I was kindly offered a lift to the venue and after an hour and a half of travelling we arrived at The Civic. I decided to only enter Melee as I struggle to enjoy Project M and have not yet played Smash 4, despite it being a very pretty looking game. As this was a small event there were no pools and so I started my tournament run straight from bracket, facing a player named Ahmad.
Ahmad is a player local to me and someone I had faced several times in the past, I felt very confident that I could win my first game. It was my Falco against his Marth in the first match and I simply overpowered him with pressure and laser approaches for which he had no response, this game became a swift four stock for myself. Game two and he decided to switch to Jigglypuff and to take me to Fountain of Dreams, partly no doubt due to my strong win record against his Marth and also perhaps due to his knowledge of my struggles against Jiggs’ in the past. My plan was to wall him out using lasers but with the awkward platforms on this stage I found this difficult, instead relying on Falco’s strong out-of-shield options and his auto-cancelled bairs. I took the game but forfeited two stocks, I still feel more practise is needed against Jigglypuff, that Falco has more abusable strengths that I’m not yet utilising fully.
Moving forward in winner’s bracket and I’m to face a player known as Frenzy. I’d had a few people hint to me that this player had picked up Falco himself and had been making drastic improvements, and before bracket began I was able to play several friendly games confirming that this player was good. He took several friendly games from me and it was clear that his punish game was fantastic, though I was somewhat comforted seeing that his neutral game was less developed. My plan going into our set was to take advantage of this and to insist on having laser control before moving in and executing my also respectable punishes. I lost the first Falco ditto to Frenzy’s consistent combos, it was a close game but I struggled to find an edge and to take a stock lead. The second game was similarly close but it was I this time with the slight edge, by this point I was able to more clearly read his approaches and applied a bit of patience to take the neutral game. Game three and I was feeling good about bringing it back, which showed in my play. I was able to maintain a sense of control and finished the game with two back to back zero to deaths of which I’m still kind of proud of.
Still in winner’s I progressed into R23, the favourite to take the tournament and eventual victor. During friendlies I beat him in our first game and so I entered this set intimidated yet with a quiet optimistic confidence. This confidence was short lived with him besting me both in neutral and in punishes. I was overpowered by the unfamiliar Sheik pressure and the painful tech chases, and my dreadful edge-guarding this set did me no favours with him recovering far too easily. This was the best Sheik I had encountered and I was outplayed, before this event I considered myself reasonably strong against Sheik and as much as I dislike a loss, I’m also very excited that there is so much room for improvement for me to make in this matchup.
In loser’s now and I’m paired with ModestMajor, a Falco that I hadn’t heard of before and knew nothing about. Because of this I thought I had an easy game ahead of me but I was wrong and lost to him 3-1. I found his style difficult to play against as he relied heavily on lasers to lock me down and to dive in with. My weakness in this set was my impatience, the one game I won I made a point of using the platforms to take away his familiar laser approach, and to down-air if he tried to attack me from below. Using this strategy I was able to stifle his lasers and replace them with my own, taking control and the game. During the games I lost I wasn’t able to do this and fell into his trap of trying to approach on the ground, my lack of discipline was abused. Something I took away for future Falco dittos is that I wish I had held my shield down for longer and tested his shield pressure, not once did I force him to perform this or go for shinegrabs as I was pre-occupied with attempting unsafe shine out of shields.
With my loss to ModestMajor and with bitterness for falling to another Falco my tournament run was over and I had placed 5th. I’m happy with how I placed considering how many of my weaknesses I had become aware of and that without having a setup I’d been unable to prepare for the event. I’m looking forward to playing as many people as possible in the future and also refining some of my movements and tech in my spare time.
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