Smash History: 2007 in Melee and our Top Ten

If we’re living through Super Smash Bros. Melee’s platinum age, nine years ago was the game’s golden, MLG-ridden, Smashboards-centric era: a time when language on the Internet was even more offensive than today, Nickelback dominated the radio and it was still cool to play Guitar Hero.

To players whose knowledge of the competitive Melee scene comes from the “smash documentary:” there might be a few missing pieces in your knowledge of Melee history. Michael “Catastrophe” Forde and I worked on a “RetroSSBMRank” for 2007, figuring out whom the year’s Top 10 players were. We’ll be doing this for each year up to 2013, when Melee It On Me started the regular SSBMRank.m

As people who have only known of the scene since Apex 2013, we are not definitively the experts of smash history nor are we perfect Melee analysts. Moreover, all the records we’ve compiled are according to just the data we’ve collected so far. We understand that our head-to-head numbers are only exact according to what we’ve found, so feel free to consider this a “living piece” and not be too offended by our rankings.

That said, Catastrophe and I spent countless hours looking through smashboards, Nintendojo, ssbwiki and through old TIO files to collect our data, which you can see near the bottom of the page. If you have any more results you’d like to tell us about, please tweet at or contact us in another way (particularly about FC Diamond, where the bracket was lost). Otherwise, feel free to do the research yourself and come to different conclusions.

With that said, let’s start with each of our honorable mentions (we made sure not to repeat anyone) before we get into our list.

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 2.00.38 PM

ANOKH:

Amsah “amsah” Augustuszoon

Because we have little data against Americans from him to work on, neither of us thought it was fair to put Amsah on the list. However, based on his performances in Europe alone, Amsah might have been the most dominant in-region player on the planet. According to ssbwiki, the legendary Dutch Sheik main did not lose a single tournament all year, finishing first at every tournament he entered, with only a single dropped set to Helios.

Dustin “Darc” Hayes

When smashers think of Jigglypuff, they usually think Hungrybox. Older smashers might think of Mango or The King. Darc, however, was quietly always one of the world’s best players and in 2007 had a good case as its most consistent Jigglypuff player. As the best Melee player in Maine, Darc also took sets off fellow New Englanders in Cort and KoreanDJ, along with sending PC Chris to losers bracket at IVesticle. Beating KoreanDJ alone gives Darc a solid argument for Top Ten, even if he isn’t on my list.

Alex “DieSuperFly” Fuentes

One of the older members of the DBR crew (you can look up what their acronym means) and having taken a set from Ken in 2004, the Southern California Sheik main is a staple of old-school Melee. On SoCal’s power rankings from October 28, 2007, DSF was No. 4, with a 5-2 record over the region’s No. 2 at the time in Mango. His 49th place at Zero Challenge 3 (OC3) with losses to Lunaris and Wobbles stings in what’s otherwise an impressive year.

Jesse “Vidjogamer” Werner

Arguably one of the Midwest’s best players with Tink, Dope, Drephen and Darkrain, Ohio’s best Peach main had a great 2007, beating Lucky and Cactuar en route to a seventh-place at OC3 and a fifth-place showing at FC Diamond, the year’s second biggest tournament, in addition to a 2-2 record with Drephen. However, the lack of data we could find for Vidjogamer hurt his ranking on the list, as well as his losses to Husband and Scar at Viva La Smashtaclysm late into the year.  

Hugo “HugS” Gonzalez

Probably my most controversial pick for an honorable mention, the second-place finisher at EVO World 2007 initially seemed like a lock for Top Ten when I started my initial research. But given the talent at the top, it was hard to definitively argue him over the person I placed as my number 10. Either way, HugS’ strong showing in 2007 showed that he was a force to be reckoned with. Plus, it’s not like he had no argument for Top Ten – it was extremely close deciding between him and other names on the list.

MICHAEL:

Daniel “Jiano” Hart

Jiano started the year off as No. 13 on the Midwest Power Rankings, but by the end of the year, he was undoubtedly one of the region’s best players, taking multiple sets over Drephen, Tink and Darkrain. However, his biggest accomplishment was his breakout performance at Pound 2, where he placed an astonishing 3rd over PC Chris, Cort and Chillin. At this tournament, he defeated Husband, Cort, Chillin and brought Chu Dat to a fifth game in Winners Finals after making an astonishing comeback in the set’s fourth game. Although his negative record against Dope and occasional losses to players outside of the elite bar him keep him from cracking the Top Ten, Jiano’s Pound 2 run and rise as a player was one of the most exciting storylines of 2007.

