It’s only been a few weeks since the release of SSBMRank 2017, but Alex “Captain Smuckers” Cottrell is already making a strong case for a much higher placement in next year’s edition. On Saturday, he upended the rankings by taking nine straight games off of two of the game’s biggest rising stars to win EndgameTV’s The Gang Hosts a Smash Tournament.
After going down 0-2 to Jack “Crush” Hoyt in Loser’s Finals, Captain Smuckers turned up the jets, reverse 3-0ing the world No. 15 before dominating both sets of Grand Finals against Zain “Zain” Naghmi. Zain had been playing well all night—he reverse 3-0ed Smuckers in Winner’s Semi-Finals and solidly defeated Crush in Winner’s Finals to earn his spot in Grand Finals—but he was unable to slow the momentum that Westchester County's top player gathered as he steamed through the bracket.
Captain Smuckers wasn't the only competitor who had a breakout performance at the event—there were a number of new faces in Top 8. New England up-and-comer David “Kalvar” Coyne earned a 7th-place finish with victories over a sandbagging James “Swedish Delight” Liu and Nico “Ryobeat” Rodriguez, and Philadelphia hometown hero Nick “Stango” Stango impressed with wins over Swedish Delight and Rishi “Rishi” Malhotra. Despite the great strides exhibited by their impressive runs, both Kalvar and Stango were sent to losers by Captain Smuckers as the Captain Falcon main made his way to Winner’s Semis.
Ohio Ice Climbers player Matt “Boyd” Reymann also made a strong run to Top 8 by defeating recently-minted top 100 player Jerry “Jerry” Powell.
All in all, The Gang Hosts a Melee Tournament was a potential look into the future of Melee, with rising stars such as Stango and Kalvar facing off against more established threats such as Captain Smuckers and Drew “Drephen” Scoles. In the end, experience won out over novelty, and Smuckers took home the gold—but the tournament’s surprising outcome is proof that nothing in Melee is certain.