SSBMRank 2017: 10-1
The countdown comes to an end with 10 players well deserving of their spots at the top.
We are excited to partner with Red Bull to present the 2017 end of year SSBMRank!
As a quick reminder, the SSBMRank panelists are comprised of a large group of players and community volunteers that rate the players. Voters rated players based on the following criterion:
Given the quality and quantity of work in late 2016 to 2017 (From Eden to Twitch Invitational: Holiday Bash), if everyone entered 100 tournaments, who on average would place the best?
Panelists voted on a 1-10 scale with the best player receiving a “10” and the worst player on the list receiving a "1." Ballots that were not scaled properly were rescaled using an algorithm to place the best player at a “10” and the worst player at a “1.” This was then rescaled to a 1-100 scale. To reduce the variance, the highest and lowest three scores were removed from the average.
Rating: 89.4 | SSBMRank2016: 16
2017 looked to be the breakout year for premier Captain Falcon main Johnny “S2J” Kim. After years of placing solidly, but not consistently stellar, the player finally faced some of his greatest demons this year head on. This SoCal legend has been a fan favorite for years with his flashy combos and his ability to clutch it out in last stock situations with devastating 0-to-deaths (universally referred to as "Johnny Stocks").
The year started out with a bang at Genesis 4, with a bittersweet set against Armada. He not only took him to game 5, a feat not many other players, even other gods at times, can brag about, but was up 2-0 and nearly beat him game 3 in a last hit situation. However, the Swedish Sniper managed to regain his composure and send S2j to losers in a heartbreaking fashion. In losers, he managed to eliminate HugS and dizzkidboogie before being eliminated by Axe for ninth. Throughout the rest of the spring season, S2J did about as expected, losing only to players ranked above him and a few Top 20 and 30 players such as Crush at DreamHack Austin, Prince Abu at Full Bloom 3 and Bladewise at Bridgetown Blitz.
The summer, however, was a different story. While it started off rather uneventful, with an early 17th place at Evo this year due to running into Armada and Lucky, he started to show signs of life in August. At Heir 4, he made quick work of some of Europe’s best, taking out Overtriforce and Professor Pro before losing a close game 5 set with Leffen in winners finals. He then 3-0’d Trif to get a rematch at the godslayer, where he unfortunately fell again to finish at second. However, not a week later he had the loser’s run of his life at Shine 2017. After his winner’s bracket stock was taken by Hungrybox in winner’s Top 16, he beat SFAT, HugS, Ice, Shroomed, Plup and his first set win over Mew2King before finally losing to Mango to have a third place finish. At GT-X in September, he gained a 3-0 victory over aMSa and his first set win over Axe, securing a Top 8 finish before losing to fellow SoCal native SFAT. He then repeated this Top 8 placing at The Big House 7, beating Lucky and Shroomed before Mew2King exacted his revenge from Shine.
As this season comes to a close, S2J takes the best of Wizzrobe’s methodical style of Captain Falcon and n0ne’s explosive punishes to form a balanced middle ground of tech chases, reads and electrifying one-touches. However, one reoccurring issue walls S2J from doing well at majors: Hungrybox, who has a dominant 5-0 record against him. Jigglypuff has always been a tough matchup for Falcon, but Wizzrobe has shown that the character is more than capable of dealing with her. Only time will tell if S2J will join the ranks of players to take sets off Hungrybox, or if Hungrybox’s playstyle will continue to frustrate even the game’s best players. As 2018 begins, S2J looks to be a strong contender for the world’s best Captain Falcon if he can edge out a few more wins and continue to place well, landing him a well-deserved spot at No. 10 for the 2017 year.
Written by: Darren Lynch | Edited by: Tanner "Tanwad" French
Rating: 91.7 | SSBMRank2016: 7
It is a good year to be Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni. Hailing originally from Northern California, SFAT relocated to Southern California with an insatiable hunger for victory. Though some were surprised at the relocation given SFAT’s extensive history within NorCal, it proved enough to reinvigorate his play and help him maintain his presence within the Top 10 of the SSBMRank list.
