Beyond the Summit

NOTE: This is the first post I’m releasing alongside the launch of my Patreon page. I’ll be keeping it simple. All content on supersmash.blog will remain free for everyone. The Patreon is just for people who want to help support my writing and incentivize me to write more. You can find details on https://www.patreon.com/supersmashblog.

PREFACE: I’ve been working on this post since the week after Summit. A lot has happened since then – work, Thanksgiving break, Pat’s House 3, the Twitch Holiday Bash Invitational, etc. That’s why it’s taken me a while… in addition to the fact that this post is exceptionally long. But there was a lot to write about. And believe it or not, I tried to keep sections as brief as possible. In any case, I hope you find some valuable insight here. I’ve written about a variety of different topics, so feel free to skim through and find headers that are appealing to you. Happy reading.

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This weekend I attended Smash Summit 5 as aMSa’s coach, as we are both professional players for VGBootCamp.

Attending Summit was unexpected. It had not even occurred to me that I could go as aMSa’s coach until MikeHaze messaged me on Twitter asking if I planned on going. Once I realized it was a possibility, I talked with VGBC and Summit, and we made it happen.

My goals going into Summit were two-fold:

  1. Experience the event as fully as I could. I didn’t want to just hole up and play smash all weekend. I wanted to get on the commentary couch. I wanted to connect with people I don’t get to see very often. I wanted to partake in Summit-exclusives like Mafia.
  2. Find some direction as a player. I’ve been coasting for a while, and I wanted this opportunity to help me renew my direction in Melee. Am I content to coast as I have been doing? Should I re-initiate my efforts to improve in Melee? Being in a house for four days with some of the world’s best players, and some of the foremost professionals in esports, would be a great chance to learn more about myself.

Summit turned into the best smash event I’ve experienced. I learned many things over the course of this weekend, including this: I have to go back. Let’s talk about why.

Day 1

I got to the hotel at around 1:00am on Wednesday night. I was sleeping about an hour later. And I was up at 6am for work… alas, I was working remotely on Thursday and Friday. Thanks to the time difference, my workday became 6am-2pm. So I worked from my hotel room, had a conference call at 7am, then grabbed some complimentary breakfast from the hotel and kept working until we all shipped out in vans to the house.

This day was pretty low-key. I got a quick orientation – tour of the house, outline of what expectations were for coaches, etc. Then I unpacked and continued my workday upstairs. I’ve gotta say, trying to get work done while hearing Melee in the next room, knowing you’re so close to playing the best players in the world, is not a fun experience. But I trucked through.

Day 1 was mostly uneventful for me. I did a fair amount of playing, but didn’t play anyone that was better than me. I also didn’t get to play in the first game of Mafia, as it was only meant for players and talent. They did a second round, though, and Hot Bid said I would be okay to play. I suppose the restrictions were pretty loose, and mostly meant for the VIPs/Buy-Ins after an incident where a buy-in torpedoed a game of Mafia.

Once the second game of Mafia ended and day 1 began wrap-up, Hot Bid, the producer of BTS, approached me. He’d seen my tweets from a few weeks prior where I’d been critical of the Summit voting process.

[thoughts on summit’s voting process]

Let me be clear, here: I’ve always thought Summit is an amazing event. I was only critical of the voting process itself, and my tweets reflected that. I want to make sure people see the difference, as another person over the weekend said to me: “So I’ve heard you’re critical of our event.” Which I don’t think fairly represents my views.

Hot Bid talked to me about the criticism he’d seen on social media, and expressed frustration that most of it was, in his eyes, misguided. The number “$240k” had been thrown around a lot, and he felt people incorrectly thought that a lot of it was turning into profit for Summit at the expense of smashers. Instead, he told me, the money goes toward paying for higher production costs as each Summit gets bigger and better. Additionally, he pointed out that the stakes for the voting process must be real, and he believes that voters enjoy participating in the voting process regardless of whether their player gets voted in.

