Matthew “Dr. Hunk” Koester
The return of Super Smash Con this past weekend was a smaller than usual event on the Melee side. Nonetheless, Super Smash Con Fall Fest’s 271 person bracket gave its Chicagoland entrants a chance to defy expectations.
While many of Melee’s top players opted out of SmashCon, the Virginia event instead put the spotlight on regional threats.
Rising and established stars like Polish, SluG, Logan, Bones, Nintendude and BobbyBigBallz came to play. At the same time, some of Chicago’s finest brought the heat.
Two CLM players made it within the bracket’s top 5. All the way up in third was the notorious self-declared villain of the region, NoFluxes, while Chicagoland Melee’s #2 ranked player Skerzo took fifth place. Chicagoland Peach Eggy performed well in addition with a respectable 13th place.
Skerzo says these results are indicative of Chicago becoming a stronger region over the past two years. Of the three Chicago players to attend SmashCon, two of them are not even on the Chicagoland PR. Many of the regions most promising players were not even there.
CLM spoke to the three players about their runs and what comes next for them.
NoFluxes defies expectations, haters
Marth player Khryke’s victory over #1 seed Logan in the Marth ditto will stand as the biggest upset of the SmashCon bracket. That said, Christopher Jordan Fluxes’ third place performance at the event was a huge statement.
The Ganondorf main and netplay bracket demon was seeded to finish the tournament at 20th, but he set his aim higher, sitting pretty on championship Sunday on the winner’s side of Top 8.
As Fluxes forward-aired his way through the bracket, he took some notable wins against several regional threats. Pittsburgh Ice Climbers player SluG, perhaps the best post-wobbling Ice Climbers player, fell twice to Ganon’s mighty stomp. Peach main Wally, ranked second in New Jersey, lost 3-0 against Fluxes.
After losing a winners top 8 set to MD/VA’s #4 player, Sheik main Juicebox, Fluxes also defeated Logan-slayer Khryke in a 3-0 set.
After playing for six years, the Ganon main feels he is finally getting the attention he deserves. Besides his growing stream and twitter following, his results speak for themselves. Besides SmashCon, he also made a memorable performance recently at Low Tide City, finishing at 17th.
“I have a legendary story,” he told CLM. “I always felt like I was gonna make it big. I also wanted a regular career though.”
Despite going through traumas that he says redirected his life multiple times, NoFluxes says he’s moving forward now. He uses the words “hero” and “villain” to refer to himself.
“Either way, for now this is what I’m riding with,” he said. “It’s definitely inspirational to people.”
Ganon struggles in many matchups, but his raw power and tricky movement can still win sets in 2021. Fluxes’ confidence and composure allowed him to keep cool on stage, he told CLM, even when the stakes were high.
NoFluxes’ favorite wins at the event came in his “villain versus villain” sets versus Slug, who he beat in a 3-2 set in Winners Quarters, and a 3-1 set in Losers Quarters.
“I’m glad he got third as CLM’s villain, that’s all I’ll say,” Skerzo said on Fluxes’ run. “I wish we got to play, not gonna lie.”
One towering obstacle stood in the way of NoFluxes, the Sheik matchup, which he considers highly Sheik-favored. The Ganon main was double-eliminated by Sheik at the event.
Sheik’s superior speed and chaingrabs make Ganondorf all but unplayable against her. Moving forward, Fluxes says he is preparing a secondary just for the Sheik matchup.
“I’m just working on secondaries because I believe I’d be at the pro level, but Sheik will always ruin the runs at majors,” he said. “[Juicebox] isn’t even close to Plup level.”
As for where he will be seen next, Fluxes will remain an online and offline bracket threat. He plans on making more appearances at locals like Midlane as well. With more appearances at locals, he expects to have his own spot on the Chicagoland PR by next season.
Skerzo makes his name known
Chicagoland’s Skerzo has been well-known in his region for a while. After debuting on the Chicago PR at 14th in the Fall 2018 PR, he has since risen to his highest position ever on the city’s PR at Rank 2, below only Michael. His fifth place finish reflects that growth.
The online era of Melee was good to him, bringing him some notable performances, like winning THE MANG0FAN TOURNAMENT’s east coast bracket, while also taking online wins over high caliber players including top-level Falco Ginger.
In the greater Melee community, this period resulted in social media follows and shoutouts from Mang0 himself, HomeMadeWaffles and Toph, among others.
Skerzo says he entered about 100 tournaments during the pandemic.
“It was an intense time with tons of competition done, and I really felt like I grew the most during that time,” he told CLM.
When Chicagoland locals opened back up, Skerzo’s results positioned him alongside Michael at the top of the pack in CLM. He says quarantine has made him a sharper player, able to shift between styles.
Seeded to finish 7th, Fall Fest was the perfect chance for the orange Fox main to assert his skills. He pushed his way into Sunday’s bracket without losing a set.
In Winners Semis, he would fall to eventual tournament winner Polish, and in Losers Quarter-Finals he lost to Khryke, ending his run at fifth place.
The Fox main still believes that he could have won in his winners side set against Peach main if he were able to play with more discipline, and in the process could have probably taken the tournament.
“My first game (against) Polish… I played insanely patiently, but then I just regressed to playing for fun and I ended up losing fast,” he said. “Honestly, still, I don’t have any regrets and I don’t like locking myself into one type of play style either.”
For fans of high octane Melee, Skerzo had already proven himself in a blistering set versus Falco player Bones.
This set was easily Skerzo’s favorite set of the bracket. Reflecting on it, he pointed out a “Chillin Backair”, where he ran off stage with a shine. He then canceled the shine into a backair for an unexpected edge guard.
In the future, Skerzo is keeping Melee a priority in his life. Besides finding a coach, he will also be traveling the country as 2020 reaches its culmination, appearing this weekend at Boston regional Mass Madness, and making appearances afterwards at Mainstage, the Smash World Tour Last Chance Qualifier in Orlando, FL, and finally at Genesis 8.
At the same time, expect him to remain a regular at Chicago area locals like Midlane Melee, Combat Cafe and Tripoint Smash, and to help more Chicago players to travel out to majors and regionals together.
Eggy stakes his claim
While he has not made appearances at Chicagoland locals lately, Ruben “Eggy” Morin is a well-established member of the Chicago scene. Morin has played Melee for over seven years now. He debuted on the Spring 2016 power rankings as an honorable mention and has often been the region’s top Peach.
Eggy has been active lately, even if he only was able to attend a single Midlane bracket prior to this season’s PR. He remains a threat in any bracket, online or off, making strong performances at many regionals and majors.
The Peach main describes his approach to the character as “kind of a freestyle” approach.
“I’m always watching what my opponent is doing and anticipate moves they’re going to approach with, and just try to figure out how to counter/trade,” he told CLM via direct message.
Finishing at 13th, Eggy feels if he had more time to practice he could have done better at Smash Con. His favorite set of the weekend was one that he lost to tournament runner-up Juicebox.
“I lost 3-0, but I adapted to a lot of the stuff he was doing to beat me,” Eggy told CLM.
After this past weekend’s performance, expect more from Eggy in the future. The Peach has been doing work lately, most notably taking 25th at major tournament Riptide. Whether or not he reclaims his position on the Chicago PR, Eggy certainly seems able to do it.
Moving forward, he’s planning to keep making waves at online tournaments, weeklies like Midlane Melee, and next year at Genesis 8.