SFAT started the year with a great run at Genesis 4. He conquered Zain, MacD, Shroomed and Swedish Delight to finish in ninth place. Soon after, he won NorCal Validated 2 and the NorCal Classic, gathering wins over his in-region competition such as dizzkidboogie, Nintendude, Shroomed and PewPewU. Invited to the Smash Summit Spring 2017, SFAT took sets off of Ice, Westballz and scored another over PewPewU to finish in seventh place. SFAT maintained a consistent performance until Full Bloom 3, where he rocketed back into the spotlight. Losing early to Druggedfox in the round of 32, SFAT was determined to bring it back. And bring it back he did. In what must be one of the best losers runs of all time, SFAT went on to eliminate Eikelmann, Prince Abu, Westballz and Leffen before again coming face to face with Druggedfox — who he beat 3-0. SFAT then went on to beat Axe, a thorn in his side for much of the year, ending up in third place overall, losing to Duck.
The strong performances just kept coming from SFAT. In California at Yahoo’s Smash Rivalries, SFAT won over La Luna, Swedish Delight and Axe for a fourth place finish. The next weekend, SFAT was on the other side of the country at CEO: Dreamland, making yet another exemplary Melee run. SFAT beat HT, Mafia, HugS, Axe, HungryBox and then Mew2King to make second place. SFAT continued his streak of fantastic results with a win at GENESIS: RED, a NorCal regional with considerable out of region talent. He added to his record against Californian competitors, and also handily defeated Crush. Incredibly enough, he managed to follow that up by placing in the Top 8 at Evo 2017, and winning the FUSE doubles circuit in the same weekend. After that weekend, the only two events that SFAT did not manage to make Top 8 at were Shine 2017 and The Big House 7, and he still won doubles at Shine.
SFAT kept up his momentum and finished the year strong, too. He placed second at Super Famicon, fifth at Pat’s House 3 and was poised to win the Holiday Bash Smash Invitational before being defeated by a seemingly unstoppable Crush. SFAT’s year has been peppered with tournament wins, victories and clear-cut aptitude for the game. Not previously mentioned in this blurb are the countless victories over several Top 50 players, or the fact that he has won sets off of every at-the-time Top 10 player he has faced this year bar Wizzrobe and Mango.
SFAT has long been known for his blend of optimal “European-style” Fox and the more read-heavy Fox play from America, and it has clearly paid off. Still teetering on the cusp of absolute and undeniable Melee all-time greatness, SFAT is a player with the potential to place Top 8, or possibly even win, any tournament that he attends.
Written by: Jonah Fritz
Rating: 91.8 | SSBMRank2016: 12
In the age of all top players having a Fox for a Jigglypuff matchup, Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallet remains one of the few players to stick to his main regardless and be successful at it. Wizzrobe has pushed his main, Captain Falcon, to a new level.
In addition to having wins over Hungrybox, he’s also recorded wins against many of the top players, such as Mew2King, SFAT, Leffen and ChuDat. Along with these wins, Wizzrobe has also had many great tournament runs; his best run this year being at Smash Rivalries, where he was able to secure a second place finish with notable wins over ChuDat, Druggedfox, Mew2King and Hungrybox. Wizzrobe has also come very close to beating other gods with a nail-biting game 5 set vs. Armada at Smash Summit 5 and a game 5 set vs. Mango at WTFox 2 last year.
Although Wizzrobe has experienced great improvement in his play, he still has ways to go before reaching the pantheon of Melee’s gods. This lofty achievement does not seem out of reach for the young Florida player as seen with his close set with Armada. In the age where the era of the Five Gods seems to be ending, Wizzrobe seems to be one of the many players capable of sealing its fate.
