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In the oldest days of Melee, scenes were incredibly separated, with players from the East Coast and West Coast practically never meeting, let alone countries outside the United States. In the first few years, it was common to see players dominate their regions, but never travel to truly prove themselves as the best in the nation, or the world. This was understandable, given the lack of incentive to do so in Melee’s formative years, but still people were dying to know what scene was truly the best. That is when Snex, an old school Midwest TO, got a wonderful idea. He would host a large scale tournament for the time, Snexus 2, and fly out some of the very best from California to partake in the bracket. This is the story of one of the very first inter-regional meetings in Melee’s history, and arguably the first large tournament the game had ever seen.
While it may seem pitiful by today’s standards, Snexus 2 was able to garner 48 entrants, an astounding amount for the time. In fact, at the time it could’ve quite possibly been the largest tournament to ever take place, though there is scarce data from then to truly confirm this. Taking place on July 12th, 2003, over 16 years ago today, all the best in the Midwest gathered to face the West Coast elite. The very best of course were the ones known as Team Blood, made up of the Chicago duo of Eduardo and Eddie. While Eddie is more well-known in today’s era for his further success with Ganondorf, Eduardo was a force to be reckoned with, winning nearly every tourney at the time with his trusty Marth. In addition, the Kish Brothers of Indiana showed up, KishPrime, KishSquared and KishCubed, as well as the others in the Ship of Fools crew with Joshu and Ignatius, sometimes known as Iggy. Da’Shiekie, another of Illinois’ best with the Blood Brothers, also appeared, as well as up and coming Puff Andy, later to be known as Show Me Your Moves TO AOB. The best in Ohio also appeared, with Smog and Fusegen, and some older-school players, even for the time, like SmashBroPro and DJXXX also made the trip out. The very best from Canada also attended, with MikeMonkey and Jarrod from the Punch Crew, and finally, were the NorCal collective. Recipherus and Isai were the easy favorites to win this tournament, being the two best in the region at the time, while former European #1 turned top Cali star The Doug was another top contender. The original Dave himself, Scamp, also showed up, and rounded out the top participants for the tournament. This was going to be a hotly contested affair, and we won’t know who’ll take it until we begin.
The tournament started with doubles, and while I wouldn’t normally talk too much about these results, I feel it is important to highlight the first big upset of the day. Recipherus and Isai, the dominant favorites heading in, especially with Isai’s still blossoming but known doubles prowess, were actually taken down by the legendary Team Blood. Eddie and Eduardo defended the Midwest in doubles, which perhaps was a good sign heading into the main event: the singles bracket.
The first round begins, with only a single notable matchup to go over before Winner’s Round 2:
Da’Shiekie vs. Smog
In the first regional battle of the day, Illinois and Ohio faced off in a heated contest. Sheik was commonly heralded as the best character in the game at this point, though with Recipherus’ known struggles against both Sultan of Samitude and Justin Junio, perhaps Falco was the answer. Smog further drove this point home, defeating Da’Shiekie to advance in the bracket.
Joshu vs. Fusegen
Another notable Ohio matchup, this time against Indiana. Fusegen was considered the 2nd best in the region, just behind Smog, while Joshu was more in the 3-5 range for his state. However, Joshu proved just how stacked Indiana was at the time, and easily dispatched of Fusegen to continue.
Scamp vs. KishSquared
The first true test of California vs. the rest, Scamp went up against the often considered 2nd best of the Kishes, KishSquared, and fell just short. Midwest had proven its ability to beat the middling tiers of the West, but could they beat the higher ups?
Recipherus vs. KishCubed
That answer seemed to come shortly after, when Recipherus easily dispatched of the often considered best in Indiana, KishCubed. While it was the highly volatile Sheik ditto, it’s easy to look at this, and begin to feel disheartened about the Midwest’s chances.
Jarrod vs. KishPrime
At the very least, though, the final Kish proved that it’d take more than #2 in Canada to send them packing, as he was able to take out Jarrod of the Punch Crew to make it to Winner’s Round 3.
Fusegen vs. Jarrod (19th)
Yes, 19th place. The bracket was a bit strange in this bracket, as they wound up somehow having uneven sides on each one. This led to them doing 3 way FFA’s in the 4th round, in order to decide who would get the bye, causing a bit of a mixup in the loser’s bracket. While Melee was beginning to form into a national, regulated scene, there were still some strange rules such as this back in 2003. Anyways, Fusegen eliminated Jarrod, removing one of Canada’s best from the tournament.