James “Dope” Hafner

Dope was an amazing Falco player, mainly known for being ranked No. 1 in the Midwest and No. 9 in the world by the Smash Panel Power Rankings in 2006. He continued to be a force in 2007, with positive records over every top Midwest player he faced except Drephen. Due to his scarce presence at nationals, his only two being VLS and FC Diamond where he got a pair of 17th places, it’s hard to rank him higher, though he certainly had the skill to compete with the Top 10.

David “Darkrain” John

The legendary Falcon player wasn’t in his prime yet, but by the end of 2006 with a fifth at FC6 and a 9th at MLG Orlando, Darkrain was already started to showcase himself as a national threat. 2007 continued Darkrain’s uphill climb, with consistent top three placings at regionals, hosting wins over Tink, Jiano, DaShizWiz and even a set over Dope. His finest achievement, however, came at FC Diamond, where he placed an astonishing 7th, defeating the likes of Vidjogamer and Pacific Northwest monster Luigi Ka-Master – a top player on his own. By the end of 2007, Darkrain had a viable claim as the best Falcon in the world.

Tony “Taj” Jackson

Taj, the Mewtwo connoisseur and creator of the Shadowclaw combo video series, is probably best known for his startling Genesis 2 run four years later. However, Taj was still one of Melee’s better players in 2007. With positive records on HugS, Cort and Wobbles in the year, he only struggled to take a set off the world’s top seven. While both Taj and fellow Arizona legend Forward showed impressive resumes, what pushes Taj ahead for me is his strong presence at nationals. Taj placed 7th at Pound 2, ahead of Forward’s 9th, with wins over Cactuar and Cort coming for the Arizona Marth and Mewtwo legend. He also had an astonishing 5th place at FC Diamond, defeating Cort once again and beating Darkrain. Compare that to Forward’s 25th, which came from losses to Ka-Master and Lambchops.

Bronson “DaShizWiz” Layton

Before becoming an easy pick for Top 5 in the world, Shiz started to break it big in 2007. At the time, the Florida Falco was the best in his state, consistently beating the likes of Lambchops and only had a rare loss to KeepSpeedN, Shiz’s brother and training partner. Moreover, Shiz placed seventh at FC Diamond, sporting a notable win over Chillindude. At the same tournament, Shiz notably brought it extremely close with Mew2King at FC Diamond in Winner’s Quarters, losing to unfortunate circumstances involving Mute City.
Without further ado, here’s our final RetroSSBMRank for 2007, ranked mainly on what people thought at the time, while giving bias towards bigger and later tournaments that year.

If you’re still here, congratulations! You’ve made it past our lengthy honorable mentions list. Here’s our Top Ten for RetroSSBMRank 2007!

ANOKH:

10. Joseph “Mango” Marquez

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A cropped photo from Mango’s MySpace page of him at EVO World 2007.


Perhaps hindsight inflates my view of Mango, but by the end of 2007 no one could sleep on SoCal’s No. 2. Already finishing third at EVO, with victories over Mew2King (albeit in a best of one), Chillin and Ken, Mango also had an impressive showing at Super Champ Combo, where he beat PC Chris and placed third after losing to Mew2King in winners and losing the rematch with PC Chris. Even having a losing record against DSF and sometimes struggling with Edrees, BoA and DC over the first half of the year, Mango was indubitably the heir to Ken’s throne on the West Coast by the end of 2007.

MICHAEL:

The arguably greatest Melee player of all time started his journey in 2007, but saw a quick rise to the top after only six months or so of concentrated effort. While he never won any larger tournaments, Mango showed amazing consistency in the second half of the year, finishing with a 3-2 record against HugS and consistently placing in the top three of SoCal locals and regionals. His biggest accomplishments came at his breakout tournament EVO World 2007 and Super Champ Combo, with wins over Mew2King (in a best of one), Chillin, Ken, HugS and PC Chris. In addition, he even travelled out sometimes, including a dominant showing in Arizona where he defeated Taj, Wobbles and Forward (twice) to win a regional.

9. Paul “Cort” Rogoza

cort
Cort to the left of PC Chris, playing against Chillin and Chu Dat. Photo per smashboards.

