Taking Stock: Dog Days of NYC Smash

By Brendan “Bean” Murray

Shine 2017

Shine 2017, New England’s premier Smash event, took place August 25th – 27th. Inside
Boston’s gigantic Seaport World Trade Center, amidst fellow Smash games which drew hundreds more competitors, it would have been easy to miss Smash 64, sequestered away in a small corner of the venue. However, for those of us who were paying attention, that small corner brought forth some amazing Smash including incredible matches, upsets, runs and character switches. At the center of it all was the New York City crew, having made the journey north from the Big Apple to show why it is never a good idea to sleep on Smashers from the city that never sleeps.

Capos, New York’s most enthusiastic and well-traveled smasher (he hails from New Jersey), started strong in his Placement Pool. Only dropping sets to Mariguas and Bread, capos went 4-2 and moved on to Division 3. Once in D3, capos beat JAG but lost to Andykins 0-2 and Baby Legs in a close 1-2 set to finish at 49th. ScrAtch, who recently left NYC for Boston, though I’m counting him as New York anyway, also placed 3rd in his PP, dropping sets to Dajjal and Jay_mute$. Once in D3, scrAtch tore through his pool, beating RusselSprouts 2-0, Nanagens 2-0 and Esid 2-1, on his way to 1st place and a spot in Division 2. Unfortunately, once there, scrAtch went 0-3 against WaxyJoe, Greeno and Natendo to close out his run at a solid 41st.

Continuing the trend, Bean placed 3rd in his PP as well, behind Fireblaster (0-2) and
Rocket (1-2). In D3, he beat Razz 2-1 and OhB-NoA 2-0, and got absolutely embarrassed by JXC on stream, including a 4-stock in game 2. Despite that pounding, he placed second in his pool and made it to D2. Once there, he lost to Stew and GT but beat icactusdog to place 3rd, ending his run at 33rd. On a much more exciting note (for me), he was the highest placing Samus and second-highest placing low-tier main, behind Raychu and his Ness. I have done no research to confirm either of these claims and you can feel free to call me out on Twitter at @ssbshears, which is definitely my Twitter account.

Our highest placing player was Horbie, who reached an impressive 13th. He went 5-0 in
his PP and 2-1 in D1, placing second behind Bark Sanchez and beating out KaZ and Purtle. Once in top 16, Horbie’s first match was against Alvin, who is pretty good at Smash. Dropping into losers bracket after an 0-3, Horbie was knocked out of the tournament by Marbles in another 0-3 rout. With a second solid national performance under his belt and a nominated clip in the EMG Play of the Week video for Shine, Horbie is proving that his recent placings are not just a flash in the pan and that he is a top contender no matter who else is in attendance.

The fifth player from NYC who attended Shine was Kelvinheit, and I saved the best run for last. Criminally underseeded, Kelvinheit placed 4th in his PP, behind Darkhorse, KaZ and JXC. Once in D4, Kelvinheit went on a tear that lasted all the way to D1. He went 5-0 in D4, not dropping a game, 3-0 in D3, again without losing a single game and was placed in a D2 pool with Rocket, KaZ, and GooseWithSocks. Rocket, KaZ and Kelvinheit all went 2-1 with a 5-3 game count and had to play tiebreaker sets against each other. Kelvinheit placed second, behind KaZ, and barely inched into D1. Once in D1, he lost 0-2 to Alvin and beat Spongy 2-0. In a nail-biting set against Raychu, Kelvinheit was up in stocks during game 3 before Raychu mounted a comeback to take the set 2-1, ending Kelvinheit’s Cinderella run at 17th. With a 14-6 record across 20 sets, Kelvinheit proved that he is a player to watch as 2017 comes to a close, and that whomever is placed in his pool will need to bring their A-game or risk being left behind in another incredible run.

Big Apple Smash 8

The Wednesday after Shine 2017, New York had its 8th iteration in our monthly series:
Big Apple Smash. While not nearly as stacked as Shine, BAS8 did include strong out-of-region talent and old school players showing up to make it an interesting and exciting Top 8. KD3 and Mr. Sir came to New York from Pennsylvania and NOVA, respectively. Mr. Sir beat out Horbie to place 5th, while KD3 took his second NYC monthly, beating out Firo and double eliminating KeroKeroppi. Speaking of Kero…Kero’s back! He beat Razz, Firo and Czar to place second. Speaking of Czar…Czar’s been coming around more! The Mario Bros. main, who was inactive for over a year before attending Let’s Go!, has been coming around to Nebulous more often and is showing no signs of rust, beating Jimmy Joe and Mr. Sir to place 4th behind Firo.

