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Published February 7, 2022

On Saturday, KoDoRiN overcame an early upset from null to eventually win SoCal’s Lawless Melee 2. On the same day, Nicki won Virtua Melee 1 over Schima, while Dimension took Cheeks 4 over GodTouch.

A day later, KoDoRiN won his second SoCal event of the weekend, Pizza Time. He did it by holding off Santiago in grand finals, as well as beating Steech. Meanwhile, Unsure, a top player and lead tournament organizer from Chicago, won the Netplay TO-urnament, beating MOF and MojoMonkey.

Four Storylines of 2022

With a bit of a lull in Melee news, I decided to do a brief write-up of four active community storylines that I’ve noticed over the first month of the year. This list is obviously not entirely exhaustive, so don’t take it as a ranking of the “four biggest” storylines, but I figured it was worth writing down the first four that personally came to mind and expressing my thoughts on each one. For the most part, I’ve tried to focus on things I haven’t already written about.

The Rise of Salt

Although Salt’s been a respectable player for a while, I think, for most people, he grabbed their attention when he made an incredible upset over Logan at The Gay One. He’s been pretty great since, routinely taking sets over other Netplay grinders and accruing the kind of resume you’d expect: Panda, Palpa, Lucky, Medz – the list goes on.

Here’s what makes Salt’s resume different though: his incredible loser’s bracket run at the AllChatEsports qualifier for the East Coast Rollback Championship. What did he do here, you ask? Merely make a monster loser’s run to first place, in which he beat Drephen, Ben, Lunar Dusk, Mekk, and Dawson (twice) to win the tournament.

The Mekk Rise & The Mekk Rule

I can speak for Melee Stats when I say that we love it when people who show dedication to Melee get rewarded for it. No player has been more dedicated to attending and competing in Smash tournaments in January more than Mekk, a Captain Falcon player whose stream persona is as ridiculous as his Captain Falcon. On any given weeknight, you can find Mekk in a bracket – he competed in 49 tournaments in January alone. That’s more tournaments than there are days in a month.

Unfortunately, sometimes you have to dial back dedication. As gripping as it is to see Mekk knee his way to winning a tournament over Ben or doing pushups in front of his viewers, it’s also probably anxiety-inducing for tournament organizers to deal with someone holding up brackets. I’ve seen Mekk’s stream enough times to know that this is meant with no disrespect – he just truly wants to play Melee with everybody – but tournament organizers have got to put an end to this.

I would like to suggest the Mekk Rule as the new standard. If a player signs up for your event, they cannot play at any other event that same night until they are done with your bracket. If they really want good practice for another event in between matches, there’s Unranked or matchmaking Discords to hit up.

Gen Assist & LACS 4

When Genesis announced that it was postponing its final date until April, I was devastated. With COVID cases skyrocketing every day and the pandemic continuing to destroy the country, I knew it was the right decision, but I felt horrible for the financial and emotional toll this would take on the Genesis team. Of course, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way – others, like Patti, Wheat, turndownforwalt, Epengu, and Radar felt even more strongly about it, enough to make a whole event dedicating to raising money for Genesis staff. Thus, GenAssist was born.

This event was such a blast. It raised 30,000 dollars for Genesis staff and was part of a really cool collaboration with Mogul Moves for LACS 4. I have my qualms with the way the Melee community sometimes rushes things together, but I’ll never stop admiring so many hard working people in the scene for being able to come together on a moment’s notice. What other scene could do this?

Where is Nintendo?

In November, Nintendo shocked the entire gaming world when it announced a collaborative Melee and Ultimate circuit with longtime Smash sponsor Panda Global. At the time, I wrote a massive column detailing potential benefits and risks to the partnership. It’s not exactly a surprise that my stance towards Nintendo is pretty avoidant, but nonetheless, the news seemed earth-shattering; like something that would constantly be at the forefront of the community over the next year.

It’s been about two and a half months since this announcement. We haven’t learned or heard anything anything. For something that’s supposed to be of such monumental scale, it’s been relegated to the background of the scene. The same questions I asked in previous column, and the same questions that Blur publicly asked upon the announcement of this deal, still apply and still remain unanswered.

I reached out to contacts at Panda Global and anyone I could think of who’d be willing to talk about this. Unsurprisingly, I was rebuffed. I even did something I usually stray away from – provide a condition of anonymity as a source. It didn’t work. I can only assume that anyone involved in this project has been NDA’d to oblivion about it. To be clear, this is not a shock to me. What it is, however, is the kind of thing that I could talk about forever – a fundamental problem of developer interest often conflicting with the interests of the community.

So today, I’m going to make a few predictions. I’m going to predict that at least one upcoming supermajor will announce a partnership with Nintendo that they could not refuse (or run mods for). If I had to guess, it will happen in the summer. I’m also going to predict that Nintendo will announce either a new console, new Smash game, or both, and that it will blindside everybody within the Smash scene.

I’m admittedly just grasping at straws, but at this point, anyone’s guess is as good as mine.

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