world. Despite being the third seed at the tournament, Boom may be the most well-rounded player competing, and perhaps when all is said and done, SuPeRbOoMfAn will hold the distinction of the best in the world.

The SNOSA Slayer Goes Global

Fukurou has long been known as the strongest Kirby player in the world. Being the second strongest active player in Japan is no small feat, especially considering he is contending with the likes of Wario, Wangera, and K Y S K, all of whom have had impeccable performances in North America. Fukurou’s first trip into the United States was fairly recent, being flown out to SNOSA III in June to contend with the likes of Isai, Mariguas, and Dext3r. While he was given some close games from Dext3r, Mariguas proved to be the only one capable of taking games, pushing him to a second set in Grand Finals. With Isai falling short of his expectations of being in the upper echelon of players, Fukurou missed an opportunity to prove he could contend at the very top, although his performances against Mariguas and Dext3r suggest he is more than capable. Super Smash Con will likely give Fukurou a chance to contend against one of the true titans of Smash, as he is expected to face off against Alvin. Before he can worry about the Peruvian, however, he will need to contend with Mariguas yet again, without the comfort of an extra set to keep him afloat.

Enter The Ring

After years of grinding, turmoil, and heartbreak, Mariguas found himself in Toronto, and it once again seemed as if he would fall short of his destiny. Despite coming within a hair’s length of victory on several occasions, it seemed at Get On My Level 2017, Mariguas would suffer yet another soul-crushing defeat. Mexico’s greatest weapon was quickly dispatched by Isai’s fabled Pikachu, and was currently being pushed to the brink by The Z’s Fox, sometimes looking lost in the matchup. Powering through a tense game five, Mariguas eyed a familiar scenario: only two sets stood between him and victory. Mariguas would seemingly take the most difficult route possible to earn his first major victory, sweeping Isai’s Pikachu in set one of Grand Finals, vanquishing one of his demons, and clutching out an intense set two in five games. The first player to ever defeat Isai’s Pikachu in a full set, let alone two, showed off his championship ring with pride, and looked onward to Super Smash Con. With all of the momentum one could ask for, Mariguas will likely be faced with haunting memories of past opportunities that slipped away, as he is on a collision course with Fukurou, and Alvin. He has proven capable of taking sets off these players in the past, and with his recent victory fueling the fire within, the odds may find themselves in his favor this time around.

The Dragon Slayer

One year ago, Frys|Wizzrobe found himself in Grand Finals against SuPeRbOoMfAn, above all of the Japanese talent, above Isai, and above the rest of North America. The young Yoshi expert was the true storyline of the tournament, demonstrating his expertise against players who before then could have been considered the best Yoshis in the world. Since then, Wizzrobe has had his ups and downs, featuring his first set win against SuPeRbOoMfAn, as well as several disappointing upsets. Despite a few roadblocks, he has continued his rise to the top level at a breakneck pace, taking Boom to several game five multiple times in recent months. With this familiar opponent projected to stand in his way earlier than usual in bracket, Wizzy has a chance to turn those game five situations into an upset victory. Wizzy would enjoy nothing more than to force Alvin into a familiar, haunting scenario: facing off against another top-level Yoshi.

Isai

Although revered by the greater smash community, Isai comes into Super Smash Con 2017 without a major tournament victory since his return last January. Diehard fans would blame his constant character switching, with the expectation of his Pikachu earning victory if it ever was given the chance. Traveling to Toronto with every intention of freeing the beast, Isai’s Pikachu would finally be displayed at full power during Get On My Level. After cruising to Grand Finals without dropping a game, the unthinkable was happening: a full-powered Isai was about to get swept, six games to zero, by Mariguas. Despite mounting a monstrous comeback to bring the final set to game five, a three game comeback proved to be too much for the notorious Northern Californian. A few rough performances in 2017 have placed Isai as a fringe top eight seed, although few would be surprised to see him return as a rejuvenated top threat with more Pikachu practice under his belt. The projected matchup against Wario could bring back memories to many of the exhibition matches between the two at Genesis 3, where they seemed near evenly matched.

No Rest for the Wicked

Wangera’s appearance at Genesis 3 inspired a new generation of Puff players, some of whom were losing hope in the character. Taking down Isai’s Fox and Pikachu, two challenging matchups for Jigglypuff, Wangera changed the way many played the game, showing puff is capable of long combos offstage, and unique defensive maneuvers. The Japanese socialite returns to the scene of his somewhat disappointing follow-up to Genesis 3, where he fell in a close five game set against TR3GTheZ, and lost the rematch against Isai. Despite this, most will remember Wangera’s Super Smash Con performance for the tense, last second hit against Dext3r for the come-from-behind timeout victory which earned him a spot in top eight. The joyous Jiggly is expected to square off against Alvin, which would provide a unique matchup, as Peru has yet to contend with a top-level Jigglypuff. However, if Wangera has any hope of earning the opportunity, he’ll likely have to relive his exciting set against Dext3r.

