With BEAST 6, the European Smash Circuit has concluded. The circuit’s rankings system was designed to reward consistency over several placements and we’d like to give a warm thanks to everyone that took the effort to travel to as many qualifiers as they could. We’ve seen a big increase in the professionalism, effort and care put into the organisation of the individual qualifiers and want to compliment the associated TOs and streamers of the events as well.
It is now time to unveil the top 5 for both Melee and Smash Wii U. The prize money kept from the qualifiers prize pools has been collected and will be sent to all winners as soon as possible. Note that one of the Wii U qualifier pots was mistakenly paid out in full before taking the cut, though fortunately it mostly involved the same winners.
Last week, a collective of European TOs launched a global poll to gather data on stock count preferences in Smash 4. The poll was spread through SmashBoards, SmashEurope, SmashAsia, Reddit and various local communities in order to poll a diverse sample of people. We ended up with 4806 votes from 59 different countries, after removing roughly 50 duplicates and clearly bogus answers. In this article we present the results and some of our conclusions.
The stock count in Smash Bros. for Wii U has seen a global split between Europe and the US, as well as Japan, since very early in the game’s lifespan. Most American nationals since APEX 2015 have opted for 2 stocks, which lead many US regions to follow suit in preparation for these events. In Europe 3 stocks has been the norm since the very start as a result of various TOs polling their local community and the settings working out well with Brawl, the game’s direct predecessor. This difference in philosophy has recently become more relevant with events such as Genesis 3 and BEAST 6 hoping to attract overseas attendance.
Last week, DreamHack (DH) Winter took place in event hall Elmia, situated in Jönköping, Sweden. With Smash’s first appearance at the Winter LAN festival, the event is considered a major milestone for the European Melee community. The 350 players that entered were competing for the 2nd largest Smash Bros. prize pool to date, which totalled $30,000. The Europeans were joined by a large delegation of American top players, lured by money and glory. It turned out to be a wake-up call for the European Melee players, with Armada ending up as the only European in singles top 8. Team Liquid’s Hungrybox took both singles and doubles (with teammate Tempo.Axe), upsetting the best player in the world in both events and ending Armada’s winning streak since Evo 2015.
SmashEurope writer Joeri attended DH Winter and got together with Lolex, TO of the the Melee event and Fredrik, the main contact for the FGC portion of DH, to hear about their impressions, communication and challenges for the future of Smash at DH.
The efforts that go into a tournament from an organisational perspective are often overlooked and underestimated. In an attempt to share more information about this important part of maintaining a competitive scene, SmashEurope writer Joeri reflected with several members of the Helix TO team on the event itself, the state of the German community and potential lessons for other European TOs. Though the team had more than three members, Joeri chose to interview staffers that each were responsible for a different key aspect of the organisation.
SmashEurope writer Joeri attended ESC Melee qualifier Helix and took this opportunity to sit down with the top 3, which probably couldn’t be more diverse in terms of background and style. The recently sponsored mYi.Ice rarely fails to impress with his methodical Fox play and took a set against US top player Tempo.Westballz, who made grand finals at both DreamHack London and Helix with his aggressive and defensive mixture of Falco. Alliance.Armada brought home the gold for both events and can best be described as a as a very calculated and punish game based player. The three share their perspective on Helix, some of their recent sets at both Helix and DHL, the differences between the European and American scenes and their sponsors.
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.
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.
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.
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.