The point I tried to emphasize to him, and others, was that even though the budgeting and distribution of money made sense, it’s important to consider the sentiment of the people engaging in the voting process. Reactions will inevitably vary across the board, but it is not immediately obvious to many participants that they are getting a return, besides merch, on the money they spend (this applies to the participants whose players don’t successfully get voted in – if your player gets in, then of course you’ll feel satisfied with the money you’ve spent).

I wholly concede that if you aren’t paying close attention, it can be easy to ignore the increases in production value from one Summit to the next. But consider that the last event had around five skits, and this season’s summit had more than 10. Each skit requires a decent amount of filming time on media day, followed by several hours of work per skit by the editing team. And shoutouts to the editors and production team at BTS, who essentially worked 24/7 that weekend.

We must acknowledge that Summit’s growth is beneficial to the Melee community’s growth. We had some serious sponsorships at Summit 5, and viewership is always solid. We must also acknowledge that Summit’s growth will continue to require financial support from the community. But it has to be sustainable, and in my view, the current method won’t be sustainable forever.

I am optimistic about the process moving forward, though. Hot Bid mentioned to me a few ideas they have moving forward. Also, the BTS team is fully aware that some people go a little too crazy in order to get votes, and it may be addressed. The stakes should be real, people should feel like they’re getting a return on their investment, and the voting process should be enjoyable and sustainable. Those are the ultimate goals, I think. And it seems to me that Summit is approaching that ideal.

Last important takeaway on this topic is that Beyond the Summit is receptive to constructive feedback. In this case, two staffers approached me personally to get my take in response to my tweets (which were largely rash and comprised of spitballing). If anyone has ideas on how to improve the event and voting process moving forward, I suggest you reach out to them with your ideas. They’re listening.

Day 2

[coaching aMSa]

Singles pools begin, and aMSa was slated to play against Hungrybox, Blea Gelo, and Wizzrobe. I’d mostly been focusing on helping aMSa with Falcon and Fox that week. I studied his sets against S2J and Wizzy, and warmed him up versus Falcon on Friday after I finished my second remote workday.

A lot of people were concerned that I wouldn’t be able to coach aMSa due to the language difference. This was not an issue. I’d asked him ahead of time if he wanted me to work with him through a translator, but as it turns out, we didn’t really have any problem communicating directly. The biggest challenges of coaching were lack of time, and lack of familiarity with aMSa’s approach to tournaments. Studying gameplay is one thing, but truly knowing a player is another.

To be a serious coach, I think you need to develop a trust and familiarity with your player. You need to get a sense of how they like to prepare, what is beneficial for them, what kinds of support they respond to, and so forth. Given our limited amount of time, and the fact that aMSa is a Yoshi player, I found my time best spent focusing on his opponents and how they fight Yoshi.

I passed my notes onto him, and we talked it out a bit in person. We also tried labbing out a few scenarios. I think it helped a bit. At the very least, learning what works against Yoshi helped me serve as a better warm-up partner.

Unfortunately aMSa was defeated by S2J, but he won over Blea. His last opponent in pools was Hbox. They had an extremely tight set. Based on what I’d seen of their previous sets, Puff has a hard time killing Yoshi. Because you essentially can’t edgeguard Yoshi, as he has armor through his huge double jump, Puff needs to sneak under and Uair him at high %, or get a drill Usmash. Drill also beats Yoshi’s parry. Meanwhile, Yoshi can armor through some of Puff’s moves and punish. Yoshi can also zone with eggs, and is very difficult for Puff to challenge while Yoshi is on the ledge.

Hbox did clutch it out, though. He later stated that he felt that matchup is 50-50, and I’d certainly believe it.

[playing Armada, Leffen, and Mew2King]

I mentioned that I didn’t really play anyone above my level on day 1. I wanted to change that for day 2. I was constantly offering to warm people up for their upcoming matches, offering to play any character in any matchup. I do take a lot of pride in my secondaries, but honestly I just wanted any reason to practice against players I never usually get to fight.

