Three takeaways from the SWT East Asia Melee Regional Finals
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After hosting a few tournaments in the popular North American Smash scene, the Smash World Tour made its way to Japan, one of the less prestigious Melee regions. Amid a sea of lesser-known competitors, Japan’s most famous player, Masaya “aMSa” Chikamoto, earned a dominant victory.

Here’s a closer look at aMSa’s win and other major takeaways from the SWT East Asia Melee Regional Finals.

aMSa wins the SWT East Asia Melee Regional Finals without dropping a game

On paper, aMSa was a clear favorite to win the SWT East Asia Melee Regional Finals. He’s a top 10 player worldwide, while no one else from Japan has cracked the top 100 since 2016. Nevertheless, aMSa has been prone to upsets at the hands of his Japanese compatriots. In recent years, he’s dropped sets to players like Hitoshi “Sanne” Hatama and Eisuke “Shippu” Kato. He even lost a best-of-seven exhibition against Shunsuke “Shunsuke” Ogawa at the Galint Melee Open back in January.

But, aMSa dodged upsets of any kind at this tournament. In fact, he cruised through the bracket without dropping a single game. In pools, aMSa defeated one of his biggest potential threats at the tournament, Sanne. Likewise, he easily defeated “muro” and Nicholas “vugzi” O. to finish first in his pool.

During the main bracket, aMSa faced exclusively Marth players. Considering his ability to push Zain “Zain” Naghmi to Game 5 at Smash Summit 11, it’s hardly surprising that aMSa convincingly swept his gauntlet of lower-ranked Marths. He beat “Inngenn” and double-eliminated Alex “deft” Krafft to secure the most dominant victory of anyone in the Smash World Tour thus far.

A Slippi kid is going to the SWT Championships

With the advent of rollback netcode in Melee thanks to Slippi, members of a new generation of Super Smash Bros. Melee players have been able to practice and improve at breakneck speeds. The impact of this crucial practice tool was evident at the SWT East Asia Melee Regional Finals. Inngenn, who began playing the game only a year ago, finished in third place and qualified for the SWT Championships.

As expected, fledgling Marth main Inngenn lost to the first seed in his pool, “Hutukamiman,” although, not without pushing his opponent to Game 5. Despite this setback, he still defeated Jaden “Sourdough” Bates 3-1 and Hideyuki “Plata” O. 3-0. As a result, Inngenn finished first in his pool.

After losing to one Japanese titan in aMSa, Inngenn was immediately pitted against another one, Shippu. However, Inngenn managed to pull off the upset, narrowly overcoming Shippu 3-2. Then, he faced Shoki “Falpan” K., who had defeated Shippu, Taiki “sheik” Iwama, Ivan “gaR” Van and muro en route to losers semis. Inngenn managed to eliminate Falpan 3-1 before finally losing the Marth ditto to deft in losers finals.

Japan’s top-ranked Shippu underperforms at the SWT East Asia Melee Regional Finals

While aMSa has been Japan’s best representative on the international stage, Peach main Shippu has been one of the most formidable competitors in-region. He was ranked No. 1 on Japan’s most recent offline power rankings in 2019. As a result, he was seeded third going into this event and projected to advance to the global finals.

Despite these high expectations, Shippu fell short at the SWT East Asia Melee Regional Finals after suffering a series of upset losses. He only scored a single win in pools, defeating gaR 3-1. Meanwhile, he lost 3-1 to sheik’s Sheik. Shippu looked to have a good match-up against Falpan. Falpan spent most of the tournament playing Ice Climbers, a character that struggles against Peach. But, Falpan resorted to Fox instead, defeating Shippu 3-2 as a result.

Considering his lackluster pools performance, Shippu did quite well in the main bracket. He swept Sourdough 3-0 and overcame Jigglypuff player Shota “Massun” Masuda, in Peach’s hardest match-up. He also won his runback against sheik with a commanding 3-0. However, he was ultimately eliminated by up-and-comer Inngenn, ending his run in fifth place.

Looking ahead

The following three players have qualified for the Super Smash Bros. Melee finals at the SWT Championships:

  • aMSa
  • deft
  • Inngenn

The Smash World Tour will resume with its final set of Regional Finals, the East Asia Ultimate Regional Finals, from Nov. 27-28.

Dylan Tate is a student in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a gaming journalist with a love for Nintendo esports, particularly Super Smash Bros. and Pokémon.
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