A Reflection on my tournaments this week

It’s spring break! And as we all know, spring break means more smashing.

I got back home about an hour before writing this post. I plan on taking it easy today because Shots Fired 2 is tomorrow! But more on that in a second.

Last week I went to Unity 3, a Melee regional in Maryland. It featured a decent number of MD/VA’s mid-high level players, and I heard that the first two installations of the series were a blast. Additionally, I was looking for a chance to practice before Shots Fired 2. I’ve been working on improving various aspects of my gameplay and wanted a bigger tournament in which to gain some experience with ~practical application~.

The venue was pretty decent. It was connected to a food court, which is always nice, and there were setups aplenty. The stream setup was angled so that, during the day, there was glare on the screen… which is not an issue I have run into before. But it was manageable for the most part, and was no longer an issue as singles got rolling.

I entered teams with Chillin. We were seeded 1st, but ended up getting 2nd place to Milkman and Aglet. We did manage to beat DoH and Nintendude convincingly, but Milkman has recently ascended, and Aglet had a high success rate of edgeguards and rests. In any case, it was good experience for my Marth in teams – Chillin and I decided to go Fox/Marth instead of double Fox (I usually play Fox in teams).

Singles is where it got interesting. Chillin was seeded 4th, behind Nintendude (1), Milkman (2), and DoH (3). I’m not really sure why Chillin was seeded below DoH or Milkman. I’m pretty certain that his results are better than DoH’s, and although Milkman defeated him at Xanadu recently, Chillin, to my knowledge, has the better results. It was strange to see Chillin play Nintendude as early as Winner Semis.

I was seeded 8th, which I felt was too low. But I came into the tournament with the intention of beating everyone anyways, so I didn’t let myself get too caught up with seeding. Sometimes it’s nice to have a shake-up, anyways. At least at a regional.

I played Nintendude in Winners Quarters, and he beat me. I have been learning a great deal about the Marth vs. Ice Climbers matchup over the past several months from playing with him, and I believe my mastery over the matchup has improved significantly. Nintendude is still an amazing player, however, and ended up taking it. I got a few tips from Milkman later – be more stubborn about killing Nana after separation, and he told me a bit about Nana’s recovery habits – and that helped in my set vs. Nintendude in losers. I still lost, but I walked away a bit better at that matchup.

Before my 2nd set with Nintendude, I played Fendy, Mahone, and DoH. I was pretty excited to play Mahone again – he and I had a very tight set last summer that I won 3-2. Soon after that, he came over and played on my stream for a while, and I learned a lot about fighting Puff. This time I beat him with a convincing 3-0, which increased my confidence in that matchup a bit. I’ve talked to Nintendude about this, and we’re convinced that most Marth players still don’t play the Marth vs. Puff matchup correctly. I’m considering doing a write-up on the matchup at some point, but, frankly, I would like to gain some more experience in it first. I think I have a good handle on it fundamentally, but I’ve seen Puff players play it so differently that I want to keep increasing my knowledge first.

I beat DoH 3-1. I’ve always been confident in the Peach matchup. My brother, lloD, is one of the best Peach players, so I’ve had a great deal of access to that matchup. I beat DoH 2-0 at SmashCon, and beat Doll (the OG) in Charlottesville. Earlier last week, however, I actually got double-eliminated by Doll. He played the matchup extremely intelligently, and I got hit by every dash attack. My ~john~ (NO JOHNS!!) is that I was extremely lightheaded, and ended up in the ER the next day, but I can’t discount how well Doll played. Definitely reminded me that no matchup is a free win regardless of how well I know it – you ALWAYS have to try your hardest and play well. If you go into a set with the humble-champion mindset (I’ll probably write about this at some point), this is always achievable.

The first thing I noticed in my set with DoH was how fast he was moving. He was playing way better than I remembered him playing at SSC, and game 1 was super close – he ended up taking it on the last hit. I won the next three games. My takeaway from this set was to never be taken off-guard by the pace your opponent attempts to set at the beginning of the match. I got used to Doll’s slower, somewhat calculated pace, and thrown off by DoH’s ferocious aggression. In a sense, you should go into every match with a blank slate, gather data, and then select an approach method toward the match. I wonder if there is some research to be done on the first portion of every match. Like the first 30 seconds, or first 60 seconds. That might be interesting to look into. I might look at that with all of my own matches and see how what I do and what my opponent does affects the result of game 1, and eventually, the set.

Two days after Unity 3, I was back in Charlottesville, and entered our weekly. This time, I played Doll twice (again), and 3-0’d him in Winners Finals and Grand Finals. They were close matches – all 1- and 2-stocks – but I was feeling much better about how I was playing. I was hoping to get some grinding with him at some point during the week, but it was an extremely busy week so we couldn’t swing it, regrettably. But expect him on my stream at some point! It’s always fun playing with him, especially when you consider that he actually inspired my brother to play Peach seriously (Doll = lloD ??).

Also, Wednesday was my birthday! Woo!

So yeah. It was a good couple of tournaments. Theorycrafting and practicing in the lab is good, but it is very important to get in-tournament application.

Looking forward…

Tomorrow is Shots Fired 2. I’m very curious to see how it goes. A lot of people are skeptical about the event given MVG’s reputation, but at the end of the day, it’s a bunch of smashers playing the game. So one way or another, I’m looking forward to playing everybody and to trying my hardest in bracket. I’m entering Melee singles and doubles, and Smash 4 singles. I was going to enter Smash 4 doubles, but lloD didn’t want to play it at all and I couldn’t find a partner. Ultimately I think that is for the best – this will give me a chance to focus more on the three events I’m entering, which I do value far more than Smash 4 doubles.

I’ll be heading to New Jersey at around 5am EST tomorrow morning (tonight?) with lloD, and then the tournament runs all day! I’ll definitely be updating via Twitter. Antics are sure to ensue. I’ll write a follow-up post to this reflecting on the Shots Fired 2 experience.

Wish me luck, and if you’re going to be at Shots Fired 2, please introduce yourself to me! This weekend, I’m looking to meet a lot of people and play a lot of smash. And to win.


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