Last weekend, Texas’ homegrown national, Low Tier City, drew hundreds of players and spectators to the Irving Convention Center for a weekend full of Super Smash Bros. action. Though the event ended in a familiar outcome— a victory for the SSBMRank No. 1 Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma—it was chock-full of surprises throughout, providing tantalizing insight into the potential outcome of next weekend’s Evolution Championship Series 2018.
Though Hungrybox was the competitor who lifted the trophy at the tournament’s end, his path to victory was no cakewalk. In winner’s finals, Hungrybox was forced into loser’s bracket by a quick-moving William “Leffen” Hjelte, who defeated Armada in winner’s semifinals and then eked out a 3-2 win over Hungrybox in order to snap his seven-set losing streak against the Jigglypuff. Unfortunately for Leffen, Hungrybox surged back in grand finals, building off of the momentum from a 3-2 victory over Adam “Armada” Lindgren in loser’s finals to steamroll Leffen in back-to-back sets. At the end of the day, Hungrybox looked nearly unstoppable, only dropping a single game to Leffen when he decided to sandbag with Ness after going up 2-0 in the first set of grands.
The biggest upset of the tournament came on its second day, when Armand “ARMY” Del Duca, the fast-rising Southern California Ice Climbers main recently ranked 23rd on SSBMRank Summer 2018, defeated Joseph “Mang0” Marquez 3-2 in winner’s quarterfinals to ensure himself a spot in winner’s semifinals. Attempting to defeat ARMY with Falco, rather than Fox, his usual anti-Ice Climbers character, Mang0 looked discouraged, playing recklessly on the Ice Climbers’ shield and making costly errors in the set’s final game. Though Mang0 was able to claw his way into Top 8 loser’s side, he was unable to defeat any other members of the top six at Low Tier City 6, finishing at fifth after falling to Armada 3-1 in loser’s quarters.
The tournament’s Top 8 was rounded out by Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby, who tied with Mang0 at fifth after a loss to ARMY in loser’s quarters. In 7th place, Fox mains Joey “Lucky” Aldama and Charlie “AbsentPage” McKinley made strong runs to justify their berths in the SSBMRank top 50.
Next weekend’s EVO 2018 promises to be one of the most exciting events of the year, and though Hungrybox looks strong going into the event, each of the other “gods” has shown that he has what it takes to defeat the world number one. Tune into the finals next Sunday to see who will be crowned the next lord of Melee!