Countdown to The Book of Melee: The Top 100 Melee Sets of All Time (80-71)

Hi, everyone. I’m happy to present my Top 100 Melee Sets of All Time, with today’s focus on the sets ranked 80-71. Here’s a brief FAQ on this project and The Book of Melee.

What is The Book of Melee?

“The Book of Melee” is my upcoming book about the history of the competitive “Super Smash Bros. Melee” community. It follows Melee’s greatest players and leaders through their collective efforts to support the scene’s survival over nearly two decades. I began working on the book in late 2016, and am releasing it for electronic consumption on May 8, 2019. Physical copies are TBA, and currently only available for those who purchased the book for a limited offer on The Big House 8 Compendium. Purchasing a physical copy will be available at a later date.

What is The Top 100 Melee Sets of All Time?

This project is exactly what it sounds like: a recap of my top 100 favorite Melee sets leading up to my book release.

How did you determine the Top 100?

As detailed in my introduction and methodology post, I went through all of Melee history and picked my favorite sets from each year and major tournament. After creating this initial list, I chose to order and cut down what I had selected, based on both the criteria I listed in my previous post and personal taste. Before anyone asks about why “X” wasn’t on the list, chances are that it could have easily made the Top 100, but just wasn’t selected. There were a bit more than 120 sets that I initially listed.

More accurately, the final project could be interpreted as “Edwin’s Top 100 favorite Melee sets of all time.” But I’d like to think that the effort I took into pursuing this project, as well as writing a book about Melee history, would be enough for this list to be somewhat of an authoritative starting resource for any newcomer to the scene, and not just some guy’s opinion.

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

I’ve been writing about Melee news and Melee history for almost three years. I can’t say that this list is really anything more than just my opinion based on a set of arbitrary criteria that I try to be fair with, but I hope it’s an entertaining and convincing read for anyone interested in Melee.

80. Hungrybox vs. SFAT at Press Start

If any tournament in Melee history confirmed that the Era of Five Gods was all but over, it was Press Start, which featured no gods in winner’s side of its top eight. But it was this set, one that featured a god, that stood out as its most memorable moment. Though all five games are worth watching, it’s the last one, in which an explosive start from the NorCal hero is met by a ferocious comeback from a standing Hungrybox. To this day, the set’s penultimate moment, when SFAT rises from his chair to match his sweating, desperate opponent still gives me goosebumps.

79. Jiano vs. ChuDat at Pound 2

Jiano’s run to winner’s finals at Pound 2 came with a bit of bracket luck, but it still was among the least predictable performances in Melee history. His bout with the longtime regional antihero ChuDat is one of the craziest ever, with a four-stock from Chu to start the set and a huge three-stock comeback from Jiano in game four standing out as highlights. Be sure to check out the last game also.

78. Rishi vs. lloD at The Big House 8

Rishi, the Artist Formerly Known as Smash G0D, has more than his fair share of nail biter sets. lloD is among Melee’s most notable players over the last two years and is one of few Peach mains who can claim a right to individual recognition for character contributions separate of Armada. With the two’s status as rising Smash stars, brothers, former in-region rivals, and modern representatives of their characters, they have had several back-and-forth sets over the last few years. But it’s this one, which has a brilliant last-stock comeback in its final game, that will be especially remembered forever.

77. S2J vs. Mew2King at Shine 2017

The same way Darkrain was a character icon throughout the 2000s, S2J has been this decade’s most consistent Falcon player. For years, the prospect of defeating a Melee god eluded him, and S2J’s history of taking them close goes back many years. I will never forget what it felt like to watch this set live in a wild venue, and to join hundreds, if not thousands, of viewers jumping out of our seats when the Stadium combo happened.

76. Ken vs. Mango at Evo 2007

Jigglypuff had a few strong representatives but no one brought her to the forefront of the scene quite like Mango, who stunned the world at Evo with his underdog run. Following the shocking end of their winner’s set, when the two played again in loser’s bracket for a spot in grand finals, the result was far more convincing.

