The Big House 5: In A Nutshell

The Big House 5 is one for the history books. Bolstering record attendance and a slew of events the event had set the stage for an amazing weekend of Super Smash Bros. With multiple top streamers, support from a variety of organizations and a grassroots compendium, and top tournament organizer talent all that was needed to deliver the perfect event was there: And it delivered. In the event preview the scope of the tournament and what to look at going forward was lined out. We've also had a quick glance at the results for Wii U and for Melee. Now it's time to look towards the future as The Big House 5 gets written into the history books as one of the pivotal moments in the Smash community.

Crowd during Melee Top 8. © A. Brando Corsaro
A Crew Battle For The Ages

Besides having a blast playing their bracket matches; the highlight for players on the first day of The Big House 5 was the Crew Battle which pitted teams of players from eight regions against one another. The teams of Southern California, Northern California, Europe, Canada, Midwest, Tristate, Florida, and New England all stepped up their game with some serious cash on the line thanks to a $5,000 pot bonus. But as with all Crew Battles, the battle wasn't just for the money, regional pride plays a huge role in the Smash community which has very distinct scenes with their own local heroes. USA chants, chants for "O' Canada" and more were heard as the bracket progressed.

Things progressed as expected in terms of projected winners at first, and while the projected Top 2 of SoCal and Europe did indeed make it to the finals the road was a lot rockier than expected with the Midwest and Canada coming out with dominant performances. Canada not only managed to pull off an upset against NorCal with Kage The Warrior as an anchor taking off seven stocks in a dominant performance, but also both Canada and the Midwest brought Europe to the verge of a knock-out with stellar plays.

One of the most pivotal plays was when Kjh managed to knock [A] | Armada's last remaining stock off without losing any of his own. While this might seem trivial it was actually the play that allowed the Midwest a real chance at winning the crew battle when things could have been much more lopsided. Europe's performance is not to be downplayed however as the team did manage to power through the bracket without the aide of TSM | Leffen who was unable to enter the event at the last minute. Meanwhile, SoCal powered through Florida gaining a lead and never quite letting it go before besting Europe with an amazing finisher from C9 | Mang0 that put the crowd into an uproar of celebration as the team took home the gold.

Doubles: Synergy Over Individual Strength

One thing has become more and more clear when it comes to the Doubles format: two players who work together well make a better team than two players who can play strong individually. Armada teamed with TT.8BP | Android for this event, and while Android only got 25th in Singles, they were still about to convincingly best the team of COG | Mew2King and Liquid | Hungrybox. While it may not be as tight-knit as the synergy between the brothers, Mew2King and Hungrybox do have a great awareness of one another to work together as they have been a dominant team in the past and were a cut above the rest of teams. On the Wii U side a similar story of proven powerhouses TSM | ZeRo and Liquid | Nairo unfolded. The two have had much experience with one another and it reflected in their tournament play.

TSM | ZeRo enjoying his victory. © A. Brando Corsaro
An Unfortunate Time For Loser's

In the Top 32 of Wii U singles, and even a bit before that, it was an unfortunate time to for one to be in Loser's Bracket. One of the biggest upsets of the entire event happened early in Phase 2 pools when NS | Seagull Joe managed to knock tournament favourite ZeRo into the loser's bracket threatening his win-streak and placing everyone elses tournament lives in danger. Just before facing Seagull Joe, ZeRo had already been put on tilt in Winner's Bracket after top Robin main Sugoi | Raziek managed to take him to a third game.

The pressure of being sent into Loser's Bracket so early on brought out the best in ZeRo as he had the chance to take several notable top players out of the tournament early. PG | MVD, StaticManny, COG | Wizzrobe, Boreal | Ally, and PG | ESAM all were denied a chance to run through Loser's for a chance at Top 8 thanks to ZeRo's newfound composure. In Top 8 itself it seemed as if ZeRo had become unstoppable once more taking out 2Scoops | Zenyou, Rayquaza07, ANTi, iQHQ | Dabuz, and Nairo to win the event. He wasn't spared close calls though as both ANTi and Nairo took ZeRo to crucial final games. Indeed, ANTi posed a significant threat as ZeRo had not faced him in a tournament set and unfamiliarity can be a game-changer.

