Smash History: 2004 in Review

It’s the beginning of 2004 and Super Smash Bros. Melee is starting to show signs of life as a competitive game. In the two and a half of years that the game’s been alive, you’ve probably sworn among your friends that your Roy was unbeatable or that Sheik was an unfair character. But a quick journey through the Internet, most likely supported by your stepdad’s broadband connection, would show you that you weren’t the only person to think they were hot shit. In fact, your perception on what was fair or competitive was probably far different than quite a few other people.

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In Melee’s infancy as a competitive scene, tournaments didn’t quite yet have a standardized format. There wasn’t quite a defined legal stage list yet, as people still disagreed on what stages were fair or not.  West Coast tournament series like Tournament Go still included items on medium or low as part of tournament format, while East Coast players strongly advocated against using items in tournament.

By this point in time, the best smashers from both the East and West Coast had already met at TG5 – and the West reigned victorious, with the tournament’s top three spots taken by Ken, Recipherus and Isai, while the Virginia legend Azen placed only fourth, having lost to Isai and Recipherus. However, the first tournament of 2004 was now in the East Coast’s territory in Woodbridge, Virginia. It marked the beginning of a transformative year for Melee.

*NOTE: If anyone has more information about these tournaments, please contact us! We acknowledge that a lot of the data is incomplete!

Game Over (85 entrants)
January 10
1. Ken
2. Azen
3. Isai
4. DA Dave
5. Chillin / Wes
7. Sultan of Samitude/Jason (DA)
9. Chu Dat/Mike G/Kamaal/Mild

There’s a beautiful kind of irony to this tournament being named “Game Over.” A more appropriate title would be its acronym: “go,” considering that this tournament was the first one that featured all the best from California, Virginia and New York. These three were considered the three best regions in the United States. Moreover, Game Over’s ruleset provided a vague, but important kind of blueprint for future tournaments.

In addition to items being turned off, each player had five stocks, double-blind picked their characters to start a set and then played the first match of a set on a random stage between Dreamland, Yoshi’s Story, Fountain of Dreams, Battlefield, Final Destination and Pokemon Stadium. The loser of the first game could counterpick to any of these stages or counterpick to Kongo Jungle 64, Mute City, Corneria or Princess Peach’s Castle, where they could then see which character their opponent selected and then counterpick another character, if needed. It’s not the MLG-ruleset that later became the standard, but it was a pretty good start.

Furthermore, games were limited to 10 minutes each – and if the timer ran out, the character with the higher stock won, though if both players had equal stock count, the one with the lower percent won. In case of a tie in both percent and stock, both players would play out the sudden death. Another interesting note about the tournament: doubles had team attack turned off, the opposite of what later became the doubles standard.

As for the actual tournament itself, it provided the Melee scene its first massive upset: the relatively outspoken, but heavy underdog Chillin, back then a chubby kid starting to gain confidence in his Fox, defeating Melee’s king in Ken. Keep in mind that Ken had never lost a tournament set before 2004, solidifying this moment and tournament as Chillin’s breakout. Chillin ended up placing fifth, losing only to Azen in winners semis and Ken in a Fox ditto runback in losers quarters.

Over notable moments of the event included Azen beating Isai in winners finals, giving East Coast fans the confidence that their best player could hang with the top competitors of the other coast. At least until Ken completed his losers run, making his way thorough Chillin, DA Dave, Isai and Azen twice to take the tourney. However, smashers now knew that the king of smash, Ken, could bleed. One thing for sure: no more items.

Zero Challenge 1
January 18

1. Ken
2. Isai
3. Rori
4. Eddie

Not much is known about this tournament other than that it was back to usual for Ken, who plowed through everyone he faced. This was also a strong tournament for Eddie, who also placed second in teams with an unknown partner, right below Ken and Isai.

The Next Ohio Tournament
February 7
1. Joshu
2. ????

Although we don’t have much information about this tournament, we know that Joshu, a Sheik main and member of the Ship of Fools crew, won it. According to the old Super Smash Bros. Wikipedia page (not ssbwiki!), this tournament also marked the first significant tournament that Ohio and Michigan smashers attended together, showing that the two communities were on their way to becoming as prominent as the two in Illinois and Indiana.

Show Me Your Moves(“over 40” entrants)
April 3
1. Eduardo
2. KishCubed
3. Eddie
4. Joshu

The first of a legendary Midwest tournament series, as well as one of America’s longest running regionals, the only recorded evidence that we know of outside of the placings are that it garnered over 40 entrants.

BOMB 2
April 17

1. Azen
2. Chillin
3. Chu Dat
4. Mild

Based on what we were able to find out about the tournament, Azen began it by playing Mario for fun, but quickly lost a set to Chillin in winners bracket. He then played the rest of the tournament seriously, defeating Mild (Chillin’s brother and Virginia’s best Sheik player), Chu Dat and Chillin twice to win the tournament.

Smash 4 Cash  (Per what Chillin wrote in History of a Smasher, NOT ssbwiki!)
June ??? (over 40 entrants)
1. Isai
2. Mike G
3. Mild
4. KrazyJones
5. Wes/Mofo
7. Hayato/NEO
9. Chillin/DA Dave/Matt Deezie/???

In case it hasn’t been obvious from reading the past Smash History articles, the MLG and pre-MLG eras still featured players that were relatively young and busy during the school year. As a result, this was Isai’s first major tournament attended since the winter, though many still had him as the favorite to win. However, his path to victory at this tourney didn’t just go through Deadly Alliance – Smash 4 Cash involved some of MDVA’s best and even a new crew coming from Fall River, MA that claimed to be as good as anyone else.

Isai dominated the tournament, winning sets over Mike G, Mild and West, but this was also the first significant regional where two of New England’s best, KrazyJones and Hayato, made top eight, with the former placing as high as fourth, eventually losing to Mild. Connecticut’s Mofo also upset Chillin in bracket, while the Maryland Roy main NEO broke out, finishing seventh. More notably, this was Mike G’s first significantly high placing at a major, showing the first ever dominant performance shown by an American Peach player.

MLG Chicago 2004 (60 entrants)
June 20
1. Ken
2. Isai
3. KishSquared
4. Eddie
5. Jv3x3/Neddle of Juntahh
7. KishCubed/KishPrime

As is unfortunately the standard for MLG tournaments from the golden era, the bracket has been lost.  Isai managed to take his first set ever off Ken, but Ken ended up winning the tournament.

However, one particularly hyped up match in bracket was Ken vs. Eddie, since Ken had previously lost a money match to Eddie at Tournament Go 5 – and a lot of of the Midwest wondered if Eddie, arguably its best player and Ganondorf hero, could defeat Ken and elevate the region’s status to be as highly viewed as the East and West Coast. Ken eventually beat him and Eddie was upset by KishSquared before Eddie could get a shot at Isai and a rematch with the SoCal Marth.