Armada’s pool was on this day, and he’d have to fight MikeHaze, Plup, and Shroomed. A relatively tough pool for Armada, considering Plup ended his streak very recently, and Shroomed very nearly defeated Armada over the summer.

I warmed Armada up in Peach vs Fox which was really fun. I’m generally strong versus Peach with my characters, given my experience vs lloD, so it was fun getting to fight the best Peach. He somehow kept grabbing me at 0% and landing Uthrow Dsmash (stupid port priority…), and his edgeguards are obviously strong. But I didn’t feel totally lost.

We next practiced his Fox vs my Marth, assuming that he might end up fighting Shroomed’s Marth (they played this matchup for all three games at GTX). Armada’s Fox… is the best Fox in the Marth matchup that I’ve played. We played for a while and he won every game solidly. That was the hardest matchup I played of the weekend.

I later played Leffen in Fox vs Marth, and it was similarly difficult. I think Armada was slightly harder, but negligibly. I didn’t take games off Leffen in that matchup either.

This was what I wanted out of Summit – getting my ass handed to me. I also wanted to get on the commentary couch. I asked for clearance from staff (they run a tight ship, and I was there as a coach, not commentator), and got it for Armada’s pool.

Plup put on another good show, this time against Armada’s Fox for all five games. Unfortunately it looked like Plup stopped playing as well on game 5, and Armada trucked through to take the set.

Armada kind of washed MikeHaze and Shroomed. That was more or less expected with Mike, as he was Armada’s choice for the pool. As for Shroomed, it looked like it did when they played at GTX.

Later on, I played Mew2King for a while in my Fox vs his Marth. This is the matchup M2K is famous for, so I was excited to get a taste of it. I noticed right off the bat that I couldn’t get too laser happy or lazy in the corner, or he’d just run up and Fsmash me. His in-place Nairs were always tight, and he’d dash away well, making it difficult to threaten him without getting grabbed. Also his grab mix-ups are stellar – he’d throw in Bthrows in the corner to catch a missed tech at low % into jab reset for a regrab. And the strongest part of his game, in my opinion, was his edgeguards. He always seemed to know what option to pick in order to cover spacie recoveries (though I did get a fair number of take-Fair-shines offstage).

That said, as a Marth nerd myself, I tried to abuse areas of his gameplay I’ve been critical of. One of those is his chaingrabs on FD – he usually goes for the Utilt when Marth can choose to keep re-grabbing. I would hard DI behind on the weak Utilts, and the combo would be dropped. Sometimes, I would die anyways. Other times, he would mix up which direction he would Utilt, and my DI was caught and I’d get combo’d. But sometimes I’d live and the combo would vanish. I wanted to force him into uncomfortable scenarios to see how he would react.

Overall, the fact that he’s a good player makes up for a lot. He always picks good options, doesn’t pick options for no reason, and is constantly mixing you up. It was a fun exercise in taking “reverse notes” – what was he doing when I tried to pick this option or that? What would I have done instead, and how do the options compare?

I feel that people often mischaracterize M2K’s gameplay. He’s often described as a “robot.” In my head, “robot” Marth will always be pickig the optimal option and can always carry you to death, essentially leaving you with no options. In my experience, his strength is in his mixups. The moves you can get hit with in neutral will lead to combos, and committing to one option means leaving yourself open to another.

Here’s a good example of the kind of mixups he’s looking for. I started doing slight DI behind on his Uthrows and landing shine. He said, “I want to try something.” So we recreated the scenario, and this time instead of going for the regrab and getting hit by shine (if you pivot grab perfectly, you won’t get shined anyways), he dashed away, then dashed back in and Uair’d me out of my double jump (which followed the shine). Then, I was getting combo’d with no jump. A “robot” wouldn’t have look for that risk (Fox could do nothing, or shine-waveland-down), but M2K found a huge opening.

