EVO 2017 Pool Analysis

Analyzing Round 2 Pools

It’s the eve of EVO 2017, the biggest Smash 4 tournament of the year, and one of the most stacked. I decided to post by analysis and input as an article for InTheLoop. I’ve been right about things before and horribly wrong, too! Especially the latter. Enjoy!


Projected Round 2 Brackets:

Nairo v Kesa (Potentially bt.yamato instead)
Pugwest v Saj
FOW  v Sol/Pu55yk1ng
Edge v AeroLink

Volatility: High

Nairo is probably going to coast to the final of his Round 2 pool. There’s potential for a runback vs. saj, but it’s been over a year, and the Bayo/Anti-Bayo meta has developed significantly.

For those who don’t remember, FOW was ranked 12th on the first iteration of the PGR, and was considered a prime Top 8 placing candidate at most tournaments. The anti-Ness meta has developed in his long-term absence, but he’s demonstrated the ability to upset top ranking players (such as beating Larry Lurr at Civil War) and has done well at most majors that he’s attended recently.

Usually these things have precedent – existing set records might indicate a set tilting one way or the other, but the bizarre thing here is that FOW and Nairo have never met in bracket. Not once. So there’s nothing to go on beyond the fact that FOW does not have an outstandingly poor record vs. ZSS and the fact that FOW is entirely capable of defeating players in the upper echelon, as demonstrated this year.

Edge, on the other hand, is only partially tested – with Zenyou as a solid name to his credit for USA set wins. He’s demonstrated the ability to do very well in Japan, but AeroLink is noted for upsetting ESAM at G4, and I’m honestly not certain about who would win FOW vs. Edge.

…Which is where a large part of the volatility comes from. Nairo could realistically lose to FOW and possibly Edge, but there’s no real assurance on which of those two he’ll face, and there’s a dark horse possibility of AeroLink upsetting Edge and/or FOW.


Projected Round 2 Brackets:

Larry Lurr  v Share (Possibly Gucci)
Tsu v  Z (Possibly Randy from Guatemala)
Ac v  LingLing

Volatility: Low 

I find it relatively unlikely to see any upsets here. Tsu struggled a significant amount vs. Larry at ARMS Saga, and I wouldn’t pin anybody else in either of their brackets to pull off any upsets. Share & Gucci are both third-tier Japan that can usually expect a 65th or 49th at best (ala Nyanko, Jan, etc.) and even though Share is a Bayonetta, Larry has done very well vs. good Bayonettas in recent months – and frankly, I don’t believe Share has done much of anything.

Gucci is a more interesting one to mull over. He’s one of Japan’s best Melee players, a Falcon, meaning Fox in Smash 4 should fit his more aggressive playstyle well, and he’s done acceptably well before in the few (maybe one?) Japanese Smash 4 tourney(ies?) he’s entered. Dittos in this game are horrible and stupid and a lot of big upsets come from them, so this isn’t totally implausible, but not very likely.

Ac is the dark horse that could upset Tsu in this bracket but I really don’t expect it. His common character pick doesn’t naturally counter Lucario and he as far as I’m aware does not have a wealth of Lucario experience. On the other hand, Ac did take Mr. R to game 5 and has beaten an (albeit ill) MKLeo before, so this isn’t implausible – but I’d still rate the volatility low since Ac’s chances vs. Larry aren’t very good.

RIP LingLing.

JJROCKETS vs. Rain is also probably irrelevant. I want to see “9th at EVO” Rain back, and he’s had sporadically solid performances this year between a Toryumon victory and taking Mr. R to game 3, but when I watch the VOD of PSG Classic and see him getting juked by a Vegas Mac, I’m not super confident in his ability to:

A: Beat JJ, an established Diddy Kong player with a solid amount of Cloud experience.
B: Beat Larry Lurr after that.


Projected Round 2 Brackets:

VoiD v Zephyr
Umeki v Konga
Raito v Deathorse (possibly Meteor)
Rich Brown v DJ Jack

Volatility: Medium

Zephyr nearly beat Nairo a little while back. Players doing randomly well is a hallmark of these events, so you need to be on the lookout – but I really, really doubt he beats VoiD. It’s worth keeping in mind, though.

Umeki will probably lose to Konga. Konga is probably the non-BC PNW’s best player and Umeki doesn’t exactly do well at major level events. Even if he does beat Konga, there’s no way he makes it past VoiD – leaving us with the most likely option (VoiD vs. Konga.)