What’s also important to remember is that this was the first ever smash event ran at an MLG-sponsored event, which had a tremendous effect on the otherwise fragmented Melee scene and gave it a unified ruleset. Here’s a good post for more information on MLG’s importance toward Melee’s initial growth.

FC 1 (98 entrants)
July 10
1. Ken
2. Azen
3. Isai
4. Wes
5. KishCubed/Vidjogamer
7. KishSquared/Dope
9. Darkrain/Aarosmashguy/Dave/Iggy
13. DieSuperFly/Jarrod/Neddle of Juntahh/Jv3x3

The first tournament series to bring the best of the West, Midwest and East Coast to a neutral ground, FC1 was deceptively marked by the Midwest’s rising players for the first three quarters. Rising stars like the Kish crew, Vidjogamer, Dope, Darkrain, Aarosmashguy and Iggy tearing through bracket to place in the tournament’s top 16, representing the Midwest well, even if its arguably best player Eddie bustered out at a disappointing 17th place.

With Eddie, their biggest threat out of the picture, Ken, Azen, Isai and Wes predictably took the tournaments’ top four spots. And thus, a still existing legacy of the Midwest being unable to defend its region ultimately began with FC-1. At least it was the biggest tournament of its time!

MLG Atlanta 2004
July 25
1. Azen
2. Mike G
3. Derigo
4. Chillin

The only notable thing at MLG Atlanta 2004 was Derigo’s upset of Chillin in losers. Other than that, this was just another strong tournament for Azen.

Tournament Go 6 (112 entrants)
August 22
1. Azen
2. Captain Jack
3. Chu Dat
4. Sastopher
5. Isai/Rob$
7. Wes/DSF
9. Ken/Balefireboy/J-Dawg/Sultan of Samitude
13. Takuto/Blair/Mike P/Dave
17. Eddie/Takagi/Caveman/Lunaris/Zulu/Recipherus/Gus/MattDeezie

Tournament Go 6 is arguably the most important tournament in Melee history before 2013. Being the first tourney to have over 100 entrants, not only did it feature the best of the Pacific Northwest, MDVA, California and NYC, it also featured some of the best Japanese players to fly over to California, including Captain Jack, thought of as second only to Masashi in Japan at the time. Imagine everyone’s surprise when Captain Jack handily destroyed Ken’s Marth in friendlies before the tournament, even with characters like his Donkey Kong and Bowser. At this point in Melee history, smashers had seen Ken lose before, but never so dominantly.

Imagine the significance of this: you just saw a guy come from an unknown region, one you’ve heard nothing but legends about, and then defeat the best player in your national scene with Bowser. It’s the equivalent of someone coming from another country, defeating Mango with, well, Bowser before the tournament and then saying that there’s a guy even better than him.

Tournament Go 6 also featured some of the most shocking upsets in Melee history. Along with PNW’s best player Sastopher upsetting Ken in winners bracket, TG6 featured a then unknown-Sheik player named DieSuperFly, who had only been playing the game for about half a year, and entered only two other national tournaments at that point within a month, upsetting Ken, causing the formerly untouchable king of smash to finish in a humiliating ninth place. At least Sastopher was unquestionably the best in his region and was thought of as one of the best Peach players in the world – DSF was essentially a nobody who had just eliminated a god from tournament.

Chu Dat’s performance this tournament also singlehandedly brought up if Ice Climbers were better than people thought, with his wins over players like Zulu, Wes, Isai (twice) and even Sastopher: in a matchup that many thought was unwinnable. Chu Dat had succeeded locally before, but make no mistake: despite getting double eliminated by Captain Jack (while attempting Sheik and Jigglypuff counterpicks), Chu Dat has Tournament Go 6 to thank for being a catalyst to his rise as one of the best Melee players of all-time.

TG6 also included a bizarre counterpick war in winners and grand finals between Azen and Captain Jack after Azen infamously chaingrabbed him during Sheik dittos, despite the latter refusing to do so. This prompted Captain Jack to choose Doctor Mario instead, while Azen picked Marth later to counter the Doc. After three grueling best-of-seven sets between the two, Azen won, prompting many to say that he was now the new world No. 1. Obviously, it wasn’t as simple as that, but he certainly now held the championship belt.

There’s much more we could say about TG6, which also was the first international major to use four stocks, but we’ll save it for another article. For now, I’d highly recommend reading this highly entertaining post-tourney Smashboards post by the organizer Matt Deezie, who talks about what kind of guests smashers were at his house.

MLG Seattle 2004
August 22
1. Rori
2. Jv3x3
3. Jrta

We don’t know much about this tournament, but in case you’re wondering about its second place player, the answer is yes. That’s the same JV who provided the basis for the term “JV,” in which a player who finishes a match without any percent on Stock X can claim to finish with a “JV(X+1)” match. Was that the most confusing explanation ever? Maybe.

MLG San Francisco 2004 (50 entrants)
September 12
1. Captain Jack
2. Isai
3. Ken
4. Chu Dat
5. NEO/Wes
7. Manacloud/??

Captain Jack’s return to the states wasn’t just surprising because he won, but also because of Isai eliminating Ken from bracket. Keep in mind that this was now the second event in a row where Ken had failed to win.

Consider how there was now a wide open spot for who the world’s definitive No. 1 player was. If it wasn’t Ken any more, was it Azen because of his performance at TG6? Or did Captain Jack clearly take the mantle at MLG San Francisco, showing that he held dominance over the West Coast?  How good was Masashi to where even Captain Jack claimed to be worse?  Would Isai be the best in singles if he tried?

Show Me Your Moves 2
September 25
1. KishSquared
2. Darkrain
3. KishPrime
4. KishCubed

In the second of the Midwest’s premier series, KishSquared took the crown for SMYM2, while Darkrain had his first top eight finish at a regional.

DCSS #3
September 25
1.  Azen
2. Chillin
3. NEO

The last of an inconsistently ran Maryland series of tournaments, only 30 or so entrants came, per ssbwiki. Azen won the tournament with relative ease, not dropping a set.

MLG Los Angeles 2004 (somewhere “under 100 entrants”)
September 26

1. Ken
…9. HugS (?)

For an event that took place in such a smash-heavy place like Los Angeles, you’d think there would be more information about this event. Unfortunately, this is all we have. Congratulations to HugS for breaking out at this tournament!

Gettin’ Schooled (63 entrants)
October 4
1. Azen/Mike G./Chu Dat
4. NEO
5. Oro
6. Ryoko
7. Wes
8. Wife/Chops
10. E-Man
11. Philly
12. SD Fox
13. Ricky/Cava/Chillin

While this was an exceptionally hyped tournament due to the influx of MDVA, Midwest and NYC talent coming down, Getting Schooled also marked Chillin’s worst placing of the year, as he finished only 13th. The tournament wasn’t run efficiently either, as Azen, Mike G and Chu Dat split for first due to the lack of time.

