For last week’s edition of Monday Morning Marth, I decided to explore an alternate history of what Melee results would look like without Mango. Because it was such a lengthy project, I decided to split it into different eras, with a focus only on supermajors as they would have turned out without Mango. I looked at every event from Pound 3 to Pound 4.
If you need a recap on how these events turned out – or a refresher on the rules – you can revisit last week’s column here. Otherwise, I won’t waste your time on any of the details, so here we go.
Melee Without Mango: Bizarro Apex 2010
In the real world, Apex 2010 was a weird event. Mango was beating everyone so hard for the last two years that he stopped caring about competing entirely. He started going Mario, Captain Falcon, Marth and various other secondaries at locals, doing this under the alias of “Scorpion Master.” By the time Apex came around, Mango didn’t even try at this tournament, instead opting to enter this event under his new moniker. He loses early, Hungrybox destroys everyone else, and that’s basically the story of the next year for Mango’s national performances (or at least just the first part).
In our alternate timeline, we’ve learned a few big things from the two years we’ve examined. To recap, Mew2King rules the scene for a little bit longer, Hungrybox wins Genesis, and Armada makes the switch to Young Link a bit earlier to win Pound 4. Because of the last reason, I don’t see Hungrybox immediately solving the Young Link at Apex. I think he still gets destroyed and I see Armada winning this tournament in pretty boring fashion. Other than this change, I don’t think much is different from Apex top eight – the rest of our top four stays the same, Wobbles and Axe continue to finish in fifth place each, and loser’s bracket slightly changes.
Melee Without Mango: Bizarro Pound V
Pound V was the other major that Mango entered with secondaries at, but most people know it today for being the tournament that unofficially spawned the “Era of Five Gods,” with PPMD’s victory. Although the actual term “five gods” itself only came into popularity after Evo 2013, the event basically cemented the fact that five players were better than everyone else at Melee and, for the most part, could only lose to each other. For PPMD, this event basically capped off a ridiculous four month stretch in which he beat all the other contenders for best player in the world. It’s an incredibly important win for him; his first ever supermajor.
I don’t see this changing without Mango. As you’ll see above, the top three stays the same. However, what happens outside of them is pretty juicy. For example, in our alternate brackets, both VanZ and ChuDat make insane runs to top eight where they upset a bunch of players in their path. Other than that, everything else seems mostly the same.
Melee Without Mango: Bizarro Genesis 2
It’s crazy to remember that back around the time of Genesis 2, the world had only seen Mango and Armada play in tournament at the first Genesis. To modern smashers, this type of time gap between a single matchup – especially one of the two best players in the world – would be unthinkable. It almost didn’t even happen, as Taj infamously sent Mango to loser’s bracket early in part of a massive underdog run. By the time of grand finals, the hype was unimaginable; in fact, I’d wager that Mango vs. Armada part 2 was the most anticipated tournament match in Melee history.
We don’t have Mango vs. Armada in our timeline. But what we have is a Melee top level in flux. Remember – Mew2King won two big tournaments in a row, but right after that, Hungrybox took the next two. Then, Armada won the two after that…right before Dr. PeePee won Pound V. Heading into Genesis 2, the main storyline is “The Big Four” – Armada, Dr. PeePee, Hungrybox, and Mew2King – and who among them will take the tournament. It’s not as sexy as Mango vs. Armada, but it’s the best thing we got.
As a result, grand finals is the complete opposite of what it is in the real world. Instead of Mango’s Fox and Armada’s Peach going at each other in super fast, thrilling, last-stock games, it’s Hungrybox’s Jigglypuff and Armada’s Young Link taking turns beating each other in 7-minute slugfests. Some of them even go to time. The low point is Hungrybox resetting the bracket and swaths of the entire crowd leaving to go play friendlies instead of watching the rest of the tournament. On the plus side, both Arizona natives – Taj and Axe – still make top eight through a series of incredible upsets, and instead of Shroomed eliminating Dr. PeePee from the tournament, it’s S2J in his first major top eight doing it.
Melee Without Mango: Bizarro Apex 2012
Apex 2012 was nothing if not really anticlimactic. Today, most of us remember it for Javi’s miracle run to fourth place, but not much else. The anticipated third chapter of Mango vs. Armada turned out to be a stinker, KirbyKaze’s upset over Hungrybox in winners’ bracket led to the first loser’s bracket run from Hungrybox since the first Genesis, and Shroomed was a stock away from beating Armada…with Dr. Mario.
At our version of Apex, Armada still wins, only over Dr. PeePee instead of Hungrybox. The most interesting changes we see in the alternate timeline are that both Wobbles and Hax make big runs to top eight instead of Javi, who gets a brutal showdown with Plup and Wobbles early in the tournament instead of getting a fast-faller or Sheik-laden bracket. I’ll note one other thing: when I showed my dear friend Ambisinister the bracket, he immediately responded, “Wobbles had the freest bracket ever.”
Melee Without Mango: Bizarro Apex 2013
Apex 2013 is relatively forgotten among large majors of the Brawl era. It was the first big tournament since the Evo donation drive began, the location of the dumbest counterpick attempt in Melee history (as well as one of the most exciting), and the last major Armada won before his first retirement. What you might not know, however, is that as far as Mango’s concerned, this tournament is where Mew2King not only beat him in a serious set for the first time since Brawl came out, but double eliminated him from a tournament for the first time ever. At a time when it seemed like Mew2King was on his way out from Melee and unable to beat the other “gods” of Melee, him beating Mango was a reminder that he still had a lot more left in the tank.
With no Mango at this tournament, we still get the Dr. PeePee Marth vs. Armada Peach grand finals, but it comes as a byproduct of a huge loser’s run from Dr. PeePee. In our timeline, he loses to Javi in winners’ bracket before tearing through Kage, Shroomed, Hungrybox, Hax, and Mew2King to make it back to Armada, who he takes a set from. On the other end of notable tournament results, Hax’s run particularly stands out, as he beats Kage, KirbyKaze, Javi, and Leffen.
Melee Without Mango: Bizarro Evo 2013
I implied or outright mentioned before that I can’t imagine Pound 3, Genesis, Pound 4, or Genesis 2 without Mango, but if there’s a tournament today’s smashers would find especially inconceivable without him, it’s this one; the one that many of them got into Melee through. In the real Evo, Mango suffers an early loss to Wobbles (who practically had the greatest underdog run ever) before making his way through SFAT, Ice, Dr. PeePee, Armada, Hungrybox, and Wobbles to win the biggest Melee tournament the community had ever seen.
Alas, as much as it hurts to imagine a world where Mango is not part of Evo 2013’s story, we’ll have to do it. Because he’s not in the bracket, Wobbles never gets to play him and instead runs into Leffen, who beats him in the Bizzaro Apex 2013 rematch. Unfortunately, Wobbles ends up having to face Armada in loser’s quarters (with Armada still losing to Dr. PeePee in winners’ bracket) and his run promptly comes to an end.
It’s at this point in the tournament where our largest change occurs – Hungrybox and Armada play each other in loser’s finals and Hungrybox finally eliminates him from the tournament. When he goes to play Dr. PeePee in the rematch of their winners’ best-of-three, Hungrybox pops in “Yeezus” from his iPhone and, well…I’ll let the below picture speak for itself.