As NYC’s monthlies draw larger and larger crowds, more and more top talent from up and down the East Coast are making efforts to come by, which in turn creates even larger crowds. It is an exciting time to be a Smash 64 player in New York City, and I am enthusiastic to see how our scene grows as the year progresses.

Brendan Murray is a smasher from NYC who joined the scene in mid-2016. He mains Samus, which he regrets every day. You can find him on Twitter at 

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Taking Stock: NYC at Super Smash Con 2017

By Brendan “Bean” Murray

It has been a short time since Super Smash Con 2017 occurred, and with each passing Shears tweet, I realize that I made a huge mistake by skipping this event. Thankfully, there was a large NYC crew in attendance — and they showed that New York is quickly becoming the region to watch, with many solid performances and a few upsets that helped our local legends make a national impression.

Reptar, NYC’s top Falcon main, made a huge improvement over last year’s SSC, where he went 0-2. This year, he placed second in both his placement pool, losing only to Finio, and his Division 2 pool, dropping a set to KaZ. In Division 1, he upset The Protagonist in a tight 2-1 set, finishing his pool with a 1-3 record, behind Wangera, HAMMERHEART and Cafil | Jason. With a solid 7-5 record, Reptar placed 49th and is looking to climb even higher as the year goes on.

Dark Gentleman, resident Jiggs main, top NYC TO and the co-creator of WTF, also placed well. After going 3-1 in PP, he tore through his D2 bracket, not dropping a single game and beat Darkhorse in D1, finishing at 33rd. After losing to MHJ and Daniel, he is looking to level up his Falcon for the Pika matchup and start taking sets over players of that caliber to prove he belongs at that level. DG was not the only NYC player to place 33rd. Time Machine, an NYC expat, went 4-0 in PP and 2-2 in D1. Horbie, our yellow Kirby main who had his breakout performance at Keystoned, lost only to The Protagonist in PP, then swept his D2 bracket and went 2-2 in D1, beating JAMJAR and R3$T | Dizzle. Korobeniki lost his sole set to BarkSanchez in PP before mimicking Horbie and sweeping his D2 bracket to make D1, where he had to face off against Time Machine, unfortunately coming out on the losing side in the only NYC head-to-head match of the tournament.

Jimmy Joe, the face of NYC Smash 64, had an incredibly difficult bracket. Half of JJ’s initial pool were DQed which allowed him to go 4-0 relatively easily. He then got placed in the same D1 bracket as BarkSanchez, Nintendude, JaimeHR and MadRush, and unfortunately placed in the bottom of his pool, finishing at 33rd. Jonnjonn, our other alliterative-J smasher and rising Ness/Pika main, was placed in D3 after his initial pool. In D3, he went 4-1 (including an incredibly close 2-1 match versus atari) to place second and move on to D2, where he went 1-3.

Firo was the highest placing New Yorker at Super Smash Con 2017. He swept through his PP to reach D1, where he placed second behind Zero, whom he lost to 1-2 — his only dropped games in his pool. He also defeated fellow low-tier hero Mr. Sir and earned a spot in winners’ side of top 32. He then faced off against the Japanese combo king Prince, where he lost a close 2-1 set and was knocked into losers’ bracket. After defeating Daniel 2-0, Firo was finally knocked out of the tournament by BarkSanchez in a 2-1 set that earned him a 17th place finish, further establishing him as the premier low-tier main in the US. He also placed 9th in teams with longtime doubles partner Nintendude.

As always, the real hero of this tournament was the WTF bracket, which allowed talented players like Reptar, Dark Gentleman and Horbie to fight their way through divisions of similarly-skilled players and test their might against some of the best players in America and the world. Instead of drowning in pools and being knocked out after an hour, they — and many other up-and-coming players from various regions — were able to play a huge number of sets (7-15, depending on how well they did) and level up in a way that previous tournament structures would not allow. Next, we turn our eyes to Shine, Boston’s multi-game major that runs from August 25th-27th, to see if New York City can continue to climb and compete with top caliber Smashers.