ANOKH:

One of New England’s top three players and a model of consistency, Cort, arguably the world’s best Peach player has victories over Chu Dat and Chillin. Picking between him, Mango, HugS and Darc was extremely difficult, but I gave Cort the nod over all of them for longtime experience and placing highly at every attended national with over 100 people, MLG Long Island being the only tournament he wasn’t able to place well at. Being No. 1 ranked in Connecticut during 2007 also helped, along with having a Marth secondary that provided a foundation for PPMD’s Marth to build on years later.

MICHAEL:

While many considered Vidjo to be the superior Peach at the start of the year, by the end of the year it was difficult to ignore Cort. He showed amazing consistency throughout the whole year, rarely having upset losses, with the exception of an 0-2 set disadvantage to Taj and losses to Reik and Kaiser. Even still, Cort was easily top three in New England, as well as Connecticut’s best. Along with taking a set off PC Chris, Cort’s other great wins come with his win over Mango in pools at Super Champ Combo, as well as his amazing 3-1 record over Chu Dat and wins over Chillin, Shiz and Cactuar.

8. Drew “Drephen” Scoles


ANOKH:

Drephen is part of a small group of people that beat Mew2King in 2007 and also held a 2-0 record over Azen, who was one of the MD/VA region’s three best players. These wins, as well as his strong local record over fellow Midwest contemporaries like Vidjogamer and Dope, gave Drephen the nod as his region’s best player at nationals. For a year where Marth still dominated the smash metagame, Drephen’s prowess in the matchup stood as an impressive reminder of his value.

MICHAEL:

Drephen is best known for his win over Mew2King near the end of 2007, but he still was having an excellent year. Undoubtedly the best in the Midwest at the time, Drephen was a scary force locally, hosting positive records over everybody in his region with the exception of an even 2-2 record with Vidjo. He also even travelled out to MD/VA a handful of times, where he sported wins over both Chillin and Azen. He had consistent top five finishes at every national he went to, with fifth at Pound 2, OC3 and VLS, as well as an impressive fourth at FC Diamond.

7. Kashan “Chillin” Khan

ANOKH:

Famous for already defeating one Marth legend (Ken) in the past, Chillin shocked the world with his upset of Mew2King at EVO World 2007, only to do it again months later to prove it wasn’t a fluke. Although he stayed winless (0-4) against Azen for the year, Chillin went 1-2 against PC Chris and maintained consistent dominance against Chu Dat (9-2).  Top-eight finishes at Pound 2, VLS and EVO World solidify his place among 2007’s best smashers.

MICHAEL:

While many will point to the days of his wins over Ken in 2004 and 2005 for Chillin’s peak year, I’d point to the year 2007, where I feel he played better than any other time in his career. Chillin showed dominance locally, very rarely losing to anybody outside of Azen, including Chu Dat, whom Chillin held an impressive 9-2 record against throughout the year. While he did not perform as dominantly on a national scale, Chillin still took sets off of Forward, Jiano, Dope and Cort, double eliminated Drephen at Pound 2, beat PC Chris once and even had two sets over Mew2King in the year. Despite an underwhelming performance at Smashtality III (13th,with losses to Reik and Zanguzen), Chillin was astounding throughout the year.

6. Christopher “Azen” McMullen

ANOKH:

Azen might have been MD/VA’s best player in-region, having a combined 8-1 record against Chillin and Chu Dat. Though his lack of travel somewhat hurts his ability to be ranked higher, his best head to head win of the year outside his area was a victory was against KoreanDJ at VLS. At that same tourney, he also defeated PC Chris and Chu Dat, finishing in first place to close out the final major tournament of 2007.

MICHAEL:

While Azen’s prime was certainly behind him at this point in time, that didn’t stop the Master of Diversity from still showing he had what it takes to be at the top. Azen was undisputedly the best local player in MD/VA, but his run to 1st place at VLS, the last major of the year, was arguably even more impressive. At this tournament, he defeated KoreanDJ, PC Chris and Chu Dat twice to take the crown. Despite his relative lack of travel and negative records against Drephen, PC Chris and Mew2King, Azen proved more than capable of being a contender to take any tournament he entered.

5. Daniel “Chu Dat” Rodriguez

chu dat pose
Photo per Melee It On Me, of Chu Dat (on the right) and Forward making Chu’s famous pose.


ANOKH:

Despite a long list of upsets, as well as losing records against Ken (1-5), Azen and Chillin, Chu Dat was by far the most successful in MD/VA against out-of-region opponents. In 2007, he was one of two people to hold a winning record over Mew2King (6-4) in tournament, which shines in comparison to Azen’s 0-4 record against Mew2King and Chillin’s 2-6.

