2016: The Year of Ice

Mustafa “Ice” Akcakaya holds the spots of “3rd Best in Europe” and “#1 German Smasher” with an iron grip, fending off some of Europe’s finest such as Reaper, Professor Pro, and Overtriforce.

However with Genesis 3, the second largest tournament in Melee history, behind us, it is evident that 2016 can be Ice’s breakout year. Despite only being ranked 17th in the “Melee it on Me” (MIOM) 2015 rankings, Ice’s performance at Genesis 3 teased melee fans for what is to come from the German Fox main.

After three consecutive 9th place finishes in EVO, The Big House 5, and DreamHack Winter, Ice finally broke into Top 8 at the first Super Major of 2016, Genesis 3. Having not made Top 8 of a super major since EVO 2013, Ice’s performance dazzled the hundreds of spectators watching behind him. His consistent, explosive, and technical playstyle dismantled his opponents and earned him entrance to Top 8, only dropping one game to Justin “Plup” McGrath, ranked 7th in the MIOM rankings, and a set to Adam “Armada” Lindgren, ranked 1st in MIOM rankings. No other player besides Armada had such a dominant run to Top 8.

 

 

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Ice featured in the Top 8 montage at Genesis 3 – Photo courtesy of Showdowngg

 

“Achieving a Top 8 finish was completely unexpected, even when I beat Colbol, I hadn’t even realized I was in the Top 8.  I am pleased with my performance overall, although it would have been nice to play better on Day 3.  I feel like I could have done better.

I feel I struggle the most with my mindset and emotions when competing.  I’ve been aware of this hurdle for some time now, and am trying to overcome it.  I realize my skill level, and because of this I feel like at times I’m more afraid to lose than I am motivated to win.  I need to let everything go when the match starts, and will continue to work on this.”

– Ice on his Top 8 finish at Genesis 3

Starting on the Winner’s side of the Top 64 bracket, Ice faced off against Javier “Javi” Ruiz, Mexico’s #1 and ranked 26th in the MIOM rankings. However, this did not matter, as Ice outplayed Javi, winning quick 3-0 and 4 stocking him in the process. Following that Ice squared off against Plup, the best of the “Demi-Gods”. This was Ice’s biggest challenge yet as they recently faced off in Eclipse in a nervy five game set which Plup edged out a victory. Plup has shown immense proficiency dismantling Fox’s with his consistent, punish-heavy Sheik, however, many viewers and commentators were surprised to see Ice pick apart Plup’s playstyle and capitalizing on critical moments. This earned him a convincing 3-1 victory over Plup.

After being sent to losers by Armada, Ice encountered Colin “Colbol” Green, ranked 21st in MIOM rankings, in Losers Quarters, where the winner would get to play another day on the big stage in Top 8. Similar to his performance against Javi, Ice did what he did best and overwhelmed Colbol’s Fox and Marth earning him another dominating 3-0 victory and entrance to Top 8.

Ice would place 7th after a close 2-3 set versus Zac “SFAT” Cordoni, who is ranked 13th in the MIOM rankings. After this strong finish, Ice would leave many people to question, “How far can Ice go this year?”. With B.E.A.S.T. 6, the largest Smash tournament in Europe, around the corner (Feb. 19th – 21st) many melee fans will get to see Ice once again under the spotlights.

“I am so hyped about the competition at this event, especially Westballz and Abate.  I’ve looked at the bracket beforehand, and haven’t prepared for anyone in particular.  I’m going to be relying on my general skill level alone to reach my goal of winning the tournament.  A bonus would be to win the teams competition with Leffen, those are always fun to play in.”

– Ice with thoughts on B.E.A.S.T. 6

This three day international major is still open for registration, but already boast a staggering 638 entrants. Among them are some of Europe’s top smashers, such as Armada, Leffen, Amsah, Professor Pro, Overtriforce, Tekk, Trifasia, and Reaper. In addition, several American players are set to make a splash in the European Smash scene. In particular, the best solo Falco main, Weston “Westballz” Dennis, currently ranked 8th on the MIOM rankings is in attendance. Most known for his destructive combo game, the American Falco currently has the winning record over Ice, but throughout each encounter Ice has looked better and better.

With all of this in the past, a meeting between these two rising stars at B.E.A.S.T. 6 could prove to be one of the most entertaining matches of the tournament. In addition, the infamous Luigi main from the Pittsburgh, Stephen “Abate” Abate, ranked 33rd in MIOM rankings, is raring to go after becoming the first Luigi main in history to enter in a Top 8 of a super major (The Big House 5). With no elite Luigi mains in Europe this unusually match up will put Ice’s fundamentals to the test.

 

 

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The crowd for Ice vs Sfat – Photo courtesy of rmpaul.com

 

Among the European players, Ice is going in with a winning record over all of Europe’s elites with exception to Armada and Leffen. With this in mind, B.E.A.S.T. 6 still remains another hurdle for Ice to conquer; yet, it is not impossible or even unlikely for Ice to claim the top spot. This tournament series has a history of upsets and dramatic endings. One recent example is B.E.A.S.T. 5, where William “Leffen” Hjelte, ranked #3 on MIOM rankings, won his first major after taking down both Mango and Armada in two memorable and iconic sets.

With the stage set for another spectacular B.E.A.S.T. tournament, Ice’s story continues to deepen. Will he get revenge on Amsah for defeat at Avalon M-II if they run into bracket? Can he halt the American invasion? Can he overcome Armada and Leffen and clinch top spot at B.E.A.S.T. 6? Lastly, is this 2016 truly going to be the “Year of Ice”? He had this to say to his fans…

“I will do the absolute best for my fans”

twitterlogoFollow Ice on Twitter!

 

Header image by rmpaul.com


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