CLM Falcon tore through competition at Texas’s biggest tournament
As a busy season for Smash continues on the heels of the Genesis and Pound majors, LowTide City in Round Rock, Texas was a showcase of southwestern talent in Melee. Among the 138 entrants, one Illinois player would not be stopped.
Mekk, formerly ranked 6 on the CLM Winter 2020 PR, went on a tear at Low Tide. After a 2-0 victory over Chicago’s best player, Skerzo, before Top 24, the Falcon main took the path of the tournament’s absent top seed.
Skerzo had been seeded to play the tournament’s first seed Hungrybox. Instead, the player canceled his attendance at the last minute. Whoever was once in Hbox’s path now had a reasonable chance of winning the tournament. Whoever won the winners side set between Mekk and Skerzo would take Hungrybox’s seed.
“I saw that Hbox dropped out, so the big set was going to be me and Skerzo in order to get a shot at BobbyBigBallz19 to go further in Winners. I knew those were the two big matches I had to focus on: Skerzo and Bobby,” Mekk told CLM.
After the win over Skerzo, Mekk realized he needed only two more wins for a guaranteed third place finish.
From there, he beat Yoshi player N3z and took on Falco Bobby Big Ballz, a player he had beaten before and knew he could beat again. From there, he expected a Winner’s Finals match against Axe, but instead faced Swedish Fox Pipsqueak.
Pip had trounced Axe in a dominant Winner’s Semis match. Mekk too would fall to the fox player. However, He did manage to take a game, something nobody else at LTC managed to do.
In Loser’s Finals, Mekk would finally meet up with Axe in what would be one of the tournament’s most electrifying sets.
Axe’s pedigree against Captain Falcon is nothing to scoff at. While Falcon generally is considered to win against Pikachu, the electric rat’s excellent chain grab means that winning the inevitable Final Destination counterpick is extremely hard for Falcon in a best of five set.
Nonetheless, Mekk was able to pull off a tight 3-2 victory over Arizona’s finest after catching the Pikachu player’s missed tech with a knee in the midst of a game 5, last stock situation.
Reflecting back on the set, Mekk said playing Axe is “really fun” and that the set was “really hard”.
While nowhere near as stacked as Pound or Genesis in the weeks prior, the tournament marks a strong performance for Mekk, inspiring chanting and even fans waving a Mekk-branded flag.
The Falcon player’s underdog status likely inspired this fervor, but it could also come from his ties to the region. For a time, Mekk lived in Austin for eight months, and has plans to eventually move back when he finishes with school. Even then, Mekk says the chants for Pipsqueak were even louder.
Mekk fell again against Pipsqueak in Grand Finals, but in the process, he gave Chicagoland one of its strongest performances of the year.
Well known for his online play, Mekk showed that he could succeed at larger in-person events as well. The player says he was comfortable on stage after runs at Pound 2022 and Genesis 8 the weeks prior.
“I went from being nervous and locked up due to performance inexperience at Genesis, getting 129th, to learning to let go more at Pound and getting 25th,” Mekk said of his recent travels. “I feel like I really got the hang of being comfortable on stage this time around.”
For Skerzo, the loss to Mekk would toss him into some unfortunate bracket luck. His set against the Falcon main was made difficult by three fatally dropped ledge dashes in the first game, which he still managed to nearly claw back with some explosive yet careful play.
In the loser’s side of Top 24, he ran into the tournament’s fourth seed, Magi. Louisiana’s best player, she had been upset earlier in the tournament by Florida Falco Voo. Despite a close set, Magi defeated Skerzo 3-2, ending his run early at 13th.
Phoenix, a friend of Skerzo’s and fox main, traveled to the event with him. They say that Skerzo’s run showed that with a few adaptations, he could be due for a breakout performance this weekend. The Function 2 in NYC will feature a bevy of high level players including iBDW, Pipsqueak, Aklo, Jmook and Polish. Skerzo and Phoenix will be among the attendees.
“Sucks (that Skerzo) had to play Mekk early and Magi so soon after, but honestly he was a few optimizations away from taking that set, and he is the type of player to make those changes, so I’m excited for The Function and the rest of the year.”
Phoenix was unseeded for the event, but beat expectations with a strong losers run in pools of their own. After losing to SoCal Sheik Nut in round 2 of pools, they beat P Will, DKLAP, and JoGO, finishing 25th.
While Skerzo and Phoenix will next be making appearances at The Function 2 this weekend, Mekk will be seen the following weekend at Smash Summit 13. While his vote-in campaign was edged out just barely by Salt and NW Indiana’s Blue, but Beyond the Summit chose to invite him as a VIP nonetheless. VIPs are not in the main bracket for summit, but get to enjoy many of the perks of the event.
“It would’ve been great to have both Salt and I get in, but Blue came in the way out of nowhere. I’m happy for them both,” Mekk said.
Mekk welcomes the opportunity to be a VIP nonetheless. He was a VIP at Smash Summit 11 as well, and left the experience a stronger player.
At Summit 11, he notes that Zain and Hungrybox both played against him to warm up against top Falcons N0ne and Wizzrobe. With n0ne and Salt on the roster for Summit 13, he will likely again warm up and play friendlies with some of the game’s greats.
“I’m just getting started and the beginning of this year was a really good start for that journey in a lot of ways,” he said.
“I ain’t stoppin’ ever and I care for this community a lot. I will keep getting stronger and more wise, and will share as much as I can. Thanks and God Bless.”