In the second week of Summit Champions League, Zain returned with a vengeance. The unofficial 2020 No. 1 won the latest SCL event without dropping a single game, 3-0’ing Mango, SFAT and moky in one of the most dominant showings of the year. He’ll be defending his SCL title in two weeks, with the series taking next weekend off.
Other notable showings at the event came from the qualifying players from Frame Perfect Series 5 Online. Plup, Albert, Ben and Colbol all made the second week of SCL, defeating their respective opponents in the relegation part of the event.
The following iteration of SCL will feature Mango, Zain, iBDW, S2J, Ginger, Gahtzu, Moky and Wizzrobe facing off in Division 1.
- Smash World Tour Deep Dives: Mexico & Central America
Mexico has been good for just about 15 years. Meanwhile, Central America – a scene that was previously mostly represented by the top Puerto Rico players – has seen a bit of a rebirth in the rollback era. We now see notable Netplay showings from representatives of the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and El Salvador.
In the 2021 Smash World tour, both regions count as a singular region. For the in-person regional finals, eight Mexican players will be selected, while the other eight will come from the rest of Central America. As you read this column, keep that in mind, because the tiering of different players is in order of their likelihood of making the regional finals – not a conclusive ranking.
Consider this list a mix of evaluating activity, looking at results in 2021, considering legacy, and “predicting” how players will perform moving forward. This is an entirely subjective process in which I am going, mostly, off of my gut feel. Please feel free to take this with a grain of salt. If you are “good” but not listed, chances are I didn’t include you because of inactivity (Lein, Gliscor, NotMe, Javi, etc.)
Beyond Locks; Easily Top 100
- Eddy Mexico (Mexico)
- JCAM (Panama)
Last month, Eddy Mexico won a LEVO over 2saint, FatGoku and Zamu. Even if he were in another region, he would probably still qualify. It feels like the Mexican Luigi player has been Top 100-level forever, and that’s not changing any time soon.
JCAM is a Sheik main who usually wins every Central American tournament he enters. Lately, he was the only Sheik to defeat Jmook in the TwoTwo Round Robin. He also has wins over Forrest, Komodo, Fable, htwa and Blues Clues. If I were to guess his skill level relative to American players, he’s probably somewhere between Ben and Rei. Interestingly enough, he and Eddy have never played. I wonder who would win between them. One final thing about him: he was my main resource for making this list.
- Kata (Puerto Rico)
- LAG (Mexico)
- Stifff (Dominican Republic)
- Duff (Costa Rica)
Kata’s budding rivalry with Zain’s Roy was one of the funniest recurring ‘storylines’ of early 2021 Melee. But there are other reasons that you should follow the Puerto Rico Samus player. Earlier this year, he won an East Coast Fridays over Panda, and he has wins over bobby big ballz, SFOP and Panos.
LAG is the best dedicated Roy main in the world. He also has a nasty Marth. You’ve probably seen him at a few Netplay events here and there earlier in the year, typically just outside top eight at stacked ones. He used to be one of Mexico’s more hidden talents before his breakout over the last year. Names on LAG’s rollback hit list include squible, Faust, htwa, Fro116, Lenguitas, Dream, Kurv, and Frostbyte.
Stiffff is the No. 1 in the Dominican Republic and a Falco player who spoiled AbsentPage’s return party at a recent East Coast Fridays. He trends overwhelmingly positive vs. everyone underneath this tier in Central America and he’s one of the few people to take a set from JCAM.
Duff has lately experienced a bit of a breakout. After being considered mid-level within Central America for a while, the Costa Rica spacies dual main split sets with Excel_Zero, won a regional over Lenguitas, and has became all but a lock for top eight at any Central American regional he competes in.
- Bimbo (Mexico)
- Lengüitas (Mexico)
- Zaphkiel (Dominican Republic)
- Far! (Mexico)
- Yu (Mexico)
- .JPG (Mexico)
- Excel_Zero (Puerto Rico)
We haven’t seen much of Bimbo against the NA West or East regions in 2021. For what it’s worth, he took a set from Medz in February. He finished No. 2 in the 2020 Mexican Netplay rankings, just under Medz and above everyone else. If he were more active, I’d put him in the tier above, but JCAM said to keep him here.
I wasn’t too familiar with Lengüitas’ results other than just seeing him in top eight of Mexican Netplay events. Researching him a bit more, I found out that Lenguitas won his last four sets against Stiffff, eliminated JCAM from an event, and beat Kata earlier this year.
Zaphkiel has been something of a bracket demon for Dufff, beating him in their last three sets. Additionally, the Braacket league for Central America has him as the current regional No. 2, just under JCAM. I suspect the former, as well as winning a regional and beating Kata had something to do with that.
