By: Bill Baer (@Baer_Bill)
With 2020 winding down, the Super Smash Bros. Melee season will have one of the biggest events of the year in Smash Summit 10 Online, hosted by Beyond the Summit. The tournament, boasting a $10,000 prize pool, will take place over four days, November 19-22, and will feature an eclectic mix of established veteran players as well as some exciting up and comers.
Due to the game’s age – it was released in North America in December, 2001 – tournaments were almost entirely LAN using CRT TVs. However, the pandemic removed LAN as an option. The unofficial online version of Melee was achieved using an emulator, but the connections were too inconsistent to make tournament-hosting realistic. Enter Fizzi, who created Slippi.
Slippi improved connection quality with “rollback netcode,” which anticipates inputs and simulates the next frame rather than waiting to receive that input from the players. If the inputs don’t match the prediction, the state of the game is “rolled back” to the last correct state. It sounds complicated, but nearly all of the players who have used Slippi have said it feels as close to LAN as anything they’ve played online.
Smash Summit 10 Online’s 20-player pool of participants came from three areas: 16 from the Slippi Champions League, three from Rollback Rumble: Summit X Qualifier, and one invited player.
Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma is the invited player and will attempt to defend his Smash Summit 9 title. Known as one of the “five gods of Melee,” the legendary Jigglypuff main was the No. 1 ranked player from 2017-19. After winning both Smash Summit 9 and CEO Dreamland in February and March, respectively, Hungrybox has struggled as tournaments have moved from LAN to online. He lost to Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby in Week 1 of the Slippi Champions League and lost to both Cody “iBDW” Schwab and Joseph “Azel” Resplandor in Week 2 before dropping out of the tournament.
Joey “Lucky” Aldama, Sasha “Magi” Sullivan, and Miles “Soonsay” Foster qualified through the Rollback Rumble tournament. Lucky win the tournament while Soonsay took second and Magi third. In the annual SSBMRank, conducted by the Panda Global stats team, Lucky came in at No. 20 worldwide. Magi was No. 43, and Soonsay cracked the top-100 at No. 98. All three of these qualifies play “space animals” with Magi maining Falco while Lucky and Soonsay both play Fox.
The remaining 16 players who qualified through the SCL are an eclectic mix. The Fox mains include iBDW (No. 9), Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni (No. 13), and Steven “Fatgoku” Callopy (No. 39). Justin “Plup” McGrath (No. 8) plays Fox as well as Sheik. Joseph “Mang0” Marquez (No. 3) and Avery “Ginger” Wilson (No. 21) comprise the Falco mains.
2020 has seen Sheik mains, in general, take a huge step forward. The Sheik mains playing in Summit 10 are: Griffin “Captain Faceroll” Williams (No. 17), Zaid “Spark” Ali (No. 22), and DaJuan “Shroomed” Jefferson McDaniel (No. 30).
The Captain Falcon mains in the tournament are all familiar faces: Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett (No. 5), Johnny “S2J” Kim (No. 11), Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby (No. 15), and Jason “Gahtzu” Diehl (No. 36).
Zain “Zain” Naghmi (No. 6) is one of two Marth mains in the tournament and is arguably the favorite going into Thursday’s action. Kevin “PewPewU” Toy (No. 24) is also a Marth main, and Shroomed plays Marth in tournament from time to time as well.
Last but not least, Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson (No. 4) rounds out the roster with Pikachu. He is the only Pikachu player in the top-100.
Though Melee’s roster features 26 characters, this tournament features only seven of them: Fox, Falco, Marth, Sheik, Jigglypuff, Captain Falcon, and Pikachu. Peach is the only top-tier character without representation. Ice Climbers, considered B-tier, won’t be seen in the main event, nor will Samus (C-tier).
The players will be placed into four pools containing five players each and play round-robin. For the uninitiated, “round robin” simply means that all of the competitors within each pool will play each other once. The two players with the best records will advance into the singles bracket. The bracket is double-elimination, meaning that when a player loses a “winners” bracket match, he’ll drop into the “losers bracket.” A player who drops into the “losers” bracket can still win the entire tournament provided he doesn’t lose any more sets.
As mentioned, Zain is arguably the favorite to win this tournament. He won Weeks 2, 3, and 4 of the SCL and took second place in Week 1. He defeated Mang0 in the Ludwig Ahgren Championship Series 2 in July and won Genesis 7 back in January. When Panda Global does their next batch of rankings, it is quite possible Zain will be ranked No. 1 in the world.
Though Hungrybox has had a tough 2020, one can never count him out. 2019 featured a flurry of first place finishes for the veteran, including Genesis 6, Pound 2019, CEO 2019, Low Tier City 7, Evo 2019, Shine 2019, Dreamhack Montreal, and EGLX. He also had second place finishes at Smash ‘N’ Splash 5, Super Smash Con, and Mang0’s Birthday Bash. There is a reason he held the No. 1 ranking for three years running and has been nicknamed “Clutchbox.”
Mang0 will be another popular pick to take down the tourney. Active in the competitive scene since 2007, Mang0 has not slowed down. He won Week 1 of the SCL as well as The CLG Mixup. He finished second in the Ludwig Ahgren Championship Series 2 and third in both Smash Summit 9 and Genesis 7 earlier this year. Though Mang0 attended each of the previous nine Summits, he has yet to win one and would certainly like to change that this weekend.
n0ne, Captain Faceroll, and Spark are coming into this tournament with a lot of momentum. n0ne had a top-four finish in each of the final three weeks of the SCL, taking sets off of Hungrybox, Plup, S2J, and PewPewU. Meanwhile, Captain Faceroll defeated Wizzrobe, Spark, Mang0, n0ne, and S2J in the SCL. Spark broke out in the SCL, 3-0ing PewPewU and nearly winning a Game 5 against Hungrybox that went down to the last stock. In ensuing weeks in the SCL, Spark defeated Shroomed, Axe, Azel, iBDW, and Captain Faceroll.
Smash Summit always features fun events outside of the main tournament and that remains the case in this online iteration. Thursday will feature a “caster championship,” which is as the name implies: a small, casual tournament among those commentating the tournament. There will also be a “smurf tournament” and a bracket featuring 16 invited players from Europe. Additionally, at the end of each day’s action, the stream will broadcast the players playing Mafia and Among Us.
If you’d like to watch the tournament, the action begins at 1 PM EST (10 AM PST) on Thursday at https://www.twitch.tv/btssmash.
The full schedule:
Thursday (Nov. 19)
1 PM EST: Caster Championship
4 PM EST: Smurf Tournament
9:30 PM EST: Mafia/Among Us
Friday (Nov. 20)
1 PM EST: EU Bracket
4 PM EST: Group A
7:30 PM EST: Group C
Saturday (Nov. 21)
1 PM EST: EU Bracket
4 PM EST: Group D
7 PM EST: Group B
11 PM: Mafia/Among Us
Sunday (Nov. 22)
1 PM: EU Bracket
3:30 PM: Top 16
11 PM: Grand Finals