To start off, FB4 was a ton of fun.
The venue was just the right size, the staff was friendly and competent, the event was run efficiently, and the community was passionate and welcoming. I highly recommend this event to anyone who can make it to its next iteration. My only complaint was that the staff started breaking down half of the setup area pretty early on Saturday night (maybe like 12 PM), and that there weren’t many setups towards the end of Sunday, but besides that the event ran very smoothly. My one regret was not being able to play the organ, but next time!
Regarding my own performance, I have mixed feelings. The first draft of the bracket had me projected to play Syrox (who I’ve beaten, albeit barely, at Big House 7), and Leffen (who beat me solidly at Smash Con 2017). I’ve been working a lot towards the Fox matchup, specifically with edgeguarding, and I was excited to put my newfound skills to the test. The bracket changed, however, so that I was instead projected to play 2Saint, La Luna, and then HBox. I was actually REALLY excited for this change, as for the first time in a LONG time, I had a bracket of favorable matchups. Any other Peach would cringe at a bracket of Puffs and Marths, but I excel at those matchups, as they’re pretty slow-paced and neutral-heavy, and they allow plenty of time for adaptation. I’ve beaten 2Saint in the past, during the one time we’ve played (1.5-2.5 years ago?), but I’ve actually never beaten La Luna. He’s beaten me twice in the past, though that was before I started excelling at the Marth matchup, so I was excited to get my revenge. Plus, if I beat La Luna, I would finally have my chance to play against Hungrybox, who told me after SV7 that he hasn’t lost even a single game to a Peach player in like 10 years, and that he’s beaten all the other top Peaches pretty solidly recently.
My set with 2Saint was a lot closer than expected. His mixups were good, but I think I got in my own head for most of the set. I was too afraid of getting rested, and so I stopped playing neutral towards the end of game 1, allowing him to make a significant comeback. I think I expected him to be a lot more aggressive, too, as people always say he’s an “aggressive Puff,” so I was surprised by how defensive his playstyle ended up being. I managed to bring it back in game 2, and he kinda SD’d game 3, so I ended up winning the set. Against La Luna, I was thrown off by his weird cadence, as I could never really lock down his rhythm. To me it seemed like we both played badly, and I just happened to play less bad. Even though I won both of these sets, it didn’t really feel like I showed off my talents, especially considering how this was the first time I’ve had a “good bracket.”
My prize, however, was an attempt against Hungrybox. I didn’t think I’d beat him, but I knew I’d give him a run for his money, as no other Peach plays the matchup like I do. He kinda destroyed me game 1. For whatever reason, I would try shielding his bairs, but my shield wouldn’t come out in time, so he’d just whack me. I wasn’t sure if I was just reacting slow, or if his drift was better than other Puffs, but it threw me off pretty hard, as most of my gameplan vs Puff revolves around shielding Puff’s bair. Regardless, game 2 was suuuuuper close, but I didn’t really use the stitch I pulled too well, and ended up getting drilled->usmashed. Game 3 was close again, but Hbox’s edgeguards were on point. I’m happy with how I played, especially because Peach is one of Hbox’s best matchups. I adapted well, I did some cool tricks, and I have a lot more data for when I play him next. I definitely plan to take a game off him next time I play him (and maybe even win!).
My loser’s run could have been epic, as I had AbsentPage -> Rik -> aMSa to get into top 8, but I ended up losing to AbsentPage 3-2. He went Sheik this time, which I guess threw me a little off, but the worst part was that I was messing up simple edgeguards game 4. It should’ve been a clean 3-1, but I kept letting him back onto stage, and I guess I lost patience with myself and lost game 5. It’s definitely frustrating losing a set like that, because I didn’t feel outplayed. HBox completely outplayed me, as he was calling out my shields with tomahawks left and right, and outspacing my drift almost perfectly. I don’t even remember my set with AbsentPage, though, besides all those missed edgeguards. To his credit, he edgeguarded me very well. I just consider myself very good against Sheik, and I didn’t demonstrate any of that during my set with him. For the future, I think I just need to play against Sheik more (especially since Junebug started dodging me cough cough). My neutral and combos were fine, but I didn’t execute edgeguards and got bored towards the end of the set.
This tournament made me think a lot about my future as a competitor. The “Golden Pathway” I talked about in my Guide to Improvement is designed to minimize variance, and I definitely showed that in 2017, as I rarely lost to anyone considered worse than me. Something changed this year, though, as I’ve already racked up several “bad” losses: Ginger, Hax, Bob-omb, Jerry, and now AbsentPage. Maybe I’m not putting enough time into Melee as I should be, or maybe I’m not as passionate about winning as I was last year. Maybe I feel the pressure being ranked so high on MIOM. I definitely feel more tired in general these days, as work is exhausting and has shredded my sleep cycle to pieces. I usually overcome fatigue with Monster and a drive to be the best, but I’ve honestly felt like I was falling asleep during all of my “bad losses” this year. I was thinking today about maybe not listening to music anymore or changing the song (even though Firework will always be my favorite song), so I guess that’s something to play with in the future. I just want to stop being a part of other people’s “Loser’s Runs,” and instead start taking big names again. I’ll be starting Medical School in the Fall, so this might be my last chance to take Smash seriously. I plan on doing whatever it takes to become the best I can be until then.
I was feeling pretty sad about Smash when I got home from FB4, but now that I’ve had a chance to cool off, I’m excited to start playing again. One thing I realized is how important a support system in a competitive environment can be. I play much better when I know my friends are rooting for me. I’m very grateful for the support I’ve received so far in my competitive career, and I’m looking forward to deepening these friendships and making even more along the way.
Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t already, check out my Melee Mini’s!
Until next time!