A Royal Flush - an ace, king, queen, jack, and ten all in the same suit. The hand of the highest possible value in a game of poker. The aptly named Royal Flush tournament this weekend will indeed also contain the best, the 'creme de la creme.' But rather than poker, players at Tropicana Atlantic City will be competing in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Wii U for a juicy combined 10K pot bonus.
Summer is coming. And if you follow the Smash scene, you know that summer is the time of year where the largest and most prestigious tournaments take place. Events on its cusp will likewise grant attendees an opportunity to kick-off the new season with gargantuan momentum. Royal Flush this weekend is one such tournament, and professional players will be fighting tooth-and-nail as they try to assert their dominance.
On the Melee side of things, titans such as Adam "Armada" Lindgren, Juan "Hungrybox" DeBiedma, and Joseph "Mang0" Marquez will be duking it out for first place. Equally skilled players on the Smash Wii U side include uncontested number one player Gonzalo "ZeRo" Barrios, Elliot Bastien "Ally" Carroza-Oyarce, Samuel "Dabuz" Buzby, and Nairoby "Nairo" Quezada, among others.
Armada has placed first at every major tournament since early October. Tournaments like Genesis 4, Dreamhack Winter 2016, Smash Summit Spring 2017, and more, have been his domain. He's the strong favorite to win unless Hungrybox and Mang0 can figure out how to dethrone the current ace. For Smash 4, ZeRo is almost unanimously favored to take the cake given his ten-tournament victory streak and overall consistency. It's safe to say that both Armada and ZeRo have the hot hands right now, but that's not to say that there aren't competitors of similar caliber who won't take their shot.
Mang0 vs Mang0
Mang0 is a phenomenal Melee player. When he's feeling himself, he has the potential to beat anybody and everybody, even number one ranked Armada. But when he's not, he's... not. As of recently, he has placed relatively low, occupying spots such as 9th, 13th, and 7th at national tournaments.
Subsequently, there's been talk of 'The Kid' falling off recently, and maybe his placings show this. But Mang0 has been through lulls in his career before only to quickly snap out of them and place well again. That's just the player Mang0 is. Besides Hungrybox, Mang0 has the best chance of ripping first place from the favorite to win, Armada. Will we see him break his three-month dry spell this weekend? Interestingly enough, he hasn't dropped a tournament on Mother's Day for the past three years. Only time will tell if his streak is indefinite or not.
Kings and queens
In poker, maybe kings and queens can't beat Aces. But in Smash Bros., it's entirely possible. In fact, those on the edge of the Melee big three pose one of the biggest threat to them. William 'Leffen' Hjelte and Zack 'SFAT' Cordoni, both skilled Fox specialists, seek to finally break through the mold and defeat their higher-ranked demons. They will want to use a new strategy against them and others considering their respective 7th and 9th placings at Dreamhack Austin earlier in late-April.
Placing second at the very same tournament was Daniel "ChuDat" Rodriguez, who, after taking down both Mang0 and Mew2King, has shown the world his ability to slay gods and take names. Falcon main Justin "Wizzrobe" Hallot is on a similar boat after placing an impressive 5th at Dreamhack.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, the story is not so different. There are so many fierce players on the Wii U that we can expect some unforeseen upsets and wonky placings all across the board. Coming hot off second place finish at CEO Dreamland after a close 3-2 set against ZeRo, Ramin "Mr. R" Delshad is seeking to put the final nail in the coffin of the Chilean beast.
In late March, Samuel "Dabuz" Buzby" won 2GGC: Civil War, widely considered to be one of the most notable and difficult Smash 4 events of all time. With such a momentous victory, Dabuz has proved himself more than capable of taking a tournament with all of the toughest talent present.
Jason "ANTi" Bates, James "VoiD" Tyson are also top-ten ranked contenders whose recent decent placings are nothing to trifle with.
A real royal flush
The real kicker for the Smash 4 storyline this weekend -- beating ZeRo. The Diddy main from Chile hasn't dropped a single tournament since late March. And if everything pans out how it should, he could be adding another title under his belt. If past Wii U tournaments tell us anything, though, it's that things rarely go as expected.
There are five players who have the best chance at taking down ZeRo: Ally, Nairo, Mr. R, ANTi, and Dabuz. All five have the capacity to defeat him -- but to get there, they'll inevitably run into each other. That's where we expect to see the most chaos.
Nairo can consistently beat his fellow top five players, but cannot do the same against ZeRo. ANTi has been placing shaky lately but has the same 'make-or-break' factor Mang0 has, and so is nowhere near out of the picture.
Ally poses the biggest threat to ZeRo this weekend, having sent him to losers last week at Dreamhack and having shown to be able to consistently beat him in the past. Mr.R is a close second, and Dabuz also has a solid chance if he's playing like he did at Civil War. All in all, the competition is so dense and talented that trying to make predictions is near impossible.