WORCESTER, Mass. — Thousands of spectators filled Massachusetts’ DCU Center last night for the finals of Shine 2019, the fourth iteration of the annual New England Super Smash Bros. event.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma fought his way to a first-place finish, while Ezra “Samsora” Morris topped the 882-man bracket in Smash Ultimate.
The Melee tournament was marked by a series of stunning upsets, capped by Kurtis “Moky” Pratt’s 3-2 victory over top seed William “Leffen” Hjelte in winner’s quarter-finals. With winner’s side of the Melee bracket cleared of several higher seeds, Hungrybox rode to grand finals with ease, defeating Cody “iBDW” Schwab and Johnny “S2J” Kim on the way.
With the event showcasing the top-12 brackets rather than the traditional top-eight brackets on its final day, the loser’s bracket in Melee was stacked with high-level players such as Leffen, Shephard “Fiction” Lima, Daniel “ChuDat” Rodriguez, James “Swedish Delight” Liu, Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni, Arjun “lloD” Malhotra, Kevin “Kevin Maples” Maples, and Aziz “Hax$” El-Yami.
ChuDat wobbled his way above the rest of the loser’s bracket contenders, finishing fourth underneath Hungrybox, S2J, and iBDW (who scored a Leffen win of his own in loser’s quarter-finals).
The Ultimate top-12 bracket had its fair share of upsets as well. Samsora conquered his demon Leonardo “MkLeo” Lopez Perez in a nine-game grand final to win his first Ultimate major.
As at Super Smash Con two weeks ago, Samsora defeated MkLeo in winner’s finals to secure a spot in grands—but this time, he withstood the pressure of the Mexican’s blistering Joker play and held on through a 3-2 bracket reset to win the whole shebang.
Samsora’s underdog victory sparked a wave of congratulatory messages from across the Smash scene, including a particularly spicy one from Justin “Plup” McGrath.
If samsora wins shine I’ll get naked asap
— Justin McGrath (@PG_Plup) August 26, 2019
No. 2 seed Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey dropped into loser’s bracket relatively early after a loss on Saturday to Roy main Alexis “Goblin” Stennett. Tweek’s loser’s run was stymied by Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada in a 3-2 loser’s eighths battle.
Nairo, a longtime elite Smash 4 player who has struggled against top-five talent in Ultimate, had a breakout run of his own. He defeated Tweek, Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby, and Tyler “Marss” Martins on his way to a triumphant third-place finish.
The hometown crowd was most fired up by the Cinderella run of New England R.O.B. main Raffi “Raffi-X” Azar, who defeated Aaron “Blacktwins13” Grandison-Vargas on his way to a seventh-place finish. Rasheen “Dark Wizzy” Rose made an underdog run of his own, defeating Raffi-X and Jude “Jakal” Harris in his fifth-place performance.
Despite some logistical hiccups, this year’s Shine marked a successful move for the major from its traditional venue in Boston’s Seaport World Trade Center to a less expensive location in Worcester, Massachusetts.
With another event in the books, the world’s finest in Melee and Ultimate will return home for some well-deserved rest—before starting their grind for the next major tournament.
Credit: Alexander Lee