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Published February 24, 2020

Following his seventh place showing at Smash Summit 9, Fiction won DreamHack Anaheim 2020 over a stacked SoCal field. Fiction’s win here adds to a year in which he’s also won Saving Mr. Lombardi 2 and finished in fifth place at Genesis 7. He is the top active player within SoCal, and after finishing as the world No. 12 in 2012, Fiction looks all but confirmed as a Top 10 player right now.

In other regional news, Ginger came out on top at Chicago’s Hold That L 5. Over in Massachusetts, the visiting 2saint successfully conquered Mass Madness, in Japan, Shippu took home the gold at the most recent iteration of the Remeisai series, and Dacky won Domino Effect 17 over Bladewise in Washington.

For more weekend and daily local Melee results, check out the Melee Stats Podcast Twitter page.


The Return of a Prince

One of the most notable storylines of 2020 has been the return of Prince Abu. He’s no stranger to strong results, having finished as highly as No. 38 in 2017, partly due to a ninth place run at Evo 2017, where he beat Druggedfox, HugS and Plup. But following his entry into medical school, his national attendance fell off. At the end of 2018, he finished at No. 77, and in last year’s MPGR, No. 90.

Two days ago, Abu finished in third place at Hold That L, adding FatGoku, TheRealThing and Drephen to a resume of wins that also includes Free Palestine (two wins over him to finish first at BOPME 19), Westballz, Ice, HugS, Krudo and Morsecode762. Gathering all these wins in just two months of the year is pretty impressive. Just for comparison, here are his losses: MikeHaze, S2J, Rocky, Ginger, Captain Faceroll and Magi.

At the very least, Abu has performed like a Top 3 Jigglypuff. Compare his resume to 2saint, who has beaten Kalvar, Joyboy, Slox, Hax, Ryobeat, TheSWOOPER, Captain Smuckers and Aklo at different regionals in 2020. 2saint has losses to the latter two and DrLobster, among others, but given 2saint’s strong performances throughout 2019 (with the occasional headscratcher sets) and mostly positive in-region record, I would still give 2saint a slight advantage. Nonetheless, Abu’s strong showings against players from a variety of different regions – and not just his own – warrant recognition.

Monday Morning Mailbag

Thoughts on pgh’s 3v3s? – cfitz17

This is definitely a “square” opinion, but I can’t lie – I don’t like it. Between this, Rishi’s Jungle Jam and Sami Singles (aka Zoomer Melee), there’s only so many times you can play around with a “wacky” game mode and make it spectator-friendly before it turns stale.

I’d be okay with these kinds of game modes if they stayed specific to one region and didn’t become scene-wide zeitgeists that everyone had to have an opinion on. I know this makes me sound like a “I liked X before it became popular,” so maybe I’m just a hater.

Do you think enough top players will be inspired/motivated to make events like full bloom full blown majors rather than what events like it were last year which was Zain+gatekeepers – thegrooseisloose18

The scene is dynamic enough at the top level to where if they don’t go to those events, they will fall behind. The optimist in me makes me think the answer is “yes.”

Not really a question, but surprised you didn’t get into the Marth/Fox debate, sheik counterpicks, and bans in bo5, which seem to be hot topics from Summit – notconquered

Oh boy. I’ll try not to jump into the deep end, but here goes nothing:

Marth probably beats Fox. Whether you look at the results or just analyze the matchup from a game tape perspective, it’s increasingly difficult to argue against it, especially given how lopsided a counterpick like Final Destination can be in best-of-five for Marth. In fact, if you ask most smashers today, I would be willing to bet that they don’t disagree too much. For every Aklo and Hax that sees the matchup as even, you’re going to run into Leffen, iBDW, KJH, and Fiction. I find it so bizarre that superficial controversy exists around a matchup, in which most players, at least in my experience, fundamentally don’t disagree with the conclusion about.

If anything, the topic seems to center itself on the grounds of “how legitimate is it for Fox players to complain about a matchup?” It’s obvious that complaining about an unfavorable matchup should be something allowed to competitors regardless of what character you play – and trying to gatekeep players from complaining about it is pretty wack.

That said, the “Zain is unbeatable” stuff from the top Fox players at Summit was fairly offputting and grating. It’s not because I think Fox players shouldn’t ever complain, but because it was unproductive venting. Though they ended walking back their words a bit later and, the players were inherently taking away credit from Zain’s success in the matchup. If it was that bad, they could have just picked another character – as many of them claimed they’d do before not doing it at all. This is the kind of thing that really bothers people, not the complaints in a vacuum.

As for bans in best-of-five, I’m obviously biased, but I think the idea is terrible. Why would you ever allow stage bans in a potentially five-game format in a stage list of six stages? Doesn’t this miss the whole point of a counterpick? Is the idea to “delay” an “auto-win” counterpick that over-centralizes the matchup and impacts the result of a set, or to functionally eliminate those stages entirely?

I don’t see any benefits that come from this that don’t outweigh the costs of just hurting every character on their strongest stage across different matchups. It might help “even” out a matchup like Marth-Fox, but I am not sure that’s worth the cost of also ridding spacies of Pokemon Stadium against floaties, hurting Captain Falcon against spacies, etc. Although, I suppose that getting rid of Dreamland for Jigglypuff could help. Regardless – it seems stupid.


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