The Heart of the Wild Wild West: A Look into the SoCal Smash 4 Scene

 

SoCal

SoCal has always been known for their unorthodox styles throughout all the Smash games, and Smash 4 is no different. The SoCal Smash 4 scene is seen as one of the best in the country, and is also one of the biggest scenes in the world. This article is a short introduction to the best players that hail from SoCal, home to some of the best talent in the country and some of the best character mains in the world. With a lot of rough brackets and low performances at APEX 2015, SoCal and the West Coast is ready to show the world what we got at EVO 2015!

 

ZeRo (Currently Ranked 0 in SoCal)
Real Name: Gonzalo Barrios
Twitter: @ZeRoSSB
Mains: Diddy Kong/Sheik

This man needs no introduction, as he is currently the best Smash 4 player in the world and hasn’t lost a single tournament since the #THE invitational and only dropped one set to Mr.ConCon, despite competing all over the world. The dedication and dominance he has for the game has not been matched thus far. Originally from Chile, ZeRo lives at the Sky house and plans on continuing to dominate the scene and help the SoCal scene level up. ZeRo seems to be everyone’s # 1 pick to win EVO 2015, can he be stopped?

Top 5 Tournament Results:
1st at APEX 2015 [NJ/NY International] (out of 842)
1st at Final Battle [SoCal National] (out of 252)
1st at Chokaigi Invitational 2015 [Japan International] (out of 8)
1st at NorCal Regionals [NorCal Regional] (out of 128)
1st at Aftershock [Texas Regional] (out of 100)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PmZdw_W1KI
ZeRo vs Dabuz in Grand Finals at AfterShock in Texas (April 2015)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ct1kcyN76U
ZeRo vs NME Tyrant in Grand Finals at DVDA #8 in Vegas (April 2015)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1wNGUR7FKo
ZeRo vs Larry Lurr in Grand Finals at Fire And Dice #9 in SoCal  (May 2015)

 

NME Tyrant (Currently Ranked 1st in SoCal)
Real Name: Eric Legesse
Twitter: @NME_Tyrant
Main(s) : Diddy Kong/Meta Knight

Tyrant, sponsored by NME Esports, has been the best SoCal native player in both Smash 4 and Brawl for many years and has only been ranked 2nd to ZeRo in Smash 4 thus far. Tyrant is also one of the members of the Sky house in Los Angeles. He is known for his good reaction times and bait game. He pretty much has dominated the West Coast in Smash 4 winning most West Coast events defeating FOW, Larry Lurr, NME Xzax, Mr. ConCon, and others many times. Tyrant got a disappointing 25th place at APEX 2015 losing to 4th (6WX 1-2) and 5th (Nietono 1-2) placers and knocking out Larry Lurr (currently ranked 2nd in SoCal). But regardless, Tyrant is known as one of the best players in the country, as well as Diddy Kong mains, and should never be slept on. Tyrant definitely plans on defending the West Coast at EVO 2015!

Top 5 Tournament Results:
1st at DVDA #7 [Vegas Regional] (out of 148)
2nd at DVDA #8 [Vegas Regional] (out of 256)
3rd at DVDA #5 [Vegas Regional] (out of 200)
25th at APEX 2015 [NJ/NY International] (out of 842)
9th at Final Battle [SoCal National] (out of 252)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LUWFZhS8Z8
NME Tyrant vs Larry Lurr in Winners Semis at UGC v3.3 in SoCal (March 2015)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDQBpuSwQds
NME Tyrant vs FOW in Losers Finals at DVDA #8 in Vegas (April 2015)

 

Larry Lurr (Currently Ranked 2nd in SoCal)
Real Name: Larry Holland
Twitter: @LarryLurr
Main(s): Fox/Sheik/Luigi

Probably one of the most slept on Smash 4 players currently, Larry Lurr is seen has one of the best Fox players in the world. Coming from a strong Smash career (APEX 2010 Brawl Singles Champion, 3rd at APEX 2014 Project M Singles, Ranked 6th in SoCal for Melee), Larry continues his legacy in Smash 4. Even though he has only really competed in SoCal, he beat NinjaLink, Jtails, and DKWill in Hawaii in March and won the tournament. Larry is also one of the only players in the world to take ZeRo to 5th game in a tournament set. This guy also has not only one of the best Foxs in the world but has many counterpick characters such as Sheik, Luigi, Diddy, Mario, and others. Don’t be surprised if you see this guy place extremely high at EVO 2015!

