CEO Smash 4 doubles turned out to be one of the most crowd pleasing and hype smash events at the FGC tournament. The bracket matches became a place for new and unique strategies, combos, and teams that were dominating, cool, and clever. There were four particular teams that caught the most attention as unique or centralizing, making this doubles event one of the most entertaining yet.
Ryo and Sol’s Ike + Little Mac
The crowd favorite, Ryo and Sol pulled out an unexpected but muscley duo that made up for its weakness off stage with low percent kill punishes and creative footstool combos. Both players complimented each other’s laggier attacks, throws, and mistakes by always being available to punish their opponents. If Sol’s Little Mac was grabbed and thrown off stage, Ryo was right there with a dash attack, smash attack, grab, or aerial that could knock out their opponents. Likewise, Sol’s KO punches were on point, and Ryo knew when to grab and throw into Sol for a low percent kill. The most creative combo the two had was when Sol would jab combo his opponent into Ryo footstooling them back into Sol who was charging an f-smash. The players synergy allowed them to pull off grounded juggle combos, and for them to come back from near impossible matches. This team, though just short of making top 8 due to Tyrant and Larry Lurr being able to gimp both characters easily, was definitely the most interesting of the tournament, and is one of the first times I’ve seen footstools used effectively in top level competition.
ZeRo and HungryBox’s Dream Team
With Mew2King not attending Melee or Smash 4, ZeRo needed a partner, and Hungrybox happened to be available. While not known for doing particularly well in Smash 4, Hbox toughed it out in doubles with ZeRo initially hard carrying their way into the top 16. Losing in winner’s bracket then delayed by Melee doubles grand finals where Hbox lost, Hungrybox became AngryBox. In the sets that got the duo to third place in the loser’s bracket, Hungrybox must have landed at least twenty rests. ZeRo was still carrying in the neutral game with superior game knowledge, but Hungrybox’s game sense and reaction speed punished rolls, spot dodges, laggy moves, over aggression and fear. Not too many Jigglypuff players are in the Smash 4 competitive scene, but lack of matchup experience doesn’t explain how Hungrybox was able to 1v1 Dabuz’ Rosalina in Loser’s Quarter finals.
The team’s strategy was often to have ZeRo play a hyper aggressive style and rely on his skill as the best player in the world to threaten and scare his opponents. Hungrybox often zoned out a certain area or simply waited. Once one of their opponents committed, Hungrybox was there for the rest, up smash, or back air to secure the kill. Like his normal Melee partner, ZeRo was always there to knock HBox out of the rest, and he knew how to set up for a rest with various moves, while Hbox just had to react. After this tournament, I doubt anyone will sleep on Hungrybox’s doubles skill, even in Smash 4.
MJG and Shaky’s Villager + Ness
MJG already got second at Apex with Fow with this strategy, and he did it again with Shaky at CEO. Ness Villager is one of the tried and true best teams in Smash 4. With MJG as a long range, support healer, and Shaky as an aggressive wall with frame traps into grabs and PK2 cannons, the two healed and back threw into grand finals with this winning strategy. They solidly beat Mr. R and Anti in Grand Finals, looking like an unstoppable wall that regenerated the chips that Mr. R slapped into it. The story of this team isn’t in victory; however, but in defeat at the newest strategy to make its way into CEO
Sheik + Mr. Game & Watch
The strategy is based on two of Smash 4’s new bucket properties. First, and most importantly, explosion hitboxes are now absorbable by the bucket and by energy based healing moves. Secondly, moves that deal over 10% damage add two stacks to the bucket. Sheik will up b in the vicinity of Game & Watch to fill two slots of the bucket, only needing one more to gain an instant kill at any percent with oil spill. Even better, G&W down throw true combos into oil spill and oil spill charges are kept on stock loss. At the beginning of a match, Sheik could always Vanish next to G&W in the first second with close to no punishment due to Sheik having little landing lag from an up b angled forty-five degrees from the ground. The focus of the team is to fill the bucket with fighting the opponent takes a secondary role. Essentially a significantly worse version of the patched out strategy with Pikachu thunder and bucket from the game’s release.
DK Will (Sheik) and Vinnie (G&W) were the first to start this strategy as a side tactic since DK in customs doubles works relatively poorly. As the tournament closed into a top 8 with DK Will and Vinnie being eliminated, Mr. R (Sheik) and Anti (G&W) picked it up as a strategy to pick up wins when their usual combo of Sheik and Mario failed to work. Other than after Will and Vinnie played it, Anti didn’t play G&W at all on stream, and so it can be said that Anti, besides seeing how Vinnie played the character, didn’t train G&W before the tournament. So the G&W does not necessarily need to have intimate knowledge of the character to pull off this combo. When Mr. R and Anti did this strategy, it was always after losing with their main character duo to counter the team that beat them. And it worked all the way to first place
Trying out Sheik + Mario, Mr R and Anti’s mains, for the first two games of grand finals against MJG and Shaky, Mr. R and Anti went down 0-2. In the third game, they brought out the Game & Watch. They won the first set of grand finals, then 3-0 sweeped in the second set to win the tournament. The problem for MJG and Shaky wasn’t their skill, but in that the one-hit KO from the bucket destroyed their team strategy. It doesn’t matter how much Ness can be healed if he can die from zero, and MJG can’t stock tank one-hit KOs. The supportive defense that makes the Ness-Villager combination so strong is destroyed by Sheik-Game & Watch.
CEO brought out the best of Smash 4 doubles, from strategy to team coordination to individual skill and plays. Hopefully future major tournaments give even more spotlight to the Sm4sh doubles event.