History of a Smasher

Joined
Jun 18, 2002
Messages
4,809
Location
Northern Virginia
#1
Links to Each Part (updated 12-16-10):

Note: Part 1-7 all posted on 11-11-10

Part I (in this post)
Part II: http://www.smashboards.com/showpost.php?p=11589769&postcount=2
Part III: http://www.smashboards.com/showpost.php?p=11589889&postcount=6
Part IV: http://www.smashboards.com/showpost.php?p=11589947&postcount=8
Part V: http://www.smashboards.com/showpost.php?p=11590063&postcount=15
Part VI: http://www.smashboards.com/showpost.php?p=11590355&postcount=18
Part VII: http://www.smashboards.com/showpost.php?p=11595187&postcount=44
Part VIII (11-12-10): http://www.smashboards.com/showpost.php?p=11600995&postcount=77
Part IX (11-15-10): http://www.smashboards.com/showpost.php?p=11615294&postcount=126
Part X (11-18-10): http://www.smashboards.com/showpost.php?p=11640445&postcount=228
Part XI (11-25-10): http://www.smashboards.com/showpost.php?p=11689798&postcount=317
Part XII (12-16-10): http://www.smashboards.com/showpost.php?p=11817984&postcount=427
Part XIII (4-11-11): http://www.smashboards.com/showpost.php?p=12520922&postcount=500
Part XIV (4-15-11): http://www.smashboards.com/showpost.php?p=12545229&postcount=521
Part XV (11-24-15): http://smashboards.com/threads/history-of-a-smasher.290961/page-15#post-20495018
Part XVI (12-2-15): http://smashboards.com/threads/history-of-a-smasher.290961/page-15#post-20535260

Part I - Azen Zagenite

It was the year 2000. I was not even eleven years old, and I sucked *** at videogames. But the concept of competitive videogaming was still foreign to me; at the time, I felt like everyone just said they were good at any game they'd played even if they had never put their skills to the test. I followed this pattern myself: when SSB64 came out, despite the fact that the most advanced things I could do were roll and shieldgrab, I thought I was the ****. So did my brother, who some of you may know as Mild Soss, one of the founding members of H2YL. We went roughly even in SSB64, although he won more (and those of you who have played Mild know this means I sucked).

One day Mild was talking about a friend he had met in school. I was still in elementary school at the time and Mild had moved on to middle school. He knew of a kid in his German class named Chris who was supposedly really good at Smash 64. Naturally, I was skeptical. "This guy prolly sucks," I remember telling Mild after he mentioned him. "I'll beat him."

So Mild invited him over. I introduced myself to him as Kashan, and to my surprise instead of asking me to call him Chris, he requested that I call him Azen. As "Azen" started handing out beatings, I remember thinking "wow, I didn't know this game could be played like this." I remember wondering why Azen was moving so much faster than Mild and I, but I figured he just knew what he was doing; not once did the thought of advanced techniques enabling faster movement cross my mind.

Azen whooped our ***** with multiple characters, including beating our Pikachus (both me and Mild's main) with Link. This was the first time I realized that being good at a game wasn't just based on how good you could make yourself sound. Azen showed me that competition through videogames was not only possible, but that there was a huge learning curve and I was nowhere near the top.

No, this didn't inspire me to get good at Smash. To be honest, I remember thinking to myself, "whatever, I don't like this game that much anyway." That ended up being irrelevant; Mild and I started hanging out with Azen regularly and playing various games, and regardless of the genre of the game, Azen would almost always destroy us.

It didn't take me long to realize something: just like there are genius scientists and revolutionary professional athletes, Azen was a prodigy in his field, and I had a good feeling that it wasn't just because me and Mild were garbage.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 18, 2002
Messages
4,809
Location
Northern Virginia
#2
Part II - Super Smash Bros. Melee

So it continued: Mild and I started hanging out with Azen (and his good friend Keith, aka Anden Hellseenkee, who he had been friends with since they were kids living on the same Air Force base). The four of us played SSB64 and other games regularly, and I noticed that Anden also seemed to have a bit of a knack for gaming, although it wasn't nearly as obvious as Azen's. I never got that competitive in this time period; games were still just about messing around and having fun, even though I ended up last most of the time regardless of what game we were playing. An important factor to keep in mind is that I was around eleven years old at the time while Azen, Anden and Mild were approaching 14: I had an age disadvantage, or so I thought at the time.

In early 2001, Nintendo announced their next entry in the Smash series: Smash Bros. Melee. All of us were blown away by the graphics when videos started to be released, and we all got extremely excited for the game months before it came out. I remember calling Sheik as my main, which she did end up being for the first year or so of the game's release. We kept up to date on every new trailer released and were as ready as anyone for the game's release in December 2001.

