As the League of Legends world championships rumble on, this weekend will also boast the biggest Smash tournament in recent history, including William “Leffen” Hjelte back on North American soil for the first time since Get On My Level in May. At that tournament, Leffen rolled through the four active Gods of Melee to take first place—will TBH6 be his triumphant return, or will months of visa battles prove to have worn him down enough for someone else to come out on top?
How To Watch:
The Big House 6 – October 7-9th
Watch for free: https://www.twitch.tv/vgbootcamp
League of Legends Worlds: http://watch.na.lolesports.com/en_US/worldchampionship/en
Melee is a game of familiar faces and marathon storylines. Without Leffen’s unique brand of insanely technical Fox and indefatigably bad attitude, the scene just wasn’t the same. Now that the visa woes that kept the Swedish firebrand at bay have been laid to rest, a new era of Melee beckons, where we’ll finally get to see if Leffen’s promise to supersede the other members of the Top 6 and achieve Supergod status is plausible or just more bluster from a player whose proverbial mouth size can be staggering.
Preemptive excuses for lackluster performance have already been launched, of course—on his stream this week, chief Leffen rival Joseph “Mango” Marquez claimed to lack the motivation to win; Leffen himself, in a vlog announcing TBH6 attendance, indicated that he’d likely use secondaries, having given up on practicing Fox whilst in the steely bureaucratic grip of U.S. Customs. But both players are compulsive competitors, and the excuses will be laid aside when they step foot on the stage. Still, even a Leffen playing at his best would find this tournament a tough shield to crack: there’s Mew2King hungry for his third win in as many months, a Hungrybox emerging from the lackadaisical victory lap that followed EVO, and a resurgent Armada seeking to reclaim his throne. And with demigods like Plup, SFAT and Axe licking at the heels of the Big Six, Leffen’s reputation as a Godslayer looks less unassailable every day.
There are other attractions besides Melee, of course: Smash 4 is picking up steam, with new sponsors announced all the time and players of all different character inclinations proving their capacity to win big. Team events in both games will once again demonstrate that Smash doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor, as will the hotly-anticipated crew battles, where representatives of each region will vie for the title of Best Smash Humans From a Specific-Yet-Amorphous Geographic Area. But, at least at this tournament, those events are secondary—the real story is Leffen’s return, and what it heralds for Melee’s competitive landscape.