This last weekend saw Europe gather together as a continent of Smashers to not only battle it out amongst themselves, but to defend its crown from the invading American force. The final event of the European Smash Circuit, BEAST 6, saw some ridiculous sets, new fan favourites being born and quite possibly, the most disrespectful Losers’ Finals I have ever seen while watching competitive Smash.
PM was the first game on the schedule for BEAST 6 and it was pretty much a done deal as to who was going to take this tournament, seeing as Leffen and Armada did not enter. Professor Pro stormed through bracket with Snake, not dropping a single game during the whole event and proving why he is still the best Snake in the world. Abate came in second, using his Luigi fundamentals from Melee to get through to Grand Finals but he clearly had no match up experience whatsoever when it came to fighting a Snake of Pro’s calibre. If you want to see some silly sticky setups and some top level PM play, make sure to track down the VODs for BEAST 6 PM.
Onto Smash 4, which saw a massive amount of entrants from all over Europe, with the UK almost rivalling the host nation of Sweden for number of competitors for Smash 4. Most of our top players got through pools which no real struggle, despite many other nations calling us free before the event but we managed to hold our own for a little while. Top 64 saw quite a few upsets, like former BEAST champion J Miller getting knocked out at 17th place while UK Number 1 Ixis being defeated by Wilksy15, a fellow UK player. Being from Wilksy’s region and having had the joy/frustration of playing his Rosaluma many times in tournament, he really showed up and made the Midlands proud, proving his position as best UK Rosaluma and showing up the BEAST TOs who did not even seed him going into the tournament. Unfortunately, nerves seemed to get the better of him in Top 8 and he went out in 5th place, which is still a massive achievement and he should be lauded for his breakout performance.
While the UK were celebrating Wilksy’s high placing, a new people’s champion was rising in Losers’ Side of Top 8. The Dutch Greninja iStudying put on an absolute clinic in Losers’ Side, beating the German Fox Sodrek and then even besting the USA’s Esam who was a favourite to win the whole Smash 4 event. iStudying singlehandedly put Greninja back in contention for tournament viability with his precise use of footstool setups and Hydro Pump edgeguards which made for probably one of the best sets in Smash 4 history. His performance also showed how good the 3 stock format can be, compared to 2 stocks in the USA and vindicated many of us Europeans who want to see the ruleset adopted worldwide. Grand Finals wasn’t so helpful, thanks to the Greninja Sheik matchup being terrible for the amphibian shinobi and it displayed just how long 3 stock matches can be when someone is willing to camp it out. Nevertheless, the Dutch Mr R did reign supreme and took the crown for Europe, proving that the continent is not necessarily the Eurofreean Union. Moreover, it cannot be doubted that the Netherlands is by far the best country in Europe for Smash 4.
For Melee, it was a US/EU rivalry that dominated the tournament. As we neared Top 8, it became clear that Westballz and Leffen were going to meet in bracket and fight it out. All the trashtalk on Twitter, all of the callouts would be settled in this Winners’ Semis match. Was Westballz’ win over Leffen at Dreamhack just a fluke, or is the American simply better than the Swede in PAL? Well, to say the match was a slobberknocker would be an understatement. Despite an early SD in game 1, Westballz dumpstered Leffen with an emphatic 3-1 victory. The trashtalk was vicious on Twitter yet the two would meet again in Losers’ Finals, where the set would go to Leffen in a 3-0 victory.
Westballz’ behaviour in the Losers’ Finals set was disrespectful, rude and the crowd absolutely loved it. Picking Samus (the character Leffen notoriously struggles with) and taunting throughout the whole first match, Twitch chat, Twitter and even the crowd exploded at this display. The set seemed like something out of pro wrestling rather than a Smash tournament, with Westballz even flipping Leffen off between matches. While he may have lost in the end, Westballz won in many players’ hearts and showed the whole community how engaged a crowd gets when a feud gets serious.
In Winners Side, it was just another day at the office for Armada. He lost one game on his way to Grand Finals and while he did lose the first set, he struck back with a clean 3-0 victory over his fellow Swede and finally took the crown away from Leffen. For the UK, Professor Pro had a nailbiter of a set against Panda Gaming’s Wobbles, the Ice Climbers master from Texas. This set was equally as dramatic as Westballz versus Leffen, with UK chants bolstering Pro to victory while Esam danced in support of Wobbles in the stream player cam. The American players finally got a taste of having the crowd cheer against them, with Professor Pro squeaking out a win before losing to Ice for a 5th place finish like his fellow countryman Wilksy15. Despite the salt during the set, there were no signs of animosity between Pro and Wobbles, with the two hugging it out after the match.
BEAST 6 really proved what Europe can do as a Smash scene, both in terms of competition and hosting. The matches were of great quality, the atmosphere was electric and it just makes me want to see Europe do more big tournaments as we can clearly bring the hype. Let’s hope 2016’s European Smash Circuit goes above and beyond, and starts to put Europe on a level with the Americas in all things Smash. Make sure to check out the VODs of the tournaments over on Geeky Goon Squad’s Youtube channel and support European streamers so more events like this can be shown to the whole world.