Then the day came. Azen and Mild went to a store where the game was released at midnight and each picked up a copy. I woke up the next day and Mild showed me the game case and I practically **** my pants. I had to get a couple rounds in before school; I think my first match ever was my Sheik vs Mild's Ness on Onett. The game was everything we expected and more.

We all played religiously for the first few months of the game's release. I didn't realize it at the time because Azen would choose any character he wanted and demolish us, but we were actually getting pretty good for the time. But, since I assumed Azen was just an above average player, I thought I was pretty terrible.

One day in February or March of 2002, Azen discovered Smashboards. He ended up visiting someone's house right near him and playing a Samus player by the name of Jose, or Jtanic. I recall Azen telling me about this and thinking "wow, Azen could have gone to a child molestor's house or something, this smashboards thing sounds shady." At the time this actually seemed like a realistic scenario that could happen.

After a couple months and meeting Jtanic a few times I decided Smashboards wasn't so bad and I was ready to make my own account. I did so and I loved the forums at first - finally, a place where people care as much about Smash as I do. Slowly I started to see tournament threads popping up and one night I talked to Azen about it. We played this game all the time and thought we were decent, why not put our skills to the test?

So we decided to do it, and I set out to find a venue. I ended up getting in contact with American Legion, a surprisingly good tourney venue especially for our first tournament ever. The date was set: August 17, 2002, the first test of our Smash skills.
 
Joined
Jun 18, 2002
Messages
4,809
Location
Northern Virginia
#6
Part III - Our First Tournaments

We got a pretty good amount of interest for our tournament in Woodbridge, VA, and we hoped that at least 25-30 people would show up. The day finally came and we showed up to our own tourney three hours late, but it didn't matter because everyone else was at least four hours late.

The final turnout was 14 entrants. Anden, Azen and I were extremely excited regardless; finally, other players who were serious about Smash. We randomized the brackets totally; seeding never crossed our minds when no one knew how good anyone else was.

We had a grand total of two setups. Not bad considering it was one of the first Melee tournaments ever. The venue was way more than we needed; it ended up being a perfect venue for a much larger-scale tournament a couple years later but at the time we only used a small corner of the room.

As the first round started we realized something: if we weren't good at this game, we were at least not bad. All three of us won our first round matches; Azen and Anden won theirs with ease. Keep in mind we were unaware about how most people played Smash competitively; in fact its questionable how many people played Smash competitively at the time period. As such, we had certain items on and set to Very Low, and had every stage on random select. It was 5 stock single-match; 2 out of 3 sets were rare during early tourneys. We also stated that everyone could only use one character for the entirety of the tournament - this seemed to be the standard at the time and counterpicks were unheard of.

My first round was a Sheik ditto on Hyrule Temple, and I barely won. The thrill of beating someone in tournament was awesome, especially at a time when every match in the bracket was a tossup. My next match was against a DK player and we randomed to Poke Floats; I barely lost, which I didn't mind at all at the time since I still assumed I was garbage.

Luckily for me, we were one of the few early tournies to use double elimination properly and I got a second chance. It ended up being fortunate for Azen too; to the shock of Anden and I, Azen's Link was beaten in the third round by a Yoshi player named Eric from Maryland. We were surprised, but also pleased that there were others on the same level of play as us.

The winner's finals ended up being Anden vs Eric and Anden's Jigglypuff squeaked it out over Eric's Yoshi. I won a match or two in loser's only to have to face Azen for my tourney life. I lost, of course, but my match with Azen eight years ago started a trend I have yet to break: getting extremely close to beating Azen in tourney but coming up just short.

Azen got his chance for revenge against Eric in loser's finals and succeeded, bringing up Azen vs Anden in the finals. Azen almost always beat Anden as well and this time was no different. Azen pulled it out and unsurprisingly to Anden and I, Azen was the champion of our first ever Melee tournament. Anden in 2nd place and myself in 4th were both relatively surprising, though; neither of us thought we were above average in Melee until then.

(Note: the finals of this tourney can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-xSNzYqHGg )

We also ran teams at this tournament although it was for no entry fee and no one seemed to take it that seriously. One important thing that did come out of the team tournament was Azen and Anden's team name. I asked Anden for a team name as I wrote up the bracket and he thought for a second before stating: "team Ha Ha You Lose." This, as you may know, ended up being the name for our Smash crew, which would become one of the most dominant crews of all time.

