This is the tournament’s results page on Smashboards, and you can find some vids there . It was in Virginia at C3, the home tournament for a lot of the best Smash players in the country. I didn’t enter (didn’t want to bet $12 that I would do well yet), but I did play a lot of casuals and watch a lot of the tournament. Some thoughts!
-Awesomely varied character selection. The only characters I didn’t see were Jiggly, Sheik (Zelda, though), Mario, and Yoshi, although that doesn’t necessarily mean that nobody was playing them. The characters I saw the most of were MetaKnight, Marth, Toon Link, Snake, Dedede, Diddy, and Pit, mostly in that order. The top 5 placers in singles used Lucario, Fox, Dedede, MetaKnight, Bowser, Snake, and Olimar.
-No items, few stages. These are some of the best and most influential players in the Smashboards scene, so this was to be expected in the tournament. I thought they might at least mess around with items in casuals just to test them out, but no, no items/few stages there either. I played casuals with a few guys who reluctantly turned some items on after my fellow SRKers and I hounded them, and the winners/losers were mostly the same as when items were off. For most of the Smash guys I talked to, the justifications for banning items were either because items were broken or because that was how they were used to playing. I got into a discussion with one dude about how strategically interesting some items can be, but he didn’t seem to get what I was talking about.
-Very few people play a good spacing game. The top players do, obviously, but the vast majority of the 71 people who showed up depend almost exclusively on mixups. There were guessing games like run-hit/run-shield/run-grab, dodge/shield/hit/grab when the opponent runs at you, etc, and people pretty much just ran at each other and played up close. I asked a guy I was playing why nobody tries to space themselves right, and he didn’t know what I meant, so I explained. He said something like, “Oh, camping? I hate campers, I would never do that.”
-Lots of SRKers were able to go even with or beat lots of Smash players. I’m not sure how many of us entered the tournament, a couple names in the results list be misheard SRKer names, but I know that Steve Harrison entered and I’m pretty sure that’s him at #33, meaning he had a couple wins (using DK). But in casuals we did pretty well. Epsilon_ (Pit) and I (ROB/Bowser) beat a guy who got so pissed (because he knew we were SRK and had just picked the game up) that he threw his controller on the ground in disgust. My friend Pete (BigAzn) who had played the original 64 game beat a bunch of dudes with Kirby, SLogan did well with Ganondorf (after I gave him a literally 30-second-long explanation of Ganon’s moves etc), USMC Jaguar did well with Ike, and so on. We identified high-priority moves, spammed them, played spacing games, and won, just like we’ve done in every fighting game ever.
-This one 11-year-old kid was ripping people up with multiple characters. It was sick, the people he beat laughed the first time he beat them and got super pissed the second time. Really impressive.
-High-level Brawl is really interesting to watch. The loser’s finals and grand finals had great spacing, good mixups, excellent stage and ledge control, and great usage and knowledge of the characters’ moves.
-Way smaller tournament than I expected. Most estimates for how many people would show up were looking at 100 people, and some said 150, but only 71 actually came. The speculation I heard as to why was that a lot of Melee players just don’t like Brawl as much. I didn’t find out why.
Also, I hung out with a lot of SRKers who went to Final Round and are friends with Justin Wong, and according to them Justin either thinks Smash is a kid’s game or that Smash players are sucky kids (they weren’t 100% clear on this). Apparently before playing in FR he’d watched 2 YouTube videos and played Diddy for about 20 minutes, and that was his whole experience with Smash. He noticed the same thing I did about most Smash players, that for most of them the game is entirely about mixups, like whether you’ll run and hit or run and shield, and he didn’t find it terribly hard to beat most of them. He placed 2nd using Diddy and ROB, if you hadn’t heard.