Smash History: The most controversial decisions of RetroSSBMRank (so far)

Hey, everyone! As you might have heard already, the RetroSSBMRank articles are taking a bit of a backseat at the moment, due to the amount of time it’s taking to get head to head results for 2005 tournaments. We could just analyze placings from majors back then, but because Michael (Catastrophe) and I want to be certain of our rankings and collect more specific data, we’ve decided to put the project on a short hiatus while we work on other content.

Today, we’ll be looking at some of our most controversial decisions that we’ve made in our RetroSSBMRank lists and viewing them through a more self-critical lens – or at least trying not to be too defensive. Here’s some of the picks that we noticed gained us a fair amount of discussion and criticism.

10. Cort at No. 3 in 2008

ANOKH:

At Shine 2016, I talked to Elen (A New England TO from back then) about our 2008 rankings. He told me that he enjoyed the Smash History articles, but heavily disagreed with placing Cort at No. 3 for the year, given the fragility of the scene and how tournament results back then were not always indicative of skill. Most people back then would frequently split winnings, collude in bracket, play secondaries and generally go to tournaments just to meet up with friends from other regions.

According to him, nobody in their right mind back then would have ranked Cort so highly, as he still lost to KoreanDJ whenever they played at locals. To this day, I’m not quite sure whether Cort was actually the world’s third best player, but based on the results, it seems pretty clear that what little data we have for the year seemed to back him up as No. 3. Whether this is a good method of judging skill or not is certainly a good topic to debate and admittedly not something I’m necessarily sure about.

MICHAEL:

When people look back on Melee history, most will think of the gods, Ken, Azen, PC Chris, KoreanDJ and Chu as the perennial top players of their eras. However, we shouldn’t forget that for a short period of time, Cort broke through into that upper echelon. Many people have viewed our list and asked how Cort could ever be third in the world if they had never heard of him before, some even calling us outright wrong.

However, if you look at the results, it’s tough to argue against him. With two sets on Mew2King in Falcon dittos (A Falcon that had beaten PC Chris’ Falco on Final Destination in the past), as well as positive records on PC Chris, Azen, an in-practice Vidjogamer and more, the New England Peach showed consistency in his victories over the course of 2008. A few losses to Lambchops, DoH, Darc and KoreanDJ might hurt his overall record, but compare that to PC’s losses to Z, Darkrain and Chinesahh, or Chu’s losses to Skler, XIF and Spam.

Azen would be another good choice for No. 3 in 2008, but his severe lack of attendance allowed him to avoid potential upsets, whereas Cort attended a lot and still shined in almost every tournament.

VERDICT: It depends on your criteria.

9. Kage not in the Top 10 for 2009

ANOKH:

You’d think Kage’s place in our Top 10 would be guaranteed, given his notable presence at majors, with a successful Revival of Melee and Revival of Melee 2 (with by far the biggest upset of the year over Mango twice). These tournaments helped bring Ganondorf to the front of mid-tier debates. But contrary to popular belief by most smashers, Kage wasn’t the best player in Canada.

In fact, the country as a whole was still relatively unknown (pun fully intended) and unproven in terms of talent. Kage was clearly the shining star, with his victories over Azen, KoreanDJ and Mango, but he also still lost a good amount of locals to other names like Vwins, RaynEX and Unknown522. I thought it was more fitting to put the country as an honorable mention in our list than to only include Kage over a player like Dr. PeePee. If you value national wins a lot though, you could justifiably put him higher.

MICHAEL:

Some people might have seen it, but in case you haven’t, on my preliminary 2009 list made on GameFAQs, I had Kage at No. 9, mainly on the back of his amazing RoM performances. However, upon review of Kage’s local results, it’s a little much to give him that Top 10 privilege I once did.

In addition, Kage had multiple losses even out of region, to the likes of Ali (AKA I’ve Jihad It), Cactuar, Diakanos, and Zelgadis, alongside many other losses. All of these lows offset his amazing peaks, and it makes it difficult to argue Kage being a Top 10 player in the world, even if he had a few magical moments.

VERDICT: Depends on your criteria.

8. Hungrybox over Mew2King for 2009

ANOKH:

When Michael first told me that Hungrybox should be ranked above Mew2King in 2009, I initially rejected the idea. Not only did nobody at the time think that Hungrybox was that good, he also had a losing record (11-13) against Colbol, who barely made our honorable mentions. Of course, part of our criteria for our ranking system is whether or not it was reasonable by the end of the selected year to place a player at their spot in a power ranking.

However, if you take a look at Hungrybox’s losses at nationals, there really isn’t much to complain about. PC Chris, Chu Dat and Mango aren’t exactly bad names to lose to – and most of them came as a result of Hungrybox being comically underseeded at Revival of Melee and GENESIS: the year’s two biggest tournaments. Factor in his superior record against the rest of the top ten in comparison to Mew2King and I think Hungrybox certainly was the year’s third best player, with the main criticism of him coming from him playing “gay” and losing to Colbol.

MICHAEL:

I didn’t expect Hungrybox to be top three in the world in 2009. Many people immediately disagreed with it both before and after we published our list, such as Scar, Toph and Juggleguy. The negative response really made me re-think my conclusions.

However, upon looking back, I don’t see how anybody could NOT put Hungrybox above Mew2King for No. 3 in the world. His first half of the year was up and down, but starting with GENESIS, Hungrybox stepped it up. He outplaced Mew2King at every tourney they both attended from then on, held a positive record on him in the head to head (4-2), and even won one of the biggest majors of the year in Revival of Melee 2.

VERDICT: 100 percent justifiable.

7. Jman over Darkrain for No. 10 in 2008

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ANOKH:

Sorry, Juggleguy. I know Darkrain beat PC Chris earlier in the year and technically had been more established at this point, but Jman was far more active in the second half of the year. In addition to his activity, Jman was also the only person after Pound 3 to take a serious set off Mew2King for the rest of the year – and even more impressively as Fox!

It’s weird to understand now, given how much the meta has changed in Fox’s favor, but back in 2008, Mew2King was thought of as unbeatable if you played his Marth or Fox, particularly on Final Destination. Jman’s accomplishment in beating him in a set, along with breaking out in arguably the world’s most stacked region at the time (Tri-state), made him a force to watch heading into 2009, giving him the No. 10 spot from me.

MICHAEL:

I originally volleyed for either Vidjo or Darkrain at the No. 10 spot in 2008, but after further research, Vidjo was out of the running, placing comparatively awful for the few tourneys he entered after his fifth place at Pound 3. This left it down to Jman and Darkrain, which was actually a tough decision.

Darkrain was easily the best in the Midwest in 2008 after Pound 3, getting seventh at said tourney and living up to his hype with a third place at the biggest Midwest regional of the year, Event 52. Jman, on the other hand, had a horrendous first half of the year, traditionally losing to Eggm and Cactuar and not even making bracket at Pound 3.

However, Jman was able to drastically level up the second half of the year, to the point where he was practically a different person. Along with now beating local players he used to lose to, Jman defeated Darkrain twice at Event 52 to place second at the event, though the sets were insanely close. Add in the win over Mew2King and you could see why placing Jman as No. 10 by the end of 2008 was not too crazy.

VERDICT: It’s a tossup, but favorable to Jman.

6. Fly Amanita at No. 10 in 2010

ANOKH:

It might seem surprising that we view Fly so highly from 2010 onwards, but there’s good reason to. In addition to defeating our 2010 pick for No. 1 in the last major of the year, Fly also went back and forth with SoCal’s No. 2 at the time, Lucky, finishing with a 4-4 record. He also did extremely well against Lucien, who was at that point arguably NorCal’s best active player.

Think about whom Fly’s contemporaries were for the last spot in our Top 10. SilentSpectre, Zgetto and Wobbles were all great players at the time, but SilentSpectre, despite a win over Armada in January, also didn’t play as much in the second half of the year, while Zgetto didn’t offer us enough data. In hindsight, Wobbles was the only other person that could have been considered for the No. 10 spot, but Fly’s win over Hungrybox at Don’t Go Down There Jeff cemented his place on our list.

MICHAEL:

When both of us started this project, we thought to ourselves that we’d get a fonder appreciation for a few non-god players. For example, I expected to gain a whole new level of appreciation for Lovage, Jman and Cort. One player I was pleasantly surprised by was Fly Amanita.

Fly was a monster in SoCal, especially in 2010, touting strong results locally. While he rarely travelled in the year, top players played him at Don’t Go Down There Jeff, where Fly was able to defeat both Lucky and Hungrybox, two Top 10 level players, on his road to fifth place at his only national in the year. He would continue his success in 2011, proving it wasn’t a fluke, illustrating an amazing story that essentially added Fly to the conversation regarding the greatest ICs players of all time.

VERDICT: Hell yeah, we were right.

5. Hungrybox over Mango in 2010

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ANOKH:

Okay, we get it. Mango had moments like the infamous jab rest punish at Pound 4, sandbagged the whole year, still beat most people and, in the same tournament I just mentioned, won without dropping a single set. But unlike 2008, where the game was basically dead, most people began to care again about tournaments in the post-GENESIS era. Sandbagging wasn’t as good of an excuse any more for losses, though Mango’s fans certainly excused all of his losses back then.

Plus, it’s not like Mango was totally unbeatable when he played his mains. Ask Cactuar, who beat his Falco at Apex 2010 or even Hungrybox, who eliminated his Fox at Don’t Go Down There Jeff, the year’s last major. Even if you wanted to argue that Mango wasn’t trying because he didn’t play Jigglypuff, keep in mind that Mango also didn’t think Jigglypuff was that good and at that point was better with both of his spacies.

