Genesis. What an appropriate name for the first tournament Adam “Armada” Lindgren would play in the United States. Once upon a time Armada was the actual underdog when going into a set, and Genesis was the first of many in which he would beat Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman.
Mew2King was once the King of Smash, inheriting the throne from the original, Ken “Ken” Hoang. After the reign of Ken, Mew2King rose from the triumvirate of himself, Christopher “PC Chris” Szygiel and Daniel “Korean DJ Jung” and dominated the tournament scene. He was the king; he changed the way people viewed the game and pushed the boundaries of what was possible.
During that time, mostly referred as the Dark Ages, Super Smash Bros Brawl came out and effectively killed the Melee tournament scene for a short while. Mew2King played Brawl, and became the best player at that as well. Combined with his perfectionist approach to the game, he also brought with him new ideas from playing Brawl. He was the guy that would sit in his room, perfecting combos on the AI and theorizing perfect punished on all options. He wasn’t afraid to play Donkey Kong on Final Destination to chain grab and up air juggle Fox. He wasn’t afraid to camp the ledge with Sheik or Marth, punishing one small mistake with his flowchart-like approach to edge guarding.
As Melee slowly emerged from its Dark Ages, and a new wave of top players approached, M2K was at the top of the standings, and joined the new ranks of the gods of Melee. However, one thing stood out, and it seemed to be a very strange anomaly: Mew2King seemingly could not beat Armada. If you were to look at all the sets between the gods, nothing is quite like the Mew2King and Armada matchup. Going into last month’s Smash Summit 2, Armada was a staggering 11-0 against Mew2King.
Not only was Armada the favorite to win Smash Summit 2, but it is usually surprising somebody beats him, even in winner’s bracket. So when Mew2King swept Armada 3-0, “The Return of the King” chants were appropriate. Adding another layer to M2K’s victory was the fact that he used Marth, Mew2King’s most Iconic character.
The elation of finally defeating an opponent who had such a hold over Mew2King was short lived.
Mew2King was quick to return to social media, tweeting about his feelings after the loss. It is something Mew2King fans are used to and something Mew2King is famous for. He has publicly talked about feelings of depression and a lack of motivation. Things fall apart fast after a loss, even if it’s to the best or second best player in the world, as was the case with a semifinal defeat to Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma at Smash Summit 2.
Honestly played at 20% of how i do when i dont care about the outcome of a match. Im very upset. No composure at all. None in tourney.
— Jason Zimmerman (@MVG_Mew2King) April 25, 2016
Honestly, what can i even do about this? Ive NEVER improved at this in a decade. What hope is there, honestly?
— Jason Zimmerman (@MVG_Mew2King) April 25, 2016
Hungrybox used to be considered the “gatekeeper” of the “five gods” of Melee, a place that now seems to be reserved for Mew2King. In a previous interview with Hungrybox, he talked about how he worked hard to change his mindset. He continuously said that having a clear mind, and has even gone to employ his long time friend as a mentor and analyst.
“If I have the right mindset, I can access all those tools,” Hungrybox said in an April 14 interview. “The more flustered I am, if I have a bad mindset, those tools are foggy or hazy. I can’t remember what they are. Clarity is very important there.”
Mew2King needs to do the same.
He’s had a rocky relationship in the past with sponsors. It’s seemed like everything he touched went bad. His previous sponsorships included Clash Tournaments, Play 4 Keeps, and Empire Arcadia, all eventually ending in controversy, stating that Play 4 Keeps was a total scam. Empire Arcadia had controversy around founder Isaiah “Triforce” Johnson not making tournament payouts. Mew2King eventually began being sponsored by MVG, his current sponsor, of which he’s a part owner.
People were skeptical at first, as their first tournament, MVG Sandstorm in April 2015, was shaky. The stream had a lot of technical issues and long wait times between sets. Mew2King even was disqualified, and rumors swirled that he was angry about his seed placement. (M2K later said that it was due to confidence issue because at the time he was playing a lot more of Smash 4 than Melee, but this really didn’t help anything). Then, the icing of the cake came when the power went out on the TV and GameCube. Many rumors flew about what was the cause, but nothing was ever confirmed. All of those instances have added up to really question Mew2King’s sponsorship decisions.
Esports organizations have picked up many smashers. Tempo Storm, CLG, TSM, Cloud9, Team Liquid, etc. are all legitimate esports organizations and probably wouldn’t think twice at the prospect of having Mew2King, one of the oldest and best smashers of all time. He needs someone to help him get through the mindset struggles when he loses matches. Mew2King has the potential to compete with the best, as shown against Armada, but he limits himself. It has been a long-time problem that hasn’t gotten better. He needs a true support staff to help him. Maybe, if that all gets done, we will eventually see the return of the king.
Photos by Chris Bahn/DreamHack.