Top 5 Tournament Results:
1st at KawaiiCon [Hawaii Regional] (out of 91)
3rd at Final Battle [SoCal National] (out of 252)
33rd at APEX 2015 [NJ/NY International] (out of 842)
2nd at Super Smash Saturdays [SoCal Regional] (out of 70)
1st at Oomba 1 [SoCal Regional] (out of 60)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hxx1Uy3c_C8
Larry Lurr vs CT ESAM in Winners Quarters at Final Battle in SoCal (Jan 2015)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmyjPS0BIKI
Larry Lurr vs DA Jtails in Winners Semis at Kawaii Kon in Hawaii (April 2015)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1meytneJ30
Larry Lurr vs Mr.ConCon in Grand Finals at SE x Oomba II in SoCal (May 2015)

 

NME Xzax (Currently Ranked 3rd in SoCal)
Real Name: Matt Liberatore
Twitter: @NMEXzax
Main(s): Diddy Kong/Mario

Originally from Philadelphia, NME Esports own Xzax has been a member of the SoCal Smash scene since September of 2014 since he moved into the Sky house. Being one of the best Falcos in Brawl, he has been keeping up and placing all over the country in Smash 4. Xzax is the only SoCal player to have taken sets off both NME Tyrant and Larry Lurr, and has also beaten players such as  Jtails, Vinnie, DKWill, Tweek, and more. Xzax is known for using many different characters including Robin, Mario, and Captain Falcon, but primarily uses Diddy Kong in high level tournament matches. Xzax was known for improving a lot towards the end of Brawl and hopes to keep making a big name for himself in Smash 4 and at EVO 2015!

Top 5 Tournament Results:
2nd at WinterBrawl 2015 [Philadelphia Regional] (out of 98)
3rd at DVDA #6 [Vegas Regional] (out of 128)
17th at APEX 2015 [NJ/NY International] (out of 842)
5th at Final Battle [SoCal National] (out of 252)
3rd at Super Smash Saturdays [SoCal Regional] (out of 70)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRJD9JfeNZ8
NME Xzax vs iQHQ Xfire Vinnie in Losers Finals at Winter Brawl 9 in Philadelphia (Feb 2015)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMQDC5p5Dsk
NME Xzax vs NME Tyrant in Losers Finals at UGC v3.4 in SoCal (March 2015)

 

Tearbear (Currently Ranked 4th in SoCal)
Real Name: Terry Winters
Twitter: N/A
Main(s): Captain Falcon

The San Diego native, one of SoCals top Brawl/Smash4 Players, Terry “Tearbear” Winters is one of the best players in SoCal and also one of the few high level players who uses Wiimote and nunchuck. Tearbear started off rough in his Smash 4 career since he couldn’t decide to take the game serious or pick a main, but since early 2015 he has been doing very well. He was wrongfully D/Q’d at APEX 2015 despite attending the tournament, so most of his results are based in San Diego and Los Angeles. Tearbear is also one of the few West Coast players to defeat FOW in tournament (along with NME Tyrant). Tearbear will only enter EVO 2015 if Wiimote is legal, so if he doesn’t he will be MIA from Singles at both APEX and EVO despite attending both tournaments.

Top 5 Tournament Results:
5th at DVDA #8 [Vegas Regional] (out of 256)
1st at Turtle Tea II [SoCal Regional] (out of 50)
17th at Final Battle [SoCal National] (out of 252)
4th at ROAD TO FINAL BATTLE v2.2 [SoCal Regional] (out of 74)
2nd at Oomba 2 [SoCal Regional] (out of 60)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rLgnctGaFw
Tearbear vs 8BitMan in Winners Bracket at Final Battle in SoCal (Jan 2015)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GGuG-h-3Ac
Tearbear vs FOW in Winners Quarters at DVDA #8 in Vegas (April 2015)

 

SS Mr. ConCon (Currently Ranked 5th in SoCal)
Real Name: Conor Ghobrial
Twitter: @mrconcon321
Main(s): Luigi

Despite being one of the best Luigi’s in both Brawl and Smash 4, Mr. ConCon was pretty unknown until he became the first person to take a set from ZeRo in tournament. ConCon has also recently beaten Larry Lurr, NME Xzax, SE K9sbruce, SE RichBrown and others to make himself Top 5 in SoCal currently. He is also known for being a very good Doubles player as well as one of the elites in Singles. Mr.ConCon plans to continue his rampage at EVO 2015 after doing not so hot at APEX 2015 after he has vastly improved and developed the Luigi metagame!

Top 5 Tournament Results:
1st at Oomba V [SoCal Regional] (out of 42)
17th at Final Battle [SoCal National] (out of 252)
97th at APEX 2015 [NJ/NY International] (out of 842)
2nd at Oomba VII [SoCal Regional] (out of 50)
9th at ROAD TO FINAL BATTLE v2.2 (out of 74)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mz06TmwFHAw
Mr ConCon vs ZeRo in Grand Finals set 1 +2  of Oomba in SoCal (May 2015)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjbl5bpu9xo
Mr.ConCon vs FOW in Losers Finals of DVDA #10 in Vegas (May 2015)

 

SE K9sbruce (Currently Ranked 6th in SoCal)
Real Name: Shawn Bruce
Twitter: @SE_K9sbruce
Main(s): Sheik/Ness

Smash Entity’s own K9sbuce is originally from Arizona, but moved into the Sky house in December of 2014. K9 is a high level Brawl player, top Project M player, and now one of the best Sheik mains in the country for Smash 4. He is one of the best and also most inconsistent players in SoCal, having beaten Larry Lurr, NME Xzax, Mr. ConCon, NME Zex, RichBrown and others, but also losing to several unranked players. K9sbruce is one of the most passionate Smash players out there and has been improving rapidly in Smash 4 becoming one of the best the West Coast has to offer and plans to make big dents in the bracket at EVO 2015!