MICHAEL:

Before I go into this: yes – Mango was likely the best player in the world in terms of skill, as the infamous money matches against Hungrybox after Apex 2010 showed. If this list was based entirely on perception, Mango would more than likely be our pick for No. 1 in 2010. However, for our list, we look at the results too, and in those results, Mango did not shine.

Deciding to sandbag or get drunk at most tourneys, Mango was barely able to rack up wins after his stellar Pound 4 victory. Negative records against Mew2King, Jman and KirbyKaze, even with secondaries, do not help his case. The fact that he sandbagged at several of the biggest tourneys of the year should be a detriment to his ranking, not an excuse. I could ignore this if he only did it at locals, or even just one major, but consistently going Mario, Marth, Link or Falcon at tourneys such as APEX 2010, Don’t Go Down There Jeff and Revival of Melee 3 is just impossible to ignore for a rankings list.

VERDICT: Mostly defensible, a little room for argument.

4. Lovage at No. 6 for 2011

ANOKH:

Lovage isn’t just a name for combo videos and flashy tech skill – he was an incredible player that had wins over two gods in 2011. Even if you wanted to discredit his win over Mango (who played a secondary), no one else in his region was able to beat him. The general consensus back then was that Lovage had godlike potential. He was also one of Smashboard’s most active posters on the Fox forums. Well, either him or his contemporary DruggedFox, whom he frequently argued with online.

He wasn’t perfect and still struggled against players like Shroomed (0-3) on the year, along with having several other local losses. But his wins over two top five players were enough to place him highly on our list, as no other non-god did that for the year except for Fly Amanita, who Lovage held a 4-2 record against.

MICHAEL:

The entire 6-8 spots (and 6-12) were extremely close and any one of them could’ve been this high with the right argument; so instead of trying to defend this choice as the “right” choice, I’d much rather explain how we came to this conclusion.

“Peak Lovage” was a mythical force during the time of 2011. The only other players to peak at multiple god wins were Zhu (Mew2King twice) and Fly Amanita (Mew2King and Dr. PeePee), the No. 7 and No. 8 players on our list – and all three still occasionally suffered an upset, with Fly having a winless record against MacD and additional losses to Hax, SFAT and Silent Wolf. Zhu was the closest to beating out Lovage, but in the end we couldn’t give it to him due to his losses to Eggm, Sherigami and a 2-3 record against Jman, as well as his relatively low activity.

VERDICT: Defensible, but can be easily argued.

3. Hax not in the Top 10 from 2009-2012

ANOKH:

Even though Hax’s national placings were extremely consistent and usually in the top eight, you still have to look at who he actually beat in this those tournaments. Other than one set over an extremely depressed Mew2King at SNES, Hax never beat a “god” in tournament. His best wins of each year were Kage at Revival of Melee 2, Amsah at Pound 4, Fly Amanita at Genesis 2, Shroomed at FC Legacy. If you wanted to boost his legacy further, you could tout his various local wins over Jman over the course of the four years (though he still ended with a losing record in the head to head).

At the same time though, Hax still lost to people worse than him and wasn’t as dominant as his reputation. During the first half of this four year period, he still lost to Eggm, Tope, Vwins and Cactuar at regional tournaments, while also dropping sets to Phil, GERM and Taj’s Mewtwo out of region. These aren’t terrible losses – and upsets are hardly exclusive to him, but they have to be considered when viewing his history.

MICHAEL:

I will be entirely honest, I think Hax’s legacy is extremely overrated. I’ve heard so many people say Hax was a definite No. 6 in the world for years as if it was fact, when in reality, it doesn’t look like he was even Top 10 for a majority of those years, let alone No. 6.

This is not to say Hax was a bad player, as seen by his placings and victories above, but they’re also clouded by losses to Eggm, Cactuar and Jman, in addition to even lower level players like HBK or TecZero. Hax actually has a multitude of other losses, but it would be redundant to list them as you probably get the point by now. In conclusion, even if he was a Top 15 player, I think we can safely say the Fox switch was the right choice.

VERDICT: Close, but no cigar.

2. HugS not in the Top 10 for 2006

ANOKH:

HugS and I have discussed this ranking, as he poked fun at our series on Twitter, causing a brief exchange of humorous messages between us, as well as a hilarious stream where he criticized our “snub” of him and called our list wack. Most of his arguments were centered around how he finished in the top ten for MLG points at the time, showing that he had the necessary tournament attendance and strong placings, with wins over guys like PC Chris, Dope and Chillin – the latter two that we ranked over him.

Despite having to resist the defensive urge to call HugS triggered, an old man, etc, I have to admit that he brought up really good points. By placing Vidjo, Dope and Chillin above him we were unfairly giving them the benefit of the doubt for their shorter sample sizes, since they had less opportunities to be upset at nationals and at locals. His advantage in the head to head over them, along with his consistent showing at nationals certainly convinced me of at least putting him over Chillin.

MICHAEL:

Perception and hindsight might tell us that HugS was unquestionably top ten, but if you look at his wins and losses in comparison to Chillin or Dope, it’s really hard to justify putting him over those two. HugS attended far more events than those two, which aided him in his acceptance to MLG Vegas, but if you look at his actual resume, it’s equal to, if not below those of his contemporaries.

Hugo’s record against the Top 5 was 1-8, the exact same record as Chillin, while his record against the Top 10 was 4-16. This can be seen as slightly better than Chillin’s 2-12 and worse than Dope’s 4-6. Looks good enough right now, but then look HugS’ losses outside of the Top 10 of the year. He was 0-4 with DieSuperFly locally, in addition to losing against Forward, Bob$, Rob$, Vidjo, Caveman and Trevyn. That’s not even going into his loss against JBlaze: a Roy player. For comparison, Chillin’s worst losses were to guys like NEO, FASTLIKETREE and KM, while Dope’s were to KishPrime, Jiano and Trail. Personally, I don’t buy HugS for Top 10, though I’d probably rank him at No. 11 in 2006 and maybe switch Dope and Chillin instead.

VERDICT: Mixed feelings, debatable.

1. Mew2King over Mango for 2008

ANOKH:

Out of all our decisions, I still think this one is probably the most interesting debate: both for the time and in retrospect. Who was better by the end of 2008, Mango or Mew2King?

When tafokints and the Crimson Blur discussed this during Commentator’s Curse, they mentioned that Pound 3 solidified Mango’s superiority, adding that in an era where most people didn’t take tournament seriously (as talked about above with Cort), Pound 3 had extra importance to it. By their standards, Mango losing in locals while playing secondaries or even dropping sets in pools didn’t really matter – he basically won the only tournament that mattered on the year.

MICHAEL:

That’s a lot of crap.

ANOKH:

Well, hold on for a moment. I agree that people didn’t take tournaments seriously back then, but you also have to consider that this would mean placing the majority of your stock in one tournament that happened in the year’s second month. The circumstances behind his win are also comical, with several 2-1 victories in bracket, including a Green Greens Fox ditto between him and Azen, where bomb block shenanigans killed Azen ridiculously early in the set.

The losses to Vist, Plank and Sensei, as Puff too, also don’t just magically disappear in a database – you still have to take them into consideration if you’re going to tout Mango’s victories, as well as Mew2King’s longer standing as a veteran player at the time. It’s hard to say though, given what we know now about their legacies, as well as their futures.

MICHAEL:

In addition to all of what you said, Mango also lost to DEHF at a local in January as Falco and to DEHF and HugS as Falcon at UCLA V, one of the biggest West Coast tourneys of the year. Mew2King on the other hand only lost a set to Azen, two sets to Cort as Falcon, a set to Jman and two sets to Mango for the whole year.

By the end of the year, Mew2King had won nine tournaments in a row, had lost only three sets since Pound 3 (with only one serious set), with well over 30 victories in tournament. If we include the whole year, Mew2King’s overall record stood with only six set losses and over 50 victories, with only Pound 3 as the tournament he lost all year.

It’s extremely close, but given these factors, it was more than believable at the time to have Mew2King as the better player by the end of the year, though Mango clearly took the throne at Revival of Melee. Don’t believe us? Here’s what Mango had to say himself.

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VERDICT: Mixed feelings.

Anything more you think we missed or should discuss more? Ideas for future articles? Follow us on Twitter, our tags being @ssbmjecht and @GCH_Catastrophe.

Smash History: Melee’s Top Ten in 2006

Close your eyes and think of what life was like ten years ago. You probably didn’t use Facebook yet, but there was MySpace and a more primitive YouTube. If you were alive, you were technically the Time Person of the Year. If you played Super Smash Bros. Melee in tournament, you could counterpick to Brinstar, Corneria, Kong Jungle 64 and other wacky stages.

2006 marked Melee’s biggest year since it entered competitive gaming’s spotlight. For reference, 2005’s largest tournament, FC3 had 186 entrants for Melee singles. In 2006, FC6 had 205 entrants. These don’t seem like big numbers, but for their respective times, they were Melee’s largest tournaments ever.

For the first time since his entry into competitive Melee, Ken couldn’t just attend any American tournament and be guaranteed Top 3. With prize pools at MLG tournaments being higher than ever, the stakes were higher than before in Melee’s history. No longer could the scene afford to let Ken clean house at almost every event – he had new challengers for the throne. The question was whether he could keep it or not.

Catastrophe and I are back (with SleepyK, of course) for our ten-year throwback to 2006 and our RetroSSBMRank for the year. You know the drill.

*Disclaimer: Due to the lack of American tournament data and difficulty in deciding where to evaluating their skill level, we were not sure where to place some of the year’s highest placing players. For example, in Europe, Amsah and EK were the two best players on the continent, with EK being called “The European Ken” by Captain Jack and Amsah having arguably the greatest Melee comeback of all time. Meanwhile, Masashi, Captain Jack, Mikael, Shu, S-Royal, Kei and Hoshino Kirby were among Japan’s best players, with a strong showing at Zero Challenge 2 from Captain Jack, Shu, Kei and Hoshino Kirby, while S-Royal had a 5th place showing at NorCal Tournament 2.

