Part VII - Tournament Go 5
Tournament Go was a tourney series held in California by Mattdeezie, one of the best early Melee TO’s. TG had already gotten big, with TG4 being a decisive battle of SoCal vs NorCal; Ken prevailed, giving SoCal a temporary victory. But these regional rivalries became meaningless when East Coast was involved; there was only one rivalry that really mattered, and it was EC vs WC.
When Azen and Anden found out they could make TG5, H2YL’s trash talk floodgates were opened. Mild and I’s parents were very strict, and thoughts of traveling to California for a Smash tourney were still completely unreasonable for us. Despite this we hyped up Azen like he was the next coming of Jesus. We were hoping well for Anden too, but we had already seen him lose matches he shouldn’t have in local tournies so we were skeptical about what he could do on a national scale.
Being that TG5 was in west coast home turf, items were going to be on. We were concerned about this but we practiced a bit with items to try to help Azen get ready. These training sessions only served to strengthen our theory that items weren’t fit for competitive play, but clearly there was nothing we could do about it at that point; the tourney was less than a month away and Cali definitely wasn’t budging on the items issue.
The tourney attracted attention from everywhere, and DA ended up bussing (I believe) across the country to attend. WA players, including Sastopher, also attended as well as players from Crystal City, Texas, like Caveman and Rob$. As I previously said, TG5 was definitely the first Melee major, as well as the first tourney for Smash on a national level. It was extremely hyped, but unfortunately since I couldn’t make it, I can’t give you a very detailed description.
In the end, while Azen thoroughly impressed nearly everyone at the tourney, he placed 4th. He lost to Jeremy and Isai, both Sheik dittos. Azen liked to say he was a “Master of Diversity” at the time, and enjoyed dittoing people in friendlies regardless of who they used. However, in the tournament, he stuck mainly to Sheik. Some on the West Coast were critical of this, asking why a self-proclaimed master of diversity stuck to one character during the tournament. Azen later told us that he felt Sheik dealt the best with items and that was the only reason he used her all tournament.
Ken won, Recipherus/Jeremey took second, and Isai took 3rd. Azen had a good display getting top 4, but in the end, this was a victory for West Coast. Teams weren’t as big a deal back then, but Ken and Isai also showed signs of early teams dominance when they won finals over Wes and Hein, a powerful DA team. With WC prevailing in both events, EC had to bite its tongue for the moment. Of course, items were on this tournament, a fact we weren’t willing to let go easily.
In the aftermath of TG5, while the EC vs WC rivalry temporarily died down, H2YL vs DA was as heated as ever. DCSS2 came around in September 2003, and DA was coming to take on H2YL in full force.
I was a bit humbled during this time. My mentor and the player I looked up to, Azen, had just lost on a national scale, and I was fresh off losing badly to DA during the first H2YL vs DA fest. My Fox was still a work in progress, but my training never stopped, and I tried to play with Azen as often as possible.
Luckily for me progress was being made. When DA got to the venue for DCSS2, Wes sat down next to me at a TV I was playing on and called next, or as he said: “Yo I got brext *****.” The other members of H2YL nearby gathered to watch me take on Wes, although it was just a friendly.
Wes clearly messed around the first game, obviously sandbagging, although he was Samus vs my Fox. I went up 3 stock to 1 and taunted him before finishing him off, then he immediately pressed start again and returned to FD for a rematch.
He pulled out all the stops and started going to work. He had an early lead, and everytime he landed a hit, he would talk smack: “good clux in the tournament *****.” Wes liked to get mental advantages on his opponent, and certainly this would’ve done the trick on me – if I hadn’t stepped my sh*t up.
Despite the fact that Wes was now “playing serious,” I found that unlike the fest a few months earlier, I could actually go toe to toe with him. I ended up making an awesome comeback and barely won, and I remember as soon as the match ended, I looked straight at Wes and said “good clux in the tournament.” H2YL cheered me on, and despite the fact that it was just a friendly, it was huge for me at the time.
The tournament started and I ended up losing to two of my own – Anden and Chu. Chu had started using ICs, while Anden was still Jiggs, and at the time these weren’t very good matches for Fox. Since H2YL was there in full force and DA only had a few representatives, we ended up taking our own members out a lot.
By the end of the tourney there were 4 players left: Chu, Wes, Kamaal (DA’s Luigi) and Azen. Chu and Wes played in loser’s semifinals, and this match was significant because it was one of the first rules issues we’d encountered in the middle of a tournament set.
Stock match time limit had been established, but matches timing out seemed near impossible. Wes took Chu to Corneria during game 3, and we witnessed camping at its finest when Wes went down 1 stock to Chu’s 3. He stayed on the right side of the fin, and Chu, not thinking about the rules, continued attacking.
As time was getting close to expiring, Wes managed to get Chu down to his last stock while he was over 100% on his last stock. He then camped out the rest of the 30 seconds or so with up+B’s on the fin, and the timer ran out. Good thing Chu had that 100%+ damage lead, right?
Nope. M3D’s rule was that in the event of stock ties, sudden death would be played out. This seems silly now, but his reasoning at the time was, “it would be lame if someone lost by like 2%.” So instead, Wes beat Chu in sudden death and despite being on his way to 3 stocking Wes, Chu lost.
H2YL was outraged by this but M3D stood his ground and there was nothing we could do. We watched as Wes beat Kamaal, then Azen’s Falcon put on a clinic and demolished Wes in finals. Still, the tourney left a bittersweet taste in our mouth; two members of H2YL in the top 2 looked much better than Azen followed by two members of DA.
After this tourney, I felt more confident about my skills as did the rest of H2YL. While before we had been clearly bested by DA overall, this time we went back and forth and the rivalry was heating up. But both we and DA had something else on our mind: Ken, Isai and the west coast. We wanted another chance to take them on, this time on our turf. I hadn’t hosted a tourney since the very first one in August of 02, but slowly plans started to come together for the potential runback of TG5. After we secured Ken and Isai’s attendance, it was confirmed: Game Over was EC’s chance for redemption.