MLG Boston 2004
October 10

1. Azen
2. Wes

Not much we know here, other than this.

MLG New York 2004
October 24
1. Ken
2. Isai
3. Captain Jack
4. Azen
5. Husband

Just like that, in the last major event of 2004, Ken silenced any doubters that thought he had lost his edge as the world’s best player (possibly Masashi withstanding). Azen also finished a disappointing fourth-place, showing that he still had flaws in his gameplay, while Isai got his revenge on Captain Jack and played Ken in ten thrilling games.


Because we were criticized last time for giving readers “blue balls,” (by none other than tafokints and the Crimson Blur) by just listing our Top 10, here’s a brief explanation for each of our picks, though again – we acknowledge the inherent lack of data.

NOTE: We decided not to include Masashi or any of the international players who did not enter an American tournament, due to too much speculation being needed.

10. Mike G

Even with a disappointing 25th place at TG6, Mike G was one of DA’s best players. At three of the year’s other tourneys, Mike G either placed second or first (well, tied for first). It doesn’t hurt that he one of the forefathers of Peach’s meta in the pre-Armada era.

9. Rob$

Rob$, then one of Texas’s best smashers and hailing from Crystal City, had one of the year’s most underlooked tournament runs at TG6, where he defeated players like Lunaris, GERM, DA Dave and the Ken-slayer DSF en route to a fifth place finish, showing that he might have taken the mantle for world’s best Falco. A lack of data prevents him from being higher, though you could certainly vouch for him.

8. Chillin

While he left quite a lot to be desired, with a few inconsistent showings after defeating Ken early in the year, it’s important to note that Chillin also had victories over Azen and Chu Dat . Even if the latter two were his training partners, his victories here still stand as testament to Chillin’s clear potential as a player.

7. Wes

DA’s loudest trash talker and the world’s first premier Samus player, Wes had many good showings, traveling out of New York frequently and placing in the top eight everywhere he went. A lack of a top tier win, however, hurts his placing on our list.

6. Sastopher

The way people talked about Sastopher beating Ken back at TG6, you’d think that he was a random Peach. However, at the time, the Washington Peach was his region’s best player and he rarely, if ever dropped sets locally to other players. Though beating Ken was certainly a significant upset in Melee’s history, it was nowhere near as random and seemingly out of nowhere as the one to DSF.

5. Chu Dat

We mentioned Chu Dat’s legendary Tournament Go 6 run, which skyrocketed him to our top five alone. However, he was just behind Azen in the race to become MDVA’s best player – and after Game Over, Chu Dat never placed outside the top four of a tournament. How’s that for consistency, for the world’s first ever top-level Ice Climbers?

4. Isai

Other than the fact that he was the first relevant Captain Falcon player and a guy who was doing things like shield dropping, tech chasing and triple kneeing long before Darkrain reached his prime, Isai also had a terrifyingly good Sheik and was commonly thought of as the world’s best doubles player. In fact, before Game Over, many wondered if Isai was actually better than Ken and just didn’t care enough to compete.

3. Azen

Putting Azen less than first might feel strange for viewers, given his victory at the world’s biggest tournament in TG6. However, his 0-4 record against Ken hurts – and even his record against Captain Jack is split at 2-2 despite his TG6 win. Nevertheless, Azen never dropped a serious set outside of the top four for the year, only losing once to Chillin while playing Mario.

2. Captain Jack

With a first place at MLG San Francisco 2004 over both Ken and Isai, split sets against Azen and having a status as Japan’s second best player, Captain Jack also solidly vanquished every other American player he entered. If he was this good, could you imagine how good Masashi was? Think of it this way: could you imagine anyone else’s low-tiers beating Ken in friendlies before the year’s biggest tournament?

1. Ken

Ken had several hiccups on the year, losing to Isai, Captain Jack, DieSuperFly, Chillin and Sastopher, but by the year’s end, he delivered a dominating performance at MLG New York 2004, finishing first at a tourney with the other top four without dropping a single set. Add in his undefeated record against Azen, the East Coast’s best and his history of dominating all of 2003 without a single loss and you have someone who, even with questionable losses, was still thought of as Melee’s king.

Smash History: A Year in Review for 2005 (and our Top 10)

By 2005, Super Smash Bros. Melee was one of the most popular competitive video games, along with Halo 2 and even Tekken 5. Rather than just being a game that your weird stepbrother played at house parties with all his friends, Melee had its own storylines, recognizable figureheads and potential for growth. Once a party game that a few people took way too seriously, Melee now had an organized MLG-sponsored circuit that was also beefed up by additional old school tournaments.

Unlike previous articles, where there was a countdown to our No. 1, spot, this one is going to be something different, due to the severe lack of head to head data and written records about each tournament. Remember the Year in Review series from Robin “Juggleguy” Harn? Here’s our Year in Review of 2005, looking at the scene’s 21 biggest tournaments. If you just want to see our rankings, scroll to the bottom!

*NOTE: As said before, we both acknowledge that a lot of the data is missing or incomplete. If you have any knowledge of these brackets, matches played or number of entrants, please contact us immediately so we can update this article – and even the rankings, if necessary.

MOAST 3 (128 entrants)
January 16
1. Isai
2. Ken
3. Caveman
4. Zulu
5. Rob$/MikeG
7. Forward/Smiles
9. Darkrain/Husband/Roy/CrazyKirbyKid

If you’re watching this now, you might not find the above clip impressive. But MOAST 3 grand finals showed a level of play and expertise never seen before in Melee history, with both players pushing the limits of the game’s combo potential at the time. What we consider bread and butter combos now is what Ken and Isai literally invented at the time.

Up to that point, Ken had only lost three sets before: to Sastopher, DieSuperFly and Chillin, with Tournament Go 6 as the only tournament he ever attended that he didn’t win. Isai, his consistent doubles partner at the time as part of the vaunted “El Chocolate Diablo,” was a legend that many in East Coast suspected was secretly better than Ken, but just didn’t try his hardest in singles.

All the tournaments’ narratives, from Isai “trying,” to his friendship and rivalry with Ken literally being tested in the grand finals of 2005’s first big tournament to Melee’s metagame itself being pushed, make it difficult to ignore MOAST 3 as one of the scene’s most important ever. It was also the first tournament that Ken was ever double eliminated by the same person at, showing that his losses weren’t just flukes – the King of Smash himself could be legitimately outplayed.

MLG DC 2005 (97 entrants):
January 30
1. Ken
2. Isai
3. Chu Dat
4. NEO
5. ManaCloud/Hayato
7. Wes/Sesshomaru
9. KM/KillaOR/KishPrime/Dave
13. Chillin/Oro/Jinx/KrazyJones
17. PC Chris/Dany/Husband/COMP/Muffin/Dante/SuicideFox/MeleeGuy

Two weeks later, Ken and Isai traveled to the East Coast to compete for another MLG tournament. Though the two breezed through doubles together with another first place finish, Ken was sent to losers bracket early after losing a set of Roy dittos to NEO, one of MDVA’s best players: a guy who mained Roy and sometimes played Marth. 2005 was a different time, folks.

