What have we learned from the Sector Z Arcadian 2023?

by Nago/Nago#0050 on Discord

The Sector Z Arcadian 2023 was held earlier this month and like the last arcadian from 2019, a lot of things have happened that will perhaps take a little while to unpack. Luckily, I have a little while to unpack it all for you so here we go!

Unfortunately (for the Netherlands), Belgium is victorious again

Alas, here we are again. Once again a Belgian has come from down south to win another arcadian. Just like last time with Ladder in 2019, it was quite the contested run where Grolex had to survive multiple game 5 situations against Nidyz, Elec and Serket in addition to a sneaky bo3 game 3 against fellow foreign invader Zorg in his very first bracket match. To avoid sounding too much like a salty Dutch baby I would like to congratulate him on his win and I do always enjoy the presence of the Belgians at Dutch events and hope to see all of them including the rest of the PR at future events (have already heard that there may be a Belgian congregation coming to Somnio next month).

Besides Grolex, both Melone and Spirits also had very strong runs at the Arcadian. Melone had to go through a bracket invested with zoomer spacies where he, besides losing to non-zoomer LazyyySloth and Serket in very close last game last stock scenarios, went through Lucky, 1st seed KoningBadaap and sjor$ to place a strong, if perhaps a bit underwhelming for him and his betting supporters, 9th. The other Belgian who made top 16 was the Flemish zoomer multi-main Spirits FKA Lilypadd, who went through the sheik gauntlet of vlad, Abelatty and Danubi and high seed Zeventien to place 13th.

Turns out, seeding an arcadian is very hard; Don’t sleep on the falcons

I will not stay on this point for too long as to avoid participating in Seeding Discourse and I also will not be mentioning anybody who underperformed their seed. Seeding is of course a thankless task especially in an arcadian like this where you will have to seed people who have effectively not competed in 3 years against people who spent the last year playing Melee 5 hours a day. So shoutouts to Noxxa, the main seeder of this event for doing quite a very good job in the event even if some people disagree for reasons that they will not elaborate on.

Anyway, shoutouts to LSK and Floranski, probably the two people who placed the highest compared to their respective seeds. LSK ended being seeded quite low after showing up to an Amsterdam local tired and jet-lagged and losing to Nago (the writer of this article) and Djoek. The Canadian Falcon then showed up fully rested to this arcadian and swiftly beat Taartneus, Koningbadaap and Reddanger without dropping a game to make it into top 16. He then went into losers bracket after losing to nidyz, picked up a win against local falco Joppiedje, only to then lose to Halzyn to place 9th. He will be here for the rest of the university semester and we hope to see him do more damage at more events now that we are actually aware of his skill compared to the rest of the field.

Speaking of falcon players,

The New School is pretty good

Floranski went through a similar sheik gauntlet just like his Vechtpartij friend Spirits, he went through Danubi, vlad, Bureaucraat and non-sheik Vilmar to make it through to top 16 losers side. Only two falco’s, Elec in winners and Djoek in losers managed to put a stop to his run. As a friend of Floranski and a general enjoyer of Arcadian melee, I recommend everybody watch his set against Bureaucraat onstream to observe a nice showcase of the vibe of this man, unless you’re a hardcore falcon hater then maybe you should not. Unrelated but he also is hosting a tournament this weekend called Vechtpartij #3 which is a IRL pseudo-arcadian event which is funnily timed seeing as we literally just had one, it’ll be his first event as a TO and I’m very excited to attend and commentate it.

From one new TO to the next, the person who defeated Floranski in losers, Djoek also had a very good run. The Amsterdam falco showed up and had quite a good run, beating Spirits, Rabbitalex, Dopamine and Floranski to place 9th. He allegedly told me he thinks he didn’t do that well but he exclusively beat people who made top 16 and Rabbitalex who was seeded 3rd, so I respectfully disagree. He’s also hosting a tournament in 2 weekends from now named Foxxon Boulevard #4 in Amsterdam, you should go attend it.

sjor$ unfortunately is not a TO, he just a lowly rectangle fox player from the south who got to enjoy a tournament he doesn’t have to travel 2 hours for. After making it out of his pool in 2nd after only losing to nidyz, he then went on to beat Supergoomba and then 2-0’d Karhu in fox-marth which was a surprising upset in my eyes. After losing to Halzyn he beat fellow rectangle gamer Thom in losers until ultimately losing in a surprisingly close fashion to another falco in Melone to place 13th. These kids and their rectangles man, it’s scary shit, uhhh anyway.

The “old” players are also still good

Nidyz is not a kid, but he does have a rectangle and he does some scary fucking shit with it. He was a surprise late addition to the attendees of the tournament and was immediately projected to be one of the favourites to take the whole thing. This quickly became clear at the event itself as well when he swept his pool, 2-0’d Stoneymalony, played a close 2-1 set against Skyrovania and then in top 16 immediately 3-0’d LSK. A very weird reverse 3-0 against LazyyySloth ensued, a game 5 loss against Grolex and a 3-0 against a red-hot Elec ended making him place 3rd overall at the event.

Quick aside here to talk about Skyrovania’s underrated run at this event. He successfully prevented a big brother team from winning dubs, instead winning doubles himself together with LazyyySloth. Afterwards he swept his singles pool after upsetting Halzyn with a clean 2-0, beats Thom in bracket, then loses to Nidyz as previously mentioned and then instead of playing Peridot in falcon-yoshi like he was projected to play, he instead gets to play Karhu who got upset early by sjor$ in falcon-marth. I watched this set, it was very close, but eventually Karhu wins it 2-1 and goes on to also beat reddanger to place 9th at the event. Shoutouts to Karhu btw who’s my GOAT.

The definition of who is an old player is perhaps a bit vague so I’m going to limit myself to only one more “inactive”/”old” player in the form of Han Dopamine. As one of the limited op seeded non-spacie mains in the bracket, they were at the event to prevent all of top 8 being spacie dittos. Unfortunately it instead was all of top 6, but anyway sooooooo….. Dopamine loses to Djoek in pools 1-2 as projected and then goes on to put both PM players in losers, Skoala and Freekleef. A weird DQ and an upset luckily prevents Dopamine from having to play samus-puff to make it into top 16 and instead plays Sheik player Abelatty who he swiftly 2-0’s. Dopamine then loses against Elec in the first round of top 16, but does get a win on Karhu 3-1 in losers, eventually running into serket to place 7th.

The sub PR level in the Netherlands is looking very competitive.

I think outside of all of what I just wrote about, the big takeaway from this arcadian is that there’s a lot of good talent out here in the Netherlands right now. The top 16 was a healthy mix of old talent, new talent and just people who we already knew were good. Besides LSK and perhaps some others, a lot of the talent within and outside of the top 16 seem to be motivated to keep playing outside of this arcadian. The Dutch scene is appearing to experience a bit of growth in recent times with all these new players, more tournaments and the emergence of Belgians and other out-of-region players travelling over here to try and take our money. A lot of people who attended this event have already beaten people on the Dutch PR and in some cases have beaten them very recently even, this creates quite a bit excitement for the next couple tournaments such as Somnio to see if any of the people who did well at the arcadian can keep that success going long-term.

I also hope that many of the people who perhaps didn’t make as deep of a run, especially some of the completely new players who showed up, feel emboldened to keep going and try to get better and perhaps do well at the next arcadian (or just forego the whole thing and make the PR before the next arcadian can happen). Go sign up for the upcoming tournaments that I’ve mentioned in this article if you haven’t!!!!!! Besides vechtpartij that one is already capped sorry.