After three grueling days of competition in Austin, Texas, Juan "Liquid Hungrybox" Debiedma came out victorious in the Battle of the Five Gods at SxSW, as he earned the title and $13,000 over 19 of the strongest Super Smash Bros. Melee competitors in the world.
This win marks the first time ever that Hungrybox won an event featuring all of the "five gods" of Melee, and it extends a streak of solid performances that includes victories at PAX Arena and DreamHack Winter within the past four months.
"I made my statement. I am Hungrybox. I am here to win," said Hungrybox, emphatically, after winning the Battle of the Five Gods.
In his path to the final bracket, Hungrybox swept his pool in group play, defeating Joey "Lucky" Aldama, DaJuan "WFX Shroomed" McDaniel and Robert "PG Wobbles" Wright, while dropping only one game in the process. His 9-1 game count earned him the No. 1 overall seed, and his pick of opponent in the Winner's quarters.
In the bracket, Hungrybox made a gamble, picking Otto "GC|Silent Wolf" -- a Fox main -- instead of PG Wobbles, an Ice Climbers player -- but he won swiftly in a 3-1 set. Hungrybox's pick resulted in an easier Winner's Semifinals match as Weston "Tempo|Westballz" Dennis upset Joseph "C9.Mango" Marquez in the Winner's Quarters. In the Winner's Semifinals, Hungrybox stopped Westballz' hot streak, defeating him 3-1 to lock up a spot in the Winner's Finals.
On the other side of the bracket, Adam "Armada" Lindgren predictably advanced to the Winner's Finals, defeating PG Wobbles and Justin "PG Plup" McGrath along the way. In Winner's Finals, Hungrybox shocked the assembled crowd as he swept Armada 3-0, enacting a certain measure of revenge for Genesis 3 to make it into the Grand Finals.
Not to be denied, C9.Mango ran through the loser's bracket, defeating GC|Silent Wolf, PG Plup, PG Wobbles, and Armada (getting some Genesis 3 retribution of his own in the process) to meet Hungrybox in Grand Finals. Riding a big wave of momentum, C9.Mango swept Hungrybox in the first set of Grand Finals 3-0 to reset the bracket.
After losing set 1, Hungrybox recalled the thoughts running through his head. "I needed to remember my fundamentals that I went through with my coach, Luis (Captain Crunch), and I had to win game 1 to gain momentum over the set."
In the second set, Hungrybox managed to win Game 1, and from there he controlled the pacing of the entire set. More grab opportunities came for Hungrybox, and an emphatic grab to rest combo sealed Game 4 and a 3-1 victory for the Jigglypuff main.
In regards to winning, "This is the highlight of my whole career. I'm still in shock of winning." He later added, "It's closure in a lot of ways. It's going to start a wave for me and I'm going to follow on through. It was a statement to be made eventually and it finally happened."
In April, Pound 2016 in Virginia and Smash Summit 2 in California will feature high-level action, with several of the gods once again in attendance. As Hungrybox continues to turn heads with every victory, he'll look to further establish himself as one of the best Melee players in the world.
Final Results -- Battle of the Five Gods ($25,000 Prize Pool)
1. Juan "Liquid Hungrybox" Debiedma ($13,000)
2. Joseph "C9.Mango" Marquez ($5,000)
3. Adam "Armada" Lindgren ($3,000)
4. Robert "PG Wobbles" Wright ($1,500)
5. Justin "PG Plup" McGrath ($750)
5. Weston "Tempo|Westballz" Dennis ($750)
7. Otto "GC|Silent Wolf" Bisno ($500)
7. Jason "MVG Cog Mew2King" Zimmerman ($500)