History of a Smasher

BJWanlund

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Oct 17, 2013
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Wow, dude. Just wow. Your memory makes even me go "how can he possibly remember all that?"

And that reminds me... gotta get moving in a direction that takes me back to Melee or something similar. Maybe I'll pick up Project M, who knows.
 

GCS Gaming Customs

https://gcsgamingcustoms.storenvy.com
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I never knew about this, thanks chill for making this and for the last two posters for posting and putting this thread at the top of the list in the melee discussion boards. This'll be an interesting read
 
Joined
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Part XV - Tides Turning

TG6 had been an amazing showing for H2YL, essentially establishing us as the top Smash crew around. Unfortunately, in the months following TG6, several factors caused H2YL to practice less than we ever have before. Mild, Anden and Jtanic were pretty much out of the picture due to various factors by late 2004, leaving Chu, Azen and I to carry the torch.

Major League Gaming continued to host Melee events at every Pro Circuit stop they made, which provided a great chance to attend large tournaments for people around the country. Frequently, at least one of the top three players in the country at the time (Ken, Azen and Isai) would attend, and end up winning the tournament with ease.

MLG San Francisco took place about a month after TG6, and Captain Jack made another US tourney appearance. He played Isai in Grand Finals and once again impressed all of America by taking out Isai without dropping a set. MLG Boston was a couple of months later, and without Ken, Isai or Captain Jack to worry about Azen took a clean win over Wes in grand finals.

This set up MLG's "playoff" event for 2004: New York. Although the event featured Ken, Isai, Azen and Captain Jack, the format was different: it wasn't an open event, and only the top point-getters throughout the season would be allowed to compete, giving it a very different feel than most tournies of the time. I wasn't able to attend this event and had to get updates from Azen while he competed.

Sadly for Azen, he lost to Isai for the first time since the items-on set at TG5, and then was taken out by Captain Jack in loser's semifinals. Captain Jack ended up losing to Isai in loser's finals, and Ken returned to dominant form by winning the first-ever Melee MLG Finals event over Isai. Naturally this was a disappointment for H2YL, and Azen seemed to be a bit disenchanted from the game for the first time I'd ever seen.

As 2004 came to a close, Azen did something which surprised me, but ended up becoming a trend: he decided to take a break from playing Smash. He had pretty much just experienced the highs and lows of his career in the span of a few months, and perhaps he was beginning to feel burned out. Regardless of his specific reasoning, this proved problematic for me: Azen was my main training partner and was the main reason I had established myself as a good player.

Despite Azen's "retirement," however, I had as much drive as ever. I wanted to continue to compete and show that I didn't need to rely on Azen's training to be a top player. A lack of local tournaments in late 2004/early 2005 didn't help things, but MLG once again was my savior; they decided to kick off the 2005 Pro Circuit with an event less than 30 minutes away from me, MLG DC.

I was thrilled to have MLG coming to my hometown at a time when I could rarely travel for tournaments. However, as much as I hoped it wouldn't, the lack of practice with Azen certainly took its toll on my gameplay. I noticed even in friendlies that I didn't feel as sharp as I had just a few months earlier.

Chu Dat once again housed Ken and Isai for MLG DC, and was becoming increasingly friendly with them. Along with H2YL basically disbanding through most of our members becoming inactive, Chu also became very good friends with Ken. Although it didn't specifically happen at MLG DC, I began to get the vibe that Chu's loyalties were shifting, another bad sign for H2YL. In just a year we had gone from six active members placing top 16 at a major to two active members, one of whom wasn't even very committed to the crew.

I was teaming with NEO at MLG DC since Azen was absent, and despite it being our first time as teammates we actually did extremely well. It was one of the first times I really put thought into my team strategies, and we tore through the entire bracket until we got to Ken and Isai. To our surprise, we were actually able to go toe-to-toe with them, including winning a match in both winner's and grand finals. Ultimately though, they still prevailed, but we were happy to at least have put a dent in their armor.