Eric, the Yoshi player who placed 3rd, also had a group of friends he played with regularly. Their crew was called DYCE at first, using the first letter of each of their names. These players would end up being our first real rivals, and it didn't take long for the rivalry to begin.

The next tournament we attended was held by an old school Samus player named Kengo in Maryland. The venue was a hotel room, not as nice as our venue but still decent. The turnout was much bigger: close to 30 players entered. One of the strangest things for me at age twelve was the age of most of the other tourney players. Even Azen and Anden were on the younger side and they were both a few years older than me.

Anden and I both made it through a few rounds before losing. The tournament was single elimination, single round, which seemed to be common during those times. It was also notable because it was the first items off tourney we attended. It was also 5 stock, which was normal for MD/VA tourneys in 2002-04.

The bracket at this tournament was godawful and there ended up being a three way tie for first: Azen, Eric and Eric's friend Derrick, a Sheik player and another member of DYCE. They played it out and Derrick ended up on top, with Azen placing third. This was our first taste of being bested and it motivated us quickly: we all went home that night and played for hours. In our mind, H2YL could easily be the best Smash crew, we just had to overcome the enemy. And in 2002, the enemy was DYCE.
 
Joined
Jun 18, 2002
Messages
4,809
Location
Northern Virginia
#8
Part IV - H2YL Expands

After our 2nd tournament, we really considered ourselves a Smash crew. Azen, Anden, Mild and I played all the time and became H2YL. Jtanic played with us regularly too and by November 2002 was also a part of the crew. In December 2002, we met another Smasher who would end up joining our crew and be the last member to join H2YL for five years.

Jtanic decided to use his own house as a venue for a tournament. While it was cramped and pretty ghetto, it ended up being a good venue since we didn't have any kind of money or time constraints. We were getting used to running tourneys and ran the tourney efficiently with a bunch of setups, but the bracket was still garbage as we ended up with another three way tie for first.

My first round in this tournament was against a Mario player from New Jersey. It was crazy to me that someone would travel so far just for a Smash tourney, and I actually felt bad knocking him out of the tourney (it was single elimination). Azen, Anden Mild and Jtanic all won their first rounds as well.

I had to play Mild second round and barely beat his Falco with Sheik. It was probably the ugliest match of all time; Mild's Falco never used B moves except to recover and forward smash was 90% of his offense. He was angry about the bracket, but me playing Mild early ended up being the least of the problems with the bracket.

I lost to Eric, who was now a Peach main instead of Yoshi. I remember getting hit by a downsmash and taking around 60%, which made my jaw drop. We realized that Peach was an underrated character. Derrick, the Sheik player from DYCE, ended up taking out Anden and two of the top three were set: Derrick and Eric, both members of DYCE.

The last match to get into the top 3 was Azen vs a Fox player named Daniel Rodriguez. Azen went Falco for this tournament; at the time Azen used every character regularly and although he considered Link his main at first, he often changed characters for different tournaments.

In this 6-stock match (6 stock was our way of making up for single elimination, lol) it came down to last stock last hit on FD. Daniel's Fox barely edged out Azen's Falco and Azen ended in 4th. We tried to round robin for the top 3 spots between Eric, Derrick and Daniel but Eric kept beating Derrick, Derrick kept beating Daniel and Daniel kept beating Eric so we just called it a three way tie.

Bracket issues aside, the tourney was a huge disappointment for H2YL. Even our best player could only manage 4th place and we started to wonder if DYCE was really better than us. The only thing we could do was keep training, and that we did, despite the fact that we didn't know of any local tournies announced for the first few months of 2003.

We eventually got in touch with Daniel (or "spanish_d00d" on smashboards) and began playing with him, and I remember seeing a similar knack for videogames in him that I saw in Azen at first. We went to Daniel's house one day and he and Azen had extremely intense matches back and forth. Going even with Azen was something no one in H2YL could do on a regular basis.

Soon thereafter, we decided to add Daniel to our crew. He didn't have his main yet but in a few years he would become the best Ice Climbers player in history; most of you know him better as Chu Dat.
 
Joined
Jun 18, 2002
Messages
4,809
Location
Northern Virginia
#12
Yeah im typing the next part right now, it starts to get good

and lol @ above post, azen is half filipino and half white so yeah hes technically asian and looks asian. did you think he wasnt because his name is chris? lol
 

Hadster

Smash Cadet
Joined
Feb 14, 2010
Messages
58
#13
Really really nice thread.

There are a lot of people who are very interested about history like this, and you are one of the first people to actually write it down in a proper format.

Keep it up dude.
 
