Last weekend, two large Smash events went down across the country from each other: Chicago’s Combo Breaker 2018 and Atlanta’s Momocon 2018. Both events built on the successes of past iterations, filling the weekend with high-octane Super Smash Bros. competition. Here’s how it went down.
Momocon 2018 represented one of the strangest Melee Top 8s in recent memory, though it ended with the expect result: a nearly flawless victory for Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma, who took the tournament from winner’s side over a Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett who seemed unprepared for the Jigglypuff matchup.
Wizzrobe found himself in Grand Finals after upsetting Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman with a dominant 3-0 in Loser’s Finals. After dropping two games with his Sheik, Mew2King seemed to give up, switching to Pichu for the set’s final game and promptly getting three-stocked by Wizzrobe’s relentless Captain Falcon.
The rest of Momocon’s Melee Top 8 was rounded out by Colin “Colbol” Green, Ryan “La Luna” Coker-Welch, Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby, Harrison “HT” Turner, and Troy “Yort” Hancock. Colbol surged to a fourth-place finish by defeating n0ne in Loser’s Quarters, while hometown heroes HT and Yort carried the torch for Georgia Melee at 7th place.
In Smash 4, Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey carried the day, defeating Saleem “Salem” Young in both Winner’s Finals and Grand Finals. Salem’s run was nothing to sniff at, though, featuring wins over Rei “komorikiri” Furukawa and an impressive 3-0 over Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada in Winner’s Semis. Nairo was unable to overcome komorikiri in Loser’s Semis, finishing at fourth.
The rest of the Smash 4 Top 8 was rounded out by Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby, Baljeet “Lima” Chintapall, Ezra “Samsora” Morris, and Carrington “Wrath” Osborne, who, like his Melee compatriots, represented Georgia Smash at 7th place.
Combo Breaker 2018
One of the world’s largest fighting game tournaments, Combo Breaker held small Smash brackets that attracted top talent from the Midwest and beyond. With a Top 8 full of upsets, few could have predicted the outcome of the Melee bracket.
The biggest upset of the tournament came in Winner’s Quarters when top Chicago Jigglypuff Michael “Michael” Rollberg defeated the tournament’s top seed, Johnny “S2J” Kim. Kalindi “KJH” Henderson capitalized on this upset, running over Michael in Winner’s Semis to set up a Winner’s Finals match against James “Swedish Delight” Liu, who had himself upset the second seed, James “Duck” Ma, in Winner’s Semis. Tapping into a vein of good play, KJH defeated Swedish in both Winner’s Finals and Grand Finals to secure his biggest-ever tournament win.
Loser’s side of Top 8 was full of surprises as well, with Charlie “AbsentPage” McKinley defeating both S2J and Duck on his way to a third-place finish. Though he was unable to overcome Swedish Delight or KJH, AbsentPage’s consecutive top-twenty-level wins at Combo Breaker are continued proof of his rise through the ranks.
Combo Breaker’s Melee Top 8 was rounded out by Drew “Drephen” Scoles and Avery “Ginger” Wilson, two Midwestern top players from across the eras of competitive Melee.
In Smash 4, the Mexican Game & Watch player Enrique “Maister” Solís came out of the woodwork to win the whole event, defeating top seeds Eric “ESAM” Lew and Tyler “tyroy” Awdisho on his path to victory. This was not ESAM’s first loss to a high-level Game & Watch, and the popular Pikachu player failed to make it to a runback vs. Maister, losing to tyroy 3-2 in Loser’s Finals.
ESAM’s fellow Floridians Jestise “MVD” Negron and Brett “8BitMan” Esposito also performed well at Combo Breaker 2018, with 8BitMan upsetting MVD in winner’s bracket before being avenged by MVD’s training partner ESAM in loser’s. MVD was able to claw his way to a fourth-place finish, eventually falling to ESAM in Loser’s Semifinals. Fellow visiting players Santiago “Chag” Perez, and John “John Numbers” Goldberg placed fifth and seventh, respectively, and Nicholas “Ned” Dovel was Chicago’s lone representative in Top 8, finishing at seventh place.
While none of this weekend’s Melee tournaments featured god-level players, both events brought the hype in both Melee and Smash 4. As the Summer of Smash progresses, each and every win and loss that each top player experiences helps to shape the competitive Smash narrative as it moves forward.