Scamp vs. Da’Sheikie (19th)
…And yet another out of region player eliminated, as Da’Sheikie successfully eliminated one of California’s fly-outs to progress on. It seems some of the Midwest could indeed hang.
The Doug vs. Joshu
This matchup was probably a fairly exciting one, considering both being considered just under the very best of their respective regions. The Doug was able to prove both Europe and California proud, however, when he vanquished the Midwest Luigi.
Eddie vs. KishSquared
In a battle long-awaited by some, the two often considered 2nd best of their states battled for supremacy, in a match that hadn’t occurred before. Eddie was able to take it this time, but rest assured, Indiana would not go quietly into the night.
MikeMonkey vs. Recipherus
Another best in region battle for Recipherus, and another victory. Recipherus handily defeated MikeMonkey to continue on, proving his superiority over not only Indiana, but the entirety of Canada as well.
Smog vs. KishPrime
Ohio continued to prove itself here, as Smog was able to take down one of the lofted Kishes in singles action. Ohio was often left out of conversations for the best region in the Midwest at the time, it almost always being between Illinois and Indiana, but Smog was making an amazing case for both himself and his region here.
Isai vs. Eduardo
One of the most anticipated matchups of the tournaments, Isai and Eduardo battled fiercely in a match that could make or break the Midwest. While Team Blood had successfully defended themselves in doubles, it looked like singles would be a different story, as Isai was able to somehow take out the Midwest’s absolute best, and advance in the bracket.
KishPrime vs. Da’Sheikie (13th)
The best player in Illinois that didn’t start with Ed, Da’Sheikie continued his trek to try and make Top 8 at this prestigious event. However, KishPrime was able to stop him in his tracks, forwarding Indiana’s claim for the best state of the bunch.
MikeMonkey vs. Fusegen (13th)
Fusegen, after just slaying Jarrod the round previous, was probably feeling pretty good about his changes to finish off Canada and prove Ohio’s greatness, especially after seeing Smog’s run through winner’s. However, MikeMonkey snuffed those hopes out, gaining vengeance on Fusegen for his brethren and advancing forwards.
Anyways, as I said, Winner’s Round 4 was initially decided with FFA’s to determine who would get the initial bye to round 5. The first of which was between The Doug, Iggy and Eddie, which Eddie was able to come out on top of. The second was between Recipherus, Isai and Smog, in which Recipherus was able to win. This led to Winner’s Round 4 being:
The Doug vs. Iggy
The Doug continued his warpath through the Ship of Fools crew, as he struck down yet another member with Iggy. Put whatever Indiana player you want in The Doug’s way, he would take them all down. California seemed to really putting a number on the Midwest this tournament.
Isai vs. Smog
Finally, Smog’s miracle run through winner’s was thwarted, as Isai was able to soundly send him to the loser’s bracket. While he may have been taken down, perhaps Smog’s miracle energy had transitioned to Isai, considering his next match…
Eddie vs. The Doug
In what may have been a shocking result for the time, the soon to be legendary Ganon main Eddie was able to send The Doug to the loser’s bracket, and advance to Winner’s Finals. This would mark the first time Eddie would truly begin to outshine his partner Eduardo, and start to cement himself as one of the game’s very best.
Recipherus vs. Isai
And in what was definitely a shocking upset, Isai scored his first truly top level win in singles, defeating Recipherus to make it to Winner’s Finals as well! Isai had often not tried incredibly hard at the previous Tournament Go entries, notably only reaching 7th at the last one, TG4. However, since Ken’s debut there, he has been practicing extensively with the King of Smash, and really learning to expand his game beyond just his 64 expertise. Isai started his establishment as one of the greatest players to ever touch a Gamecube controller right here, and it would only go up.
Eduardo vs. KishCubed (9th)
KishCubed honestly had a rough bracket, having to face both Recipherus and Eduardo, quite possibly the two best at the tournament, so early on. Sadly, that’s what he had to face, as #1 in Indiana fell to the best in NorCal and the best in Illinois for a paltry 9th place finish.