75. Mango vs. Shroomed at Royal Flush

The greatest trick the devil pulled wasn’t convincing people he didn’t exist – it was convincing nearly every Melee fan to sleep on The Kid. Already sent to loser’s by his chief rival, down 2-0 against Shroomed playing some of the best Melee of his life, and with his back to the wall, Mango woke up.

74. Mango vs. aMSa at Full Bloom 4

Following his breakout ninth place at Apex 2014 and followup fifth place at Apex 2015, aMSa still had his fair share of doubters. By 2018, however, he was more than established as among the next line of players to threaten the Big Six. At Full Bloom 4, one of the most promising large annual tourney series of the current Melee era, he and Mango had one of the best sets of the year, and a wild ending.

73. Abate vs. S2J at The Big House 5

Save for New York City and Hax, there’s no region that loves its signature representative as much as Pittsburgh loves Abate. Boosted by the Midwest home field advantage and hot off a tournament run in which he already beat Axe, Abate went the distance against the stoic and well-respected S2J. In a set filled with momentum shifts of both players dominating each other, its ending may be the most simultaneously exciting, stupid, anti-climatic, and hilarious moment in Melee history.

72. Zain vs. Leffen at Smash ’N’ Splash 3

Before the jokes about dashing back, downthrow downtilting spacies by the corner and pivoting after every move, Zain was a local legend and fan favorite that somehow defeated Plup in a best-of-three The Big House 6. But it was this set, in which the future Shine champion was already facing off against the fearsome godslayer, that he showed the world that he was here to stay in the national spotlight.

71. aMSa vs. Hungrybox at Smash Summit 6

There is no Yoshi main like aMSa in all of Melee history. For a Yoshi player to challenge the world’s most dominant smasher would have been unthinkable years ago. But aMSa denies the odds. This set is not one for the faint of heart, and it’s among the most grueling, suspenseful and exhausting, but the historical significance and payoff is more than worth a watch, especially when the set reaches its epic resolution.

Countdown To The Book of Melee: The Top 100 Melee Sets of All Time (90-81)

Hi, everyone. I’m happy to present my Top 100 Melee Sets of All Time, with today’s focus on the sets ranked 90-81. Here’s a brief FAQ on this project and The Book of Melee.

What is The Book of Melee?

“The Book of Melee” is my upcoming book about the history of the competitive “Super Smash Bros. Melee” community. It follows Melee’s greatest players and leaders through their collective efforts to support the scene’s survival over nearly two decades. I began working on the book in late 2016, and am releasing it for electronic consumption on May 8, 2019. Physical copies are TBA, and currently only available for those who purchased the book for a limited offer on The Big House 8 Compendium. Purchasing a physical copy will be available at a later date.

What is The Top 100 Melee Sets of All Time?

This project is exactly what it sounds like: a recap of my top 100 favorite Melee sets leading up to my book release.

How did you determine the Top 100?

As detailed in my introduction and methodology post, I went through all of Melee history and picked my favorite sets from each year and major tournament. After creating this initial list, I chose to order and cut down what I had selected, based on both the criteria I listed in my previous post and personal taste. Before anyone asks about why “X” wasn’t on the list, chances are that it could have easily made the Top 100, but just wasn’t selected. There were a bit more than 120 sets that I initially listed.

More accurately, the final project could be interpreted as “Edwin’s Top 100 favorite Melee sets of all time.” But I’d like to think that the effort I took into pursuing this project, as well as writing a book about Melee history, would be enough for this list to be somewhat of an authoritative starting resource for any newcomer to the scene, and not just some guy’s opinion.

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

I’ve been writing about Melee news and Melee history for almost three years. I can’t say that this list is really anything more than just my opinion based on a set of arbitrary criteria that I try to be fair with, but I hope it’s an entertaining and convincing read for anyone interested in Melee.


