Last weekend saw the Melee pantheon descend from its position atop Mount Sakurai for Red Bull’s first major Smash event, Red Bull Gods and Gatekeepers. Rather than having the gods and gatekeepers fighting in a straight tournament, they had the players selecting three team members from a pool of “Chosen Ones,” decided by a separate open bracket. The top 16 from this open bracket would make up this crew draft, while the remaining 16 battled it out in a “Forsaken” double-elimination bracket. (If I were to give Red Bull one main place to improve, it would be using a less arcane ruleset for the next edition of Gods and Gatekeepers.)
With the Chosen Ones decided, it was up to the Gods and Gatekeepers to pick their teams. The final rosters were as follows:
- Team Leffen – Ice, Lucky, and Bladewise
- Team Mango – S2J, Eddy Mexico, and n0ne
- Team Mew2King – Duck, Shroomed, and Zhu
- Team Axe – aMSa, Medz, and Tai
- Team SFAT – PewPewU, Ryan Ford, and Army
- Team ChuDat – Westballz, Mike Haze, and Fiction
- Team Wizzrobe – Druggedfox, MacD, and HugS
- Team Plup – Swedish Delight, Crush, and Santiago
The format for the crew battle bracket was not typical either. Rather than sharing a pool of stocks and battling over an ever-changing stage list, the first four matches would take place on a specific stage — with the team captains having to pick their best player for that stage. If a team did not win in those first four matches, game five would be a doubles match between each team captain and a player of their choice. It’s a strategic twist on the crew battle format, and one that awarded stage and counterpick knowledge, rather than brute forcing a win by sending your best player in first to gain an early lead.
With the teams locked in, it was time for these Gods and demi-gods to clash. Team Plup and Team Mango were the first to fall, with Team Mango being dispatched by the Godslayer Leffen and his compatriots. Mango did at least contribute one of the most exciting matches of Gods and Gatekeepers, as he fought against world’s best Yoshi aMSa.
Team Mew2King had to claw their way through the lower bracket to reach Grand Finals, after narrowly losing 3-2 to Team Wizzrobe in round 1. Their spirits did not falter though, with the King of the Mews leading his team to victory against Plup, ChuDat, Axe and Wizzrobe, allowing them to avenge their previous loss. With momentum on their side, Mew2King and his team mounted a clean 6-0 victory over Team SFAT, allowing Mew2King to retake the throne at the top of the Melee pantheon — at least until Armada comes back to the USA.
Despite the confusing format, the reception to Gods and Gatekeepers has been extremely positive, with players and viewers praising the production and organization that went into this event. While the Gods had their place, it was a tournament that gave other players a chance to shine on the big stage, and I hope other events follow suit with draft-style side tournaments.
1. Team Mew2King (Duck, Shroomed, and Zhu)
2. Team SFAT (PewPewU, Ryan Ford, and Army)
3. Team ChuDat (Westballz, Mike Haze, and Fiction)
4. Team Wizzrobe (Druggedfox, MacD, and HugS)
5. Team Leffen (Ice, Lucky, and Bladewise)
5. Team Axe (aMSa, Medz, and Tai)
7. Team Plup (Swedish Delight, Crush and Santiago)
7. Team Mango (S2J, Eddy Mexico, and n0ne)