The Grand Championships took place on the Battlefield stage and then the contestants picked their characters:
Notice anything about that list? Yeah, the contestants were really favoring Ike. We caught up with Lee Martin after he successfully passed the first round of three on his way to the final and asked “Why Ike?”
The Louisiana native explained that Ike was a heavy hitter and on a stage like Battlefield where there are no walls, his down-slash can make all the difference. Also, it’s not as easy to get Ike airborne, making him that much harder to kill.
Above: The Battlefield stage
After watching Meta Knight and Zelda get floated to oblivion in the first round, we saw what he meant. Lighter characters tend to fly farther when hit and if they’re up against heavy-hitters with a more solid base (like Ike, or even King Dedede), once they’re airborne, it’s all over.
The Lucas vs. Lucas match was quite possibly the most interesting brawl we witnessed in the first round. After trouncing his doppelganger, Austin Cornelius (cool name, huh?) of Dallas, TX was kind enough to chat with us about why he picked the sniffling sidekick of Ness.
“I usually play as Ness,” he said, but because Ness isn’t a starting character in Brawl, he had to go with Lucas instead. “I tried a [few other characters] in the other tournaments, but I just liked Lucas the best. And everybody else chose guys with swords.”
Austin had a point - the sword swingers were dominating the competition and in round II, not even Lucas’s amazing recoveries were enough to get by Link. The sword's range makes it that much harder to get inside a swordsmen’s guard and float him - and if you can’t do that, you can’t score a KO on the Battlefield stage.
Zelda, Kirby, Meta Knight, Pikachu and one of the Ice Climbers and Lucas sets each were knocked out in the first round by sword swingers. Round II saw the introduction of Mario (the guy got a free pass on the first round and don’t give him crap for it; he had a broken arm and a broken thumb), but not even he could stand up to Ike’s long-range swings.