Iggy vs. KishPrime (9th)
Fear not, though, as the Kishes had more to say in this tournament. While KishCubed got knocked out unfortunately early, KishPrime continued his run into Top 8, eliminating Iggy in an Indiana teamkill. Considering their recent tournament performances, this very well could’ve been considered an upset.
MikeMonkey vs. Joshu (9th)
Canada sadly was unable to make Top 8, as Indiana gained yet another spot in the lofty bracket. Joshu was able to take down MikeMonkey, proving Luigi’s potential as a viable character at the top level.
Recipherus vs. KishSquared (9th)
Recipherus, despite his earlier upset loss to Isai, was not about to let himself fall short once again. Early in the year, Recipherus had failed to conquer Texas at MOAST, losing in an intense Grand Finals to the best in the region, Zulu. He was not about to let this happen again, as he took down KishSquared to advance into Top 8.
The Doug vs. Eduardo (7th)
Another interesting matchup, caused by the famously weird bracket structure of 2003 Melee, and we see the best in the Midwest against the best from Europe. In a heated affair, Eduardo proved that Team Blood was not one to be messed with, as he finished what Eddie started, and ended The Doug’s tournament run at a perhaps disappointing 7th place.
Smog vs. Joshu (7th)
In a perhaps lower level but still equally exciting match, Smog continued his amazing run through the tournament, taking out another of the region’s best in Joshu. Smog had firmly but Ohio on the map, being its first truly top level talent.
Eduardo vs. KishPrime (5th)
Eduardo once again proved himself to be no laughing matter, with another take down of Indiana’s best, this time with video! This tournament proved that while Indiana may have more depth than Illinois, at the top level there was no contest. Illinois had taken half of the Top 4 spots in the tournament, while Indiana had taken none of them. The battle for best state in the region was over, and Illinois had won decisively.
Recipherus vs. Smog (5th)
However, the true battle was still underway, as the Midwest fought to protect itself from the California invaders. Smog was unable to do so, falling convincingly to Recipherus. However, he had proven himself, and broken through as one of the best in any state with his amazing run today.
Isai vs. Eddie
In what was more than likely a very surprising Winner’s Finals, Isai and Eddie faced off as the two often considered silver medallists of their regions. Isai pulled out the Fox for this set, as opposed to his Falcon or Sheik, while Eddie stuck to his trademark Ganon. It was decently close, but seemed to be fairly in Isai’s favor as he wound up taking the set, having defeated Eddie, Eduardo and Recipherus to make Grand Finals. Perhaps Isai truly was the best in the nation, or maybe 2nd to Ken.
Recipherus vs. Eduardo (4th)
While it was in a place not many expected, this was the matchup everybody was waiting for. The best in NorCal, facing off against the best in the Midwest. Both had experience with this matchup, with Recipherus having played Ken, and Eduardo having played Da’Shiekie. The match seemed close at first, but in the end, Recipherus pulled ahead, notching an impressive victory over the hometown’s champion. Recipherus would carry this momentum.
To spare you all more needless descriptions, Recipherus found his groove after the hardfought win over Eduardo, easily dispatching of Eddie, before taking out Isai twice from loser’s in two rather convincing sets to take the tournament. Recipherus had accomplished his goal, avenging his loss at MOAST and proving he was indeed one of the best in the nation, while Isai proved his was a force to be reckoned, taking sets off all the contenders. While Eddie and Eduardo did fall in singles, they did defeat the invaders in doubles, and proved at the top level, they were the best state in the Midwest. Smog established himself as a harrowing player to face off with, and Indiana showcased their depth of talent, hosting nearly half of the Top 12. Almost everybody had something to be proud of with this event, though none more than the organizer, Snex.
Snex himself actually had a fairly impressive run, only losing to Isai and KishSquared for 13th, though that isn’t exactly what I mean. Snex proved that you could run a successful, large scale tournament, housing multiple top players from multiple regions. This was something that would only expand from here, with the likes of Tournament Go 5 and Game Over on the West and East Coasts being Melee’s first true majors. However, it all started here, in a small venue in Chicago, over 16 years ago. The West Coast proving themselves as the best region in the nation, at least to themselves, was often a topic on SmashBoards after this. The East Coast didn’t take too kindly to this, nor did any region for that matter, and they decided it was time to meet them on their home turf. This tournament in some ways did lead to the growth of Melee, and is an important old-school tournament, never to be forgotten.