Japan’s Dragons Return

Last year saw the debut of three highly anticipated Japanese Yoshi mains in North America. While Bonobono and Prince were the favorites, they both fell early. Prince earned a ninth place spot, which while disappointing, was still a respectable placing in such a stacked tournament. Kurabba came in as the underdog of the three, however he powered through his bracket, taking down the likes of Alvin and KeroKeroppi before facing off against his comrade from Japan, Wangera. Kurabba’s recent victories against Wario also offer a compelling argument for him as a sleeper pick to sneak into top eight. Prince returns to improve on his performance one year ago, facing an even tougher field than before. If he hopes to prove he just scratched the surface of his abilities the previous year, he’ll likely have to exact his revenge in a rematch against Mariguas, who kept him out of top eight in 2016. It may be a tall task to face such a red-hot player so early, however, no one would travel across the globe looking for a free pass.

Home Improvement

One could make a case for two of the most improved players over the past year to make waves this weekend, as Dext3r and Zero could rise up once again as new threats. Mexico’s Dext3r has proven over the course of 2017 that his title as “2016’s Most-Improved” was no fluke. At Genesis 4 he made a triumphant return to top eight at a Super Major to chants of “No more ninth!”, earning himself a fourth place finish. Victories over Wizzrobe, Isai, and Tacos have solidified his status as a top contender, and Dext3r will be hungrier than ever for a shot at payback against the Japanese Puff that haunts his nightmares. Texas’s Zero, on the other hand, likely has more fond memories of Super Smash Con 2016. His breakout performance featured victories against Firo and Bonobono, along with a close three game set against Prince, before being taken out by Dext3r. He has since established himself as a true top eight threat, with victories over Mariguas, Isai, and Revan. Although he’s had rough outings against Yoshi recently, falling to TR3GTheZ’s Yoshi at Get On My Level 2017, and Wizzrobe’s Yoshi at Low Tier City 5, perhaps a return to the scene where he upset Bonobono can provide him the inspiration needed in a projected rematch against Wizzrobe.

A Loaded Field

Earning the distinction of the most stacked tournament of all time leaves much room for shakeups, as demonstrated by the completely unpredictable top 32 bracket seen in Chantilly just one year ago. While there’s too many noteworthy players to fit in a small preview, for possibly the first time in Smash 64 history, an entire top 16 bracket holds no certainties and few likelihoods. No seed is solid, and no players are safe. From top to bottom anything goes this year.

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.

East Meets West: SNOSA III Preview

By Josh “BarkSanchez” Brody

SNOSA returns for a third year, and while it sports similar numbers to the previous year, the tournament has taken on almost an entirely different look from the previous iterations. The original Smash 64 exclusive series has adopted the fairly new Waterfall Tournament Format and a sparkling new venue at Santa Ana’s Esports Arena, while also earning the distinction of being the first 64-exclusive tournament to host traveling competitors from Japan. While the Western Hemisphere has reigned supreme at each event since Wario’s victory at Genesis 3, Fukurou could change that in the absence of SuPeRbOoMfAn and Alvin.

The Smash 64 community has worked together once again to help Fukurou, Hiyo, and Gyaki attend Snosa III. While Fukurou has staked his claim over the past few years as perhaps the strongest Kirby main in the world, Gyaki and Hiyo emerged into the spotlight following impressive performances at Kanto 2017. Hiyo’s explosive Yoshi combos powered him past Prince, Japan’s strongest Yoshi player, and into a 9th place finish. Gyaki shocked the community by defeating Kurabba, Taimai, Wangera, and taking a set off of k y s k, finishing in 2nd place with Link.  Super Smash Con 2016 saw three Yoshi players travel from Japan, with some unexpected results. Bonobono was upset early, and fell at 17th place, while Kurabba vastly exceeded expectations and earned a 7th place finish. The notorious combo machine, Prince, had a strong 9th place finish as well. However, after seeing the least technical of the three yoshi players have the most success in a North American tournament, many in the Smash 64 community questioned what role the differences in versions may have played. Gyaki, on the other hand, faces a transition in which his character is considered to be vastly weaker. After taking down some of the strongest Japanese players to venture into American territory, Gyaki is believed to have the talent to overcome these changes and compete with the Pikachus, Kirbys, and Falcons of North America. Fukurou leads the Japanese entourage with an imposing Kirby, potentially the best in the world. Fukurou has dominated high level Japanese players like Wangera, k y s k, and Maha, and shown the ability to compete with Wario as well. While Fukurou may be seen by some as a favorite to take the tournament, Gyaki and Hiyo may be sleeper picks to make Top 8, or perhaps even Top 4.

