The Contract is a recently announced Salty Suite that’s to be played out at Heir 3. Salty Suites were popularised in the States by MeleeItOnMe on VGBootCamp a few years ago. As the name implies, they usually contain encounters between players that hold a grudge, have a high stake or stand out. Popular examples include Leffen vs Chillin, Leffen vs SFAT and Amsah vs aMSa. Team Heir decided to take a different approach by offering a year long sponsorship to the winner, which includes coverage of all the player’s travels to European events. While any player that entered Heir could have entered the contest, only the top 8 get to actually compete in a single elimination bracket for the prize. To make it into top 8, the players have to be voted in by Heir 3 attendees, which is a concept similar to Smash Summit.
The voting process has sparked veteran players and courageous up-and-comers to collaborate with their fan bases in order to form their own approach in attempting to stand out and convince people to vote for them. The most popular approach for acquiring votes seems to be the creation of brief promo videos, that contain a selection of combos and best results, showing off each player’s reason for competing in the Heir sponsorship often with a humorous twist.
Below, we’ve included one video for each contestant that has taken the time to release their own:
At time of writing, players currently voted into the top 8 have only small margins of profit. Half of the voters have yet to cast their vote, indicating a large portion might be taking the strategic approach or might still be in doubt of their choice. Interestingly, at the top stands Frenzy – a player considered by some to be a ‘meme’ vote, but as a reddit user points out, he’s actually a rising contestant in the UK ranks, leaving many eager of giving him a shot.
The Contract has proven an striking way for Heir to generate awareness towards Heir 3 in the weeks leading up to the tournament. It has sparked some much needed conversation on the lacking approaches of European players in terms of seeking out sponsorships and engagement with their fan base. It should be noted The Contract’s voting process has also received some criticism on its structure. For comparison, The Summit had a majority of the voters coming from the States, and thus fairness was put into question for regions less represented on Smash.GG. This disadvantage became even bigger when the players received more votes if they had more activity on Smash.GG, which features tournaments in the USA predominantly. The Contract likewise restricts votes to Heir attendees, which is said to give an advantage to the country that houses the event. There’s a truth to these concerns that Team Heir’s leading man Kone has agreed to, and he has recently addressed them by citing some of these decisions simply are compromises due to short-term feasibility on Smash.GG.
Decomposing Heir 3’s attendees per country, it becomes apparent the lion’s share of attendees unsurprisingly live in the UK. Kone’s remarked that the UK players, who have currently been voted in, are split in 4 countries, i.e. England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales, and that these voters appear to cast the patriarchal vote. As a response to this seemingly skewed voting pattern, he points out that other countries with sizeable attendees actually have considerable voting power if they band together. As a result, it seems players are looking to appeal to UK attendees as well as convince their local scenes to vote in blocks.
All in all, The Contract is proving an compelling occurrence and perhaps a gateway into larger sponsorship deals for participants. It will be interesting to see what it will yield at other European events. Team Heir has already mentioned The Contract will likely be a regular element for future Heir events.
Voting for The Contract can be done at Smash.GG. Voting will end on Sunday 2016/08/14, at 10 PM BST.
The single elimination bracket for The Contract will be played out on Friday. On that day, double elimination 5 vs. 5 international crews is also on the schedule with some very potent crews in attendance. The other two days are reserved for Melee singles, doubles and Project M singles, meaning the event is packed to the brim with high level Smash. With 529 players in attendance, Heir managed to break the European records for most Melee singles and doubles players, as well as most singles entrants for Project M. Intercontinental competitors include Chu Dat, N0ne and The Moon. The familiar European faces like RB | TSM.Leffen, Alliance.Armada, VwS.Professor Pro and mYi.Ice – who will, by the way, be competing at Super Smash Con this weekend – will also be attending.
Opening image uses a photograph by Micheal “TL peanuts” Hathaway