Fighting games come and go - from the arcade machines at the game corner to the console games at home. Though one game seems immortal - nostalgia creates fond memories - it still produces more even as we age. I’m talking about Super Smash Bros. Melee, of course, the second in the series.
The 16-year-old game was released to North America on December 3rd of 2001, and with its appearance at EVO in 2007, it is still the most popular gaming tournament at EVO to date. The once casual couch game has seen a dramatic change since launch, going from having fun with friends to competing with strangers.
A reason that the game is such a huge success could be due to the fact that it’s filled with every one's favorite childhood characters such as Mario or Pikachu, or it could be the fact that it is one of the fastest fighting games ever created. It wasn’t always like this, however; players played casually until a few exploits were uncovered - like wavedashing.
Wavedashing is an exploit where a character slightly jumps but immediately air dodges to the left or right. The character takes a fast step back or front with no frame lag, meaning they have almost every option available to them like their grabs or jabs. Simply put, you can move backwards while looking forward at your opponent. The tactic is mainly used for agility and utility seeing as how you can’t attack with it, but you can use it to attack.
Like with every fighting game, the fighters vary in how good they are, and tiers are created to place them in. Some veteran players refuse to even recognize tiers, stating that any character can beat any character. Tiers are just a reference point for players but should be recognized regardless since numbers do not lie.
The official Smashpedia tier list consists of eight tiers. They are SS, S, A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Each character has their strengths and advantages, and when a discovery from the old game happens - and it does - they are adjusted accordingly.
You’re probably wondering how all these characters stack up? Well, what better way than to analyze a Pro player and their character. There are crazy amounts of players for this game, with many veterans and some barely picking up the game as newcomers. There are, however, a few specific players that I’m sure every vet or noob knows. They are known as ‘The 5 Gods.’
These individuals are recognized for contributing toward the Melee scene and for their skill within it. They are Mew2king, PPMD, Armada, Mango, and Hungrybox.
Kevin Nanney is also known as PPMD in Super Smash Bros Melee. His most recent tournament championship was won in 2015, and it just so happens to be one of the biggest tournaments for SSBM, Apex. About a year later, he competed in the tournament Battle of the Five Gods where he was a showcased player. Unfortunately, this was one of his worst placings ever, and he ended up in 9th place. After that, and due to rising health problems, he missed EVO that year and has been in hiatus ever since. With an amazing Falco and Marth that he alternates based on the situation, it’s a shame that we may never see him compete again.
Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman mains Marth, Sheik, and Fox. Ironically, he doesn’t main the character he’s named after despite being one of the top Mewtwo players. One reason could be that Marth and Sheik are in the S tier and Mewtwo is in the F tier. M2K has become a master at Marth’s chaingrabbing. One grab could result in a high percentage of damage with a quick side smash that could leave you wondering where your stock went. He’s so good at the game that if he gets bored with the match and is playing Sheik, he will whip out the chain. The chain is a grab used as a weapon and is exclusive to Sheik. It is very ineffective and is used as a sign of disrespect.
Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma is known for being the very best at one character: Jigglypuff. To some, Jigglypuff is considered to be a weak, slow character. They all agree on one redeeming quality, however - the rest. This is essentially a risky OHKO that, if missed, leaves the character wide open to be punished. Hungrybox is a master of this move and makes it look easy. Last year, he finally won his first EVO after being runner up so many times, and we eagerly await if he’ll defend his title this year.
Joseph “Mango” Marquez is known to be very versatile with any melee character. A few notable characters he plays are: Fox, Falco and Captain Falcon - all of them being high tier. He is the only person on this list to have won two consecutive championships at EVO (2013-2014). Since then he has always scored in the top eight at the event and is vying for his third victory.
Adam “Armada” Lindgren hails from Sweden and is regarded as the best Fox and Peach player of all time. Fox has always been a big deal; he’s quick, he can zone, and he can kill. He is literally in his own league, being the only character in the SS tier by himself. It’s no surprise that the best player is the best Fox around. As a backup, he uses Peach, who is no pushover. With her float jump and turnip pickup, he can juggle you to death. With the chance of a lucky bomb, it’s over.