Lucario

At this weekend’s Frostbite Smash 4 tournament, competitors ZeRo and Tsu faced off in a tense grand finals match that could only be compared to the last fight between Dragon Ball Z’s Goku and Cell.

Diddy Kong main ZeRo was, for two years, the top Smash 4 player in the world. He’s great at Diddy Kong’s sharply-timed back aerials and banana-throws that distance and distract his enemies. Tsu, a Lucario main from Japan, is a relative newcomer to the international Smash 4 scene. He’s taken sets off some top players, but hadn’t stood out too much until last weekend’s epic match-up.

Lucario is one of Diddy Kong’s hardest match-ups. If Diddy’s hit with his charged energy ball attack, compared often to Goku’s Kamehameha, he’ll go flying. Diddy wins by closing in distance, dodging the energy balls and knocking Lucario out, but not without the added threat of Lucario’s powerful smash attacks. They have crazy range, so if Diddy slips up, he’s done for:

Throughout the matches, ZeRo dodged a barrage of Tsu’s energy balls. The tension they created was crazy, a sort of always-present trump card in Lucario’s pocket. Here, ZeRo’s air dodge could not have been better timed, and he bravely closed in distance with a grab attack:

Sometimes, the dodges were just impossible. Here, Tsu knocked Zero out so hard that his rocketbarrels went sputtering off behind him.

This was my favorite moment from the match. Tsu smashed ZeRo far off the stage, and to recover, Zero bravely flings himself under the map. The second his body peeks up on the other side, Tsu nails him with his charged energy ball.

Neck-and-neck with two wins each, and both over 100%, Diddy’s up-smash closed the deal. It was a tense minute, full of ZeRo’s impressive dodges and Tsu’s creative recoveries.

Zero described the victory as one of his hardest-earned yet. His hands were shaking, he said. His victory was met with elation, even though the crowd cheered for Tsu for much of the mach. The two then hugged.