Duck Makes Hungrybox Bleed at Canada Cup 2018

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On Sunday, the collective attention of the Super Smash Bros. Melee scene turned to Canada for the high-octane action of Canada Cup 2018, a fighting game event featuring a stacked Melee bracket. Though second seed William “Leffen” Hjelte dropped out of the tournament at the last minute, citing the fact that the event’s organizers had scheduled Top 8 for Melee and Leffen’s secondary game Dragon Ball FighterZ at the same time, the Melee bracket’s finals still brought the hype.

In grand finals, Michigan No. 1 James “Duck” Ma electrified the venue by defeating Melee Panda Global Rankings No. 1 Juan “Hungrybox” DebBiedma in three straight games to achieve a bracket reset. Duck, who fell 3-1 to Hungrybox in winner’s semi-finals, stumbled in the second set of grands, losing 3-0 to Hungrybox. Regardless, his achievement was an astounding one—Duck’s first non-Leffen “god” win and Hungrybox’s first loss to a Samus player since 2011. Traditionally, Jigglypuff has been considered a soft counter to Samus, and it’s likely that Hungrybox hasn’t trained seriously against the character since his ascension to godhood.

Duck’s Hungrybox win wasn’t the Samus main’s only upset of the night. In loser’s finals, he defeated Canadian contender Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby, whose character, Captain Falcon, Duck has long considered his worst matchup. n0ne, who defeated fourth-place finisher Kurtis “moky” Pratt in his own winner’s semi-final, improved on his fourth-place finish at Canada Cup 2017 with a third-place finish this year.

The event’s Top 6 was rounded out by Aziz “Hax$” Al-Yami and Theodore “Bladewise” Seybold, who respectively defeated seventh-place finishers Shephard “Fiction” Lima and Timothy “Jamrun” Kocik to earn their placements. These loser’s eighths matches were both dittos—Fox and Peach, respectively—and both were bitterly close, though their pacing and technical level varied quite a bit.

In the end of the day, Canada Cup’s champion was no surprise; few expected Hungrybox to walk away without the trophy, even with Leffen in attendance. But Duck’s bracket reset over the Jigglypuff “god” is sure to resonate through to the year-end rankings, and the Michigander can proudly say that he’s added Samus to the long list of characters—Fox, Falco, Marth, Sheik, Captain Falcon, and Yoshi—that Hungrybox has lost to this year. As the second set of grand finals showed, it might be a long time until Hungrybox loses to Samus again—but that’s fine. Until then, Samus mains can look back at Canada Cup 2018 for inspiration as they try to overcome the challenge that is Jigglypuff.