The exclusively Smash Bros-themed convention is sure to display high-caliber competition in its brackets. Following EVO, the most prestigious fighting-game competition the scene has to offer, players are looking for an opportunity to prove themselves in international competition.
Smash 4 at Smash Con 2017 will feature most, if not all, of the household names of the game. The biggest story will be TSM’s ZeRo clashing with the player who upset him at this year’s EVO, MVG’s Salem.
ZeRo is, by a stretch, thought to be the greatest Smash 4 player of all time. However, this status quo was shaken during his most recent loss to Salem’s Bayonetta in the Grand Finals. Although ZeRo’s resume still overshadows every other competitor’s, the set prompted questions about his current reign, character viability, and his future matchups.
Difficulty for ZeRo
ZeRo’s Diddy Kong was once a sure-fire bet. But we’re now seeing skepticism about Diddy being able to topple a strong Bayonetta player. As Salem cleared the smoke for everyone, it’s becoming increasingly clear why Diddy Kong would struggle against a Bayonetta: Large hit boxes, projectiles, strong combos, and high kill-power. These obstacles will be exceedingly difficult for a Diddy to approach, regardless of the great neutral game he possesses.
These two clashing at Smash Con is a main event of sorts. Although Salem came off a dominating performance at EVO, ZeRo’s work ethic has been unmatched across the community.
Similar to Smash 4, Melee’s bracket will bring some serious firepower to this year’s Smash Con.
Four of the five “Smash Gods” will be in attendance: Liquid’s Hungrybox, Cloud 9’s Mang0, MVG’s Mew2King, and TSM’s Leffen. The absent “God” is EVO 2017 champion Armada, which should give way to another player advancing who won’t have to square up against the Peach technician.
The player most likely to benefit from Armanda’s absence is Mang0.
The California native is seen as a wild card in tournaments. He’s a legend of Melee, yet struggles to consistently string together tournament wins. Still, his aggressive play is a thorn in the side of most top players. His ability to utilize multiple top-tier characters also allows him to be dynamic in many different matchups.
Leffen and matchups
Leffen is also considered to be among the wild cards for placing.
Although slightly more consistent than Mang0, Leffen who strictly mains Fox, is at a significant disadvantage against other specific characters. Leffen historically has trouble against Marth, an unfavorable matchup for Fox.
At EVO, we saw The Moon expel a more seasoned Leffen with an impeccable performance using his signature white Marth. Leffen finished a disappointing eight/ninth place at EVO; however, I’d expect him to perform much better this weekend. He typically performs better at smaller venues, and he will not have to face his rival, The Moon, who will not be attending this year.
Mang0, Hungrybox, and Mew2King are my best bets for Smash Con. They’re all liable to win the whole thing, or at least place.
However, we have also seen some recently tenacious performances from players like SFAT, Plup, and Westballz. It’s more than possible we could see any of these names trumping a few of the “Smash Gods” in the bracket.
Ultimately though, any Melee winner outside those four “Gods” would be considered an upset.
The results of Smash 4 are going to be a lot harder to call. As the game develops over time, we’re seeing more players break out and remain at the cusp of the higher rankings.
ZeRo will be the most historically consistent and decorated player at the event, and the top-ranked player doesn’t fall easily in these tournaments.
Further down the rankings, it could be a real toss-up. Larry Lurr, Ally, Salem, Nairo, Dabuz, MKLeo, and Abadango can all subdue each other. Given the wide range of character representation here, I’d effectively say the advantage is in the hands of those players with experience in many different matchups.
Pools for both Smash 4 and Melee Singles will be underway Aug. 11 at 12 p.m. EDT.
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