Brendan Murray is a smasher from NYC who joined the scene in mid-2016. He mains Samus, which he regrets every day. You can find him on Twitter at 

Smash 64 Combo Contest at Super Smash Con

By Jamie “JAMJAR” Jacobs

Day 1 of Super Smash Con 2016 featured a brand new event for Super Smash Bros. 64, perhaps even for the entirety of the series. The organizers of SSC have recognized the unique potential that 64 has to create exhilarating combos. They decided to hold a combo contest for six of the top  comboers in the game. Eduardo “Tacos” Tovar, Arturo “Mariguas” Hernandez, Prince, Thomas “Kort” Keselik, Alvin “Alvin” Leon Haro and Yoshua “Dext3r” Peral Castillo competed over the course of three rounds to give the crowd the show of a lifetime. The crowd could barely handle its excitement as combo after combo unfolded, practically exploding after Prince pulled off the highlight of the night in Round 1. After an hour of fun, Prince, the combo master of lore, was named champion of the contest. Below you will find some of the highlights from this night, though the entire event deserves to be watched on VG Bootcamp’s YouTube channel for all of the combos and the great commentary work by Ryan “Clubbadubba” Clubb and Justin “JV” Varghese, the amazing hosting skills of Andre “Banze” Luiz Almeida and the funny faces our judges made while having to decide scores for these elites players.

Alvin’s Flashy First Round Falcon Combo
https://gfycat.com/ifr/BountifulUnhappyAxisdeer

Kort’s Styling First Round Bomb Combo
https://gfycat.com/ifr/InconsequentialRawFrillneckedlizard

Mariguas’ Best Attempt at His Epic Mouth Taunt Cancel Combo
https://gfycat.com/ifr/AnyPoshHammerheadbird

Prince’s Face Melting Falcon Combo On Mushroom Kingdom
https://gfycat.com/ifr/OffensiveSameHerald

Dexter’s Shiny Fox Combo With an Explosive Finish
https://gfycat.com/ifr/GentleRemorsefulErin

Prince’s Final Round Combo
https://gfycat.com/ifr/SoftMassiveBorer

 

Get On My Level 2016 Recap: O Canada!

By Josh “BarkSanchez” Brody

Before the first round of pools had even started, Get On My Level 2016 had already set itself apart from any other Canadian event. GOML 2016 had accumulated 83 entrants, including a modest, yet formidable group of US players, making it the largest Canadian major for Smash 64 ever. Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto all represented their regions well, shoring up strong crews of competitors eager to compete for Canada’s colorful Monopoly money. GOML would also mark the console debut of highly-touted online player, derek, as well as the return of UK player, Jam, who had not attended a North American tournament since Apex 2015. Two of the Top 3 US players, KeroKeroppi and Wizzrobe, made the trip, accompanied by Bark The Shark, Fireblaster and Shears. ENKKO’s Mr. Sir and ODS kingpin Daniels also came, looking to take a step to the next level. It was very clear from the start that Canada’s fireworks would begin well before the usual Victoria Day celebrations called for. The excitement began early with Preston scoring an impressive upset against sextc, alongside b0n’s near-upset of Bark The Shark. The later rounds of pools saw Ottawa’s young prodigy Janco score a big upset against Snorlax’s DK, paired with Fck Vwls’s stunning victory over derek. The Top 32 bracket began without notable upsets; however, there was no shortage of exciting matchups. YBOMBB took down Jam, Fireblaster defeated HandsomeTom, and Bark The Shark fought off B Link in three highly contested, close matchups. In the losers bracket, three matches featuring players upset on winners side shook up the bracket even further. sextc shocked the venue by sending UK sensation Jam packing, leaving the 9th seeded Pikachu with a 17th place finish in his long-awaited return. B Link sent Snorlax home early as well, putting an end to his “Majestic Dong”, while derek’s skilled play ran parallel to rumors of his abilities, as he dismantled Shears fairly convincingly. In losers Top 16, down 1-3 on stocks and 0-1 on games, sextc mounted a furious comeback against Janco, leaving the impressive Ottawan rookie stunned. The seasoned veteran Nintendude aimed to end derek’s hot streak with his Fox, nearly taking game one despite the unforgiving matchup, before switching to his old main Mario to noticeably less success.

Winners Quarterfinals held few surprises, although Revan came very close to a big upset over his Montreal rival, SSBMTL The Z. Back on losers side, sextc nearly took down notorious Falcon killer, Bark The Shark, only to fall victim to two late-game comebacks. HandsomeTom lost a close fight to a familiar foe, Revan, while YBOMBB sent fellow Torontonian, B Link, packing. The legend of derek continued, however, as he clutched out a close set against the fearsome Fireblaster, despite losing the first game, setting the stage for Top 8. YBOMBB’s Jigglypuff showed no resistance against Revan’s Kirby, although in Game 3, his Falcon brought the game to last stock, although he was unable to close it out.

