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Alternative Content Week: FTRS Super Smash Bros. Tournament Update

In which I actually write the [GRIT]post that I was too lazy to write back in March

Back in March, as the future of Georgia Tech sports (and, less importantly, society in general) became increasingly uncertain, the Switch owners on the staff decided to plan a couple video game tournaments to fill the void. Akshay organized the FTRS Champions League for FIFA and I planned out FTRS March Madness for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Both of these tournaments were played out to at least some extent in the days that followed, but while Akshay was actually diligent about doing write-ups for his matches at the time, I... was not.

Luckily, an extra week of [RELENTLESS EFFORT]posts on the site has provided another opportunity to write about the results. So at long last, here is a summary of the Round Robin portion of the FTRS Smash Ultimate tournament from late March.

Tournament Refresher

Originally we set out to do round robin with five players: Chau, Kieffer, Nishant, Chau’s friend Andy, and Nishant’s friend Hank. On the day everyone came together to play out the round robin portion of the series, Hank—the winner of the preseason Smashketball match—had a last-minute conflict spring up and agreed to bow out, so we went ahead with the remaining four players.

The round robin matches used the following format:

  • Three stock, 7:00 time limit, no items, no final smash
  • Match tiebreaker (if equal stock at end of time limit): fighter with less damage wins
  • Best-of-three series; first match on Omega-style map (i.e. Final Destination), second match on Battlefield-style map, third match on a map randomly selected between the two styles
  • No limit on character selection; players are free to switch between matches at will

Round Robin Results: The FTRS Trio

With Andy set to arrive a little later, the three staffers of the group decided to square off, with Chau and Kieffer kicking off the tournament.

Series 1: Chau vs. Kieffer

Match 1: Chau (Link) vs. Kieffer (Falco)

Chau sticks with his trusty Link to open things up, while Kieffer switches from his usual ZSS to Falco after seeing success with the whiny fighter pilot during the group’s preseason sparring matches.

0:00 - The match begins with what would become a theme: Chau chucking a projectile at Kieffer, who responds with a timely reflector to bounce it back and deal the first blow. As the two begin to feel each other out, Chau decides to toss in what 2005-ish Joe Buck would call a Disgusting Act.

0:32 - Nothing going on here except... well, nothing. Enjoy about 11 seconds of literally nothing productive happening, unless you count another Disgusting Act by Chau as productive.

1:03 - Kieffer lands a forward-air attack to knock Chau backward. For whatever reason, Chau seems so aggravated by this that he arbitrarily decides to dive into the abyss sword-first, giving Kieffer what nevertheless counts as the first KO of the match.

1:16 - Chau’s boomerang falls short, and he seems content to atone for this by just being shot repeatedly by Falco’s blaster. This is followed by another exciting stretch of nothing that concludes with yet another Disgusting Act by Chau.

1:26 - Despite falling behind early, Chau climbs back in it by landing a well-timed dash attack. Kieffer makes a nice spot dodge to evade another boomerang throw, only to leave himself vulnerable for another dash attack that secures the KO for Chau and tie the game up.

2:36 - After a long stretch of Kieffer employing largely successful hit-and-run tactics, Chau attempts to roll repeatedly to close the distance, but Kieffer times a forward smash perfectly. It looks like a successful killshot, but Chau manages to DI his way out of it... only to make a fatal mistake moments later, when he mistakenly thinks a midair dodge will get him back to the ledge. It ends up being his second fall of the match, and with Kieffer at just 7.9% damage, the Falco user takes a commanding lead.

3:32 - Chau makes a crucial mistake with an up-B that leaves him vulnerable, and Kieffer punishes him with an up-smash that puts Link over 100% damage. Kieffer attempts to follow up with an up-air attack that would have been the finishing blow, but he mis-times it, and as soon as he lands, Chau is ready to pummel him with a dash attack to tie things up at two KOs apiece.

3:43 - Yet another fun sequence of six seconds of nothing happening. Though to their credit, at least they’re trying this time. They just keep missing.

3:54 - Big brain move from Chau here. It looks as if he is arbitrarily throwing his boomerang off to the right while Kieffer is off to his left. Fast forward a few seconds, though, and Chau is on Kieffer’s left keeping him busy with a flurry of sword attacks—and that’s when the boomerang comes back and hits its target. (We’ll just pretend he didn’t throw it to the right by accident.)

4:30 - Kieffer, looking for the finisher, dodges a down-air and lands a dash attack that sends Link flying. It isn’t enough for the kill, and Chau tries to position himself to come down quickly and land right on the ledge... only to somehow slide right along it and drop too quickly for him to respond in time. He falls to his doom, and Kieffer takes home the first win of the tournament.

Match Time: 4:39

Link Stats: 260% damage dealt, 2 KO

Falco Stats: 388% damage dealt, 3 KO

Match 2: Chau (Mario) vs. Kieffer (Zero Suit Samus)

Both players decide to switch it up for the second match, with Kieffer shifting back to his usual main and Chau looking to embrace meme power.

0:07 - The match starts with both players trading hits, and then we come to a sequence where Chau just decides to spam fireball—at least until Kieffer gets close enough to land a smash attack. And then it’s back to more fireball spam.