Singles kicked off and my lack of confidence in my play was apparent even through the early rounds. I played a relatively unknown Fox, Sesshomaru, in the 3rd or 4th round of winners, and in an extremely sloppy set he ended up beating me. Despite this being very early in my career, I felt I had already hit rock bottom: losing in a ditto to someone I hadn't previously heard of was a very humbling experience.

I ended up making a decent run through losers before getting knocked out in 9th. Even though I did end up in top 12, I felt it was one of my worst performances: not only did I lose to someone I shouldn't have, I also failed to beat anyone really notable. H2YL's decline seemed to hit me the hardest of anyone, mainly since I was the only one really representing the crew anymore.

The next few months were some of my least active in Smash. I rarely ever attended locals, since Azen was on hiatus and I could no longer get rides with his mom, and my parents were still none too enthusiastic about taking me to tournies. I still had yet to win a tourney, and our crew was basically in shambles. Still, I knew I had underperformed in larger singles events recently, and my drive to prove myself was still as strong as ever. Even though I couldn't attend tournies and had no crewmates to practice with, I continued to train against other local players and bided my time until the next chance to put my skills to the test.

Luckily, it wouldn't take too long. Team Ben was one of the fastest-improving crews of the area, and after getting to the point where they could consistently get top 5 at locals, they decided it was time for another major event in the MD/VA area. They had previously held a fully round robin tourney, perhaps one of the first of its kind, called Gettin' Schooled. Their mentality was that this format was the most effective in proving who was truly the best, since every player had to test their skills against every other player. Obviously time constraints and other factors would make it difficult to implement this format at a major event, though, so Team Ben decided on a compromise: Swiss round robin for seeding, and a top 32 bracket.

To truly make the event major, however, required the presence of a certain couple of Smashers from Cali. Team Ben enticed Ken and Isai to attend and interest in the event built rapidly both locally and nationally. Gettin' Schooled 2 was set to be the first big event of the Summer of 05, but I knew there was still one piece missing. We needed our Michael Jordan to make his comeback.
 

Oro

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Wow, this thread was a trip down memory lane... It reminds me of my first tournament. Let me start off by saying

This was an amazing day for my family

Although this was a long time ago, I still must tell you all. Some time around October 2-21, 2004 (could be even earlier) someone in my school handed me a Gamecrazy magazine and showed me that there was going to be a Melee tournment in our area.

Of course, without a doubt, I entered the tournament! (I am known throughout my grade for my impressive skills for my domination in Melee with Falco.)

Anyway, at the time my younger brother was 11 years old and my smallest brother was 7 years old. We were all signed up via phone...out of curiousity I asked the guy how many people signed up and he said "Yeah...there is a lot! 2 1/2 pages worth of people!" I got pretty tense but my brother told me that most of them will probably suck anyhow and that I am probably the best player in the world at that game, he was right.

On the way to the tournament we picked up our friend who is really cheap with Link (does UP+B all the time) and signed him up as well. Now on to the tournament.

When we got to Arby's (the place the tournament was held) the back room was crowded. I was jaw-dropped surprised. There were people that ranged from punk kids with bling blings to little 7 year old n00bs. (Definately not MY 7 year old brother.)

Here was how the tournament was set up: There was a showdown with 2 people each having 3 lives. They would pick their characters and both agree on a stage, fight, and one person would lose and get kicked.

Now I am going to tell you the most interesting showdowns for each one of us:

Me

Well, when I got called to play, I got versed with this girl who vainly stated "I can beat level 8 computers, I am sure to beat you!" I was like :confused: Anyway I disposed of her not losing one life and not even getting 100% damage. I later saw the girl crying in the corner.

My 11 Year Old Brother

It was my brother's turn (his last battle). He defeated this 18 year old kid who was really good. He was one of the punk kids. This was a rough battle with both of them hanging for their life of Starfox's ship. It was Marth (my brother) against Young Link (punk dude) and then my bro did a downward smash right at the perfect timing and sent Young Link down to his doom.

My 7 year old brother

When the time came for my 7-year old brother, the most interesting showdown was probably when he versed this 12 year old plump kid who claimed to be good. Well my brother showed him how to play and killed him with him losing 1 life and the guy losing all 3. At the end he put his controller down (as well as his head) and walked away.

