Watch Out For Smash Balls In This Weekend's Nintendo-Sanctioned Tournament

Illustration for article titled Watch Out For Smash Balls In This Weekend's Nintendo-Sanctioned Tournament
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The finals for the Smash Ultimate North America Open kick off at 1 p.m. ET, live at PAX East in Boston and streaming on Nintendo’s YouTube. This is a Nintendo-sanctioned Smash tournament, so the rules are less strict than your typical competitive Smash tournament. Items will be on (albeit set to “low”), and so will the Smash Ball. The event will be made up of 5-minute rounds instead of stocks. Also, the tournament’s twelve finalists have been divided up into four groups of three and will compete in a double elimination bracket of 3-versus-3 team battles.


There’s also no prize pool. The three members of the winning team will instead receive a “collectible item” valued at $500. All twelve of the finalists already “won” the other listed prize, which is comped tickets to all four days of PAX East, as well as their flights and hotels.

Few of the twelve finalists have any significant name recognition in the Smash scene, perhaps due to the unusual format of this 3v3 no-stock tournament, not to mention its lack of prize money. A couple of the finalists, Seth and Wrath, are known quantities; they’re both former Smash Wii U competitors who’ve since swapped to Smash Ultimate. Another player to watch is John Numbers, who placed first in the 2015 Nintendo World Championships and as a runner-up in the 2017 Championships.

On the other side of the United States, NorCal Regionals in San Jose will run pools for a much more traditional Smash Ultimate tournament on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET, streaming on the Team Spooky Twitch channel. NorCal Regionals hosts several other high-profile fighting game events; pools for Tekken are already underway today, with Dragon Ball FighterZ pools slated to start around 7 p.m. ET, also on the Team Spooky Twitch. Tomorrow, NorCal’s Street Fighter V pools will stream on the CapcomFighters Twitch, where the finals will also air on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET. Here’s the full schedule.

In Grapevine, Texas, The Big Deal: 3D, America’s largest annual rhythm game tournament, starts today and lasts all weekend. TBD3D’s Dance Dance Revolution tournament will stream live on Twitch starting at 12 p.m. ET, with the Top 16 finals starting at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Deputy Editor, Kotaku.


It will be exhausting responding to people who believe this is the “right” way to play Smash bros. For tournaments, randomization leads to lesser display of skill between players.

Nintendo refusing to acknowledge how the game is played competitively is why no real competitors are going to this event. It is an absolute joke, and honestly insulting to pro Smash players to not offer any prize pool. They are being asked to create content for Nintendo, at their highest skill level, for basically free.