Riding high on the momentum of his magical run through losers, derek was set to face off against Bark The Shark. These two naturally aggressive players displayed a surprisingly patient spacing game, with Bark narrowly clutching out game 1. In game 2, derek took control, gaining a two stock lead early that he would not relinquish. However, game 3 proved to be yet another close one; the two battled evenly until a pivotal moment on the final stock, as Bark threaded a flawless sweetspot under derek’s seemingly impenetrable uptilts. Bark then immediately dropped from the ledge, fastfalling to his death in heartbreaking fashion. The following momentum shift was palpable, as derek took game 4 in an incredibly convincing 4 stock, knocking Bark out early, and earning himself internet fame as he moved on to face SSBMTL The Z.

SuPeRbOoMfAn and SSBMTL The Z would face off in Winners Semifinals, and although Boom’s Kirby took the set 3-0, SSBMTL The Z’s Pikachu threatened victory in each match, proving to be one of the toughest challenge’s yet for the small yellow puffball. In a rematch of Top 8 from Genesis 3, KeroKeroppi and Wizzrobe faced off yet again. Kero began the set with a seemingly safe pick, going Kirby for the matchup advantage. However, Wizzrobe took down Kero’s Kirby on last stock in game 1, prompting Kero to revert to his Genesis 3 weapon of choice: Pikachu. Wizzrobe was unaffected by the character change, taking yet another game in last stock fashion. Kero would keep his composure under pressure, coming out of game 3 with his own last stock victory. Facing a 2 stock deficit in game 3, Kero mounted a furious comeback, clutching victory on the final stock. Carrying this momentum through the rest of the set, Kero showed flashes of his previous dominance over Wizzrobe, taking games 4 and 5 with a three and two stock respectively.

In losers, SSBMTL The Z would face a tough task in putting an end to the #yearofderek, despite being the favorite. SSBMTL The Z started off with an unusual option in Yoshi, perhaps as a nod to derek’s previous opponent, Fireblaster. Armed with the character knowledge of a Yoshi secondary, derek dismantled Z’s dirty dinosaur. This prompted Z to switch to one of his old mains: Captain Falcon. Unfazed by SSBMTL The Z’s overwhelming speed, derek also made quick work of the space racer. In game 3, SSBMTL The Z opted for derek’s specialty: the Pikachu ditto. Z managed to fight back from a late stock deficit to keep his tournament chances alive. However, game 4 was a game no one will forget, as derek fought to earn a 4-1 stock lead against one of the most talented players in North America. SSBMTL The Z would prove worthy of this accolade, picking away at each of derek’s stocks with a surgeon’s precision, not once showing any sign of concern. With SSBMTL The Z at 125% damage, on last stock for both players, derek angled his recovery slightly short of the ledge, ending in a heartbreaking SD to allow a game 5. Following suit, SSBMTL The Z mounted a 3-1 stock lead in game 5 and looked poised to move on to Losers Semifinals. However, derek was looking to continue his Cinderella story with a magical comeback of his own. Having fought his way down to a last stock game at high percentage, derek found himself milliseconds too late on the grounded footsies, as both players dashdanced into a grab. The underdog ended up in SSBMTL The Z’s arms and out of the tournament.

Wizzrobe and Revan would follow in a highly anticipated rematch from one of Pound’s unstreamed Losers Quarterfinals matches. The set kicked off with back to back 3 stocks, with Wizzrobe claiming the first and Revan responsible for the second. In contrast, Revan narrowly claimed game 3, with both players on last stock at high percentage. Revan came ready to prove a point, capping off the set with another strong 3 stock, earning his second victory over Wizzrobe in just as many months. This set the stage for the final match of the night, a rematch between Canadian rivals Revan and SSBMTL The Z. Revan gave a good fight in game 1, although he was unable to close it out as SSBMTL The Z came out on top in a last stock victory. Game 2 would be more favorable for Z, as he managed to box out Revan’s surprisingly quick Kirby in a solid 2 stock. In game 3, Revan looked poised to push the set further, building almost a full 2-1 stock lead. SSBMTL The Z was no stranger to comeback victories this night, proving to be Revan’s kryptonite yet again with a 3-0 sweep. As the night dragged on later than expected, the players would be asked to play out Top 3 the next day at noon.