Not exactly sure what to make of that. Sheiks can struggle in the DK match-up, but VoiD is obviously the better player, and we’ve seen how much DK can struggle in disadvantage vs. Sheik before – and without HIKARU’s level of skill, it’s not super likely VoiD goes down here.

Raito did lose to VoiD at CEO Dreamland, but we’ve seen his ability to adapt. He’s beaten Mr. R’s Sheik before and very clearly adapted to Dabuz of all players their second run-in, meaning the prospect of Raito > VoiD isn’t totally unlikely.

The other players in this pool are fine, but I don’t expect much in the way of upsets. The most volatile thing here is if Deathorse upset Raito (not impossible) and we got to see a Deathorse/Rich Brown Mewtwo ditto.


Projected Round 2 Brackets:

KEN v Kentarosu (possibly 3xA)
Dath v Charliedaking
ANTi v Stroder (possibly ven)
Myran v FILIP

Volatility: Very Low

KEN almost certainly takes his pool for free here. He’s been on a roll lately. Dath is seeded over CDK here, but it’s really likely that CDK wins if the last week is anything to go on. KEN massacred the three best active Fox players at ARMS Saga so even in Bo3 it’s very unlikely that KEN loses to CDK. Bigger question is “What if he fights Dath?” since Dath has been good at the Sonic match-up, but KEN is unlike any other Sonic, so I don’t see it happening.

The other side of the bracket is definitely with solid upset potential. Stroder can do very well sometimes, Myran has been doing very well, and a Mario ditto can be extremely wacky, but:

-I don’t expect FILIP to beat Myran.
-Stroder doesn’t have a great track record at majors.

…Meaning the seeded Myran vs. ANTi set is likely to occur, which could go either way. I don’t think there’s much of a chance of either beating KEN.


Projected Round 2 Brackets

Abadango vs. BreaD (Possibly ApologyMan)
Darkshad vs. Day
Locus vs. DJ Fliphop (possibly Calculus)
NAKAT vs. NickRiddle

Volatility: High

Locus vs. Abadango is the sort of set that can go either way, but I feel like Abadango has a slight edge since there’s a solid opportunity for Abadango to get match-up warm up from DarkShad in Semis.

On the other hand, NAKAT has been climbing in results as of late, featuring good performances at Greninja and ARMS Sagas, and he upset Kameme at GENESIS. However, the Fox/Ryu match-up has been tilted in favor of the latter.

Random note – Apologyman is one of the best UMvC3 players in the world and mains Lucario, and has come close to making significant upsets before in large nationals – watch out for him just in case.


Projected Round 2 Brackets

Mr. R v Nanchan
ikep v 8BitMan
Elegant v Lycan (Possibly Extra)
Lima v Zex

Volatility: High 

Upset potential here is pretty big. Elegant is capable of taking top level players the distance due to how explosive his combo game is – something that’s been known to take players off guard before.

The volatility, though, comes in the unpredictable nature of the Semis matches. Ikep is arguably under seeded here and has defeated his fair share of very good Sheiks in Japan before, including Eim, in order to win Umebura 26. I would call this one of the biggest matches to watch during Round 2 Pools.

On the other side, you have the seeded rematch – Elegant vs. Lima. At ARMS Saga, Lima defeated Elegant 3-2 in a matchup that Elegant is known for being good in.

If the pool final is Mr. R vs. Lima, I expect Mr. R to take it in pretty handy fashion- ikep would almost certainly be sufficient warm up for Lima, as both players have a tendency to “abuse” Bayonetta’s more controversial traits, and ikep’s combo game is significantly better.

As an additional threat, Australia’s #2 player – a Game & Watch and Wario player that goes by the tag Extra – is seeded below Lycan. It’s very possible – even likely – that Extra is under seeded and will outperform the projected bracket, meaning WR2 would be Elegant vs. Extra. Hard to say how that would go due to a lack of data on Australia.


Projected Round 2 Brackets

Tweek v SLEP
Eon v Ri-ma
Kameme v Poltergust
Luhtie v Vinnie

Volatility: High 

This is an interesting example of a bracket where ARMS Saga may have changed the perspective of the seeding team. Vinnie had a great run, getting 13th, and despite rare attendance he often does well at tournaments like these. For that reason, I expect him to pull off a seeding upset on Luhtie, but I don’t think he has a great shot of beating Kameme due to Kameme’s pretty extensive Sheik experience.

The other side is waaaaay more interesting. Ri-ma has had a pretty rough year, but for those who don’t remember, he got 13th at TBH6 in a string of upsets. He beat Larry, Rayquaza07, took Fatality to game 5, and has beaten komorikiri and 9B before. There are times where he’s arguably the best active Toon Link.

