PANDAmonium at Pound 2019!

(Laurel, Maryland) After taking a three-year hiatus, the Pound - Tournament Series has returned; and the event did not disappoint!

Pound is a well-established, national Smash Bros tournament series that has always been renowned throughout the East-Coast region. They held their first tournament in January 2006… and that’s deep-rooted so far back in Smash Bros history! Panda Global’s - Tantalus (@TheTantalus) has been at the forefront of TO’ing this event ever since.

Pound 2019 was quite successful, with healthy numbers (802 entrants in Smash Ultimate singles & 451 entrants in Melee singles), with a handful of side events to boot. The tournament had enough attendees to qualify as an A-tier event, assessed by Panda Global’s PGRU system.

 

 

Now let’s talk about how some of our Pandas performed, shall we?

 

Smash Bros. Ultimate:

Tyler “Marss” Martin (3rd place in singles\1st place in doubles) had an incredible run, finishing at 3rd place in Top 8! The two sets that Marss dropped were both nail-biting, LAST HIT scenarios that could’ve gone to either player.

 

Initially, EUnited’s - Ezra “Samsora” Morris knocked Marss into the loser’s bracket [3-1] before Top 8, then the two later met in Top 8 where Marss took control and eliminated Samsora [3-2]. Samsora is the best Peach player in the business, and Marss is undoubtedly the best Zero Suit Samus. These two characters are extremely explosive by nature, and have some of the highest burst damage potential in the whole game -- you can probably imagine what their sets were like. When these two face off, the percentages truly don’t matter because a lead can change into a deficit at the blink of an eye.

 

 

In Loser’s Finals, Marss faced off against one of the world’s strongest Olimar specialists - Armada | Robert “Myran” Herrin. These two also had an incredibly close game 5 set that ultimately concluded in Myran’s favor [2-3] and finalized Marss’ 3rd place finish. An outstanding majority of the crowd was rallying for Marss, because he had previously eliminated the other Olimar specialist earlier in Top 8 - Liquid | Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby [3-2]. Olimar isn’t very well-received in Ultimate’s current state; these generalizations are mainly derived from safe smash attacks, powerful projectiles, a small hurtbox, and his (previously-mentioned) high damage output. That said, Olimar is also ranked highly among fighters that can quickly deliver the most damage at once.The community’s overall frustration with the character turned Marss into a protagonist who was deserving of everyone’s support. In the end, Marss fell short and Myran proceeded to face Elliot “Ally” Carroza-Oyarce in Grand Finals, where Myran lost [3-2] to Ally’s Solid Snake.

 

 

We couldn’t be more proud of Marss and his performance, he’ll only return stronger!

Eric “ESAM” Lew finished at 25th place, losing to Antony “MuteACE” H. and Ricky “LingLing” Gorritz; both players being Peach specialists from their respective regions. In tandem with the Peach matchup, ESAM struggled with a lot of mis-inputs and small mistakes throughout the weekend. We have no doubt that he’ll study his shortcomings in the Peach matchup and find his way into the next major’s Top 8.

 

Smash Bros Melee:

Two different Pandas made an appearance in one of the most exciting Melee Top 8’s the scene has experienced as of recent: Justin “Plup” McGrath (3rd Place in singles/1st place in doubles) and Zain “Zain” Naghimi (4th Place in singles)

Both Zain and Plup carried an insane amount of momentum as they blazed through most of the Winner’s side of the bracket... until the two inevitably had to face one another in Winner’s Semi-Finals of Top 8. Teamkills are always unfortunate, but sometimes it cannot be helped. Plup took the set [3-0] and then proceeded to face the previous Pound Melee Champion/one of the “Five Gods of Melee,” C9 | Joseph “Mang0” Marquez, in Winner’s Finals (it’s been quite a while since these two players met in Winner’s Finals), Plup fell [1-3].

Then in the Loser’s side, both Zain and Plup had to face the eventual champion of the tournament (and another one of Melee’s “Five Gods”), Liquid | Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma, where he triumphed over both Pandas [3-1]. Hungrybox climbed back to Grand Finals where he reset the bracket [3-0], and then won the tournament over the previous Pound Champion, Mang0.

Hungrybox’s Jigglypuff will always be one of the most difficult characters to understand in Melee’s metagame, but Zain and Plup have both done it before; and on the right day, at the right tournament, they will most certainly do it again!

 

#Pound2019 has really proved that the tournament series as a whole is still so in touch with the smash community and the players.

Aside from your typical tournament luxuries (such as vendors and friendly setups), there was a lot of recreational content that strengthened the event at its core. The side events were a hit, the tri-casting in top 8 was enjoyable, and many fun smash skits that envelope our community.

Including a fun skit that features our PGstats Director Suar acting as a commentator diva.

 

 

#Pound2019 has experienced a landslide of positive support, so you can be sure to expect Pound to return in 2020. If you weren’t able to be a part of the action this year, find the time and make it happen next year!

From here on out, Smash Ultimate will be played on the newest patch - 3.0.

3.0 has added a brand new fighter to Ultimate’s roster: Persona 5’s Joker. Alongside Joker came many buffs and nerfs to existing characters. The first PGRU season ends on July 7th, there’s no telling what kinds of changes this patch will bring to our current format.

 

Alessandro “Thwack” Poehlman

Twitter: @ThwackSmash