IlluZion's Skyjay made an appearance in England last weekend to attend BOSS BATTLES: Phase 1. Coming in at 171 entrants, BOSS BATTLES: Phase 1 wasn't necessarily the most stacked tournament that Skyjay has entered this year. However, the tournament still managed to attract a few big names from all across the world of Smash like Sisqui, Chag, Fatality, and Bloom4Eva.
(Photo credit https://twitter.com/BOSSBATTLES_)
Kicking off his tournament run, Skyjay would defeat his first round opponent Scuttles 2-0 to advance to his round one pool's top 64 winners qualifier. Waiting for him there was UK Wario main RMH Henryk. Back in April of this year, Skyjay had faced the greatest Wario main in the world, Gluttony, at Delfino Maza RETA 2022, and managed to take him to game five before ultimately losing the set. Having taken Ultimate's best Wario to the brink, it would have completely reasonable to expect Skyjay to dismantle RMH Henryk without much issue. But, in a shocking upset, RMH Henryk ended up taking down Skyjay 2-0, sending one of Mexico's finest to the losers bracket astonishingly early.
As a top player, going down to losers in the early phases of bracket is one of the most debilitating things ever; you just lost a set to someone you were expected to easily push past, and now you're staring down an intimidatingly long road to make it to the grand finals. If Skyjay would have lost here in losers, it would have surely been devastating, but it wouldn't have been the end of the world. There was always next time to make up, and to embark on that deep bracket run that would catapult him to the forefront of Ultimate.
Well, Skyjay wasn't going to wait till next time. Channeling all of his mettle and determination, Skyjay went on the greatest losers run of not just the tournament, but his entire career. Starting off in losers round three of pools, Skyjay went on a dominating onslaught through losers, racking up 11 back-to-back set wins in a row. It looked as if he was unstoppable, almost possessed by the very spirit of victory. His triumphant journey through the lower bracket brought him face-to-face with the tournament's number one seed, Sisqui in grand finals. Sisqui is not just the best Dark Samus in the game, but he is also one of the best players in Europe, currently sitting at the number two spot on the PGRU v3 EU rankings.
The two players were evenly matched, with their set going the full five game distance. In the end, however, it would be Sisqui who managed to clutch out the climatic game five to take home the victory, ending Skyjay's run at BOSS BATTLES: Phase 1 at second place.
First place may have eluded him, but Skyjay gained something nearly greater than a one in his placement results: he proved to the whole world that isn't one of the best players in all of Latin America for nothing. Let his run at BOSS BATTLES: Phase 1 be a lesson to all of us: if Skyjay falls to losers early, you had best pray you aren't on the same side of losers bracket as he is, lest you meet your end at the end of a flaming clothesline.
Written by Hank Strandberg
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