Thursday, July 9, 2015

JJROCKETS' List of the Best Weekly Tournaments in Chicago

Just a few months ago, the only Smash 4 tournaments in Chicago were E2C's monthly tournaments. Since then, the scene has ballooned in size, and weekly tournaments have been popping up all over the place, allowing players to get in tournament practice every week. As of the writing of this post, there are 9 weeklies in the Chicagoland area for Smash 4 that I am aware of, with at least one tournament every day of the week except for Wednesdays. In the past two weeks I have attended all of the weeklies that I could, and after having attended almost all of the available tournaments, I have put together my list of the top five weeklies. I ranked the tournaments based on the following criteria: quality of venue, strength of the competition, the number of set ups, how well the tournaments are ran, and of course my own opinion. Without further adieu, here is JJROCKETS' list of the best weekly tournaments in Chicago!



#5 Top Cut Comics: Chicago - Tuesday
Venue: ★★★★
Strength of Competition: ★★★½
# of Setups: ★★★
Customs? Yes
Stream: www.twitch.tv/events2compete
Time: 7:00 P.M.

Top Cut Comics weeklies occur every Tuesday. Located right near Midway airport, Top Cut Comics is the same venue used for E2C's large monthlies. The size of the venue is very large for a weekly, although other tournaments and games such as D&D and Yu-Gi-Oh! occur at Top Cut at the same time as Smash. Despite these other shenanigans going on, there is plenty of space for Smash to occur. Weeklies here are unique in that this is the only weekly venue that plays with a customs on rule set in Chicago, which attracts some players that prefer playing in that environment. Competition at Top Cut is very solid, expect some of Chicago's top ten players to make weekly appearances. Although there are many CRT TVs at Top Cut, set ups have sometimes been lacking, and many people do not like playing on CRTs when all the monitors are in use. It is definitely worth coming out to a few tournaments at Top Cut, but because of time restraints (venue closes at 10pm) and occasional lack of set ups with HDTVs, it comes in my list as #5.


#4 Poplar Creek Bowl: Hoffman Estates - Thursday
Venue: ★★★★
Strength of Competition: ★★
# of Setups: ★★★★
Customs? No
Stream: N/A
Time: 7:30 P.M.

Smash weeklies at Poplar Creek Bowl in Hoffman Estates is one of the newer weeklies in the Chicago area. Although the venue is a bowling alley, the tournaments take place in a back room that contains foosball tables and pool tables. It is quite spacious, and makes for a great place to play. If you are 21+, there is a bar connected to the venue where you can purchase alcoholic drinks. Competition at Poplar Creek Bowl is slightly lower than that of some of the other weeklies, and it often doesn't contain any of Chicago's top ten players. However, this gives many players that are in the process of rising in the ranks a chance to show what they can do. Shevy, Shion, Lord Sturm, Ruins, and many other strong players are regulars here. The set up count at Poplar Creek Bowl has been very good, and tournaments normally run fairly quickly here. For these reasons I rank Poplar Creek Bowl at #4.


# 3 WIT Gaming: Aurora - Monday
Venue: ★★★
Strength of Competition: ★★
# of Setups: ★★★★
Customs? No
Stream: www.twitch.tv/aurorasmash
Time: 6:30 P.M.

WIT Gaming is perhaps the most underrated weekly tournament in the Chicagoland area. Being so far West, many players that live within the city have too far of a distance to travel to attend WIT, but for those that are close enough to make the trip I highly recommend it. WIT is one of the best at starting on time, so if you are going to be late, be sure that you mention so on the Facebook post. Once the tournaments do start, WIT runs through bracket better than any other weekly tournament. There is always someone that will tell you who to play and when, so there is no sitting around and waiting to find out who your next opponent is. WIT has seven monitors available in the store, so those bringing set ups do not need to lug a monitor with them. Because of this, WIT has often had enough set ups to run the tournament and have a station for friendlies at the same time. The only drawback to playing at WIT is that right now the events are on the small side of Chicagoland weeklies, though we have seen some growth and new faces in recent weeks. Included in these new faces at WIT are known players such as Sago, Slow Joe, and Ruins. Despite their smaller size, WIT shows a lot of promise to grow in the future, and because of that I rank it at #3.


#2 Galloping Ghost Arcade: Brookfield - Sunday
Venue: ★★★½
Strength of Competition: ★★★★
# of Setups: ★★★★½
Customs? Sometimes
Stream: www.twitch.tv/gallopingghostarcade
Time: 7:00 P.M.

Galloping Ghost arcade was the first weekly tournament available in the Chicago area, and ever since its first event it has only continued to grow in size. Even today it is among the most popular weekly venues. The venue itself is in one of the largest arcades in the world, though the Smash room is off to the side away from the noisy arcade machines. Just like WIT, GGA has monitors available on site, so players only need to bring the system itself. Because of this, GGA often fills the entire room with set ups which lets the tournaments run very smoothly. I would venture to say that the average skill level of players at GGA is higher than that of any weekly, and many of the top ten in Chicago attend almost every week. GGA often rotates rule sets to allow customs on some nights, while other nights are played on vanilla Smash 4. When a big tournament is coming up, rule sets are usually matched to help players get the right practice for the big tournament. Galloping Ghost Arcade is always willing to work with the players to provide the best experience for everyone, which is why I rank GGA at #2.


#1 Back in the Game: Crestwood - Friday




Venue: ★★
Strength of Competition: ★★★★½
# of Setups: ★★★★½
Customs? No
Stream: N/A
Time: 5:30 P.M.

Back in the game may at first seem like an odd choice for #1 best weekly in Chicago, but hear me out. The location of the venue so far South may deter people from making the trip, but the store itself is located in a great position. With Portillos across the street and Starbucks next door, food and drink is easily available during the tournament. The venue might not be the biggest and it may be cramped at times, but Back in the Game consistently has more set ups than any of the venue. On top of that, Back in the Game has the fiercest competition and often the most entrants. Last week as of writing this (week #10), BITG had 37 entrants including half of Chicago's top 10 along with many up and coming local players. Placing in the top spots of a BITG weekly is no easy task. Although getting to BITG at the time of the tournament may be difficult for some due to rush hour traffic, I highly recommend trying to make the trip one week anyways. With the tournament on 07/10/15, BITG is going to experiment with trying to run doubles at 5:00 P.M., so now is as good a time as ever to come down to BITG for their Smash 4 weekly!