This leads to an interesting question – does Eon (formerly Eon Wave) have Toon Link exp? I know Zan attends some SoCal weeklies, but I’m unaware if he and Eon play on any regular basis, or if Eon has trained with NorCal notable 3xA, another Cali Toon Link.

I suspect that if Ri-ma beats Eon, he’ll probably beat Tweek. It goes without saying that the Japan-Cloud record is slanted heavily in Japan’s favor versus nearly every top Cloud, but we’ll have to see. I believe either Eon or Ri-ma could pull off an upset on Tweek, and Kameme could realistically beat Tweek on his own if the pools go as expected.


Projected Round 2 Brackets

Kirihara v Kiki
ZD v Mistake
Fatality v TLTC
Tyrant v Mahgnittoc*

*Wonf  is seeded here but he can’t attend and Mahgnittoc is the second seed of his round 1 pool.

Volatility: Medium

There’s a certain level of unpredictability to this pool. Kirihara has a mixed record versus Bayonettas, and there’s a very good shot that Mistake upsets ZD and fights Kirihara in Semis – a set that could potentially be an upset, in my opinion, based on the strength of Mistake’s recent performances.*

*After I type this, Mistake goes on to beat Kirihara and Ally in bracket at a PrEVO weekly. Ok.

The most volatile factor of the seeded bracket is the runback between Kirihara and Fatality. This was a 5 game set at Civil War, so predicting who wins is difficult – Kirihara is seeded higher, which makes historical sense with his consistency vs. Fatality’s, but with Wonf not attending (somebody I’d give a high chance of winning the pool – he’s extremely under seeded) it’s unlikely Fatality doesn’t make it to WFs of the pool. Tyrant and TLTC are good but I don’t expect them to beat Fatality.

On the off chance that Tyrant does make it to WFs, a kind note – Kirihara destroys Meta Knight, don’t expect Tyrant to win based on the MU. It’s nowhere near as unfavorable as MK/Peach and Kiri has a lot of exp in the matchup from Abadango.


Projected Round 2 Brackets

ZeRo v KENT (Possibly NotLast)
SuperGirlKels v Seagull Joe
Nietono v ImHip (Possibly C.R.Z.)
Mr. E v SS

Volatility: Very Low 

I know this one bit me at Civil War where I said ZeRo was likely to cleanly make Top 32 Winners Side, but that was a fairly exceptional tourney all the way around. Here, the volatility that might exist is limited to a bunch of players who are probably all going to get destroyed by the ZeRo grinder.

It’s not as if there aren’t interesting match-ups with some potential – a ZeRo vs. Seagull runback is possible, Mr. E vs. ZeRo runback is possible (albeit ZeRo has pretty much shut Mr. E down since last EVO), and Nietono could maybe pull off an upset – but all of it feels very unlikely.


Projected Round 2 Brackets

MKLeo v Zudenka
Xzax v False
WaDi v MuteAce (possibly SilentDoom)
Earth v Zan

Volatility: Medium

I find it interesting that WaDi is seeded above Earth, but nonetheless, both would probably lose handily to Leo. I’d give Earth a better shot at winning – Leo struggled vs. Kuro at KVO 2017 – and it’s fair to say that Leo’s alternative (Marth) may not work well due to Earth’s extensive experience in the match-up since his wife (Fuwa) mains the character.

All that being said, Earth could drop a set to WaDi. I don’t agree with the seeding but it’s far from implausible, but in that case, MKLeo almost certainly escapes his pool unscathed with a Cloud pick.


Projected Round 2 Brackets

Ally v NickC
Chanshu v KOSSismoss
MVD v IcyMist
Wrath v John Numbers

Volatility: Very High

Probably the biggest pool to watch during the tournament. The only certain outcome is likely Ally beating NickC, but Round 2 gets shaky pretty quickly – he’s seeded to fight Chanshu, one of Japan’s best Ryu players, and then he has a number of poisons to pick to win his pool.

-IcyMist has defeated top 20 players on multiple occasions, took a game off Ally, and may have studied ESAM’s set on Ally for reference.

-MVD has been on a bit of a roll lately, and he’s starting to look like a solid pick for third best Diddy. Beyond the fact that he could beat anybody on his side of the bracket, I’m pretty confident that he could take Ally the distance.

-Wrath has also done very well lately – he’s ended up as a somewhat underrated player with a lot of potential to go far in this tournament. He could very plausibly beat anybody on his side of the bracket, and an Ally vs. Wrath runback is unpredictable in Bo3 format – Wrath took Ally to game 5 at Momocon.

