Everybody's favorite Steve player took home a massive tournament win this past week on August 19th by taking first place at FreaksRichardson19. En Route to his triumph, he used his crafty ways to beat out a whopping 86 other entrants.
Yonni started the tournament out perfectly; he defeated both RhikerSaint and Koi (2-0), to advance into winners top 32.
His first set of top 32 would be against Renslay (a Sephiroth player) who used to be power ranked in Arizona for Smash 4.
The first game of the set started out great for yonni. He used Steve's excellent juggle game to rack up a bunch of damage. He would also begin to close the distance with Steve's low short hop aerials, making Sephiroth's sword range almost useless, as well as using Steve's mine cart to carry Sephiroth away. The game wasn't one-sided, though, as Renslay made yonni recoveries very difficult by using Sephiroth's mana abilities to make the ledge a danger zone. He also employed cunning aerial placements in between yonni's projectiles to even the stocks more than once.
The first game was close, but yonni took a page out of Renslay's book by making the ledge a very bad place to be when he set a TNT trap, taking out Renslay's last stock and securing the first game.
Game two saw Renslay ditch Sephiroth in favor of choosing Fire Emblem's own, Ike.
The first leg of the second game saw yonni facing early adversity. He was being out boxed by Renslay who was dealing massive damage with Ike's powerful aerials. But like a true champion, yonni weathered the onslaught and managed to get Renslay off stage with a mine cart and then sealed the stock by preventing him from reaching the ledge, taking advantage of Ike's subpar recovery distance.
Renslay answered back with an edge guard of his own by using Ike's down tilt on the ledge to keep yonni off stage and then killed Steve with a well placed forward aerial.
The game came down to a battle of patience; both men bided their time by waiting for the other to hit each other's shields and then counter attacked. Yonni was getting the better of the patience war, he even turned it into a war of attrition by using blocks upon blocks to hold off Renslay while he gathered materials to use during the next exchange.
The entire came down to an exciting conclusion when Renslay charged forth toward yonni with a furious dash attack, hopping to knock yonni off stage, but it was yonni who stuck the final blow by unveiling a golden sword from his inventory box. Both swordsmen lunged forward, but in the end, yonni's golden sword whisked Renslay off stage into oblivion, sealing the game and the set for yonni (2-0).
(Steve is a confirmed swordsmen)
Yonni would next face off against Wario main Skitz in the winners quarters finals.
As it turns out, yonni and Skitz started their set off stream so the set would start with the second game. The second game saw both men keeping their distance with yonni content to stay back and farm materials, and Skitz occupied his space with Wario's floaty air speed, though it was Skitz who go the first hit in by landing a grab on yonni. He then kept yonni on the defensive with several fast aerials, as well as using Wario's out of shield aerials to rack up more damage.
Yonni responded by keeping the game more grounded by keeping Skitz from going airborne.
The rest of the game became a barnburner. It all came down to a high percent, last stock situation with both men getting critical hits on each other (it was a DI test to say the least). The game came to a close with a jaw-dropping DBZ moment when both players hit each other with an aerial and both were sent off the blast zone. Both men lost their final stocks, but it was yonni who was victorious because he died off the top by a star KO while Skitz died off the side ending the set (2-0) in yonni's favor. Yonni would move on to the semi finals.
(yonni channels his inner Saiyan)
In the winners semi finals, yonni had to play Min-Min player, dezly.
Yonni began the first game by taking dezly's first stock without taking any damage whatsoever; he dealt a great amount of damage before using magma to stifle dezly's recovery, sending him down below into nothingness.
Yonni fell back to his usual strategy of using blocks to keep dezly at bay while he gathered materials. But dezly wasn't having it as he used Min-Min's aerials to move around yonni's shield effortlessly while keeping yonni at a distance. He kept up the pressure the whole game by not letting yonni breath. Yonni fought hard, but dezly was able to win the first game after a masterful edge guard to end the first game.
Game two was looking grim for our hero. He was down one stock to dezly's two by the time the game reached the four minute mark. Yonni dug in deep, though, and took the second game after another TNT fueled kill on the ledge.
Game three started out competitively with both men capitalizing on mistakes. Dezly was making sure whenever yonni would leap into the air that he would stay there. Yonni made some adjustments as well by being more tactful with his approaches by using his mine cart to get closer, negating Min-Min's long arms. Yonni would win the third game with yet another magma edge guard.
