In the world of competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee doubles, there are a few static teams that have gained renown for their powerful coordination: among the most prominent are Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni and Kevin “PewPewU” Toy, Adam “Armada” Lindgren and Andreas “Android” Lindgren, and William “Leffen” Hjelte and Mustafa “Ice” Akcakaya. But last night, viewers who tuned into Smash Studios’ Twitch channel to watch Mexican major Smash Factor 7 were treated to one of the most gripping doubles Top 8s in recent memory—and it was the brotherly pair of Javier “JAVI” Ruiz and Jorge “Twin” Ruiz who unexpectedly stole the show.
Though it’s no surprise that the bonds of brotherhood can elevate teams to greatness—the success of Armada and Android on the world’s biggest stages is all we need to confirm that—JAVI and Twin are identical twins, and their knowledge of each others’ habits is rooted both in nature and in nurture. Though neither the Fox-playing JAVI nor the Falco-maining Twin were ranked on SSBMRank 2017 (JAVI, Mexico’s longtime champion, was a perennial SSBMRank member until inactivity caused him to fall off the list last year), their impressive strategy and unparalleled ability to target switch allowed them to go toe-to-toe with multiple top 100-ranked teams. The Mexican brothers’ synergy was so strong that commentators Pavel “Palco” Guerra and Rodrigo “Roy” Sarmiento dubbed them los hermanos combos—the combo brothers.
“It sounds better in Spanish,” breezed Palco excitedly.
JAVI and Twin sent the home crowd into a frenzy with their unique, freeform team combos.
However, it was the twins’ neutral, not their combo game, that was most impressive. Throughout the set, Twin—also known as Tuga, or Turtle, in his home country—would retreat behind JAVI and shoot lasers just above Fox’s head height as his brother dash danced threateningly. As seen in the clip below, this allowed JAVI to threaten space with impunity without having to worry about getting flanked by an opponent playing a taller character.
Twin’s lasers protected JAVI as he engaged with Hendrick “DJ Nintendo” and Ryan “The Moon” Coker-Welch.
This aggressive use of lasers was far from the only benefit of Twin’s strategy—it also provided a fantastic defensive boon to JAVI, saving the Fox main from certain death on multiple occasions. Many times, The Moon would get his hands on JAVI, only for his combo to be cut short by an errant Falco laser. Towards the end of the clip below, Twin saves his brother from a DJ Nintendo down tilt that could otherwise have combined into a killing up air.
JAVI and Twin’s laser-based teams strategy was most effective on wider stages such as Final Destination and Pokémon Stadium.
JAVI and Twin would ultimately make their way to grand finals, with Twin clutching out a 1v1 against The Moon in loser’s finals to avenge the brothers’ loss to team Grab N’ Go in winner’s semis. There, they nearly reset the bracket on Smash Factor’s top two seeds, Armada and Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby, going up 2-0 before eventually losing the set in a game five last-stock heartbreaker.
JAVI and Twin couldn’t capture the Smash Factor 7 doubles trophy—but they did capture the hearts of both their nation and the thousands of online viewers spectating from abroad. Most importantly, there’s a lot to be gleaned from their success; Falco players around the world would certainly benefit from emulating Twin’s brilliant laser play. And despite his relative inactivity over the last twelve months, JAVI has most definitely still got it. Check out this clip of him taking two stocks from Armada in ten seconds—and be sure to tune into Smash Studios tonight to catch the singles action at Smash Factor 7.