Player Profile: GWM
With another slow news week (happy new year), I’m using this column to write about New England. This time, I’ve chosen to fulfill a promise I made to GWM, one of the best players in New Hampshire and one of New England’s best Fox players. I told him once he got 20 Twitch subscribers that I’d write a profile on him. It’s been years since, so here goes nothing. Because it’s weird for me to refer to him as GWM, I’m gonna call him by his first name – Jesse.
I’ll start off with when Jesse first got into Melee. It was back in 2013, around the very start of New England’s local rebirth and when Smash as a whole saw several newcomers. Hailing from Merrimack, New Hampshire, and with a tag called “Hackey,” Jesse played Fox and especially stood out in the community because of his youth. This sounds weird to envision, but around this time, New England was mostly comprised of either long-timers in their mid to late 20s or college kids who participated in The Melee Games. Meanwhile, Jesse hadn’t even graduated high school. He was closer to Crush – another exception to the trend.
Salty bet melee
— Rafael Vieira (@ssb_Freeze) October 22, 2013
Holy fucking shit this is literally how we got into melee oh my fucking god
— jesse (@grownworkingman) July 21, 2018
What’s also worth noting is that while New Hampshire is more well-known today, it was not particularly established back when Jesse was getting into Melee. New England used to be dominated by its Boston and its Rhode Island players (Connecticut has always been a bit of an outlier compared to the rest of New England, but that’s a story for another time). With contributing factors like his own age and his relatively obscure scene, you might think that it would have negatively impacted Jesse’s interest in Melee.
It didn’t. I remember seeing Jesse at practically every New England regional I attended, and I specifically remember him even competing at Apex 2015. This was an era where if you received a Facebook notification that “Jesse Reigner posted in New England Melee,” you knew it was going to be good. From glorious shit-posting on social media and his continued presence at locals, Jesse was a constant of this era of New England Melee. I asked Jesse about his insane locals grind and he responded that he once entered 13 locals in 14 days. I didn’t bother verifying it because, frankly, I remember this period pretty well. Anecdotally, it checks out.
In my opinion, there were two big factors that contributed to Jesse’s time in Melee. The first was the New England Invitational. Launched sometime in late 2015 and concluding in mid 2016, this event had its own regional circuit with a series of events, which gave Jesse a clear goal to shape his Melee local attendance toward. Sadly, Jesse did not make the final event as a competitor, but the experience was nonetheless formative for his view on competing. The second big factor was the people surrounding Jesse; unique people from his state who, alongside Jesse, put New Hampshire on the map. InfiniteNumbers was an obvious influence and so was Kalvar, one of Jesse’s first rivals. The secret boss of the rising group of New Hampshire players was Gtown_Tom, a notable TO across all of New England. Gtown_Tom would frequently carpool with Jesse, offer rides, and TO events that they would attend.
When Jesse grew older, it became a lot more difficult to fully commit himself to Melee. It was one thing to go to Apex when he was still young – it was another to balance academic pursuits and having a job with Melee. What further made things more difficult was the fact that many of the same faces who Jesse used to see each week were on their way out of the scene. Former friends and even temporary rivals from the days of New Game Plus, let alone Game Over, weren’t interested in competing any more. At the same time, however, Jesse would stick around in the scene, particularly within New Hampshire and treat it as a hobby, alongside other interests in hip hop, hiking, and music.
Eventually, Jesse had another breakthrough. In late 2018, he won a local, Make Money Off Melee, over Tiramisu, then the No. 2 of Massachusetts right under Crush. It was a new high for him that was followed up two months later when Jesse not only won the New England Arcadian, but called his shot beforehand. Jesse was eventually rewarded with a No. 13 spot on New England’s mid-2018 Power Rankings. The next few years were something of a mixed bag for him competition wise. Rather than listing off a bunch of his national placings, I want to briefly mention a hilarious coincidence: when Jesse had to play against Samus, like, four times in the same weekend at Smash ‘N’ Splash 5 – an experience that brought the world these two glorious tweets.
Got 9th in the pre sns bracket! Lost to two fucking samus's, broken ass downsmash character. Played fucking amazing for 1 hr of sleep and completely sober. Ggs ravioli [0-2] and the snooper [2-3]
— jesse (@grownworkingman) May 31, 2019
Some very cool and very sick melee players I met this weekend:
Always gonna be checking future major brackets for these names
— Travis Porter (@Travioli1313) June 3, 2019
Jesse hasn’t been as nationally active since the pandemic started – playing online just isn’t the same as offline – but in 2021, we’ve seen him return to regional events. He’s done pretty well here, taking sets from people like Kalvar, Slox, DrLobster, Younger, bonfire10, and most of New England’s active scene. Going through all of Challonge to examine these head-to-heads is a pain in the ass, so instead, I wanted to share some of his records vs notable players outside of New England in both rollback and offline events for 2021. While not all of these sets are 100 percent predictive for how LAN sets would go, I think they provide a good indicator for his potential.
- 1-0 vs Aklo
- 1-0 vs Jflex
- 1-0 vs Mekk
- 1-0 vs Lotfy
- 1-0 vs Bbatts
- 1-0 vs Oaty
- 1-0 vs YokaiNels
- 0-1 vs Plup
- 0-1 vs 2saint
- 0-1 vs Zamu
- 0-1 vs Wally
- 0-3 vs JSalt
- 0-1 vs Eggy
- 0-1 vs Neologism
- 0-2 vs NoFluxes
The more Jesse gets experience traveling and competing against top-level talent – something he hasn’t quite had a chance to do since 2019 – the more consistently he’ll perform and the more we’ll see of him at majors in general. I not only hope to see it in 2022, I eagerly anticipate writing about him by the end of the year, in all likelihood, on a Top 100 blurb.