Top 5 Tournament Results:
4th at DVDA #7 [Vegas Regional] (out of 148)
5th at MVG Sandstorm [Arizona Regional] (out of 100)
25th at APEX 2015 [NJ/NY International] (out of 842)
9th at Final Battle [SoCal National] (out of 252)
5th at DVDA #8 [Vegas Regional] (out of 256)

 

SE RichBrown (Currently Ranked 7th in SoCal)
Real Name: Rich Brown
Twitter: @_RichBrown
Main(s): Olimar/Luigi

Another member of Smash Entity, RichBrown is known as one of the best Olimar players in the world for Brawl and Smash 4. Rich had a rocky start to Smash 4 starting out as a Pac-Man main until switching to his Brawl main, Olimar. Since he found his main, he has also found his footing in Smash 4 and has been doing very well in the SoCal region. Rich also placed 25th at  APEX 2015 and lost two very close sets to Nairo and VGBC Amsa. Mr. Brown is also a very talented Jazz musician and one of the long veterans of the SoCal Smash scene. Rich has recently picked up Luigi as a co-main and plans on proving his worth at EVO 2015!

Top 5 Tournament Results:
1st at Smash HooHah! [SoCal Regional] (out of 52)
3rd at DVDA #7 [Vegas Regional] (out of 148)
25th at APEX 2015 [NJ/NY International] (out of 842)
17th at Final Battle [SoCal National] (out of 252)
5th at DVDA #6 [Vegas Regional] (out of 128)

 

NME Zex (Currently Ranked 8th in SoCal)
Real Name: Anthony West Jr.
Twitter: @NMEZex
Main(s): Sheik

The 3rd member of NME ESports, Zex, a NorCal native is known as one of the best Sheik mains in the country and was one of the best Marth mains in Brawl. Zex has recently been mainly competing in NorCal and is truthfully top 5 material in SoCal, but has been reduced due to his inactivity in SoCal tournaments. He is also a member of the Sky household and is Sky’s static doubles partner. With his aggro playstyle and hard reads, Zex has taken games off ZeRo in tournament and is nearly undefeated in NorCal, winning over 20 different Singles tournaments there. Zex had a very tragic placing at APEX 2015 despite beating CT ESAM and CT MVD 2 weeks before at Final Battle. NME Zex is one of the best players on the West Coast and is hoping to defend the state of California at EVO 2015!

Top 5 Tournament Results:
4th at Final Battle [SoCal National] (out of 252)
9th at DVDA #5 [Vegas Regional] (out of 200)
3rd at NorCal Regionals 2015 [NorCal Regional] (out of 100)
7th at ROAD TO FINAL BATTLE v2.2 (out of 74)
129th at APEX 2015 [NJ/NY International] (out of 842)

 

Honorable Mentions:

 

Ito (Currently Ranked 9th in SoCal)
Real Name: Tom Gonda
Twitter: N/A
Main(s): Diddy Kong/Meta Knight

Ito is a SoCal native who just transfer from college in NorCal. Even tho he just moved back he has beaten players such as NME Zex, SE K9sbruce, Tearbear, Mr.ConCon, and taken games of Larry Lurr and is an upcoming star in the SoCal scene.

MastaZenyou (Currently Ranked 12th in SoCal)
Real Name: Dustin Rice
Twitter: N/A
Main(s): Mario/Sheik

MastaZenyou is a new breed wi-fi warrior who started attending tournaments for Smash 4 and is good friends with Larry Lurr. He is an upcoming SoCal player and one of the best Mario players in the country. He has beaten players such as Larry Lurr, Mr. ConCon, SE K9sbruce, SE RichBrown, and others.

Lee Puff (Currently Ranked 14th in SoCal)
Real Name: Scott Hoang
Twitter: N/A
Main(s): Yoshi

Lee Puff is one of the most unknown players from SoCal, but is actually a legend in the SoCal scene from being one of the best players in Brawl in the region along with his brother BoA. Lee Puff is considered to be the best Yoshi in SoCal and has beaten Larry Lurr, NME Xzax, SE K9bruce, and others, but has announced his retirement from the game within the past few weeks but I expect him to come back and be a tournament threat as usual.

 

Thanks for learning about the one of the most hidden, but best scenes for Smash 4! SoCal has many talented players and even though the scene doesn’t get nearly enough exposure, it is growing and learning how to market itself better and have streams for the bigger tournaments. Please stay in tune with the scene by following these Twitch channel’s who regularly stream tournaments and high level gameplay!

 

NME Smash – www.twitch.tv/nmesmash
Smash Studios – www.twitch.tv/smashstudios
Fire and Dice – www.twitch.tv/fadgames
SE K9sbuce – www.twitch.tv/k9sbruce
SE RichBrown –  www.twitch.tv/richbrown

NME Xzax

Xzax, sponsored by NME Esports, is a top professional Super Smash Bros. Brawl/WiiU Player, SoCal Smash 4 Panelist, and an active content creator.

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