Written by: Arjun Deepak | Edited by: Shirish Nene
Rating: 92.6 | SSBMRank2016: 9
Few players can control a crowd the way that Tempo Storm's Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson does. Whether it is because he has pushed his character to the limits of the current meta-game, or because he carries the state of Arizona on his shoulders — literally, in the form of a flag — Axe charges up the audience whenever he hops on the big stage. However, Axe’s popularity does not come merely from his status as the only Pikachu main in the Top 100; Axe is an incredibly skilled player, with tricky movement options, impeccable edgeguards and a creative punish game, all of which have the power to get an audience up on its feet.
Axe opened up the year with a series of solid placements, earning seventh place at Genesis 4, fifth at Smash Summit Spring 2017 and fourth at Full Bloom 3. Interspersed between these strong national performances were dominant regional performances, including two first place finishes at Boss Rush: Duck and Boss Rush: SFAT. Along the way, Axe accrued victories over Ice, HugS, La Luna, Crush, Duck, Shroomed, S2J, SFAT and Mang0. In the middle of the year, Axe’s performances ran the gamut from relatively uncharacteristic to impeccable. Smash Rivalries was a great example of this range; Axe suffered losses to Swedish Delight and SFAT, yet pulled off fantastic victories against Mew2King and Mang0, resulting in a solid fifth place finish. Axe would miss Top 8 for the first time all year at CEO Dreamland, where he placed ninth, and he would miss it again at DreamHack Austin 2017, where he placed 17th, his lowest placing all year. He was able to bounce back with Top 8 finishes at both Smash ‘N’ Splash 3 and CEO 2017 and ninth place at Evo 2017, which included a win over Wizzrobe and respectable losses to Armada and Plup.
In the latter half of 2017, this fan-favorite Pikachu main was able to maintain the incredibly high level of play he had established at the beginning of the year. Axe placed 4th at DreamHack Atlanta 2017, conquering n0ne and scoring repeat victories over La Luna and SFAT. At Super Smash Con 2017, he had decisive wins over Druggedfox, KirbyKaze, and PewPewU to finish in 5th. His next couple of performances were less-than-stellar: 9th at GameTyrant Expo 2017, losing to S2J and Druggedfox, and another 17th at The Big House 7, losing to Ryan Ford and Swedish Delight. Nevertheless, Axe proceeded to beat Syrox, S2J, and Mew2King at DreamHack Denver 2017 to finish in 3rd. He closed out the season at Smash Summit 5, where he bridged the match-up gap again and defeated Mew2King's Sheik not once, but twice, while on his way to a triumphant fifth place.
Despite these exemplary victories, Axe was far from invincible this year. Outside of the Top 6, players such as Duck, ChuDat, Druggedfox, Swedish Delight and Plup served as walls to the Arizona native's bracket runs. However, with his intense set against Plup at DreamHack Atlanta, and his end-of-year winning record against SFAT — who used to be among the names that had Axe's number — the Arizona champion has proven that he is more than capable of overcoming obstacles. Going into 2018, Axe continues to find ways to subvert match-up expectations and surprise his audience and opponents — for instance, taking Mang0's Mario to Final Destination with Young Link on multiple occasions. But even with his nearly bottomless bag of tricks, there is still one Axe has yet to perform: conquering ALL of the Top 6. As a result, Axe has finished the year as seventh in the world, just outside of their ranks.
Written by: Marco "Oats" Salazar de Leon | Edited by: Dylan Tate
Rating: 94.9 | SSBMRank2016: 5
This year was William “Leffen” Hjelte's first full year of competition since 2014. Though he reached a ranking as high as second in the world in the Summer 2015 edition of SSBMRank, Leffen’s ill-timed hiatus caused him to slide down to fifth by the end of 2016. Although he has yet to recapture the dominance of his legendary summer 2015 run of major victories, it’s undeniable that Leffen’s brutally optimal punish game has greatly influenced the modern metagame. Through his highs and lows, there’s no doubt that Team SoloMid’s champion remains one of Melee’s elite competitors.