Fresh off a full night’s rest, SuPeRbOoMfAn, KeroKeroppi, and SSBMTL The Z were all ready to finish what they started. Boom and Kero faced off in Winners Finals, with Boom’s Kirby taking the first two games over Kero’s Pikachu convincingly.  However, Kero would fight back in game 3, two stocking the small yellow ball that had destroyaed so many before him. This prompted Boom to bring out his own Pikachu. Tied up on last stock, Kero had Boom on the run with a significant percentage advantage., Boom then took control, racking up damage and sending Kero far off stage. Kero responded with an incredible sweetspot recovery, and a strong combo of his own, sending Boom off in the opposite direction. Boom narrowly avoided Kero’s edgeguard, so close it may have brushed the hairs on Pikachu’s back. Boom quickly returned to the stage and landed a grab to send Kero to losers. Kero would face off against a foe he is no stranger to success against, SSBMTL The Z. Following his loss to Kero at Genesis 3, dropping to an 0-5 record against his US nemesis, SSBMTL The Z claimed he was done losing to Kero. They both opted for Pikachu dittos the entire set, and SSBMTL The Z started things off with two straight 2 stocks, looking to make good on his word. In game 3, tied up at 2 stocks apiece, SSBMTL The Z absolutely smothered Kero, tossing him about the stage at will, taking a nearly full stock lead. Not ready to lay down, Kero fired right back with an equally dominant stock, tying it up at one stock a piece, with the USA’s last hope on the verge of elimination. Despite an almost completely even exchange throughout the entire stock, SSBMTL The Z got the last hits needed to earn his first victory over Kero, leading the way for an all-Canadian Grand Finals at the largest Canadian Smash 64 Major ever.

The two began with Pika dittos, a continuation of Winners Semifinals, with Boom taking the first two games in fairly convincing fashion, a 4 and 2 stock respectively. The highlight of Grand Finals was SSBMTL The Z’s switch to Fox, a former main of his, which had an impressive comeback against Revan in Grand Finals of Montreal’s weekly earlier that week. SSBMTL The Z’s incredibly fast and frequently flashy style went toe-to-toe with arguably the best Pikachu in North America. Armed with incredible reads, and dangerous combos, SSBMTL The Z took Boom’s Pikachu to last stock, before seeing the tournament slip from his grasp on a slick edgeguard from the Champ.

GOML also held a side tournament for doubles, featuring 15 teams, with most of the strongest teams featuring Canadian talent. SuPeRbOoMfAn, one half of the best doubles team in the world, teamed up with Nintendude, a veteran who has maintained his status as one of the best doubles players in the USA, and created a heavy favorite for first place. The Montreal duo of SSBMTL The Z and HandsomeTom were expected runners up, with Ottawans Revan and sextc, and Torontonians YBOMBB and Fck Vwls expected to get 3rd and 4th, respectively.

Then, Baltimore happened. Bark The Shark and Shears, two players with historically terrible chemistry, opted to team together in the absence of Bark’s brother and doubles partner, Darkhorse. The suddenly dynamic duo finally found their groove, taking down heavy favorites HandsomeTom and SSBMTL The Z, followed by SexVan (sextc and Revan) in back-to-back sets, earning themselves a Top 3 spot. Team Montreal made quick work of Team Toronto, while Team Ottawa  took care of the lesser Toronto team of Snorlax’s DK and B Link’s Pikachu. With Shears forced to leave early to catch his flight, Winner’s Finals was played early, as Boom and Nintendude’s Pikachu and Mario duo decimated Team Baltimore. Team Ottawa faced off against Team Montreal in Losers Semifinals, with both teams splitting 2 stock games. Montreal took game 3 with a more convincing 4-stock, earning them a rematch against Bark. However, Shears was no longer present. Montreal showed good heart, as well as good sportsmanship, allowing Bark to team with a level 9 Kirby CPU, in what may be the most amusing doubles set ever played. Kirby floated around, sat in rock form, all while Bark was getting pummeled and edgeguarded. Following a 2-0 victory, Team Montreal faced off against Boom and Nintendude, and were unfortunately unable to mount a noticeable offense against this unstoppable juggernaut of a team. Boom and Nintendude handled doubles as expected, walking home with fistfulls of the colorful Monopoly bills Canadians call “money”.

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