The Top 100 Melee Players of All-Time: #21-30

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 the players ranked 31-40. Today, we’ll be going over the players ranked 21-30. 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.

30. Johnny “S2J” Kim

3rd at Shine 2017
4th at DreamHack Denver 2017
5th at EVO 2016
7th at GENESIS 2
7th at The Big House 7

S2J earned himself a spot on SSBMRank’s most recent Top 10. However, his legacy started many years before. He rose to prominence in 2011 and finished in the top eight at Genesis 2. Since then, he’s always been among SoCal’s five best players per ranking period.

His staying power within the Captain Falcon metagame illustrates his seemingly timeless consistency across a variety of matchups. S2J somehow combines the strengths of old-school fundamentals and a revamped, modern punish game based around both reads and reactions. Though his edgeguarding ability used to come under question, quite frankly, it’s an overplayed weakness that he’s worked on over the years. Now at the height of his playing skills, S2J has to show us if he can consistently stay in the “demigod” tier of play.

– Edwin Budding

29. Jose “Lucky” Aldama

4th at GOML 2016
4th at Kings of Cali 4
5th at The Big House 4
5th at EVO 2017
5th at GENESIS 5

Prior to his exceptional run at TBH4, Lucky was known for being Mango’s best friend and doubles partner. It’s said that the two once entered a SoCal doubles tournament late, only to be told by the tournament organizer that they could just take the first prize money, due to nobody wanting to play them.

When it comes to singles though, Lucky still isn’t a slouch. He boasts a Fox that has a bit of Norwalk swagger, but also a lot more grounded of a style, often holding position stronger than other Fox players, but still being close enough to opponents to pressure them. At Genesis 5, Lucky finally vanquished a career-long demon in Mew2King. Moving forward, can the longtime Norwalk legend increase his all-time standing even more?

– Edwin Budding

28. Julian “Zhu” Zhu

4th at GENESIS
4th at Winter Gamefest VI
5th at Canada Cup 2016
7th at Pound 4
7th at APEX 2010

The creator of the “Happy Feet” combo series was one of Melee’s most feared players in his active days. A longtime West Coast legend, Zhu stood among the best of both NorCal and SoCal, even beating Mew2King at Genesis and in on the East Coast before. Of note, Zhu grew a reputation for being a “Falcon slayer,” as he frequently beat the character’s best players quite a bit in bracket, particularly Hax.

Years after many thought his prime was over, Zhu made an epic run to ninth place at Evo 2016, where he beat Darkrain, ChuDat, Lucky and Laudandus. Though he doesn’t compete as much as he did in the past, his status as one of Melee’s top 10-15 players of the post-Brawl era makes him an easy selection for the game’s top 30 of all-time.

– Edwin Budding

27. Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett

2nd at Smash Rivalries
4th at WTFox 2
4th at DreamHack Austin 2016
5th at DreamHack Austin 2017
5th at CEO 2014

A prodigy across numerous smash games, Wizzrobe already holds an impressive resume. For example, his second place showing at Smash Rivalries is the best performance by Captain Falcon at a major since Isai won MLG Los Angeles 2005. Having defeated Hungrybox, Mew2King and Leffen in tournament, Wizzrobe is the antithesis to skepticism surrounding his character, ironically most brought up by Hax, a player many previously thought had pushed Captain Falcon to his limits (though Hax has lately shown more optimism regarding his former main).

Barring a character switch, if the 20GX wizkid can put it all together for one great dark horse supermajor run, then not only will he have proven Hax wrong, but he’ll have shown himself worthy to take Isai’s throne of being Melee’s greatest Captain Falcon ever. Wizzrobe currently stands as one of the ten best players in the world. His next task: prove that he can win a national and succeed where almost every Captain Falcon before him couldn’t.

– Edwin Budding

26. Hugo “HugS” Gonzalez

2nd at EVO World 2007
5th at EVO West 2007
5th at Winter Gamefest VI
7th at MLG Orlando 2006
7th at GENESIS 5

HugS is the ultimate blue collar smasher. He’s played Samus for longer than any other mid-tier main in history, yet he’s still force to be reckoned with.  A constant presence in MLG era top eights and just a stock away from winning Evo World 2007, HugS just finished an amazing seventh place at Genesis 5, more than a decade later. Today, he’s also one of Melee’s most entertaining and successful stream personalities.

One of HugS’ greatest accomplishments didn’t even come at a national. At UCLA V, he carried SoCal on his back, defeating the invading Ka-Master to win the tournament after going down early in their long, grueling, but epic grand finals set. Make no mistake: HugS’ stubborn resistance to career fatigue embodies what he is to the very core: a tireless competitor.

– Edwin Budding

25. Amsah “Amsah” Augustuszoon

3rd at Pound 4
5th at BEAST 5
9th at Pound V
17th at DreamHack Winter 2015
33rd at EVO 2017

While Ken dominated the United States and most of the world throughout the golden era, there remained one player he didn’t face in bracket: Amsah, the legendary Dutch Sheik. Initially breaking out in Europe as a result of his four-stock comeback on Ek at the Renaissance of Smash 3, Amsah became the continent’s best player, dominating tournaments from the middle of 2006 to the start of 2009, considered to mark the rise of Armada. During this stretch, he notably defeated CaptainJack multiple times.