Leffen started the season with a bang, winning Don’t Park on the Grass with two nailbiting victories over Hungrybox. However, he was unable to carry this momentum into the season's first supermajor, finishing at a disappointing fifth at Genesis 4 with losses to Mango (in a set many consider to be the year’s best) and Plup. The loss to Plup marked the beginning of a trend; though Leffen was able to defeat the ascendant Sheik main in their next set, Plup bested Leffen in their following four meetings, ending the year with a 5-2 record over the Swedish Fox main.
Though Plup’s ascendance to “godhood” doesn’t have much to do with Leffen’s play, it’s been a significant contributing factor to the shape of the Swede's 2017 season. This year, Leffen has scored impressive victories over all of Melee’s finest, demonstrating that he’s still one of the big boys — he's defeated Armada, Mew2King, Hungrybox and Mango multiple times this year, with a winning record over the latter. However, Leffen is no longer the only player who can contend with the traditional “gods” of Melee, and Plup’s victories over all of the summer’s Top 5 prove that he’s carved out his own spot among the elite. Leffen is no longer the only player with the right to the “godslayer” title.
Furthermore, Leffen retains his Samus weakness — he lost a set to Duck at Full Bloom 3 and Plup’s Samus at Shine — and has seemingly developed a new Achilles’ heel: the Marth matchup. After dropping sets to The Moon, Zain and developing a significant losing record against Mew2King, Leffen took to Twitter to argue that Marth wins the Fox matchup 60-40. Many other players have voiced their support for this crusade, though the matchup remains a point of controversy. Whether or not Fox wins the matchup, it’s clear that Leffen does best when his bracket doesn’t contain a top-level Marth, and Leffen himself has admitted that he needs to be at the top of his game in order to overcome the swordsman. Beyond these character-specific woes, Leffen was on the receiving end of one of 2017’s biggest upsets, losing 2-1 to Lovage at GameTyrant Expo.
Despite his occasionally shaky singles results, Leffen has established himself as one of the world’s best doubles players, with consistently excellent results throughout the year. Mostly teaming with his static partner Ice, Leffen has defeated top-level teams such as Armada/Android and SFAT/PewPewU, winning doubles titles at Get On My Level and Smash Summit 5.
This year was a mixed bag for Leffen, with disappointing finishes at some tournaments and strong showings at others. He's shown that he’s still capable of the flashes of brilliance we’ve all come to expect from him, and at times he's made the game’s best players look like amateurs. However, Plup’s rise to godhood has challenged Leffen’s once-assured Top 5 ranking, and other up-and-comers threaten his preeminence as well. Fortunately, there are clear improvements that the Fox main could make to get back to the top: if he works on his Marth matchup for 2018, nothing will hold him back from achieving his greatest potential.
Written by: Alex Lee | Edited by: Nicole "Ibuprofen" Bennett
Rating: 95.3 | SSBMRank2016: 6
It's hard to talk about Justin "Plup" McGrath without gushing about his play. Described by Mang0 as “the ideal blend between offense and defense,” Plup is a generational talent with seemingly infinite matchup knowledge, tactical decision-making and blinding speed which combined make him a formidable opponent both in Melee and in Minesweeper. Here's a fun fact: Plup has beaten a fellow "Big Six" member and Godslayer Leffen with three characters in tournament, Sheik, Samus, and Fox. That's not a knock on the legendary Swede as much as it's testament to Plup's playing ability transcending character choice. You could just as easily look at Plup's impressive fifth place at CEO Dreamland defeating top players such as Nintendude, DruggedFox and a game off of Mew2King’s Sheik, all with Luigi as evidence of perhaps the strongest understanding of neutral over multiple characters. However, Plup’s first place finish at Dreamhack Atlanta, defeating Axe, Mew2King and Hungrybox both in Winner’s Finals and Grand Finals exhibited his prowess at taking out some of the game’s best with deadly accuracy.
