Leffen cleans up at The Mang0: Homecoming

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On Sunday, hundreds of Super Smash Bros. Melee players from across the United States traveled to Norwalk, California, for The Mang0: Homecoming, a weekend of 50% high-level Melee and 50% drunken carousing. But by the time the finals arrived on Sunday night, those who were still left in the tournament meant business—and they put on an entertaining show for the dozens of thousands of viewers who watched both online and in the venue.

When the dust settled, it was William “Leffen” Hjelte who emerged victorious—an unsurprising result, given that he was the only elite-level player who chose to take the tournament seriously. In a blistering display of tech skill and confidence, he dismantled Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni in grand finals 3-1, all while his erstwhile rival Weston “Westballz” Dennis praised his skill on commentary.

The most exciting set of the tournament—dubbed the “real grand finals” by the commentators—was the loser’s semi-finals match between SFAT and Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby. The Californian Fox and the Canadian Captain Falcon faced off for more than just a bigger share of the prize pool: the winner of their match earned the final spot in next weekend’s Smash Summit 7. As they sat down to play, n0ne looked confident and in control, quickly going up 2-0. But after SFAT snatched a clutch victory out of n0ne’s hands in Game 3, the momentum seemed to shift, and it was the Fox main who secured himself a Smash Summit spot, ensuring that he would not miss a Smash Summit for the first time in his career. (The Fox main, who has been ranked within the top 10 for every preceding Smash Summit, missed out on an automatic invitation for the first time this fall).

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The third-place finisher at The Mang0: Homecoming was James “Swedish Delight” Liu, who was at the California event in order to defend the The Mang0 title he earned earlier this year. Though Swedish took Leffen all the way to Game 5 in their winner’s finals set, he ultimately fell to SFAT in a 3-2 loser’s finals set.

Longtime SoCal top players Joey “Lucky” Aldama and Westballz tied for fifth, though Westballz’s placing came after the Falco main was forced to make a long run through loser’s bracket after losing to unranked Luigi player Kurv in pools. Lucky’s bracket run involved wins over such talent as Shephard “Fiction” Lima, Kevin “PewPewU” Toy, and Griffin “Captain Faceroll” Williams.

Faceroll, who tied for seventh with Kyle “Kalamazhu” Zhu, had the distinction of making it into his second large-tournament Top 8 in as many weekends, after qualifying for Top 8 at GameTyrant Expo 2018. In his run at The Mang0: Homecoming, he notched wins over players such as Aziz “Hax$” Al-Yami and Dajuan “Shroomed” McDaniel. Kalamazhu’s run was equally impressive; to make it into his second The Mang0 Top 8, he defeated Armand “ARMY” Del Duca, overcoming his infamous Ice Climbers weakness, and followed up on this victory by defeating top SoCal Captain Falcon Johnny “S2J” Kim.

Though The Mang0: Homecoming was not a tournament with multiple “gods” trying their hardest, it showed that mid- and high-level players have everything it takes to bring the hype. And after another successful event, it appears that The Mang0 is a tournament series that is here to stay.