Final European Smash Circuit top 5

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.

esc_melee
laurel_transparant
1
Adam ‘Armada’ Lindgren
Sweden
Points Qualifiers
5000 5

Although he started 2015 with a second place at BEAST 5, Armada ended up having a spectacular year. Through winning most majors he attended in both Europe and the US, he managed to reestablish himself as the overall best player in the world. Despite being in America often, he made it to 5 qualifiers and won every single one he attended. Armada continues to be a shining example for anyone who wishes to both compete at a high level and support their local scene.

Qualifier results
HFLAN HEIR II HELIX
1 1 1
Avalon M Eclipse Òssom Fights
1
BEAST 6
1
laurel_transparant
2
Mustafa ‘Ice’ Akcakaya
Germany
Points Qualifiers
3125 5

We have witnessed a succesful year for Ice, who got picked up by mYInsanity and seemingly broke his 9th place curse with a top 8 finish at Genesis 3. Armada and Leffen are still the main source of his European losses and time will tell whether he can overcome one, or both, of these mountains. His drive and consistency are apparent with his second place in the ESC, for which he attended 5 qualifiers.

Qualifier results
HFLAN HEIR II HELIX
7 3
Avalon M Eclipse Òssom Fights
5 1
BEAST 6
4
laurel_bronze
3
Victor ‘Tekk’ Abd
France
Points Qualifiers
2375 5

The world’s best Rondoudou has been gradually climbing the European ranks with aggressive play very uncharacteristic for his character. In 2015 he defeated Zhu at HFLAN and Amsah at DreamHack London, among other notable performances. Although Tekk has been eager to attend a US major, he unfortunately fell ill during his trip to Genesis 3 and had to drop out. This did not deter MIOM from ranking him at a fairly high #43. Tekk’s dedication is further demonstrated by the great deal of travelling he’s done the past year, matching the number of attended qualifiers by Ice and Armada.

Qualifier results
HFLAN HEIR II HELIX
4 3
Avalon M Eclipse Òssom Fights
3 5
BEAST 6
Trifasia
4
Alvaro ‘Trifasia’ Garcia Moral
Spain
Points Qualifiers
2300 4

Trifasia has become a more common sight at European nationals and has proven to be a very consistent player with a 5th place at 3 of the 4 qualifiers he attended. Although falling short against Europe’s top 3 and top level talent like Westballz, he has major wins against players like Amsah, Abate, Zgetto and countryman Over. After a good 2015 and strong start of 2016, it would be interesting to see Trifasia try his luck overseas.

Qualifier results
HFLAN HEIR II HELIX
5 5
Avalon M Eclipse Òssom Fights
2
BEAST 6
5
Amsah
5
Amsah ‘Amsah’ Augustuszoon
Netherlands
Points Qualifiers
2200 3

After a period where he rarely traveled out of country, Amsah has been slowly picking up the pace over the past year. The former European champion continues to be a tournament threat to this day, although he has a hard time overcoming certain matchups and needs to find a balance between his fulltime job and renewed motivation to climb the ranks. Despite attending only the minimum of 3 qualifiers to be considered for this ranking, Amsah had a realistic shot at claiming top 3 in the circuit until the very end.

Qualifier results
HFLAN HEIR II HELIX
2
Avalon M Eclipse Òssom Fights
1
BEAST 6
7
laurel_transparant
Special Mention
Francois ‘Fauster’ El Be
France
Points Qualifiers
1125 7

Fauster has put in a lot of work over the past year to improve his commentary, attending every single Melee qualifier in the process and Avalon U for Smash 4. It’s not easy to commentate in a foreign language, especially when your country is notorious for its accent. Fauster even provided solo commentary at Cannes Winter Clash and continues to fly out to international events to share his enthusiasm. His efforts for the scene are greatly appreciated and show it’s not just the top players that matter.

Qualifier results
HFLAN HEIR II HELIX
13 17 13
Avalon M Eclipse Òssom Fights
9 17 13
BEAST 6
33
esc_smash4
laurel_transparant
1
Ramin ‘Mr. R’ Delshad
Netherlands
Points Qualifiers
3000 3

Mr-R has shown to be a world class player in Smash 4’s first year, most notably finishing second at EVO 2015 and winning every European event he attended. Although he fell just short of top 8 at Genesis 3, BEAST 6 was another dominant victory. It is no surprise then that Mr-R ended up with 3000 points out of 3 qualifiers and firmly established himself as the circuit champion for Smash Wii U. He will soon return to the US to compete against and practice with the best.

Qualifier results
Nens & Gimps DAT Blastzone 7
1
The Colosseum Avalon U
1
BEAST 6
1
laurel_transparant
2
Dennis ‘iStudying’ Kwarteng
Netherlands
Points Qualifiers
2100 3

The Netherlands boasts another high level Smash 4 player in iStudying, who is currently considered second best after Mr-R. He had his breakout performance at BEAST 6, where he overcame top threats like Cyve, Sodrek, MVD and ESAM with flashy and technical Greninja play. This final push was enough for second place in the overall circuit and we hope to see more of this player in the future.