Since his breakout 2014 and even stronger 2015, many wondered if Plup's composure was holding him back from becoming a sustainable national contender, as many a clip of him giving the bird to being wobbled or simply just not caring in some sets evidently showed. But last year, Plup proved that those who psychoanalyzed his laughter during sets were wasting their time at the Big House 7. After nearly a year since their last set at Smash Summit 3, he rose where many others fell, winning 3-1 with Sheik, a character Armada hadn’t lost to since 2010, and looked comfortable throughout the whole set. He would later go on to take yet another set over Leffen before finally losing to Hungrybox in a heartbreaking two set Grand Finals — but that disappointing tournament finish shouldn't take away from the fact that Plup finally now has wins against every other member of the top tier of Melee.
Despite this, Plup's ascendance to being considered part of Melee's top echelon may not matter much to him. When asked about his feelings on the game's "gods," Plup's answer was the figurative version of a scoff, as he has let his play speak for himself throughout his career. But make no mistake; his rise last year to being one of Melee's Top 5 marks a new chapter in his development as a player. Will 2018 be property of the Plup Club?
Written by: Anokh Palakurthi | Edited by: Darren Lynch
Rating: 96.3 | SSBMRank2016: 4
Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman started 2017 off in a rather strong fashion, with third, fourth and second place finishes at Genesis 4, Smash Summit Spring 2017, and Frame Perfect Series 2, respectively. Within these first few months, he earned significant wins against ChuDat, Wizzrobe, SFAT, Axe, Plup and Hungrybox, all while only dropping sets to fellow members of the Top 6. Mew2King’s first big hit of the year came at Smash Rivalries, where upset losses to Wizzrobe and Axe resulted in an unexpected ninth place finish. However, this placing would prove to be a bit of an anomaly, as Mew2King would only place outside of the Top 8 on one other occasion all year.
Over the next few months, Mew2King enjoyed consistently solid results, including first place at CEO Dreamland, MomoCon 2017, and Saints Gaming Live. In addition, he added his first wins against Mango and Leffen to his record for the season. Mew2King would act as a beacon of consistency for much of the rest of the year, not placing outside of the Top 4 of any tournament until The Big House 7, where respectable losses to Plup and Hungrybox left him in fifth place. Mew2King would drop off a bit at the end of the year, placing seventh at DreamHack Denver 2017, with losses to Axe and ChuDat and ninth at Smash Summit 5, with losses to Axe and SFAT. That being said, he also scored big wins at the end of the year, placing first at both Canada Cup 2017 and Tipped Off 12. As a result, Mew2King closed out the season by earning additional wins over n0ne and Leffen, as well as adding his first win over Armada for the season.
To add on to his singles success, Mew2King has continued to prove his strength in doubles competition regardless of his partner. Alongside his new static partner, Plup, Mew2King was able to take first place in doubles at DreamHack Atlanta 2017. This duo also managed to place second at Super Smash Con 2017 and Smash Summit 5. Along the way, Mew2King & Plup earned victories over strong teams like Crush & Colbol, SFAT & PewPewU and Armada and Leffen. Even without Plup, Mew2King has managed to uphold strong doubles results, including second at Shine 2017, alongside Mango, and first at Canada Cup 2017, where he and Leffen conquered the dominant pair of Armada and Android.
Going into 2018, Mew2King still has a few things to work on. The Ice Climbers match-up continues to plague him, as evidenced by his losing record to ChuDat. Mew2King also suffers from a losing to record to Axe, and seems to have consistent problems with overcoming Armada and Mango. However, in spite of these blemishes, Mew2King has much going in his favor coming into the next season. Mew2King has maintained a convincing record against Leffen, Plup, and Wizzrobe, and his record with Hungrybox, though still negative, is surprisingly close. Even more impressive is Mew2King’s dominance against all players outside of the Top 10; ironically, in spite of his long-revered mastery of the Falcon match-up, Mew2King’s only loss outside of the Top 11 all year was to n0ne. Though he falls short of number one in the world, there’s no denying that this king still sits on a throne of excellence.
