Battle of BC 5 preview: Yoshidora and other Japanese Smash pros to make overseas debuts - Upcomer
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Earlier this month, top North American Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players like Edgar “Sparg0” Valdez, Michael “Riddles” Kim and Antony “MuteAce” Hoo competed in Japan for the first time during Golden Week. Now this weekend, several Japanese players will compete in North America for the first time at Battle of BC 5 in Vancouver.

The Canadian major will be Ultimate’s third premier event of the year, following Genesis 9 and Kagaribi 10. It will also feature a stacked line-up of some of the best Melee players in the world, albeit with a slightly shallower talent pool than the Ultimate bracket.

Here are the biggest storylines to follow at Battle of BC 5 this weekend.

Yoshidora looks to add another top eight to his resume

Of the Japanese Ultimate players making their overseas debuts at Battle of BC 5, No. 9 seed Yoshidora is projected to do the best. He ranked a modest 26th in the world on last year’s UltRank after a somewhat misrepresentative season during which he only entered four tournaments.

Yoshidora has already been more active this year and his consistency has been impressive. Across the six majors and regionals he has attended this year, Yoshidora has only missed top eight once, placing 13th at Maesuma Top 11. Meanwhile, he has beaten Shuto “Shuton” Moriya, Takuto “Kameme” Ono, Yuta “Abadango” Kawamura, Christian “Jahzz0” Ramsay, Hero, Yaura and more.

Yoshidora has a somewhat favorable path to top eight at Battle of BC. If he can upset Riddles, his projected winners quarters opponent would be Mashita “acola” Hayato. Although acola has a winning record against him, Yoshidora is also the only player in the world besides Sparg0 who has beaten acola more than twice.

Other Japanese players to watch at Battle of BC 5

Similar to Yoshidora, No. 17 seed Yaura only needs to secure one upset over Dabuz to face off against acola, who he has also beaten before. Yaura is coming into this event with high expectations given his recent 13th-place finish at Kagaribi 10, which included victories over Sparg0 and Takuma “Tea” Hirooka.

On the Melee side, Battle of BC will mark Inngenn’s first open-bracket major outside of Japan. Previously, he attended two American invitationals where he fared well against some of the best players in the world but failed to win any sets. However, he earned his first-ever top 100 win over Adrian “Skerzo” Chavez at Battle GateWay 38 in February. As a result, Battle of BC could give Inngenn the opportunity to start adding more quality wins to his resume without having to upset top 15 players.

Mang0 to enter his first serious tournament of the year

Despite entering 2023 as a potential frontrunner to overtake Zain “Zain” Naghmi as the best Melee player in the world, Joseph “Mang0” Marquez opted to sandbag as Dr. Mario instead of playing his mains in the Singles bracket at Genesis 9. He finished in 97th place as a result and proceeded to take a months-long break from entering Melee tournaments.

However, Mang0 is slated to make his return to serious competition at Battle of BC 5. The punishment for his inactivity appears to be a surprisingly-low 10th seed at the Canadian major. Nevertheless, his bracket is still somewhat favorable.

Mang0’s projected path to winners finals is William “Leffen” Hjelte into Cody Schwab into Zain. He held a collective 11-4 record against that group of players last year. While No. 1 seed Jake “Jmook” DiRado will likely be a roadblock, it’s not outrageous to imagine that Mang0 could return from his hiatus with a major-winning performance.

Dylan Tate is an alumnus of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a gaming journalist with a love for Nintendo esports, particularly Super Smash Bros. and Pokémon.