Chu Dat is also one of four people (Mew2King, Ken and PC Chris) to win a tournament with over 200 people in it (Pound 2), cementing his place at least among the top five. Even with occasionally unpredictable results, Chu Dat’s presence at nationals and high ceiling were more than enough to offset his lows.

MICHAEL:

Chu Dat, formerly ranked No. 2 in the world by 2006’s Smash Panel power rankings, showed tremendous peaks in 2007, also hosting an even 2-2 record against KoreanDJ. However, he also sometimes struggled against his contemporaries, as illustrated by a 1-3 record against Cort, 1-4 records against Azen and PC Chris each and poor 1-5 and 2-9 records against Ken and Chillin, respectively.

Nonetheless, the Ice Climbers extraordinaire (with effective Pikachu and Young Link secondaries) was still capable of defeating anybody in the world on any given day. Perfect records over Drephen, Darc, Mango and HugS help his case, in addition to his strong presence at Pound 2, when he defeated PC Chris, an on-fire Jiano and Mew2King twice to take the 200-person tournament. While the year was not of 2006 highs, 2007 ensures Chu’s place as one of the greatest of all time.

Michael and I agreed for the first six members of our top ten, but didn’t agree on the order between our No. 4 and No. 2 spot. We’ll be going through my order first and then his.

4. Christopher “PC Chris” Szygiel

pc chris.jpg
A photo of PC Chris, per the ssbwiki.

If you were skeptical, you could point to PC Chris’s 2007 3-12 record against Mew2King and 0-4 head-to-head record against KoreanDJ, but it also doesn’t hurt that PC Chris has a positive or even record against every other smasher he’s played against, including a 5-1 lead on Chu Dat, 13-1 against Cort and 3-1 against Darc.

Moreover, in addition to his consistently high placings everywhere (top three placings at Super Champ Combo, EVO West and FC Diamond), PC Chris also has arguably one of the best tournament runs of the year. After being sent into losers at OC3 by Mew2King, he then proceeded to beat Edrees, Forward, HugS, Vidjo, Drephen, Ken, Chu Dat and Mew2King (twice). A forefather of the Fox/Falco meta already, PC Chris also had a great secondary Peach that Mew2King considered best in the world a year later – and even a Marth that defeated KoreanDJ in dittos all three times played during a set.

3. Daniel “KoreanDJ” Jung

Except for losing his only set against Azen and going 2-2 with Chu Dat, KoreanDJ held winning records against every other Melee competitor in the head-to-head, including a 3-1 lead over Mew2King and 4-0 record over PC Chris in the year. With a formidable Sheik, Marth and Fox, KoreanDJ’s perceived skill ceiling was so huge that a year later when Mango won Pound 3, a member of Smashboards wrote in the results thread, “kdj totally woulda won this.”

Undeniably New England’s best player and arguably the world’s most talented, KoreanDJ isn’t No. 1 on my list due to his lack of a big national title outside of MLG Long Island, which only had 71 entrants. This, is likely due to his responsibilities attending school, which turn his legacy from just one as one of the game’s legends to one of its biggest what-ifs, along with 2016 Leffen and 2015 PPMD.

2. Ken “SephirothKen” Hoang

The King of Smash, Marth innovator and formerly the world’s best player, Ken still dominated his region more than anyone else and won what was at the time the biggest Melee tournament of all-time. If consistency is a hallmark of greatness, Ken’s only national losses for the year were to Mango at EVO World, Mew2King and PC Chris at OC3, along with sets against Wobbles and Chu Dat (5-1) near the end of the year, where Ken played Luigi for part of his losses.

Yet despite not traveling much out of his region at the time, Ken split sets with PC Chris (1-1) and held a combined 7-1 record against SoCal’s No. 2 and No. 3 players, while never losing to anyone ranked beneath them and winning two of the 12 biggest tournaments of the year. Once to you take into account his history, as well as sustained greatness on the world’s biggest stage, it’s obvious that even a year after he started to lose some of his luster, Ken was still about as good as anyone.

4. Ken “SephirothKen” Hoang

The King of Smash had nothing more to prove going into 2007, with an impressive run as undisputed No. 1 from the early MLG-days. To this day, he is still heralded as a top three Melee player all-time. But Ken wasn’t done just yet – and in his swan song delivered another incredible year. Dominating at locals, Ken never dropped a set, holding wins over Chu Dat, DSF, HugS and Mango.

