A spiritual successor to the annual supermajor Smash n’ Splash, Riptide was announced in late 2019 as a Smash major for Summer 2020. While the coronavirus pandemic would postpone the event, organizers were able to regroup and will be hosting Riptide at the Kalahari Waterpark in Sandusky, Ohio this weekend. While there have been several large local events for Melee as vaccines have rolled out, Riptide will be the first true LAN major since CEO Dreamland in March of 2020. The open bracket will bring viewers many intense sets, and there are five in particular that you will not want to miss.
#1: Logan vs. Ben
Projected to take place in Round 2 pools, the winner of this match will move on to Top 24 on the Winners side. I wouldn’t be surprised if these two players were relatively unknown before quarantine. Both have made a name for themselves in the online era, being mainstays at Rollback Rumbles, East Coast Fridays, and Tournament Mode Tuesdays. Additionally, both have an impressive LAN result under their belts: Ben placed second at Hold That L #6, beating Polish, Drephen, and Zamu and losing only to Ginger, the winner of the tournament, while Logan was voted into Smash Summit 11 where they would slay the Fox mains moky and Aklo in pools before placing 13th in the final bracket. Ben and Logan have played 14 sets over the course of quarantine, with Logan holding a 71% win rate, though Ben did win the last two sets they played in April 2021.
#2: KoDoRiN vs. Ginger
Two familiar names will also be facing off in Round 2 pools: KoDoRiN, the SoCal Marth main, and Ginger, the Falco from the Midwest. While both were common online competitors, neither wasted any time returning to offline events. KoDoRiN has firmly established himself as one of the best active players in the notoriously competitive region of SoCal, placing no lower than 4th and winning 6 of the 8 locals he has attended since late July. Similarly, Ginger took a short pause after July’s online majors before tearing through the Midwest in August, winning Tripoint 109 and Hold That L #6 without dropping any sets on a weekend trip to Chicago. The two have played two matches on LAN, both at SoCal tournaments in late 2019. Ginger won one and KoDoRiN won the other. The other 9 of the 11 sets the two have played have been online, and KoDoRiN has come out of them with a slight 64% win rate, including winning their most recent set at Pound Online in June.
#3: Hungrybox vs. the winner of Zamu vs. BBB
This is an odd one. Normally I would follow the projected bracket, which has Zamu beating BBB in Top 24 to play Hungrybox in Winners Quarterfinals. While I certainly believe that could happen, I don’t believe it is a forgone conclusion that BBB will lose here, and anyone who has watched Melee in the online era will agree that predicting BBB’s wins and losses is a fool’s errand. I am including this match because regardless of which space animal Hungrybox will face, he will have a considerable challenge. Long thought as a specialist in the Fox match-up and near-unbeatable against Falco, Hungrybox has taken loss after loss to Fox players like Aklo, moky, Hax$, and Harry Pogger in addition to Falco players like BBB, Ginger, Albert, Bones, and Eliot. Hungrybox being seeded to win Riptide has been criticized, and I believe this match will tell us if the seeders were right to do so.
#4: Wizzrobe vs. Llod
I doubt many would consider these two players to be undeserving of top seeds. However, both have a Melee career that is prone to long absences, and this year has been no exception. Wizzrobe had not entered a tournament for the first two months of 2021 before placing 5th at Four Loko Fight Night. Following this, he would compete in Season 2 of the Summit Champions League, where he would win Week 3 by beating Mang0 and Zain, but would fall just short of qualifying for Smash Summit 11 in Week 4. Two months later, he won Rollback Rumble: The Big One to qualify for Smash Summit 11, where he would place 5th. These four events are all we have seen from Wizzrobe this year so far. Llod, a player some might consider “less active,” has been quietly placing impressively at smaller events throughout the year, taking 5th at the MD/VA Summit, 3rd at YourHouse, 17th at The Allston Melee Bender, and 7th at the offline event The Grail. In addition to being a current med student, Llod has been switching to the B0XX, an alternative ergonomic controller over this year, which could explain his odd losses to Harry Pogger, Neologism, and Mekk. The lack of data from these two players leaves a huge question mark in the bracket, and I’ll be tuning in just to see it get resolved.
#5: Plup vs. iBDW
Situated on either side of the bracket as the 2nd and 4th seed, Plup and iBDW would have to either meet in Winners Finals or Losers Top 8 to play this weekend. However, with their projected Winners Semifinals matches being against players they are historically favored against (Wizzrobe and Hungrybox, respectively), I have full confidence this match will occur somewhere in the bracket. The match history between the two is confusing, with iBDW taking a 3-0 win at LACS 2, and two 3-1 wins at the SCL Season 1 in 2020. Plup opted to play out the Fox ditto rather than play Sheik against iBDW in the SCL sets, but lost with his Sheik in a five-game set during SCL Season 2. However, in their most recent offline set at Smash Summit 11, Plup cleanly won 3-1 with Sheik, and used his Sheik to split sets with Mang0’s Fox at the same event. Plup is something of a wildcard among the top 4 seeds at Riptide, in contrast with iBDW, who was seen as a clear third-best at times during the online era. However, given their bracket paths and records against the 1st and 3rd seeds, I would confidently bet on one of these two to win the event, making this my most-anticipated set of Riptide.
Riptide will be running September 10th-12th. Brackets and more information can be found on smash.gg/riptide, and the broadcast schedule can be found on the Riptide Twitter. The broadcast will be managed by BTSsmash across their four Twitch channels for Friday and Saturday, with Sunday’s finals happening on twitch.tv/BTSsmash.