ESC: Avalon M in review

Avalon M, the Dutch Melee qualifier for the European Smash Circuit, took place on October 3 at the usual Avalon venue, “De Patio” in Zoetermeer. Being the first Avalon dedicated solely to Melee, the tournament quickly drew the attention of the European Melee community and hit its attendance cap of 128 players in a week to become the largest Dutch Melee tournament so far. With clear tournament favourites such as Armada (two Avalon wins) and Ice (four Avalon wins) unable to attend because of The Big House 5, the circuit points were up for grabs. Since the list of attendees included the entire Dutch and French top 5 and German top player reaper, it was anyone’s guess who would take home the gold.

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The Netherlands Profile

With two Dutch qualifiers coming up for the European Smash Circuit, namely Avalon M and Avalon U, it’s time to review the Smash history of the Netherlands. The oldest Smash scene in Europe houses many well-known veterans of the games, who to this day play an instrumental part in progressing the community.

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Europe at Evo 2015

EVO is by far the most important annual event for the fighting game community, having grown to a spectacular size since the humble beginnings in 2002. Although Smash is traditionally grassroots and features many events throughout the year with most of the relatively small top in attendance, there is no comparison to the stage EVO offers the scene. EVO 2015 shattered attendance records for both Smash Bros. for Wii U at 1926 and Melee at 1869 entrants. With only 516 players competing in both, a lot of players came out for Smash from across the globe, although the great majority was from the US. Some of the best European players for both games were able to make the trip and made a real impact in front of more than 200k viewers, further cementing Europe’s presence at the top.

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Besides stock count, the most hotly debated topic in the international Smash 4 scene is the inclusion of custom moves. Although most TOs decided against them due to the poor logistics involved, the controversial decision to have them legal at EVO inspired several regions to practice with them and renewed the debate since. The core question I ask myself is whether the costs of having custom moves legal are worth it, considering the practical implementation, the case study of EVO and a potential split of the community. All things considered, I would prefer to move forward with a metagame without customs.

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It’s no question the Swedish rivalry has been one of the biggest talking points in the weeks leading up to Evo 2015 with the last majors having resulted in three consecutive Swedish winners finals and Leffen in particular being off to a spectacular start having won every tournament he’s attended the past weeks. It’s nearly enough to make us forget another strong European force will be attending Evo this weekend. Ice, ranked 3rd in Europe and Germany’s #1 player, is living proof that if you’re willing to put in the effort and dedication you can make it to the top regardless of what region you start out in.

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Mr-R has been on top of Smash 4 since the game came out, winning an early American invitational and placing 3rd at APEX 2015. He is absolutely dominant in Europe and only boasts first place victories, most recently at GGWP III and Avalon IX. As he is getting reading for an extended stay in the US, it is time to once again sit down with the most successful Dutch Smash player. This summer he will be attending both CEO and EVO, among other tournaments over the course of at least three months.

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Last weekend the ninth edition of the Avalon tournament series took place, featuring Melee and Smash for Wii U. Registration for this event opened up only two weeks in advance, due to TO Marc traveling Asia for a few months with limited online resources. Despite this, the event capped out in a record time of five days. Besides Dutch top players such as Amsah, LLL.Remen, LLL.Jeapie, LLL.Mr-R, S1-14 and iStudying, a wealth of international talent made the trip to Zoetermeer, most notably Nintendude from the United States. Other international threats were Ice, Reaper and Blaze from Germany and VwS.Professor Pro from the UK.

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JST7 Preview

On May 23rd and 24th, 108 entrants have preregistered to come play Melee, Project M, and Smash for Wii U(Smash4) at the Sociaal-Cultureel Centrum De Biechten in the Rembrandt Room for “the first 2-day tournament the Netherlands have had in years”. That tournament is JST7 hosted by Jeffz0r with Smash 4 hosted by Good Games Well Played. Sporting entrants from 9 individual countries spanning across three continents it should be quite the exhibition of international talent! A stream for Melee will be provided by SaltyPlayground.

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The European Smash Circuit (ESC) kicked off with a bang last weekend near Paris at HFLAN Melee edition. Previous editions of HFLAN have always included Smash but this weekend marked the first time the entire event was dedicated to the Smash games. While Melee was the main event, there were also side events for Smash Bros for Wii U(Smash4) and Project M, as well as a Salty Arena (exhibition matches) and a 3vs3 regional crew bracket. A comprehensive preview of the event was published last week so we’ll skip right to the results and most important upsets.

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HFLAN Melee edition preview

After eight successful events bringing in more and more players from all around Europe, HFLAN: Melee Edition will be the peak of the series, and the official start of the European Smash Circuit on May 9th, 2015. Hosted by LeFrenchMelee and streamed by SaltyPlayground, this tournament is looking to be a prime experience for all Smash players, with one of, if not, the best venues France has to offer. Its location in Paris is also a great asset for the tournament, since the city is very convenient to travel to for the majority of European players. Comfortable couches, free drinks and a huge theater for the top 8 matches: HFLAN has always been a great event for both spectators and players.

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