Shine 2017 is nearly here. There have been stacked Rivals tournaments in the past, but none quite like this. Thanks to the generosity of the RoA community, we will have one of the most noteworthy tournaments, including international competition, in the game’s history. Earlier in our series, you heard from Australia and Europe’s challengers Gabe and Kaos. Now, it’s time for the home team to give their insight.
We asked many of the top competitors traveling to Shine about their thoughts and preparations leading into the tournament. Today, you’ll hear from Burrito | LiveBreatheOwn, T2 | CakeAssault, VexX Gaming’s AZCards and Dolphinbrick, Fable | MSB, Penguin, and, of course, Edax | Fullstream. If you don’t already, be sure to follow all our competitors on Twitter, links will be available at the end of the article.
What are your thoughts on the current Rivals metagame?
LBO: The meta game is in a good state right now. I’ve predicted in the past that the meta will include heavy use of character counter picks and that is starting to show as true which I’m excited to see as it continues.
DolphinBrick: The current metagame is usually defined by either a small group of characters (Fox/Falco in melee) or by a certain role or a character (tank meta in LoL). RoA is interesting because right now, there still isn’t any particular meta. Each character is viable in a tournament setting and we’re seeing new and innovative strategies arising at every tournament.
FullStream: The current Rivals metagame is mostly based on platform movement and approaching above your opponent or just with aerials in general. This means that the majority of players don’t have the best ground game footsies/neutral, but they excel at baiting options from above their opponent. A lot of people will just find a couple of approaches and find ways to mix them up, and they mostly rely on being in the air to do so.
MSB: Current rivals meta is very balanced with the exception of Maypul. She’s totally absent! Hoping one day Lz is able to come back, and if he did I’m sure his Maypul is as good as ever. Wrastor is also pretty sparse, but as seen by the legend Pepe at smashcon, that character can still make some impact.
AZCards: Right now the current metagame is still being developed and I think that is amazing. It’s fun to watch playstyles evolve into something competitive and different from someone else. With a lot of high level players coming out to Shine, you’ll be able to see that live. Watch LBO’s playstyle vs Kisuno’s and you’ll see completely different approaches to Zetterburn, that work in their own way. It’s great that Rivals of Aether gives you the ability to play your favorite Rival and make your own playstyle that is competitive and fun for you as well.
CakeAssault: In the current metagame, my tier list looks like:
A: Absa, Zetter, Wrastor
B: Etalus, Kragg, Orcane
B-: Fors, Maypul
With Absa’s up b movement and mixups, she has possibly the best neutral game in the game, with one of the best combo games and recoveries in the game. And, without Lz actively in the scene anymore, and with no other Maypul’s nearly at his level of expertise with the character, Maypul has dropped from best in the game to worst in the game. Also shoutout to MSB for being the best Kragg and representing what the character could be. If other players picked up on his creative combos and recovery mixups, Kragg could easily be one of the best characters.
How are you preparing for Shine? Any special practice strategies or plans for the tournament?
LBO: Shine will be a test of my nerves more than my skill. When I’m comfortable I feel unstoppable and I’m capable of beating any player in the world. My preparation is staying calm and not putting pressure on myself. If I can have fun, I can win.
FullStream: I’m not doing anything special to prepare, just continuing to play these other characters and try to make sure that I play my best. It’s been tougher for me to do that recently but that all can change at any given tournament. This is just another tournament.
Penguin: I’ve been doing a lot of work on the Zetterburn matchup since so many great Zetters are going to Shine, like Kisuno, FullStream, LBO, Kaos, Gabe, and Gaming. I’ve also been doing some work on the Kragg, Orcane, and Etalus matchups because many of the other players going main one of those characters.
AZCards: To prepare for Shine, I’ve just been getting in as many friendlies as possible against high level players. So fortunately for me, that means playing games against ICE since it’s mostly West Coast players. I’m also going to watch VODs of Super Smash Con, so I can study player’s habits. And lastly, just putting myself in the right mindset before I even play in the tournament. That’s something I’ve been working on a lot since I started playing Rivals and it improves every tournament I go to.
Dbrick: In order to prep for Shine, I watch VoDs of anyone that I’ll run into and take notes on any habits I could exploit. Watching VoDs is a large part of prepping against any one person.
CakeAssault: My wifi has been out for either 12 weeks or 2 weeks – I can’t really tell – and my grandpop has been letting me chill at his house to use his wifi to practice for Smashcon and Shine. Currently, I have my boy Willby analyzing other top players’ sets so he can tell me their habits and give me tips on how to counter their playstyles. When I’m not playing online, I’m trying out new tactics and followups for edgeguarding and comboing. If I’m playing well at Shine, I think you’ll definitely see new things from me when I win in Grand Finals.
MSB: Rooming with Gabe, Kaos, and Handbutt. Lots of Zetter and Etalus practice.
Which players are you hoping to avoid in bracket and why?