For what it’s worth, I took games here and there, but M2K is obviously the master of that matchup in today’s meta. After playing Armada and Leffen’s Foxes, though, I know the meta is shifting, and Marth mains need to be prepared.

[the legendary game of Mafia]

I took a break from playing after a while, and hung out downstairs. I noticed Hbox/MikeHaze were playing against aMSa/Axe in Jenga. The Jenga blocks were huge, which made the tower a bit more difficult to knock down. That made the match last really long, especially since there was no timer per turn. Eventually, the match finally ended as Axe nearly avoided the collapsing tower. In case you missed it, the final moment was captured and the picture went viral – you can find it here: https://www.reddit.com/r/AccidentalRenaissance/comments/7aoq4p/the_fall_of_the_tower/. Take your time in examining each person’s face, it’s worth it.

Because the game took so long, we decided to forsake the schedule and go for another round of Mafia, rather than a second game of Jenga.

SPOILER WARNING: In case you didn’t get to watch the game of Mafia live, I highly recommend watching the YouTube vod here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdY1IHLBDJQ. It was broadcast *spoiler free* for the viewers, so you can experience it just like everyone else as long as you avoid the comments.

People seemed to enjoy my Mafia play from day 1, and I was excited to play again. I’d never played before, but had watched it at Summit and always thought I’d be pretty good at it. I consider myself to thrive in group-discussion forums, and I have a lot of performing experience so I felt pretty comfortable in these games.

This time, I was hoping to get Mafia or a power role card, but alas, I was just a regular Townsperson. The game went on as normal for a while. People flipped out, people died, and so on. Eventually suspicion turned its eye on me, and I had a chance to defend myself. I defended myself similarly to the way I had the night before, but brought up that the last time I died, town lost. I was also more proactive in my pro-town reads. Somehow I changed people’s minds, and the vote didn’t pass to kill me. The game continued, and eventually there were only a few people left.

I was consistently on the same page as Scar, and made moves accordingly. The Moon also trusted me, and I can tell when he’s being especially earnest, and it looked to me that he was telling the truth. That’s what made it all the more confusing when Toph was eventually killed, and I was left with Scar and Moon.

I wish I had seen it coming. The night before, in the van on the way back to the hotel, Leffen even told me about a game he’d played where there was no mafia, and the game moderator had been killing people. But it was more believable that I’d missed something, that Scar was an amazing player, or Moon had made some miscalculation as mafia (if he’d killed Scar, we would have killed Toph and if Moon were mafia, mafia would win).

I ultimately chose to kill Moon with Scar, but that was mostly because I had been making moves with Scar the whole game anyways. I still believed Moon, but when forced to make a decision, I chose to stay consistent. Worst case scenario, Scar was a legend and I’d be honored to lose to such a g0dlike play.

But, if you were watching live, you know what happened. There was no mafia at all, and we were all bamboozled. Even though there was no way for town to lose, I felt like we played well. And it was super fun. I think I definitely forged some bonds with some of those guys. You know how people make friends through traumatic events? It’s kind of like that. I’ll always have this bond with those guys. 😛

It was pretty late by the time this wrapped up, so we were all shipped back off to the hotel.

[HootersBox]

Zhu and I had played around with the idea of hitting up In-N-Out Friday night, especially since I’d never been. After hanging out in the lobby for a bit and seeing who was and wasn’t tired, me and Hbox decided to go on an outing by ourselves.

We started walking toward In-N-Out when we spotted a Hooters and decided to grab a couple beers on a whim. Seems like we showed up right after a fight had broken out, as there were a couple bloodied-up guys out front and cops and ambulances.

We just hung out and talked about smash and life. Turns out Hbox and I have a lot in common… we even recently bought the EXACT same desk from IKEA, in the EXACT same color. How did this even come up in conversation?! Freakin’ weird.

