With Mew2King coming off a strong stretch of two tournaments (third at WTFox 2, 2nd at CEO) under a new sponsor, it’s natural to wonder whether we’re going to see a “Return of the King” like in late 2013, when Mew2King went on streak of winning tournaments like the Big House 3, Fight Pitt III and Pound V.5. Unlike previous years where players like Armada and Hungrybox stood as almost impenetrable roadblocks, 2016 marks a time when Mew2King has shown that he has the ability to 3-0 both of them or play them closely. If there’s a time for him to finally deliver to his longtime fans, it’s at competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee’s biggest stage: EVO 2016.
Similar to what I did with Hungrybox last week, I decided to take a look at Mew2King’s punish game off grabs against Fox and Falco – specifically on what’s considered his best stage: Final Destination. He’s 7-2 on the stage so far in the matchup this year, but he still has a lot of room to improve. Here’s the result of each of his initial grabs against a Fox or Falco on FD during a Top 32 in 2016, along with an info-chart I made.
(For reference, I counted only initial grabs and all damage that came afterwards as a result of positioning or true hits. Regrabs didn’t count nor did I count grabs that came as a result of stage positioning off a punish. The data also comes from all the streamed national Top 32 tournament matches I could find of Mew2King’s Marth vs. a space animal player on FD.)
|Match||Starting Percent||Ending Percent||Total Percent||KO (N/Y)|
|v. SFAT at Genesis 3||0||12||12||N|
|v. Mango (Falco) at PAX||3||6||3||N|
|v. Mango (Falco) at PAX||25||41||16||N|
|v. Ice at Smash Summit 2||30||176||146||Y|
|v. Mango (Falco) at EGLX||2||29||27||N|
|v. Mango (Fox) at EGLX||32||71||39||N|
|v. Mango (Falco) at Dreamhack Austin||2||15||13||N|
|v. Leffen at GOML 2016||26||137||111||Y|
|v. SFAT at CEO 2016||26||51||25||N|
|AVERAGES||32.79||77.61||44.82||42.86 percent KO rate|
Unlike what many attribute to an “optimal” playstyle, Mew2King’s strengths on FD don’t necessarily come from his ability to zero-to-death his opponents off the chaingrab alone. In fact, the lack of platforms helps Mew2King edgeguard more effectively, since space animals don’t have as many recovery options when they’re offstage. As you can see from which percents Mew2King gets his biggest punishes from, he is still explosive in his aerial punish game and brilliant at extending a combo out of combo percents.
However, if he’s unable to push his opponents off-stage, Mew2King struggles with converting relatively early grabs into kills, as you can tell from his much lower KO rate off early percents. This is mostly due to him preferring to uptilt in the early percents against Fox and Falco, rather than doing the technically challenging, but higher-reward pivot grabbing. As any Marth can tell you, if you’re not consistent in your grab conversions on FD, you’re going to enter a whole world of hurt against Fox and Falco, who have their own devastating punish games on Marth.
Although he’s still easily the best Marth in the world on FD, Mew2King is clearly imperfect and nowhere close to invincible when it comes to facing space animals. We’ve seen Mango’s Falco give Mew2King trouble in 2016, going 2-2 over the year on FD and being the only space animal to take games from Mew2King’s Marth on the stage this year. That’s not even counting Leffen’s dominant victories on FD last summer or an infamous exhibition match against Armada at the first Smash Summit, a YouTuber called “the saddest anime death of all time.” It’s natural to wonder if Mew2King is losing his touch, if opponents are catching up or if it’s just a slump that’s come with age and split time between focusing on Melee and Smash 4.
Then again, we’ve also seen moments of dominance, like his four-stocks on Ice and SFAT this year and last year’s dominant victories over Leffen and Westballz at other times. Chances are that come EVO, when the majority of sets are best-of-three, every space animal player will ban Final Destination if facing Mew2King in bracket. But moving forward, his combos, how he gets them, and the extent in which he pushes them nevertheless remain a fascinating topic for studying.