The Top 100 Melee Players of All-Time: #41-50

Hello, everyone! Pikachu942 and I are happy to present the next part of our Top 100 Melee players of all-time. In our last posts, we uncovered Pikachu’s honorable mentions and players ranked 51-60. Today, we’ll be going over the players ranked 41-50. Here’s a brief FAQ on our project:

What is the Smash History Top 100 Melee Players of All-Time project?

It’s a ranking of the top 100 Melee singles players of all-time, determined by both members of the Smash History research and editorial series team: Edwin Budding (myself) and Pikachu942. The project is also an expansion of what I wrote in 2016, but with even more research, having taken us half a year to prepare on its own.

How did you guys determine the Top 100?

In order to rank players, we collected a list of every player ranked within the Top 25 of SSBMRank, mentioned within RetroSSBMRank and every player who placed in the top eight of a supermajor since Game Over in 2004, what we consider the start of competitive Melee as we know it today.

After creating this initial list, we added more notable names that we felt were “outlier” players whose results and rankings may not accurately reflect their playing impact on the Melee scene, such as international players.

What did you take into account when ranking players?

The four key factors we looked at and tried our best to stay consistent to were the following:

  • How well did a player perform at the biggest majors of their era?
  • How consistent was this player during their active years of competing?
  • How long did their playing career last?
  • If this player never existed, how much does their absence impact the metagame, large major results or the greater scene in Melee history?

I’ve never heard of you or Pikachu! What makes you guys think you’re qualified to determine Melee’s best players above anyone else?

Because until someone else helps write over 300 pages of Melee history on a personal website for free, we feel like we’re about as qualified as anyone can reasonably be.

50. Mustafa “Ice” Akcakaya

3rd at The Big House 6
4th at BEAST 5
7th at EVO 2013
7th at GENESIS 3
7th at DreamHack Winter 2016

Germany’s greatest player ever once had a tagline accompany him: “The European Mew2King.” He initially played a heavily dash-dancing inspired Marth, switched to a clinically punish-game heavy Sheik and then settled on Fox, becoming Europe’s No. 3 player for around five years.

Ice’s Hax-esque movement is only matched by his swagger and ruthless crushing of worse opponents: especially in the Fox ditto, where he’s gained a reputation for being among the game’s deadliest players. He’s also one of a few who have taken Armada to the brink of defeat, even three-stocking him at The Big House 6. Although an injury halted him and led to a relatively underwhelming 2017, Ice still has potential for a comeback 2018. If he has a successful year, he could improve his standing in Melee’s history.

– Edwin Budding

49. Sami “Druggedfox” Muhanna

3rd at Smash Rivalries
4th at HTC Throwdown
4th at Royal Flush
5th at DreamHack Atlanta 2017
7th at GT-X 2017

Greatness isn’t always immediately noticeable. For the first half of his career, Druggedfox struggled with consistency at majors. In fact, he had a reputation for theorycrafting online, frequently arguing with fellow smashers about Fox and Sheik’s potential, but not always backing up his knowledge of the game in his performances. At Evo 2015, he demonstrated a brilliant tech chase and punish game with his Sheik and his Marth, finishing an impressive ninth. After the tournament came a catchphrase many of his supporters began ironically saying, due to his relatively unknown status within the team at the time: “who the fuck is Druggedfox?”

Today, everybody knows him, as he holds wins over Mango and Leffen, as well as many top eight supermajor showings. Now back to his original main Fox (after a brief switch to Falco), he’s brought his trademark combo game and excellent fundamentals to yet another character, one who’s developed in ways that Druggedfox already envisioned years ago. But as he finished last year as SSBM’s No. 12 player, Druggedfox disappeared from competition. Instead, he’s prioritized teaching other players and helping them improve their own games, similar to how he grew a reputation earlier in his career for his sharp insight into Melee. Time will tell how much the pride and joy of Georgia develops his legacy.