Qualifier results
Nens & Gimps DAT Blastzone 7
5
The Colosseum Avalon U
2
BEAST 6
2
laurel_bronze
3
Gerard ‘Greward’ Lladó
Spain
Points Qualifiers
1450 2

Greward is the first of two Spanish top players in this list and was a strong contender for the second place of the circuit, before it turned out he could not make it to BEAST 6. The Mega Man main still finds himself in a money placing through a top 3 finish at the Spanish qualifier and an impressive second place at DBZ7, where he only lost to Mr-R twice after beating the likes of Deimos, iStudying and Ixis.

Qualifier results
Nens & Gimps DAT Blastzone 7
3 2
The Colosseum Avalon U
BEAST 6
Robo~Luigi
4
Bruno ‘Robo~Luigi’ Quatrocchi
Spain
Points Qualifiers
1200 2

At #4 we find Spanish top player Robo~Luigi, the winner of the Spanish circuit qualifier. His R.O.B. can often be seen in his home country’s grand finals and he placed top 16 at BEAST 6, beating high level French Sheik Yoren and even taking a game against iStudying.

Qualifier results
Nens & Gimps DAT Blastzone 7
1
The Colosseum Avalon U
BEAST 6
13
S1-14
5
Bart ‘S1-14’ Ploegmakers
Netherlands
Points Qualifiers
1050 2

S1-14 is Europe’s best Ness main and a consistent top 3 performer in the Netherlands, usually only dropping sets against the likes of Mr-R and iStudying. He made top 8 at BEAST 6 after overcoming players like Sodrek and Izaw and is part of the iconic PK Spark team with longtime friend and practice partner Pika4Life. Always hungry to prove himself, we certainly haven’t seen the last of him yet.

Qualifier results
Nens & Gimps DAT Blastzone 7
The Colosseum Avalon U
3
BEAST 6
7

Reflection and closing thoughts

To properly reflect on the circuit, we will consider the original goals in turn.

Provide and support successful events across Europe

Most participating events did well and either hit their cap or broke attendance records. For Melee it was noteworthy that four events hit over 200 entrants in the past year (Helix, Heir, DreamHack Winter and BEAST 6), three of which were circuit qualifiers. Helix deserves an extra nod for producing a national in Germany, a country which doesn’t see many events on a larger scale. On the Smash 4 side of things we saw several established TOs provide solid events and were happy to include an Italian event, a scene which has had activity issues in the past years.

Although most, if not all, of these events would have happened regardless of the circuit and probably done well, the circuit seemed to motivate at least some of the TOs to go the extra mile. There is also anecdotal evidence of players keeping track of their ranking points, influencing their decision to travel abroad. Improving communication among TOs helped prevent date clashes and lead to better awareness and promotion of each other’s events.

Highlight and cover the individual qualifier events

In terms of coverage we did not quite meet our own expectations. While the SmashEurope social media channels do a good job keeping track of events and particularly highlighted the qualifiers, in-depth coverage was still entirely dependent on the core writing team. As a result, events we didn’t visit typically did not get a review or associated interviews. We would have liked to see more countries produce profiles or at least take this opportunity to let the world at large know who’s who in their (local) scenes. It is of note here that SmashEurope generates no income of its own and most TOs seemingly don’t have a budget for articles, interviews or other in-depth coverage, making this entirely a volunteer effort.

Draw attention to European Smash, particularly in the form of outside coverage and sponsorships

Reality to some extent caught up with this goal, for better or for worse. When plans for the circuit were first formulated the European Smash countries were fully grassroots or even fairly inactive, not to mention largely invisible. Although the US was already ahead, the American scene received an influx of events and pot bonuses in 2015, raising the bar rather suddenly and making it far more lucrative for our best players to compete overseas.

The past year has been rather tumultuous on both sides of the ocean however; European Smash saw DreamHack picking up Melee for UK and Sweden events, Eclipse receiving a hefty pot bonus of its own, Avalon and Dutch Melee being covered by VICE, SmashBoards writers making it a habit to preview European events and attendance skyrocketing throughout the continent. Several European players found themselves a sponsor to aid with travel expenses and we are doing better than ever.

The other side of the coin is that production values for the circuit ended up relatively low. The prize pools are comparable to that of the average large grassroots event and mostly consist of money the winners would have gotten anyway, although it is a bonus that requires no extra effort due to there not being a finale event. We decided against having one because we did not have the finances to have it rival some of the larger events and fly in contenders, which would mean a significant home field advantage for the country hosting it.

Conclusion

The circuit was a learning experience for all TOs involved. It enabled us to work together and get closer to the American level of professionalism. As it stands, there is no pressing need for a 2016 circuit and we will look into our options for 2017 and beyond. We would like to thank all TOs involved for putting in their best effort and hope to bring more people onboard for the ever increasing workload of bringing together and managing the community.

The groundwork for the rankings was done by Joeri (Ryuker), who also kept track of the points throughout the year. Marc wrote most of the player blurbs and the reflection. Edited by Remen.

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