90. PewPewU vs. Mango at NCR 2013

PewPewU has been a longtime Melee fan favorite, from once being dubbed as “the best Marth since Ken” to shocking the world with his upset over Hungrybox at Apex 2015. But out of the many PewPewU sets considered for the list, it was this one, where he faced off against Melee’s most beloved player, that stood out as one of his most memorable. Here’s another fun fact about NCR that makes it even more legendary: this was the first significant tournament in which Scar and Toph commentated together.

89. Silent Wolf vs. Druggedfox at HTC Throwdown

This losers semifinals set was among the most unexpected matchups at a national. Silent Wolf had made it this far after beating Mew2King, while Druggedfox had sent Mango to loser’s bracket and also edged out 3-2 victories over Colbol and SFAT, notably popping off at the heavily West Coast crowd after the latter set. This set is among the most under appreciated and incredible of 2015, with two god-slaying titans butting heads in their best matchups.

88. Mango vs. SilentSpectre at SCSA WCC

It was just a decade ago when NorCal and SoCal had the most heated regional rivalry in Melee. There were so many Mango vs. SilentSpectre sets to choose from, but nothing stood out as much as their epic clash at the same tournament of Wombo Combo. Between Mango proving to his doubters that his other characters were not far behind his Jigglypuff, the crowd-pleasing style of SilentSpectre and the legendary HomeMadeWaffles/Phil commentary duo, this set is a must-watch for anyone who loves good old-fashioned, grassroots regional lore. Warning: much like every other older era Melee set, the language used within it is outdated and not acceptable by modern standards.

87. Jman vs. Darkrain at Event 52

A much forgotten set among newer Melee players, this is still one for the record books. Jman had slowly been on the rise in Tristate and was the only player in his region to take a set off Mew2King, while Darkrain was a member of the elite Captain Falcon trio (Scar and SilentSpectre were his contemporaries) and had actually defeated PC Chris at Pound 3 a year prior. Its controversial ending remains one of Melee’s most infamous.

86. Zhu vs. SilentSpectre at Mango Juice

Zhu has been on the receiving end of many classic Melee moments, be it Wombo Combo or the JV4 against Mango’s Falcon. But at Mango Juice, he would harness his hatred for Falcon and countless sets of being beaten around by Mango’s secondaries in order to seek his revenge against the man who kneed him into meme-immortality. And what happens after the set; well, without spoiling it, let’s just say this would never happen for the fans today.

85. Hax vs. Kalamazhu at The Big House 4

Months before The Big House 4, Kalamazhu had been spotted scribbling in a notebook while watching Armada play Peach. At The Big House 4, Kalamazhu’s efforts were shown to pay off, as he blitzed through players like Lucky and KirbyKaze to face off against Hax, a longtime scene demigod now sporting a deadly Fox. Surrounded by a wild Michigan and pro-Kalamazhu crowd, the two would battle to the very bitter end, with its winner making top eight by the skin of his teeth.

84. n0ne vs. Mew2King at GOML 2016

Countless dead Captain Falcon mains lay in the trail of Mew2King’s career. And at this point, n0ne was a fan favorite known for his flashy combos, but ranked outside the Top 50 of the previous year. He was among Melee’s fastest improving players, but this was surefire defeat, playing a Melee god in one of his most feared matchups. Or was it?

83. Leffen vs. Westballz at BEAST 6

There’s practically no matchup like Fox vs. Falco in Melee, and the winners set between the two epitomizes the speed, technical skill and mental fortitude you need to play that matchup at the highest level. And with both player’s penchant for shittalk, particular on each other, and their disrespectful theatrics in the second set, which included Westballz picking Samus out of complete apathy toward Leffen and the two sarcastically patting each other on the back, their matches at BEAST 6 are among the scene’s most recognizable.

82. Armada vs. Hax at Justice 4

Hax promised a future of 20XX, where Fox would rule the metagame and overpower all other characters. At Justice 4, with a wild New York crowd treating him like the second coming of Jesus, against Armada, the longtime Melee god, Hax would play the best he had ever played up to that point. Would it be enough to defeat the unstoppable wall of Armada?