Written by: Rui Yang Xu | Edited by: Dylan Tate
Rating: 97.4 | SSBMRank2016: 3
Fans of Joseph "Mang0" Marquez know that rooting for the Cloud9 pro often comes with a frenzied ride of emotions, both good and bad, a pattern which held up throughout 2017. Despite starting off the year with a strong second place finish at Genesis 4, with wins against Wizzrobe, Hungrybox, Leffen and Mew2King, Mang0 struggled to maintain higher placings through the first quarter. At best, Mang0 achieved respectable placings, such as fourth and seventh at DreamHack Austin 2017 and Smash Rivalries, respectively; at worst, Mang0 failed to even make Top 8, placing ninth at Smash Summit Spring 2017 (his worst result in the series), and even 13th at Frame Perfect Series 2 (though he did play exclusively Captain Falcon at this event). It was also around this period of time that lower level opponents began getting the better of him, like Plup, Axe and ChuDat, all of whom were positive in sets against him at that point.
While this painted a gloomy picture for the Norwalk native, he managed to bounce back and kick off the summer in a brighter way; in true “Mother’s Day Mang0” fashion, he claimed first at Royal Flush after resetting the bracket against Armada, his sixth tournament victory on Mother’s Day weekend since 2011. Though briefly faltering with a fifth place finish at Smash 'N' Splash 3, the road to Evo 2017 saw his gameplay sharpen. Mang0 made his way through the competition in Las Vegas, even double eliminating Hungrybox, all leading up to a final face-off with Armada, the first time the two had met in Grand Finals at an Evo event. Though Armada came out as the winner, matching The Kid's Evo trophies two for two, Mang0 showed a greater understanding of the player match-up than in their first face-off of the year at Genesis 4.
The aftermath of this loss clearly didn't weigh heavily on Mang0, as he pulled off the first place repeat at Super Smash Con 2017, where he began to edge out some of his previous bracket thorns, taking his first sets off of Plup and Axe for the year; he would go on to take his first set of the season off of ChuDat at Shine 2017. In general, the second half of the year saw more positive performances from Mang0. Although his placings fluctuated from fifth to second at The Big House 7, DreamHack Denver 2017 and Smash Summit 5, his only losses at these events were to Hungrybox, Armada and Leffen. His last tournament appearance in the ranking period was at Super FamiCon 2017, where he managed to make Top 8 while only playing as Captain Falcon.
Mang0 wrapped up the year quite nicely, making up for his shortcomings at the beginning of the year. He has remained a constant threat in the upper echelon of competitive play, with a positive record against all players outside of the Top 11 (barring those Captain Falcon incidents). He has cleaned up his head-to-head set counts and has managed to snag first place at a few tournaments along the way. He still has to be wary about encounters with Leffen, who has had Mang0’s number throughout the latter half of the year, as well as those with Hungrybox, with whom he has kept a closer record, and with Armada, who has dominated their set history this year. With a clear skill level that puts him above the rest of the competition, it’s certainly believable that we might see a 2018 where Mang0 claims the title of best in the world once again. For now, though, he has cruised his way into third.
Written by: Pablo Montero | Edited by: Dylan Tate
Rating: 99.2 | SSBMRank2016: 1
Few names in Super Smash Bros. Melee history hold the same weight as Adam "Armada" Lindgren. Continuing the unbelievable track record from 2016 that had earned him the number one spot on last year’s SSBMRank, Armada once again established himself as the destroyer of all smashkind when he won Genesis 4 this January. It was his fifth consecutive major victory: a bold reminder to his competition that they had yet to reach his level. Armada then won Smash Summit Spring 2017, his fourth consecutive Summit singles bracket victory, without dropping a set — dropping only three games during the entire invitational. Months later, after finally starting to resemble a human being thanks to his second place finish at Royal Flush and third place finish at Smash’N’Splash 3, Armada reverted to his true state of being and ruthlessly snatched up a first place finish at Evo 2017 through winners’ bracket. In just seven months, Armada had won four of the year’s most important tournaments.