**Disclaimer II: For a similar reason to above, we also didn’t include KM on the list, though he defeated Chillin and Chu Dat locally and got ninth at his only attended national (FC6).

**Disclaimer III: We are still looking for the full FC6 bracket. If anyone has them, please contact us – we would love to clean up our data and make changes, if needed!

Honorable Mentions

Drew “Drephen” Scoles

Known for his frustratingly simple, but tech-chase and downsmash-heavy Sheik playstyle, Drephen was one of the top five Midwest players, along with Darkrain, Tink, Vidjogamer and Dope. Although Drephen wasn’t quite yet a force at nationals, he still went 2-2 with Vidjogamer, while having a strong 2-1 record against Tink.

David “Darkrain” John

Thought of as the successor to Isai’s Captain Falcon, Darkrain was still one of the flashiest players of his time and the Midwest’s best Captain Falcon main. He was particularly good against Peach and Sheik, due to his practice against Vidjogamer and Drephen: both of whom he occasionally outplaced in local tournaments.

Wesley “FASTLIKETREE” Hunt

A Fox and Marth dual main from Texas, FLT beat Isai’s Sheik (his first major tournament match), Rob$ and Wife in his first major tournament appearance at MLG Dallas 2006, when he placed sixth. FLT also had wins over Chillin and Taj on the year, as well as coining the term tree-grabbing, where you grab somebody from behind while running.

Christopher “Wife” Fabiszak

Known mostly for his presence in the Smash Brothers documentary, as well as being a figurehead within the scene, Wife was still a Top 20 player of his era, with wins over Chu Dat, KoreanDJ, Tink and The King. Because of his practice with Husband, his teammate and a Marth player, Wife, a solid Peach player, was particularly proficient against Marth, despite the matchup being seen back then – and mostly still today – as heavily in Marth’s favor.

Robert “Rob$” Aldape

A year after surprising the Midwest with a first place at Show Me Your Moves 3 over Caveman, Darkrain and Eddie, the Texas Sheik and Falco player had victories like KoreanDJ, Tink, HugS and The King in 2006. At FC6, he placed a strong fifth, ahead of players like Chillin, Wife, Drephen and other contemporaries.

Daniel “The King” Hutchinson

Known as the inspiration behind a random Jigglypuff player of the future, The King was one of DBR’s most notable members, beating Tink, Dope and Darkrain in the year. His best performance was at MLG New York Playoffs 2006 in doubles, when he and Mew2King beat Ken and Isai in losers bracket, placing second.

Tony “Taj” Jackson

He hadn’t quite broke out on a national level like he later did at GENESIS 2, but Taj was still a Marth main to watch on the West Coast, as he and his friend Forward frequently placed near the top of Arizona tournaments and teamed together, even becoming the first team to ever take a set off Ken and Isai in tournament, who were both thought of as untouchable in teams. Speaking of which, how about Taj’s double elimination of Ken near the end of the year in the last SoCal biweekly on December 30 (Editor’s Note: we weren’t able to find the characters both people played)?

Hugo “HugS” Gonzalez

Having finally taken over DA Wes’ previous position as the premier Samus player in the world, HugS had several spacie names to add to his list of defeated opponents, which included Rob$, Dope, Chillin and PC Chris, who infamously lost to him for 13th place at MLG Orlando 2006. HugS wasn’t just good against Fox and Falco either, as he had victories over Tink and Taj, along with other strong players like Edrees, ManaCloud and KillaOR.

Nathaniel “NEO” Eugene Owen

Remembered as a Roy main, NEO was additionally a strong Marth player who, even while playing Roy, still placed highly at nationals, including a seventh place at MLG New York 2005 and a fifth place at MLG New York Opener 2006. His wins over Isai, Chillin and Mew2King were impressive enough to warrant his place on our honorable mentions, as well as cement his status as MD/VA’s No. 4 player after the H2YL crew members.

Wayne “Tink” Gralewski

Before there was Kels, there was Tink in the Midwest as its best Fox player, getting fourth at MLG New York Opener 2006, with wins over Eddie, Rob$ and even Isai. The No. 1 player in Indiana at the time, Tink also had a slick Marth that got ninth at MLG Chicago.

Top Ten

10. Kashan “Chillindude829” Khan

Before he became known for being a hilarious smasher-rapper hybrid and subject of “My B” jokes, Chillin was certainly a top ten player and a prominent TO in the scene. Already one of the only Fox players to ever defeat Ken in bracket, Chillin continued his stretch of solid showings into 2006, with wins over Wife, ManaCloud, Tink and a dominant 3-0 on KoreanDJ.

9. James “Dope” Hafner

A “dope” Falco (pun fully intended) from Michigan, Dope was a consistent force at the nationals he showed up to, taking sets from Mew2King and Isai during the year. Dope’s best accomplishment for the year was arguably his first place at Show Me Your Moves 6, which he won over the likes of Drephen, Tink, Darkrain, Vidjogamer and CunningKitsune, solidifying his place as the Midwest’s best player in-region, as seen from his No. 1 rank on the Midwest Power Rankings in early 2007.

8. Jesse “Vidjogamer” Werner

Ranked No. 10 on 2006’s Smash Panel Power Rankings, Vidjogamer was slightly higher on our list at No. 8. Despite his No. 5 rank in early 2007 on the Midwest Power Rankings, Vidjo had strong records over every player in the Midwest, including a positive 2-1 record on contemporary Dope. His best tourney of the year was FC6, where the legendary Cleveland-native Peach defeated Azen (sandbagging), PC Chris and Chu Dat en route to third place. Another fun note: Vidjogamer a decade later finished 49th at Shine 2016, winning the tournament’s amateur bracket despite not playing seriously in years.

7. Joel “Isai” Alvarado

Isai could have been even higher if he – wait, we seriously mean it this time. Isai sandbagged for most of the year during singles, playing characters outside of Captain Falcon even at MLG tournaments. However, along with taking a set from Ken in one of the few times Isai actually went one of his mains, Isai was a fearsome doubles player – to such a point that when he and Ken played together, they were thought of as unbeatable, taking first at every tournament they entered except for MLG Chicago and MLG New York Playoffs.

6. Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman

It’s hard to imagine now, but back in 2006, Mew2King was thought of as one of the most revolutionary Fox players for the time, frequently double shining near ledge and doing other modern Fox techniques. In 2006, he had an even record against KoreanDJ throughout the year, beat Isai three times and even took a set from the legendary king of smash himself, Ken, showing that the man who was once the butt of jokes was now beating everyone who doubted him.

5. Daniel “KoreanDJ” Jung

Documentary kids know him and love him as a model for all up-and-comers wanting to take down everyone he played through money matching. Melee veterans know him for his brilliant Sheik, Fox and Marth play. Unquestionably the best in New England during this time, KoreanDJ broke out nationally in 2006, defeating Ken three times throughout the year, going back and forth with New Jersey’s rising star Mew2King and taking a couple sets off of PC Chris.

This was particularly surprising, because the Melee scene already had a hierarchy of established top players – a guy like KoreanDJ to come out of nowhere and eventually start beating them in tournament was virtually unheard of. Think of KoreanDJ in 2006 like Leffen in 2014, unafraid and ready to take down the game’s giants in his race to become No. 1.

4. Daniel “Chu Dat” Rodriguez

Though we didn’t agree with Chu Dat’s No. 2 in the world reputation from his place on the Smash Panel Power Rankings for the year, Chu Dat was still No. 4 on our list, with an Ice Climbers, Young Link, Fox and Pikachu whenever he needed to use them in tournament. Say what you want about his somewhat regional allegiance being to the West Coast while still coming from MD/VA, but you couldn’t deny Chu Dat’s results.

Although his only tournament win of the year was the first Pound, Chu Dat still had a high number of top-level wins. In 2006, he went back and forth with PC Chris, while leading an incredibly lopsided 11-0 record against both KoreanDJ and Mew2King combined. That’s the equivalent of someone like Mew2King today never losing to Plup or SFAT for an entire year.

3. Christopher “PC Chris” Szygiel

PC Chris shocked the world when he defeated Ken twice at MLG New York Opener 2006, becoming the first Falco player to ever defeat Ken in bracket, aggressively calling out his movement with Falco’s aerials and shooting smart lasers to halt his dash dancing. This was particularly revolution at the time because most space animal players were too afraid to fight Ken head on. He even forced the vaunted SoCal Marth to switch to his secondary, Fox.

PC Chris wasn’t quite done yet, taking first at FC6 and winning MLG Las Vegas 2006, garnering himself $10,000 and one of the most iconic photos in professional smash history. Inspired by Bombsoldier’s combo-heavy, fast Falco for the time, he brought a new level of calculating aggression to the Falco metagame, with technical skill that hadn’t been seen in the United States for a Falco player before.

In particular was PC Chris’ proficiency in faster matchups, as seen through his 10-0 combined record against Mew2King, Isai and Chillin. Furthermore, not many people know about PC Chris’ Marth secondary, which he sometimes brought out in tournament against players like KoreanDJ.

2. Christopher “Azen Zagenite” McMullen

In 2006, Azen didn’t go out as much, preferring to play locally and sandbag with low tiers when he did attend national tournaments. This is evident from his 13th place at FC6 and ninth place at MLG New York 2005, which would normally put him a lot lower on our list. But consider how good Azen was when he actually played seriously at tournaments. Against our top 10 for 2006, Azen had by far the most impressive head to heads, standing at 15-3 for the year, with an 11-2 record against other top five players.