Those were the most interesting of showdowns in the tournament. Of course, we played more than just one battle.

If you already couldn't guess the ending results, I came in 1st, my 11 year old brother came in 2nd, and my 7 year old brother came in 3rd. Although the prizes were a ripoff (scratch and sniff stickers and 2 free rentals) all three of us walked away with happiness and fame.

In case you are wondering, here are the characters we use:

Me- Falco

My 11 year old brother- Marth

My 7 year old brother- Fox


The original results thread was here: http://smashboards.com/showthread.php?t=50498 but AlphaZealot apparently broke it when he bought SWF from Gideon for 18 million Canadian tire dollars
 
Joined
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PART XVI - The First Comeback

It had been nearly half a year since Azen decided to take a hiatus from Melee. He was into various other games at the time, including Maple Story and Gunbound, so I still interacted with him online through these games frequently, but overall I talked to him much less since I never went over to play Smash.

With Gettin' Schooled 2 (GS2) right around the corner, I decided to see if I could convince Azen to make his return. One day a month or so before GS2 I asked Azen to play Melee, and to my surprise he agreed. I went over to his house and finally got to play against essentially my Melee mentor once again.

To my surprise, Azen hadn't lost any skill at all. In fact, he seemed to have gotten better somehow without practicing at all. It's now something we consider to be somewhat of a truth, but it was the first I had seen of it: taking a break from the game seemed to clear his mind, and he was playing better than I'd ever seen him play. Azen in particular seems to benefit from this "hiatus boost" moreso than almost anyone I've seen, even to this day.

As we played I mentioned GS2 and how Ken and Isai were coming. Azen showed a small amount of interest, but didn't quite jump back in immediately. It took another couple of weeks of convincing, but I eventually did it: Azen decided it was time to make his return, and GS2 would be the tourney where it happened.

Smashboards was abuzz with the prospect of another Ken vs Azen vs Isai battle taking place, although some were understandably skeptical of Azen's ability to compete after his hiatus. Having played him myself I knew this would be no issue, but many predicted that Ken and Isai would take the top two spots with ease.

Sometime in early 2005, an incident took place on the online team-based game Gunbound which ended up altering the face of H2YL. Azen, Mild, ChuDat and I were playing 4 vs 4 against Ken and a few of his family members online. Naturally, with the rivalry that had built up between us in Smash, these were not the friendliest matches. Overall, they seemed to be beating us, which frustrated us and caused some internal arguments to start in H2YL. This was just within the context of the game, of course, but at one point Chu decided to swap sides in-game and play with Ken's team instead. Obviously the rest of us in H2YL weren't happy about it, but didn't think too much of it.

However, this seemed to finally be the moment that Chu decided to basically leave H2YL and claimed his loyalty was with the West Coast. He and Ken were very close friends, but Azen and I were also close friends with Chu and were upset by his decision. Despite this, and Chu now being "West Coast," we still talked and hung out with Chu as if he was still in our crew. Nevertheless, it certainly changed some of our practice sessions; we didn't practice with Chu nearly as much as we used to in 2004.

Although Chu was technically no longer in H2YL, Azen and I were very excited for GS2 regardless. I was thrilled to be attending another tourney where I actually felt like H2YL was represented, although it was still just two members. Azen and I stayed at Husband's house the night before the tourney and Ken ended up being there as well. Although Ken and Azen didn't play against each other initially, as people began sleeping and the number of people playing friendlies dwindled, Ken and Azen actually ended up playing each other for an extended session.

I was having trouble sleeping on the cold hardwood floor and thus ended up watching much of the Ken vs Azen session. It seemed like a rock/paper/scissors character counterpicking game was forming; Azen and Ken both used Marth, Fox and Sheik effectively, and Marth would usually beat Fox, Fox would usually beat Sheik, and Sheik would usually beat Marth, regardless of which player was using which character. I remember being impressed that Ken was able to use multiple characters at as high a level as Azen, since I'd only really seen his Marth. But moreso than anything I was thrilled to see that Azen hadn't lost his touch, and that he could still very much compete at the highest level. Finally, as the sun was coming up, Ken and Azen stopped playing and I did my best to get rest before the tourney.