Thursday night practice. © A. Brando Corsaro
Top Player Dominance

If one thing remained consistent at this tournament it was a confirmation that the highest ranked players are still waiting at the peak. While the Wii U crowd got excited to see ZeRo thrown into Loser's early many overlooked Nario and Dabuz winning convincingly throughout Winner's to make it into Winner's Finals. In fact the top three seeded players: ZeRo, Nairo, Dabuz finished in their assigned order even with the upset. Part of being recognised as a top player means being consistent and these three players have certainly done so with this event. On the Melee side the story is just as clear: four of the "gods" entered and those four were your top four. Even with Mang0's placement being looked at as an under-performance, he still beat every other threat thrown at him albeit with some game losses. Still, the overall number of games where a non-god beat a god in the Top 64 amounted to a measly six games.

While there are these select groups of players in each game who are a clear-cut above the rest still; they aren't untouchable as we have seen in the past. And many players are beginning to catch-up with them. Perhaps the biggest issue is that as one player catches up as is able to best those at the top; others are catching up to them. For example rising stars who have proven themselves able to take sets off of the top six in Melee, PG | Plup and DruggedFox, both did not get the chance to do so as they were eliminated before even encountering them. And while some of the game's rising stars didn't shine as bright this tournament, new ones did and managed to show that there are more players who can perform at such a high level than previously thought.

Abate brought a character that is rarely seen in the top eight of nationals into the top eight of the second largest Melee tournament of all time. Not only did he help push the meta for his character, he brought Luigi into the spotlight as an often overlooked high tier option. He had to take out big names to do it as well, knocking both Tempo | Axe and S2J into Loser's along his journey and halting the equally impressive run of Samus-main Duck right before the Top 8. While Plup and DruggedFox are both rising Sheik mains that faltered this tournament another Sheik-main, WFX | Shroomed, re-established himself as a threat after looking as if he had fallen behind them thanks to his polished play and perfected edge-guarding. The last two remaining top eight finishers in Melee were certainly no strangers as both SFAT and Tempo | Westballz further solidified their consistency with strong finishes. Notably Westballz made a strong run through the Loser's Bracket after losing at the start of Winner's Top 64 against BERT | Swedish Delight.

Pushing The Limit

One of the best stories about TBH5 is the story about what it means for the future. With players bringing their A-game into the limelight and more streamed matches than ever before thanks to VGBootCamp, ShowdownGG, and TourneyLocator viewers were able to see and learn from matches that normally would have been lost in the reality of time constraints. Matches such as S2J v. Abate, which has now spawned a wealth of videos of users testing out how to activate the invisible ceiling glitch, could have been regulated to being played off-stream at an event with only one stream available. The impact of broadcasting the entire Top 64 of Melee is one where the community progresses and moves forward as a whole. Wii U had a recording set-up as well, where matches such as Ksev v. Fatality that could have been lost forever are now well documented for those who want to learn. The amount of recording at this tournament was truly pushing the boundaries and only helps to advance the metagame.

Furthermore the Melee Analyst Desk provided another push into dissecting top level play and really putting the focus on learning and understanding Melee at a deeper level. It provided valuable insight from one of Melee's top six players: EG | PPMD as well as the knowledge of MIOM | Tafokints, SP | Cactuar and more in an easily consumable and relatable form. It was a bonus perk added to the event thanks to the Compendium and something that may become a staple in the future.

The tournament also gives newfound strength for newer players in the young Wii U metagame thanks to a wide variety of strong character representation. With a slew of Ike mains breaking into the Top 32, along with a Toon Link, and even a Robin main getting a game off of ZeRo this tournament told us that there was much more to be learned before we can write certain characters off.

Organized pool sheets. © A. Brando Corsaro
Running The Show

Behind the scenes what would in any normal situation be a complete logistical nightmare became an easy to follow and easy to enjoy tournament for viewers and players alike thanks to the work of Robin Harn (MIOM | @Juggleguy) and his dedicated team of staff and volunteers. Strict adherence to rules with no leniency for those who didn't follow the rules or timeframes allowed for the mass majority of attendees to enjoy the tournament without issues arising. When a player was late to their pool, their name was yelled out for a last call over the microphone and it didn't matter if that name was "RandomSmasher1234" or "Mang0": you were in danger of being DQ'd. This is the kind of rigid organizing that allowed for the vast majority of pools to not only finish on time, but also to finish early.

