Off the tail-end of the biggest Smash 4 tournament in Europe, eSports News UK's new Smash Bros writer Brandon Farnan takes a look back at the event and shares his thoughts on how the talent of British Smash commentators is being overlooked.
Syndicate took place in Utrecht, Netherlands this month, hosting up to 320 players for Super smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Wii U.
Melee, of course, had the likes of Aaron "Professor Pro" Thomas attending to represent the United Kingdom, while the Wii U side had "IxisNaugus" (who finished fourth), James Miller (or J. Miller), Tom "G~P" Scott, Alan "AfroSmash" Gardner, Asim "Khanage" Khan, Jonty "Skarfelt" Armstrong, Jacky Ho and more.
Also joining team UK for Smash 4 were commentators Bowie Alexander (just going by his first name in the scene) and Jordan "SilentDoom" Campbell, who managed to secure a ninth place finish with AfroSmash in Doubles and a 25th place finish in Singles, before stepping up to commentate on the top eight in the singles bracket.
Both of them received praise in the Smash community on Twitter, including the likes of Phenomenal EE, known for providing commentary from tournaments as big as Evo, and the now sponsored Immortal | ANTi, known for making Panda Global's list of top ten players.
Im hearing good things about these Syndicate commentators ??
— IMT | ANTi (@Anti) September 11, 2016
— ✨ EE ✨ (@ThePhenomenalEE) September 11, 2016
Havent been this impressed by up-and-coming casters in a while
— The Crimson Blur (@OXY_Crimson) September 11, 2016
Bowie provided commentary throughout the two days alongside various Dutch players and commentators, including Soreru – a member of the community who has now stepped down from competing to focus on commentating. He had natural chemistry with the Dutch players he sat besides.
On the subject of full-time commentators, Bowie added something that stood out.
He said: "In the Smash scene you'll find that a lot of people want to do other things. They want to do commentary, they want to be TOs [tournament organisers]... I think a lot of people who do that want to play as well, and they want to play more than do that.
"So you don't have anyone that's just dedicated to doing one thing. They're less in stock."
It showed his dedication to his particular craft, and recognition over the problems that can face it. After all, the most notable commentators just as D1, TK Breezy and E.E. for the most part stick to commentating at major tournaments.
It's worth noting there are player/casters and other multi-talented people within eSports and the UK scene across other games. For example, Alexander "Raven" Baguley is a player for Torpedo in the ESL UK Hearthstone Premiership summer 2016 split right now, and he is also a professional Hearthstone caster and streamer.
Going back to Smash, SilentDoom acts as the analytical mind, making inputs on each player's clever decisions.
While being better know for his work on Project M, the now Wavedash Games animator should not be overlooked for how he uses his deep knowledge of the game to provide commentary on difficulties or objectives for both players in the match-up, without ever straying far from discussing the match itself.
He's shown an understanding for the game through videos and tweets but it really comes into play here, calling out all the smaller nuances as fast as they happen.
There were some noticeable stumbles – particularly some earlier in top eight as the duo settled in – but otherwise they truly did perform to an international standard and deserve a higher recognition for their talents.
You can find replays from Syndicate over at the host's YouTube page at GeekyGoonSquad.
This post was written by Brandon Farnan, who will be providing more Smash UK coverage for eSports News UK going forwards. Do follow Brandon on Twitter and let us know what kind of Smash coverage you'd like to see from us in the future.