A New Frontier: iBDW Goes Above And Beyond In Runner Up Finish At Get On My Line 2020

A New Frontier: iBDW Goes Above And Beyond In Runner Up Finish At Get On My Line 2020

Through the past year, Cody “iBDW” Schwab continued his meteoric rise through the ranks of Melee with multiple Top 8 and Top 4 finishes at several majors. In addition to joining Panda Global in May of this year, there was reason to believe that the Fox main would take even greater strides towards the very top. For now, his 2nd place finish at Get On My Line 2020 shows that he is taking those steps.

Recently, a new build of Project Slippi was put out that introduces rollback netcode, increasing the playability of Melee online significantly. Event Matchup Gaming became the first big organization in the Melee community to capitalize on this innovation by announcing Get On My Line 2020, an online tournament and fundraiser to replace Canada’s Premier tournament series, Get On My Level, for this year.

“I grew up on netplay. So I’ve been doing tournaments since my first year of playing period,” iBDW said. “Obviously the craziest thing was, ‘Oh, I can actually play people in California and Canada and even in Europe now without any serious issue. I don’t think [rollback] altered me anywhere near as much as it did for a lot of other people. I think I’m actually one of the least affected people by that.”

For iBDW, the potential for netplay tournaments wasupgraded from regional to major status. Nevertheless, 1,367 entrants signed up for the first major netplay tournament, andiBDW was ready for his first tournament run as a Panda.

Like any other tournament, iBDW swept through pools with no major threats --Minus a hiccup with LuigigoShard, he cruised into Top 128. Once more, he powered through two more opponents to make his way to Top 32 on the Winners side.

His first opponent in Top 32 was MD/VA Falco main bobby big ballz, or BBB. iBDW took game one, but BBB answered back with a reverse sweep to advance to Top 16. With that, iBDW had to fight through three rounds of Losers to make his way to Top 8.

“[Going down to losers] happens over and over again, so for me, I’m pretty used to starting there and it actually makes me feel weirdly calmer,” iBDW said. “[In losers,] I either get angry, or just, not complacent, but kind of at ease with whatever’s gonna happen, and I think both, they cause me to play in different ways, but both of them allow me to just focus on the game a lot more than feel just a load of nerves.”

Following two more sweeps, iBDW found himself on the doorstep of Top 8 facing Central California Fox main Joseph “Azel” Resplandor. Azel started the first game by bringing the heat, maneuvering all over iBDW to take a clean first stock. iBDW continued the game unfazed, progressively outplaying Azel to end the game with a two stock victory.

In game two, however, momentum was all in favor of Azel. A mix of mistakes on iBDW’s part and big conversions off neutral wins by Azel, iBDW was down to his last stock in less than a minute and a half. While he fought back to try and take the game, iBDW lost game two by two stocks and would now have to win one more game with his tournament life on the line.

Azel continued to play hard in game three, yet iBDW did not let up. Though iBDW never had a stock advantage, he fought back to keep the game tight and bring the set to a last stock conclusion. iBDW kept himself in a positive neutral position for most of the stock, and when it came down to the wire, Azel got stuck in his shine, allowing iBDW to get an up throw into a shine to back air for a 2-1 victory and a spot in Top 8.

“[When down two stocks in game three,] I just kinda thought, ‘Eh, just play your best, control what you can, you can’t control the outcome and that’s okay, just try to do what you can,’” iBDW said. “So I just tried to keep my mindset really simple honestly, and I think it let me calm down and play better than I think I had for the rest of the set.”

In Top 8, iBDW’s first opponent was the number one player in the world, Team Liquid’s Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma. Prior to this meeting, these players met three times before, all during this past summer. At that time, iBDW had a 1-2 set count against Hungrybox, having beaten the Jigglypuff main once at Smash Summit 8 3-1.

Hungrybox forced iBDW to play at his pace through game one. While iBDW conformed and countered Hungrybox fairly well, an abundance of mistakes prevented him from taking the first game. Game two, however, iBDW continued to conform to the pace of the game and utilized the space of his Final Destination counterpick to run with the momentum for a game two victory.

Now on Dreamland, game three was an absolute slobberknocker. However, iBDW began to push ahead near the end to win by two stocks and lead the set 2-1. During the runback, iBDW kept the momentum through a close game four. Hungrybox stole the game back with one clean edgeguard to bring the set to game five on iBDW’s Pokémon Stadium counterpick.

“As the set went on, I started to recognize that I guess I’m not derusted enough in the matchup [versus Jigglypuff] to play the way that I would have at Summit 8, where I was a lot more aggressive,” iBDW said. “So I had to kind of shift to be a little more defensive than normally I would like to play it.

Similarly to most games in the set, game five was back and forth with neither player having a substantial advantage over the other. In the final minutes, the game came to the last stock, which came down to the last hit with both players over 130% damage. 

Many nail-biting interactions later, Hungrybox committed a fatal mistake, allowing iBDW to hit him with a back air to close the set. Just like that, Hungrybox was out at 7th place, and iBDW was on his way to Losers Quarters. With that win, iBDW evened out his set count with Hungrybox 2-2.

