On Saturday, Te Tuhi “Spud” Kelly produced his best result of the year, winning Bridgetown Hyper Blitz, a powered-up version of the Bridgetown Blitz Portland regional series. The tournament featured a host of top 100 players passing through Oregon while on their way to Seattle for next weekend’s Don’t Park On The Grass 2018.
Spud, a New Zealand native who is currently the top-ranked Super Smash Bros. Melee player in Australia, is sponsored by Aussie esports club DarkSided. The flashy Marth main began his campaign in the tournament’s top 24 bracket by defeating his teammate Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby. n0ne, the tournament’s top seed, was still able to make a run to loser’s semifinals, where he fell to Canadian Fox main Kurtis “moky” Pratt for a fourth-place finish.
Spud’s victory over n0ne was just the beginning for the Kiwi. After defeating moky in winner’s semifinals, he continued his run by defeating top British player Aaron “Professor Pro” Thomas in a tight 3-2 winner’s final.
Professor Pro clawed his way back to grands, defeating moky in loser’s finals. But to the Englishman’s chagrin, Spud came out swinging, defeating Professor Pro 3-0 in grand finals.
Tournament’s top 6 was rounded out by Dat “Dacky” Vo, a Fox main whose unexpected placement was supported by an upset victory over Ben “nebbii” Wolthuis, the Dutch high-level Yoshi player making his tournament debut in the United States. For his own efforts, nebbii placed fifth after defeating Oregon Peach Derek “Aura” Olsen, who joined Illinois Fox main Daniel “Zamu” Bernstein at seventh place.
After a strong victory over a field stacked with nine top 100 players, it’s clear that Spud is playing at a high enough level to be nationally ranked this year. However, the eligibility requirements for the year-end Melee Panda Global Rankings have not yet been determined, and it’s possible that Spud might not make the cut due to his relative lack of tournament attendance outside of Australia.
According to Andrew “PracticalTAS” Nestico, one of the administrators of the international ranking system, players outside the United States need to enter three tournaments rated “B” or above on this spreadsheet in order to be eligible for the Melee Panda Global Rankings. Even if he attends next week’s A-tier Don’t Park On The Grass 2018 as planned, Spud’s only other large tournaments this year are Genesis 5 (an A-tier) and Battle Arena Melbourne 10 (a C-tier). Based on the eligibility requirements outlined above, he would not qualify.
However, these requirements have not yet been solidified—and if Spud has another strong showing at Don’t Park next weekend, it might be hard to deny him his rightful spot in Melee’s top 100. But if Spud busters out in Seattle, his struggles with ranking eligibility may become a non-issue.