Anticipation

There’s nothing quite like Opening Day, and sports like Smash are no exception.

With the first official North Louisiana Smash 4 season behind us, Tech Central 10 kicked off the new year in exciting fashion on January 13.

For the first time, this young subregion had a full, official Power Ranking under its belt to enter a tournament. With the hopes of a new PR around the corner, Tech Central 10 promised a clean slate for veterans and up-and-comers alike.

Hopes and Dreams

As players trickled into the venue, a few stopped by to express their feelings about the brand new season.

Matt “Absoltastic” Brandl, who finished fifth on the fall season PR, said that despite his placement, he has yet to truly prove himself as a player. He said a few of his goals this season are to take sets off the 4 players above him and to start employing his secondary characters in certain matchups.

Ron “Sketchy” Holmes also has high hopes for this season. Finishing sixth on the fall PR, Sketchy’s results were among the most volatile in the region, with extreme highs and lows. As he warmed up for Tech Central 10, Sketchy said his main goal this season is to achieve more consistency.

Meanwhile, Danny “Limen” Do, Tournament Organizer of the Tech Central series, took a break from prep work to talk about his goals for the season. He said he wants to see the 3 cities of the North LA area achieve more unity and cohesiveness by the end of the season than they’ve ever had. As for his Tech Central series, Limen said he’d like to see future TC’s become more consistently organized.

Bring it in, Guys!

Five of the ten Fall PR players entered the TC10 singles tournament, along with 6 of the PR contenders. Ruston had their usual contingent: Absol, Sketchy, Limen, Jose “Nickels” Soto, Jana “Nova” Asuncion, and Caleb “Felagund” Daniel. In addition, John Ramsaur transformed into the mysterious figure known as “Ghost” to make his appearance.

Missing from the Ruston ranks were the Tech students from Slidell, AxisEJ, and FRIEND!!!. Since Axis and EJ stood atop the Fall PR, their absence gave TC10 the potential for up-and-comers to shine.

Heading the Monroe delegation were PR players Aaron “GroundOwl” Cole and Tyre “Nin” Washington. Fall PR contenders Josiah “Epic Oswald” Wagg and Jeremy “Jrod” Hill were also in attendance. Andrew “SirLegend” Cole made the trip and competed with his brother in doubles, but he did not enter the singles bracket.

Despite the number of solid players who entered, only one could emerge unscathed.

Ghost Fight

At the end of the night, it was Ramsaur’s alter ego “Ghost” who took home first place, plowing through the competition and only dropping a single game.

With no EJ or Axis, Ghost was not able to help out Ramsaur in his attempt to climb from his third place rank on the PR, but he certainly helped shut down any thoughts of passing him by from those below.

While GroundOwl has given Ramsaur extremely close sets in the past, Ghost took him down in a clean 3-0 this time around. Ghost only faltered once, losing a game to a rage f-smash from Sketchy’s Link.

Speaking of Sketchy’s Link, while Ghost’s finish may have been expected, the story of second place was anything but.

Link’s Awakening

Maybe it was the hope of a clean slate. Maybe he become one with the Triforce. Or maybe the Breath of the Wild trailer from the previous night gave him strength.

Whatever the reason, Sketchy certainly took a step toward his goal of consistency this season, storming through a tough loser’s run to achieve second place, already a better placing than he achieved at any point last season.

Things started well for Sketchy as he blew through an old foe, Jrod, in 2-0 fashion. Two round later, he took Ghost himself down to a last-stock, last-hit, game-3 situation before being betrayed by his own bomb.

Soon after being sent to loser’s bracket, Sketchy would have to face a familiar opponent: Absol. Having gone a dismal 0-5 against Absol last season, Sketchy said his set with Ghost, while a loss, helped him prepare for the match to come.

“Well my match against RamGhost actually gave me a big confidence boost even though I lost,” Sketchy said. “It was nice that it was close. I knew that this was my demon from last season, and I was extra determined to take him down.”

With the help of a newly-discovered Undertale song remix, Sketchy was able to defeat his nemesis 2-1 for the first time in the stats era.

“I stood up, actually not believing what had happened for a second,” he said. “Then I did a delayed pop-off.”

Sketchy said his victory over Absol was due in part to a different strategy he tried.

“I got right up in his face more,” he said. “From all my other vods, I noticed I was playing more scared. Before I was playing poke-and-run, but this time I got in and stayed in.”

Next in loser’s finals, Sketchy cleanly swept GroundOwl 3-1, proving that his earlier victory over Monroe’s finest at MBC4 was no fluke.

Sketchy’s hype run was finally put to rest in grand finals, as Ghost took the contest 3-0. However, Sketchy finished the day with 2 wins over top-5 opponents, as well as being the only one to take a game off Ghost.

Enemy Approaching

In addition to the performances of current PR players, some other contenders had better-than-usual results at TC10.

Epic Oswald and Nova each finished in a solid fifth place. They both took sets from Limen and Felagund, and Epic Oswald also gained an impressive 2-1 win over Nickels.

Additionally, Matt “SweetFlying” Johnson got his first PR win, defeating Nin in convincing 2-0 fashion.

What Comes Next?

All in all, TC10 was a successful kickoff to the new PR season. After the tournament, Limen shared some thoughts on what the night showed him as a preview of the season.

“I think TC10 honestly told me that our first PR definitely isn’t going to be static,” he said. “Nin fell to two non-PR players, Nova is really trying to climb the ranks, and Sketchy defeated a couple of players above him. The second half of the PR at least will definitely be showing some changes this season, with the 11-17 players working extra hard to make it this time around. And even other non-notable players are showing tons of improvement.”

The second tournament of the season will be Shreveport Smash Crisis 3 on January 21. Hopefully the Shreveport/Ruston/Monroe convergence will continue to become ever stronger as the season moves along.

Will some strong Shreveport contenders emerge? Will we see the Slidell boys in action for the first time this season? Will Absol be able to make good on his goals? Can Sketchy maintain his results? Tune in next time.

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