By the end of the tournament, however, order seemed to be restored. Ken made his way through losers, defeating NEO, Chu Dat and Isai twice in grand finals to win MLG’s first big tournament of its year-long season. One other aspect to note about this tournament is Azen’s lack of attendance, as the longtime veteran deliberately chose not to seriously compete in as many tourneys in the year.

MLG San Francisco 2005 (100+ entrants)
February 27

1. Ken
2. DSF
3. Kei
4. Zelgadis
5. Isai/Eddie
7. GERM/Husband
9. Arash/HugS/Omar/Straight
13. Bob$/Sultan of Samitude/MikeNasty/Oro

A month later, there was another MLG tournament, but this time in San Francisco. Although it didn’t hold as many entrants as MOAST 3, this tournament also saw the national breakout of DBR combo video fiend Zelgadis, who defeated several opponents on his way to fourth place, including Isai, proving that Zelgadis didn’t just beat up on bad opponents, as many accused him of doing in his combo video.

DieSuperFly also proved that his win over Ken and seventh place at TG6 wasn’t a fluke. The SoCal Sheik main finished second at the only recorded tournament we could find that he entered after his international breakout a year ago. MLG San Francisco was additionally a solid return to form for HugS, who previously finished a disappointing 25th at MOAST 3. At this point, you could have argued him for being No. 3 in SoCal, just behind Ken and DSF.

BOMB 3 (??? Entrants)
March 9
1.  Chu Dat
2. Darkrain
3. Husband
4. Wife
5. Azen/Chillin
7. KM/Mow
9. Aho/Tejo/Tink/Inha
13.Rocky/Steve W/Oro/AlphaZealot

This tournament didn’t feature any of the West Coast’s killers, but it had the best from MDVA and a few of the Midwest’s top players come through. As he had done in previous tourneys, Azen sandbagged, opting to play Link, Young Link and Pikachu, while Chu Dat won the tournament with relative ease. However, Darkrain was clearly getting closer to being considered one of the best in the Midwest, rather than just a local Falcon crowd favorite.

MLG Houston 2005 (32 Entrants)
March 13-14
1.Rob$
2.KillaOR
3.Darkrain
4.Zulu
5.Caveman/Dr. DrewTheDragon
7.Smiles/Roy

Once again MLG held another tournament, but this time primarily for the South and Midwest players. Zulu, who, per ssbwiki, was notorious for popularizing the term “john,” had another strong showing with a fourth-place performance. Texas Sheik and Falco player Rob$ ended up taking the tournament – his first ever regional tournament victory.

MLG Orlando 2005 (? Entrants)
April 24
1. Eddie
2. Oro
3. MrSilver
4. Husband

Without already knowing about this tournament, you would have probably been shocked if I told you a Ganondorf player won an MLG tournament for Melee. The drawout is still unknown to this day, but consider that Eddie won the tournament over one of the country’s best Samus players in Oro, outplaced MrSilver, then one of the Netherland’s bestplayers and then outplaced Husband, a highly ranked MDVA Marth at the time.

Is it impressive as a more stacked national? Obviously not, but it’s still an interesting tidbit of smash history – and shows that the Ganon meta was still alive even before Kage broke out on the scene.

Show Me Your Moves 3 (?? Entrants)
April 30
1.Rob$
2.Caveman
3.Darkrain
4.Eddie

Think his victory at MLG Houston 2005 was a one time thing? Rob$ won once again, defeating his longtime best friend and training body Caveman in grand finals. Other than that, here’s another emid 00s alternative rock filled montage!

MLG St. Louis 2005 (32 entrants)
June 26
1. Darkrain
2. KishSquared
3. Joshu
4. Iggy
5. DMac/Captain Awesome
7. James (STL)/ViperBoy

Getting sick of the Midwest yet? At least you can start to notice a pattern in Darkrain’s ascent to relevancy and national recognition, with MLG St. Louis 2005 being his first ever recorded tournament win outside of Nebraska locals. That said, the relative lack of entrants at this MLG somewhat dampened its impact, similar to the tournaments held in Orlando and Houston. This because there was another major event planned for the same day.

Getting Schooled 2 (99 entrants):
June 26
1. Ken
2. Chu Dat
3. Azen
4. Chillin
5. PC Chris/Wes
7. Isai/KrazyJones
9. Husband/Eve/Hayato/KM
13. Rob$/Oro/KillaOR/Eddie
17. Jv3x3/Caveman/AOB/Wife/HugS/SS4Ricky
23. Mew2King/Crashman/Mathos/Comp/UnknownForce/AlphaZealot/

After several months of school taking over most of the top players’ lives, it was finally summer again – and everyone traveled to Maryland for a hyped up tournament hosted by Team Ben (Husband and Wife, among other members).

Notably, this was a tournament where Azen didn’t sandbag and actually played a good amount of Marth – already adding to a stacked event! You not only had the best from the West Coast, but you also had some of the South and Midwest’s best players, as well as two of New England’s heavy hitters (KrazyJones and Hayato) and MDVA showing up. With the amount of talent at this event, it’s easy to see why people chose this over MLG St. Louis 2005.

Although he didn’t place too highly, you could consider this Mew2King’s “breakout” tourney. Back then, he was just a  Fox player that posted tidbits of frame data information online and constantly theorycrafted how to play different matchups. Many mocked him for being overly technical, as well as being socially awkward in several situations, but GS2 was the main start to his illustrious career. You could say the same for PC Chris, who made his first national top eight appearance ever.

However, the most exciting part of this tournament may have been the crew battle bracket, where Team Maria (Azen, Chillin, Rob$ and Caveman) beat 2 Kool 4 School (HugS, Chu, Ken, Eddie and Isai). This was especially important, not just because it showcased Chillin’s promise as a player, but also because it featured a tense last stock game where Azen defeated Chu: a former fellow member of HY2L who earlier declared himself West Coast. You can read Chillin’s account of crews here.

The Renaissance of Smash 2 (100 entrants)
July 3
1. Ek
2. Helios
3. The Doug
4. Oro
5. DUDE/bossofsmash
7. MrSilver/Svampen
9. Amsah/Smash Alex/Masamune/Niam

Ek was once called the European Ken by Captain Jack, due to his excellent Marth play and the way he dominated the European scene. Both he and Helios, the two best players in Sweden were the continent’s best players, though it’s hard to find recorded evidence of their play. Until Amsah’s four-stock comeback against him at RoS 3 a year later, legend has it that Ek rarely (if ever) lost a tournament to anyone in Europe. How about that – a Swede dominating a whole continent?