Also part of the compendium to bring out Japan, Mariguas and Dext3r will also travel to compete in Santa Ana. JaimeHR will be joining the Mexican crew as well, along with SOMRERO and Weedlypuff, two fairly new players first seen at Smashenada. Without Boom to defend North America, Mariguas stands as the West’s strongest competitor. Mariguas has dismantled the Canadian Kirbys Revan and Handsometom, but appeared lost against k y s k at Genesis 4. With Fukurou offering an even tougher challenge than k y s k, Mariguas may be faced with an impossible task, unless the past five months of training have been rigorous enough to match up with the daunting Kirby main. None of this will matter if Dext3r has his way and takes down Fukurou first. 2016’s most improved player has kept on rolling through 2017, and has been very vocal about his desire to face and defeat the Japanese Kirby king. While on paper this matchup wouldn’t seem in his favor, the passionate Pika player has proven to be very dangerous when he can gather momentum. With wins over Wizzrobe, Tacos, and TR3GTheZ in 2017, Dext3r would love nothing more than to keep the wins rolling and overwhelm the Japanese invaders. JaimeHR in recent tournaments has shown the threat of a Pikachu, which has proven to be a dangerous addition to his arsenal after taking out Stranded at Genesis 4, and taking games against Mariguas. With some of his infamous “Turbo Mode” magic, Jaime could definitely cause a shakeup in the top of the bracket if he finds his groove. Japan is often seen as the pinnacle of Smash mastery, but Mexico might be too strong for them this time around.

Norcal’s crew features a solid core, such as their formidable veteran Shihman, and recently recruited free agents from Socal, Blondekid and Bard. While these guys, along with most of Norcal’s Power Rankings, will be showing up in force at Snosa III, the most intriguing story out of the region will feature the Mario Twins: Kimimaru and Hydra. Since his breakout console debut at Genesis 3, Kimimaru has been atop the Norcal power rankings and a consistent threat at majors. His identical twin brother Hydra made his console debut a year later at Genesis 4, and is expected to have made significant strides towards matching his brother. The two made waves at Genesis 4 with an unheard of double Mario team, taking out Jimmyjoe and Smash Jesus, breaking into Top 16. Kimimaru is already a threat to break into Top 8, but hasn’t yet snagged a win against a top North American player. Keeping a red-hot pace of improvement with the Red plumber, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see Kimimaru pull off an upset or two and break into the next tier of competitors. Hydra also turned some heads at Genesis 4, and if the twins truly are identical, he may be only a weak up air into up smash away from Top 16 as well.

While Southern California’s resident celebrity, Kyletree, will not be present to defend home turf, the rest of their top players will be ready and willing to take up arms against a crowd of invaders. Los Angeles natives Heropie and Janitor are well-known as lurking threats in the city of angels, however, they have recently recruited another ranked threat from the east coast, Cobr. Despite a slow start from the New Jersey nomad, he’s coming fresh off of his biggest win yet against Kyletree. He might not run into the matchup at the top end of this tournament, but his expertise will certainly be useful in powering him to Top 16. Janitor has yet to score a major performance that can earn him top level recognition, but he’s shown flashes of his potential, most notably taking a set off of JaimeHR. Heropie on the other hand has been a threat as one of the best in the United States for over a year now, with victories over JaimeHR and Isai. Socal’s top crew is stronger than ever, as it sets its sights on Mexico, and perhaps Japan as well.

Rounding out the Top 8 threats are some familiar, yet still fresh names in the United States. Zero, BarkSanchez, and Dtan. Since his breakout performance at Super Smash Con 2016, Zero has been a consistent threat at the top, looking especially powerful against Falcons and Yoshis. He is chomping at the bit for a shot against Hiyo, another Japanese Yoshi to add to his list. BarkSanchez has had his ups and downs in 2017, however, wins against Tacos, Wizzrobe, and Alvin have given him top level consideration. After nearly defeating Dext3r in the Pikachu ditto at Smash N’ Splash 3, it would be no surprise if he finished the job at Snosa III. Dtan has rivaled BarkSanchez for the greatest rookie year in Smash 64 history, with huge wins against Kerokeroppi, BarkSanchez, and Kimimaru. Although he wasn’t projected to make top 8, it would almost be more of a surprise to not see him there on Sunday.