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Published December 2, 2019

In a weekend marked by exciting regional arcadians, the local Yoshi main BZimm won the Melee Fall Arcadian in Maryland, while the Sheik main Koobie won the seventh edition of the University of Waterloo Arcadian over in Ontario. Meanwhile, at New York’s AON Pot Luck, JKJ took first place. Over at Smash @ Steelcraft GG in SoCal, the tournament ended up finishing before Bimbo and Fiction could play their grand finals set due to time constraints of the venue.

Also, I came back! I’m happy to be doing Monday Morning Marth again.

1. New England Arcadian Preview

If you’re watching Melee this weekend and haven’t had your fix of Arcadians yet, check out the 7th New England Arcadian. It’ll be stacked to the brim with regional heavy hitters that may not be quite yet on the national spotlight. Though the registration period for the event isn’t over yet, I wanted to highlight some players that could not only break out at this event, but also use their performance as a launching pad for an event better 2020.

  • Jnaut, the No. 2 in Rhode Island. He is a Sheik player with a Fox secondary and has out-of-region wins against players like JustJoe and Billz alongside wins in region. He is likely the player with the most complete matchup spread and is the favorite to win the Arcadian. In the last Arcadian, he finished second, just behind Ok.
  • Rasen, the No. 3 in New Hampshire and a Sheik main. For wins outside of New England, he has beaten Qerb, Fluid, and Amida. He was the first seed of the last Arcadian and finished in third.
  • Dimension, the No. 8 in Masachussetts and No. 1 in Philadelphia (when he is out of school). He plays Marth and has set wins on people like Joyboy, Churze and SluG. Notably, he is very good in the Sheik matchup, having beaten Free Palestine, Rasen and Fable in 2019.
  • Kikoho, the No. 9 in Connecticut. He became more well known after defeating Drephen in pools at The Big House 9 and has lately rapidly improved within his own region, with wins on Warmmer, Palika, and lint. A little known fact about Kikoho is that he defeated Zamu in the teens bracket at The Big House 8.
  • glock in my toyota, the No. 6 in New Hampshire. He has a bit of a Marth slaying reputation in New England, despite playing three characters that you wouldn’t primarily associate with it (Game & Watch, Falco and Fox). He has also beaten players like Crunch and Frenzy before.

2. Edwin’s Brief Shoutout Corner

3. A Note on Monday Morning Mailbag

Although I’m returning the column, one thing I’ll have to admit is that I have a lot less time than usual to write it. Because of other growing commitments in my life, I basically spend all my Melee time either in Discord speaking with my Melee-friends or playing on Netplay. I still watch tournaments fairly avidly, but outside of Sunday evenings and Monday mornings, I don’t actually have much time to write thoughtful responses in longform format. I barely even get a chance to browse the Smash subreddits.

Monday Morning Mailbag will still have a presence in my column, but what I’ll start doing is collecting the most interesting comments or posts in responses to my pieces across both the podcast server and see if I can write about the topic in any meaningful way here. This brings me to my next topic: what kinds of questions I do not want to answer. The one I dread most is “Where do you think Player X will be ranked?”

In addition to being a somewhat uninteresting question, I have been lately trying to view Melee through the lens of having rankings reflect other storylines, narratives and, well, cool developments in the scene, not vice versa. This isn’t to say that rankings don’t matter, or that they don’t provide a central basis for people to understand the scene, but that I’ve lately noticed a strange emphasis on “ranking” players and trying to differentiate between who of two similarly tiered players are objectively “better” or not.

I don’t know how true this actually is, but I almost feel like the fan and player obsession over rankings is a more depressing version of the scene trying to resurrect the same spirit it had at the end of 2013, when SSBMRank had its first list. But back then, there was actually a public benefit to the scene – specifically exposure in the post-Evo and post-Smash doc boom – that came from having an established ranking system. We thought that international rankings, in addition to boosting the scene as a functional marketing tool, would help players be able to make a career off of Smash.

And we did; sort of! Our very best players are still able to play it for a comfortable living, but I don’t think that’s the case for the non-Mangos, non-Leffens and non-Hungryboxes of the world. I can’t help but feel like rankings – at their use in a “marketing” sense – have a high floor, but have capped in effectiveness for most players chances of making Melee a livelihood: a dream that I think has been proven time and time again for most players to not be realistic or even necessarily desirable. As a result, I don’t want to focus too much on them.

Thanks for reading, everyone. I’ll be back next week to recap Mang0’s Birthday Bash, the New England Arcadian, and talk about my favorite Melee moments from 2019.



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