Azen’s best performance came at MLG New York Playoffs 2006, when he made a miraculous three to one stock Marth ditto comeback against his longtime nemesis Ken, eventually winning the tournament after dispatching of KoreanDJ and PC Chris twice. The victory against Ken is often thought of as one of the greatest comebacks of all-time, especially given how much Ken had defeated him in the past, though most of their sets were extremely close.

1. Ken “SephirothKen” Hoang

Out of his contemporaries in PC Chris and Azen, Ken won the most amount of national titles between the two of them, holding a more dominant record against the rest of our top ten. Unlike previous years, Ken wasn’t unchallenged, but he entered the year having proven himself already to be the world’s best player.

That’s not to say that Ken couldn’t lose. Along with struggling against KoreanDJ’s Sheik, Ken went even in sets against PC Chris and Azen, even being double eliminated from the last SoCal biweekly of the year by Taj in their only head to head (though we are unsure of which characters Ken played). However, you also have to consider his wealth of title wins against the entire field. For example, look at OC2, where he defeated Sastopher, Captain Jack, KoreanDJ, Mew2King and Chu Dat en route to winning the tournament.

Moreover, Ken’s greatest skill wasn’t his revolutionary dash dance or his combo game – it was his ability to adapt to his opponents. After losing to PC Chris twice early in the year, Ken began adapting to his aerial-heavy approaches by stuffing them with counter: a move that most Marth players had abandoned in favor of dash dancing and trying to imitate Ken or Azen. This was the kind of resilience and innovation that Ken consistently showed in the face of great competition. Given his results, we found it quite defensible to put Ken as No. 1 for the year.

Get used to seeing his name here a lot.

Data Dump

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dm_qfAUBaoXEh-M3A51XUjrq-5UIA_n0KMyjmK0PlYs/edit

Questions, thoughts or criticism? Let us know on Twitter.

Me: @ssbmjecht
Catastrophe: @GCH_Catastrophe
SleepyK: @sleepike

Smash History: Melee’s Top Ten of 2012

2012 was supposed to mark the end of the world. Instead, it was a year that had many steps forward for the Super Smash Bros. Melee community. Despite the scene’s only significant major with all five gods (Apex 2012) happening near the beginning of the year, this tournament was also the first time that top players from the Mexican, Canadian, European and American scenes were present at the same place. Also, Ken came back!

Moreover, late 2012 also saw one of the most important factors behind Melee’s rapid growth: the birth of Melee It On Me: a centralized Melee-related group of figureheads within the community that spoke frequently about issues within the scene, as well as generated content for Twitch, with weekly podcasts and streams done by its members. The story behind MIOM’s creation, however, is not so pretty, but is necessary to understand for the scene’s history.

At Revival of Melee 5, Mew2King and Unknown522 played arguably the most infamous set in Melee history during Winners Semis. With the set tied at 2-2, Mew2King counterpicked the Canadian Fox to Final Destination, despite the stage being illegal under the tournament’s rules, which, under Dave’s Stupid Rule, forbade players from counterpicking to any stage they won on during a set. After minutes of deliberation and arguing over the rules, Unknown522 finally decided to let Mew2King go to the stage anyway, almost making a four-stock comeback in what was agreed upon by the players to be the last game of the set.

(Editor’s Note: This is one of the saddest parts of the set – that last game could have marked a spectacular ending for what could have otherwise been one of the best sets of the year. Instead, the game is left in the annals of history, now replaced by the nebulous implications as seen below).

After Unknown522 unplugged his controller and left to ask the tournament organizer Alukard to clarify the rules, Alukard then forced the two to replay the match on another stage. A sulking and dejected Mew2King took seemingly forever to get warmed up, eventually losing the game and wanting to forfeit out of the tournament immediately, before getting cajoled by Hax to continue playing. By all means, this was completely avoidable had there been a mutual understanding of RoM 5’s ruleset.

The aftermath was even messier, with KirbyKaze intentionally throwing his games against Unknown522 in Winners Finals and the latter sandbagging against Mew2King in the Grand Finals rematch after the two publicly agreed to split the winnings. It was an ugly end to a tournament that now had a top eight tainted by one of its sets.

After the tournament ended, a few community members like Cactuar and Alukard said that Mew2King was to blame, claiming that he knew fully well that the stage was illegal, but wanted to put pressure on Unknown522 anyway. Others blamed Unknown522 for bringing the argument to Alukard after the Final Destination match was already finished, while some even felt KirbyKaze was in the wrong for throwing his set against Unknown522. People like Juggleguy criticized Alukard for using an uncommon ruleset, switching Eggm and Unknown522’s places in bracket, not communicating the rules effectively enough and forcing Mew2King and Unknown522 to replay their last match after it was initially played.

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Regardless of who was at fault, the RoM 5 incident prompted open dialogue within the Melee community on how to be clear about tournament rules, bracket manipulation, collusion, splitting, the power of tournament organizers and how to avoid this kind of situation again. Before Melee players knew it, Scar created the Melee it On Me Facebook page, effectively giving a rise to a new social media-driven era of Melee, away from Smashboards and toward Facebook and Reddit.

While we could talk forever about RoM 5’s implications and other notable moments of the year, let’s get back into what you’re here for: the last RetroSSBMRank before MIOM’s first attempt at a top 100 list for 2013.

Disclaimer: Because Apex 2012 was the only data point we could find, we chose not to rank Javi on our list. For what it’s worth, we both agreed that Javi defeating Dr. PeePee was easily the biggest upset of the year. If you read this thread back then, you’ll also realize that putting Javi in a hypothetical Top 10 list was actually quite defendable for most people. Consider this another example of a “Taj mention.”

Honorable Mentions

Jesus “Jman” Fernandez

No longer top ten in the world, Jman was still a force to be reckoned with on the East Coast, going back and forth with Hax during the year and also taking a set from Amsah. His lack of results out of his region hurt his ranking, though it’s interesting to note that at Apex 2012, Jman defeated Chillin, KoreanDJ and PC Chris. Four years ago, that would have been a top ten resume. Time is a bitch.

Oscar “Lovage” Nillson

Lovage was exceptionally talented, as seen from him beating Javi at Apex 2012 in winners bracket, but he was also unpredictable. Take for instance his exceptional losers run at Northwest Manifest, where Lovage tore through Sung, Bladewise, Eggz, Tope, Axe, Westballz and SFAT en route to place second under Dr. PeePee. Could you have imagined that same guy drowning in pools at Kings of Cali, losing to Vish, DendyPretendy and Rickety – even if he supposedly was there just to do commentary with Ken?

Kevin “PewPewU” Toy

It sounds ridiculous in retrospect, but after taking the first game of a set against Mango during Rule 6 Regional, people went crazy for Northern California’s best Marth player. Heralded as the next Ken and even “the best Marth ever,” his results weren’t quite as good as the hype around him, but with a list of victories that include Zhu, Shroomed, SFAT, Westballz, Bladewise, Colbol and Fly Amanita, PewPewU was clearly an up and coming Marth destined for greatness.

Weston “Westballz” Dennis

Westballz had a reputation for being one of the most technical players in the world, but by the end of the year, he was Southern California’s No. 4 player on its power rankings, as he held a strong 5-2 record against S2J, 3-0 in the head to head against Zhu, a set win over Mango (sandbagging as Falcon) and victories over SFAT and Axe, along with a close set against Dr. PeePee at Northwest Manifest. However, Westballz also had a tendency to lose to people in pools, as seen from his losses against Abate, Silly Kyle and Light.

Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni

Now NorCal’s No. 3, SFAT started off the year strong with his showing at Apex 2012, defeating Chu Dat and DaShizWiz. He also went 1-1 throughout the year with Unknown522, showing prowess in the Fox ditto and gaining a reputation as one of the better Fox players on an already spacie-filled West Coast.

Jeremy “Fly Amanita” Westfahl

We could only put Fly Amanita Top Ten for so many years in a row without people calling us Fly Amanita fanboys. In 2012, he didn’t have as many signature victories, but was still one of the five best players in SoCal as seen by his 4-0 record against Westballz, as well as his strong showing at The Big House 2, when he defeated KirbyKaze and SFAT.

Ryan “Unknown522” Ford

One of three non-gods to take a set over Mew2King in the year (even if the set was shenanigan-filled), Unknown522 was also one of Canada’s best players, taking additional sets over the likes of Chillin, Tope, SFAT and Fly Amanita, while also coming extremely close to beating Hungrybox. Of course, it’s hard to mention Unknown522’s skill as a player without mentioning his personal anger problems around the time, as seen from him getting banned from the Apex series for choking Inui at NEC 13, after getting heckled. More details emerged about these issues a year later.

Aziz “Hax” Al-Yami

We know this is going to ruffle a few feathers, since Hax placed at least top eight at every tournament he entered in the year. But you have to consider whom he actually beat to place highly – based on what we found, Hax’s wins and losses record against other players wasn’t as impressive as the people we chose to rank above him. To his credit, Hax took sets over Shroomed, went back and forth with Jman, and was definitely the Northeast’s second best player after Mew2King.

Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson

You would have thought that by 2012, people would have figured out how to abuse Pikachu’s weaknesses. Somehow Axe kept proving them wrong, with an especially impressive run at Kings of Cali, where he defeated Lucky, Fiction, SFAT, S2J, PewPewU and fellow mid-tier Shroomed en route to a third place finish.

Johnny “S2J” Kim

The more we look at S2J’s record, the more we find what we like. Although S2J frequently lost to Westballz (even back then, the SoCal Falco was a monster against Falcon), he also was ranked No. 2 in SoCal’s last power rankings for 2012, having a dominant 3-0 record over Wobbles and frequently beating other SoCal players as well. While Mango was in the middle of a Melee break after Apex 2012, you could have argued S2J for being the face of SoCal.