81. DaShizWiz vs. Falcomist at CGC

Legend has it that after much online back-and-forth between Shiz and West Coast smashers, the latter group decided to see if the Florida Falco could live up to his boasts. Raising community funds to fly Shiz out to NorCal, the scene was rewarded with a 15–game barnburner between Shiz and Falcomist, the defender of NorCal. Although it may not be the first set you think of with Shiz against a Marth, it’s highly worth checking out if you consider yourself a true Melee fan.

Countdown To The Book of Melee: The Top 100 Melee Sets of All Time (100-91)

Hi, everyone. I’m happy to present my Top 100 Melee Sets of All Time, with today’s focus on the sets ranked 100-91. Here’s a brief FAQ on this project and The Book of Melee.

What is The Book of Melee?

“The Book of Melee” is my upcoming book about the history of the competitive “Super Smash Bros. Melee” community. It follows Melee’s greatest players and leaders through their collective efforts to support the scene’s survival over nearly two decades. I began working on the book in late 2016, and am releasing it for electronic consumption on May 8, 2019. Physical copies are TBA, and currently only available for those who purchased the book for a limited offer on The Big House 8 Compendium. Purchasing a physical copy will be available at a later date.

What is The Top 100 Melee Sets of All Time?

This project is exactly what it sounds like: a recap of my top 100 favorite Melee sets leading up to my book release.

How did you determine the Top 100?

As detailed in my introduction and methodology post, I went through all of Melee history and picked my favorite sets from each year and major tournament. After creating this initial list, I chose to order and cut down what I had selected, based on both the criteria I listed in my previous post and personal taste. Before anyone asks about why “X” wasn’t on the list, chances are that it could have easily made the Top 100, but just wasn’t selected. There were a bit more than 120 sets that I initially listed.

More accurately, the final project could be interpreted as “Edwin’s Top 100 favorite Melee sets of all time.” But I’d like to think that the effort I took into pursuing this project, as well as writing a book about Melee history, would be enough for this list to be somewhat of an authoritative starting resource for any newcomer to the scene, and not just some guy’s opinion.

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

I’ve been writing about Melee news and Melee history for almost three years. I can’t say that this list is really anything more than just my opinion based on a set of arbitrary criteria that I try to be fair with, but I hope it’s an entertaining and convincing read for anyone interested in Melee.


100. Azen vs. CaptainJack at Tournament Go 6

By modern standards, the gameplay of the two in this set isn’t anything special. But back in 2004, TG6 was the first event that came close to resembling an international championship. That its finals had Azen, the king of the East Coast and Master of Diversity, against CaptainJack, a member of the Japanese elite and whose skills were of urban legend, makes it that much more memorable. Even back then, with such a small and young scene, the people watching this set knew how much lay on the line.

99. Leffen vs. Druggedfox at Evo 2015

In the summer of 2015, Leffen was close to untouchable. Before Evo, he had won three consecutive major events in three weekends. However, at Evo, he’d become part of the legend of Druggedfox , a then-nationally-unknown Georgia legend who was known for his tech chasing and punish game-heavy Sheik. Sadly, this set isn’t currently available in its entirety on YouTube, but it remains one of Melee’s best ever; particularly with its second game having one of my favorite commentary calls of all time. You can watch the rest of it here.

98. Scar vs. Ken at Kings of Cali 2

The Melee scene underwent a revival in mid-2013 because of the game’s return to the Evo spotlight. So what happened when the King of Smash showed reluctance in actually attending Evo 2013? The most electrifying man in Melee himself challenged him to a best-of-seven, in which Ken would have to attend Evo if he lost. With over three hundred thousand views today, and grassroots Mango/Crimson Blur commentary, this set is a must watch for all Melee fans. Would Scar get redemption for his failed previous exhibition match against Bob$ and defeat the King of Smash or would Ken prevail and disgrace the People’s Champ?