Despite the lack of sleep I was yet again struck with excitement as I woke up: another huge tourney was upon us, and this time I felt more prepared than I had for any tourney since Game Over. GS2 was interesting because it was the first tourney I'd attended with a crew battle event. The Crew Battle was a brand-new concept which had been invented by the Ship of Fools, the midwest crew behind the Melee-FC series. Groups of players form a crew and then go head-to-head with another crew; the matches themselves are 1v1, but when a player was knocked out, the opposing player retained the stock count as it was when the match ended. This made for an exciting team-based battle despite the fact that it was still singles. Team Ben decided to implement crews into the tourney, allowing any groups of 4 to 6 smashers to enter.

Azen and I wanted to crew up with Chu, but we would've lacked a 4th in that scenario. This ended up being a moot point as Chu decided to continue his west coast loyalty: he crewed with Ken and Isai rather than us. We were a little peeved but decided to crew up with the next best players we could find: Caveman and Rob$ from Texas.

Ken, Isai and Chu were joined on their crew by Eddie, who despite being midwest was very friendly with Ken's family, having hung out with them several times when attending TG events in Cali. Also on the crew was HugS, an up-and-coming Samus player who was making his first out-of-state appearance.

Despite both crews being a bit randomly assembled, the crew event ended up becoming personal. Ken and Chu were teaming up against Azen and I for the first time since Chu became a turncoat, so regardless of our crew having Texas players and their crew having a Midwesterner we still knew pride would be on the line in these crew battles.

It was a double-elimination format since there were only 11 crews who entered, and to no one's surprise we ended up playing Ken, Isai and Chu's crew in winner's finals. Caveman did very well vs HugS before Isai took out his Young Link. We decided to put myself in vs Isai's 3 stocks, which proved to be a great decision as I only lost 2 stocks taking out his 3. Ken came in against me next, and to my surprise he picked Fox.

Ken had rarely used any characters other than Marth in tourney, so I was naturally surprised to be fighting his Fox, but his Fox was definitely better than I expected. He mostly outplayed me in the neutral, but a key shinespike allowed me to trade stocks and Ken's Fox ended up with 2 stocks left. Next up for us was Rob$ who was actually playing Sheik rather than his signature Falco; his Sheik did alright vs Ken's Fox, trading stocks to end up winning with three stocks left.

However, this left us with an awful counterpicking disadvantage we didn't consider: Chu's ICs was now coming in vs Rob$'s Sheik. If we weren't aware of how bad this matchup was yet, we definitely learned during this match. With 3 stocks, Rob$ couldn't manage to take a single stock off of Chu's ICs. We were now at an extreme disadvantage stock-wise: Azen, with 5 stocks, was our only player left, against Chu's 4 and Eddie's 4.

Azen was unphased, however. With some careful play, Azen brought Chu to 1 stock and just SoPo while he had 3 stocks remaining. We thought we'd be in excellent shape with Azen's 3 stocks against Eddie's 4, but shockingly Chu's SoPo managed to take another stock off Azen despite being over 90%. This was a heartbreaker, as the crew battle went from winnable to seemingly impossible with that single stock swing.

Yet again, however, Azen maintained composure as if it was an even matchup. Eddie took Azen's Marth to Yoshi's Story, a good stage for Ganon but perhaps an even better stage for Marth. Azen started off slightly shaky, but suddenly with an excellent combo Azen had tied up the crew battle, two stocks to two! Eddie finally managed to take a stock, but Azen immediately responded by tying it up, and suddenly it was 1 stock to 1, 0% to 0%. Continuing with the same collected, patient play that had brought him this far, Azen calmly disscted Eddie's Ganon on the last stock and brought it all the way back - we won winner's finals.

I jumped out of my seat yelling - Azen was back in full force and had just shown why he was considered one of the best players in the country, retirement or not. Grand Finals of crews ended up being equally intense; their crew managed to narrowly defeat us in the runback, which set up the very last crew match to decide the tourney.