Years after his prime, Amsah impressed many at Pound 4, as he beat Armada, Jman, Zhu and Tope to finish third at what was then Melee’s biggest tournament ever. He’s continued to be a notable player in the modern era, standing as the current Dutch No. 1, as well as one of Europe’s finest players. Had Amsah played within the United States during his prime, maybe he’d be higher on this list.

– Edwin Budding

24. Jeremy “Fly Amanita” Westfahl

2nd at Press Start
3rd at Winter Gamefest VI
5th at Kings of Cali 4
7th at EVO 2014
9th at I’m Not Yelling!

Fly Amanita is, in my book, the most underrated player of all time. A SoCal Ice Climbers known for a lack of wobbling in his play, Fly did not travel in his early ventures, staying close to home and only attending big tournaments like GENESIS. He never really had to chance to show his stuff nationally, though a win on Mango’s Falcon in early 2009 proved he was the real deal. When competition finally did come, Fly did not disappoint, defeating Hungrybox in winner’s bracket at Don’t Go Down There Jeff.

Later defeating Mew2King at Winter Gamefest VI and then PPMD at GENESIS 2, Fly has defeated every god except for Armada, and was a definite member of the Top 10 in his peak, arguably being only just outside the Gods at the time in 2011. His career continued, however, and in 2013 to as late as 2015 Fly showed impressive major results, including a top eight Placing at EVO 2014 and an astounding 2nd place at Press Start, outplacing Leffen, Mew2King and Hungrybox. His innovations of handoffs as well provided Ice Climbers with an insight into a meta of the character that didn’t rely so much on the infinite, breathing new life into the once one-dimensional character. While he is retired, Fly’s amazing resume is more than enough to grant him a Top 25 position.

– Pikachu942

23. David “KirbyKaze” McDonald

3rd at Revival of Melee 3
4th at GOML 2014
4th at Canada Cup 2016
5th at APEX 2012
5th at IMPULSE 2012

The Toronto Sheik is one of Melee’s most knowledgeable players. Along with Druggedfox, Cactuar and many other players, KirbyKaze was known for being a Smashboards guru, frequently helping smashers improve and giving them tips on how to use their character. He also had an aggressive, read-heavy and flashy style, which contrasted what many assumed were Sheik’s inherently defensive characteristics.

KirbyKaze’s legacy is backed up by a long history of impressive supermajor results, including nine top eight showings. At Revival of Melee 3, he defeated Mango (Scorpion Master) and PPMD en route to a strong third place finish, as many wondered if he was destined for godhood. Years later at Apex 2012, KirbyKaze became the first Sheik in years to defeat Hungrybox in a significant set. This was a matchup that Mew2King once dismissed as a waste of time to learn; and it’s just one chapter of KirbyKaze’s hall-of-fame-worthy career.

– Edwin Budding

22. Aziz “Hax” Al-Yami

3rd at Pound 2016
5th at Pound V
5th at The Big House 4
5th at Zenith 2013
5th at SKTAR 3

Not even Shakespeare could have written Hax’s career. The New Yorker started as a community loved Captain Falcon main, but became a “traitor” to his character for switching to Fox. That’s just the start – Hax then gained a reputation as the beloved prophet of “20xx” before having his career temporarily halted by a plethora of hand issues that threatened his career, making him a tragic figure. His most recent development is arguably the most fascinating: he’s the face of a new, controversial movement surrounding alternative controllers, as well as in-game modifications to Melee itself. He is an enigma in every sense of the word.

A highly technical, perfectionist, noncommittal movement-heavy competitor, Hax boasts one of the scene’s most creative and ruthless combo games. He is also an innovator for how to effectively use the ledge: a necessity for top level competition today. As a forefather of two characters’ modern metagames, the longtime demigod already has a storied legacy, but he’s nowhere close to finished. The odds are against him to ever become the game’s best player, as many thought he looked destined to be earlier in his career, if there’s anything history has taught us, it’s that Hax never gives up.

– Edwin Budding

21. Weston “Westballz” Dennis

2nd at MVG Sandstorm
3rd at PAX Arena
4th at DreamHack Winter 2015
4th at Paragon Orlando 2015
4th at CEO 2015

Early in his career, Westballz became synonymous with “technical,” playing fastfallers at unbelievable speeds and demonstrating how devastating their combo potential could be in the right hands. After years of looking like one of SoCal’s best talents, even taking games off PPMD in the Falco ditto as early as Northwest Manifest, Westballz finally had his first big victory. At MLG Anaheim 2014, he swept Mango in pools, in a matchup many thought to be Mango’s best. Since then, Westballz has beaten Hungrybox, Leffen and PPMD in bracket, marking him as one of the scene’s demigods.

He’s struggled lately, due to improved defensive advancements within the metagame, but Westballz remains a threat to make national top eights. With a few adjustments to his game, Westballz could not only return to where he looked before, but perhaps break out on an even greater level.

– Edwin Budding

Thanks for reading, everybody! We’ll be back soon, with 11-20.

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