LBO: I’m not worried about facing anyone particularly. I should have a high seed going in so I expect the first few rounds to be able to warm me up nicely. Then I’ll be ready to go for the challenging rounds.
Dbrick: I’m hoping to avoid Penguin and Kisuno. I personally excel against players that I’ve played before, as I’m good as picking up on habits…but sometimes the set is over before I can adapt! I’ve never played either of these two in bracket before and they’re both a huge threat.
MSB: I’ve had a horrifying time against Kisuno and LBO both locally and online. Unsure how I’d do against them this time around, but dodging them in bracket would certainly benefit me. Fullstream’s been beating me around at basically every event, but I’ve been getting closer! I’m confident I’d do better against Cake at Shine than I did at smashcon, so I wouldn’t mind him.
AZCards: Looking at the bracket, there isn’t anyone I want to avoid. Nobody wins a tournament going in trying to avoid a certain player. What if you bump into them in the bracket? You’ll just be thinking about it as you play and it’ll just mess with your strategy. I actually want to do the opposite. The best way to grow as a player is to overcome those challenges. It’s never easy getting the gold.
Penguins: There’s no one in particular I hope to avoid the most, because I think I have at least a chance against everyone. I do hope to avoid the other ace members because I don’t want either of us to have to knock the other out, but that’s how tournaments go.
CakeAssault: I’m hoping to avoid Penguin and LBO in bracket. I don’t like playing them.
Who are you most excited to play in the tournament and why?
LBO: Any of the top Zetter players. I made it a goal of mine to be the people’s Zetter. I want to be the flashiest and most fun to watch of all the Zetter players. So direct comparison helps people know who they should be supporting in the chat. :)
Dbrick: I’m most excited to play FullStream, we had a very close set at Bigger Balc and I’ve been itching for revenge…
Fullstream: No one I necessarily hope I play. I’m just there to play who I am feeling and see how it all goes.
Penguin: I’m most excited to play FullStream in tourney, if I get the chance to. I’ve been practicing the Absa/Zetterburn matchup a lot and I’ve gotten to play FullStream a lot online. And I know Ceztellz took him to game 5 at Super Smash Con, so I really think I have a chance to take that game 5 in my favor.
MSB: Not especially excited to play against anyone, but if I got AZ on stream the Kragg Bowl would be hype. I’d be looking forward to playing Dbrick again. Both our matches on local have been decisive 3-0s but the set count is split 1-1. I’m sure he wasn’t happy with how he played last Saturday, so he’s looking for redemption there. And personally I’d like to go up in sets against him and show that it wasn’t a fluke at smashcon. Expect something brutal if we meet at shine.
AZCards: I’m actually really excited to play Gabe and MSB. Gabe is Australia’s best player and I would like to see what their meta is like. I’m also a really competitive player so if I’m able to say I’m better than an entire continent at a video game, I’ll take that opportunity while I’m still able to. I’m always going to want to play against MSB. He’s my biggest rival right now since I would consider him to be the #1 Kragg, and quite frankly that should be my spot. I’ve been training a lot for Shine and have learned some new things so hopefully I’ll be able to show why I deserve to be #1.
CakeAssault: I’m excited to play FullStream in bracket because I’m gonna talk so much trash on him on Twitter before the tournament. I can’t risk doing that two tournaments in a row and then losing again.
Can you give us any predictions of what you expect top 8 to look like at Shine 2017?
LBO: Me. DolphinBrick. AZCards. The others don’t matter. ICE for life.
Dbrick: Top 8 in no particular order will probably be: LBO, AZCards, FullStream, Kisuno, Penguin, CakeAssault, MSB and me.
Fullstream: Looking at who is attending the tournament without seeding being done I have no idea who will be top 8 lol. Lot of good players.
MSB: Expect Full, and Kaos to all do very well. LBO and Cake tend to vary so they could both kill it, but might end up losing early. Dbrick and Az will do well if they get good brackets. Gabe, Alexis, Turq, Penguin, and Handbutt are strong contenders for top 8 but I don’t think they could win it all. And of course, I’ll be getting 3rd. Also: Aurecia or Gaming could make upsets happen, so watch out for them too. VERY stacked bracket, tournament is going to be wild.
AZCards: In no particular order: Kaos, Fullstream, MSB, LBO, DolphinBrick, Me, CakeAssualt, Penguin
Penguin: I expect FullStream to win, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone upsets him. I’ve been practicing the matchup a lot and I remember LBO and FullStream had a game 5 set last time they played in RCS. From there it gets difficult due to so many great players going. I would expect Dolphinbrick, MSB, LBO, Kisuno, CakeAssault, AZCards and myself in no particular order. But, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see some other names in the top 8, like Handbutt and Turquoise.
CakeAssault: In order — CakeAssault, Penguin, MSB, LBO, DolphinBrick, FullStream, Kaos, Turquoise.
Huge thanks to everyone for sharing their insight today! Check out all their Twitter links below, and follow all the action this weekend at Shine 2017! See where and when to watch with the full Shine stream schedule.