1:12 - ZSS has only one truly reliable kill move, her up-B kick thing, and Kieffer knows it. After his first couple attempts miss, he sends Mario flying with a dash attack and manages to land it, sending Mario into oblivion and drawing first blood.

2:05 - Kieffer lands a blaster shot and dash attack in rapid succession, and with Mario just shy of 100% damage, he goes for the KO with an up-B. But he gets too greedy and launches the attack as Chau lands and rolls out of it—a long stretch of invincibility frames. Chau takes advantage of the situation with a forward smash for the KO, bringing the stock score back to even—though he has a large damage deficit to make up.

2:22 - Chau’s strategy for making up the gap: fireball spam. Lots and lots of fireball spam. Enjoy over 20 seconds of fireball spam. But as soon as Kieffer crosses the map and lands on the platform just above Mario, Chau promptly drills him with an up-B. On the whole, it’s not a very effective strategy in terms of damage dealt, but it is very effective at annoying Kieffer.

3:05 - Kieffer lands a solid combo of a blaster shot and forward smash to take back the stock lead. At 5.9% damage, he’s in good shape. Chau begins his comeback by dropping to the bottom level and performing another Disgusting Act.

3:56 - Having spent an earlier portion of the match using fire spam, Chau pulls ahead in damage and shifts to trying water spam with Mario’s Fludd backpack. It’s a valiant effort that accomplishes little to nothing.

4:34 - Chau punishes Kieffer for a failed up-B finisher attempt with an up-B of his own. It isn’t quite enough for the KO, and Kieffer lands a strike of his own with a down-air that meteors Mario upward. A few seconds later, Chau leaves himself vulnerable on the platform, and ZSS’s up-smash happens to have enough reach to go through said platform. Kieffer lands the finisher and wraps up the sweep.

Match Time: 4:46

Mario Stats: 287% damage dealt, 1 KO

ZSS Stats: 424% damage dealt, 3 KO

Final Results

Kieffer wins 2-0 after being in command throughout, but Chau provided plenty of entertaining moments in the opening set.

Series 2: Kieffer vs. Nishant

Match 1: Kieffer (Falco) vs. Nishant (Pikachu)

Kieffer once again goes with Falco based on his comfort with the character and a better matchup, as he accurately predicts that Nishant will open with Pikachu.

0:20 - After spending the first 20 seconds of the match getting bludgeoned, Nishant finally starts doing something about it.

1:02 - Kieffer reflects a Thunder Jolt for like the 70th time in this match already, then follows up by winning the quick-draw smash attack battle for the first KO of the match.

1:46 - Nishant finally lands a dash attack finisher to even things up, but only after running up 86% in damage and handing Kieffer a massive lead for the second stock battle.

2:29 - Having closed the damage gap at least a little, Nishant goes for the dash attack, but by this point Kieffer is expecting it and dodges the attack before landing a smash for his second KO.

3:12 - After being fooled by Falco’s Illusion attack repeatedly, Nishant successfully predicts where Kieffer will land on one... and his attack ends up hitting nothing but air. Or space. Whatever is in Final Destination.

3:29 - Nishant gets hit but manages to blast Falco with a piece of something, and Kieffer can’t quite get back on stage. The match goes into the final stock with Kieffer holding a definite but not insurmountable lead.

4:58 - After a long sequence of careful chipping by both players and a concerted effort to avoid a dumb, game-ending mistake, Nishant air-dodges right into range for a Falco smash attack, and Kieffer doesn’t miss. Kieffer takes Game 1.

Match Time: 5:03

Falco Stats: 418% damage dealt, 3 KO

Pikachu Stats: 356% damage dealt, 2 KO

Match 2: Kieffer (Falco) vs. Nishant (Link)

Feeling uncomfortable with how outmatched he was in the opener, Nishant opts to switch to Link, hoping to add more ranged attacks and power. Kieffer, meanwhile, is hitting is stride with Falco and stays the course.

0:15 - After jumping out to a quick 51% lead, Nishant slowly chokes it away as Kieffer spends most of the minute dealing over 100% while mostly avoiding getting hit.

1:09 - Nishant hates reflectors.

1:40 - Nishant is struggling with the speed disadvantage but knows he just needs one solid hit at this point, and after a lucky landing, he gets it to land first blood in the match.

1:57 - Getting reflector’d wasn’t quite enough as Kieffer follows it up with a smash KO to even things up. Both players enter the second stock at zero and it’s a new match.

3:50 - One of the most even stocks in the tournament ends with Nishant finally landing a smash to finish it.

4:35 - Nishant survives a little longer than he expected but eventually gets up-smash juggled to death, and the match heads into the final stock with Kieffer behind but still with a legitimate shot at the sweep.

4:47 - The game thinks Nishant somehow has a legitimate shot at the finisher with Falco starting at 51%. This isn’t the case, of course...

4:53 - ...but this is. One more smash does the trick, and we’re headed to Game 3 in a very evenly-matched series.

