Battle of BC has, in the past, been seen as a larger national Super Smash Bros event. Normally, it would attract a handful of top 10 players who would solidly beat the rest of the field and fight it out in Grand Finals. This year, we are seeing the Canadian tournament skyrocket to a potential supermajor tier event, with talent like Zain, Hungrybox, Mang0, Leffen, and aMSa in attendance. Battle of BC 4 will kick off this summer’s insane line-up of Melee majors, and if you can’t catch all the action this weekend, here are five matches to keep an eye out for.
#5: null vs. Faust
If Slime is known in the community as mangoFan, then null should be referred to as mangoFriend. If you’ve watched Melee on Twitch at all in the past year you’ve probably seen Mang0 cracking jokes while doing a characteristically crazy combo on a poor Fox. That Fox was likely null. Outside of being Mang0’s practice partner, null puts up respectable placings at majors, including 33rd at Pound 2022, 25th at GENESIS 8, and 25th at Mainstage 2021. He’s also broke through to the top 10 in SoCal, holding down the #7 slot on their most recent Power Rankings.
Faust is less-known than null, but that’s easy to say of most Melee players who don’t practice with Mang0. The Canadian Puff player is very active in the online scene, placing respectably in East Coast Fridays and Training Mode Tuesdays each week. He had an unfortunately short run at NYC’s Function 2 when he lost to 404Cray, but picked up a 5th place finish at the LAN Pit Smash last month. Importantly for this set, Faust has positive records on players that I would compare null to: OtES, htwa, and Stone. null is likely a tier above these three Fox players, but the pressure to defend his home turf might give Faust the boost he needs.
#4: moky vs. S2J
moky, after taking an unfortunate break from competing online due to his internet service, returned to competition with a roar at NYC’s Function 2. After losing to Jflex, he tore through the losers bracket beating Foxy Grandpa, iBDW, Skerzo, Zamu, Pipsqueak, and SluG before falling to Ginger in Grand Finals. He made a similarly long run at GENESIS 8, which ended at 13th place and included a win over his opponent this weekend, S2J.
Here’s a stat for you: since LAN tournaments returned to SoCal in 2021, S2J has attended 16 of them. Of that 16, he’s won 10, beating players like KoDoRiN, Fiction, Lucky, and Sora. With his recent wins at The New Mang, Lawless, and many Verdugo’s, it’s hard to deny that S2J has an argument for best player in SoCal. But an even higher accolade is that S2J was recently named moky’s favorite player to face in bracket. Now, moky might be saying this because he’s gotten the better of S2J the last two times they’ve played, but you can’t be good in SoCal without being strong in the Fox matchup. No matter how it shakes out, I hope both players enjoy the set as much as we will watching it.
#3: KoDoRiN vs. Swift
2022 has been characterized so far by the sudden rise of players who grind the game endlessly, and KoDoRiN is a prime example. He skyrocketed to a contender for top 10 at the end of 2021, being placed in the “A” tier on the PGR Contenders list that substituted for a proper ranking. His stock has only risen since, placing 9th at GENESIS 8, 5th at Pound 2022, and 7th at Smash Summit 13, where he picked up his first win on Mang0. Personally, I realized KoDoRiN was at the top of the game when he placed 3rd at Low Tide City 2021, taking two losses to Axe’s Pikachu. Speaking of Pikachu…
Axe may not have lost the Marth matchup in ages, but Swift is probably the Pikachu with the best Marth practice lately. In 2020, Zain was determined to break his losing streak to Axe and grinded against Swift endlessly on his stream. While Zain hasn’t had the opportunity to show what he’s got against Axe since, Swift was able to demonstrate his prowess against Marth in the online GALINT Melee Open: Summer Edition, beating both Logan and KoDoRiN. While he would later lose to Logan at the LAN tournament Riptide, he hasn’t had the chance to face KoDoRiN since. The narrative behind this matchup has been centered around Axe as the only relevant Pikachu for so long, and I’m excited to see if either of these players can shake that up.
#2: Jmook vs. Hungrybox
In a matter of months, Jmook has gone from being appropriately seeded 21st at GENESIS 8 to being appropriately seeded 3rd at Battle of BC 4. This is a rise unlike anything we’ve seen in modern Melee. In that time, Jmook has collected wins on Zain, iBDW, Leffen, lloD, and Plup. But there’s one opponent who, until this past week, evaded him in bracket: Hungrybox.
Hungrybox has performed admirably this year, taking wins on Mang0, Plup, aMSa, KoDoRiN, and Ginger. Sure, he drops the occasional TMT bracket to BBB, but has not missed Top 8 at any LAN major he’s attended this year. He’s also turned a corner in the Sheik matchup, currently holding an eight-set win streak on Ben, who used to terrorize him online. That Sheik experience shone through at TMT #80 last week, where he double-eliminated Jmook in Grand Finals to win the tournament. To his credit, Jmook never really looked lost in their sets, and even brought the final set to the last game. The two are seeded to re-match in Winners Semi-Finals and Losers Finals this weekend, which could drastically impact either player’s rankings for this year.
#1: Zain vs. Mang0
How times have changed. In my article previewing GENESIS 8, I had this as my most-anticipated set because I predicted that the winner would likely win the tournament. As we know now, the two never met after Mang0’s early loss to Fizzwiggle in pools. Zain and Mang0, who were seen as titans of the game for nearly two years straight, have not played a bracket set since Zain won LACS 4 over Mang0 with a 6-0. Now, instead of being seeded to play in Grand Finals, they are seeded to play in Winners Quarter-Finals.
The background to this set conveys a lot about the current status of Melee. Almost everything is in flux, and what we thought we were sure about a few months ago is no longer true. Established players are slumping, new talent is emerging seemingly out of nowhere, and Mang0 faces a real threat of missing his 4th major Top 8 in a row. No matter which way this set goes, the implications for both players and the overall tournament will be stunning. And, funnily enough, I still think the winner of this set could likely win the whole thing.