On Saturday, Ginger won Michigan’s Holiday Heist 5 over KJH. Elsewhere in the Midwest, JustJoe beat Techdeath to win Illinois’ Untitled Invitational, Preeminent outdueled Nakamaman to conquer Minnesota’s Level Up Games weekly, and over in North Carolina, HiFi won Saturday Scuffle 1 over Siddward.
A day later, Nut won Blast Off 31 over Squid in San Diego, and Blea Gelo won the VSGC weekly over Porkchops in South Florida, while Krudo won The Sunday Broast over Forrest.
2020 Breakout Picks, Part 3
In the final installment of my “players to look out for in 2020,” I’m going to be highlighting specific representatives for each of the remaining characters in Melee’s cast whom I haven’t covered. If you haven’t checked out the last two parts of my ballot – or more likely are ready to ask me why I didn’t include Player X – please do so.
For this edition, rather than taking a look at each player’s chances to make the Top 100 next year, I’m going to briefly describe an accomplishment or two for these players and describe what their ceiling could be in 2020.
Note: Because of how rare it is for some of these characters to even be played at a high level, you’ll notice that I won’t have honorable mentions for certain ones. Don’t take this as a personal offense – it could just mean that my knowledge of different character representatives is lacking.
1. 2020 MPGR candidates
Whiskers is the longtime ruler of Queens, NY and a former Columbia University student. For years, he was Tristate’s top Yoshi – and I first learned about him when he defeated Captain Smuckers, dizzkidboogie, and Ryobeat at the old Apollo locals. Well, earlier this year, he actually won a Hax’s Night Club over a fairly stacked entrant-field. It didn’t count for his region’s PR – mostly because Hax’s Night Club was still in the process of ironing out its technical kinks – but I still look forward to seeing what great results Whiskers will accomplish in 2020. Out of the remaining potential breakout candidates, he’s the one who I think has the highest ceiling.
HM: iiwii, Plata Mono, Guex
Luigi: Jah Ridin
Jah Ridin continues to reign supreme in Switzerland and even earned himself a Top 100 victory out-of-region against Professor Pro earlier in 2019. Though his first trip to the United States was relatively humbling for him – as he only was borderline ranked within NorCal in 2018 – I expect to see him continue to improve in 2020 and potentially return with a bang. It wouldn’t be out of nowhere to see Jah Ridin potentially finish Top 15 in Europe by the end of next year.
Kuya’s earned a reputation as a low tier legend in CFL, having been PR’d in the region many times over the last few years and having a notable Link, Falco, Game & Watch, and Mewtwo. Like a good amount of mid-level CFL, I’m not sure how many national opportunities Kuya will get to prove himself. He’s not that far off from ballot nominees like Forrest and Krudo and is probably around Komodo-level within his region.
HM: Hunybear, Thor, Sixx, Savestate
Mario: A Rookie
A Rookie has long been in the scene, having been ranked regionally in SoCal, and is now the top player in Pensacola. Over his career, he has tons of wins but he hasn’t been able to put it all together to finish Top 100 for a year. In 2020, it’s the same story with him: he’ll probably have enough results to be considered for the ballot nomination process, but whether or not he makes it – let alone finishes Top 100 – is likely up to how he and his opponent play on a given day.
2. Regional heroes who need a bit of luck
Young Link: Bambi
Bambi is a longtime New Jersey Young Link player who finished third in his state’s most recent Arcadian. Most notably, he has a win on Kuyashi and once beat HugS in a money match. As the Northeast continues to grow in talent, I have faith in Bambi to continue performing at his current level and snag a few more victories against the mid-top level of his region. Even if it might be a tall order to make the MPGR ballot, if Qerb can do it with a worse character, I’m sure Bambi’s not far off.
Zoma plays Fox, but his Mewtwo is still a big part of his arsenal. In the very beginning of 2019, he finished No. 3 in Japan’s PR, though he’s not as active any more. If a tournament like Smash Con can fly him out, I’m sure there’s a nonzero chance of Zoma maybe earning one or two two Top 100-level wins with his Mewtwo and potentially earning a couple more if he’s staying in the United States.
North Carolina’s Prometheus is one of the few Ganondorf players left that continues to compete at a high level, and he finished No. 3 in his state PR earlier in 2019. In general, the Carolinas, Georgia, Southern Virginia, roughly speaking) has tons of mid-level talent that don’t travel out of region often, which typically hurts their chances of finishing Top 100. Prometheus is among the best of that field, so he’s got as good of a shot as anyone else there to make a splash.
G&W: glock in my toyota
I remember attending a local and losing to glock in my toyota in 2018. Afterwards, I thought to myself, “he’s pretty good but I think anyone can beat him after they find out about his gimmicks.” Months later, I played glock on Netplay and was immediately seven-stocked. In his career, glock also has picked up wins over Frenzy and Crunch, while also being competitive with Kalvar. Currently, he’s the No. 6 in New Hampshire and typically attends locals in Massachusetts, winning them or placing highly. He also has a strong Fox secondary.
OkayP is currently one of the best players in Utah and just recently won a monthly over his in-state rival Logos. Not many smashers know of him, but he also beat ARMY last year (potentially with his secondary Peach; I can’t find the video). He doesn’t have many national results, but he’s good enough to be notable.
HM: 2Framez, Eri, BonkCushy
Moe beating Professor Pro is honestly one of the most stunning European upsets I’ve seen, considering Professo Pro has a reputation for dominating his own country. Can we can get a Moe vs. Ringler FT5 at a future Fete? Make it happen, Europe.
HM: Ringler, Twotran, Chandy, MojoMonkey
He doesn’t have an out-of-region Top 100 win yet (though he has one on Kels in his career), but for what it’s worth, LSDX beat Preeminent earlier in 2019. Based on what little I know of him, LSDX also flirted with switching away from Roy for some time and used to be ranked No. 17 in Chicago’s power rankings.
It straight up doesn’t make sense that Codeman is a regionally ranked player. For what it’s worth, he’s taken a game off S2J and homemadewaffles and consistently attends nationals, typically being seeded to make it out of pools. If we’re going out of our way to pick sleepers for 2020, whose to say that Codeman couldn’t maybe sneak a victory over a lower end Top 100 fastfaller after they accidentally let him counterpick to Final Destination in a Bo3?
3. Nonzero chances at achieving notable results
Alongside being a huge Netplay grinder, Profane is also known for taking a set off Nicki last year and being a huge believer in Zelda. I wish I could tell you more about her.
Papa is more known for his Ice Climbers play than Kirby, but for the sake of argument, I’m including him as a Kirby player. I predict that in 2020, he’ll go down 0-1 against a regionally ranked or high-Arcadian Marth or Peach player before he beats them with Kirby.
HM: Captain Preztel
If we’re talking notable results, there’s no one more likelier than Warriorknight to earn a victory for his character. If he goes to one national, there’s already a nonzero chance of Bowser getting a notable result.
Simna was ranked last decade and is still probably better than most people who play Melee. You should check out his Twitch stream – he deserves much more recognition as one of Melee’s most consistent and friendly streamers. He doesn’t compete any more, but if he goes to just one major, he’ll have the weight of an entire character’s player base on his back.