FC3 (186 entrants):
July 12
1. Ken
2. Sastopher
3. Chu Dat
4. Isai
5. KrazyJones/Caveman
7. DSF/DA Dave
9. Darkrain/Undisput3d/Dope/Azen
13. Husband/PC Chris/KM/Takagi

If you know anything remotely important about Melee history, you’ll probably know about this tournament already – but, just in case you don’t,  let’s get into it.

At this point, Smashboards had given a medium for the top players and leaders of every region to talk to eachother. But even with a select group of players traveling to see eachother like Ken, Isai, Chu Dat and Chillin, there was very rarely one tournament that sported heavy hitters from every single established region in America.

Held by the Ship of Fools team in South Bend, Indiana, FC3 was essentially The Big House of its time: providing a middle battleground for the best of every region to come face each other. With 186 entrants, it was the largest Melee tournament of all-time – and perhaps the highlight of FC3 came from its legendary crew battles. Without spoiling anything for you, please watch them.

As far as singles bracket goes, the West Coast held three of the top four spots, with Pacific Northwest legend Sastopher defeating Ken (in pools), Mike G, The Doug, Azen, Eddie, Tavo, Dope, DSF, Caveman and Chu Dat en route to a runner-up second place for the tournament. Other results include New England Peach player KrazyJones defeating DSF and Chillin, DA Dave defeating Azen (circumstances unknown), Midwest’s Dope defeating Chillin, Caveman defeating Wes and more.

MLG Philadelphia 2005 (?? Entrants)
July 31
1. Chillin
2. PC Chris
3. NEO (according to Chillin)
4 or 5.  Azen/??? (Azen played Link, according to Chillin)

Unfortunately, there’s next to nothing that we could find online about this tournament’s results – and when I discussed this with Chillin, even he wasn’t sure about the placings outside of the top two. For now, enjoy this 2005 MLG interview with Chillin.

MLG Las Vegas 2005 (?? Entrants)
August 14
1. Caveman
2. Rob$

Similar to MLG Philadelphia 2005, we couldn’t find much about this tournament, other that it held another set of grand finals between Caveman and Rob$ – adding to their history together as best friends and tournament rivals.

Jack Garden Tournament (116 entrants?)
August 16
1. Ken
2. Bombsoldier
3. Masashi
4. Jing
5. Mikael/RAIN
7. Captain Jack/S-Royal
9. Thunders/Shino/Korius/Hiko
13. Hoshino Kirby/Smasher/DISK/Farce
17. Aniki/Su-pu-/Chata/Gano/Hakase/Ko-raru/Wagomo/Zeruo

Jack Garden Tournament was the catalyst for top American players like Ken actually traveling across the world to prove their global dominance. It was also the first time that the best from East Japan and West Japan were in the same area for a tournament.

Moreover, there was a tremendous amount of hype from both ends on who was going to actually win the tournament. Would it be the American legend Ken, like he did at almost everything else he entered? Or was he going to lose to Isai? There were concerns from either of the two struggling from jet lag and facing an unfamiliar Japanese style of gameplay. Before the tournament, East Japan’s Mikael, a Peach main, boasted that he wasn’t impressed by Ken.

These three weren’t the only contenders. Take its host, Captain Jack, who had won major events as recently as a year ago, or longtime Japanese legend Masashi, arguably West Japan’s greatest player. You also had Aniki, who in addition to being maybe the best Link player in the world also had a series of public friendlies  with Ken, where he defeated the American legend. Hell, you could have even argued at the time that this was going to be the tournament where Thunders, a Japanese Fox famous for creating the Thunders combo,could finally get over his consistency issues and realize his true potential.

Instead, we only got one of the most incredible and meta-changing sets of Melee ever recorded (as well as an early exit from Isai, who lost to a Japanese Doctor Mario main named Farce and sandbagged his way out of the tournament).

If you’d like to read more about Bombsoldier’s impact on Falco’s metagame and the Melee scene, please read this excellent blog post covering his immortal legacy. Even then, words can’t even come close to describing how his Falco play inspired countless players to push the limits of their characters.

MLG Nashville 2005 (?? Entrants?)
August 28
1. Chu Dat
2. Darkrain
3. ??
4. Azen

Like the other MLG tournaments, the results for MLG Nashville are largely incomplete, if non-existent. What we have above is unfortunately all that we know – if anyone has data to add, please tell us.

MLG Seattle 2005  (?? Entrants)
September 11
1. Azen
2. Kei
3. Chu Dat
4. Sastopher

After not winning any tournaments in the year, Azen finally got his turn to win at MLG Seattle 2005, where he defeated the Japanese legend Kei (Peach, Fox, Ice Climbers and both Links) in grand finals and outplaced Chu Dat and the hometown favorite Sastopher. This was important because it showed that Azen could still hang with some of the game’s best, even if he wasn’t always active or trying his hardest in tournaments.

Show Me Your Moves 4 (73 Entrants)
September 24
1. Azen
2. Chu Dat
3. Vidjogamer
4. CunningKitsune
5. Neo/Drephen
7. Husband/tink
9. Darkrain/Iggy/Eddie/Mike Falco
13. Dope/kirkq/KishPrime/Anuj

All of a sudden, Azen’s one tournament back didn’t seem like a temporary revival – it felt like the next step of a comeback tour, with the MDVA legend taking another first place at this tournament. After previously finishing with a disappointing 44th place at GS2, NEO also made his way into the tournament’s top eight as well, showing that the Roy main still had what it took to make it far in bracket. SMYM 4 was also Vidjogamer’s highest placing at a tournament since FC1 a year ago, putting his name back into the discussion for who the world’s best Peach players were.

MLG Los Angeles 2005 (32 entrants)
October 16
1.Isai
2.Ken
3.KillaOR
4.Chu Dat
5.Azen/Eddie

Isai and Ken’s first tourneys back in the United States since the summer, the two took the top spots of the tournament, with Isai coming out on top. This tournament somehow took three days to finish, despite the small number of Melee entrants. I guess more people were playing Halo 2 back then. Maybe that would explain Azen’s disappointing fifth place finish.

BOMB 4 (105 entrants)
November 12

1. Chu Dat
2. Azen
3. NEO
4. Mike G
5. Chillin/Wife
7. PC Chris/KM
9. UnknownForce/Mew2King/Aho/Vidjogamer

The East Coast held it down this tournament, taking all the top eight spots, with Vidjogamer, Drephen, Dope and other Midwest smashers all being eliminated relatively earlier than expected. Perhaps most impressively, Mew2King and Vidjogamer won the doubles tournament together, showing that Mew2King, once the joke of Smashboards, was well on his way to becoming an elite force within the Melee scene.

MLG Atlanta 2005 (34 entrants)
November 27
1. Ken
2. Azen
3. Chu Dat
4. Isai
5. Husband/Oro
7. Mike G/Wife

Need to read some spicy drama and beef between players from 2005? Check out this Smashboards thread for MLG Atlanta, which featured moments like Ken calling Team Ben overrated, several smashers calling Ken a jerk, etc, Here are a few highlights.

