Back in 2008 Apex started out as an idea by Johnathan Lugo and Cristin DeSaro as a Brawl only tournament for the NYC scene. It was a pipe dream, and although it started off small, it was the starting point to something bigger and better. The inaugural Apex had to be delayed, but would come back as an even bigger and better idea.
During 2009 Apex was back in full swing as a whole new tournament. With the help of local NJ host Inui, the team was able to secure a ballroom in the Palmer Inn, in Princeton, NJ. The tournament was focused on Super Smash Bros Brawl, but to ensure the growth of the community as a whole, offered it’s predecessor, Super Smash Bros Melee, a chance to prove that after many years, the game was still a vluable part of the scene! Brawl was still a fresh title with a metagame that was still rapidly evolving, and the competition was fierce. In a time where Mew2king had displayed his dominance for nearly a year, Ally, the Canadian Snake player, came and manged a clean and solid victory over the 1st seed Mew2King. For the first time a major tournament would not be won by Mew2King and set up a rivalry that lasts even to today. The results for this tournament were for what we had hoped for but it was time to plan for an even larger event. It was time to plan for the world.
In 2010 we made plans to not only make this event memorable just for Brawl but for Melee as well. While we offered the game in the past, it was our duty to ensure that Apex was just as big for Melee, as we have for it’s younger brother. Through hard work and a team of dedicated people, we set out to create an experience that not just the U.S., but international players as well could claim as the best Smash event to date. The entire community is so vast and spirited, we wanted to give others a chance to enjoy and see what playing smash is all about. We invited out of country players from all over the world, including Japan!
For Melee there was a lot of solid competition that came around this time. Axe put on an impressive display of his low tiered Pikachu for the first time at a national and fought his way through some of the best players in the world to manage a solid 5th place. The action battled on for days, and on Sunday, we saw one of the most unique and unforgettable grand finals sets in Smash history: Armada vs. Hungrybox. This match, which was comprised of characters that weren’t believed to be top tier at the time, was intense, as the two battled to be the champion of Melee at Apex 2010!
For Brawl, the competition was just as fierce with tough pools and bracket matches. Players battled for three days, and when it came down to losers finals, we saw what was possibly the greatest set in Smash History. The low seeded underdog, versus the mechanical monster: Brood and Mew2King would bring their set to game 5! This was a landmark occassion for Smash Bros, as the community banded together to watch the hype unfold as these two action packed players fought heart and soul to have a chance at DEHF, who patiently waited in Grand Finals. After a tight set, the Japanese Olimar player managed a 3-2 defeat over Mew2King. A defeat that would not come easy, as game one of the set, Brood barely was able to even touch Mew2King, let alone convince people he would take the set!
Grand finals, this time would be a match that a lot of people would be excited about, because this would be the first national that didn’t contain a Meta Knight player in Grand Finals. The Falco player that changed the game versus the Japanese player who mowed his way out of the woodwork: DEHF vs. Brood. A match that many saw as the start of a new era. Japan vs. U.S.A, Olimar vs. Falco, pride vs. pride. It was a match that showed how great players can be and how Apex is where the best players come. The summer of 2010 was the greatest pleasure to be a part of with 500+ excited attendees for both Melee, Brawl and 64. We knew it could only get better from here on out!
The year 2012 was a time of great change for us. It was decided to move Apex into the winter months. Another large change was that we added more games to the list, making event truly an event for everyone. Apex now featured many different games from both the Smash Community and Fighting Game Community, and even devised a system of qualifiers to lead up to our Smash events at Apex.
The entire world came to the event for Smash, shattering previous records. In total, Apex 2012 had close to 800 entrants across all of our titles. The competition was stiff, the hardest anyone had experienced yet. The event featured players from new countries such as Mexico, Germany, France, and brought more players from past countries such as Japan (over ten players), Netherlands (over six players), and Canada (20-30 players). Our FGC games were apart of the Evolution circuit gathering over 200 players from across the tristate area. Many of the best players, such as ChrisG, attended to compete for points in the Evolution circuit.
It was not just a big event, it was an event where heroes were made. In Melee, Javi entered as a big unknown. Hailing from Mexico, the player was seen by some as the best fox, and by others just a technical fox. Javi vs. DrPP can be considered one of the best matches in Melee history, showing Javi’s dominance over his opponent, who before that match was considered the underdog. Overall the Melee event was won by Sweden’s own Armada as he cemented himself as the best Melee player in the world.
Brawl was dominated by the Japanese players showing that the United States has much to learn until they master the game. It was undeniable that Mew2King vs. Ocean destroyed expectations of how great these matches could be. The crowd reaction, the victory photo – it was a truly memorable event. The crowd for Brawl grew to hundreds at the event as Nairo, a local NJ player, rose to the rank of the top US player this event. Nairo went up against the best the world taking third place, going up against powerhouse players like Kakera, Otori, and Nientono. In the end Otori caused the upset over his opponents, becoming the third Apex champion for Brawl and shocking everyone.
Apex continues to grow every year with competition and attendance and trying to bring nothing but the best experience, not just a tournament to all those who are there.