This weekend, a year’s worth of regional qualifiers will culminate in the first Smash World Tour Championships. Hosted by VGBootCamp and boasting a prize pool of over $150,000, this event in Orlando has drawn competitors from around the world for both Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The Championship’s pools stage will begin on Saturday, following a Friday Last Chance Qualifier bracket to determine the final eight players in the Championship. The bracket will be completed in just one day, but here are five Melee matches I hope we get to see on the main stage.
#1: KJH vs. Mew2King
Projected to take place in Winners Quarter-finals, this match features two players that have taken recent hiatuses from competitive Melee. After disappointing showings at The Quarantine Series and Pound 2020 online in the early pandemic, Mew2King has withdrawn from competitive Melee play in favor of content creation and coaching. KJH, on the other hand, was a consistent attendee of online tournaments such as Untitled and Rollback Rumble. KJH publicly announced his retirement in late 2020 but has since returned in rare form. In the past two months, he has taken Michigan tournaments over players like Ginger and Drephen and reached 25th at Mainstage 2021.
The seeding of these two players, despite their relative inactivity, is no surprise. However, since the top eight of the LCQ advance to the Championships, this match is seeded to be a Championship qualifier. We may see KJH ride the momentum of his return to the Championships, or we may see a Mew2King performance similar to The Big House 9, where he beat iBDW and Hungrybox after nearly a year of inactivity.
#2: Magi vs. SluG
With the recent inactivity of staple Ice Climbers mains like ChuDat and ARMY, SluG has become the poster child for the character in the current meta. In the past year, he’s taken wins over players like Bobby Big Ballz and JFlex online. Offline, he’s beaten Logan at Super Smash Con: Fall Fest and Drephen and n0ne to place 13th at Mainstage 2021. His projected opponent in Winners Quarterfinals is Magi, the Louisiana Falco who recently placed 7th at Smash Summit 12, beating Wizzrobe in pools and Pipsqueak and SFAT in bracket.
This Championships qualifier is an interesting battle for character representation. Currently, no Ice Climbers mains have qualified for the Melee Championships (with the exception of Nicki, the German Fox main who has a strong Ice Climbers secondary). At the same time, only two Falco mains, Fiction and Frenzy, were able to qualify through the regional qualifiers. Regardless of who progresses from this match, it will skew the character representation in the Championships significantly.
#3: Axe vs. Ginger
The projected Winners Finals and Grand Finals will be a rematch from Low Tide City earlier this year. At that tournament, Ginger was able to beat Axe in two five-game sets, turning the tables on a long losing record against the Pikachu. However, based on recent tweets from Axe, we may be seeing a different character this weekend. Axe’s Fox, while not as proven as his Pikachu in tournament, has the chance to put Ginger on his heels when it comes to stage counter picks in a long set.
Both of these players are solid bets for Championship qualifiers. However, the outcome of the match between them could determine much for seeding in the Championship pools. This combined with their recent set history will likely lead to a climactic bracket finale.
#4: Chem vs. Warmmer
My hipster pick for the most exciting set of the LCQ is in the first round of Round 2 Pools. Chem, a Fox main who has terrorized Philadelphia for years, will be facing Warmmer, a fellow East Coaster and Falco main. I sincerely hope this match is streamed or at least recorded to see how the two stack up against each other.
Currently, Chem holds an undefeated 5-0 record against Warmmer. However, their last set was 10 months ago at SoB Sunday #28. Since then Warmmer has made considerable strides in improvement, now having wins over JoJo, JFlex, and Captain Smuckers. The winner of this set will likely play Magi, so there’s some uncertainty in how much it will affect the bracket as a whole. But I will always tune in when I think there’s a chance a long-standing record will be flipped.
#5: Axe vs. Mew2King
This match is not found in the projected bracket, so an upset would need to occur for it to happen. However, with how uncertain the matchups between the top eight seeds are, I believe there is a high probability this match happens. For some, this match may not sound exciting. For others, the prospect of this match brings on a unique feeling of nostalgia.
After 5 straight losses, Axe picked up his first set win on Mew2King at Smash Rivalries in 2017. For the next year, the head-to-head swung repeatedly in either player’s favor: sometimes Mew2King would easily 3-0 Axe, and other times he would look hopeless in the matchup. The two even developed a strange counter pick war, with Axe utilizing his Falco and Marth against Mew2King’s Sheik. Axe picked up a fifth consecutive win in their head-to-head with a 3-0 at Smash Summit 7 in late 2018. The two have not met in bracket since. For over three years, two players who are ostensibly Top 10 when they are actively competing have not played a set against each other. If they meet at some point at the LCQ, it will be a delightful blast to the past for anyone who followed Melee in that era.