Top Ten

10. Dajuan “Shroomed” McDaniel

The world’s best Doctor Mario main, Shroomed placed in the top eight of almost every tournament he entered (with a 13th place finish at FC Legacy due to losses to PikaChad and Hax). Shroomed didn’t just feast on easy brackets either – he frequently beat PewPewU in region while also sporting victories over names like SFAT, KoreanDJ, Unknown522, SilentSpectre, S2J, KirbyKaze and more, though he didn’t take a set off a god.

9. Daniel “Chu Dat” Rodriguez

We know what you’re thinking: whoa, what’s this guy doing here on a Top 10 list – this isn’t 2008 and he got 33rd at Apex 2012! But consider that Chu Dat was the only non-god player in 2012 to defeat two out of the top five players in the year, defeating Hungrybox in an epic last-stock 3-2 at Zenith 2012 and beating Mew2King so badly at at Aposl’s Birthday Bash that Mew2King forfeited his losers match against Cactuar. Although Chu Dat occasionally lost in locals to Chillin, his feat of winning over two gods in one year was impressive enough for us to place him at No. 9 in our list. He could have been even higher had he gone to more tournaments.

8. Julian “Zhu” Zhu

Zhu’s relative lack of attendance keeps him from being any higher, but in terms of best wins, Zhu was just about as good as any non-god in 2012. Now NorCal’s No. 1, Zhu held a 4-1 record over Shroomed in the year and also had set victories over Wobbles, Hax, DaShizWiz, PewPewU and HugS, showcasing that he wasn’t just a locals fiend. Yet, it’s interesting to note Zhu’s negative record against some of SoCal’s top tier players for the year, as he lost to Westballz three times while also losing sets against MacD and Fly Amanita.

7. David “KirbyKaze” McDonald

Once in our Top Ten list before, KirbyKaze makes a return again this year, partially because of his Top 8 performance at Apex 2012, when he became the first Sheik in the world to take a set off Hungrybox since Hungrybox’s ascension to becoming a top four player. At Rule 6 Regional, KirbyKaze also dispatched of S2J, Westballz and Shroomed before succumbing to Mango in grand finals, showing that the Canadian Sheik legend was not just Canada’s best player – he was the world’s best dedicated Sheik solo main, though he occasionally played sets with Fox and Mario at locals.

6. Robert “Wobbles” Wright

Fun fact: Wobbles ranked fifth on the SSBPD – the Melee community’s attempt to create an ELO-esque rating system for players until the middle of the year – ahead of Mango. Although we didn’t rank Wobbles fifth on our list, the results clearly show that Wobbles has every argument to be considered one of the world’s best. Already taking a set from Mew2King (for the second time in a row) at Apex 2012, Wobbles was also consistently Arizona’s best player, with positive records over every player (this includes Axe) and dropping only one local tournament he attended seriously all year. Wobbles also had victories over Fly Amanita, Unknown522, Lovage, Westballz and Eddy Mexico throughout 2012, adding to his already impressive resume of victories.

5. Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman

We’ve spent the last two articles talking about Mew2King’s demise and eventual role as the gatekeeper for the Melee gods. By the end of Apex 2012, his chances of ever becoming the world’s best seemed slimmer than ever before, with a consecutive loss to Wobbles which added to his already lengthy list of losses outside of the gods, with Zhu, Axe, Lucky, Fly Amanita and even Faab taking sets in the last year. It’s funny to note that even back then, tafokints was the ultimate Mew2King skeptic – but there was reason to be.

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That said, Mew2King was still an overwhelming favorite to beat every non-god and was by far the best player in his region, never losing to any Tri-State player. He also still shined out of region, with set wins over KirbyKaze, Hax, Axe, SFAT and Dr. PeePee on the year. His record against Hax in particular stood as particular dominant, with a 5-0 record against his region’s No. 2 in serious sets. The only other sets he lost against a non-god were against Chu Dat and the infamous RoM 5 set against Unknown522.

4. Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma

2012 wasn’t as successful as his last two years, but Hungrybox was still one of the world’s four best players, splitting sets with Armada, defeating Mango early on in the year and maintaining his winning streak against Mew2King the one time they played. Though Hungrybox lost two sets to Colbol at YOL4, a Florida local, dropped another to KirbyKaze at Apex 2012 and even threw his controller after losing to Chu Dat at Zenith 2012, it’s clear that he was still on a separate level from most of the competition.

Speaking of Apex 2012, how about that losers’ bracket run? After getting defeated by KirbyKaze in winners, Hungrybox went through a gauntlet of opponents, defeating DaShizWiz, Silent Wolf, Zhu, Wobbles, Shroomed, KirbyKaze, Javi, his nemesis Mango and even Armada. The last set he won this tournament, by the way, was a three-match comeback in a set where Hungrybox went down 2-0 and ended up for playing for over half an hour just to reset the bracket. Though the 3-1 loss in the second set certainly stops this from being a totally successful tournament, it certainly begs the question: how high up does this go on a list for greatest losers bracket runs in Melee history?

3. Joseph “MaNg0” Marquez

After Apex 2012, when he lost to Armada and Hungrybox for a third place finish, Mango went on a semi-hiatus, “retiring” from the game and just playing in his region, often sandbagging as Falcon against his opponents and even dropping a set to Westballz while playing as Falcon. His fans still loved him, with some refusing to admit that he wasn’t the best player in the world any more, but Mango’s competitive drive could only be held for so long.

At IMPULSE, Mango defeated Montreal’s best in Vwins, while also defeating Mew2King, Hungrybox and his Falco apprentice Dr. PeePee twice, dropping only one set to Dr. PeePee in grand finals before a dominant 3-0 in the second set. All of a sudden, Mango was again arguably America’s best player.

“Legend” has it that his loss against Bladewise at the Rule 6 Regional, came as a result of intentionally sandbagging as Fox, just so he could eliminate Kels from bracket as quickly as possible. Mango proceeded to win the tournament from losers, causing many in the Smashboards Rule 6 result thread to chastise Mango for losing to Bladewise and dropping games throughout the tournament – despite him winning anyway.

2. Kevin “Dr. PeePee” Nanney

If you want to see the data behind our No. 2 pick, check out the data dump below, which shows Javi, as Dr. PeePee’s worst serious loss of the year – and indubitably the biggest upset of 2012. For now, let’s focus on the backstory behind the first of Dr. PeePee’s two infamous popoffs of the year: Zenith 2012.

Imagine you’re him and it’s Game 5 of Grand Finals. In Winners Semis, you got annihilated on Mew2King’s Final Destination counterpick and couldn’t pull yourself together, losing the set. You’ve now lost to the last three gods you’ve played against and have already suffered a loss to Javi earlier in the year, causing people to unfairly question your status as a Top Five player. In that set against Javi, you also had to deal with a similarly cheering group of people against you: no longer an eager up and comer that people wanted to see succeed, but a target for other competitors.

After dispatching of Jman, Hungrybox and Chu Dat, you take the first set away from Mew2King, but still keep losing on Final Destination, even trying a Marth counterpick, being jeered at by a Mew2King-cheering crowd. Even outside of this stage, every time Mew2King gets a combo, they explode. There’s no subtlety in G$’s voice: the crowd wants you to lose.

To make matters worse, Mew2King keeps asking you over and over again if he can go back to the same stage – despite already winning on it before. He’s holding up the last game of Grand Finals by asking TOs if he can select Final Destination, begging you and effectively, either intentionally or unintentionally, pulling every grimy trick in the bag to gain an advantage.

You’ve had enough. Not only do you let him go Final Destination out of spite, you also pick Falco against him, despite getting JV4’d in winners bracket in the same matchup. This time, with everyone expecting Mew2King to embarrass you on his literal and metaphorical home turf, you go up four stocks to the one. After a momentary scare when Mew2King quickly takes your first and second stock, reminding everyone just why he’s so good on Final Destination, you clutch out a victory.

Tell me – after all of that, wouldn’t you have popped the hell off?

For the rest of the year, Dr. PeePee took sets from Armada, Hungrybox, most of the West Coast’s best players, and even defeated his Falco mentor Mango twice from losers bracket, all while playing in front of a rough California crowd, leading to another pop off – this time in front of Mango and his region, in arguably the greatest Falco ditto sets ever.

1. Adam “Armada” Lindgren

What more is there to say about the world’s clear No. 1? We could bore you with the details about how he only had two losses for the whole year, only dropping one set to Hungrybox and another to Dr. PeePee, the latter whom he held a 3-1 record against for the year. Just for reference, every other “god” of 2012 had a loss outside of our top five. With the knowledge we have now, isn’t GENESIS 2 to the end of 2012 really the era of Armada: the true god of Melee?

His most important set of the year was arguably Winners’ Finals at Apex 2012 against Mango. This was when he convincingly 3-0’d the former world No. 1, twice defeating the SoCal Fox on Yoshi’s Story: a stage thought of as lopsided in Fox’s favor against Peach.

Several people johnned for Mango after the set, saying that he didn’t care about competing as much, didn’t play Jigglypuff (despite Mango’s Fox being far more trained at this point), and had better “peak play.” Most reasonable people, however, had Armada as No. 1. Think of what a turnaround this was for the Melee scene. Three years ago, Armada was a nerdy Swedish teenager who asked competitors, “Who is you?” while carrying an entire continent on his back as the biggest underdog in Melee history at its biggest tournament.

By the end of 2012, it’s clear Armada wasn’t a Cinderella story anymore – he was Melee’s most dominant player, making him our easiest pick so far for the RetroSSBMRank.

