Trying to Make a Splash in a Big Ass Pond

By JJLinyard.

About the Author

JJLinyard has been playing been playing competitive melee for 5 years on (consider myself just above the ‘average’ smasher) and commentating for over a year now. You may have seen him on the Saltyplayground stream a few times.

Background

After my recent trip to the United States (shout outs to the players of NYC and everyone I met at Nebulous), I realized how much passion there is over in The States for smash. This passion is unique and is what has driven the game to where it currently is in the US. Through this article, I hope to share my passion for my local scene, the United Kingdom (UK) smash scene, a smaller community than the typical US sub-region’s community. Recently, in the UK smash scene, we have been running a smash equivalent to The Football League Championship (for you Americans reading, the minor leagues) and how this will lead into an upcoming major, ‘Heir to the Throne’ (HT3).

How It All Works

heirtothethrone

The Smash UK Championship Season was put together by the work of a few tournament organizers (TOs) and influential members of the community with the purpose of increasing overall participation (Players and TOs), providing a ‘power rankings’ and promoting rivalries and healthy competition. The group decided to run a season schedule similar to how major sporting organizations operate. The season was also created to serve the Melee, Brawl and Project M communities in order to keep strong unity within the UK smash scene.

A system was created to reward players  with ‘coins’ for placing in the top 16 of events. A formula – created by Tom ‘GP’ Scott – determined the pay-outs of the tournament based on the number and quality of participants at a tournament in order to prevent ‘coin farming’ from events containing only newcomers but, at the same time, reward players for placing at highly skilled competitions. Although the formula had its issues allowing for a small amount of coin farming, it was an overall success as our scene was able to grow significantly, partly due to spike in overall smash interest across the globe.

Similarly to MLG, we decided that there must be a finale or championship tournament to crown the end of the season – and this is where HT3 comes in. HT3 will use the top 12 players in the leader board to enter into a pre-determined ‘pro’ bracket with the final four spots going to the advancing players of the open bracket during the event. The remaining 16 will then battle it out to become champion and claim bragging rights over the entire nation (and leaving no debate as to who would be in the crew battle vs any other country in Europe).

The Top 12

Now with that said and done, it’s time for the juicy bits. Allow me to introduce you to our top 12. For the leader board visit here.

1. VwS|Professor Pro – Aaron Thomas – Fox

profpro

Known for his Project M Snake, Prof is also no stranger to melee. Fuzzyness’s main rival for over half a decade, Prof has time and time again been considered his equal over the years. A recent 3-0 performance over Fuzzy puts him in the driver’s seat for this event.

Super Vs Battle: 1st
RoF 3: 9th
SKTAR 3: 17th
B.E.A.S.T 4: 9th

2. Fuzzyness – Charles Kimmelman – Fox/Marth

59Fuzzyness

Regarded as UK No.1 since before I entered the scene, Fuzzyness is the most seasoned melee player we have to offer, and hot favourite to take the championship. However a switch to new main Marth may be his downfall.

Super Vs Battle: 2nd
RoF 3: 7th
Smash Aint Dead 3: 3rd
B.E.A.S.T 4: 5th
Apex 2014: 33rd

3. VA – Robby Gee – Peach

The final member of the ‘three kings’, VA has challenged both Prof and Fuzzy many times for no.1 but has never established himself as the best. Could it be his time to take the glory?

Republic of Fighters 3: 13th
Smash Ain’t Dead 3: 5th
B.E.A.S.T 4: 9th
EDentine’s Day: 2nd

4. Jolteon – Alexander Bowden – Sheik

Originally, Jolteon was the player everyone thought was hopeless, but he has shown that he is clinical with his edgegaurds and boasts many impressive performances throughout the season, including a close 3-2 loss vs Fuzzyness at SvB. Can he bridge the gap between the top 3 and the rest?

Republic of Fighters 3: 33rd
Smash or DI: 4th
Smash Ain’t Dead 3: 13th
EDentine’s Day: 4th

5. AyyDee – Dujuan Planter – Ice Climbers

Formerly Alpha Dash of the OOC, AyyDee has been striving to improve a lot this season. His travels overseas and practice with his training partner Prof have definitely help establish his consistent top 5 placings.