While he never traveled often, Ken came out to the biggest tournament of the year, EVO World 2007, to prove he still had what it took to be the best. Coming off a disappointing fourth place at his own tournament, OC3, with losses to M2K and PC Chris, Ken eventually proved he could still play like the greatest player in the world, defeating Chu Dat twice, PC Chris and destroying Mango in one of the most lopsided top level rematches of all time. Ken then beat HugS twice in Grand Finals to take the tournament. Even with a disappointing 7th at Super Champ Combo, Ken had nothing left to prove, inarguably Melee’s face and champion.

3. Christopher “PC Chris” Szygiel

PC Chris ended his year in 2006 as arguably the greatest in the world, winning what some consider the first true super-major: MLG Las Vegas, for $10,000 in prize money. Despite losses to Cort, Darc, HugS, Chillin and G-Reg, PC Chris remained remarkably consistent, rarely losing to anybody below him and doing well against his contemporaries throughout 2007.

A positive record on Azen and a dominating record on Chu Dat help PC Chris’s case, along with a miraculous run at OC3 to win the whole tournament from losers, defeating the likes of HugS, Forward, Vidjo, Drephen, Ken, Chu Dat and Mew2King – whom he had to beat twice.

2. Daniel “KoreanDJ” Jung

KoreanDJ was potentially the best player in the world. The Massachusetts legend won multiple tournaments over PC Chris and even MLG Long Island 2007 over Mew2King, Chu Dat and PC, probably his greatest accomplishment in the year and one of the most impressive winners bracket runs ever.

However, due to school priorities, KDJ was unable to attend as much as he probably wanted to, causing him to fall behind and not attend OC3, FC Diamond, EVO World or Super Champ Combo. When KoreanDJ finally returned, losses to Azen and Chu Dat for third at VLS hurt his case for best in the world, even with a win over Mew2King. Two local losses to Darc further dampen his path to No. 2. Who knows – if school never got in the way, you might think that our No. 1’s legacy could have been KoreanDJ’s.



1. Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman

ANOKH:

Contrary to popular belief, 2007 Mew2King wasn’t unbeatable. He had losing records to KoreanDJ (1-3) and Chu Dat (4-6), while also placing out at the biggest tournament’s top eight. Mew2King also had losses to Drephen, Cactuar and Chillin (twice) in the year, while also placing out of the top eight at the world’s biggest tournament partially because of losing a best-of-one set against Mango.

But out of the 12 tournaments of the year that had over 100 people, Mew2King won four of them: FC Diamond, Super Champ Combo, Cataclysm III and EVO West. FC Diamond and SCC were two of five tourneys with over 200 people in 2007. Ken is the only other player who won more than one tournament with over 100 people and no one in the year won multiple 200-people tourneys outside of Mew2King, whose Marth at its best looked impeccable against even people he held losing records against. It’s not a controversial pick, but with a punish game years ahead of his time and a legendarily meticulous approach to pushing Melee’s limits, Mew2King is without a doubt my No. 1 pick for 2007.

MICHAEL:

Going into this project, I originally thought that Mew2King’s “reign” was a bit overhyped, with his losing records against KoreanDJ and Chu Dat. However, upon further research, it’s hard to deny just how strong Mew2King was in the year.

While every player of 2007 had their fair share of upset losses, Mew2King’s “worst loss” in Cactuar is ultimately forgivable given how much Mew2King entered and won any tournament he could. The New Jersey Marth main stood dominant over the rest of the scene, with a decimating win against Ken in the one set they played at OC3, a 4-0 record vs Azen and a dominating 12-3 record against perhaps his most frequent rival, PC Chris. I couldn’t find a local tournament that Mew2King lost, as he dominated every Tri-State local and regional. His wins at FC Diamond, Cataclysm 3 and Super Champ Combo are astounding and he has more major wins than anybody else in the year. That’s not even including his wins at EVO East and EVO West, also over stiff competition. Despite not being unbeatable like many would lead you to believe, Mew2King was still the clear top dog at the time. He is both of our picks for the best player of 2007.

OUR HUGE DATA DUMP OF TOURNEY RESULTS:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pW3x_fDfBzl1ZiqK6JvkzObEsQLsucfUK7BWM1Fk6OE/edit

Enjoy.

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