Welcome to our Super Smash Con article! Here, I will go over my trip to Super Smash Con 2019!
Hosted at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia, it was my second time going to one of the world’s largest Smash tournaments. With my first trip being in 2016, I’ll never forget what an amazing experience it was.
Super Smash Con, a major, international tournament for Smash Bros., is the only tournament series to host ALL Smash games. Everything from the N64 original to today’s Ultimate on Switch, Super Smash Con 2019 features a tournaments that attract the world’s biggest players. Even platform fighters, such as Rivals of Aether and Slap City, make their presence known with a designated area for players to enjoy their games.
In the past, Super Smash Con has teamed up with a number of sponsors. One of these was Red Bull. This year, they provided free energy drinks to players in four different flavors – original, sugar free, tropical, and Piña Colada! The other partner was the one and only Nintendo. Posting about the tournament on social media, Nintendo would come out and give free swag in the form of posters and wearable items at their own booth. In 2016, they also featured a playable demo of Metroid Prime: Federation Force for Nintendo 3DS.
hey #SSC19 crowd
— Super Smash Con (@SuperSmashCon) August 12, 2019
2016 was the magical year for me as a Smash competitor. While my singles bracket run, in Smash 4, ended at 65th, I teamed up with America’s best Sonic main, 6WX. Together, we ended our doubles run at 7th, losing to Vinnie and Abadango, two legendary players in their own right. Nothing felt better than placing Top 8 at a major tournament for the very first time.
With that said, I finally got to return to Smash Con this year. Unlike last year, the hotel with the discounted block was the Westfields Mariott hotel, which was several miles away from the con. Compare this to the Holiday Inn, which is located within walking distance from the convention center. I found it rather suspicious that the Holiday Inn could not provide a room block for the players – or not one that I’m aware of. However, the Mariott provided a shuttle.
Unfortunately, that ended with several caveats. One being that the shuttle would take a break between 3 and 7 PM. This meant Ubering to the venue to make my doubles bracket at the last minute. The other is that, despite being told shuttle service would end at 2 AM, it did not return around the 1 AM hour late Friday night. Despite waiting for nearly half an hour outside, the shuttle never appeared. There went any chance I had to money match or practice with other players until the following day.
While the hotel insists this was because a third party rented the shuttle, the hotel’s label was still on it. Despite being a Mariott regular, I would prefer to go back to the Holiday Inn for the sake of convenience anyway.
Security Issues at the Con
Perhaps the single biggest inconvenience of this year’s event was the security line at the convention center. In an attempt to prevent any sort of mass violence, as well as follow suit with CEO – another major gaming tournament – Smash Con staff hired security at the venue. This included metal detectors as well.
Unfortunately, this caused several problems. The first involved the sheer lack of convenience. Thursday night lacked a no-bag line, which made everyone group in together to get into the venue. Only when my girlfriend and I were halfway through the line did they announce the no-bag line.
The next problem came from the gigantic line wrapping around the venue. Just for having a bag, this presented massive inconvenience for all players who were used to entering. If you didn’t enjoy waiting in the sun, you would have to not bring a bag. Once again, staff would not announce a no-bag line until later.
Third, the lack of communication on the part of the venue staff. We tried to enter through the exit, where we were told they would let us in if we had no bags. They would simply scan us with the metal detector before letting us in. However, for the first go-round, the guard would not let us through.
Only when we got to the security checkpoint did one of the staff members say we could enter through the exit. When I addressed the issue to her, she sighed and uttered that the other security lady did not know. This caused more inconvenience that could have been prevented with proper communication.
Despite that, I was told that several people were able to get into the back without even getting checked. They weren’t sneaking into the venue. Rather, they simply walked through the door. Any intention to have proper security was thrown out the window thanks to this level of incompetence. On the bright side, it provided major convenience for any player lucky enough to skip the line.
The security line was comparable to CEO 2018’s, backing the line up past the venue’s entrance. However, at CEO 2019, security at the Daytona Oceanfront Center was far more efficient. The expo center staff could learn from them.