The Break Smash Weekly #16:
4th Smash or DI: 7th
Smash Aint Dead 3: 9th
EDentine’s Day: 5th

6. X1 – Tristan Bunyan – Falco

Southampton’s best. Some may call his play style dry, but you cannot deny the his placings this season. His Falco does what he needs to win.

Smash Down South 3: 4th
Smash Ain’t Dead 3: 9th
EDentines Day: 13th

7. Deathgazer – Adrian Tam – Falco

Deathgazer is a member of the Tesco crew. Under the pupillage of Baxon (French No.1), he has added brains to his insane tech skill and is steadily climbing the ranks. Some may remember his name from HMW’s tech skill competition.

Smash or DI: 7th
Smash Aint Dead 3: 7th
EDentine’s Day: 5th
B.E.A.S.T 4: 33rd

8. VwS|Willz – Will Savage – Captain Falcon

Few see him as the ‘coin farmer’, but Willz has also been making improvements across all games this season. People need to be careful about sleeing on Willz because he may cause an upset or two.

Super Vs Battle: 13th
Smash or DI: 9th
Smash Aint Dead 3: 17th
EDentine’s: 13th

9. L-J – Richard Lismore-John – Fox

Boasting wins over Jolteon and excellent recent placings, L-J has heralded praise from the top 3 players and others. I expect LJ to finish in the top 8.

Super Vs Battle: 5th
Smash Aint Dead 3: 7th

10. GM-Sean – Sean Attewell – Fox

The new season revived GM-Sean’s activity after a hiatus and he has found his way into the top 12 with his efficient, yet effective play style.

Super Vs Battle: 9th
Smash or DI: 13th
Smash Down South: 5th

11. R23 – Alex Watson – Sheik

R23 is a fast rising sheik player from Southampton, who has climbed the ranks from literally out of nowhere this year. His uncharacteristic aggressive style usually throws off his opponents.

Super Vs Battle: 9th
Smash or DI: 9th

12. Swizzy – Michael Stern – Ganondorf

Easily the best Ganon in the UK, Swizzy boasts great knowledge of the game after years with his former training partner VA.

Smash Aint Dead 3: 17th
EDentine’s Day: 9th

Open Bracket – The true heart of the tournament

With attendance looking to break UK records, this is going to be a scrappy mosh pit of nerves, heartbreak and triumph. With many up and coming players riding high off of recent performances and with the return of many notable players, it is pretty hard to predict the outcome. Here are my predictions.

My Top 4 Prediction :

1. J3ly – Former Mario turned Falco main and part of the Tesco Crew, J3ly is the last UK player to have placed top 3  with all of the UK ‘Melee Kings’ in attendance. Since this accomplishment, he has semi-retired, leaving many wondering if he is still relevant, but the word on the street is that he’s still got it.

2. JJLinyard (Myself) – (I’ll try not to be biased) Fox player with a surprising back up Falco. With only one player above me in the rankings with less tournament entries, my lack of attendance –many would agree – has cost me a top 12 spot. A few questionable losses in the last 2 tournaments have raised a few eyebrows, and to that I say, “The open bracket is just my warm up”.

3. Jin – A Fox player from the Midlands and a player who everyone is starting to recognize. He has multiple wins from the Midlands’ tournaments, a decent placing at the last coin qualifier, and a decent crew to train with; this guy is on the rise and seems a community favorite to reach the top 16 bracket.

4. Unreal – This pick is a bit of a bold one as Unreal is likely to miss the event. However, this Falco player – also part of Tesco crew – has been a consistent top 16 player for a couple of years. His efficient tech skill and smart play reek of his crews trade mark. (Back up pick if he flakes is PMS).

Other names to look out for: Shifting Shadows, Haotwo, A.C, PMS, KingNDJ, Brtarolg.

Conclusion and Promotion

All in all, the end of August may be the most exciting time for the history of UK smash and pivotal in the development of our scene. Moreover, this new format has changed our scene for the better; A year ago, our nationals had only 12 players. Now we have flourishing regional tournaments with attendance caps and an exciting national in a few weeks.

I hope you enjoyed this article and remember to tune in throughout 28th – 31st on http://www.twitch.tv/supersmashbrosuk
For any other information about the scene feel free to head on over to www.smashbrosuk.com or hit me up on twitter.

Also be on the lookout for my partnering video to this piece which you can find on the SmashUK Youtube page.

- @JJLinyard.

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