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            The Smash scene has always been something of a mystery to those outside the community. It is often isolated from other gaming communities and as a result few realize the draw and staying power the games have had for over half a decade. One of the staples of the Smash community are the occasional community run, grassroots national tournaments. The roots of these tournaments go all the way back to 2003, when Matt Deezie ran the very first Smash national tournament, TG4. Since that time dozens more have occurred and a few tournaments have even risen to the international level in scope. 

            One of these tournaments is coming this weekend. As I mentioned a few weeks ago in “Super Smash Bros. Thriving Across the Country” over at majorleaguegaming.com, in just a few short days the Smash scene is looking forward to the international tournament Apex 2012. The last international tournament occurred in the summer of 2011 with over 400 people attending and over $22,000 in prize money. At that tournament, Genesis II, a Melee player from outside the United States won for the first time ever. The player Armada, hailing from Sweden, had traveled to the United States repeatedly over the years but until 2011 had not finished higher than second in singles at a major US tournament. Unlike many other competitive games, the US has typically dominated the international scene and is often considered the best at both Brawl and Melee. This history goes all the way back to former world champion Ken Hoang winning the Jack Garden tournament in Japan in 2005.

Many players outside the United States have proven they can achieve great heights, but until Armada’s victory six months ago none had proven they had what it took to be a champion. At Apex 2012 the saga will continue, with Armada once again coming to the United States –only this time he will not be the underdog, but the defending champion. Apex 2012 will have a plethora of high-level players attending for both games. Melee, having such a long history, offers an interesting diversity in talent. At the top of the list are all former and current national champions. Dr Peepee, the Falco main who won Pound 5 in early 2011, is by many considered the favorite to challenge Armada. To win though he will have to overcome other champions like Hungrybox and his Jigglypuff. Hungrybox’s time at the top has been steady for years; he won Apex 2010 and is typically in the top 3 at major national tournaments. Probably the most electrifying Melee player though will be Mango, considered at one point to be the most dominant player after Ken, he has won multiple national tournaments since 2009 and he is considered a threat with many characters.

Moving past these national champions though are former Melee players and legends in their own right. Isai, former Major League Gaming Doubles National Champion in 2004, 2005, and 2006 and widely considered the best Smash 64 player ever, will be attending. MLG 2006 National Champion PC Chris should also be showing off his, possibly rusty but certainly thrilling, skills. Other players from the days that MLG held Melee include Chillin, KoreanDJ, and Azen—two of which won MLG tournaments in 2005 and 2006. Captain Jack has reportedly booked his flight from Japan, he had placed top 3 at MLG’s 2004 National Championship.  Looking at these players, the talent at Apex 2012 is almost surpassed by the long and storied history and it is anyone’s guess who’ll come out on top. 

For Brawl the event looks to be just as exciting. Apex 2010 winner, DEHF, is set to defend his crown and shake off what was likely a bit disappointing 2010 MLG season. The player currently considered the best at Brawl will surely give DEHF one of his biggest obstacles in defending his crown. Since taking 4th place at MLG’s 2010 National Championship, Ally has been on a rampage, winning over 20 tournaments in the last year alone, including the national Pound 5. He is the first player since Brawl’s release to overtake Mew2King in the SWF Rankings, a catalogue of over 4,500 unique players and 500 tournaments occurring in the last year alone. Other challenges to DEHF include Mr. R, considered one of the best Marth players and the best player from Europe.

  

While the competition will be fierce from all the aforementioned players, probably the most exciting matches will come from the Japanese. So far over ten Japanese players are slated to travel to Apex 2012. Among them was the Apex 2010 Runner-up, Brood, who showed the US players that Olimar can compete on an entirely different level. He stands as one of the only players to ever defeat both Ally and Mew2King in the same tournament. Another Japanese player, Kakera, is believed to have a Meta Knight that rivals Mew2King’s and many are looking forward to a potential showdown between the two. Finally, there is Nietono, who’s Olimar is held as the best in the world and who is frequently referred to as the best player in Japan.

All of these international players will be fighting a slew of American goliaths. The best of the US includes ADHD (Diddy Kong), Anti (Meta Knight), Atomsk (everything), NickRiddle (Zero Suit Samus), and ESAM (Pikachu). Many of these players are considered the best in the country with their character. 2010 MLG National Champion and winner of $12,500, Gnes, will grace the tournament and hopes are high for his and other Texas’ player’s attendance. Likely the odds-on favorite to win the tournament is Mew2King though, who despite a surge from Ally is still the most consistent Brawl player of the last four years. Mew2King has mentioned Apex 2012 may be his last tournament and a competitor at his level will always want to go out on top. He will be entering both Brawl and Melee and stands to win upwards of $10,000 if he performs well in both games.

Though the tournament is just three days away and already records have been set. With 410 Unique Brawl entrances it will be the largest Brawl tournament in history. The experience lasts three days from January 6th-8th, and aside from all three Smash games will also include competitions for Super Street Fighter IV AE, Ultimate Marvel v Capcom 3, Mortal Kombat 9, and even Pokemon Black/White. If you live near the New Jersey area and don’t wish to enter a tournament but want to check it out, spectator passes are a mere $10. Registration will be taken at the door for Super Street Fighter IV AE, Ultimate Marvel v Capcom 3, Mortal Kombat 9, and Pokemon. This is huge considering the recently EVO2k12 announced that Apex 2012 will be its kickoff event for their Road to EVO. 

Stats
  • 410 Brawl Entrants (Largest Ever)
  • 330 Melee Entrants (2nd Largest Ever)
  • 64 Smash 64 Entrants (Largest Ever)
  • 84 (and counting...) Traditional Fighting Games
  • 3 Days
  • Over $15,000 in prizes
  • Professional quality stream so all the action can be watched from home
  • First Smash tournament to also be an EVO qualifing event
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Interested in Apex 2012? Post who you think will win in the comments!

*Photo Credits: PBnJ, getyourtournament.com, apexsmash.com