#14-5

 

 

All these players are always threats to take down anyone in the world and win the biggest events.

 

 

Eduardo “tacos” Tovar started 2017 strong with a 7th place showing at Genesis 4, beating Cobr, TR3GTheZ, and JaimeHR and only dropping sets to Alvin and Dext3r — losses that would become a trend as the year progressed, unfortunately. At Let’s Go!, tacos cruised through a laundry list of players — including Shears, Star King, and TR3GTheZ — without dropping a game, before facing Alvin in Winners Semis and falling short of victory once again. In Losers Quarters, tacos eked out a close set against Zero before being eliminated by Dext3r for 4th place. Tacos earned 4th at Smash’N’Splash 3 (double-eliminating Josh Brody and finishing behind SuPeRbOoMfAn and Dext3r), but placed a disappointing 13th at SSC after being knocked into losers bracket by Fukurou and being eliminated 3-2 by Mariguas. Tacos ended his year with a 9th place finish at Boss Battle 3, dropping out of the tournament after another 3-2 loss to Josh Brody in Winners Quarterfinals. Tacos’s 2017 was one of high placings and disappointing losses, and though he has shown dominance over players at his own skill level, he has yet to break through and defeat the topmost tier of competitors. After expressing burnout following Boss Battle 3, fans are hoping to see tacos rebound at Genesis 5.

-Brendan Murray

Notable wins – Zero, TR3GTheZ, JaimeHR


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

Like many Japanese players, Prince was only able to showcase his stylish Yoshi at one tournament this year — Super Smash Con 2017. Despite this, he was still able to put on a show. After cruising through pools, Prince’s first match in Top 32 was against Firo and his explosive Ness. Down three stocks to one in the final game, Prince fought back and managed to pull off a down-B edgeguard to take the set. He then faced Mariguas in Top 24 and narrowly won 2-1, exacting revenge on Mariguas for eliminating him at last year’s Smash Con. Prince then fell to Fukurou on winners side and was knocked out of the tournament by Wizzrobe, ending his run at 9th. Prince also competed in the Super Smash Con Combo Contest, obviously. At this point, calling him the Combo King doesn’t come close to giving Prince the respect he deserves. His combos are fast, flashy, creative, technical, and extend long, long after a mere mortal would have decided to call it quits. We realize that the combo contest isn’t valid when considering year-end rankings, but it is still amazing and inspiring to see our game pushed to its limits in a way that is unique to Smash 64. Prince’s play — be it in tournament or in exhibition — has cemented his legacy as a top competitor and fan favorite.

-Brendan Murray

Notable wins – Mariguas, Firo


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

Mateen “Zero” Emad started the year at Genesis 4 off a scorching Bonobono victory at the previous Smash Con, but ultimately placed lower than everyone expected, netting a disappointing 17th place after losses to HandsomeTom and an Isai who was prematurely sent into Losers. He immediately recovered and soared to a string of Top 8 finishes, including a shocker at Snosa 3, where he guaranteed Top 3 with a dominant win over Mariguas and sweet revenge on Isai. Long since dubbed “Stranded Jr.”, Zero’s flashy movement is punctuated with his devastating punish game that few can escape. He proved the performance was not a fluke with a win over Wizzrobe as well. However, Zero has a glaring issue that needs to be corrected before moving forward, and it is not what Isai called his “reckless Falcon” – his youth contributes to his tendency to get inside his own mind, which has cost him sets this year. Additionally, he has a dislike for how some players compete; his interview post-Fukurou is evidence of this. With more discipline, Zero could easily challenge for the best player in the country, but with his continued studies in college, he may be prevented from attending many Winter and Spring majors. 2018 will be an interesting year for Zero, where he will either continue his meteoric rise or scrape by on a plateau.

