This week, we look at the money issues plaguing the professional Smash scene—and look at some of the financial opportunities available to amateur players.

17:30, 21 Feb 2020

Welcome to the tenth edition of GGRecon’s weekly Super Smash Bros. breakdown! Tune in every Friday for a quick-and-dirty recap of all the news worth knowing in the competitive Smash scene.

Hungrybox is back on top (and so is Plup)

It was a good week for the world No. 1 Super Smash Bros. Melee Player, Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma. After disappointing (by his standards) second-place finishes at his last two majors, the Jigglypuff main fended off all challengers at Smash Summit 9, earning the lion’s share of the tournament’s nearly $70,000 prize pool. 

Victory didn’t come easy for Hungrybox, though: In the first set of grand finals, he lost his first set in almost two years to a resurgent Justin “Plup” McGrath. 2019 was not the best year for Plup, with the Panda Global member falling from fourth to eighth on the year-end rankings. But a second-place finish at Summit, featuring wins over Hungrybox, Mang0, Axe, and Zain, is a sign that Plup has returned—and that he’s ready to contend for major tournaments once again.

Mr. Lombardi was saved, but at what cost?

The latest controversy to hit Smash Twitter erupted on Thursday when firebrand Fox main Shephard “Fiction” Lima tweeted his disappointment over his first-place prize at Saving Mr. Lombardi 2.
 

The organizer of the event quickly stepped in to explain the relatively low payout:

Calvin’s explanation was criticized by some top players, who argued that professional Smash players rely on relatively top-heavy payments in order to pay the bills. But others praised Calvin for trying something new and attempting to increase equity among tournament attendees, even if the experiment didn’t quite work out as planned.

There’s money in Smash, just not for the pros

Professional Smash players who are disappointed about low tournament prize pools might want to jump back into the amateur scene. Two announcements this week indicate that the real money might be found in casual-amateur play.

The first announcement, by Nintendo, revealed a new partnership between the Japanese game developer and Battlefy, a competitive gaming tournament platform. Per the announcement, Battlefy will host amateur online Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments that give players an opportunity to fly to CEO Dreamland 2020 with all expenses paid. Battlefy will handle the logistics of these events, while Nintendo will support them by funding prizes and publicizing the events on social media. The partnership is an extension of a collaboration between Battlefy and Nintendo that saw the tournament platform host a number of online Smash tournaments throughout 2019.

“We’re incredibly excited about the future of the Super Smash Bros. Open in 2020,” said Battlefy general manager Yohan Sengamalay in a statement to Esports Insider.

Super Smash Bros Online Open

The second announcement came from YouTuber MoistCr1TiKaL, who released a video stating that he will be hosting an online Smash Ultimate tournament with a $10,000 prize pool from his personal bank account. The tournament will be open to all comers, as long as they stream their matches on some kind of streaming platform in order to confirm that they aren’t cheating.

According to MoistCr1TiKaL, this event, named Soaked Series Invitational, is a direct response to Nintendo’s lack of support for the competitive Smash scene. “They just outright neglect them,” said the YouTuber of the relationship between Nintendo and pro Smash. “They’re an abusive parent.”
 

Quick Hits

Some additional news that didn’t merit its own writeup but I thought was worth sharing:

  • Wobbling is now banned in France thanks to a vote by the country’s tournament organizers.
  • A Famitsu column featuring Masahiro Sakurai’s thoughts on the future of the Smash series has purportedly leaked.

Roster moves

Five roster changes this week, including four in Smash Ultimate and one in Melee.

On the Melee side, French Marth player Akim “Makenshi” Nekiche has joined Fiction and Trif on the Poilon Software squad. Formerly one of France’s best players, Makenshi looks to return to the worldwide top 100 rankings in 2020.
 

On the Ultimate side, the biggest pick-up was arguably Spacestation Gaming’s signing of Mexican player Enrique “Maister” Hernández Solis. Maister sometimes faces criticism for his character of choice, Mr. Game & Watch, but he has proven himself to be one of the strongest and most consistent Smash Ultimate pros and is primed to get strong results in 2020.
 

Not to be outdone, UYU announced its signing of Isami “T” Ikeda yesterday. The Japanese Link main is the organization’s second-ever Smash player, following its pick-up of Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby last week.
 

Other roster moves include Jude “Jakal” Harris leaving IlluZion Gaming and Space parting ways with GRIP Esports.

Clips of the week

To round out this wrap-up, here are a few of the funniest and flashiest clips of the week for both Melee and Ultimate. Enjoy ‘em—and be sure to check in next week for another edition of GGRecon’s weekly Smash breakdown!
 

Main Image via Twitch/btssmash

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