Data Dump

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cXRwW2G1u3RLoaDIPOGFkC9vJybp2TFxov24x0t9qZ8/edit

Questions? Thoughts? Agreements or disagreements? Tweet to me (@ssbmjecht) or Catastrophe (@GCH_Catastrophe)! Special thank you to SleepyK, who helped us out as an advisor yet again!

Smash History: Melee’s Top 12 of 2011 and More!

If 2010, the first year of this decade, marked a transition year within Super Smash Bros. Melee’s competitive scene, 2011 was the birth of the modern era, ripe with Fox players beginning to achieve their characters’ potential, different innovations in tech skill and the birth of arguably the greatest (even if shenanigan-filled) combo video in Melee history.

Fox in particular had been number one on the tier list since 2006, but before 2011, the character’s actual impact on the meta was hotly debated, since no one had seriously focused on him at the top level and maintained sustained excellence. This sounds ridiculous now, but keep in mind that with Falco, Jigglypuff and other floaties dominating the meta, Fox was thought of like one of Melee’s what-ifs. In a way, he encapsulated the tier-list debate of potential vs. results in determining a character. Flash forward to the end of 2011 and we finally had more proof that Fox was really as good as the hype.

That’s not to say that other characters didn’t stand a chance. In fact, our RetroSSBMRank for 2011 involves a character that we haven’t seen before as a solo main on our rankings. If you include secondaries, this list also has more characters than any other list we’ve made during this series.

Catastrophe, SleepyK and I are back with our RetroSSBMRank for 2011. Now I bet you’re wondering: why a Top 12 list this time? Keep reading to find out – but first, our honorable mentions.

*For the sake of data consistency, we decided to not include Taj, whose incredible third place finish at GENESIS 2 was the only result we could find for him all year. For reference, Taj in 2010 had finished 49th at Pound 4 and ninth at Don’t Go Down There Jeff. This is like if ZoSo suddenly placed third at The Big House 6 – certainly not impossible given his established status as a regional threat and top-level Marth main, but also hard to predict.

In fact Taj abusing Hax’s inability to deal with Mewtwo ledge camping, defeating Dr. PeePee, beating MacD and the entire Falco gauntlet (including Mango) deserves an article of its own for one of Melee’s most unexpected bracket runs of all-time, with Taj’s mastery against Falco particularly showing.

We also decided not to include Lucien, SilentSpectre, DEHF and and PC Chris in this list. However, it’s interesting to note that PC Chris was quite a bit more active than the other three, defeating Jman twice at No Johns on September 3. 

Honorable Mentions

Europe

Okay, so like we did in 2009 with Canada, we’re technically cheating here, but you can see how Armada’s dominance over Europe brought relative improvements out of his competition, even if they never beat him. The continent’s finest included the legendary Sheik main Amsah, the “European Mew2King” in Ice, the Dutch Fox Zgetto, Remen and, on a lesser scale at this point, some teenage brat who notoriously trolled Smashboards and flew out to GENESIS 2.

Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni

A former Marth main who switched to Fox, SFAT’s heavy-emphasis on stage control with a freestyle West Coast swagger brought him near the top of Northern California’s best players. SFAT wasn’t quite a national threat yet, but make no mistake: we had him as the No. 2 in NorCal for 2011.

McCain “MacD” Lavelle

Once a source of derision for a few smashers because of his downsmash-heavy and aggressive playstyle, MacD shut up his doubters in 2011 with a 17th place at Pound V and a surprising ninth place at GENESIS 2. At these tournaments he beat Axe, Fly Amanita and RaynEX, additionally being ranked No. 6 in the September power rankings for Southern California – easily the world’s most stacked region at the time, arguably cementing his place as America’s best Peach.

Joey “Lucky” Aldama

Lucky was only ranked No. 9 in his region’s PR, but most of that came from his relative inactivity, as he worked during the year and didn’t have much time to practice Melee. Imagine his surprise when he 2-0’d Mew2King in GENESIS 2 pools. Even if he wasn’t as highly ranked as before, that alone showed how Lucky was still one of the world’s best Fox mains.

Charles “Cactuar” Meighen

Seventh at Pound V, and ninth at Revival of Melee 4 slightly overrate Cactuar’s year, but he deserves credit for beating Mango (playing secondaries) at Pound V, nonetheless, having now beaten Mango in the last two times they played. You would think Mango would have stopped sleeping on him by then.

Timothy “Eggm” Cody

At this point a dedicated Fox main, Eggm was New Jersey’s best non-Mew2King player and a Fox guru, with a win over Zhu in the middle of the year. Going back and forth semi-frequently with Jman and Hax, Eggm was certainly one of Tri-State’s finest, though placing out of the top 32 at Pound really hurts his standing in the year.

Jesus “Jman” Fernandez

Jman might have peaked already in his Melee career, but the Tri-State Fox was still one the world’s better players, with a 3-2 record over Zhu and constantly fighting for the position for best non-Mew2King Tri-State player against Eggm and Hax. Hell – Jman could have been much higher on the list had we seen him play at Pound V or GENESIS 2.

Aziz “Hax” Al-Yami

Still a teenager who complained about his main on Smashboards, New York’s best Captain Falcon main took sets from the likes of Jman, Azen, Cactuar, Amsah, MacD and Fly Amanita in the year, placing an impressive fifth at Pound V and ninth at GENESIS 2. Although none us thought these placings were a totally accurate representation of Hax’s standing in Melee’s scenes, it’s hard to deny that he was still among the world’s best.

Before we go into our Top 12 rankings, you have to understand that while 2010 was arguably the beginning of the “god era” of Melee, 2011 was the year when they really separated themselves from everyone else. Unlike previous editions of the list, where we organized our players simply by numbers, this year’s edition of RetroSSBMRank will introduce the concept of tiers of players in our list.

Creating rankings for 2011 didn’t require any research to prove what we already know: the gods of Melee ruled the game. What was more difficult, however, was seeing who back in 2011 was the closest to entering the “god” sphere of players. Based on the results that we could find, everyone from our No. 6 to No. 12 spot were incredibly close – so please don’t bite our heads off if you disagree with the order.

Demigods

12. Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson

In 2009, you could have called his upset of Jman at Revival of Melee a fluke. We had him in our honorable mentions for 2010, but by 2011, there was no doubt that Axe  did have an argument for being top ten in the world, as he took a set off Mew2King at Zenith 2011 and never lost a set to anyone not mentioned in our Top 12 or honorable mentions list. Most impressively for Axe might be his first place doubles victory with Kage at Zenith, winning over teams like Mew2King/Hax, Mango/G$ and Tope/Cyrain.

11. Johnny “S2J” Kim

S2J, a former Super Smash Bros. 64 player who turned into a Melee fiend, had a face-to-face, proactive style that sharply contrasted Hax’s more conservative, reactive one. With wins over KirbyKaze, Shroomed, Hax, MacD, Fly Amanita and Lovage in the year, we thought that S2J, SoCal’s No. 3 in September, was the best Captain Falcon of the year.

10. Robert “Wobbles” Wright

Was Arizona’s top dog really one of the world’s ten best players? It’s hard to say given his lack of data in comparison to his fellow West Coast contemporaries. Nonetheless, Wobbles beat players like Darkrain, Mew2King, Axe and Lovage in the year, placing ninth at GENESIS 2 and being the unquestioned best from Arizona, as we weren’t able to find any losses to Axe or any other Arizona player on the year. A few losses while drunk hurt his ranking, but Wobbles was definitely one of the two premier Ice Climbers of 2011, as you can see from his stellar performance in GENESIS 2 crews.

9. Dajuan “Shroomed” McDaniel

It’s hard to believe in 2016, with no dedicated solo Doctor Mario main within Melee’s top players, but five years ago, the character was thought of as underrated, with Shroomed taking sets off Lovage, Wobbles and Dr. PeePee en route to sixth place at GENESIS 2, along with more victories over Zhu, MacD and SFAT in the year.  If you’re wondering why there was ever a time when Doc was considered Top 10 in the game, you can thank NorCal’s No. 1 of the year for that. Or at least Doc’s ridiculous cape hitbox.

8. Jeremy “Fly Amanita” Westfahl

We received a lot of criticism for putting Fly Amanita at No. 10 in 2010, so naturally we doubled down and increased his rank. All jokes aside though, he began the year with strong victories over Mew2King and Zhu at Winter Game Fest VI, while defeating Dr. PeePee at GENESIS 2. Although he was barely No. 5 in SoCal, frequently losing to players like MacD and S2J in bracket, his victories over two gods were enough to place SoCal’s top Ice Climbers in our Top Ten – even above those who beat him. We’re not sure if Fly would agree with all our praise for him, but we’re confident that the data proves him as a legitimate threat to any non-Peach player for the two years we put him in our top ten.

7. Julian “Zhu” Zhu

Back in a familiar spot where he was in 2009, Zhu traveled between the East and West Coast, beating Mew2King twice to win the No Johns Monthly in August and also having wins over Jman, Hax, Lucky and S2J on the year. It’s interesting to note that it’s not just the results that boost Zhu’s placing for the year – public perception also holds him in high rank. Despite his relative lack of attendance in SoCal, the region’s power rankings in September still had Zhu as it’s No. 2.

6. Oscar “Lovage” Nilsson

Okay – we know we sound crazy here for placing someone who finished 17th at Pound V and 13th at GENESIS 2 at No. 6 in our list. However, Lovage wasn’t just a tech skill fiend. He 2-0’d Hungrybox in their only meeting of the year in a pools victory and has additional sets over Fly Amanita, Mango (playing Captain Falcon) and Axe. While he struggled against Shroomed and S2J throughout the year (1-7 against them), Lovage also won The Big House, finally defeating S2J in grand finals of the tournament. Given his status as the only SoCal player to beat Mango in 2011, along with his win over Hungrybox separating himself from the rest of the demigods, Lovage’s peak was so godly enough that we couldn’t resist putting him at No. 6, even if he lost to Hyuga the same event he beat Hungrybox in. Plus, he has a better record against the Top Ten of this list than our No. 5.