-Rob Stone

Notable wins – Mariguas, Wizzrobe, Isai


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

2017 was the year of doubles for Joel “Isai” Alvarado. At every major he entered doubles (GOML, Snosa III, and SSC), he won. In addition to this, Isai also won having a different teammate for every major. For singles in 2017, Isai faced stiffer competition as he had upsets both ways on the winners and losers end. To highlight his year, Isai first kicked things off staying local and competing at G4 where he was able to get a quality win over Zero, before falling to Yu-Kun. He then traveled overseas to compete at Beast 7, where he announced he was going to play Link. True to his word, Isai gave a spectacular performance and was able to win the tournament by defeating Revan in true Isai fashion after getting sent to losers. Following this, Isai traveled internationally again to take 2nd at GOML after defeating Mariguas in winners but falling just short in a game 5 bracket reset. At Snosa, Isai and Gyaki teamed to showcase the creativity and skill Link has and were able to defeat Hiyo and Fukurou in Grand Finals to take the tournament. To end the year, Isai and Alvin teamed once again to take the competition by storm and repeat as SSC doubles champions. Though he does not put up the results in singles his rabid fans may clamor for, Isai is still one of the elites and always a danger.

-Alex Jungsten

Notable wins – Zero, Mariguas, Hiyo


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

For all of human history people have been trying to attain perfection. Stories are told, religions are born, and yet the greatest of all time still fall from grace. In 2016, a man came to the United States for a Super Smash Bros 64 tournament and delivered a performance that convincingly looked like perfection. Then in 2017; wario, the #1 player in the world in 2016, looked like another false prophet. After reaching the pinnacle of competitive 64 and beating the #2 player in the world, SuPeRbOoMfAn, wario became the epitome of perfect play. He raised the bar for Pikachu at the highest level and looked flawless in doing so. He entered 2017 with high expectations from Smash 64 fans but also little practice and experience to prepare him for the growing talents across the globe. He experienced a few surprising losses and close sets at Japanese majors that should have been a warning sign for things to come at Super Smash Con 2017, but the Smash 64 community wrote them off as flaws in the volatile Japanese tournament format instead of believing in the mortality of the Genesis 3 champion.

The press leading up to Super Smash Con 2017 was drooling over the hopeful Alvin vs. wario matchup, Japan vs. Peru, and the title of, “best in the world.” While rumors circulated of wario possibly being sick, there was no shortage of anticipation for a player fans waited over a year to see again. Starting off the event with a 3rd place finish in doubles and wins over Finio and Brody to reach Winners Quarter-Finals of singles, the poster of perfection looked poised to, again, show the world greatness. Matched up vs. fellow countrymen Kurabba, wario failed to overcome a recent demon losing 3-0 to the top Japanese Yoshi. While shocking to the Smash 64 Community, the real meaning of that word was soon to come. Thanks to another surprising loss for Alvin, the long anticipated match of Alvin vs. wario came as a play-in for top 8 with the loser walking home a mere mortal in 9th place. The match turned into a first round knockout with wario looking hopeless and being 4 stocked en route to a 0-3 loss.

A rough year for wario, both in North American tournaments and back in his home country of Japan. It’s a long way down from #1 in the world but wario did have a handful of strong wins. His legacy and middling results in 2017 kept him high in the rankings but nowhere near the heights he touched in 2016. The future can be forgiving even if the past is not, and 2018 can certainly see a return to form for the previous world champion.

-David Shears

Notable wins – Josh Brody, Finio, Apparition the Ambassador

Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

2016 seemed to be the year of Yoshua “Dext3r” Peral Castillo. He won the Most Improved award and ended up with four Top 10 finishes. He would follow up this landmark year by surpassing this total and ending up with five top ten finishes in 2017. He seems to have cemented his place at the top of the Smash rankings with his excellent results. He has shown extreme consistency against fringe top players in the form of Josh Brody and TR3GTheZ. He was also able to figure out the tricky Japanese playstyles of Gyaki and Taimai.

Dext3r showed his brilliance at Boss Battle 3. In Indianapolis, Dext3r easily dispatched Brody and TR3GTheZ after mowing down the Midwest. Unfortunately, he met up with the perennial powerhouse that is SuPeRbOoMfAn whom he is still trying to figure out. This performance landed him his best placing of the year, second place. Dext3r’s Pika dittos against Mariguas have created impressive highlights over the years but Dext3r was unable to achieve a win against his Mexican counterpart in 2017. The Mexican duo travel well together and are a threatening force if you come up against them in doubles. With luck, the Smash Gods will smile upon Dext3r and allow him to compete frequently in 2018 and adorn our highlight reels with more flashy plays.