97. ChuDat vs. HugS at Evo 2015

Just under a decade after their respective primes, HugS and ChuDat were battling for a supermajor top eight. Notably before the event, Melee Hell, a now controversial Melee “shitposting” group had funded Chu’s trip to Evo, causing some, including HugS himself, to be skeptical of the funding efforts to bring Chu, especially due to Chu’s slight decline in attendance at major tournaments. Between the two’s standings in the Melee community, their personal rivalry and fellow MLG era contemporaries Husband and Wife on commentary, this set reflects Melee’s timeless brilliance. Much like the other early Evo 2015, it’s sadly not fully available on YouTube, but it remains a classic.

96. Mew2King vs. Leffen at PAX Prime 2015

Following Leffen’s brutal 3-0 and 3-1 victories over his former kryptonite Mew2King at Super Smash Con, it seemed as if the godslayer had finally solved The Robot. Leffen sure as hell seemed to believe it when following his victory, he joked about the difficulty of “not three-stocking Mew2King.” This set is what happens when you awaken a sleeping giant. Though the quality of Melee isn’t particularly up to par from Leffen, the moments of Mew2King brilliance, screaming from D1 and Blur and context surrounding this match makes it a fan favorite to this day.

95. Plup vs. Mew2King at the Battle of Five Gods

There are a few axioms of competitive Melee: one of them used to be that you should never challenge Mew2King in a Sheik ditto. In fact before this match, Plup had actually tried fighting him with Samus due to Mew2King’s featured reputation in the former matchup. Mew2King has even selected Plup as his preferred opponent for the first round of bracket, presumably seeing him as the “obvious” choice out of the qualifying competitors. Clearly, he was in for a surprise – and to date, this set is the most exciting Sheik ditto I have ever seen.

94. Zain vs. Fiction at Genesis 6

As the Melee metagame has developed, it’s become both trendy and partially true to point toward Marth’s dominance over Fox in their head-to-head. Modern Melee players can also thank Zain for that, given his long established dominance in the matchup. But in the same way that he studied Ice Climbers to great success, Fiction came into his set against Zain with a plan that made the formidable Fox slayer look vulnerable. Would Fiction shine in the spotlight or would his efforts fall just short?

93. Lord vs. S2J at The Next Episode

Is there a character that newcomers associate with more Melee hype than Captain Falcon? Probably not; and it’s no surprise that this exhibition Falcon ditto is one of the list’s first inclusions. Just five years ago, as the Melee scene was amid a post-doc rebirth, the ending to this set was so viral that it reached the front page of Reddit.

92. HugS vs. Ka-Master at UCLA V

HugS is many things; a longtime Samus player, streamer, and wise personality over decades of Melee player. But in early 2008, right before Brawl had fully become the front of the Smash community, he had one job: defend SoCal from the Washington menace Ka-Master, who had destroyed everyone else he played at the same event. Coming from loser’s bracket and due to the strange set scoring system back then, HugS essentially had to carry SoCal on his back: win three straight games to win the tournament or lose what could have been the last big SoCal Melee regional.

91. Leffen vs. Chillin at Apex 2015

Make no mistake: the quality of Melee isn’t why this set made the list. The inclusion of Melee’s most infamous exhibition set of all time comes from its unprecedented circumstances. Whether it’s the $500 and inability to ever select the neutral Fox color again on the line, the two’s public jabs at each other over the course of months, Leffen’s preemptive boast of a “5-0” or the mere words of “I’m not lawful; make this pussy stop talking,” the spectacle surrounding this exhibition is extraordinary and transcends Melee, from its epic buildup as an intergenerational clash between Fox representatives to its immortal two word conclusion.

Countdown to The Book of Melee: The Top 100 Melee Sets of All Time Introduction & Methodology

As of today, The Book of Melee is set to launch as an ebook on May 8, 2019. It’s a bit after my planned April 20 launch date, but such is balancing a side journalism “gig” with a career. To celebrate the official release of The Book of Melee, I would like to introduce you to my latest project, “The Top 100 Sets of All-Time.”