Far! was a lot more active in 2020, usually in top 32 of any big NA Netplay event. Of note, he beat TheSWOOPER and Pappi at LACS 3. Unfortunately, he’s been pretty quiet this year. Given his presence as a top Mexican player for the last decade, I’m sure he’ll turn it around.
I initially didn’t include Yu – a Falco player who was formerly Top 5 in both Mexico and Japan before becoming inactive. But lately, he won a Jugaos Netplay tournament over Far! and LAG. Considering his past record and how good his most recent big tournament was, I’m putting him in this tier.
I’ve been a big believer in .jpg, from when he was borderline Top 10 in the nation, to when he was temporarily its No. 1, and to now. In late 2020, you could find him in top four of any Jugaos Netplay event. Just like Far!, he’s been good for so long. We just need to see it.
Remember Excel_Zero? He’s still good. The longtime Puerto Rico No. 1 isn’t quite in PewPewU-slaying shape as he was seven years ago, but he’s still really solid. For the most part, it’s rare to see him lose to people beneath this tier. The more he keeps competing, the likelier it will be that he gets back in competitive shape.
Contenders for the Final Spots
- Zuraco (Dominican Republic)
- Valk (Costa Rica)
- Dream (Mexico)
- PanterA (Mexico)
- AR0 (Mexico)
- Herrán (Mexico)
Zuraco is great. I learned about the Dominican Falco late last year when I was stunned to see him beat SFOP, a top NA West player. It seems like he’s leveled up in recent times, as he consistently made top eight at events throughout March.
I knew Valk had beaten Krudo before, so I had passing familiarity with the Costa Rica No. 2. In the last five months, he has wins over Excel_Zero, Ears, Jixus, Leof and Duff.
I once saw Dream beat someone, followed by said person crawling underneath a table and crying in a fetal position. It was such an unusually pure expression of anguish. Honestly, as someone who knows what it’s like to lose to Ganondorf, I couldn’t judge anyone for responding so negatively. Anyway; if you were expecting an actual blurb, my bad. This is all I have to say about Dream.
PanterA first caught my attention when he beat Valdo, Salt and Pappi at a regional last year. Ironically, the Mexican Captain Falcon and Fox dual main seems to be someone who’s consistently proven himself against the mid-level of NA, with additional wins over the likes of Bbatts, Jace, Wassabi, SuperCuak and Zeeker over the last six months.
AR0 is a really strong Sheik player from Mexico who finished at No. 9 in the latest Mexican rollback power rankings. He beat Lenguitas last weekend and before that had wins over Pantera, Redcoast and Jet.
Herrán is the next best Marth player in Mexico after .jpg. He recently had a great TMT performance in early March, when he finished in seventh, beating PanterA, Kurv and CPU0. Before that, he took a set from Dream and had other wins over Salt, Far!, and Lenguitas over the last year.
- Leof (Dominican Republic)
- Ears (Puerto Rico)
- Jixus (El Salvador)
- Jochi (Puerto Rico)
- RaulMVP (Dominican Republic)
- Doggy (El Salvador)
I learned about Leof when he beat Juicebox and Maher at Four Loko Fight Night. Without going into specific records, it seems like the Fox main is just outside Top 64 level at any big multi-regional event. I’d say he’s at the top of the mid-level in Central America.
You might know Ears for being a Peach player in MD/VA. Regardless; he seems very consistent, having finished seventh at his last three appearances at the Stay Silent Series weeklies. He also has sets over Kata, Stiff, Gliscor and even Komodo.
Jixus is the best Peach main in El Salvador and one of the country’s best players alongside Doggy. I was surprised to see him at No. 5 in the current Central America rollback rankings, so I looked at his most recent performances. He won his last notable set over Doggy and has a fun back and forth rivalry with Leof.
Jochi caught my attention when he beat Justus and Lotfy – two Top 100-caliber players in North America – last month in consecutive weeks. It seems like the top Puerto Rico Marth has been grinding quite a few East Coast Fridays, as he just beat Faust last weekend. I took a look at his records within Central America, and he really just reminds me of a mini-version of another Marth player you might be more familiar with: Quaff.
RaulMVP is just outside the Top 10 of non-Mexico Central America. He’s a solid Dominican Sheik main with overall solid records against the field and immediately noticeable set wins over Zaphkiel and Duff. RaulMVP recently had a strong showing at the last Stay Silent Series, where he beat Jixus, Jochi and Zuraco en route to fourth place.
Doggy is the No. 2 in El Salvador. The Falco main enters about two events per month and seems to be trending upward. I found a win over Zaphkiel in December, so he seems to be someone with a big ceiling.
Just like last week, I’m sure that I missed a few borderline people who have technically been active enough to qualify for this list. Please don’t be mad at me if I made a mistake, didn’t include you, or didn’t include your friend in the bottom end of the 100 players!
Next week, I’ll be concluding this series with a preview of the most surprisingly documented and active Melee regions in the world: South America.
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