– Edwin Budding

48. Charles “Cactuar” Meighen

3rd at EVO East 2007
4th at ChuDatz Final Biweekly
7th at Pound V
7th at Cataclysm 3
7th at Revival of Melee 2

Cactuar is probably one of the most analytical brains our scene has ever had the pleasure of experiencing. His coaching and training skills are well-documented, helping train strong players like Mew2King, PPMD and more. However, regardless of his ability outside the game, his accomplishments inside the game solidify Cactuar as a member of the all-time Top 50. A multitude of Top 8 performances at some large tournaments like Pound V were truly impressive, and the man hasn’t slowed down with age in the slightest.

Bringing his Green Marth and Fox into the modern era, Cactuar was still able to net incredible placings such as a 9th at HTC Throwdown in late 2015, notably defeating both S2J and Wizzrobe with his Marth in what was considered quite a lopsided matchup at the time. Cactuar’s impression he’s left on the scene both with his gameplay and with his mind are achievements that stand the test of time, and there’s no doubt he will continue to bring something new to the table with every passing year.

– Pikachu942

47. “Bombsoldier”

2nd at Jack Garden Tournament
17th at Zero Challenge 3

Bombsoldier’s single showing at the Jack Garden Invitational transcends any metrics you could possibly use to evaluate his legacy. Sporting a Falco that looked like a terminator sent from the future to destroy every smasher, Bombsoldier finished second at one of the most prestigious tournaments of the MLG era. He practically invented “pillaring,” extending his punishes in creative and mind-blowing ways for the time.

DA Dave and Forward were early godfathers of the Falco metagame, but Bombsoldier showcased the character’s aggression in a way that no one had ever seen before. He illustrated the potential of not just Falco, but Melee’s entire combo game, years before Armada and Mew2King. Bombsoldier’s impact is so irreplaceable that placing the “Soldier of Fortune” any lower than top 50 felt wrong.

– Edwin Budding

46. “Masashi”

3rd at Jack Garden Tournament

Very few players have ever been in the conversation for best in the world. Most would attribute this to the Gods of today or the king of smash in the past, but one man from the eastern country of Japan also had potential to take the crown. A slower more methodical Fox to his fellow countryman’s Thunders’ fast and technical skill, Masashi was a true force to be reckoned with, being one of the Top 2 in Japan in 2004 and 2005.

Holding strong records even against players such as CaptainJack in his region, Jack himself stated Masashi was outright better than him when he traveled to the USA. While Masashi never did come to America, his skill is well-regarded by those around at the time, and he still is involved with smash today, being a solid top Japanese player in Smash 4.

– Pikachu942

45. Javier “Javi” Ruiz

4th at APEX 2012
13th at APEX 2013
17th at EVO 2016
17th at The Big House 5
17th at EVO 2015

While we were just talking about a foreign Fox who had potential to be the best in the world, I guess it’s time to repeat the sentiment. Javi was the best in Mexico from as far back as 2006, showing off insane technical skill at the time that was practically unmatched. As 2008 and 2009 rolled by, many wondered if he could give players like Ken, Azen, Mew2King or even Mango any trouble. Alas, it seemed we would never see this man’s true power, much like Masashi in the years before. At least, that’s what we thought.

A Mexican qualifier for Apex 2012 was announced, and naturally won by our friend Javi over here, defeating his brother Tuga, also known as Twin, in grand finals. He then attended the most stacked tournament of 2012 and shocked the world with his incredible run to 4th place, defeating players like KoreanDJ, Lovage, and even PPMD, who just a year prior was arguably the best in the world. Mexico was on the map, and Javi was their hero. While he has never reached the same heights as his insane career-validating performance at Apex, Javi has continued to remain a fixture in Top 32’s even as the modern day has drawn near. Who knows – maybe Javi and his strange grip on the controller can muster up one last run at greatness.