Game four was just as competitive as the last three games. By now, both men knew what the other wanted to do, so pretty much came down to a contest of execution tests. Yonni once again found himself down as the game reached the halfway point, but having learned the distance of Min-Min's aerials, he ultimately began to break denzly down by using superior aerial placements. Yonni then got up close to denzly with his shield and simply waited for the aerial to come; he saw the aerial coming and landed the final blow with a back air sending denzly out of the blast zone and ending the set (3-1). Yonni overcame superior range with even more superior adaptation. He advanced to winners finals.
Yonni would next face off against Marce, a Pichu player who strung together a list of upsets to make it to top three.
The set began with yonni trying out creative ways to pressure and stifle Marce's movement such as using anvils, mine carts and Steve's better hitboxes. But Marce answered back with careful reads on yonni's jumps, eventually nailing him with a forward smash after a roll read. The first game came down to last stock, but yonni was able to clutch it out, going up (1-0) in the set.
The set then boiled down to a back and forth contest; whenever yonni took a game, Marce would answer right back with a win of his own.
It all came down to a tense game five where both players pushed each other to their limits.
The set began with yonni establishing a firm lead by landing a grab, netting 40%. After mining enough materials, he used his mine cart to get close enough to Marce to bait out an attack. By the time Marce hit yonni's shield it was too late; he took the first stock with an up smash out of shield, taking a crucial lead in the set.
Marce proved a resourceful tactician himself, he began using thunder bolt to get closer to yonni and hit him after he would try to get away either a mine cart or roll.
Soon enough, both men were on their last stocks and last legs. The door to grand finals was open to yonni. Would he step through it to grand finals, or would he stumble backward in the doorway?
It all came down to infighting, and it was here where yonni shined like a diamond both metaphorically and literally as he used his diamond weapons to deal big damage whenever Marce got close, and with one big swing of his diamond sword, yonni defeated Marce to earn his rightful place in winners side of grand finals.
(pressure makes diamonds)
Yonni had won his way to grand finals, but his toughest challenge yet was waiting for him fresh out losers finals, number 27th PGRU-ranked, MuteAce (one of the best Palutena players). Taking on a PGRU ranked player is really hard, defeating one is even harder. However, if yonni wanted to prove that he was not only the best Steve main in the Southern United States, but also the best player in the venue that night, he would need to beat a top 30 player.
Yonni started the set by employing his usual strategy of walling out MuteAce in order to build his inventory, but MuteAce wouldn't allow it as he used Palutena's Autoreticle to quickly break through yonni's block wall to hit him. Yonni changed his approach and went on the attack, juggling MuteAce for good damage.
Just like in winners finals, yonni found himself in a tight battle. Both players were making neutral hell for each other with yonni using his wider array of attacks, and MuteAce using his better fall speed to crowd yonni and get many grabs.
Yonni played his heart out and even brought the set to game five, unfortunately, yonni lost the first set. He wasn't out of it yet. He had one one more chance to win the tournament and one of the best wins of his career.
The second set of grand finals started a little rough for yonni. He lost the first game of the set after having a slight lead. The second game would fare better as he was able to seal it with a yonni-patented diamond pickaxe.
Game fives must have been a common thing for yonni that night because the second set of grand finals was his third game five of the night. The battle between magic and diamonds was about to reach its climatic conclusion.
The last set seemed to be any man's game with both players having their moments, but it was MuteAce who snagged a two stock lead heading into the halfway point. Down to his last stock, yonni quickly took MuteAce's second stock to even the playing field. He then began to catch on to MuteAce's jumping habits by calling them out with up smashes out of shield and waiting for him to lift off only to punish him with deadly juggles and well placed anvils. MuteAce looked shook, and after fast falling off the ledge accidentally, yonni emerged triumphant over the 27th best player in the world!
After 15 games between winners finals and both sets of grand finals, yonni emerged as the best player of the tournament, and likely pushed himself in contention for one of the Southern United States best up incomers.
With a win over MuteAce, there is no telling just how far yonni's ceiling will go. With Riptide on the horizon for him, yonni is sure to craft a legendary last half of 2021!
Written by Hank Strandberg
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