Last night, in Laurel Park, Maryland, Xanadu Games was host to the biggest Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament of the weekend: the whimsically titled The Script - Episode 1: “Race to the Finish.” If the intention of the event’s name was to draw attention to the dynamic—and indeed almost cinematic—storylines that have organically developed within the competitive scene of the world’s most popular fighting game, then it certainly delivered. With gripping last-stock comebacks, fast-paced character matchups and an underdog victory, the tournament had all the hallmarks of a classic.
By many metrics, Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby was not the favorite to win The Script. After all, he was the event’s second seed—ranked behind Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett on the Summer 2018 Melee Panda Global Rankings—and he had reason to fear some of the other heavy hitters present at the event. For example, he had not defeated Ryan “La Luna” Coker-Welch in over a year, losing his last two sets against the Marth main in convincing 3-0s.
But despite these disclaimers, the Canadian No. 1’s tournament victory was not entirely surprising. After defeating top Spaniard Roberto “Overtriforce” Iglesias to qualify for winner’s side of Top 8, he managed to defeat La Luna 3-1 in winner’s semi-finals.
“I played aggro, but not dumb aggro,” explained the Allegiance-sponsored Captain Falcon main in his post-tournament interview.
Once n0ne was through to winner’s finals, he arguably became the favorite to win the event. Though Wizzrobe, who had vanquished Álvaro “Trif” García Moral to make it into the other side of winner’s finals, was the tournament’s top seed, n0ne had demonstrated his ability to defeat his fellow Falcon in a recent 3-1 victory over Wizzrobe at late August’s Shine 2018. In winner’s finals of The Script, he did it again, squeaking out a 3-2 victory over the Floridian to secure himself a spot in grand finals.
Wizzrobe came back with a vengeance in grand finals, putting n0ne on his back foot for three straight games and resetting the bracket with a quick 3-0. Unfortunately for the Floridian, however, n0ne was undeterred by this loss, and in the second set of grands he upped his defensive play and punish game to earn himself a 3-1 victory—and the tournament’s Oscar-esque trophy.
“n0ne kind of has Wizzy’s number,” mused commentator Kashan “Chillin” Khan as he observed the grand finals smackdown.
Loser’s side of Top 8 was equally entertaining. Both sets of loser’s eighths were clean 3-0s, with Aziz “Hax$” Al-Yami wielding his B0XX controller to defeat up-and-coming Falcon Jason “Gahtzu” Diehl and Charlie “AbsentPage” McKinley defeating local Ice Climbers main Diego “Cool Lime” Wheat. After losing to La Luna in winner’s bracket, AbsentPage was primed to make a run in loser’s.
As La Luna 3-0ed Hax$ in one loser’s quarter-final match, AbsentPage prepared for a showdown with Trif, the Spanish Peach who had flown to the States for an extended Smash tour across the eastern seaboard.
After four hard-fought matches, the intercontinental competitors squared off for a deciding fifth game. Thanks to a few clean punishes, Trif pulled ahead for an early lead, bringing AbsentPage down to his final stock with three of his own still at his disposal. But when it mattered most, AbsentPage summoned a streak of impeccable play, dancing around Trif’s careful neutral airs and forward airs to avoid death even as his percent rose to seemingly untenable levels. An up smash took Trif’s first stock, and a freewheeling combination involving a forward air secured the next. And finally, after chipping away at Trif’s green Peach with lasers and patient back airs, AbsentPage closed out the comeback with an up smash out of shield. His victory elicited roars from the crowd, and even Trif nodded in begrudging respect as he walked off the stage.
In loser’s quarters, AbsentPage avenged his loss to La Luna by defeating the New Yorker 3-1. The match was close, and in all four games, AbsentPage managed to survive last-stock death situations by hitting clutch ledge techs or making improbable recoveries. In the end, it was just too much for the charismatic Marth main to handle.
Though AbsentPage went on to lose his next set to Wizzrobe—whose defensive play, typified by a ledge slide-off knee into zero-to-death combo in the set’s second game, was greater even than AbsentPage’s—a third-place finish at a stacked event is a considerable feather in the hat of the Minnesota Fox.
Regardless of AbsentPage’s heroics, it was n0ne who stood above the rest when the dust settled at The Script. As the year-end rankings grow near and the number of significant tournaments left in 2018 dwindles, every tournament victory matters all the more—especially victories that involve two wins over a top-10 player like Wizzrobe. While his vanquished opponents lick their wounds, n0ne can kick back and relax with the knowledge that he has likely secured himself yet another spot in Melee’s year-end top 20.
In n0ne’s post-tournament interview, the quips came fast and easy.
“I wrote the script for this one,” he said.