The Beetle Kingdom

Full Bloom 2024

March 6, 2024

Summary of my time at Full Bloom 2024

I was in pool D3, so I played at 6:00 PM ET on Saturday. Honestly, my pool matches were tiring! I was the 3rd seed in my pool, so I had a bye, and then I had to play Borg, a Fox from Ohio. It went to last stock game 3, but I clutched it out.

Similarly, I won last stock game 3 against Anther the next round. It was neat to play Anther; it was his first melee bracket since 2018. I also owe a lot to him for creating SmashLadder, which is really where I started playing the game competitively around 2013. I was surprised to play him at this round of bracket, and I believe he was underseeded.

Next, I played Michael, the Puff player from Chicago. He's been a top Chicago player and ranked top 100 in the world in years prior. He was briefly in Pittsburgh for work, and I was able to play him a few times. Sheik vs. Puff is actually a matchup I thoroughly enjoy, and I believe I am fairly adept at it, despite my limited experience. Unfortunately, I opened myself up to rests way too often. The games were relatively close despite getting rested 5 times total. My biggest mistake was my weak understanding of Puff's full aerial drift and her full hop height. I let him grab ledge from me and catch jumps with full hop up air. I didn't understand I was still in a contestable situation. Michael is a strong player, and it was great to play him. Outside the rests, I felt very comfortable in every other aspect of the game, which is encouraging.

In losers, I played Suidt to make it to top 64. He is a Fox player from Cincinnati, Ohio. Our set was streamed, which was really fun. I opted to ban Stadium after winning game 1 to get more experience on Final Destination. I did opt to transform into Zelda. The primary reason was the fact that we were on stream, and I wanted to have Zelda shown off for the stream and crowd. Additionally, I feel more confident in Zelda vs. Fox on FD than on Stadium. My edgeguards were lacking in this set, and I definitely got antsy trying to force hits, which led to free openings for my opponents via reversals. I was able to win the set in the end, which concluded the first day.

I played around 11:30 AM ET on Sunday in top 64. I played Cantus, a Fox player from Kentucky. I was able to focus and played well enough. I failed to clutch game 2 on Stadium, but I am very happy I was able to avoid getting flustered. I maintained composure and was able to get a lot of grabs and fully gain momentum with good-enough tech chases.

My final set was against Balloon Day, a strong Fox player from Columbus, Ohio. We have played a handful of times over the past few years, and he was won all of the sets. The majority, if not all, of which felt very undoable to me at the time of playing them. However, this set felt relatively competitive. Game 1 had some Yoshi's Story shenanigans that led to early stock less on both sides. I was in the lead most of the game, but he was able to win at the end. I JV3'd him game 2 on Battlefield, and then he 2 or 3 stocked me on Final Destination. Game 4 was relatively close on Fountain, but he ended up winning. I was happy with how I was able to focus and not get tilted by any Fox vs. Sheik combos. The main takeaways for me were learning the up b spots for box Fox angles, being okay with staying patient in neutral on larger stages, and being better at avoiding Fox up tilt when moving off the platforms or landing in general.

I ended up getting 33rd out of 351 entrants. I went 4-2 in sets and played to my projected seed. I felt so much support from friends in person and online, which I deeply appreciate. I wasn't able to practice nearly as much as I would have liked for this event, so I am happy I was able to play as well as I did. However, I am very much not satisfied with my gameplay in any capacity, and I am motivated to improve in all aspects. Watching and playing strong players there lit a fire in me to become excellent.