-John Numbers has made a bit of a name for himself this year, getting second at Combo Breaker, consistently doing well in Tristate, and taking 9B the distance at Civil War. I think he’s a dark horse with some upset potential.


Projected Round 2 Brackets

Dabuz v Hackoru
takera v K9sbruce
9B v Jtails
Manny v Bloodcross

Volatility: Low 

I’m going with bracket history: Dabuz is the best anti-Bayonetta player in the world. He has only ever dropped one set in tournament (to Captain Zack at Aftershock 2016) to a Bayonetta. Players have come reasonably close to defeating him with Bayo before, but it’s simply a fact that nobody seems to be able to do it at this point.

-Pre-Nerf Prime 9B couldn’t do it.
-Salem has never been able to do it despite many, many attempts.
-Captain Zack’s record post-AfterShock is close insofar that he and Dabuz have a lot of 5 game sets, but it’s still 3-1 (or worse) in Dabuz’s favor.

This is operating under the reasonable assumption that 9B makes it to WFs, and I’m inclined to believe that, while Manny is really good, it’s unlikely that he pulls it off. No matter what, I think takera is likely Dabuz’s biggest threat, and Dabuz doesn’t really lose to Ryu either despite fighting a lot of good Ryus. His reverse 3-0 on Locus at Arms Saga was convincing and I’m not inclined to believe that takera can put up a better fight.


Projected Round 2 Brackets

Salem v Kogarasuma (Possibly Kei)
Eim v DKWill
Falln v Vash (Possibly Suinoko)
JK v Z

Volatility: High 

Things get pretty crazy in semis – Eim vs. Salem and JK vs. Falln are both pretty unpredictable. Eim has yet to make an enormous U.S. upset, but he did take Tweek to Game 3 in pools at ARMS Saga and has solid Bayonetta experience. Salem is the favorite, but Eim could very reasonably pull off an upset.

On the flip side, JK and Falln went to game 5 at ZeRo Saga – and JK winning could mean a lot for the tournament simply due to the fact that JK is one of the best players at the Bayo ditto. This is reflected by his recent win against Salem in pools at Nairo Saga.


Projected Round 2 Brackets

komorikiri v Ghost (Possibly Camalange)
Ryuga v Captain L
Samsora v Duffo (Possibly el)
Zenyou v BestNess

Volatility: Low

Komo’s had trouble with SoCal Foxes before (specifically Eon) but I don’t realistically see him losing to anybody on his side of the bracket. He tends to get upset by higher ranked players in the U.S. Ryuga is your best shot until WFs, and while Ryuga has a lot of good names to his resume, I think the skill gap will keep Komo in winners bracket.

Is Samsora the caliber of player to beat Komo? I’d say so – but I wouldn’t put it as super likely that Samsora pulls the upset, unless Komo makes a bad secondary pick that doesn’t work out game one. Samsora luckily doesn’t have to worry about Meta Knight, and he’s pretty good at the Mario match-up, making BestNess the wildcard – a solid Ness player who is arguably one of the Interior West/Rocky Mountains’ best players.

While I think he could beat Zenyou and possibly even Samsora, I don’t think he has a shot vs. Komo.


Projected Round 2 Brackets

Captain Zack v Wonderbread (Possibly Dragon)
Cosmos v Aarvark
Zinoto v OCEAN (possibly Taternator)
Pink Fresh v Xaltis

Volatility: Medium

Zack is seeded over Zinoto, but the two have traded sets recently at MM9 and CEO. Does either player stand a chance of getting upset along the way? I’d say a slight chance, yes – in the form of Cosmos for Zack, mainly. Zinito’s side of the bracket is a bit easier to deal with unless Pink has come back full force, and there’s a solid chance that OCEAN doesn’t even make it to Zinoto.


Projected Round 2 Brackets

Ranai v RFang (Possibly Yaminabe)
Dyr v Mekos
ESAM v IxisNaugus (Possibly aMSa)
Tyroy v Blacktwins13

Volatility: Very High 

Probably the most unpredictable pool of the bunch. Tyroy has been on a roll lately, Blacktwins has significant amounts of Bayonetta experience, the southeast/Florida MU (Mekos/Dyr) could go either way based on player skill, and both RFang and Yaminabe have shown up in their respective regions as of late.

Round 2 is also volatile by that measure. I’d say Ranai has an easier path to WFs than ESAM since ESAM has a good shot of fighting Tyroy, who could easily win the pool, and there’s nothing to say Ixis won’t upset ESAM, or that Blacktwins13’s Bayo experience versus Mistake could stuff Tyroy entirely.


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