Last weekend’s Smash Factor 7 brought hundreds of smashers from near and far to Puebla City, Mexico, for a weekend of some of the highest-level Melee the country has ever seen.
As the singles bracket came to an end Sunday night, the highest-level results were also the least surprising. By far the highest-ranked player in attendance, Adam “Armada” Lindgren breezed his way to first place without dropping a single game. His biggest challenge came in the form of Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby, who overcame Mike “Nintendude” in loser’s bracket to earn his grand finals spot. Though this result was not technically an upset, a top Ice Climbers win is a good look for n0ne, who is somewhat notorious for his lack of proficiency against (and disdain for) the character.
In contrast with these finals, the lower reaches of top 8 and top 16 bracket were full of unexpected results. After months of inactivity, Mexican legend Javier “JAVI” Ruiz roared back into the spotlight, scrapping his way into loser’s side of Top 8 by defeating Eduardo “Eddy Mexico” in a five-game thriller between a pair that few would deny are Mexico’s two greatest of all time. Once in Top 8, the Fox main dispatched Mexican Sheik “Aza” 3-0 before losing his second set of the tournament to Nintendude to end his run at fifth.
Despite his heroics, JAVI was not Mexico’s highest-placing representative at Smash Factor 7. That honor goes to Jonathan “Bimbo” Rocha, a veteran Falco from Tijuana who came out of the woodwork to have the tournament of his life at the Mexican national. To get into Top 8, Bimbo won back-to-back five-game sets, first defeating Fernando “Far!” Ruiz before coming from behind to vanquish Okada “Yu” Yu, the Falco main who was one of Japan’s best players not too long ago and now stands among Mexico’s top ten.
In Top 8, the smasher formerly known as “Bimbo Mexico” leaned in further, uncorking a devastating barrage of lasers and combos to defeat top 100 Fox players Juan “Medz” Garcia and Hendrick “DJ Nintendo” Pilar. When he eventually fell to Nintendude in loser’s semifinals, he had more than earned his fourth-place finish.
Bimbo put together some truly unique combinations during his victories over Medz and DJ Nintendo.
Alongside overachievers such as Bimbo came a slew of players who were no doubt disappointed with their results. Most notably, top American Marth Ryan “The Moon” Coker-Welch (who normally enters as “La Luna,” but seems to have had a change of heart once on Spanish-speaking soil) was seeded third at the tournament, only to finish at ninth after losses to Eddy Mexico in pools and Medz in bracket. 2018 has been a slow year for the Marth in comparison to his landmark 2017, in which he scored victories over William “Leffen” Hjelte, Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni, and a slew of other top-level players.
Another disappointed ninth-placer was Eddy Mexico himself, who was sent home by his rival JAVI despite earning himself an impressive win over The Moon in pools. The Luigi main nearly made it to Top 8 winner’s side, going up 2-0 against DJ Nintendo in winner’s quarterfinals, but he heartbreakingly lost the set after the American adjusted and began to play a patient run-away laser game.
The Moon and Eddy Mexico were joined at 9th by Yu and a Ganondorf main named Dream, whose surprising run was capped off by a 3-0 victory over JAVI’s Falco-playing brother Twin.
The event’s Smash 4 bracket had its share of drama as well. Jason “ANTi” Bates was ultimately victorious, defeating Griffin “Fatality” Miller in winner’s finals before winning a second set of grand finals 3-2 over Larry “Larry Lurr” Holland. Though Larry Lurr wasn’t able to win the tournament, he demonstrated that doing so was certainly within his ability by defeating ANTi 3-0 in the first set of grand finals.
The event’s highest-placing Mexican was Jorge “Wonf” Gomez Martinez, a veteran player who has been one of Mexico’s best since the Brawl era. However, the tournament was marked by the glaring absence of Mexico’s uncontested champion, Leonardo “MkLeo” Lopez Perez, who was nowhere to be seen at Smash Factor 7 despite being the tournament’s defending champion.
Smash Factor 7 kicks off one of the summer of Smash’s busiest stretches, with the following weekends each featuring a large tournament: in order, Low Tier City 6, EVO 2018, Super Smash Con 2018, Heir 5, and Shine 2018. With its upsets, action, and Armada victory, Smash Factor 7 is a fitting start to this marathon.