Yesterday, hundreds of smashers traveled to State College, Pennsylvania, to compete in Smash Valley: Lucky #7, the seventh installation of Pennsylvania’s long-running tournament series. Although the event was only a regional, it attracted almost twenty SSBMRanked players, making it one of the year’s most stacked regional tournaments.
Unsurprisingly, Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma won the event, cleanly 3-0ing Zain “Zain” Naghmi in Grand Finals. Hungrybox, the only “god” present at the event, towered over competition that included such hitters as Kalindi “KJH” Jabari Henderson, James “Duck” Ma, and Joey “Lucky” Aldama, while Zain found himself falling short of ultimate victory at yet another regional event after placing second at The Gang Hosts a Melee Tournament earlier this month.
Despite his second-place finish, Zain was still able to collect impressive wins over KJH, Duck, and Lucky, proving that his star continues to rise—the MDVA Marth main is now clearly a top-20 level talent.
The tournament’s underperformers included James “Swedish Delight” Liu, who was eliminated by Jerry “Jerry” Powell to finish at 9th place, and Michael “MikeHaze” Pulido, who braved travel issues to get to the tournament before dropping sets to Aziz “Hax” Al-Yami and Jonathan “TheRealThing” Clinton to fall at 17th.
Though February has been marked by a relatively slow tournament schedule, stacked regional events like Smash Valley and Gang are evidence that many of Melee’s professionals are still driven to prove themselves for next year’s top 100 rankings.