By Daniel “Tafokints” Lee
Some of the world’s top Smash Bros. Melee players are headed to Los Angeles this weekend to partake in the Smash Summit 3. Not sure what it is? Here is a quick reference guide to everything related to the upcoming event.
What is it?
Smash Summit is a bi-annual invitational event hosted by the Beyond the Summit team in Los Angeles, traditionally known for running Dota 2 events. The invitational focuses specifically on top players, which is a departure from the usual open brackets of Smash events. This year’s event, Smash Summit 3, runs from November 3-6, beginning at around 12 PM PST and wrapping at 10 PM PST each day.
Fun side events, such as “Blind Melee,” are hosted on the first two days to provide a lighter atmosphere, as a four-person commentary couch provides insight and humor. On the final two days, the 16 players participate in a traditional doubles and singles bracket for prize pools funded by Beyond the Summit and a crowdfunded compendium. And it’s all streamed on Twitch.
Here’s the schedule of events:
November 3 – Blind Man Challenge, Hot Bid Challenge, Iron Man, Fan Exhibition Doubles, Mafia
November 4 – Rivals of Aether, Around the World, Draft Crews, Mafia
November 5 – Doubles, Singles, Mafia
November 6 – Doubles, Singles, Mafia
Beyond the Summit chose ten of the competitors based on recent performances. This year’s event features:
Joseph “Mango” Marquez
Adam “Armada” Lindgren
Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma
Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman
William “Leffen” Hjelte
Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni
Justin “Plup” McGrath
Weston “Westballz” Dennis
Dajuan “Shroomed” McDaniel
Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson
In addition, six players were selected by a voting process. To be eligible for nomination, a player needed either a MIOM SSBM Top 50 ranking or a top 16 finish at The Big House 6, Get On My Level 2016, CEO 2016, Super Smash Con 2016 or Heir 3. After a week of campaigning, the following six players were voted in.
James “Mafia” Lauerman
Johnny “s2j” Kim
Kevin “PewPewU” Toy
James “Duck” Ma
Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby
Ryan “The Moon” Coker-Welch
The 101 on Melee Singles
“Who will finish the year in first place on SSBMRank?”
This is the biggest question on the minds of Smash fans. Armada, Hungrybox, and Mango each make compelling cases for why they deserve number one on this year’s SSBMRank. As the year comes to a close, Smash Summit 3 and a few other events will greatly impact their overall resume before panelists make their final decisions.
Armada is the favorite. The winner of the the first two Smash Summits aims for a three-peat at this event, and he is slowly coming into full form with a win at Canada Cup over Mew2King and Hungrybox. The latter is always a threat, having won Battle of the Five Gods, Evo 2016 and a slew of other U.S. majors. Mango started off slowly, but comes into the Smash Summit 3 with confidence thanks to recent wins at The Big House 6 and Super Smash Con 2016.
While they each make strong cases for number one, Mew2King has quietly put on a nice summer with victories at Shine 2016 and Clutch City Clash. His mentality has improved significantly in 2016 as he seems to be in high spirits. Leffen has been largely absent in 2016 due to his visa issues, but he impressed earlier this year at Get On My Level 2016 where he defeated four of the gods in consecutive sets. The big question is whether we will see him perform at peak level again despite the lack of practice.
Recent months have been nice for Plup and SFAT, who continue to separate themselves from the rest of the Top 15. Although Plup slumped at The Big House 6, he performed above expectations during the summer where he finished third at Evo 2016, defeating Hungrybox and Mango along the way. SFAT continues to show breakthroughs as he conquers his inner demons and improves his mental game. In recent months, he has taken sets over Hungrybox and Mango while also having several close sets with Mew2King. We may see some surprises from these two at Smash Summit 2016.
First-timers such as Mafia and The Moon look forward to a week’s worth of training against the world’s best players. They should see massive improvement in their skillsets as they play against a variety of playstyles and characters.
From top to bottom, the Smash Summit 3 is an extraordinarily stacked event that will have high-level matches right from the start.
The doubles scene
These are the teams for the doubles tournament:
The top four teams of the previous Smash Summit make a return. Reigning champions Armada and Mew2King aim to defend their title. Team CLG — PewPewU and SFAT — have been on a hot streak in recent months and want to redeem their lackluster fourth-place finish from the last Smash Summit. A win for Team CLG could cement them as the best current team right now.
Longtime friends Hungrybox and Plup return to teaming. Despite not teaming for most of 2016, they won Pound 2016 and finished in second at the last Summit. Mango and s2j often go under the radar as Mango prefers to focus on singles for larger events, but they have done well for themselves with several top three finishes at majors.
The other teams are interesting because many of them have never formally teamed at a large tournament. Shroomed and The Moon are both incredibly experienced in doubles and could use their fundamentals to build synergy. The Axe and Duck team features an unusual composition in Pikachu and Samus that could be interesting, with Pikachu acting as an initiator and Samus as a support and stock tank. Westballz and n0ne provide plenty of excitement with their fast-paced Falco and Captain Falcon team. Leffen and Mafia may seem like the odd team out, but Fox and Peach are a strong team composition that could potentially work for them even without prior teaming experience.
Alongside the singles and doubles events, there are several other side events during the four-day tournament.
Rivals of Aether
Rivals of Aether is an indie-based platform fighter that takes inspiration from the Super Smash Bros. series. The 16 players will participate in a singles tournament.
Summit Draft Teams
Four captains selected by the community will pick four-man crews to participate in several events throughout the weekend. One of the events will pit crews against each other in a traditional battle where crews will duke it out for $1,000.
Each crew selects two players from each team to participate in a blind-man event. One player controls the character blindfolded while receiving instructions from the other player. The winning pair wins $500.
Four-player Iron Man
Each team selects one player to participate in an Iron Man tournament. The format gives each player five characters to work with in a 20 man solo crew battle format. The winning player wins $500.
Around the World
Each team selects one player to participate in an Around the World event. This is a four-player game where each player starts with a character from a corner of the select screen and advances forward in the select screen after winning a round. Each individual round is a two stock, two minute random stage free-for-all with items on. The player who advances most on the character select screen after a given amount of time wins the $500 prize.
Mafia is a game of deception and deduction where players are randomly assigned a faction: mafia or town. The mafia’s goal is to kill off the town before the town can properly deduce who the mafia is among them.
Daniel Lee is on Twitter @tafokints