But although Armada’s record for the first half of the year read like a shoe-in for No. 1 on SSBMRank, the second half of his 2017 told a different story. Dominating at Evo didn’t prevent him from finishing second at GT-X, fourth at The Big House 7, third at Canada Cup 2017 and, for the first time in his Melee career, second at Smash Summit 5. Perhaps most surprisingly of all, Armada dropped a set to Plup, the first non-god besides Armada’s career-long nemesis Leffen to take a set off Armada in years, at Big House, a loss which sent shock waves throughout the Melee community. This loss on top of five consecutive losses to Hungrybox — a first for Armada versus any player ever — caused many to lose faith that the once-undisputed champion could keep his spot as the game’s number one competitor.
Nonetheless, beating Armada is no simple task. To the pleasure of his biggest fans and to the detriment of those desperately hoping their favorite players can muster up the sheer mental fortitude to upset him in bracket, Armada’s wins throughout the year have proved both comically dominant and frustratingly clutch. No upstanding Melee fanatic can forget how Armada speedran grand finals versus Mang0 at Genesis 4, the same tournament where he’d barely clutched out a heartbreaking 3-2 set over Mew2King, only a stock away from being dair’d into losers’ bracket. Moreover, in the same year when the Atlanta Falcons blew a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl, Armada has singlehandedly revolutionized the term “Falcon heartbreak” in a completely different game, reverse-sweeping both Wizzrobe and S2J while teetering on the verge of defeat.
Make no mistake: the last five months have posed the hardest test of Armada's career since losing Apex 2015, but if history has given Armada’s fans and critics any indication as to what they can expect from him, it's practically guaranteed that we'll see Melee's greatest player ever remain in contention for Melee's greatest spot ever once again in 2018.
Written by: Anokh Palakurthi | Edited by: Nicole "Ibuprofen" Bennett
Rating: 100 | SSBMRank2016: 2
2017 has undoubtedly been the best year in Juan “Hungrybox” Debeidma’s decade long competitive Smash career. When the Summer 2017 edition of SSBMRank was released with Armada at the top, it was hard to envision a year ending with Hungrybox surpassing him in the rankings. Previously the perennial second place, Hungrybox has managed to overcome his past demons and claw his way to the top of the Melee competitive scene. Boasting a winning head-to-head record against every single player other than Leffen for the year (with whom he is even in sets), it is clear that Hungrybox deserves his ranking at the top of the Melee scene.
Throughout the year, Hungrybox has had the mentality of a champion. Even when facing tough losses, he persevered. A tremendous six major win streak (including becoming the first player to stop Armada’s Smash Summit reign) speaks to his dominance, and the mental fortitude displayed in taking first place at The Big House 7 and GT-X from the losers bracket helps to show just why Hungrybox is a fierce competitor worthy of being one of Melee’s five gods. The fact that Hungrybox’s performance this year has led to a flurry of discussion on whether Jigglypuff should be placed at the top of the tier list is evidence of just how unprecedented his 2017 performance has been.
With assistance from his coach and lifelong friend Luis “Crunch” Rosias, Hungrybox has refined his play of the Puff-Fox matchup to the point where he looks untouchable, with his punish game in general having become incredibly strong. More and more frequently he opts to forego a rest for a guaranteed punish, because he knows that he can rely on his monstrous combos and edgeguards to take a stock at almost any point.
As the year comes to a close, Hungrybox’s win streak is unbroken. It will be truly exciting to see if it will continue, and how Melee’s metagame will evolve as a result of his undeniable skill.
Written by: Jonah Fritz | Edited by: Shirish Nene
Graphics: Nick “DarkDragoon” Konstantino
Statistician: Andrew “PracticalTAS” Nestico
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