A major rivalry shaped this weekend's Smash Bros. tournament
Apex 2015, the largest Super Smash Bros. tournament in North America, was meant to kick off on Jan. 30. Due to snowstorms, the hotel conference center’s parking garage roof collapsed.
Since the conference center was under the parking garage, fire marshals deemed it too unsafe to host the tournament. With everyone gone, only empty chairs and blank CRT televisions were left.This left Apex staff scrambling to figure out a solution. Luckily, video game streaming website Twitch swooped in to save the day. Twitch was able to lock in the Garden State Convention Center to host the tournament. The games would continue. Sadly, due to Friday being cut, some events couldn’t be a part of the festivities. But the players had a tournament nonetheless.
All day yesterday, the streams for Super Smash Bros. Melee and Smash Bros. for Wii U had viewership over 20,000. It may not sound like a lot, but for Smash to constantly pull in those numbers, it was kind of a big deal.
The tournament came to a climax last night during the Salty Suite, a series of exhibition matches that recalled major matchups from the past. For example, a rematch between Ken “LiquidKen” Huong and Christopher “PC Chris” Szygiel from the MLG 2006 final was a big topic of discussion. The biggest match of the Salty Suite—and the one with the most hype—was between Kashan “LiquidChillin” Khan and William “Leffen” Hjelte.
It started on Twitter when Hjelte called out Khan for being a “has-been” and an overall mediocre player.Khan, who is a Smash Bros. veteran and helped foster the community in its early days, replied asking him to “respect your elders.” The spat continued between the two, and it finally landed on a money match: The two would play against each other during the Salty Suite for $100, and the loser would have to give up using the default Fox character skin for life. Anytime the loser of the match would play, it would be known that they lost the Salty Suite.
Leading up to the Salty Suite, Hjelte would make arrogant comments saying how he would 5-0 Khan; he really felt that Khan was just too far out of his league. This gave Khan support, as he was the underdog in this matchup. Currently, Khan is ranked 26th in the world while Hjelte is ranked 6th.
The Salty Suite match between the two started last night, with nearly 60,000 viewers tuning in. Twitter exploded, with #Apex2015 trending both in Canada and the United States.The first two matches were intense, coming down to the last few lives, but both went to Hjelte. This left Khan visibly frustrated, and he started making some critical errors. Hjelte exploited Khan’s frustration and really started to get inside his head. During the match, Hjelte showed “disrespect” by not playing competitively: He shot lasers from a standing position, a very newbie move, and used the “firefox” move, which is regarded as fairly weak. Hjilte beat Khan, 5-0, just as he predicted.
Twitch chat and Twitter exploded. Hjelte was able to back up his smack talk. All Khan could say after the match was “my B" (my bad).
Hjelte posted the following three tweets:The disrespect was too much for Joseph “C9Mango” Marquez. He leapt up on stage and challenged Hjilte to a $1,000 money match if they met each other in the tournament. Marquez is currently ranked 1st in the world.
It became the No. 1 story on r/all. It was the first time the Smash Bros. community received mainstream attention.
The chances of both Leffen and Mango meeting up in brackets are thin. They are both in separate groups, so they could possibly meet each other in grand finals. That would mean Hjelte would have to beat Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman, a player he has yet to be able to topple. Since the tournament is double elimination, if both lose, they could meet each other in the losers bracket. But again, that assumes both of these top-tier players would lose a set. Some on Reddit are not putting it past Marquez to purposefully lose just to meet Hjelte in the losers bracket, but only time will tell.
The final day of the tournament is going on all day today, so there’s much anticipation on what will happen. Either way, we'll be here to report on it.
Screengrab via Falcopops/YouTube