– Pikachu942

44. Jeff “SilentSpectre” Leung

9th at Pound 4
9th at MLG Anaheim 2006
13th at GENESIS 2
13th at Super Champ Combo
17th at Zero Challenge 3

Initially trained by Isai to become the next great NorCal Captain Falcon, SilentSpectre is one of his region’s most beloved players. The “Silence” superstar is also one of a few smashers to ever defeat Mango’s Jigglypuff in tournament in 2009, boasting a Captain Falcon that played somehow both strangely passive in the neutral game, but extremely aggressive off hits. In fact, SilentSpectre is frequently attributed as being one of the first players to moonwalk, along with becoming known for dropzone knee.

Even though SilentSpectre never made a top eight at a supermajor, his singles legacy is ultimately defined by one moment above all else: his earth-shattering defeat of Armada at Pound 4. The rest of his legacy comes from starring in some of the West Coast’s most memorable recorded moments, like his losers semifinals set against Wobbles at Mango Juice, becoming the namesake behind the “don’t go down there, Jeff” catchphrase and also four-stocking Taj’s Marth. Add doubles into the equation and you have a player whose overall legacy just so happens to also involve the most watched Melee clip of all-time. If you don’t believe me, then where are you at?

– Edwin Budding

43. Nathaniel “NEO” Eugene Owen

4th at MLG DC 2005
5th at MLG New York Opener 2006
7th at MLG New York 2005
9th at MLG Dallas 2006

Low tiers are considered low tiers for a reason: they are at the bottom of the game and they are not worth your time at a competitive level. This was even mostly true back in the day, with the top level being defined by top tiers, particularly Marth. However, notice how I said, mostly.

NEO started his journey in 2004, fighting against MDVA’s best, such as Chillin and Chu. He quickly cemented himself as the best Roy in the world, notably defeating Ken in Roy dittos at MLG DC 2005, and later taking Ken to Game 5 last stock at MLG Chicago 2005. NEO’s prowess with the character, especially in the face of a character like Marth, who is considered to be clearly superior in almost every way, was inspirational. Defeating players like ChuDat, Isai, Mew2King and more in his career is incredibly impressive, and more than worthy enough for a spot within our Top 50.

– Pikachu942

42. Oscar “Lovage” Nilsson

9th at APEX 2012
9th at Winter Gamefest VI
13th at GENESIS 2
17th at GT-X 2017
17th at Pound V

In an age where defensive play, Jigglypuffs and laser-heavy Falcos dominated the metagame, Lovage gave a glimmer of hope to rushdown players. He was among the scene’s best players in the post-Brawl era and starred in many tech skill videos, including “Berserker” and “Revolution.” Those who played him claimed that “peak Oscar” could even be a god-tier competitor. Just last year, he completed one of the biggest upsets in Melee history, defeating Leffen at GT-X 2017.

The SoCal Fox is among the greatest players to never make a major top eight, as he also holds a set over Hungrybox in Genesis 2 pools. In one of his most impressive showings at a regional, Lovage finished second at Northwest Manifest in one of the best regional losers runs of all-time. He placed under PPMD, but defeated Ciz, DaZe, SUNG475, Bladewise, Eggz, Tope, Axe, Westballz and SFAT.

– Edwin Budding

41. Kevin “PewPewU” Toy

4th at I’m Not Yelling!
7th at EVO 2016
7th at The Big House 6
7th at Super Smash Con 2017
7th at Super Smash Con 2016

“Best fucking Marth ever.” These comments were standard around mid-2012, when PewPewU quickly rose up the ranks in NorCal to become one of its top players. He’s been at a high echelon of play ever since, with a slippery, post-Brawl, unorthodox style that helped him defeat Mango, Mew2King and Hungrybox in his career. That’s not even going into his incredible doubles legacy, where his role in the legendary “PewFat” duo proves that he’s the greatest doubles Marth player since Ken.

The longtime NorCal Marth is currently at a crossroads. Now ready to enter the “real world,” he’ll have to choose between pursuing smash even more or remaining content with his all-time status. With La Luna, Zain and Rishi doing their best to catch up to PewPewU’s legacy in the current metagame, it’ll be interesting to see how he compares to a new generation of Marth players.

– Edwin Budding

Thank you for reading! We’ll be back next week with our 31-40.

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