Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Summer of Smash Part 1: Combo Breaker

The Summer of Smash began on such a high note that I don't even know where to begin with this post. Since Combo Breaker is more known for its fighting game tournaments, I really didn't know what to expect going into it.
Friday started off strange since doubles turnout for Smash 4 was abnormally low relative to the number of singles entrants (12 doubles teams, 139 singles entrants). Me and Mr. Doom had a rocky start having to play BoScotty and Coco round 1; the seeding was just not good at all for the Midwest people LOL. We managed to claw our way back through losers, and I could feel us playing better and better as the tourney went on. In loser's finals game five against TKBreezy and Acid we had a pretty decent match going that ended in a 2v1 situation for me. I managed to get Acid killed to bring it down to a 1v1 against TK's Wii Fit with about even percents and I was confident I was going to bring it back, but then unfortunately I had to go pull a Hoenn and SD with the monkey kick frown emoticon. Lots of salt since I've been SDing in tourney too much recently, but in doubles its even worse when you let your partner down with such a dumb mistake. Can't win them all though, and overall I'd like to think we still did alright all things considered. That seeding was so bad though LOOOL, give byes to the people that don't even play the game, ok. The salt was cleared pretty quickly though since I ended up winning $35 in money matches immediately after, and then the auction happened.
Auction: First character pulled in the auction was Falco, so of course I took the first bid for Birds Up the character. I really didn't care for winning him too much and was only going to go for like $10, but when he was given up for $8 I'll take it. I was feeling pretty decent about my chances since a lot of the good players left after doubles, but then they pulled the twist on us where I was called back to the stage and people bid to be my teammate. Dr. Pizza took the bid on Sheik,and we were ready to go HAM. The way the teams ended up working out was that there really was only 2 teams with both competent players which was my team and Mr. Doom + Bo. We met in the finals and had a grand ole time, but came up short with second, which ended up being a pretty solid chunk of change (shout outs to Dart for filling that pot $$$$). Overall Friday ended up being one of the funnest tournament days I'd ever had, and the real tourney hadn't even began yet.
Day 2: Ok so the night before this tourney I saw the post of people being upset with Dart's "Trash 4" tag in the Sm4sh auction, which I though was absolutely ridiculous so I post in the Chicago Melee group that I'll use the Melee Sucks tag in honor of Dart and everyone approves. My first match on stream I get Dart up there as my coach and put that tag on and afterwards my Twitter exploded with random people not understanding any of the context whatsoever, so I ended up getting a million mentions and some solid exposure, not bad #worth. Anyways, so I get to winners finals of my pool against Skillager and go in very confident to win it, and game 1 goes pretty much how I planned.Games 2 and 3 were another story though, He was able to get the early lead and wall out all of my approaches, and I felt like I couldn't do anything. Skillager really played on point those last two games and managed to send me to losers much earlier than I was hoping to go there. Right afterwards I'm told to play some player I had never heard of off stage on a random set up for loser's finals. He was playing Toon Link and I get a solid lead game 1 but then I just started getting hit by everything, and a back throw killed me early and give me a game 1 loss. I was sitting at the brink of elimination to a player I didn't know so I had to change something up fast. Games two and three I played trying to just put more pressure on and not play as safe, and it ended up paying off and I took the matches to come into the top 16 bracket on the loser's side. I wasn't playing nearly as well as I was in my money matches the previous day, and I knew I'd have to be on point for the bracket the next day so I used the leftover time to play lots of friendlies and prepare for my bracket matches.
Day 3: bracket day. We arrived to the venue early to get some warm ups in, and after lots of random friendlies I was starting to feel really good and felt like I might even be approaching how good I was on Friday night. After a strange series of being first told to play loser's round 1 on stream, then off stream, then back on stream, I finally got my first match completed against Excel mel. During our second match I felt like I was on point and everything I was doing was working out. I don't know how to explain it, but it seemed like every button I pressed was the correct one. If I could keep this up I knew I'd go far in bracket. My next round was against Wish, a newer player to the scene who was doing phenomenally for his first big tournament! Game 1 started out well, but then I started getting nervous for no reason and ended up SDing again. Both of us started just making a ton of bad decisions, and the second stocks of game 1 probably just looked awful to the spectators as we missed everything LOL. Game 2 though I was able to collect myself, and I was back to playing on point. Not too much else to say, but my confidence level shot up after the second game.
Shortly after that, my third match began, against Mr. Doom, who had been staying with me all weekend and playing games, who I had been practicing with for this tourney, and who was my doubles partner. Its always so weird to play someone you've played that many times to meet in tourney. We both agreed to start Smashville, and had a really close back and forth game one that he managed to take in the end. Greenbeast was on stage as my coach and was advising me about counterpicking, and I told him what I tell everyone: I'd rather just play on the stage I'm most comfortable with, and that stage is Smashville. I turned to Mr. Doom and he asks what I'm going to counter pick, and I tell him "You already know where we're going." and we hop right in. This game I was able to start adapting to the matchup a little better and I managed to squeak out a win. I ban my stages, and Mr Doom looks at me and says "You already know where we're going" and birds upped. This was one of the highlights of the tournament for me; we both really wanted to win, and we would be opponents on the field of battle, but in the end of the day it didn't matter who won that game three, we would both walk off that stage smiling and birds upping as friends. That's what Smash is all about to me, and this moment just eliminated all nerves and I was able to focus in on the match like I haven't been able to do before in a while. That was one of the best games I've ever played on post-patch Diddy, and I was able to take it and move on in the bracket.
My next match on stream was against GDX, another Diddy main and a power ranked player from FL. I was honestly a little bit worried coming into the match since I haven't played a single Diddy ditto since the patch, but I was felt really good about how I was playing before and so I was ready. There really isn't much to say about this match. Something just clicked, and I was able to keep playing out of my mind. Game one was convincing enough the he switched away from the ditto and played MegaMan game two, which ended up not working out so well for him as my momentum continued. It was at this point that I realized that my recent string of under performances is probably over, and over coming walls like that always feels amazing.
Playing for fourth I had to go up against Coco, and Olimar who I had money matched a few times the previous day and went 1-2 with. Olimar is by far my least favorite matchup, but in my games with Coco the other day I felt like I wasn't hating myself while playing the matchup, so that gave me some sort of confidence. I honestly don't remember the games too well, but he was reading me really hard, and I was dying early when I couldn't find the kills. Although the games themselves were pretty close, it was still a solid 0-3 loss, and an end to my tournament.
Going into Combo Breaker, my realistic hope was to place second, and I ended up just two places shy of my goal. Usually when I don't meet my goals I end up pretty sad, but this time was different. I learned so much about what I need to do to improve my game. I really feel like that although I came up short of my goal, I am on the right track, and soon I should be back to the level I was at in the winter.
Overall Combo Breaker is probably my favorite tournament I've ever been to at this point. Playing in so many hype matches, cheering everyone on, hanging out with all my friends, meeting new friends, seeing old friends and all the shenanigans made this weekend amazing. This weekend was one of the best experiences of my life and is something I'm going to remember forever. I want to thank everyone that has supported me and cheered for me at all the tournaments I've been to, and give a huge shoutout to all the cool people I hung out with at the venue. I can't tag all of you but you all know who you are. Anyways, this was originally just going to be a quick shoutouts post but ended up turning into this monstrosity, so I'm sorry for that. But if you actually read through all this way, thank you, and I hope that there was something to take away from all of it haha.