Let’s cut everything else out of the way and get to the project and the process behind determining my Top 100 Melee sets of all-time.


Defining Terms: What is a set?

The overly academic title aside, I had to define what kind of “sets” would qualify for the list. To start off, I want to establish a few factors that went into determining my picks.

For the sake of argument, I have decided to use both the plural and Melee-vernacular definitions of “set” to create the list. In other words, some of the  sets I have listed in a spot are actually multiple sets listed together as “one set.” If you want to view this more cynically, I personally have no interest in spending effort differentiating between the quality of winners and grand finals sets of a matchup at the same event.

 

I also chose to prioritize sets that were best-of-fives or more over best-of-threes. I understand that most people will reasonably think this is unfair, so my reason for coming up with this decision is that in my mind, “the more Melee, the merrier.” This was the case for most sets, but nonetheless, keep an eye out for some of my favorite best-of-three sets.

Also, to disappoint my doubles fans per usual on this ground, I am not including any doubles sets in my list.

Determining The Talent Pool

In almost 20 years of Melee history, it’s difficult to create consistent criteria when it comes to determining the list. Coming up with this project on my own, I wasn’t sure of what to do, so before doing anything else, I asked myself, what were the best sets of each year?

Going through the Smash History databases, which are now maintained and updated by my former partner-in-crime Pikachu942, I picked my Top 10 sets of every year from 2009 to 2018. Because of the lack of recorded sets from 2008 and before,  I made a choice to include as many sets as I could think of from the MLG era and before, but as a whole, there were far less to choose from that stood over time.  It is, however, important to note that the sets which did make the cut into my list were boosted, due to their otherwise lack of representation on  the list.

By the end of my talent pool selection process, I had around 125 sets. So then came a bigger problem: how do I narrow down the list from there?

Creating the Criteria

Surprisingly, determining the top of the list was extremely easy. Without giving away any spoilers, four of my top five were no-brainers – in other words, sets that would straight up qualify or disqualify my ability to authoritatively make this list. As an aside, this is truly remarkable: that in Melee’s entire history, four sets clearly stand above the pack, though my pick for No. 1 is likely a bit out of left field and not one of the four most people would think of.

To get back to what it was like sorting the list, I had to think about differentiators per set. After much  thinking, and consultation from my Melee Stats friends, I came up with the following. Disclaimer: not all of these criteria were equally valued, nor were they quantified, but they gave me a starting point for evaluating sets.

  • Quality of Melee: how good, or notably impressive, was the quality of Melee played, relative to era?
  • Flash Factor: How entertaining is the Melee to watch for someone who has never watched a set of Melee before?
  • The Stakes: What were the consequences of each set, be it determining a winner of an exhibition set to winning a scene-defining tournament, changing a player’s legacy forever, or gaining greater cultural exposure?
  • Non-Gameplay Factors: what were non-gameplay factors (commentary, production, etc) that added to the legacy of this set?
  • Uniqueness: How different is this set from other similar sets between the two players in Melee history?

The first four factors are easy to understand, but the last one might sound odd. Basically, if multiple sets are played between the same two players, I penalized the less impressive sets and buffed the more essential sets within a head-to-head. This is to avoid a situation where the same three or four groupings of player dominate the Top 20, although there are notable exceptions within the top of my list. I am also doing this to give exposure to lesser known players who have had excellent sets of their own in the past.

A Final Note

At the end of this project, “The Book of Melee” will officially be out for electronic consumption over at Smashwords. Until then, here is the publishing schedule after today.

  • April 17: 100-91


  • April 19: 90-81


  • April 22: 80-71
  • April 24: 70-61
  • April 26: 60-51
  • April 29: 50-41
  • 

May 1: 40-31
  • May 3: 30-21


  • May 6: 20-11


  • May 8: 10-1 and The Book of Melee electronic release date

I’m currently working on printed and physical copies of my book to be completed by the late summer and fall. Until then, thanks for supporting me.