Smash Summits are a national treasure. Since the first one in late 2015, they’ve been some of the most widely-viewed and lucrative events in the scene, and every time a new Summit is announced, the community waits with bated breath to see which lucky players will be invited or voted into the prestigious invitational. And thanks to an exciting line-up and innovative changes to its pool system, this coming weekend’s Smash Summit 6 might just be the best one yet.
It’s certainly the most stacked Summit of all time. With the exception of 100th-ranked Toussaint “2saint” Turnier, every player entering Melee singles at Smash Summit 6 is ranked within the SSBMRank 2017 top 50. Even 2saint is underrated; wins this year over top players such as Michael “MikeHaze” Pulido and Joey “Lucky” Aldama mean that he’s all-but-guaranteed a higher berth in next year’s SSBMRank.
While the concentration of talent is high at this spring’s Smash Summit, the list of potential winners has only grown by one since Smash Summit 5. As the defending champion, Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma is the favorite to win a Smash Summit for the first time, having won every tournament that he’s entered this year but GENESIS 5. In fact, the No. 1-ranked Floridian has lost only three serious sets in all of 2018.
All of them were to his fast-improving former teammate, Justin “Plup” McGrath. After winning the year’s first major at GENESIS, Plup has spent the rest of the season as a thorn in Hungrybox’s side, coming in second place behind the Jigglypuff main at both Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo 2018 and Noods Noods Noods: Oakland Edition (where he 3-0ed Hungrybox in Winner’s Finals). It’s clear that Plup is more than capable of winning another supermajor-level event over Hungrybox and the rest of the field—but unclear if he be playing in top form at Smash Summit 6.
The rest of Melee’s “gods” have kept a relatively low profile this year, particularly Adam “Armada” Lindgren, who hasn’t entered a single tournament since GENESIS 5. However, it’s only been a few months since Armada was the SSBMRank No. 1, and many await his return to top form at Smash Summit 6.
Similarly, the former No. 1 Joseph “Mang0” Marquez has only entered on tournament seriously since January, the Indiana major Full Bloom 4, where he finished second behind Hungrybox. However, a set win on William “Leffen” Hjelte and a competitive-looking Grand Finals set against Hungrybox showed some promise in the dual Fox/Falco main’s play.
As for Leffen, a 3-0 victory over Mang0 in winner’s bracket of Full Bloom 3 is the only real highlight of his post-GENESIS year. In March, he announced that he would be focusing on his Dragon Ball FighterZ play until the Summit of Power, Beyond the Summit’s mid-June invitational event for the anime-inspired fighting game. Only a few weeks later, he showed signs of rust at Colorado’s Flatiron 3, nearly losing the entire tournament to Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson during a grueling ten-game Grand Finals.
Mew2King’s year has been the least distinguished of the top 6, with no wins on his fellow gods and subpar placements at the events that he has attended. However, the veteran Marth/Sheik has shown time and time again that he is never one to be counted out.
It’s unlikely that any challenger from the rest of the field will be able to win the event, but each and every player entering Smash Summit 6 has the capability to upset higher-ranked competitors; a good number of them can boast of their own elite-level wins at length. While singles is the central event of the invitational, it will also be exciting to see how contenders such as Hugo “HugS” Gonzalez and Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby perform in the other events, such as the event’s doubles bracket or crew battle tournament.
If you want to catch all the action, stay glued to Beyond the Summit’s Twitch channel—they’ll be streaming top-level play (and top-level players’ shenanigans) all weekend.