This article couldn’t have been made without the help of @ssbshears and @pidgezero_one

When you think of Smash 64, the first name that pops up is most likely Isai. More than likely, you’ve watched Youtube videos of him 5 and 6 stocking random players and making it to grand finals of nationals with low and mid tier characters. In his last appearance, Isai won Apex 2014 using Jigglypuff, while defeating the likes of Tacos, Dext3r, Mariguas, and Moyashi – all very strong players. To the general Smash enthusiast, this begs the question: Is Isai still invincible despite a near 2 year hiatus from competitive play?

Similar to the Melee community, the 64 Community has made large strides in community growth. Yearly, Smash 64 has broken records for attendees at a tournament. Netplay has been pivotal in connecting top players for some practice. Interestingly enough, the international scene for Smash 64 has flourished with regions such as Chile, Japan, and Mexico featuring players that can rival and even beat the fabled SuperBoomFan, winner of Apex 2015. Community leaders have worked hard to have Smash 64 included at Majors, which is part of the reason why we are seeing it again at Genesis 3.

Furthermore, this growth has pushed players to invest in and master advanced techniques that were exclusive to Isai’s toolkit for years. No longer is Isai the only one to execute his godlike combos or amazing DI to escape his opponent’s combos. Isai, a firm believer in the 12-character crew battle as a test of skill, actually lost to Jouske, a top Japanese player in a full crew match. SuperBoomFan, often a benchmark for Westerners, flew out to Japan and placed a measly 5th place at Kanto 2015, even after winning every North American regional in 2015. With Isai handicapping himself by playing exclusively Donkey Kong (9/12 on the current tier list), several players could upset Isai early and even prevent him from reaching Top 8!

Here are some of the threats:

Wario – Japan (Pika): Top player in Japan and won tournaments with Boom, Jouske, and Mariguas in attendance. As the favorite to win Genesis 3 and the #1 overall seed, he should obviously be considered to beat Isai.

SuPeRbOoMfAn – Canada (Falcon, Pika): Won every NA major in 2015 with relative ease and recently beat Jouske in a 12CB. Many people feel he is the best player in the world right now and could not just beat Isai DK, but any character Isai picks including his Pika.

Mariguas – Mexico (Pika, Falcon): Placed 3rd at Kanto 2015 losing to Wario and outplacing Boom, Mariguas is the top player from Mexico. With his world class Pika he is one of the top players in the world and should be able to overcome Isais DK.

KeroKeroppi – US (Pika, Kirby): 2nd best player in the US behind Isai, Kero works very hard and has made it his life goal to beat Isai and Boom. While beating one of Isais best characters is unlikely for Kero, with a good matchup against Isais DK, he should be able to beat Isai especially considering he has pretty good DK practice with his brother Stranded.

Wangera – Japan (Jigglypuff): Probably underseeded for Genesis due to the presence of Wario, Wangera is the top Jigglypuff in Japan and one of their top players. Jigglypuff is loaded with combos and the ability to take short stocks with rest setups and the characters tools and spacing is the reason Isai won Apex 2014 so convincingly. Using the same tools and playing the very patient Japanese style, Wangera is looking to beat Isai using his own most recent tournament character.

Tacos – Mexico/US (Yoshi, Kirby, Falcon): Tacos Yoshi might have a tough time against Isai DK but the runner up at Apex 2015 can use the whole cast of characters and can find one to matchup well against the man with the biggest target on his back. As one of the top 3 players in NA he is clearly one of the threats to Isai.

JaimeHR – Mexico (Falcon, Samus, Mario): Once considered top 3 in NA, Jaime has fallen a bit from grace mainly due to his surprisingly poor performance at Apex 2015. He rebounded nicely at ODS and SnOsA so if he is in his best shape playing at his full potential there is no reason to count this guy out as he has a long history playing with and against Isai and should know him better than anyone which means knowing how to beat him.

Wizzrobe – US (Yoshi): Wizzrobe will have his hands full if he plays Isai. Wizzy has done very well at every 64 major since 2014 placing among the best and beating plenty of top players. Wizzys path to the top has been a tough one with him narrowly escaping losses to lesser opponents. On his best day he can beat Boom like we saw him take a game off Boom at Apex 2015, but on other days he can lose to Czar like he nearly did at Zenith 2014. The ceiling this player has makes him a threat to Isai and anyone but he will have to be tricky avoiding DKs massive grab range and super armor breaking donkey punch.

Fox – US (Fox): Commonly known as LD, Fox has a great matchup against Isai. Known as an online god and his great performance at Apex 2015, he uses a character that has a tool DK will have a lot of trouble getting through. With lasers Fox looks to force Isai into favorable approaches and DKs weight and poor vertical recovery are combos and gimps waiting to happen. A single shine spike at 0% is all Fox needs to beat Isai.

Dext3r – Mexico (Pika): One of the best players in Mexico who nearly beat Isai in Apex 2014 losing game 3 in a bo3 set. Dext3r is a player who relies on his brain to win in 64. He studies his opponents and learns all their habits before hand, flow charting exactly what he needs to do to win. It might be tough for Dext3r to study Isais DK leading up to Genesis 3 but you can expect him to know the matchup on paper perfectly.

There are plenty of other players all looking for their chance to take down Isai but only a few will get their chance. As we are on the eve of Genesis this tournament looks to be the beginning of a new era for SSB64, but before the dawn of the new age begins, the old gods must fall:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”