Another tourney, another journey and this one just might be the best one yet. Once again writing on the car ride back home. On a laptop may not be as romantic as in a sketchbook like I did last time, but this bad boy helped us out a lot during the trip and tourney. The road trip entourage this time consists of the trusted Roland & Robin and special guest Sem ‘Supahsemmie’ Janmaat. The road wasn’t long as to Sweden, but no less adventurous. The first half of the journey was smooth sailing, almost literally due to the ferry we had to take. Apart for some laughs, strong tweet game and small ‘ronkies’ (which I desperately needed, because Roland’s cat kept me up the night before) nothing too special had happened.
It was after being greeted by the impressive Cliffs of Dover that the real adventure began. Highway driving was easily manageable for Roland, but the chaotic streets of London are something else. Only ten minutes in we already were passed by three screaming ambulances. That he had to keep left didn’t make things any easier.
Luckily unscathed we made it to our AirBnB which was an honest shithole; small room, tiny blankets, the sleeping sofa wouldn’t stay in place, idiot co-renters and being in a bad neighborhood there was sound on the streets throughout the whole night. Only upside is that the venue was located at a walkable distance. So, after dropping of our personal stuff the first thing we did was of course head out to set up the stream for Albion 2. I’m not going to bore you with details on ‘day zero’, where we had some hiccups, but in all everything went by smoothly. Tired from the trip, setting up and still having some work left in the morning, we hit the sack early.
Knowing this is the second biggest Smash 4 tournament in the EU to date and it being ten-man round robin pools we knew we were in for two crazy days. Like always some issues are unavoidable such as round tables being provided instead of square ones or the power cutting out at some set ups mid-tourney. Nothing that DAT Team couldn’t handle though or set them so much back that we couldn’t finish on time. Massive shout outs to G~P, Eevee, DX-17 and the rest of staff helping out for making Albion 2 the enjoyable event it was and running it like champs.
From the stream side of things, it was nice to get a big gig again and people reacting enthusiastically to the viewing experience we provide. Once again hats off to Lonpos and Binkie for pushing the envelope on what we can do. Scheduling could have been better (Melee top 8 should have stayed on a side stream) and we still have work to do on communications while live, but with great hosting from DAT Team and strong commentary line up, we put on a good show. The production value we can offer with the team size we have is pretty crazy. That we are playing a constantly bigger role in the EU scene is something that hasn’t really gotten through to me yet and I hope we can keep living up to the expectations.
The most fun I’ve had this weekend though, was hanging out with the gang of four we came with and cheering for Semmie on his first out of country Smash adventure. As only Dutchman in top 8 his future is bright and I hope to be there along the journey to scream my lungs out when he plays. Speaking of which; Albion 2 was loud. EU is loud. Especially the high stakes sets played in top 64 showed once again how passionate we are about the game. We’re pushing the line of what is acceptable to yell and at what volume. Fun in the moment, but we might have to tone it down in the future.
This time around I didn’t worry about commentary too much beforehand. I was assigned one slot, right at the start, so I went in with a mentality that I could at least focus on other things. Having learned from previous experiences, I had a feeling things would work out differently in practice. I ended up with three slots: pools, crew battles and even top 64 with three lovely co-casters (Bowie, ItanoCircus and Shokii). I still stumble over my words sometimes and formulate unnecessarily complicated sentences, but overall I’m super satisfied about my performance on the mic.
From a player perspective, I can’t say I’m disappointed either. Making it out of pools was a stretch, but didn’t feel impossible. For most part I kept my focus and control even when having to play eight sets. Giving the best player in my pool a real run for his money showed me I can possibly hang with the best, but still need to work on last minute nerves. I ended fifth in my pool out of ten, while being seeded sixth.
It was really nice to be able to stay a full day extra after the fact, so that we could see a bit of London and of course attend the local tourney: Monday Meltdown. Seeing a large number of players here after a major tourney like Albion in this e-Sports bar made it feel like ‘Smash Afterhours’. Everyone was having drinks, there was a brotherly atmosphere and a sense of relieve at this ‘local’ more stacked than most national EU tournaments. The entry cap was at 80, but someone’s top player privilege (no names) got the cap up to 92 so lucky me, who got there extremely late, could still enter. We won’t talk about my performance though, but the money matches I did after Monday Meltdown were a real rush. Going to be putting my money where my mouth is more often at coming events.
After filling up my Smash Bible some more (a valuable project at this point), taking pictures and saying our good byes to new and old friends, we headed home. The tube ride home was filled with a lot of laughs and encounters with insane people (seriously, London crazies are on another level). The casual Smash session we ended our stay in London with went on to the wee hours, and reminded me of how fun the game can be in its intended form. Not our smartest decision, but we all know how hard it can be to put down the game we all hold so dear to our hearts.
This summary ended up way longer than intended and I covered less than I wanted to, but that’s just testimony to the amount of great times we’ve had. Stay sexy EU Smash scene, I’m looking forward to seeing everybody at Syndicate again and tearing everyone a new one.