“I was in the middle of a really bad panic attack… and this was basically the first time of my life that I was able to keep it under control and actually just focus on keeping my emotions in check so I wouldn’t tilt out of that set,” iBDW said. “After like five seconds after the set, I was like, ‘I can’t believe I actually managed to keep that under control and just not freak out and win.”

Following that major upset, he met BBB once again. iBDW started the set with a commanding 4 stock. The next two games, BBB kept it close, but the Falco main could not gain the edge over iBDW, which allowed iBDW to get payback for his elimination from winners earlier in the day. 

Up next in Losers Semis was Counter Logic Gaming’s Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni, who was easily dismantled by iBDW with three consecutive two stocks for a clean 3-0 sweep to head towards Losers Finals against Falco main Avery “Ginger” Sloan. Ginger took the first game, but iBDW seemingly got stronger throughout the set. He continued to showcase superior neutral, punishes, and overall movement.

As the set progressed, iBDW played better and better over time. Though he began the set down 1-0, Ginger floundered throughout the set and gave up three consecutive games to iBDW for Panda Global’s very own to win 3-1 and advance to Grand Finals versus UYU’s Captain Falcon main and one of Melee’s best Canadians, Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby.

“[Ginger] got hit in a bunch of really stupid spots and just got killed, but it was definitely like a ‘me forcing bad situations on him,’ [scenario],” iBDW said. “I don’t know if he crumbled or if it was just unfortunate or whatever it was, I was just happy because I wound up beating both of the Falcos after losing to bobby [big ballz] in winners.” 

Setting the pace for the rest of the set, the two finalists came out swinging in blinding speed. In game one, n0ne kept control to narrowly take the first game. In game two, iBDW came out in full force, outplaying n0ne spectacularly, leading to the Captain Falcon main conceding the game to tie the set.

Game three brought rapid-fire stock trades throughout. n0ne ultimately messed up a recovery to bring the set into iBDW’s favor. At a similar pace to game three, iBDW maintained the momentum to capitalize and take control instantaneously in game four. Less than two minutes later, iBDW took the game to bring the Grand Finals to its second set, and giving iBDW his first-ever set win against n0ne.

“I was overall pretty happy about [the first set]. I thought I made enough adjustments versus [n0ne] personally. It’s weird, versus n0ne you almost have to play like a robot,” iBDW said. “Being able to play calm and not really giving into nerves or anything actually helped me a significant amount versus him.”

The fast-paced nature of the first set continued in the second. Though both players never let up, iBDW edged out n0ne to take the first game, but n0ne returned the favor in game two.

iBDW took game three to bring the set into his favor, but n0ne was not going down without a fight. He took back control with a convincing two stock victory to bring the set to game five on Yoshi’s Story.Even though n0ne had a little bit of control in game four, the wildly close nature of the rest of the set pursued in game five. iBDW caught n0ne on his last stock, only for n0ne to get a quick punish to bring the entire tournament down to one final stock apiece.

With everything on the line, n0ne gets a grab, followed by a variety of edgeguard attempts, but iBDW makes it back to shinespike n0ne, only for the Captain Falcon main to make it back to the stage. iBDW gets a double upair but n0ne barely survives. Both players reach 97% simultaneously. n0ne gets one neutral air that sends iBDW offstage, who reacts with a side-b slightly above the stage, which n0ne capitalizes on with a knee that takes iBDW’s final stock. Though fighting until the very last moment, iBDW fell to n0ne 2-3 to take 2nd place at Melee’s first rollback tournament.

“I think I have to play the neutral game a lot better, but overall I was definitely happy with [my] improvements in the matchup,” iBDW said. “Mentally, I was like, ‘Don’t worry. Whatever happens, you’re gonna play your best and eventually you’re gonna get there. If it’s not today it’ll be another day.’ I’m still hypercompetitive, but I’m trying to reframe it as like a long-term thing rather than a day-by-day thing.”

Heartbreaking as it may be, iBDW ascended to another level this tournament. From evening out his set count vs Hungrybox, to gaining set advantages against SFAT and Ginger, even to the bitter end where he put on a phenomenal show in Grand Finals, iBDW had a phenomenal and unique tournament run that serves as a turning point in his career.

Despite the new versatility of netplay, iBDW still believes that in-person tournaments require a different skill set than online tournaments, but that there is enough overlap that netplay is not meaningless. He believes that it is still great that people can get invested and enjoy Melee, as well as have a test run before the Ludwig Ahgren Championship Series.

“Overall, I’m happy that I can still do losers runs after a lot of personal turmoil in the past month,” iBDW said. “Losing some people and still being able to just keep my head in there and force myself to perform well [is something I’m happy about]. Finally, I feel like I don’t have to be scared of running into n0ne anymore because I don’t understand how to play against him.”

Throughout the new era of rollback Melee, iBDW will have more than plenty of opportunities in the near future to compete and find ways to reach the very top.


- @DanStackhouse14

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