No. 9 Cinderella Run of All-Time: Sastopher at FC3

The Pacific Northwest is one of Super Smash Bros. Melee’s most historically slept on regions. Despite not having the same kind of star power as California, New York, Maryland or Virginia, the area sported a few top players of its own throughout Melee history. One of these players was Sastopher, a Peach main.

Remembered today as the man who sent Ken to losers bracket at Tournament Go 6, Sastopher’s legacy and greater accomplishments are often forgotten. Along with players like Rori and Kei, Sastopher was one of the best players within the Washington Melee scene, frequently placing highly at locals, but not traveling to as many larger events as his contemporaries.

In contrast, players like Ken, Azen, Isai and ChuDat became more well-known, not only improving their games, but getting tournament experience at supermajors and nationals. When FC3 was announced, nearly every single notable American player came in attendance for what would be a championship-level event. For the first time in nearly a year, Sastopher came to test himself against the Melee elite.

Not only were the members of each main coast attending (Ken, Azen, Isai and ChuDat) to battle the Midwest’s best, but so were the top representatives from other American scenes. The South had players like Caveman and Rob$, while the Northeast also had players like KrazyJones, PC Chris and DA Dave. FC3 also featured some of the scene’s greatest crew battles, which you can watch above.

If you held it relatively to other tournaments in smash history (not just Melee), FC3 holds up as arguably the most stacked singles tourney of all-time. This becomes more apparent when looking at the tournament’s pools, which were loaded in talent from all regions.

In particular, Sastopher’s pool is still remembered as “the death pool,” in which his opponents were Mike G, The Doug, Eddie, Ken and Azen. This involved the best of New York, California, the Midwest and MD/VA regions, giving Sastopher several different matchups, play styles and regions to confront. For a modern equivalent, this is like if a pool at The Big House had Armada, Mango, n0ne, Laudandus and MacD.

To everyone’s surprise, Sastopher emerged, winning every single set. His performance put the Pacific Northwest back on the map and highlighted him as a tournament contender. To put into context how surprising this is at face value, keep in mind that around this time, a rumor started about Sastopher losing to Azen’s Pichu in a friendly.

Though his pools showing was impressive, at the time, it was easy to dismiss them as not entirely legitimate. Keep in mind that this was 2005 Melee – top players frequently sandbagged in pools once they were guaranteed to make it to final bracket. For those practically guaranteed a way into bracket, these sets weren’t always competitively valid. Two years ago, Sastopher wrote that Ken went Samus in their FC3 pools set.

For another example, players like ChuDat were notorious for playing secondaries against players considered worse than them in pools. Even if they lost, those who sandbagged and still advanced were only punished via having a lower seed for the main bracket. In some cases, this is because they just didn’t care. In others, this was because they wanted to avoid certain players in bracket, leading to them deliberately playing worse in order to get more favorable matchups.

Either way, Sastopher’s wins in pools were not entirely as legitimate as bracket victories would be. Little did doubters know that Sastopher – now having won two straight sets over the world’s greatest Melee player – had more to prove.

To start Top 32, Sastopher had to defeat Tavo, a solid SoCal player and friend of Ken. After defeating Tavo, Sastopher then faced off against Dope, then considered one of the Midwest’s best players and one of the country’s rising Falco mains. Perhaps due to his experience against Falco players in his own region, such as Rori (who played Falco in addition to Pikachu), Sastopher clutched a 2-1 victory, moving onto winners quarters.

Here, Sastopher had to play DieSuperFly, one of SoCal’s most promising players and a fellow Ken-slayer. Outside of his noteworthy Tournament Go 6 performance, DSF was still intimidating to play against, having placed second at MLG San Francisco 2005. Moreover, he also played Sheik: a character thought to be the best in Melee, as well as a strong counterpick against Peach, Sastopher’s character.

Yet Sastopher once again won in a tight 2-1 victory, now having reached winners semifinals. In it, he faced off against Caveman, who was the best player in Texas and one of the premier Doctor Mario mains of the world.

Caveman was in the middle of his best national performance yet, having defeated top players like DA Wes, Undisput3d and even Azen himself. Taking him down was going to be quite a challenge – and Sastopher came through, winning yet another close 2-1 set.

In winners finals of the biggest American tournament in Melee history, Sastopher was set for a rematch with Ken, the world’s best smasher. Having beaten him in their last two sets, Sastopher had a real chance to put his name in the pantheon of Melee players, but he lost 3-1. Waiting in losers finals was the East Coast’s last representative in bracket, ChuDat.

Their match was heavily anticipated, both because 2005 was Chu’s breakout year and also since Chu defeated Sastopher before at Tournament Go 6. Sastopher eventually won their runback, 3-2, but ended up placing second after a quick 4-1 loss to Ken in grand finals.

Little to no footage publicly exists for FC3’s singles bracket, but think about how important it was for the scene. Not only was there talent from every region, but FC3 also was the largest Melee tournament at the time, having 186 entrants.

Who could have ever predicted a little-known top player from another region to come into the event and defeat three of the game’s greatest players at one tournament? Even if Sastopher’s contributions sometimes get overshadowed by his individual victories, his second place performance at FC3 was the best showing by a Peach at a massive event until the Armada era.

To date, Sastopher has mostly retired from Melee, though he dabbled in Project M for a little bit. Last year at Shine 2016, Sastopher placed a respectable 129th in Melee, just below an exceptional and handsome Marth player who will remain unnamed.

He now works in Boston as a software engineer. Although it’s pretty much guaranteed that he’ll never reach the same heights again in his Melee career, Sastopher is currently attending Shine 2017. How cool would it be to see one of Melee’s ancient greats make a comeback?

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