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Some other notes about the tournament itself:

– Wife beat Mike G early in winners bracket.
– Ken beat Wife 3-2 in winners quarters.
– Chu Dat beat Isai in winners semis.
– Azen beat Ken in Marth dittos, 3-1, in winners semis.
– Isai beat Husband in losers quarters.
– Ken, now playing Fox for the rest of the tournament, beat Oro in losers quarters.
– Azen beat Chu Dat in winners finals.
– Ken beat Isai in losers semifinals.
– Ken beat Chu in losers finals.
– Ken beat Azen twice in grand finals, including a tournament-deciding final game on Kongo Jungle 64, his Fox vs. Azen’s Peach. Counterpicks back then were weird.

MLG Chicago 2005 (?? Entrants)
December 16-18
1.Ken
2.NEO
3.PC Chris
4.Husband
5.KrazyJones/Vidjogamer
7.Dope/???

While we still aren’t quite sure about the data from back then, this was another tournament victory for Ken. However, NEO also took a game off him with Roy, thought of at the time as unbelievable.

2005’s Top 10

DISCLAIMER: We deliberately chose not to include Japanese or international players, due to lack of data and precedent for most of them. We also acknowledge that these rankings are pretty flexible, given the lack of head to head data we have.

1. Ken
2. Chu Dat
3. Isai
4. Azen
5. Sastopher
6. NEO
7. Chillin
8. KrazyJones
9. Caveman
10. DieSuperFly

HM: Rob$, Darkrain, Husband, Wife, KillaOR, Mike G, Eddie, Wes, HugS and PC Chris.

A History of The Big House Pt. 2 (with brief predictions for 2016 at the end!)

With The Big House 6 starting this Friday, I wanted to do a quick write-up on the tournament’s history over the last five years. In case you missed my pieces on the series’ first three tournaments, you can check it out in a previous post from earlier this week.

This time, I’ll be taking a look at the last two years at The Big House: and also offer my own predictions for what to expect this year.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This article will focus mainly on Melee singles.)

The Big House 4
October 4-5, 2014
574 entrants

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2014 was a massive year for Super Smash Bros. Melee in many ways: as the first year of a post-EVO 2013 and the start of the “documentary” era, the scene grew in terms of competitors, as well as spectators. Prize pots grew bigger and the stakes behind each tournament were bigger than ever. With events like Apex 2014, SKTAR 3, MLG 2014, EVO 2014 and even Kings of Cali 4 bringing an unprecedented amount of hype back into the Melee scene, it was clear that The Big House 4, now held at the Sheraton DTW Hotel, had the potential to be the bonafide major of Melee’s fall season. The only complaint you could have was that wobbling was banned.

Heading into The Big House 4 with Melee’s stock at an all-time high, Robin “Juggleguy” Harn, its creator had his work cut out for him. Not only was this tournament about to break the record for biggest Midwest major ever (previously held by FC-Diamond’s 256 entrants), but it had five of the world’s six best players attending, along with more than twice as many people entering as 2013.

This is a factor that many people don’t understand: running The Big House 4 was a tremendous risk for Juggleguy. If the tournament was hyped up, only to be inefficiently, not garner enough interest or be hurt by some failure, not only would his series and reputation as a tournament organizer be under jeopardy, but Melee would still need to rely mostly on Apex, MLG, EVO and other non-smash centric tournaments for its growth.

Essentially speaking, The Big House 4 was a test to see if smashers could finally have the sustainable, self-created major that they craved for since Revival of Melee, Pound and GENESIS fell off most people’s radars.  Remember that the memory of Plank’s inability to pay out the highest placing players at Pound V was still fresh, having occurred just three years before. If you want to take this argument further, you could say that The Big House 4 determined if grassroots tournaments by smashers could still thrive on their own.

Could Michigan’s most respected TO finally turn his small regional into a premier national?

Top 8
1. Mango
2. Mew2King
3. Leffen
4. Armada
5. Hax/Lucky
7. Westballz/Kels

The quick answer? Yes. The long answer, however, requires a bit more explaining.

Not only was the tournament a smashing (pun intended) success for everyone involved, but the level of excitement and storylines before the tournament’s top eight was already enough on its own. Sets like Dart! vs. Shroomed, Shroomed vs. Leffen, Vro vs. Hax, Bizzarro Flame vs. Darkrain, Bizzarro Flame vs. Triple R, Kels vs. Axe, Gahtzu vs. Lucky, Colbol vs. Axe, Lucky vs. Hungrybox and Westballz vs. Armada showed brief flashes of upset potential (if not being straight up shockers) or brilliance. Here’s another set you might have heard of.

(In case you’re new to the scene: Hax was a former Captain Falcon player who switched to Fox in 2014, claiming that Captain Falcon was unviable as a character to win a national, much to the chagrin of his fans. Mango, the other player in the set, played Captain Falcon against him for its first two games, also changing his character’s costume palette to the same pink one that Hax used to use. Mango then played Marth for the rest of the set, causing Hax to notoriously tweet his complaints against Mango not playing either of his mains, which were Fox and Falco.)

However, the hero of The Big House 4 didn’t even make it to the tourney’s top eight. Michigan Peach player Kalamazhu defeated Lucky in pools and lost to DJ Nintendo before tearning through Porkchops, KirbyKaze and MacD en route to a match for top eight against Hax, who was just sent to losers bracket by Mango’s secondaries. Going up 2-1 against Hax and zero to deathing him on game four’s first stock, Kalamazhu just couldn’t hold on, eventually losing in a last-stock, 3-2 loss, after getting hit by a getup attack by Hax. Nonetheless, he left the tournament as Michigan’s pride and joy, though it certainly wasn’t all the Midwest could celebrate, as Kels placed seventh after going through a massive losers run, defeating Bladewise, Nintendude, Wizzrobe and Axe.

I could write novels about the tournament’s top eight. But if you’d like to learn more about The Big House 4, I recommend this series of Reddit posts written by Josh “roboticphish” Kassel, a fellow smash writer (linked is the first of a five-part series, which you can find on Reddit). By Mango’s victory, it was clear that not only was The Big House 4 a huge success for the Melee and smash community, it was also arguably its most exciting tournament ever.

The Big House 5
October 2-4, 2015
1,317 entrants

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Juggleguy’s series was on the map before, but now it was fully established as smash’s defacto fall major. With 2014’s Big House being a smashing success (puns), there was no longer a question of whether the tournament would run well or not – but smashers now wondered how much bigger the series could grow, additionally with yet another change of venue to the Adoba Dearborn Hotel. Even better for Ice Climbers players, wobbling was now allowed!

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The Big House 5 was also the first mainstream national to begin using a compendium-style funding system on smash.gg to enhance the tournament experience for spectators and tournament goers alike. For example, with the money donated to the compendium, The Big House 5 was able to fly out six competitors to the event, as well as fund an eight-regional crew battle bracket on Day 1, increase pot bonuses for tournament attendees and also increased event caps for entrants.

