The largest Canadian Smash tournament ever managed to deliver exciting, high level gameplay for an ecstatic audience.
Early on, Edgard "n0ne" Shelby stole the show. After an early loss to Mustafa "Ice" Akcakaya, n0ne rallied to defeat heavy-hitters Kevin "PewPewU" Toy and Hugo "HugS" Gonzalez in the losers' bracket. His next opponent would be Echo Fox's new acquisition -- Jason "Mew2King" Zimmerman -- which many thought would be the end of his run.
In the past decade, Mew2King has never lost a set at a major against Captain Falcon, but n0ne was not intimidated by the facts. With the audience behind him, he dictated the pace of the series confidently while finding crucial reads on Mew2King's Sheik. In the final game, n0ne unleashed a forward smash to eliminate Mew2King 3-1. Shortly after, n0ne's run ended against Joey "Lucky" Aldama in the top eight. Although it was bittersweet, the audience applaudeded their local hero for his impressive showing.
The Gods and Leffen
The big question mark was whether William "Leffen" Hjelte could redeem his poor showing at EGLX earlier this month. In the winners' bracket, he started off by taking a close set against Mew2King. Over time, Leffen felt comfortable and the jitters started to disappear. In the winners' semifinals, he took the first two matches quickly over Adam "Armada" Lindgren in the Fox mirror matchup, which forced Armada to switch to his comfort pick, Peach.
Peach worked for a game, but Leffen persevered to take the set 3-1.
In the winners' finals, Leffen's prowess against the Jigglypuff matchup was put on full display. Despite throwing some massive leads, Leffen looked dominant against Juan "Hungrybox" Debiedma. With the win under his belt, Leffen sat waiting for the grand finals.
The Losers' Bracket
After an earlier loss to Weston "Westballz" Dennis, Joseph "Mango" Marquez had to claw his way back through another run through the losers' bracket. Along the way, he defeated Justin "Wizzrobe" Hallett and Dajuan "Shroomed" McDaniel to advance to the quarterfinals.
With the loss to Leffen, Armada and Mango faced off, with the loser of the matchup falling to fifth place. Mango struck early with his Fox to take the first match and switched to Captain Falcon and Falco to ensure that Armada could not adapt to his change in characters. Sloppy play from Armada -- especially against Mango's Falco -- sealed his fate.
Mango continued through the losers' bracket, defeating Lucky and Hungrybox to face Leffen in grand finals. With three gods down and one to go, Leffen could see the finish line waiting for him. All he needed to do was defeat Mango.
"With three gods down and one to go, Leffen could see the finish line waiting for him."
Leffen put a stop to any of the momentum that might've carried over, placing up an iron wall of defense against Mango's aggression. Leffen's steadfast play found openings that led to extended combos and the leads widened as he took the first two games. Mango clawed his way back to win game three, but it was too little too late as Leffen had Final Destination left in his arsenal.
Mango switched to Marth and looked Mew2King-esque with his chain grab combos, but Leffen remained calm and collected, taking down Mango in game four to win the set.
In his post-tournament interview, Leffen cited the importance of raising his consistency and improving his mindset in order to compete at the top level. He had some slip ups against Hungrybox, but he fought through by sticking to his fundamentals and keeping calm. His tournament run was one of the most impressive ever, defeating four gods in a row without dropping a single set.
With Leffen back, the summer of smash continues to look more exciting as everyone shapes up for tournaments like CEO, Evo, and Super Smash Con. His timeline in the United States is still uncertain, but hopefully, he's able to get a visa so that he can continue competing.
After this tournament, the Melee world wants him back for good. And surely, he has more to prove.