As is the nature of Smash Wii U, the group of people making top 8 at Shine 2018 was absolutely unpredictable. A relatively unknown Sonic main made it to winners semis, and an unproven Mario made top 8 through losers. And yet, one well-established player finished atop them all. EVO 2017 victor Saleem “Salem” Young won the entire tournament through winners.

Rightfully so, Salem was very happy to earn his first-place finish at Shine. His tweet specifically thanked his boyfriend for giving him a lot of valuable practice for the tournament. He certainly had a lot of other practice, but pointing out that his boyfriend helped him out a lot is really sweet.

After seeing second place at both Smash ‘n’ Splash 4 and MomoCon 2018, securing his first major win of 2018 had to feel even better for Salem. The competition’s been tough in 2018, but he can definitely still contend as one of the best. There’s no arguing that after he double eliminated another A-grade Bayonetta main in Tamim “Mistake” Omary.

The overall results of the top 8 at Shine were crazy, too, not just the victor. New Jersey-based Sonic main Jude “Jakal” Harris surprised everybody and made it to winners semis on his way to fifth place. Meanwhile, Rasheen “Dark Wizzy” Rose fought his way to a seventh-place finish after making top 8 through losers.

Equally surprising is Leonardo “MkLeo” Lopez Perez finishing fifth, as is Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey losing to Mistake and ending his run at third.

It’s almost easy to write this off as “just another Smash Wii U tournament,” but it’s not. It’s another incredible installment of Boston’s own Shine series. The series just doesn’t know how to disappoint.

Aedan Garcia
If I'm not practicing my Melee Falco, perfecting P.E.K.K.A decks in Clash Royale, or watching some esports tournament, I'm probably writing for fun or maybe trying to get a bit better at rock climbing. DBLTAP gave me a shot at esports over a year ago, and at 19, I'm still striving to improve my writing as much as possible.