This weekend, the Smash community will play host to two of the biggest tournaments of the year. And while this statement might sound enticing and intriguing on the surface, there’s definitely some conflict to be had as Genesis 7 and EVO Japan, while both impressive in their own rights, present an issue by being scheduled for the exact same dates. When one realizes that they could be placed on separate dates to promote the best possible outcome for the competitive scene, some clear questions get raised immediately.
With both tournaments taking place on the same weekend, the potential ceiling for these two events are stunted right from the start. Despite 2,888 entrants for Ultimate at EVO Japan and 1,694 entrants at Genesis, it still feels like the two tournaments could have benefitted massively from a slight change in scheduling.
This is especially the case for Genesis, as the tournament has historically served as a place where the North American, European, and Japanese scenes can unite on one of the game’s biggest stages. The tournament has always been a meeting ground for the different regions of the world, but this year, one of those regions will be notably absent and the scene will be split in two across two supermajors.
Think back to EVO of last year, where talent from all across Japan migrated to the United States for the weekend, and the international Smash community was given its time in the spotlight as both Eastern and Western players battled at the game’s apex for the first time ever. We saw something of that nature again at Kongo Saga, and we could have seen something similar this weekend, but it looks like that long-awaited follow up on a scale so large will have to wait.
And while it’s certainly intriguing to see to massive tournaments taking place on the same weekend – with over 4,500 players across both events – it would be even more impressive to see two events over the course of multiple weekends that would showcase players of all levels in two different regions.
One of the great things about Genesis is its location on Pacific border in Oakland, CA, giving Japanese players an easy trip over into the states for one of Smash’s biggest events. The fact that those players have to pick between playing in their home country’s biggest tournament and traveling over for one of their only opportunities to play in the West is definitely unfortunate.
And now, we’re seeing the fallout of those players’ choices affected heavily in the seeding at Genesis. When you look up and down the list of top players at the tournament, not a single Japanese player makes the cut – they’re all at EVO Japan. Conversely, EVO Japan is missing notable North American players, making the focus between the two events extremely tight in terms of regional exclusivity.
And when you look at this concept deeper, it’s definitely an unfortunate circumstance for the Ultimate scene to find itself in. For a game that needs as many opportunities as it can get, it’s a shame to see two of the biggest tournaments of the year scheduled at the same time, as there’s very few occasions during the course of a year where Japanese players travel outside of their home region. Normally, Genesis would be one of those chances, but it seems like we’ll have to wait until Summer to get a clash between East and West.
With all of this in mind, it’s obvious that this weekend’s scheduling conflict is quite unhealthy for the competitive Smash Ultimate scene as a whole, as the more often the regions of the world are separated on the game’s grandest scale, the harder it is for players and viewers alike to get a grasp on the talent that exists across international borders. Genesis 7 – at the start of a brand new year, season, and decade – would have been the perfect opportunity for the entire Smash scene to collaborate in an incredible setting, but instead, it seems like that first great intermingling of 2020 will have to come at a later date.
Photo Credit: Nintendo, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Genesis