-Jason Mani

Notable wins – Isai, Wizzrobe, tacos, Gyaki


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

The dreams of men are endless but the challenges they create always find a champion. Since man first looked up at the stars, it dreamed of finding its place among them. Then in recent history, man walked on the moon, split the atom, and solved Fermat’s Last Theorem. Dreams are simply futures yet to be told, but there was one dream thought to be unreachable: beating Isai in Pikachu dittos in tournament.

Arturo “Mariguas” Núñez Hernandez always dreamed of being a Super Smash Bros 64 champion. He’s rumored to have climbed mountains to meditate with the gods in a search for mastery of Smash 64. His dedication, his patience, and his persistence to craft his mind and his play lead Mariguas to one of the most impressive years for any player in Smash 64 history. Mariguas was a bounty hunter in 2017, attending nearly every major event and collecting new names with each one he attended. Tacos, Zero, Wizzrobe, TR3GTheZ, Dext3r were all just mementos he acquired along his competitive journey, tokens to remember events by, but nothing to define his career. At Snosa III Mariguas faced a real champion, Fukurou, a player that went on to win the most prestigious Smash 64 event of all time. Here he managed to take a set off a player both Alvin and SuPeRbOoMfAn later failed to do. Despite finishing 2nd, resetting Grand Finals vs. the best Kirby player in Japan, and arguably the best player in the world, was an astonishing feat for Mariguas. Still though, just another memento and the yearning to fulfill a dream.

Mariguas has always been a player of determination. Heartbreaking defeats never discouraged him from looking away from his dreams. Shortly after the soul-crushing 2nd place at Snosa, Mariguas headed up to Canada for GOML 2017. This time the prize was more than fulfilling a dream, it was defining a legacy. Narrowly defeating the hometown favorite TR3GTheZ, Mariguas went on to lose 0-3 to Isai in Winners Finals and it felt like the same old song and dance. After regaining composure by escaping another close set with TR3GTheZ, Mariguas prepared himself for another match with his idol and the master of 64, Isai. Against all odds in an unbelievable turn of events, Mariguas beat Isai 3-0 in the first set of Grand Finals to reset the bracket. This marked the first time Isai had ever lost a tournament set going only Pikachu. Immediately after, in Grand Finals set 2, he jumped out to a 2-0 set lead to put Isai on the brink of elimination, but Isai mounted his comeback. Forcing game 5 after losing 5 straight Pika dittos, it seemed Isai would rob Mariguas of his dream. However, Mariguas would not be the victim of fate. In the final game of Grand Finals he brilliantly outplayed Isai and moments later was crowned champion.

GOML commemorated Mariguas’s victory with a ring and it subsequently earned him a spot at the top of the rankings. But for Mariguas, the ring and the rankings mean nothing in comparison to the legacy he earned and the emotions he had while capturing his first championship all while fulfilling a dream no other player can claim. Ever since man played Super Smash Bros for the Nintendo 64 it dreamed of beating Isai in Pikachu dittos, and then, in recent history, Mariguas found his place among the stars.

-David Shears

Notable wins – Isai, Zero, Fukurou, Wizzrobe


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

Before he was announced to attend Genesis 4, k y s k was relatively unknown in North America, save for a few Japanese scene enthusiasts. He had established himself in Japan, consistently placing behind Wangera at their events over the span of three and a half years. With the legacy of Japanese Kirby players traveling to the United States being well-documented, the bar was set fairly high for k y s k as he followed in the footsteps of Kikoushi and Moyashi. He did not disappoint.

Spectators knew from the get-go that k y s k would give them a special performance, as he displayed both his technical prowess, and his creative mind while dominating the Genesis 4 Combo Contest. He didn’t waste any time in bracket either, as his aggressive and punishing Kirby absolutely smothered his opponents, not dropping a single game until Top 6. K y s k made quick work of some of North America’s strongest players, taking a commanding 3-0 victory over Mariguas, and polishing off his Top 64 bracket with a complete shutdown of Wizzrobe, who was hot off a huge upset victory over SuPeRbOoMfAn.

K y s k’s victories may not have been a surprise to those familiar with the Japanese scene. However, the manner in which he dismantled several of North America’s strongest players was difficult to see coming. Unfortunately, k y s k was unable to match that pace the following day, as he found himself unable to get much going against Alvin and SuPeRbOoMfAn. He demonstrated his capabilities with other characters, showing us a Captain Falcon capable of taking a game off of Alvin’s Pikachu, and going toe-to-toe with SuPeRbOoMfAn’s Pikachu as well. In Japan he’s been seen utilizing the small yellow character himself as well, perhaps alluding to an attempt to master the infamous triad of “top tiers”.

