Super Smash Con is widely considered to be of one the definitive Super Smash Bros. events in the global competitive scene. With over 2,700 tournament entrants for the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate singles tournament alone and hundreds more spread across the 9 other major SSB tournament categories, Super Smash Con is one of the largest Smash Bros. events and tournament series in the world. If you have ever thought about making the trip to attend Super Smash Con in Chantilly, VA, I would highly recommend adding it to your 2020 convention schedule!
Note: Above billboard art in front of the Dulles Expo Center is by @TheFunkyEngineThatCould.
Super Smash Con brings together an impressive showcase of pro gaming talent and fans from multiple continents to celebrate all things Smash Bros. and fight it out to the last player standing. It was nearly impossible not to have a pro player in sight no matter where I turned at this S-tier event. Big names were absolutely everywhere: Counter Logic Gaming, Team Solo Mid, Echofox, Team Liquid, Twitch and YouTube-popular top tier players – too many to track! Fans could watch main stage matches on four massive screens in the center of the hall which were also live streamed to an audience of over 65,000 concurrent viewers (from what I saw on Twitch.)
The amazing energy of the fan community at SSC was contagious, shifting from rapt attention to explosive applause at the drop of a life stock. I really admired the wholesome, supportive friendliness of the tournament goers throughout the expo hall. The crowds were quite large for a pro level event without stadium seating, but there was still room for everyone. I know personal hygiene has been an infamous problem at other game tournaments and conventions, however I am pleased to report that I did not encounter this issue at SSC.
During the main stage matches, I counted no fewer than 10 separate casters taking turns in pairs during the tournaments, all equally competent and energetic, and they had well practiced flow. They did a great job of showing their expertise yet kept commentary approachable to more casual Smash players. I particularly enjoyed VikkiKitty and SuperGirlKels, a duo of enthusiastic female casters who really knew their stuff.
With the indie game play area and a full, free to play arcade setup, there were plenty of things to occupy younger age groups. Unfortunately I was not able to attend during the day of the cosplay contest, but I was still able to catch a few cosplayers on Sunday. Above, Hannah and Garret, 9 and 6, show off their adorable Ice Climber cosplay in the free to play arcade area. Their mom, Edith, a skilled Super Smash Seamstress, made their outfits by hand.
Super Smash Cons featured many attractions to supplement the tournaments, including the aforementioned arcade and indie game demo area as well as live musical entertainment playing their renditions of tracks from fan favorite games. A robust market full of merchandise booths took up a huge portion of the front of the hall, offering anything from retro games to art prints, custom controllers to apparel, and more. There was a free play area where attendees could hook up their Nintendo Switches and a calmer “Recharge” area where exhausted event goers could relax on bean bag chairs for some quiet time or even a nap.
As someone who has attended many cons and has admined tournaments in person before, I was very impressed with this event from a planning and logistics perspective. There was ample free parking, a lightning-quick bag check line, reasonable ticket pricing, just enough but not too much seating, and zero restroom lines. The building was quite clean, well ventilated, and they even had banners for each respective Super Smash Bros. Ultimate character hanging from the ceiling, which I thought was a great touch.
Regular convention-goers will be familiar with “event time”, a begrudgingly affectionate term for when everything at a convention is running regularly late as a matter of course. (Ex: “Ah yes, I see we are on event time already…”) Much to the contrary, Super Smash Con ran like a well oiled machine during the time I was there and this was clearly an experienced expo team handling the event. All of the aforementioned planning and logistics items are extremely under-rated factors of big conventions like this that I think are absolutely worth noting as part of the overall quality of the event.
My favorite moment of day was the match between MKLeo and Zackray during the quarterfinals. Ray made a swap from Wolf to R.O.B. after going down 2-0 and proceeded to show everyone in attendance some of the most spicy, aggressive, mind blowing R.O.B. gameplay they have likely ever seen in their Smash gaming careers. It seemed like were rooting for Ray as he nearly pulled out a full reverse sweep against Leo but was stopped just shy of the win in a nail-biter match by an decisive upsmash.
Zackray rose and then fell back to his knees and beat the ground out of pure frustration (which you can barely see at the end of the clip). He was comforted by MKLeo and the crowd chanting “Zackray”, showing us exactly why the Smash community is considered one of the best communities in esports. Even though he didn’t get the victory he wanted, the community had his back and showed their support to help him rally. I hope Ray felt great about his skilled performance at SSC if not right away, hopefully in retrospect.
I had a great time at Super Smash Con 2019, as did my better half who attended with me. Admission offered completely reasonable pricing at $40 per day pass or a more economical 4 day pass package which was available in advance. There are friends to make, phenomenal player skill to see, things to learn, and great experiences to be had at this high quality event. Save the date for this time next year and don’t miss Super Smash Con in 2020!
Thanks for reading!