Last fall, Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma kicked his campaign for the SSBMRank No. 1 ranking into gear by defeating Adam “Armada” Lindgren to win GameTyrant Expo. Yesterday, he defended his title with a victory at GameTyrant Expo 2018 that featured close victories over such talent as Joseph “Mang0” Marquez and Zain “Zain” Naghmi.
Though Hungrybox didn’t drop a game in his run to Top 8, he faced a powerful challenger in winner’s semi-finals: Zain, in the two players’ first meeting since the Marth main double eliminated Hungrybox at Shine 2018. This time, Hungrybox emerged victorious, but only after a five-game thriller of a set that proved that Zain’s victories over Hungrybox were no fluke.
In grand finals, Hungrybox withstood another nail-biter against his longtime rival, Mang0. Mang0, who has lost 10 of his last 11 sets against Hungrybox, showed signs that he is capable of defeating his Jigglypuff-playing nemesis, but his discipline was not enough to overcome Hungrybox in the final game of grand finals. However, the Cloud9 member can walk away from GT-X 2018 with something to smile about: in loser’s finals, he managed to defeat Zain for the first time, pulling out a monstrous double-down air combo to close out game five.
To get to loser’s finals, Zain defeated Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni 3-1 in the latest installation of the players’ one-sided rivalry. However, SFAT scored an upset win of his own in the round before, defeating Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett 3-2. Wizzrobe was joined at fifth place by Jeremy “Squid” Deutsch, who notched a strong showing for his new sponsor, PrometheusGG, by defeating Connor “Bananas” Lamb, Weston “Westballz” Dennis, Armand “ARMY” Del Duca, and Griffin “Captain Faceroll” Williams (a fellow PrometheusGG member) in a California-heavy bracket.
Though ARMY and Captain Faceroll finished their tournaments at seventh place, each of them scored impressive upsets to make it that far: ARMY in his second straight 3-0 over Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson and Captain Faceroll over Charlie “AbsentPage” McKinley. It was a disappointing tournament for Axe, who will look to develop a strong counterpick against Ice Climbers after his elimination at ARMY’s hands and a loss to Bananas in winner’s bracket.
On the Smash 4 side, Northern California No. 1 Luis “Lui$” Oceguera took a surprise victory over Eric “Pandarian” Lund, who defeated top seed Matt “Elegant” Fitzpatrick in a 3-2 loser’s finals showdown. Elegant, GT-X’s top seed, fell to Guillermo “Stroder” Martinez in winner’s side. As Smash 4’s competitive scene comes to an end during the lead-up to the release of Smash Ultimate, Lui$ can rest easy knowing he’s earned himself a major title.
Though GT-X 2018 was a touch smaller than its predecessor, it still succeeded in bringing the hype in both major competitive Smash titles. As the community’s eyes turn towards next weekend’s The Mang0: Homecoming, the results of GT-X are a strong indicator of what’s to come.