We talked about his bid for #1 in the world, and how a Summit victory would solidify his spot. He said he was feeling pretty good about his chances that weekend, speculating that Armada’s seemingly unbreakable spirit was dealt a fatal blow following his defeat at GTX. Hbox said he knew Armada never again wanted to lose like he did at EVO 2016, and we saw an extremely similar sequence of events at GTX, leading to a streak of tournament victories for Hbox.

I also mentioned that I’m feeling motivated again, and had been asking people what they think I’d need to do to move from the 30s range to the top 20. Hbox said, “I know what your weakness is. Closing.” He used my sets versus him and Armada as examples.

If you didn’t see, I played against Hbox just a few weeks prior at Apollo X, where he 3-0’d me. I have a 4-stock to 2-stock lead on game 1, and he made the comeback. And just about everyone has seen my set with Armada at this point, where I didn’t go for the suicide Dair (I still stand by that :P).

I thought it was an interesting thing to point out. And I take his note seriously – he’s the master of closing, after all (CLUTCHBOX). I always try to pay attention to how he changes his tactics on the winning stock of a set. For example, the whole game he threatens you with aerials that hit you offstage, and then edgeguards you. But on last stocks versus Fox, he’ll sometimes go for the knockdown in the corner, feint as if to hit you offstage, then wavedash back and catch your roll in with a rest. It’s actually how he beat Leffen during Winners’ Finals.

Eventually we made it to In-N-Out, had some burgers and fries (Hbox is right – animal style is the way to go). It was a cool ending to the day.

Day 3

[getting better]

As the weekend moved forward, the distractions were getting pushed out of the way and it became more about the game. I didn’t have to work during the day anymore, so I could focus completely on playing and enjoying the event.

I took the opportunity to continue asking people what they thought I needed to do in order to become a top 20 player. Everyone gave different answers, which was expected. No Melee player approaches the game the same way.

Tafo told me I need to make fewer unforced errors. He pointed out that even the difference in the number of errors made by top 6 players and top 20 players in significant, which is a great point. If you watch the top 6 players play, you’ll notice they aren’t always picking crazy options. Instead, they’re just picking options and executing. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. Making a series of decisions in the right direction, and constantly executing those decisions is what ultimately leads to a victory. And that brings me to the next answer I got.

Armada said: “Know all your mixups in neutral, and all your mixups in punish.” I wasn’t expecting such a simple answer, but I’ve meditated on this a lot. At the end of the day, that’s all the game is. You have to consider your mixups in neutral, and how they change with each matchup, and how those change depending on your %, your opponent’s %, and the relative position on stage. If you have at least two or three good mixups in every scenario, and you are able to effectively mix those options up and execute, then you’re golden. This is honestly enough to be a top 70 player in Melee, maybe higher.

SFAT gave me a pretty practical answer. He said that, as someone whose job it is to be top 10 in the world, he finds value in the following: setting aside time to practice, brainstorming with other players in judgment-free zones, and practicing the tools that he will actually be applying in-game. This made me realize that although I’d spent lots of time playing friendlies and netplay over the past couple months, I wasn’t practicing with intention.

This is something you can apply to your everyday life. Performing an action with intention can make all the difference. If you sit down and mechanically practice wavedashing across the stage 10 times each way, kudos to you. But if you tell yourself, “Today I am going to improve my wavedash consistency so that I can execute more consistently in tournament,” then you will sit down and do what is necessary to make that happen. In addition to being more effective in developing muscle memory, you encourage a more positive outlook on improvement. The results will follow.

Certainly easier said than done. But this is a trainable skill. You can train yourself to practice with intention, you can learn to learn.

Since Summit, I’ve tried to be very intentional in winning friendlies that I play. There is a noticeable difference between when I’m playing on autopilot versus when I’m actively considering my options given all the variables, and ingraining better habits into my gameplay. The results are paying off.

