[UPDATE] Genesis 3 Will Float Top Super Smash Bros. Melee Players Through First Round of Competition

By on December 29, 2015 at 3:40 pm
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UPDATE – Genesis 3’s organizers have announced that they will no longer be floating 32 predetermined Super Smash Bros. for Wii U players through the first round of competition.

Round 2 pools will consist of 192 players (instead of 224 with the auto promotion, meaning no less players would have made it into round 2). There are simply NOT 192 players that are remotely near the same skill level. That player base is likely closer to half. Therefore the idea to remove 32 players was not only to expedite the course of events, but to also allow a greater opportunity for players near the same skill level to eliminate themselves as opposed to being knocked out by a top 32 seed and a top 65+ seed.

However the perception by the community is that there isn’t enough justification to solidly select the top 32 considering the likelihood of upsets from the 33-100 range of seeded players, and therefore someone who was granted 32nd seed is receiving an unwarranted luxury that someone who could viably beat them, at 33rd seed, would not. This issue is not only justified, but cannot be counter argued simply because it is true. After a VERY small handful of players, the skill gaps are not glaring enough to warrant player A (32nd seed) getting a free ride to round 2 and player B (33rd seed) having to play their way through round 1 pools.

This idea may be viable some years down the road, but at present we are retracting the proposition.

Jonathan Silva

The rest of the tournament plans will, at this present time, continue on as normal. This means things like competitor meet-and-greets and casual play will still take precedence over a level playing field in Super Smash Bros. Melee, allowing the top 64 players in attendance to skirt by the first pool phase.

Our original article follows below.

Though only in its third year, Genesis is already destined for greatness. As of this writing, Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U both have over 1,000 registrants, a feat only Evo 2015 has accomplished thus far. In fact, Genesis 3 is just under 100 players shy of surpassing Evo as the largest Melee tournament of all time. This is great! Amazing even! Unfortunately, the organizers are set to waste this opportunity with a costly experiment that stands to diminish the integrity of their event and possibly even the validity of its eventual champions.

As it was explained to us by a source close to the tournament, pool play at Genesis 3 is broken up into three phases. The top 64 players attending the tournament included in Melee It On Me’s year-end Melee rankings will automatically be placed in the second phase, bypassing the first because of their competitive status. The same will be done for a group of 32 Super Smash Bros. for Wii U players, the selection process of which has yet to be divulged.

Since this terminology neatly obfuscates what’s actually going on, this basically boils down to Smashers being floated through an entire round of competition due to their status as “top players.” Obviously, discussion exploded regarding this decision, both in the Smash scene and the fighting game community at large, with many decrying the format as a departure from what makes our tournaments great: the ability to step into the bracket on equal footing with the best of the best and make a name for yourself.

While they do good work, Melee It On Me is far from an official governing body in the Smash community. Though frequently an accurate representation of the competitive landscape, their lists are, at the end of the day, based entirely on the opinions of the panelists selected that given year. But even that is streets ahead of trying to determine the 32 best Super Smash Bros. for Wii U players, as the breadth of the talent in that game is much too wide to narrow it down that far, especially taking its relative youth and constant updating into account.

This problem intensifies when you start looking for more detailed information. While a mention of the floating was first made in a post on Reddit last month, many overlooked this information because it was attached to an announcement for a crew battle. In fact, if you visit any of Genesis 3’s three information hubs (Smash.gg, Genesis.gg, and Facebook) for a ruleset two weeks out, you’ll be greeted by absolutely nothing but some ‘Coming Soon!’ text.

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That’s…helpful?

To close things out, we want to put forth two real-world scenarios that would likely have not occurred if rules like this were in place at their respective tournaments.

The first, put forth by DC on r/SmashBros, involves a Super Smash Bros. for Wii U match at The Big House 5. While MVD is a current player who ranks among the best in Florida, he was defeated by a lesser-known (and apparently inactive) player by the name of Coco in the first round. While perhaps not the most intense of upsets, MVD’s regional ranking could have been used as an excuse to move him past that round automatically, totally erasing Coco’s chances of playing spoiler.

And if that’s not good enough, let’s look at the Ultra Street Fighter IV match between Alex Valle and Bonchan at Evo 2015. While Bonchan was all but certain to move past Valle in the quarter-finals, a surprise character choice and some amazing reads were enough to move the veteran past the Japanese competitor in what was perhaps the most exciting match in Las Vegas that weekend. If the organizers were to look at our Street Fighter rankings (shameless plug) and think, “Well, Bonchan deserves to move forward a round without playing,” the landscape that resulted in that tremendous upset could have been washed away in favor of a more sterilized environment.

When pressed for more information, Genesis co-organizer Sheridan Zalewski stood behind their decision. “I did not know whether the Wii U community would find it acceptable. Therefore I approached a group composed of top players and community leaders,” Zalewski said on Facebook. “After explaining why we were doing it for Melee and what effect it might have on the bracket, I let them decide whether they thought this would be good for Wii U as well. They seemed to think it would work. So I feel I’ve done my due diligence as the director of tournament operations.”

“I’m not stressing over missing 1 or 2 upsets. You guys will have a chance to find out how right or wrong we are by comparing the bracket results after [Genesis 3],”Zalewski continued. “Nothing is changing. If shit does go wrong, then we will learn a lesson. If it doesn’t, cool.”

Speaking with Shoryuken, Zalewski explained the decision as a necessity due to scheduling constraints. “We have planned for Friday the TMG finals, Wii U Regional Crew Battles, Melee Crew Battles, and potentially a Brawl Tournament of Legends. These in total take up the entire day for each game (especially the crew battle brackets, which will be ~8 hours out of a 12 hour schedule),” he detailed through email. “We also wanted to allow for top players to have a 1-2 hour friendlies and ‘meet-and-greet’ session during Friday.”

Zalewski also reiterated that he brought the idea to a number of notable Super Smash Bros. for Wii U players and tournament organizers, and received no negative feedback. “I think any reasonable person in my position, seeing no complaints from 60+ respected people in the community for 2.5 weeks, cannot be blamed for making the same decision,” he continued. “I’m also not going to apologize for perhaps different values about the nature of tournaments/competition from others, which I’m willing to defend if necessary.”

Fortunately, the decision isn’t as concrete as it first appeared. Zalewski plans to address the situation publicly sometime in the near future, and Genesis 3 could forgo the Super Smash Bros. for Wii U advancements after hearing back from the community and assessing the rest of their options.

At the end of the day, much of this conflict appears to be caused by the increasing bonuses of Genesis 3’s crowdfunding efforts, which expand the event past the boundaries of a mere tournament. While allowing a select few competitors to bypass the first round of competition seems like a small thing on the surface, the repercussions of elevating players to the level of pseudo-celebrity may be felt throughout the entire bracket.