Joined
Jun 18, 2002
Messages
4,809
Location
Northern Virginia
#15
Part V - New Rivalries

One thing that's important to understand about this time period is how different tournaments were when there wasn't a favorite to win it. Azen, Eric and Derrick started establishing that they were forces to be reckoned with, but in 2002-03, if you went to a Smash tournament, there was no Ken or M2K to worry about. Everyone felt like they had a shot to win, because no one knew how good anyone else they hadn't played yet was. Add this to the fact that there was no established tier list, and it was an extremely exciting time to be a Smasher; there was no such thing as a guaranteed win or loss no matter who you were playing against.

Back to the story - H2YL had just been humbled by DYCE and Daniel but we added Daniel to our crew. This made our training sessions great - we regularly had between four and all six members of H2YL training hardcore. We did this for several months without knowing how much progress we were making because of a severe lack of tournaments in the MD/VA area in 2003 - it took over 6 months after the tourney at Jtanic's house for us to compete in a tourney setting again.

I was getting to a frustrating point in Smash - the other members of H2YL were improving faster than me. I figured this was probably because I was the youngest (Chu was around the same age as Azen/Anden/Mild and Jtanic was a few years older), but I know now that age is pretty much irrelevant in terms of Smash skill. One night I was training with Azen one-on-one, and he had a recommendation.

"Why not try a different character?" At first I brushed this off; Azen used every ****ing character in the game, so of course he would recommend I try someone new. Later in the night though as I took his advice I realized he had a good point. My skills were getting stagnant with Sheik, why not try someone new?

I messed around with Young Link and Peach among others, but in the end I settled on Azen's personal recommendation of Fox. Once I really dedicated myself to playing Fox, I started to love the character and see that he fit my style much better than Sheik or Peach or Young Link. Gradually Fox replaced Sheik as my main.

Despite the lack of tournaments we continued posting on Smashboards regularly and new players were popping up in the MD/VA area, including MarthMasterMD (who some of you know now as M3D). He wasn't very good as a player but he was very into the tournament scene, and thanks to him we finally had another tourney to look forward to: the DC Area Super Smash, or DCSS1 in July of 2003. We checked the thread regularly and saw DYCE was planning on going, so we all geared up our training to make sure H2YL came out on top.

And that we did, with ease. The 6-month training session without a single tournament had done something none of us thought it would: it elevated all of our games beyond anyone else in the area.

I 3 stocked Derrick's Sheik (out of 5), and the rest of H2YL dominated as well except for Anden, who began a streak of uncharacteristically bad losses in tourney. The top 4 was Azen, Chu, me and Mild in that order, and in just one tournament H2YL demonstrated complete dominance of the MD/VA area.

This continued a month later when Jtanic held another tourney at his house; the top 5 was Azen, Anden, Jtanic Mild and me in that order. H2YL had basically swept two straight MD/VA tournies; the rivalry with DYCE was over and H2YL had come out on top.

We had plenty of room to talk smack on Smashboards and we made use of it. I remember a newer player named "En.Ee.Oh" (NEO) claiming I had a "generic fox" online. He came to a fest shortly thereafter and after I destroyed him with Fox in repeated friendlies, he told me while sitting in the back of the room watching me play someone else: "you don't have a generic Fox Chillin." We were starting to get respect from the community and establishing ourselves as good players, something which was rare at the time.

In the MD/VA scene, people accepted us as the best. But this wasn't the case everywhere. A group of New York City smashers led by "BLACK-SAMUS" and "IK-Gost" were starting to make the case that they were the best crew around, and finally we had found the rivalry to replace DYCE. Enter Deadly Alliance.
 
Joined
Jun 18, 2002
Messages
4,809
Location
Northern Virginia
#18
Part VI – Deadly Alliance and Beyond

BLACK-SAMUS and IK_Gost were two of the most memorable posters in Smashboards history. Better known as Wes and DA Dave, these two had no problem talking trash to anyone in the community, because they knew they had the skills to back it up. As H2YL started turning heads in the MD/VA area, Deadly Alliance did the same in the NYC area. This led to trash talk between our crews on Smashboards.

Trash talk was a lot more serious back in the day. While today people might talk trash for fun, there’s already an established pecking order and years of results speak for themselves. Only a few players earn the right to talk trash, but rivalries aren’t nearly as heated when everyone knows who’s better than who.

In 2003 things were completely opposite. For all we knew, we were better than DA and vice versa, and we had no problem typing paragraphs about why we were better and inciting huge flame wars. Wes and Dave were both relentless when they posted, and after weeks of pointless yet hilarious arguments, we knew things had to be settled.

