The New Gods of Melee

The New Gods of Melee

By Evan Schwab

Once, five Melee competitors were known around the gaming community as the best in the world. They were dubbed the Five Gods of Melee, and each featured a strong persona and impressive repertoire with their characters of choice. In Smash’s long running franchise, the game has become a staple of the competitive scene, showcasing some of the most impressive competitors the world has to offer. It is in this spirit that we’re recognizing two additional players you’ve probably already heard of, two who are currently known as some of the newly minted best Melee players in the world. They have done so well, in fact, that Hungrybox himself crowned them new gods of Melee in a recent tweet.


Melee’s 2018 Evo champion, Leffen finds himself in pretty rare waters. Leffen began his professional career as a Falco main while training himself with a Yoshi secondary. After battling his way through early tournaments, which he officially began attending in 2010, Leffen grew his skill to some pretty impressive heights. Eventually, Leffen switched his main to Fox and is known as one of the most technical Fox players, highlighting the nuances and power of SS tiered character.

What’s most impressive about Leffen’s tumultuous career (he faced many obstacles while fighting to obtain a work visa for the U.S.) is that he became the first of two players to topple all of the original five gods of Melee in battle. He’s known to play one of the most technical Fox’s around, and it was no more evident than during his championship run at EVO this year. In order to do so, Leffen needed to push his way past Plup to defeat the notorious Armada.This was Leffen’s first ever Evo championship, and it was a memorable one - firmly placing him atop the Melee world for the time being. Doubly as impressive is that Leffen also left his mark in the Dragon Ball FighterZ tournament during CEO, placing well and making a name for himself in that bracket - having one of the most memorable matches at CEO 2018.


Plup, the Melee maestro from Florida, is widely known as among the best Melee players in the world - alongside the aforementioned Leffen. According to the Smash wiki, Plup is the unrivaled top Sheik player in the world, while also sporting an excellent Fox, Samus, and Luigi. During his rise to fame atop the Melee circuit, Plup became the second (of two) players to defeat each of the five Melee gods. Plup fell to Leffen in EVO 2018, but he placed a strong 3rd (behind only Leffen and Armada). His track record, however, speaks for itself; Plup is not a Melee competitor to be messed with.

Perhaps the most impressive piece of Plup’s playstyle is that he strategically chooses his character based on the situation. In an interview with ESPN last summer, Plup bluntly explained that, if faced against Hungrybox’s Fox, he wouldn’t use Sheik simply to use Sheik; the matchup isn’t great. Why wouldn’t he counter Fox with his own, very good Fox? For me, that type of thinking is what I look for when considering gaming as a sport. It was, indeed, DreamHack Atlanta 2017 where Plup took his championship victory from Hungrybox’s Puff. Let’s not forget, too, that Plup came out of Genesis 5 this year as the victor over Hungrybox, making Melee godhood in the process.


Watch List: Zain

A player to keep an eye on at future tournaments would be Zain, who took down Hungrybox and Mang0 in top 8 of Shine 2018. His wins can be found below.