[commentating]

In the afternoon, I commentated Group C pools with Zhu, HomeMadeWaffles, and Phil. This was a great commentary couch, in my opinion. We really got to delve into some analysis of the games we were watching, and we had some solid chemistry. Obviously HMW and Phil are staples, but Zhu and I talked about how we felt like we were often on the same page about gameplay analysis. I would definitely love to commentate with him again at some point in the future, however unlikely given that I’m usually competing. But I do love analyzing the game, and I enjoy entertaining the viewers. I got some positive feedback on my commentary, so if the opportunity presents itself again, you can be sure I’ll take advantage of it.

Day 4

[the morning of Rishi’s Falcon]

Tensions mounted as we approached the deadline to crowning the number 1 player in the world. Day 4 was all business – everyone was at the venue in the morning, warming up for their bracket matches.

I started off the day by warming up aMSa for Falcon, as his first match of the day would be S2J. Like I mentioned earlier, I’d been studying the matchup, as we knew it would be one of aMSa’s tougher ones of the weekend. I could feel how bad the matchup was for Yoshi while we played – I kept our games pretty close. Eventually Wizzy asked to play, and he would be much better practice for S2J than me.

When Johnny came upstairs, he walked up to them, looked at the TV, said, “Wizzy what the fuck,” and walked away. It was hilarious.

It was the morning of Rishi’s Falcon, apparently, as I then sat down to play Armada in Peach versus Falcon. A lot of Peach versus Falcon. In fact, we played for over an hour. Man, he makes that matchup feel hard. He just knew how to mix things up in neutral, and he knew the appropriate responses to Falcon’s mixups in neutral. It was super fun, despite my getting beaten for the most part.

I went downstairs to watch Armada versus Wizzy, hoping my practice would pay off. If you were watching the set, you might know where this is going…

Wizzy goes up two games on Armada, and my heart is racing. Did I ruin Armada’s career?!, I think. Well, Armada had been in this spot before and brought it back. And bring it back he did.

[living lavish]

I just wanted to say that Beyond the Summit hired a masseuse and I got a massage at the event. It was awesome. They really go the extra mile in taking care of their guests. Grace specifically mentioned to me some of the players’ food and drink preferences, and they make sure they have everything stocked for players right away. The idea is to make everything as comfortable and enjoyable for the players as possible, and they do a great job of it.

[the rest of bracket]

I, personally, was most excited about Axe’s blaze through the bracket. I’d helped warm him up with my Fox a few times over the weekend, both against his Pika and his Marth, and it was really nice to see his hard work pay off. He was positive, confident in where he was, and played extremely well. Even though he took just one game from Armada, it was an electrifying (Keepo) set to watch. That matchup seems super hard. Whenever I feel less-than-confident about Marth, I remember that people like Axe and Duck are making it happen with Pikachu and Samus.

Remember when I mentioned earlier in this post that Hbox will sometimes save the roll-in read to rest for the winning stock? As Leffen’s last stock came around in winner’s finals, I turned to Axe and mentioned this phenomenon. Not 10 seconds later, Hbox ended the game in that exact manner. It was crazy. How does it keep working?! It’s a testament to Hbox’s ability to condition his opponents and make them scared. If they don’t roll in, they risk getting hit offstage and are forced to play a mixup in which Hbox is edgeguarding… which rarely goes well for Fox. And if Hbox guesses wrong on the roll-in, he keeps stage position. It’s a pretty strong option to pick, especially when the entire set is on the line.

Despite a loss to Leffen in winners, Armada managed to bring it all the way back to Hbox in grand finals. I distinctly recall Armada being down in game 5, and feeling him turn up the jets. Even when the odds were stacked against him, he was pulling through with clean, top-level Melee. Ultimately, the winner of the game is the one who wins the most mixups throughout the match, and by the time Armada was on his last stock, he could only afford to lose one or two more mixups. Even though he started playing better, eventually he lost a mixup and faced defeat.

