Don't Park on the Grass in Seattle, Washington last weekend brought together strong competition for the last Super Smash Brothers Melee major of 2016. Heavy hitters William "Leffen" Hjelte and Juan "Hungrybox" Debiedma were in attendance, creating an undeniable buzz around the event considering the year Hungrybox and Leffen have had.
For Leffen, the year has been full of high and lows as he recently received an approved work visa to travel back into the United States. He was denied entrance into Genesis and Evo 2016 earlier in the year, and only started seriously competing in events one month ago at Smash Summit 3. Still, his year includes Get On My Level 2016 where he defeated four of the five gods in consecutive sets to win the tournament. There are some positives to take from 2016, but it doesn't hurt if he could add one more victory to his belt before the year is over.
Hungrybox kicked off 2016 with a 3rd place finish at Genesis, but rattled off nine 1st place finishes out of his next 13 tournaments. This included a monumental 1st place victory at Evo 2016, but since then, he's stumbled slightly. Out of his last nine tournaments he has only been able to secure the top spot once, instead settling in second place five times (including Don't Park on the Grass). Still, to call Hungrybox anything other than successful in 2016 would be an understatement.
As Leffen prepares for 2017, he has taken the game seriously again, forming his own netplay group to play against other good players in Europe.
However, things didn't start too well at Don't Park on the Grass for the Fox main from Sweden as he entered the main phase of the bracket.
In his first big test, he defeated Ryan "The Moon" Coker-Welch, but the set was close. The match may have been the wake up call that Leffen needed to propel him through the rest of the event.
In the next round, he dismantled Edgard "n0ne" Sheleby in three quick games, which also included a four stock. In top 8, he defeated his rival, Zachary "SFAT" Cordoni, in another three game set to advance into winners finals. His next opponent would be Hungrybox.
In their last encounter at UGC Smash Open, Hungrybox defeated Leffen in four games, but Leffen put together a much more composed game this time around. He still made small errors throughout the match, but his play was just clean enough to scrape by in a 3-2 victory.
In losers finals, Hungrybox defeated Weston "Westballz" Dennis in four games to force a rematch with Leffen in grand finals.
Hungrybox started the set strong with long grab combos, rests and edgeguards, but Leffen slowly withered him down. While Hungrybox seems to regularly escape other people's combos, Leffen perfectly executed Fox's up-throw into up-air barrage; this frequently led into much needed early kills. Both players made mistakes throughout the set, but Leffen clutched out the final game to take the tournament.
With the victory, Leffen, who holds himself to incredibly high standards, can leave 2016 on a high note with a win at Don't Park on the Grass, and smile in his confidence knowing that he can compete in 2017, no longer hindered by the visa issues that plagued him in 2016. For Hungrybox, it's another good tournament where he fell just short of another victory.