Analysts Desk: Week 4 Recap
The fourth week of Smash Bowl MMXXI finished this past Sunday, so it’s time for another recap and analysis!
For the second week in a row, the event used the “Phone a Friend” ruleset, which is a standard doubles ruleset. Each player had one partner and fought in two-on-two team matches on standard tournament viable stages. In a major upset, Myles “Myles” McKenzie moved on to Stage Two from the winners’ side, and Leonardo “MkLeo” Lopez Perez advanced from the losers’ side.
MkLeo, one of the favorites to win the entire tournament, won the first set of Group A4 after showing some strong teamwork with his partner, Abraham “MK Bigboss” Slane Parra. The two used Ike and R.O.B respectively, and went up against Colin “Colinies” Landals and Johnathon “Hackoru” Reyes. Originally, colinies was supposed to team with Calvin “Cilvanis” Carter, but he had to switch his partner after some complications.
colinies used both Roy and Young Link, while Hackoru stuck with Lucina for the entire set. From Group A3, we saw that Fire Emblem characters can be extremely effective in teams due to their disjointed attacks that can wall out their opponents and maintain stage control. However, MkLeo’s Ike was just as effective as the Fire Emblem duo, and with R.O.B’s strong zoning tools to back him up, the team managed to maintain control for most of the set. They also had a consistent strategy for taking stocks, with Bigboss using R.O.B’s long throw animations to give MkLeo time to set up strong smash attacks with Ike.
On the other side of the winners’ bracket, we saw another last-minute partner switch, with Jestise “MVD” Negron swapping Troy “Puppeh” Wells for Tacoguyy. The Snake and Wario duo played against Yoshi main Myles “Myles” McKenzie and Mario player Rasheen “Dark Wizzy” Rose. Aside from a close game three that went to MVD’s team, each game ended with Myles and Dark Wizzy forcing Tacoguyy into a two-on-one situation. While he maintained control during game one and almost net a comeback, Tacoguyy was overwhelmed the rest of the set, resulting in a 3-1 victory for Myles’ team.
In winners’ finals, Myles and Dark Wizzy managed to make a massive upset on MkLeo’s team with a clean 3-0 victory. During game two, Dark Wizzy took MkLeo’s last stock early by using Mario’s Fludd on Ike’s up B, forcing him too far away from the stage to grab the ledge. Going into game three, MkLeo switched characters to Cloud, but the switch wasn’t enough to turn the match in their favor.
In the losers’ bracket, MVD and Tacoguyy played against colinies and Hackoru. Much like his first set, colinies went into game one as Roy, but switched to Young Link after losing. The switch seemed to be working game two, but MVD managed to make a two-on-one comeback, ending the game by catching colinies’ double jump with one of Snake’s mortars. In game three, MVD and Tacoguyy controlled most of the screen using Snake’s projectiles and zoning tools, while Tacoguyy weaved around the air with Wario’s strong aerial game. At some points, MVD even stuck C4 to Wario, using him as a moving bomb. The duo won the set 3-0, eliminating colinies from the tournament.
Losers’ finals resulted in another 3-0 set in favor of MkLeo and Bigboss. This time, MkLeo used Byleth and stuck with them for the entire set. He employed the same strategies they used against colinies and Hackoru, focusing on controlling the stage and forcing MVD and Tacoguyy to the corner, while continuing to use R.O.B’s throws to set up for kills at higher percents.
Compared to Group A3, Group A4 had much more variety in both characters and stages. This week, we saw 11 unique characters used across the eight players, four of which were from Fire Emblem. Pokémon Stadium was still the most used stage, with nine games played there. Town & City had three games this week, and both Kalos and Small Battlefield had two.
This coming Sunday, we’re going back to singles matches, but with the “Randoms” ruleset. Each player must select random characters and stages, although they will be limited to a set of nine tournament viable stages. This is the same ruleset used by Group A1, and this will be the last time it is used for Stage One.
The first seed of Group A5 is Tyler “Marss” Martins, a Zero Suit Samus (ZSS) main ranked fifth on the current Panda Global Ranking (PGR). While he’s known for having the best ZSS in the world, that reputation won’t mean much when he’s using random characters. Despite this, he has a fairly diverse pool of secondaries, with some Snake, Ike, Falcon and Joker usage in online tournaments this season. However, his tournament experience with those characters doesn’t compare to his ZSS, and he has little online tournament experience in general compared to the rest of Group A5.
Marss will be playing against the fourth seed, Joshua “Pelca” Bedoya, who is currently ranked 22nd on the Wi-Fi Warrior Ranking (WWR). Pelca is a Snake main, although he’s also used Palutena and Diddy Kong in a few online tournaments. The two don’t have any head-to-head results, so the likely winner here would probably be Marss, based on his prior tournament results and larger character pool. With that said, Pelca does have much more experience in online tournaments, giving him the home-field advantage.
The second seed, Chris “WaDi” Boston, is a R.O.B main ranked 20th on the PGR. While he doesn’t use other characters often, he has two secondary characters in Wii-Fit Trainer and Mewtwo, a character he’s been using since Smash 4. While his online tournament appearances have been scarcer than some of the other players in his group, WaDi has been entering the weekly Xanadu Online brackets this month and performing quite well. He recently placed fourth out of 324 at last week’s tournament.
In his first match, he’s set to play Nicholas “Ned” Dovel, the third seed of Group A5. Ned is a Pokémon Trainer player, currently ranked 32nd on the WWR and 37th on the PGR. He has much more online tournament experience than WaDi, and he’s entered several tournaments a week this month. As for his character pool, he’s used a wide variety in online tournaments, with his most common secondaries being Cloud and ZSS. However, a majority of his results come from his Pokémon Trainer. Currently, he has a 0-1 record against WaDi, losing to him at an offline tournament in January.
It’s difficult to predict how a pool with the Randoms ruleset will go, considering the luck factor. However, based on Group A1’s results, the winner will likely come down to adaptation rather than luck. In that aspect, Marss is the favorite to win due to his long-time experience as a top player. However, Ned’s larger character pool may give him an advantage over some of the character specialists in this group.
You can watch the action this Sunday, November 29, at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT on Thunder Gaming’s Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/thundergamingla.
If you’d like to see the bracket, or learn more about the rulesets and format, you can check out our smash.gg page: https://smash.gg/tournament/smash-bowl-mmxxi/details.
Writer’s Note: This article was written in collaboration with Andrew “PracticalTAS” Nestico, Data Analyst.