We ended up playing DA at a smashfest before anything else. This was fortunate for us because as it turned out, DA was pretty ****ing good. They brought down a van full of players, including Jason (Fox), Hein (Peach), Dave and Wes. I did horribly against them, only managing to take a few matches. Mild, Jtanic and Anden did decently, although all three still had losing records. Azen was the only one who could really compete with DA, and as it turned out he ended up beating them toward the end of the night. It was already becoming clear that not only was Azen a top level player, he could adapt better than anyone we’d seen play the game.

Technical skill at the time was nowhere near standard. I personally couldn’t short hop with Fox at all and could barely l-cancel consistently, nevermind wavedashing. Azen had perfected shffls and was getting the hang of wavedashing, and the rest of H2YL had varying degrees of tech skill but none as advanced as Azen’s. DA showed us that there was a tech skill barrier you had to be at to compete – they were all near Azen’s level in tech skill, and had mindgames to back it up.

Losing again turned out to once again be the main motivating factor for H2YL. Everyone but Azen was defeated by DA (although Chu didn’t play them) and it was in a smashfest setting, meaning tournament pressure was irrelevant. We had to get a lot better if we hoped to be legitimate contenders on a regional level.

But just as we found new rivals in DA, the trash talking on Smashboards went even further. Players from California such as Ken, Isai, Recipherus and Sultan of Samitude were starting to establish themselves, and Sultan of Samitude spearheaded the Cali trash talk. I remember a specific thread he made called “California Worthy”, in which he basically said Cali was the best and it was up to other states to prove otherwise.

DA and H2YL both contested this obviously and the rivalries went national. The east coast-west coast rivalry was born, and this extended beyond just how good we thought we were. There was a heated debate about items and whether they should be used in tournament play. East coast had established a standard of no items, while California preferred having certain items on low. This led to further argument between the coasts and no agreement was reached at the time; EC continued to have no-item tournaments while Cali kept items on.

The trash talk on the boards was at its peak. DA vs H2YL and EC vs WC were huge rivalries of 2003, and this set the stage for the first real major Melee tournament ever: TG5.
 

Lobos

Smash Master
Joined
Jan 7, 2007
Messages
4,550
Location
Columbia, MD
#19
lol good read chillin......you also made me feel old as **** as when you started smash I was in high school already lol

Also I got into the smash competitive scene by playing members of DYCE aka Team Dycer a few years later and remember eric telling me stories about the first few tournaments.
 

Omni

You can't break those cuffs.
GRimer
Joined
Jul 10, 2004
Messages
11,684
Location
Maryland
#22
lmfao

i demand that you simply c/p the story of red marth instead of rewriting it

and wtf @ you spending this time writing this story instead of playing SF4 with me online

tho its really good. would u ever come back to brawl
 

Reptar

Smash Apprentice
Joined
Nov 11, 2010
Messages
111
Location
401 REP
#24
I'm a rookie to the Smash World but your entries are very interesting. Im awaiting the next and I didnt even take part in any of the events you talk about.
 

Reptar

Smash Apprentice
Joined
Nov 11, 2010
Messages
111
Location
401 REP
#27
I love how theres not even one hater in this thread, everyone seems to love it. Goes to show you how far a true story can go when it relates to oneself
 
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
1,239
Location
Arizona
#30
LOL'd at the wes part.

Considering that my brother is a pro player himself and I know his story and all and since he started really early it's also cool to hear other people's stories of how and when they started and even why. It's especially cool to hear it coming from such an old school player such as yourself.

Interesting stuff of Chu starting as a Fox main.
 

Hax

Smash Champion
Joined
May 8, 2007
Messages
2,552
Location
20XX
#32
its amazing how similar your story is to mine, chillin. this really got me reminiscing about jman, alukard and i going from being nobodies to the best in new york. we even had a rivalry with DA at one point LOL, except they were similar to DYCE in that they were our first rivalry and we ended up prevailing. :) i just wish the three of us had started earlier.. brawl killed melee just when we became the best in our area.
 

JesiahTEG

Smash Master
Joined
Jan 30, 2007
Messages
4,145
Location
Rochester, NY
#33
Wow, this is amazing. Seeing how it all began vs. where we're at as a community now, plus my personal part in the "history of competitive melee," and I'm sure everyone else is thinking the same things, is awesome. Keep it going chillin.
 

Violence

Smash Lord
Joined
May 31, 2010
Messages
1,249
Location
Vancouver, BC
#40
Man... while all this drama was going on, I was sitting in my room still in the "BEST ON MY ****ING BLOCK, *****ES" phase.

Please continue, this thread is awesome.
 
Top