Pool Captain DQs
Due to the inconvenience of the security line, pools had to start late and run much later on Friday. This held many players and brackets up as a result. Moreover, the inconvenience forced pool captains to send bracket matches to otherwise designated friendly areas. As a result, there was no way to play friendlies or money matches with players until much later in the evening. At that point, many players decided to call it a night anyway.
Moreover, I was told by several friends that they were disqualified despite being in attendance at their pool. Due to the unawareness of the pool captain, they would DQ players if they didn’t see them outright.
For anyone spending money to travel across the country to participate in a major tournament, I cannot imagine a more sorry sight. Unlike the venue staff, this was related to the pool captains designated by the Smash Con staff this year. Instead of a venue issue, this was clearly a tournament issue.
Finally, the good part
With all that being said, I didn’t have an entirely bad time at Super Smash Con 2019. I enjoyed playing doubles with Aikota, our GA Ness main. We placed 33rd out of 500+ teams in Smash Ultimate. Despite escaping pools on winner’s side, however, my singles run ended at an unfortunate 129th rank. But most of my fellow Georgia players placed in 65th or better, to include our own SaltOne (#1 in GA) placing 13th.
I enjoyed seeing all the top players and my out of state friends again. I spent some time talking to Mr. R about Ike and Chrom meta, met Rivers (formerly ShoyoJames) for the first time, and met several others in the process. I met some of my Twitter buddies for the first time and we all hung out, played matches, and had a good time. I even won $35 in money matches, losing only to KidGoggles and Ksev.
My girlfriend and I went to the Mexican restaurant near the venue. Two Amigos was the same restaurant we visited in 2016. We enjoyed the food and drink and ended our trip at the nearby Red Robin with our friend who traveled with us. I enjoy getting to dine out when I travel to different areas!
With all that being said, however, I’ve made it a mission to never leave on the Sunday of a major tournament ever again. We had a 9-hour drive back to Georgia and had to watch Top 8 on stream via mobile device. But after watching Top 8 and the hype delivered by the best players in the world, it makes me wish I was there to witness it personally.
Traveling to major tournaments is mostly worth it when you spend all the time you possibly can to do the things you love. Even if that means shelling out more money for an extra night at the hotel, the experience will justify that cost. Plus, you can finish the weekend with your friends without the pressure of bracket looming over you.
Super Smash Con 2019 had its fair share of good and bad. I did not enjoy the venue staff’s incompetence or the pool captains DQing other players. Brackets running slow took up any chance I’d get to practice with top players or high-level players on Friday. It felt like an absolute mess.
However, the people I got to spend time with made the trip worth it. Smash community is filled with some of the most passionate and friendly people you’ll ever meet. Many of them are down to play friendlies whenever. Plus, they’ll nerd out with you about anime and video games. It’s always great to see everyone again and it’s one of the main reasons I attend major tournaments.
I especially enjoy the convention atmosphere of Super Smash Con as well. Seeing vendors supply merchandise at every aisle makes me feel at home. Plus, I found many cos-players walking around on Saturday.
Call it a mixed bag if you will. In no way would I try to smear the Maryland-Virginia (MDVA) scene for doing their best to put together a fantastic tournament. VGBootCamp puts in a ton of work for their tournaments and I enjoy watching and attending their events. I love what the TOs (tournament organizers) do for the scene and I hope they can continue putting out bigger and better events.
It’s a shame that outliers hampered the experience for many players and myself. Whether that means a change in venue or just addressing it with venue staff and management, I hope that Smash Con 2020 proves to be an even better event than before. I took in the good and the bad, but ultimately still left with a smile on my face.
Finally, shoutouts to Cup Noodles sponsoring the event. I enjoyed getting the free cups of noodles in my hotel room. They were delicious!
Thank you for reading our post on Super Smash Con! Did you consider going this year? Did you watch the matches on stream? Let us know in the comments below!
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