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Despite still having a promising buildup, The Big House 5 didn’t come without significant controversy. During the same week of the tournament, Leffen, a contender for being the world’s best Melee player, was denied access to the United States, being deported back to Sweden for traveling in the United States and making money from an American company (Team Solo Mid) while on a tourist visa. While people were still hyped for The Big House 5, the lack of one of its most recognizable attendees put a sour note on the event, though not because of anything its organizers could have realistically planned for.

Moreover, after having three consecutive years of hosting Project M tournaments, Juggleguy decided not to run these brackets for another year, due to increasing controversy over the mod/game hybrid’s legal ambiguity. Many were outraged at the time, but consider what was at stake here: Juggleguy and The Big House could have lost several sponsors (like Nintendo of America) or possible professional relationships because of the inherent precariousness of streaming a game like Project M. Also remember that VGBootCamp at this point, the main streamer for The Big House 5, had severed its ties with streaming Project M. While it was slightly disappointing at the time to hear, it wasn’t exactly unexpected.

Top 8
1. Armada
2. Hungrybox
3. Mew2King
4. Mango
5. Westballz/Shroomed
7. SFAT/Abate

Although the tournament’s grand finals and losers finals were relatively slow-paced, if not slightly concerning due to the drop in viewer count from 2014, there were still several thrilling moments from last year’s Big House. Ever see this?

Abate, Pittsburgh’s best player at the time and the best Luigi player in the world, had a hell of a tournament at The Big House 5. On his way to seventh place, he beat Axe, S2J and eliminated the local favorite Duck, losing only to Mango and Shroomed. It’s the most impressive placing a Luigi main has ever had at a national with the caliber of talent as The Big House 5.

It’s also not as if the tourney lacked other exciting upsets or sets. In addition to Ginger sending DruggedFox to losers early on (just a month after DruggedFox beat Mango), Nintendude brought Mango to game five, Swedish Delight beat Westballz (then not an expected result) and MikeHaze defeated Colbol.

More than anything, the tournament seemed to help Armada’s legacy. 3-0’ing Hungrybox in winners finals and winning a five-game set in grand finals, Armada won yet another major of the year, adding to his seemingly endless list of trophies for 2015. EVO 2015 made it clear that the Swede was No. 1, but The Big House 5 was the cherry on the top for which player had the most successful year – even without one of its most anticipated contenders.

The Big House 6
October 7-9, 2016
1,563 entrants

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Well, here we are. Just about a few days before The Big House 6, the big question you’re all probably wondering: who is going to win this tournament?

As tafokints and the Crimson Blur have discussed numerous times on Commentator’s Curse, it’s hard to say who is the favorite. The world’s presumptive No. 1, Hungrybox, is coming off consecutive losses at Shine 2016 (fourth place) and Super Smash Con 2016 (second place), while outside of two sets against Westballz at Syndicate, smashers haven’t seen Armada play against opponents near his caliber. We also still don’t know whether Leffen is attending or not, as well as if we will see Super Smash Con 2016 Mango or the Mango who can be beaten by players considered a tier below him right now, like Plup, SFAT or Westballz. Could we see another tournament win for Mew2King – or perhaps a “demigod” like Plup, SFAT or Westballz?

Here are my predictions:

Melee Doubles Winners: Mew2King and Hungrybox.
Melee Singles Winners: Mango.
Melee Crews Winners: Southern California (come at me, comments!).

Hope you enjoyed this brief write-up – and here’s to what will hopefully be another successful installment for The Big House!

A History of The Big House Pt. 1

This weekend, Super Smash Bros. Melee fans will see arguably the most exciting major of the year. With almost all of Melee It On Me’s active Top 100 players from last year coming to this event, including a possibility of Leffen making his highly anticipated return to the United States, make no mistake: The Big House 6 has potential to be the tourney of the year.

That’s not to insult majors like EVO and CEO – along with Apex in the past – but you could argue that The Big House’s reputation in excellent organization, consistent presence over the last six years and primary emphasis on Melee (and other smash games)  makes it the premier tournament of 2016. Only GENESIS and Pound come close in terms of history, smash centricity and prestige, but no tournament has a combination of the three while having a reputation for excellent TOing like The Big House.

In today’s Smash History article, I’ll be taking a look at The Big House’s history – how one underrated Midwest regional series essentially became the equivalent of Melee’s Masters.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This article will focus mainly on Melee singles.)

The Big House
October 22, 2011
118 Melee entrants

Before The Big House became known for being a guaranteed lock for at least a thousand entrants, it had humble beginnings. Robin “Juggleguy” Harn was already a well-respected tournament organizer within the Midwest, but after running several successful SWEET tourneys, along with being a prominent member of University of Michigan’s smash club, he went for something a bit bigger, pun intended.

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115 entrants doesn’t sound like a big deal now, but back in 2011, any tournament drawing those numbers could bring in talent from other regions. Along with almost all of the Midwest’s finest, The Big House in 2011 featured players like Lovage S2J, SFAT, tafokints, KirbyKaze, Unknown522, Violence and others coming to invade.

As far as how the tournament was ran, Juggleguy started by running 16 pools of seven or eight players, with the top three advancing to a final 48-man bracket. In case you’re curious about the pools for this event, you can see them here.

Here’s another fact about the first Big House: it was part of a “Road to Apex” circuit, where each region held a different tournament to give $100 to its highest placing in-region player. The circuit also rewarded members of each tournament’s top eight with points, which would be used for seeding priority at Apex 2012, the first major of the next year. The biggest question entering the tournament was simple: could the once-vaunted region of the Midwest defend its turf from its Californian and Canadian invaders?

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Top 8
1. Lovage
2. S2J
3. VanZ
4. KirbyKaze
5. Unknown522/Duck
7. RaynEX/Weon-X

Although Southern California took the tournament’s top two spots, one of the tournament’s most inspiring runs came from the hometown Michigan favorite: Duck, then a rising Samus player. After defeating Weon-X, SFAT and Dart! to make it to winners’ semifinals, Duck played against Lovage, a guy who was arguably Melee’s sixth best player by the end of 2011. While Duck lost the set 3-1, he also had one of the most exciting moments of the tournament.

Another Midwest hero, VanZ, then an Ohio Peach and Sheik player (with a Young Link secondary), tore through winners, beating Frootloop, ORLY, Idea and upsetting Unknown522 en route to winners finals, where he played Lovage. VanZ went up 2-1 in the set and even four-stocked him in game two, but ultimately lost  3-2 and dropped losers’ finals to S2J 3-1.

Speaking of which, after being sent to losers early by Unknown522, S2J went on a rampage. He made his way through the Toronto and Midwest guantlet, defeating Tink, RaynEX, Duck, KirbyKaze (3-0’ing him in Captain Falcon vs. Sheik, then thought of as a natural counterpick to Captain Falcon) and VanZ. By the time S2J was ready to play Lovage, it seemed all but guaranteed that the SoCal Captain Falcon would win the first ever Big House, considering what was at the time a 4-0 head to head record in S2J’s favor for the year.

