2GG April Saga: A Critical Look

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It goes without saying that Civil War was the greatest thing to ever happen in Smash 4. It may be one of the most important events in the history of smash. The bracket was hype, the crew battle delivered, and all the international talent elevated the event beyond expectations.

There are very few people outside of 2GG doing as much for the community of Smash 4. However, I’m starting to have concerns about the way the organization handles a few things, and have not seen anyone else discuss it. While it feels like Reddit karma suicide, I think the discussion is to important not to have. As such, I want to take a critical look at a few recent events regarding 2GGaming.

The Round Robin

Quickly, before you immediately rush to light me on fire, I ask that you read this article I wrote back in October. You’ll quickly understand that I adore 2GG. I think they are critically important to the success of Smash 4, and in no way want them to go away or reduce the level of amazing work their bringing us. However, I do think there are some things that need to be addressed and discussed so that we can continue to grow as a scene. With that in mind, here we go.

In a recent blog I talked about reactive marketing, and how well 2GG does at building an intentional theme around their events. However, recently I’ve begun to see that there is a trend of reactive management within the organization. Specifically, let’s talk about the April Saga round robin and the current fallout from that event.

As a quick recap, at Civil War a group of players were chosen from the crew battle teams to play in a round robin on Friday. The characters they’d play were voted on by the community, and whichever character won would have the April Saga themed around them.

I was concerned about this for two reasons when it was announced. First, based on Twitter reaction it seemed as though many of the players involved didn’t understand that they had agreed to this event. Ally may have been exaggerating, or just not read his DMs when they explained it, but still that presented a potential issue. More importantly, it showed that 2GG did not already have April Saga planned out.

Reactive Planning

Civil War was towards the end of March. Having the Round Robin at that event meant that they could not even begin to build the theme of the event until after that weekend. We’ll get into all of the problems that presents in a bit, but it speaks to an overall lack of long-term planning within 2GG. A well-organized team would have the theme for every Saga through July already mapped out when the 2GGC was announced last year. There would be levels of planning for each event already in place, ensuring that the right players were available, the right theme components could be collected, etc. Each event so far has been pretty solid, but it worries me that 2GG is not fully thinking through each of their plans, but has this “wait and see” approach to some of the biggest events in the game.

Further, let’s really examine the concept of this Round Robin and the problems it presented. First, the characters chosen for each player were incredibly flawed. VoiD and Ranai very nearly played with their main characters. Imagine how boring that event would have been if everyone was playing awkward secondaries while VoiD combos them to death over and over. It would feel bad for the players involved, and sort of ruin the hype for VoiD having earned a Sheik Saga.

Think of the Miis

Trela very nearly won the event with Mii Swordfighter. Imagine the problems for 2GG if that had happened. Miis are incredibly polarizing within the community, and now you would have a circuit event dedicated to them. Remember the scandal when 2GG changed the rules for Midwest Mayhem Saga to restrict Miis? Think about how bad that would look in the light of a Mii Saga. What ruleset do you use?

The event is about them so they should be allowed to use their movesets right? But then what if a small Mii Brawler wins the event? Do you now have to change the rules for the circuit finals in December? It feels to me like none of these questions were asked before the Round Robin was announced. They just thought of a neat idea and then did it. While the event was really cool to watch, it doesn’t change the fact that it was poorly conceived and potentially dangerous to the community.

Greninja Saga Minus Greninja

Now, let’s take a look at the actual fallout from that event. Ranai won with his Greninja, and so April Saga is now Greninja Saga. Awesome! Super hyped to watch guys like iStudying, Venia, and Some do some great exhibitions. But wait, yesterday we found out that Some cannot attend Greninja Saga because April is so busy in Japan. So now, we’re going to have a Greninja saga without arguably the best Greninja in the world. I’m sure the event would still be really fun  and a great tournament. However, it really takes away from the theme when you can’t actually see the character performed at it’s very peak. Any exhibition, round robin, or tournament would always bear the mark of “but what if Some were here?”

Now, someone suggests the idea of changing this event to a Pokemon Saga. On the surface this seems like a reasonable solution. You can highlight more players, and the sting of losing Some is cut when you have amazing players like ESAM and Abadango added to the theme. Except that Abadango also announced that he cannot attend any tournaments in April. So now Pokemon Saga would occur without the best Greninja or the best Mewtwo. Civil War took a year of planning, but we’re going to now have it’s follow up be a hastily-planned event without two of the most high profile players for the theme? That seems like a real problem to me.

Flip Flopping

Further, let’s look at how quickly 2GG was willing to transition yesterday. From all evidence, it appears that they found out about Some at the same time we did. Does that mean they had not reached out to him yet? Civil War was a week ago, it seems like they probably should have talked to the most important player for their next event within that week. Further, they immediately started discussing Pokemon Saga on Twitter, but had they reached out to any of the Greninjas to get their opinion? What about the people that paid real money to see Greninja and their money was rewarded with a saga? Aren’t we now invalidating that entire round robin and all the money that was invested in it?

What about Ranai? He fought through the Round Robin to give Greninja a saga, was he asked about losing that prize in favor of a Pokemon Saga? We still have yet to see any sort of official statement regarding the situation at all. It’s so wonderful that 2GG listens to the community and responds, but the fact that they could shift that quickly speaks to how flimsy their plans for Greninja Saga were in the first place.

We Still Love You

I don’t in any way want 2GG to stop doing everything they do for the community, but I think a little bit of accountability is fair. There are real, legitimate problems happening right now, and many more that can be discussed. I still have yet to see anyone from 2GG address the issue of Zero winning multiple circuit events. If anyone from 2GG reads this, please know that it comes from a place of genuine love and affection for your work, and a desire to highlight these concerns in the hope of protecting this incredible organization from future problems. There is always a danger in growth, and I want to see 2GG scale intentionally and carefully so that they can keep bringing us Sagas for years to come.
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