Sadly, the top tier of players proved to be too much for him to progress further, however k y s k’s imposing performance throughout most of his lone appearance in North America earned him a spot in the rankings amongst some of the finest in the world.

-Josh Brody

Notable wins – Mariguas, Wizzrobe


Photo courtesy of © Thomas Tischio | @tischphotos

 

 

Despite only attending one North American event — Super Smash Con — in 2017, Wangera’s star has continued to rise and the fan favorite has proven yet again that Jigglypuff can compete at the highest levels of Smash 64. Similar to 2016, Wangera was at the center of many exciting moments this year, beginning with a highly anticipated rematch against Dext3r in Winner’s Top 24. After SSC 2016, Dext3r came roaring back with a vengeance, and the two played a best-of-3 set that was far more aggressive than we were used to seeing from Wangera — or Puff players in general — as he showcased his combo game and quick rest setups on Pikachu. In a game 3, last stock situation, Wangera was knocked off-stage but managed to weave around Dext3r’s forward-smash to get a quick down-air to back-throw, taking the set 2-1.

Next up was a memorable set against LD in Winners Quarters of SSC. After seeing LD handily defeat Alvin just one round prior, many felt that he might be able to dispatch Wangera in a similar fashion. The two put on a show for the crowd, and Wangera’s creative rest combos, tricky spacing and jump usage, and consistent and brutal edgeguarding against the “un-edgeguardable” LD proved more than enough to handle the MDVA Fox as he won the set 3-1.

In Winners Semis, Wangera faced Fukurou’s Kirby in, yet another, extremely close set. The two traded games, with an impressive comeback from Wangera in game 2, and found themselves in game 5, tied at 2-2. In a tense last-stock situation, Wangera, who was at almost 90% and still living, smacked Fukurou with a Pound and quickly forced him offstage. One quick edgeguard later, Wangera emerged as the victor, taking the set 3-2 and earning a rare victory over Fukurou.

In Winners Finals, Wangera finally fell to Kurabba 3-0 and was eliminated in Losers Finals by Fukurou in another 3-2 set. En route to his 3rd place showing at the biggest Smash 64 tournament of the year, Wangera yet again demonstrated his mastery of Jigglypuff — how to utilize her jumps, her grab game and combo game, quick rest conversions, tricky recoveries that minimize her weaknesses, and methodical edgeguarding that showcases her strengths against the rest of the cast. With consistently excellent and exciting play, Wangera has proven he has the skill and drive to be the best in the world, and is an inspiration to Jigglypuff mains across the Smash community.

-Brendan Murray

Notable wins – Fukurou, Dext3r, LD


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

2017 is going to be hard to top for Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett. The wizz kid Floridian of many Smash talents had one of the most impressive years in competitive Smash 64. In every tournament he attended in 2017 he finished in the Top 5. These placings are accented by two first place finishes at Shine 2017 and Smash Conference LXIX. Shine 2017 was quite possibly the best performance from a player in 2017, as Wizzy was able to defeat both Alvin and Mariguas twice.

Wizzrobe’s Yoshi is a precisely calculated fine tuned machine. His combos seem effortless and his brain seems to work at twice the speed of others at times. Despite his struggles with certain matchups, Wizzy was able to improve on his 2016 season and should be on everyone’s radar in 2018. His next hurdle seems to be figuring out SuPeRbOoMfAn and defeating his highflying Kirby. He took a big step in this regard at Genesis 4, where he finally overcame his Canadian demon. Wizzrobe needs to overcome his Kirby struggles if he wants to become the greatest. 2017 has shown that he belongs at the big kids table, he’s no longer an easy win for 64’s elite and they need to take him seriously now. This year will be another year of improvement for Wizzrobe and we may see a changing of the guard when it comes to the newest rankings.

-Jason Mani

Notable wins – Alvin, SuPeRbOoMfAn, Mariguas, Dext3r


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

* denotes a win at a national or regional event that was NOT included in the 2017 ballot