Next week’s “Battle of The Five Gods” is the latest event reflecting the rise of competitive Super Smash Bros. The inaugural tournament, taking place March 17-19 during South By Southwest, is slightly different than most because it’s invitation only. The 20-player field will include all five original “Gods” of Melee: Adam “Armada“ Lindgren, Joseph “Mango” Marquez, Kevin “PPMD“ Nanney, Jason “Mew2King“ Zimmerman, and Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma.
This year expects to be a big one for professional Smash Bros, which is a lot different than it has been in the past. Smash has slowly become an esport, and the majority of top players are sponsored. The best players are attending more tournaments. Before this era, the gods had a monopoly on any tournament all of them attended, hence acquiring the nickname. You might not have known which one of the gods would win, but it was definitely going to be one of them.
There’s at least one question mark among the five heading into this tournament: Mew2King. His attendance throughout 2015 was uncharacteristically low, most notably forfeiting MVG Sandstorm and opting out of Evo with hand and wrist pain.
Mango, Hungrybox and Armada have all proven that they can win in this new era of Smash, but where does Mew2King fit in this evolving scene? He has many notable top-three finishes, but is M2K still a threat to win a major?
Let’s look at his recent tournaments. His last win came in August, when he ended William “Leffen” Hjelte’s hot streak at PAX Prime and avenged a runner-up finish to Leffen from earlier that month at Super Smash Con. He ended the year with third place finishes at The Big House 5 and Smash Summit, which sandwiched a runner-up finish in October’s MLG World Finals.
This year’s performances have been scarce and below the quality fans have come to expect. At January’s Genesis 3, he had a shocking ninth-place finish after an upset loss to Michael “Nintendude” Brancato. It could be dismissed as a fluke, with Ice Climbers’ ability to 0-100 with a single grab, but recently M2K’s approach to the matchup has changed. As Nintendude said in a January Q&A, M2K usually plays — and misplays — Peach against the Ice Climbers.
In the recent PAX Arena, when M2K faced off against another world class Ice Climbers, Robert “Wobbles” Wright, he abandoned his Peach and finally brought out his much better Marth in the final game of the set, ending it convincingly with an almost JV 3 stock. Still, he finished fifth in the tournament.
M2K’s Genesis struggles were evident before his upset loss. Take a look as he uncharacteristically drops a combo to Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni on Final Destination.
Can he rebound?
M2K has spent a lot of time this year playing Smash 4. He started streaming it on his Twitch channel, which also includes a note for fans expect more Smash 4. He participated in last weekend’s Shots Fired 2 event, placing fifth (while also winning the Melee portion).
With M2K’s history of hand and wrist injuries, it’s worthwhile to wonder if it’s possible for him to be at his best in Melee if he’s also dedicating a good amount of time to Smash 4.
For his part, M2K doesn’t appear worried.
I still believe, that, potential-wise, i can accomplish anything in melee or s4 as long as i play to peak, or learn more & dont forget stuff
— Jason Zimmerman (@MVG_Mew2King) March 7, 2016
Can Mew2King return to Melee and climb back to the status of the other four? The answer is just over a week away.