When compared to the other invitees at Revival, Alan ‘AfroSmash’ Gardner arguably has the lowest tournament attendance of the bunch. His relationship with Smash Ultimate seems… complex, to put it one way, but there’s no doubt that anyone who chooses to sleep on him does so at their peril.

Having been one of the strongest Samus players in Europe across multiple Smash games, AfroSmash has taken a complete 180° in his character choice; settling for a flashy Incineroar that has all but replaced the zoning bounty hunter. Switching from a solid mid/high tier character to an arguable low tier would seem an odd choice to some. When players opt to move down the tier list when switching mains, it often suggests that the player is simply prioritising having fun with the game over winning at all costs. After the umpteenth down-tilt → back air Twitter clip, this perhaps rings true for AfroSmash. He’s here for a good time. 

On his day, we’ve seen AfroSmash take out the likes of skips, Aperture, Zone, Scholes and Jaxter. We’ve also seen him drop plenty of sets to his local Bristol compatriots, often (citation needed) when he’s opted to pull out the fan-favourite Incineroar. His regional dominance is not quite what it had been a few years ago. 

AfroSmash’s offline attendance has been spotty at best, which should therefore leave nobody surprised at his lack of online tournament results. The only recorded online event he has is Red Bull’s Front Runners Online Finale, where he was double eliminated by Jaka; a Swiss Isabelle player. I think most would forgive a retirement from online after experiencing that. 

Coming into Revival, all signs point to AfroSmash sticking it out with his Incineroar, but we’ll have to see if he falls back on Samus at all over the weekend. AfroSmash has historically been a player that can turn it on when he’s up for the challenge, but we’ll have to see how far his drive will take him against other very hungry invitees. 

If nothing else, we can hopefully expect to see some banger tweets from him during the weekend. Or something about anime girls and feet. We’ll see. 

Interview

1. Have you played much online Smash during lockdown? 

At the start of lockdown I played quite a lot, mostly doing FT10s with other UK players, but in 2021 I’ve barely touched the game beyond some Elite Smash dabbling when I’m bored.

2. How confident do you feel going into Revival? 

Honestly not sure, I’ve never really played Incineroar vs other high level players in tournament, definitely not expecting to win but hoping to make an upset or 2.

3. Which invitee do you think will have improved the most during lockdown? 

Peli because he’s not playing Dedede anymore (or so he says…)

4. What are your Smash goals heading into post-lockdown offline Smash?

Cheese as many people with Incineroar as possible. 

5. Prediction for 1st place at Revival? (offline main event)

OwlBBs the GOAT.