God of the Underworld

5. Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman

If you’re a fan of Mew2King, you’ve probably heard him talk about how his 2007 Marth was the best in the world. In 2011, Mew2King’s Sheik was arguably competitive Melee’s most ruthless opponent on the screen. He never reaction tech chased like modern Sheiks, but when it came to edgeguarding, Mew2King in 2011 was on an entirely different level, frequently gimping his opponents at low percents, hitting them with precise needles beneath the stage and occasionally even throwing out the chain to troll his already worn out opponents.

While it’s true that the Sheik/Marth/Fox didn’t win a big major in this era like some of the people above him, Mew2King was unarguably the gatekeeper of Melee’s gods. Despite dropped sets to demigods over the year and even Faab (a European Falco, thus solidifying Mew2King’s Falco weakness at the time even more), it’s important to remember that Mew2King still looked mostly untouchable against his fellow East Coast opponents and still had good enough national placings, with fifth place at Pound V, GENESIS 2 and a second place at Zenith 2011.

Mount Olympus

4. Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma

Though we put Hungrybox as No. 1 for 2010, we acknowledge that it was easy in the year to dismiss Hungrybox’s victories as a result of gimmicks. Think about what it was like after Don’t Go Down There Jeff, when the Florida Jigglypuff player lost to Fly Amanita and Lucky. It wasn’t too unreasonable for Melee followers to expect a decline from Hungrybox heading into 2011.

By the end of 2011, Hungrybox wasn’t No. 1, but many of his doubters were wrong about how much he’d fall off by. Outside of dropping two sets to Plup, Hungrybox didn’t lose in Florida for the year, winning every local he entered and never losing to anyone at a national ranked lower than Lovage on our 2011 list. Add in a strong third place at Pound V, first place at Zenith 2011 and a fourth place at GENESIS 2 – you have a consistent force of nature in Melee, able to place highly at nationals and perhaps even win them if the bracket turned out right.

3. Kevin “Dr. PeePee” Nanney

If it weren’t for a lackluster GENESIS 2, when Dr. PeePee walked around the venue like a sick zombie and dropped sets to Taj, Tope and Fly Amanita in pools (still finishing seventh), he probably could have finished No. 2 on our list. Hell, given how epic his Pound V victory was (with the lights turning off during grand finals), you could definitely still place him higher and we wouldn’t complain, considering that was when most players began thinking of Dr. PeePee as a god of Melee.

Outside of GENESIS 2, Dr. PeePee’s only losses are to other gods, with an even 2-2 record against Armada, a 2-2 record against Mango and a 4-2 record against Mew2King (though his losses came as a result of trying out Fox instead of Falco against Mew2King). Combined with his strong placings across the board, Dr. PeePee’s consistency and positive records against the highest level of competition definitively at least put him at least top three on the year. Just don’t be surprised at some hilariously cringe-worthy trash talk if you get him riled up enough.

2. Joseph “MaNg0” Marquez

As you might know from our 2010 rankings, we docked Mango a spot in our rankings for not trying his best for most of the year. Starting off 2011 with a 17th place at Pound V while playing Mario and Captain Falcon wasn’t exactly a great beginning, but by the end of the year, it seemed pretty clear that the former Jigglypuff, now-spacies dual-main had a pretty good argument to be America’s best of the year.

Consider just how untouchable his Fox looked against Taj, the third-place finisher at GENESIS 2, four-stocking him so badly in the second game of losers finals that Taj forfeited the next game out of fear. This is the kind of effect that Mango used to have against his opponents whenever he tried – and in the case of Taj, an example of brutal revenge for sending Mango to losers bracket earlier. Even during his Winter Game Fest VI losses to Dr. PeePee, he went down 2-0 in Grand Finals as Captain Falcon before bringing the set to game five as Falco and barely losing in a last stock situation.

You could try to dock Mango points for sandbagging, with losses to Mew2King, Silent Wolf, PC Chris and Lovage on the year while playing secondaries. But are these losses really any worse than Dr. PeePee’s at GENESIS 2, especially considering both lost to Taj? Moreover, Mango won the only two serious full Falco ditto sets Mango ever played against Dr. PeePee, showcasing his mastery at the time in the matchup. Who knows – a different placing at GENESIS 2 and a more serious Mango for the year might be No. 1.

Lord of the Light tier

1. Adam “Armada” Lindgren

Armada literally only lost to Dr. PeePee twice at Pound V for the whole year. He won every single other set he played and won every other tourney. But rather than focus on the data behind why he’s No. 1 (should be fairly obvious), let’s take a look back at Pound V winners semifinals and just how historic and symbolic this set was for him.

Imagine the setting: you’re a competitive Melee fan and at this point, you’re a believer in Armada being a “god,” but you’re not quite sure about his ability to overcome Hungrybox, given how badly his Peach lost to the Florida Jigglypuff a year ago. Maybe you thought that Armada would reveal a Fox secondary, but when he tried that at the first GENESIS, it got humiliated by Mango’s own Jigglypuff. By the time the first game of the set starts, it hasn’t sunk in yet, but the stone-faced Swede is playing Young Link. This is the first time a player of Armada’s caliber has seriously picked a mid-low tier in tournament.

Four minutes pass by in the match and at this point you’ve realized the Young Link character select wasn’t a joke or a sandbag attempt – it was a brilliant counterpick that led Armada to a two to one stock lead over 2010’s most successful player. Eight minutes later and Armada completes a double-two stock set victory, with a simultaneously baffled, excited, bored, yet cheering crowd.

He doesn’t end up wining the tournament, losing two sets to Dr. PeePee to continue the curse of never winning an American national, but Armada doesn’t give up. Months later at GENESIS 2, after defeating Dr. PeePee in the Pound V rematch, Armada has to play Hungrybox again in winners semifinals, Armada tries out the Young Link again, but loses by one percent in a timeout to Hungrybox in the first game.

Unfazed, Armada three-stocks him the next match on Dreamland again, mercilessly times him out Kongo Jungle 64 and wins last stock on Yoshi’s Story in an over 30-minute set that commentator HomeMadeWaffles referred to as the “wackest fucking set in the world.” Not that it mattered after Armada’s additional set wins over Taj and Mango – it was just further proof that the determined Swede was willing to think outside of the box (no pun intended) and do whatever it took to win.

No longer was Armada a final stepping stone for America’s best – he was now the guy to beat heading into Apex 2012.


Data Dump

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1spcV9mVMzOA_fywjaw2PzbtLWALyTeWMYzNtWFNq-e4/edit

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Smash History: Melee’s Top 10 of 2010

It’s 2010: the first year of the current decade in smash history. Just after the year of Genesis and Revival of Melee, it was a year of high variance in Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament results and perceived player rankings. Well that, and people still casually said words like “rape” and “gay” in interviews.

While the year started off with 2009’s No. 1 in Mango winning Pound 4 without dropping a set,  Mango spent the rest of the year mostly getting drunk at tourneys or not trying his hardest, opting to go Mario, Captain Falcon, Marth or other secondaries rather than play his mains. This, as you can imagine, led to quite a bit of uncertainty within the scene’s community – not about the game’s post-Brawl future, which was beginning to boom again, but about who was going to take Melee’s empty throne. Was it someone else this year, or was it still the guy below?

As Juggleguy wrote in his Year in Review of 2010, out of the six biggest tournaments of the year (Pound 4, Show Me Your Moves 11, Apex 2010, Smash Needs You, Revival of Melee 3 and Don’t Go Down There Jeff), five people won them. Here’s a crazy hint: the guy who won two of those tourneys isn’t in our top five.

Catastrophe and I are back at it again with our RetroSSBMRank for 2010. You know the drill.

*Disclaimer: For the list, we decided to only include people that either entered two nationals or entered at least four tournaments we could find on the year. This is why we decided not to put Chu Dat or DaShizWiz in our honorable mentions, though the latter deserves props for going to Northern California during the year and winning a tourney over all of its best players despite not playing for six months. We also didn’t include Darkrain, who might have been easily Top 20 were it not for living in Texas at the time.

Honorable Mentions:

Aziz “Hax” Al-Yami

While he is a bit lower on the list than he was in 2009, Hax was still a force to be reckoned with and was easily being Tri-State’s third best player by the end of the year. At Pound 4, he defeated Amsah – and also in the year took a set of Jman, who only lost to him, Mew2King, th0rn and Swiftbass out of Northeast opponents in 2010.

Alex “Lambchops” Ucles

The laser guru out of all Falco players, Lambchops was still a top-level player in 2010, beating players like Colbol and Jman in the year. Legend has it that he bodied Armada in friendlies before GENESIS a year ago, without even knowing whom he was. You watch the videos and decide for yourself.

Dajuan “Shroomed” McDaniel

Before being known for being one of the world’s best Sheik players, Shroomed had the world’s best Doctor Mario, with tutelage from the likes of HomeMadeWaffles and Bob$. One of the best in NorCal, with wins over Lucien, SilentSpectre and more, Shroomed two years before had one of the most exciting, hyped up and bad-blooded money matches in all of smash history. Check it out here.

Ryan “Unknown522” Ford

His national placings were fairly low (25th at Apex 2010 and 17th at RoM 3), but locally, Unknown was probably Canada’s best player, with a 6-2 record on KirbyKaze and winning most of the Toronto/Ontario weeklies of the time. Along with being proficient vs. Sheik, Unknown also was great against Marth, always beating Canadian Marth main IB whenever they played.

Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson

The world’s best Pikachu player already shocked the world in 2009, when he upset Jman at GENESIS. But in 2010, he continued to make huge improvements, defeating DaShizWiz, Jman, Dr. PeePee, Scar and taking Armada to the brink at Apex 2010. While a year ago you could have said his success came primarily from people not knowing how to play against Pikachu, by the end of the year, Axe proved himself as not just a gimmick.

Julian “Zhu” Zhu

Zhu wasn’t Top Ten in the world any more, but he was still one of its most exciting Falcos, with some of the coolest combo videos at the time. He had two wins over Mango (sandbagging) and also beat Jman, Zgetto and Lucky within the year, showcasing that the SoCal Falco still had what it took to compete with the very best in the world.

Lucien “Lucien” Mayo

Some Sheiks, like Mew2King, will needle at you and sit by ledge, waiting for you to make a mistake so they can edgeguard you and get a cheesy kill. Other Sheiks, like Lucien, will play Sheik like a spacie, opting for aggressively zoning in and out their opponents spaces. NorCal’s most successful player in-region also has a plethora of useful tutorial videos online, still important for any smash player to watch.

Robert “Wobbles” Wright

Though Wobbles had a rough Tipped Off 6, where he lost to Rayku and RockCrock, he also beat Darkrain, Zhu, DaShizWiz, (sandbagging) Mango, Lucky, Fly, Kels and Iori, among others within the year. If Wobbles entered a little bit more to make up for his TO6 performance, maybe he would be in the top ten.

Miguel “Zgetto” Rodriguez

In Zgetto, Amsah finally had the rival to challenge him for supremacy within the Netherlands. The Dutch Fox beat KirbyKaze and Cactuar at Pound 4 in January, only losing to Armada and Amsah in Europe, and even defeating the latter once in the year, showing that the once untouchable in-region Sheik player couldn’t sleep on his opponents.

Jeffrey “SilentSpectre” Leung

NorCal’s wackiest Falcon and arguably its best player at nationals, SilentSpectre started off the year with a bang, sending Armada to losers bracket at Pound 4, while also finishing 3rd at Good Shit German and ninth at DGDTJ, named after him. Not to mention, winning Nice Shot Hugo: a tourney that Lovage, Axe, Forward, Mango, Lucky and almost all of California went to.

Top Ten of RetroSSBMRank

10. Jeremy “Fly Amanita” Westfahl

By the end of December, everyone was talking about Fly Amanita’s victory over Hungrybox being one of the best upsets of the year. Yet, it’s important to note that SoCal’s finest Ice Climbers was still one of his region’s best players. In 2010, Fly Amanita had an even record with Lucky, beat Lucien and was arguably the third best in his region, despite not being able to consistently wobble. Not that it mattered anyway.

9. Joey “Lucky” Aldama

When I talked to Lucky at Shine and asked him whether he thinks he’d be top ten in 2010, he laughed and said he was mostly inactive around this time. However, when we took a look at Lucky’s results, his wealth of data and strong victories stand out against his contemporaries. By the end of December, California’s best Fox player had wins over Hungrybox, Dr. PeePee, Amsah, Shroomed, Lovage, Lucien and Scar, among being part of arguably the best team in the world with Mango. I guess he must have confused the years, because in 2010, he has a resume that’s unquestionably top ten. Either that, or he didn’t want to remember the hair.

8. David “KirbyKaze” McDonald

Arguably Canada’s best player, KirbyKaze had victories over Mango (sandbagging), Dr. PeePee and SilentSpectre by the end of the year. While KirbyKaze occasionally struggled against local competition (2-6 vs. Unknown522 and 3-2 vs. RaynEX), his third place at RoM 3 was a huge reason for his high placing on our list. Moreover, KirbyKaze’s colorful, tongue-in-cheek, if not self-deprecating posts on Smashboards provide a gold mine for players looking for useful information even today. Along with DruggedFox back then, KirbyKaze was practically the human database on Sheik and Melee on Smashboards, always willing to chat with anyone that had questions.

7. Amsah “Amsah” D. Augustuszoon

Europe’s best Sheik had a relatively low data set for American tournaments, but from what we saw, Amsah was every bit the real deal. At Pound 4, the Dutch No. 1 beat Ka-Master, Lovage, Falcomist, Remen, Linguini, Tope, Zhu, Jman and Armada himself to finish in third place for what was at the time the biggest smash tournament of all time.

6. Jesus “Jman” Fernandez

He didn’t beat Mew2King like he did last year, but Jman was inarguably Tri-State’s No. 2 in 2010. With a patient, laser-heavy Fox known for camping out opponents and forcing them to approach, the New York-based Fox main had several impressive set victories over the likes of Darkrain, PC Chris, Dr. PeePee – and even won the year’s final major in DGDTJ. Here, Jman defeated SFAT, Falcomist, Mango’s Marth, Zhu and Lucky without dropping a set en route to close out a chaotic year for Melee’s top players.

5. Kevin “Dr. PeePee” Nanney

Was Dr. PeePee a “god” of Melee yet? Maybe not initially, given that he began the year with losses to Smash History contributor SleepyK, Axe and Lucky in its first month. After Pound 4, however, North Carolina’s finest began to make his case for being one of Melee’s greatest players.

Along with going even against Hungrybox, Dr. PeePee also has one of the year’s best tournaments runs at RoM 3, where he lost to KirbyKaze in winners semifinals, before defeating Hbox, Jman, getting revenge on KirbyKaze and shocking the world with taking two sets over Mew2King in grand finals. Most people didn’t consider Dr. PeePee a “god” until Pound V, but with Mango continuing to mostly sandbag against his opponents, the world’s best Falco main in 2010 might have just been Dr. PeePee.

4. Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman

You’d be surprised at how many people still johnned for Mew2King even after he began to focus heavily on playing Brawl – some things truly never change. Nevertheless, he was still among the top echelon of players and was essentially an early recovery away from defeating Armada at Pound 4, suffering one of the year’s most heartbreaking losses, along with losing a close last-stock, last game, stitchface-influenced set against him at Apex 2010.

Mew2King could have an argument to be even higher, given his 3-0 head to head against Mango, though Mango played Falcon and Mario in these sets. Although he didn’t win anything, Mew2King also deserves credit for never dropping a set to anyone outside of the top five of the year.

3. Adam “Armada” Lindgren

After GENESIS, there was still a bit of cautious skepticism of Armada since that was his only American tournament so far. By the end of Pound 4, when Armada had lost to SilentSpectre and Amsah to go home at fourth place, the Swedish Peach still looked like one of the world’s elite players, but his stock wasn’t necessarily as high as before.

Nevertheless, as the year progressed, Armada looked like he forgot how to lose, only dropping Apex 2010 to Hungrybox in a lopsided Peach vs. Jigglypuff matchup in two brutal sets. Other than that, Armada didn’t drop a set to anyone else for the rest of the year. Though his lack of an American title drops him on our list, Armada’s epic consistency, and wins over high level competition puts him as one of the men among (mostly) boys in the Melee community.

2. Joseph “MaNg0” Marquez/Joshua “Scorpion Master” Lopez

It feels almost wrong to say that Mango was the best player of 2010, but in terms of perceived skill, he might have been. For over half of the year, SoCal’s No. 1 sandbagged in several sets, opting to play the likes of Mario, Captain Falcon and Marth in tournament rather than the vaunted Puff and Falco that ruled the world just a year ago and won Pound 4 without dropping a set.

Frequently using the tag “Scorpion Master” and creating a ridiculous backstory for this persona so that no one outside of his friends in the scene would recognize his presence online, Mango routinely embarrassed top players with his secondaries while under the alias. Some notable moments include his destruction of Kage, who ended Mango’s “reign” in 2009, with Link at RoM 3, as well as beating HugS and SilentSpectre with Mario. Mango was still the West Coast’s best player and even dominated Hungrybox in money matches after the Florida Jigglypuff won Apex 2010.

At some point though, you can’t reward a player for not caring enough to play seriously in tournament. Along with Mango’s list of notable wins, come some pretty ugly showings at nationals, including a 9th place finish at RoM 3 and a 25th stinker at Apex 2010. It wasn’t even like his Falco was unstoppable either, as it lost a game against Cactuar before Mango opted to go Mario.

1. Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma

Six years before he dominated the summer of 2016, Hungrybox was arguably the world’s best and most consistent Melee player, with a win at Apex 2010 and high placings every other tournament he entered. Oh – and just in case you thought Jigglypuff carried him, he finished second at a Florida local while playing Sheik, losing only to Colbol: an arguably Top 25-30 player in the world at the time.

Mango fans might point to Pound 4 as proof that Mango was better than Hungrybox for the year, but along with how early in the year this was, consider how close most of the games were, jab rest punishes aside. Now remember that when the two rematched at DGDTJ in December, Hungrybox’s worst tournament of the year, he still won over Mango’s Fox: at the time, still one of Mango’s best characters. How much can we excuse Mango’s sandbagging without ignoring Hungrybox’s strong showings in tourney?

Was Hungrybox definitively the best player heading into 2011? It’s hard to say, with his losses at RoM 3 and DGDTJ showcasing players seemingly figuring out how to beat Jigglypuff near the end of the year. But it’s also near impossible to find a player who in the year demonstrated the level of consistency, success and positive player matchup spread as Hungrybox.

Data dump is below:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MTNlD23ZJ60PVkl4uNrQr6_fg589uzc2cW42AECNbSM/edit

Enjoy – and if you want to see us get more attention and reception, tweet to us @ssbmjecht or @GCH_Catastrophe or fellow contributor/advisor @sleepike for more smash history takes.