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The Most Dominant Primes of All Time: Part 4
Mango’s functional “retirement” from serious Melee competition left an opening for the community’s throne. Shortly after Pound 4, the scene basically had Mew2King, Armada and Hungrybox as contenders for the best Melee competitors – though Mango’s secondaries were strong enough to where many thought even he might be able to win events.
However, there were problems with each of these players. Mew2King was busy ruling another game, and by all accounts wasn’t taking Melee as seriously any more. Armada lived in another continent, and, as a result, there were still question marks surrounding him; he had a reputation as a “choker.” Hungrybox seemed to be the next great contender in the summer when he won Apex, but this was more or less treated as proof of him being “good,” not necessarily the best player in the world.
Somewhere else in the Atlantic South, states away from Florida, a Falco player by the name of Dr. PeePee (later on, PPMD) slowly rose to prominence. From November 2010 to February 2011, he had the fastest sudden rate of improvement in results, by my estimates, of anyone in Melee history.
I’ve covered the rise of PPMD in more detail, so I’ll give a brief summary below.
By The Numbers
When PPMD went to Revival of Melee 3, he had never defeated a god at a major before. At this point, he made major top eights and had even taken sets from Hungrybox at regionals, but he was vastly considered to be a “Jman” caliber player, maybe capable of upsetting major contenders but likely not a supermajor contender himself. That changed when PPMD actually won the event. Though he dropped a set to KirbyKaze in winner’s bracket, PPMD left the event with wins over Jman, Hungrybox, KirbyKaze in the runback and Mew2King (twice). Coincidentally, he had lost his previous sets against all of them.
With two gods slain at majors for the first time ever, PPMD added Mango to his list of wins at Winter Gamefest, also beating Mew2King in the rematch. Although Mango played mostly Captain Falcon for the winners and grand finals sets – the last three games of grand finals were all against Mango’s Falco, then considered to be on the same caliber or more in-shape than his Jigglypuff. By all means, PPMD had passed the test of at least being able to hang with a “serious” Mango – an encouraging sign for himself.
PPMD put a stamp on his national breakout at Pound V, where he came out on top over Armada and picked up wins over Lovage, Amsah, Hungrybox and Mew2King. His set against Mew2King was so comically lopsided that Mew2King immediately forfeited in loser’s afterward. Within the span of three tournaments, PPMD literally went from being considered a Top 10 player – probably borderline Top 5 and out of the top “tier” of contenders – to the best player in the world. His Pound V victory is cited as the “official” beginning of the Era of Five Gods.
Ken, Mew2King and Mango all had moments of brilliance and individual victories over top players at majors before they put it together for their national breakouts. Armada is the closest comparison point for PPMD, but by Genesis 2, he had already beaten gods before. Even when Leffen all but “ended” the Era of Five Gods in his 2015 summer stretch, his rise to being a No. 1 contender was staggered, with glimpses of potential beforehand. When it comes to his rate of improvement, PPMD really is an outlier in Melee history.
By The Numbers & Conclusion
- 4-0 vs. Mew2King
- 2-0 vs. Hungrybox
- 2-1 vs. Armada
- 2-0 vs. Mango
- A combined 10-1 vs. “gods”
- 1-1 with KirbyKaze
- 1-0 with Lovage
- 2-0 with Jman
- 1-0 with Shroomed
PPMD didn’t continue his dominance immediately after this stretch. After his Pound V breakout, he mostly entered regionals here and there, suffering a huge setback at Genesis 2, where he finished in only seventh place and played most of the tournament while having a fever and on the verge of throwing up. Combined his issues he faced in his personal life, as well as his academic obligations, it was the start of a relative slump for PPMD in which he stopped winning major tournaments.
In his place, another man from nowhere began to rule the game. I’ll write about him next week.