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Published February 18, 2019

On Sunday, Zain won Maryland’s The Script 2, holding off a Herculean effort from the visiting Ginger, who beat players like Junebug, Stango, Overtriforce, iBDW and AbsentPage in an epic loser’s run to second place. Though Zain ultimately brought home the gold, Ginger’s performance was the best of his career, fitting the Falco theme of The Script 2 and following up on his seventh place at Genesis 6.

In Ireland, S2J defended his reigning Schism title, defeating Lucky in grand finals. Elsewhere for notable tournaments, Tiramisu won Mass Madness 26 in Massachusetts, Colbol took Nerd Corner 4 in Georgia, Michael finished first BOPME 18 in Indiana and Kevbot won the NorCal regional Gator Games Monthly 8 from loser’s bracket, beating a slew of opponents such as Umarth, ycz (who curiously swapped tags with Birdman), Rocky and Spark twice.

Also, Bladewise won Evergreen Rising 6 over what might be the most depressing sea of opponents in a regional top eight ever, New Jersey events withstanding.

1. The Other Falco at The Script 2

Hidden under Ginger’s impressive showing is Sillie Willie, who finished a strong seventh place at the same tournament. He upset Sharkz early and then beat several strong mid-level MD/VA players – including MOM! and Bob-omb – before coming one badly timed ledge hop double laser close to upsetting Boyd.

If you’re not from MD/VA, chances are that you’re not familiar with Sillie Willie, save for maybe remembering his victory over Nightmare at Super Smash Con 2017. That same year, he had victories here and there at locals against Rishi, Zain, lloD and Milkman, and his overall records against the field led him to finish at No. 8 in the region’s Winter 2017/early 2018 power rankings.

Then, Sillie Willie had somewhat of a quiet 2018, still finishing No. 11 in the summer, but not having many notable results out of region. By then, bobby big ballz had passed him as the local Falco to watch out for, though Sillie Willie also played Fox, Marth and numerous other characters in tournament. However, in early 2019, Sillie Willie made waves once again, notably defeating Junebug twice to win The Cabin. Combined with his performance last weekend, it could show a potential breakout 2019 for Sillie Willie.

It’s interesting to note that he and his local peer, bobby big ballz, have opposite styles. Bobby tends to use his ultra fast movement to force gambles with high rewards while Sillie Willie plays a bit more passively and deliberately, picking spots where he can execute with consistency and with favorable advantages.

2. Pound V Anniversary

It’s Pound V week – in three days, we’ll be celebrating the eight-year anniversary of PPMD’s first ever supermajor victory. For the people who don’t know its significance: this was the tournament win that cemented PPMD as one of the five best players in the world. That it happened after Revival of Melee 3 and Winter Gamefest VI, both of which he won, made it that much sweeter.

First off, this was during a time when the race to No. 1 was still pretty wide open. Dr. PeePee had defeated Mew2King, Mango and Hungrybox in the previous three events, but many were skeptical of the circumstances behind his victories. At the time, many saw him beating Hungrybox at RoM 3 as more of proof that Jigglypuff wasn’t unbeatable rather than him vanquishing a player whose skills everyone respected.

As for his sets over Mew2King, it either had to be a fluke or just even more proof that the former Brawl champion wasn’t seriously practicing Melee. PPMD’s sets over Mango at WGVI were strong indicators of potential, but Mango had also played a lot of Captain Falcon at the event, only playing Falco with his back against the wall and down 0-2 against PPMD in grand finals.

According to PPMD, during his rise to dominance, PPMD himself was lambasted by a vocal group of players who saw his playstyle as “lame” and abusive of Falco’s tools. Ironically, it shifted the community’s collective concern over Jigglypuff from Pound 3 to Apex 2010 over to Falco.

History has obviously shown that Pound V was proof that PPMD’s wins over the preceding months weren’t one-off performances. With him vanquishing Armada twice from loser’s bracket and just ruthlessly obliterating Mew2King in their rematch, everyone knew now that the man from North Carolina, seemingly out of nowhere, had just beaten all their gods. He was the real deal.

In addition to PPMD’s victory, Pound V also marked the first time that Armada picked Young Link against Hungrybox, and Axe’s fourth place showing was the best of his career, improving upon his fifth at Apex 2010 just eight months earlier. Clearly, his Pikachu was no one-time “gimmick.”

Not so flatteringly, Pound V was also the tournament where its organizer, Plank, failed to pay out most of its top finishers, though he managed to pay them back years later. Pound V was one of two large tournaments that year to have controversy with payouts – months later at Genesis 2, DBR members revealed that Zelgadis had tried to steal thousands of dollars from the prize pot. It’s a reminder of how far Melee had to go before its community could establish itself, and an example of the kind of struggles that events routinely faced back then.

3. Monday Morning Mailbag

Regardless of buffing or nerfing or banning puff (and not counting banning wobbling), are there any ruleset changes you’re interested in seeing in a theoretical world where we actually try new things? – SubjectiveF

Outside of banning wobbling, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s top tier privilege, but I think the only change I’d support would be reducing the timer from eight minutes to seven or six minutes. Even then, I can’t say for sure that it would change much, if anything at all.

I half-jokingly brought up banning Dreamland not too long ago, but I actually think this would overwhelmingly hurt Captain Falcon more than it would any of the floaties. The only other stage-related rule change I would potentially be on board for supporting would be doing something like freezing both Pokémon Stadium and Fountain of Dreams. This would never be a feasible idea at a supermajor though.

Depending on how the metagame develops, a ledge grab limit could become useful, but quite frankly I’m skeptical of its necessity. As a whole, I really think that people overstate the importance of “the ledge” in Melee. Only a few players at the top level consistently abuse ledge invincibility to gain degenerate or “dishonest” openings – and these competitors are still strong in other areas out of necessity. Michael might ledge camp against Ice Climbers, but he’s also floating outside of the Ice Climbers threatening range, shielding on platforms, etc to avoid hits. Or, er, not moving at all.

Being in the corner in Melee is still a disadvantageous position – and most strong competitors have already built enough counterplay to deal with opponents on the ledge. The only ledge tactic I haven’t seen fully maximized at a top level is invincible Jigglypuff planking, and I don’t see anyone ever using this at the top level of play without sacrificing greater advantages.

I guess, in a gun-to-my-head scenario, I would probably call for a more active effort from TOs to discourage or outright ban different stalling tactics (like Pound stalling, Peach Bomber stall, etc) with specific language aimed toward differentiating “stalling” and playing defensively. But unlike wobbling, I don’t see enforcing this as feasible across all levels of play, and I myself am not sure how I would do it. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to suggest them.

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