But Lovage held on, winning the set 3-1 and concluding a bracket where he also defeated KirbyKaze. His victory spawned unprecedented Lovage hype, where people wondered if this tournament was going to be the start of his ascent to godhood. For newer players, this sounds ridiculous, but during the same year, Lovage also had wins over Hungrybox, Mango (albeit sandbagging) and Wobbles.

Does this mean Lovage could win The Big House 6? Probably not, but his bracket run at the first Big House certainly stands as a notable start to what might be Melee’s most iconic smash-centric major. Either way,  with him attending this year’s Big House, I’m personally rooting for the return of “Peak Lovage.”

The Big House 2
October 6-7, 2012
128 Melee entrants

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Having already ran a success in 2011, Juggleguy continued the tournament series for another year. The overall number of entrants at The Big House 2 may not show that much of an increase, but the name recognition of people involved in the series certainly meant a lot. Ever hear of Mango and Hungrybox? How about VGBootcamp, who streamed the tournament’s bracket matches?

Once again a qualifying tournament for “the Road of Apex” (Apex 2013), The Big House 2 ran over the course of two days, to allow Midwest competitors to drive back home early on Sunday. It didn’t hurt that the tournament’s venue was changed  from a function room called the Michigan Room at UMich’s North Campus to Pierpoint Commons, which was in the center of campus, located near several food stops, computer labs and lounges.

(On another fun note, The Big House 2 also was probably Project M’s second mainstream appearance at a top-caliber regional after FC Legacy. Metroid1117, who played Ike, won the tournament, defeating Mango in grand finals and placing over Hungrybox, Nintendude, Fly Amanita, Kels, MattDotZeb and Strong Bad in its top eight. I digress though – back to Melee.)

Top 8
1. Mango
2. Hungrybox
3. Fly Amanita
4. SFAT
5. Unknown522/KirbyKaze
7. Chillin/Frootloop

Outside of a solid national breakout from Frootloop, a Wisconsin Falco at the time who beat Lovage, lost a close 2-1 to Chillin and then beat Slox, Duck and Westballz en route to seventh-place, it’s hard to mince words here: the Midwest got destroyed. Sorry, Juggleguy.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: How did I forget to finish a section about Hanky Panky? Thank you to Reddit poster “randyfkn” for bringing up the Ohio Peach, who beat Westballz, Scar and Duck, just losing to Mango and SFAT for eighth?)

That didn’t mean the tournament lacked hype. In fact, the winners semifinals set between Unknown and Hungrybox was the highlight of the tournament. Here, Unknown went up 2-1, even defeating Hungrybox on Dreamland, before barely losing game four, partially due to a powershielded crouch cancelled upsmash, which almost would have certainly won him the set. The two then battled for another game until last stock, where Unknown missed a tech on a platform, getting Hungrybox the classic last stock rest that he’s so known for today.

Some other memorable moments from the tournament were the defending champion Lovage’s surprisingly disappointing 17th place finish (losing to Frootloop and Trail), along with SFAT’s redemption-filled fourth place with a victory against Unknown after being sent to losers by him. Fly Amanita’s losers bracket run to third place, with wins over Trail, Frootloop, KirbyKaze and SFAT, was also noteworthy.

After Mango won grand finals, it was clear that The Big House was more than just a well-run regional. Its second over iteration brought two gods and a new level of production to its streaming. The Big House 3 was all but guaranteed to be even bigger.

The Big House 3
October 12-13, 2013
172 entrants

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Once again, The Big House series grew in hype, garnering itself appearances from three gods, Dr. PeePee, Mew2King and Hungrybox. Just in case that wasn’t enough, The Big House 3 also had Hax, PewPewU, SFAT (for the third year in a row) and even Kage the Warrior – all big names from other regions who, perhaps, could give the gods a challenge. Hell, even Wife showed up.

This time, however, the tournament didn’t take place at the University of Michigan. Once again streamed VGBootcamp, The Big House 3 also took place in the Hilton Garden Inn, which was then one of the most highly rated hotels of 2013. According to Juggleguy’s 2013 Smashboards post, made in the summer, the venue was twice as big as the venue of The Big House. Other than wobbling being banned for the third year in a row, a controversial decision at the time, there was every reason to be thrilled about The Big House 3.

It’s also interesting to note that registration for this tournament started as early as August, showing that The Big House was no longer just a big regional with out-of-region names. The series now had business-like planning, putting an emphasis on efficiency, planning and long-term growth.  If you were a smasher who couldn’t afford to travel to EVO in the summer, The Big House 3 seemed like the Fall Classic (and not that Fall Classic!) to attend.

Top 8
1. Mew2King
2. Hungrybox
3. Dr. PeePee
4. SFAT
5. Hax/Nintendude
7. PewPewU/Darkatma

There were several intriguing moments from this tourney – Hungrybox had one of the most iconic moments from the tournament when he began rapping along to Yeezus while playing against Dr. PeePee in an intense losers finals set. Nintendude also had a solid upset over PewPewU in top eight (despite no wobbling allowed), while PikaChad upset Scar and Kels during his ninth place run.

Don’t be fooled though: the biggest storyline was Mew2King’s joyous victory, with him vanquishing his demons in Hungrybox and Dr. PeePee. During his epic Marth ditto game two against Dr. PeePee in winners semifinals, you can hear an animated Scar yell “heartbreak incoming” to Mew2King fans, before Mew2King clutched the game out. Here’s a few facts that support how unlikely it was for him to win the tournament:

– According to Smash History’s RetroSSBMRank articles, Mew2King hadn’t won a tournament with two or more other attending top five players since EVO West in 2007.
– Mew2King hadn’t ever won a tournament featuring two or more other “gods.” For reference, even Jman had done it at Don’t Go Down There Jeff.
– From 2011 to 2012, Mew2King was 10-18 against Top 10 players from each year (not just gods!), also holding a 2-6 record against Dr. PeePee since the start of Zenith 2012 grand finals and a seven-set losing streak (0-7 since Zenith 2011) against Hungrybox. Not only was his status as a “god” rational to question, but it was natural to wonder if Mew2King seemed on his way out of Melee.

After winning The Big House 3, Mew2King went on a tear, winning every single tournament he entered until Apex 2014, when he finally placed second. You could argue that this tournament launched one of the most dominant tournament-winning stretches in Melee history. In fact, guess which famous Mew2King skeptic was cautiously optimistic by the end of the year – and months later still on the hype train?

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Of course, this is not to say his cautious optimism was unwarranted at the time, but it definitely goes to show that a lot can change in just a few years. If you think he was super high on Mew2King, how about HectoHertz?

I’ll be going over the last two Big House tournaments tomorrow, as well as giving my predictions and underrated storylines heading into The Big House 6!