The streaming schedule was also well-planned with bracket sheets having matches pre-selected and marked to be sent to the stream set-up during pools. Alongside this, the brackets were updated quickly and accurately thanks to a large team who sat down and entered them live into right as they got the results from the paper records. This allowed for viewers and non-attendees to track records of friends and players they were following very easily.

There is more than just having faith in your rules and your planning regarding the tournament. Those plans have to be good and your execution must follow suit as well. There were no options left uncovered in that regard. Volunteers were used to help run this event, much like any other smash tournament, and they were treated as much more. There was a detailed Q&A session with Juggleguy himself on Thursday night where volunteers had the chance to interact in person and get the answers they needed. What if a volunteer did not show up? There were back-ups ready and in-place available to fill the slot. The staff and volunteer staff for this event were massive; and their hard work pays off when you have some of the best minds in the community working together.

Gamer's Outreach booth. © A. Brando Corsaro
Grassroots, eSports, Community

Moving forward with all of this, The Big House 5 is an example both of what the Smash community is capable of and what the Smash community wants for its future. Big sponsors are on the table and valuable connections with Nintendo, Twitch, Gaming Generations, Gamer's Outreach and more help to drive the scene towards a more professional eSports landscape. Despite that the Smash scene is grassroots at heart and volunteers, donations through the Compendium, and exposure of local talent in the Artist Alley help to showcase the more intimate and dedicated side of Smash players.

The Smash community has shown that it can take an already great event and make it so much more. Ideas such as the Analyst Desk help to engage viewers in new ways and give Smashers the ability to discuss the game in a setting akin to any professional Sports or eSports play-by-play coverage. The little things also shine bright with Top 8 Intro videos being made purely from footage of matches recorded at the tournament. This helps to show that not only does the community have the talent to make such quality content on the spot, but also has the talent to make memories and unforgettable gameplay at each and every event.
A. "Xiivi" Brando Corsaro


Melee was so hype! It's a shame that people think anything that's not won by Mang0, M2K or Leffen is "boring". Armada losing just 1 game with Peach, H-box destroying Mang0 and the surprisingly hype Grand Finals are the most underrated things of this tournament!
Is it just me or do you people think smash wii u top 8 was a lot more hype than melee?
Honestly, yeah.

Melee was WAY more hype at Paragon LA than Sm4sh but in this one I have no doubt that Smash 4 wins on most respects.
(Abate's Luigi was amazing tho and Armada/Hbox can't stop surprising with their genius.)

Sm4sh was hype all around and that makes me very excited for the future of the scene as a whole, of course that doesn't mean I don't want Melee to be amazing next time I'm just happy that this time I am 100% that this isn't player bias and sm4sh deserves it's spot close to good ol' melee.
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To get to the point: TBH5 was an outstanding tournament for everyone who attend and watch at home. I loved watching every single moment on Twitch. I seriously hope I can attend next year. Maybe...
Excellent article! I would like to make one small correction though:

"Matches such as S2J v. Abate [...] could have been regulated to being played off-stream at an event with only one stream available."

I believe the word you're looking for is "relegated."
Oh, Zero and his bad plot armor-like victories...
It's amazing how he's able to maintain the winstreak.
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Is it just me or do you people think smash wii u top 8 was a lot more hype than melee?
Oh definitely by far! I like watching both but Sm4sh had more of my attention. ZeRo's games were really close and we were all wonderin if he could actually lose. I was on the edge of my seat, lol. Melee was fine, and Hungrybox impressed, but imo, kinda by the numbers you know? Still hype though.
ZeRo winning was only un-hype if you knew the results before watching the tournament. He went through losers from round 2, if I'm not mistaken. He had excellent sets throughout the tournament.
I don't know how everyone anticipated that ZeRo was gonna win the whole thing, most of his matches were surprisingly close call taking ZeRo to their final round. Anti and Nairo was such a close match and they went to distance against ZeRo and was very hype
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