Match Time: 4:47

Falco Stats: 370% damage dealt, 2 KO

Link Stats: 393% damage dealt, 3 KO

Match 3: Kieffer (Falco) vs. Nishant (Byleth)

Kieffer sticks to his guns for the finale, while Nishant makes an impulse decision to roll with Byleth, who at the time was a relatively new addition to the game. More importantly, he picks the Claude-themed Byleth outfit to fully embrace the meme power of the one true house: the Golden Deer.

0:13 - Nishant lands his second shot with Failnaught in the early going. This will lead him to think using a powerful ranged weapon on Falco is a good idea. This is a mistake.

0:27 - aaand there it is. Nishant gets too cocky and signs his own death warrant, handing Kieffer a comfortable early lead in the process.

1:21 - Nishant is really good at getting shot by his own arrows. Kieffer is, of course, happy to enable this.

1:41 - After a bit of gymnastics by both players, Nishant finally lands an Areadbhar smash at full extension to score his first KO, evening up the stock as he tries to climb back from a nice damage deficit.

2:19 - Nishant is REALLY good at getting shot by his own arrows.

2:50 - You would think Nishant would have learned by now. You would be wrong. Kieffer pulls ahead.

3:05 - Nishant manages to get it back with a timely up-smash, and we head into the final stock of the match, and the series, in a virtual dead heat.

4:18 - Kieffer has a slight lead but gets knocked offstage, and for one of the few times all game, Nishant lands a timely Failnaught shot that knocks Falco juuust too far from the edge to recover. In what was easily the most entertaining round robin set of the tournament, Nishant barely pulls out the victory.

Match Time: 4:26

Falco Stats: 335% damage dealt, 2 KO

Byleth Stats: 353% damage dealt, 3 KO

Series 3: Nishant vs. Chau

The three series among the FTRS staffers conclude with Nishant taking on Chau.

Match 1: Nishant (Pikachu) vs. Chau (Link)

Both characters go with their mains on a rather weird-looking rendition of Final Destination to open things up.

0:38 - The early part of the match features Nishant getting a little too cute while trying to finish off Link with Pikachu’s Thunder. It doesn’t quite work here, but after another miss, it does land its mark about 10 seconds later.

1:26 - Chau returns the favor by landing blow after blow and then going for a smash KO. It whiffs the first few times but finally lands true here, evening the score.

2:10 - Nishant knocks Chau offstage with a forward-tilt kick. It isn’t nearly powerful enough to be a finishing blow, and Chau is about to grab the ledge... until he randomly drifts away from it and plummets to his doom. It’s a bold strategy, Cotton, but it doesn’t work out for him and gives Nishant a 2-1 lead.

2:52 - Nishant lands a forward-smash that sends Link flying a short distance, but it’s not enough to be a finisher. Or it shouldn’t be, anyway. Chau attempts to drop directly onto the ledge and is once again betrayed by the ledge, plummeting to his death because apparently the game hates him. Regardless, it goes in the books as a win for Nishant.

Match Time: 2:56

Pikachu Stats: 338% damage dealt, 3 KO

Link Stats: 221% damage dealt, 1 KO

Match 2: Nishant (Lucina) vs. Chau (Link)

Nishant rotates in his second-favorite SSBU fighter for some game reps, while Chau sticks to his tried-and-true Link as he seeks to force a third game in the series in a bizarre equivalent of Battlefield.

0:13 - Nishant hesitated to use Lucina because he knew he’d be facing characters with annoying ranged attacks in Link and Falco, and yet he finds himself getting bludgeoned by close-in attacks just as much as ranged attacks.

0:17 - A rousing game of chicken ensues:

Chau: got an arrow for ya whenever you decide to get up

Nishant: bold of you to assume I won’t just lie here for a while

Chau: k but you’ll get bored eventually

Nishant: right

Chau: cool, here’s your arrow

0:27 - Swordfighting at its finest, in that both characters release a flurry of sword attacks and nothing actually happens.

0:58 - Facing a damage deficit, Nishant needs a break and gets one when Chau lands right in range for Lucina’s Dolphin Slash. It knocks Chau a long distance, and instead of grabbing the ledge upon his return, he lands right atop it—where Nishant is waiting to whack him with a smash.

1:21 - Nishant anticipates a smash attack and tries to counter. It doesn’t go well. Though in fairness, Chau does obliterate him with a smash attack.

1:47 - With Chau at a nice damage total, Nishant links a dash attack to a forward smash to land another KO and pull ahead.

2:14 - Lucina decides she wants to go home, following up a side-B flurry by going offstage to land a forward-air that Link can’t quite recover from. It’s the final KO of the match as Nishant takes it.

Match Time: 2:21

Lucina Stats: 254% damage dealt, 3 KO

Link Stats: 252% damage dealt, 1 KO

Final Results

Nishant wins 2-0, holding serve with Pikachu in the opener and hitting his stride after some early struggles with Lucina.

Next Up: Andy Arrives

Chau’s friend Andy showed up partway through to join the fun, and the FTRS crew all took turns taking on the newcomer. It... didn’t go particularly well. Turns out Andy’s pretty good at the game. More on that later this week. Maybe.