[the era of Puff]

I wasn’t actually in the room for finals – I was upstairs playing with DaJuan, and we watched from one of the monitors. When I peeked down the staircase, though, I saw a mix of emotions. A lot of tension was released, and the energy levels were generally down. It can be taxing to constantly sit through Puff versus Fox, even if you’re able to appreciate most of the interactions. I could also tell that Armada was pretty crushed – he took some time to process and chat with his brother before rejoining the group at large. It’s understandable that he felt this way, considering the loss cost him the #1 title after such a dominant streak, combined with his disdain for Puff as a character.

Armada isn’t alone in his dislike for Puff, though. Once the afterparty started, people started drinking, socializing, and resumed playing. What stuck out to me was the pow-wow of top players upstairs strategizing on how to beat Puff. It was actually a pretty great visual – all these top 10 players hanging out on DXRacers next to CRTs in a dark room, brooding over the floaty, pink demon of Melee.

I don’t think the era of Puff will last forever. I think Hbox is an extremely good player who maximizes Puff’s strengths and minimizes her weaknesses, but the gap closes everyday. I think a lot of the current top 30 players will need to spend some time specifically developing gameplans for Puff, and we’ll start seeing some better abuses of Puff’s weaknesses.

In particular, I’d like to see the end of this trend where players choose Fox over their main characters versus Puff. Hbox has won entire tournaments fighting only Fox, and he is clearly the best player in that matchup. No Fox will ever get as much practice against Puff as he does against Fox. This especially remains the case as Hbox will never play friendlies against people who are in the bracket. Don’t get me wrong – he doesn’t have any obligation to do so. It’s his right to do whatever it takes to keep winning, and it clearly works.

My personal opinion is that Puff staying on top isn’t healthy for Melee in the long-run. It becomes less entertaining for new viewers, and tedious for Melee veterans. That said, I think this should serve as great motivation for people to get their acts together and beat Puff out of the top 3 in this meta.

Marth and Falco mains, especially, should be preparing for Puff instead of using Fox secondaries. If you go Fox, there’s a chance you’ll pull out some kills, but it won’t work out in the long-term.

If you’ve been keeping up with my Twitter, you know I think Young Link is underrepresented in the current meta. I think people realize that he’s a decent mid-tier character, but given how good he is in the meta, I think he’s not represented by players. A Young Link player could definitely be top 70 or 80 in the current field. YL is probably in the top 5 characters versus Puff – Armada has also said that the reason he stopped playing the matchup is NOT because it’s too hard for YL (though I can’t remember what his actual reason was off the top of my head…).

There’s a decent break before Genesis 5, so get in the lab and start working!

[bittersweet farewell and looking forward]

I wasn’t able to stay through the afterparty because I had to take a red-eye back to Manhattan. Luckily my flight got delayed, so I could hang around for about an hour longer… but leaving that house was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I was so happy to be spending time with all these smashers I’d formed bonds with, happy to be commentating and playing games and getting better and chilling. It was an amazing event, and I wasn’t eager to get back to the real world.

I wasn’t even competing. Even with the great experience I had, I felt I had so much more to offer, and more to gain. One thing became clear after I left:

I needed to come back.

One way or another, I am determined to make it back. I will likely opt into voting for the next Smash Summit. Unfortunately, because I work full-time, I can’t commit to running a full-time campaign. But I have to give it an earnest effort, for my own sake. With my level of motivation, the effort I’ve put into the game, and the entertainment I can provide through commentary and exhibitions/games, I have a lot more to give. And actually competing in the Summit bracket will give me some great experience – more valuable than just warming people up in friendlies throughout the weekend.

I’m thankful for the experience I got, but I’m hungry for more.

In the meantime, there’s a lot more work to be done. I’m looking forward to see how Summit grows with the smash community. I think it’s great exposure and entertainment for us, and them.

That’s about all I’ve got to say on Summit for now. I’ve worked on it sporadically over time, so if I forgot something I can add it back later.

Thanks for reading, especially if you managed to make it through all 6k words! Hope I was able to provide some unique perspective.

Until next post,

Rishi

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