Esports Arena has been a new player on the Super Smash Bros. scene in organizing tournaments. Their latest venture, Noods Noods Noods: Oakland Edition, was in their new Oakland location, and pulled Nissan Noodles and Foodbeast on as sponsors. With some of the best players in attendance, Noodsx3 was an all day event of good production and even better Melee. Here, we will take a look at those who made the Top 8, and their journeys through Top 32.
1st - Hungrybox
Coming out on top was Liquid’s Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma. Once again, Hungrybox shows why his placement as the best player in the world is not an accident. His Jigglypuff was a dominating force from start to end, and only dropped games to one player. He made quick work through DiplomaticTucan(3-0) and Kalamazhu(3-0) to qualify for Top 8. There, he had a bit of trouble, but managed to achieve a shutout on SFAT(3-0). In Winner’s Finals, Hungrybox fell to his Florida contemporary, Plup(0-3). In Loser’s Finals, he defeated Westballz(3-0) and earned himself one more go. In Grand Finals, Hungrybox came alive. Whatever element he was missing before was suddenly not a factor. Over the span of 8 games, Hungrybox not only beat Plup, but beat him convincingly(3-1, 3-1). After a strong first quarter, Hungrybox is looking to have his Q2 performance be dominating, and this was a great start. The year is far from over, but the gap is only growing as time progresses.
2nd - Plup
Coming in second was Panda Global’s Justin “Plup” McGrath. Since earning his way into the position of top five, Plup has not let himself relinquish that title since 2018 started. At Noodsx3, he continued that with an incredible performance. He had an incredible run through Upper Bracket, where he defeated Spark(3-1), Mike Haze(3-0), and Westballz(3-0) to qualify for Winner’s Finals. Though it was a difficult set, Plup managed to get a shutout on Hungrybox(3-0), where he then waited in Grand Finals. Unfortunately for him, this is where Plup met his greatest challenge, and fell to Hungrybox’s runback(1-3, 1-3). While he did not manage to win the entire tournament, Plup was the closest player to stopping another Hungrybox victory in 2018. Given time, will that gap widen? Or will Plup close in on the number one player?
3rd - Westballz
Coming in third place was G2 Esports’ Weston “Westballz” Dennis. From 2014 to 2016, Westballz was placed within the Top 10, and was a regular threat to those who wished to make it to Finals. His 2017 year was a bit slower for him, but Westballz has been a consistent threat that should not be ignored. At Noodsx3, he brought that threat to fruition. His run through Upper Bracket had him defeat Rocky(3-1) in round one. In round two, he had to face Wizzrobe, who had been a problem for him in the past. Here though, he pushed through to qualify for Top 8(3-2). In Winner’s Semis, he fell to Plup(0-3), where he hit the ground running. He defeated Shroomed(3-1) and, another close match later, Westballz was able to once again defeat Wizzrobe(3-2) to make it to Loser’s Finals. There, he faced the biggest hurdle of bracket, Hungrybox, and his run ended(0-3). Westballz has been pushing forward in 2018, and his overall performances have been improving over 2017. Where he will end up for 2018 is yet to be seen, but Noodsx3 was his message to those who try to play him down.
4th - Wizzrobe
Coming in fourth was Fry’s Electronics’ Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallet. Q1 of 2018 saw a Wizzrobe coming in strong, and he seemed to only be aiming up. At Noods, he was determined to keep that momentum going. Round one of Top 32 had him defeat Darkatma(3-0), but he fell to Westballz right before qualifying for Top 8(2-3). Wizzrobe, now in Lower Bracket, decided to buckle down. He defeated Zhu to make Top 8(3-0), defeated Mike Haze in a close match(3-2), and beat SFAT to make it to Loser’s Semis(3-1). There, he faced Westballz once again, and fell after another nail-biting set(2-3). Wizzrobe does not look to be slowing down from his performances in Q1 2018. If anything, we may expect to see him rise once again in Q2, and truly challenge the top players harder than before.
5th - Shroomed
Coming out at fifth was Immortals’ DaJuan “Shroomed” McDaniel. Shroomed has been a consistent Top 8 threat for most of his Melee career, and he hasn’t given that up here. His journey through bracket had a bit of a rough start in round one, when he met and fell to Mike Haze(1-3). From Lower Bracket, Shroomed started moving on a roll. He defeated Bryan(3-0), had a close set against Spark(3-2), and Kalamazhu(3-1) to qualify for Top 8. There, he defeated Rocky in a nail-biter(3-2), and fell to Westballz in Loser’s Quarters(1-3). Shroomed has been one of the most consistent players in the history of Melee, and 2018 is not seeing him slow down at all. Only time will tell if he pushes himself even further.
5th - SFAT
Coming in fifth Counter Logic Gaming’s Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni. SFAT has always been a player shooting for higher heights, and has worked his way into a consistent Top 8 threat for any tournament he attends. For Noodsx3, he kept that pace up with a strong run through Upper Bracket. To qualify for Top 8, he had shutouts on Crunch(3-0) and La Luna(3-0). Unfortunately for him SFAT met the biggest threat there, Hungrybox, and was sent to Lower Bracket(0-3). In Loser’s Quarters, he was met with one of his personal demons, Wizzrobe, and was knocked out of the tournament(1-3). Though it wasn’t the most explosive Top 8 performance by SFAT, nobody should be counting him out. He has been one of the most ambitious players within the Melee scene, and will likely take the lessons given to only continue his growth.
7th - Rocky
Coming in seventh was True AmBition’s Kristian “Rocky” Cruz. Rocky is one of the rising stars of Northern California, and has seen continual improvement since 2015. His placement in the Top 8 was the result of continual effort, and his wins in bracket are enough to make anybody remember not to dismiss him. Rocky had a close set in round one of Upper Bracket, but ultimately fell to Westballz(2-3). From there, he decided to fight for his tournament life, and managed an impressive run. He defeated a members of the old guard, SilentSpectre(3-0), and Darkatma(3-0), and the rising Marth player La Luna(3-2) to qualify for Top 8. There, his run was cut short in an impressive set against Shroomed(2-3). Rocky has been on the rise for a while now, and managed to earn a spot on SSBMRank for 2017. With his performances in 2018, there is a good chance that we may see the name Rocky more and more as time progresses.
7th - Mike Haze
Coming in seventh was beastcoast’s Michael “Mike Haze” Pulido. Mike Haze was one of the best players during the Brawl era of competitive Smash, but that does not preclude his ability to play Melee. Rather, Mike Haze has been a consistent threat for most players since 2014, and Noodsx3 speaks to his work forward as a true competitor. In Upper Bracket, he managed to defeat Shroomed(3-1), before facing and falling to the titan Plup(0-3). From Lower Bracket, he defeated Alan(3-0) to qualify for Top 8. In Loser’s Eighths, he push Wizzrobe as far as he could, but ultimately was eliminated from the tournament(2-3). Mike Haze has been pushing up for a few years now, but his work in 2018 has seen some staggering progress. If his pace continues, he may be able to break out as a Top 20 player for SSBMRank 2018.
Noods Noods Noods: Oakland Edition was quite the love letter to the Melee community. It had high production values, community support, and, best of all, high-level play. The performance of the players there may spell some changes coming to the top echelons of Melee, and some names are worth watching for the future. Esports Arena has done quite a bit with the Smash Masters League, and the introduction of Noodsx3 as an event. With the performance of the players in Oakland, we can expect to see Esports Arena sticking around for a while.