The last set of crews was very interesting; Isai decided to use Fox this time around, while Ken decided on Dr. Mario. Doc was an extremely unconventional pick from Ken, but he did manage to take 3 stocks off Caveman's Sheik before getting knocked out. West coast then decided to put in Isai's Fox, and we were completely caught off guard by what happened next.

Isai's Fox solidly defeated Caveman's Sheik while only losing a stock, leaving him with 3. Next we decided to put in Rob$'s Falco against Isai's Fox; after all, Rob$ had 5 stocks and Isai only had 3, and surely Isai was less experienced in the matchup than Rob was. This ended up backfiring completely. Somehow, Isai's Fox not only won the matchup - he only lost one stock while taking out all 5 of Rob$'s. It was an incredible display, with Isai shinespiking Rob$ multiple times and really demonstrating his prowess with a secondary character, but for us all we could think of was how badly Rob$ had just let us down - we were now losing 14 stocks to 10, with only Azen and I remaining, in the final, deciding crew battle.

Hope seemed to be lost, so I decided to go in and see what I could do. Strangely, since the crew battle seemed to be already decided, the pressure seemed to be completely off - Rob$ just cost us the crew battle, so hopefully Azen and I could make it respectable, but we knew it was over.

I took my 5 stocks into the match vs Isai's 2 Fox stocks - Isai's Fox didn't seem quite as dominant as it had in the previous match and I actually ended up knocking out his 2 stocks while retaining all 5 of my own. Next they put in Eddie's Ganon, who I had never played in tourney before; we did play friendlies at Game Over which went roughly even but I had no clue how I would fare.

Again, despite the fact that I closed the gap to 3 stocks, the crew battle still seemed decided already. And yet again this seemed to remove any bearing that nerves may have had on the match; I played fearless and confident, and before I knew it, I had taken out Eddie's 4 stocks only losing 2 of my own. Without really thinking about it, I had suddenly tied the crew battle, when we were down by 5 stocks just two matches earlier.

Next up was HugS - I only had 3 stocks remaining to his 4, and even back in 2005 I was already a bit weak at the Samus matchup since it had been over a year since Jtanic's retirement. My goal was simply to take a couple stocks off - just weaken him for Azen, who had 5 stocks left and would be able to deliver the finishing blow. To my utter surprise, with a couple of well-placed up airs on my last stock, I actually even beat HugS - I basically just took out half their crew on my own, and still had a stock to boot.

I was ecstatic. Suddenly we were winning, and my performance alone had put us from 5 stocks down to 2 stocks up. Chu was their last player, and managed to quickly take out my last stock; I finally exited the crew battle after taking 10 stocks from the opposing crew. This set up an epic final battle: Chu's 4 stocks to Azen's 5 to decide the crew tournament.

Chu started off incredibly well, slowly chipping away at Azen's stock lead until they were on the same stock, and suddenly by the last stock it was completely even. Azen managed to quickly tipper Nana, leaving just Chu's SoPo to take on Azen's Marth. It was the battle of H2YL versus the traitor - even if Chu was still a good friend of ours and there wasn't really much bad blood, it still meant a lot to us to be able to take down Chu and Ken teaming up against us.

Azen and Chu's SoPo traded a few hits, but Chu's great DI couldn't survive two straight Azen tippers. Chu disappeared off the top of the screen as our crew erupted in cheers - after 3 grueling sets which all went to the very last stock, we emerged victorious! We were thrilled about our performance, and as much as Rob$ let us down, without his flub I wouldn't have been able to put on the greatest crews performance of my life. It was a big moment for me: although H2YL seemed to be on the downswing and my performances had been slacking, I instantly proved that not only was I still competing at the highest level, but I could dominate.

As excited as we were with our crews performance, however, we knew the main event was yet to come: the singles tournament. With the big three in attendance plus Chu, myself, DA and a slew of other top talent, it was sure to be an extremely competitive event. With our crews win amping us up, Azen and I were determined to make this a tourney to remember.
 
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itsbme

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The funny thing is that I remember so much of this due to the chat in SSBDCC Hub and such. Shows how long I started watching the scene I suppose. It was fun to read these; I found it very relatable since many of these matches I watched back in 05' and such.
 
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