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Published June 14, 2021

The weekend between The Octagon 2 and GOML Online was a relatively quiet one in terms of results. Unfortunately, ongoing drama between two of Melee’s recognizable players has continued to escalate, mostly in part due to one of the two parties being far more proactive about it.

On Friday, Hax posted a followup to his previous video, “Evidence.Zip 2.” This time, he titled it as a revised cut, with him speaking to the camera directly. The video covers much of the same topics as in his previous video, with much of the extreme presentation edited out, though Hax still makes claims of Leffen being a community totalitarian and pushes for a ban on Leffen.

I wrote about this last week, and, once again, I won’t pretend to be a neutral party. While the presentation of this video was far more organized, it was still laced with unreasonable attacks on Leffen’s character. Most notably, its foundation involved using the most egregious examples of Leffen’s past behavior – most notably, the bullying of a player with hearing aids; something he was banned for – to frame anything Leffen has done in the last seven years in the worst possible light.

It culminates in Hax claiming that Leffen’s outspoken advocacy for victims of sexual misconduct was a ploy for clout. In response, Leffen announced that he would no longer prefer to speak publicly about this situation.

Although the new video was far more positively received among the public than Hax’s previous one, most prominent Melee figures panned it. If you’re curious to find examples of this, I would check out Toph’s or Slime’s recap. I would prefer to not ever write about this again, so let’s move onto the fun part of the column.

For more news from over the weekend, follow the Melee Stats Twitter account for daily coverage of all the results you need to know.


Who makes the best Marth content in terms of like lessons, educational stuff, etc. – self-flagellate


In all seriousness, there’s a lot of good options. The first thing that comes to mind is PPMD’s “Educational Unranked.” I enjoy watching these live and their highlights are fun to catch on YouTube. I’m not familiar with Zain or Mew2King’s lessons, so I can’t comment on those, but I am quite familiar with KoDoRiN’s and LSD’s lessons. I’ll briefly talk about them.

I’ve only taken one lesson from KoDoRiN, but I can safely say that his mini-lesson repository – basically where he stores his 10-minute analyses of subscriber videos – is an awesome resource to learn the ins and outs of different matchups. He has an unusually high intuition for knowing what Marth can and can’t do across different positions and matchups. I wish he made more of these public. Having paid $5 a month for them, I think they are a steal.

I have a lot more experience with LSD as a personal teacher and they’ve been quite helpful. Their brutally honest assessment of gameplay is pretty refreshing and I think LSD has a very amusing way of explaining what larger holes exist within each of their student’s ideas of “how Melee works.” In my last lesson with them, they helped me build a much more effective practice routine.

To bring this back to the original question, I’m going to head into a different direction. I strongly implore every Marth player to check out the work of RedBlaze, a top Swedish Marth who makes Savestates for the Marth Savestates Discord. This is an incredible resource, and you can access it for free. I cannot speak highly enough about how much it’s leveled up my gameplay and RedBlaze deserves so much more props for his work here.

Which high tier vs high tier mu do you think has the highest chance of “changing” (as in, the community’s opinion will significantly change) in the next few years? – coffee

I asked Coffee what he meant by high tier, and he really just meant top tier. So with that out of the way, the first one that comes to mind is Sheik vs. Falco. This matchup is currently considered even, but as time goes by and the more I think about it, I don’t see this matchup getting easier for Falco.

Sheik’s whole toolkit seems geared toward making Falco’s life difficult. He tends to struggle with platforms or characters that come at him from an angle – and guess what Sheik is really good at? Moreover, her out-of-shield game is phenomenal, and while she can’t juggle as well as someone like Marth, she edgeguards and tech chases really hard. I predict that come the return of LAN Melee, Mango will go Fox vs. every Sheik he plays against (save for maybe on Final Destination).

What’s the likeliness we thaw Stadium, ban Stadium, or keep Stadium frozen? What are the ramifications on the meta – YamHam

Based on my understanding of the major tournament organizers in the scene (Sheridan, Nintendude and Juggleguy), I’m going to guess that it’s unlikely that we ban Pokemon Stadium or keep it frozen. These three tend to learn more conservative than not when it comes to rule changes or adjustments to the competitive scene.

I’m not as confident in how frozen Stadium as a starter affects the metagame. My intuition tells me that it benefits Marth, slightly helps some of the floatier characters (maybe to a negligible degree) and hurts Falco. I’d have to look at any data before making a confident conclusion.

Among the players who appear on the final 2006 Smash Panel Power Ranking who do NOT appear on any iteration of ssbmrank / MPGR, who would do the best in the modern era? – ycz6

First off, I’m disappointed in you, ycz. You’re choosing to use the Smash Panel Power Ranking and not RetroSSBMRank? I’m cancelling you.

I have no idea which player I’d pick. My intuition tells me Azen and PC Chris, but I don’t have a good reason outside of the fact that those two were among the best of their era. The only other guess I have is FASTLIKETREE, the man behind “Tree-grabbing” and one of the first Marth players to incorporate pivoting in his gameplay.

Sidenote: I feel obligated to mention that FASTLIKETREE once teamed with a guy called PROUDLIKECOW. I am not joking. This might have been the funniest duo of players to team with each other.

The idea of seasonal rules or stages keeps getting suggested by players such as toph. Do you think the scene would want to implement this and how would would you control the seasons? – Dr. Lame

I’m not sure. I could see Genesis, Smash Con and The Big House having three different rulesets. Does that count as seasonal rules? So much of Melee is decentralized, so its not like there would be meaningful accountability for a big tournament deviating from a norm.

Any opinions or predictions on how frequently online nationals should be scheduled after national in-person events have resumed? Like do you think online national events like GMO or LEVO will still have a presence? Or will they fizzle out? Additionally, what do you think about online events affecting ranking when both will exist in the future? Do we try to consider online events for those who can’t travel to in person national events? – zach12345678

Online should be considered its own thing or as a last resort to determine seeding for players who aren’t able to travel to other countries as much. I’m not as skeptical of rollback results as I used to be in the past, and I fully expect a lot of Netplay locals to stick around for the near future as a resource for many mid-level players, but obviously in-person events will take priority for top players.

With that said, the exception to the rule is SCL. This series is too good of an opportunity for top players to remain in playing shape during an “off-season.” It also gives players a unique opportunity to work their way up the “Summit” ladder and build their competitive brand in a way that minimizes diminishing returns.

Mega Mailbag Monday: Non-Patrons

Who is the third best Falco? – DavidL1112

This is an interesting question. To set the stage, Mango is No. 1 (duh), and despite his relative slump. Ginger still has the advantage for No. 2 because of his incredible volume and consistency. For the purpose of this column, I’m not going to count PPMD, any inactive Falco players or secondaries.

The best contenders for No. 3 Falco are Albert, Magi and Rocky. Earlier in the year, I might have picked bobby big ballz, but he hasn’t been performing as well over the last few months. Intuitively, I don’t think Frenzy is too far off from these four, and he might even be above a couple of them. I’m placing him here just to be relatively conservative.

In case you’re curious, just behind these four are TheRealThing, Pappi, Bimbo and kins0 in one tier. Slightly beneath them, it gets tricky. You have people like Timi, Neologism, Fankriss, Slowking, Bones, Ober, then you have the wide swath of players beneath them like Stiffff, Duff, Zuraco, Zamorita and probably about 20 New Jersey players who I haven’t mentioned yet.

Oh, sorry. I got distracted. Let’s go with Albert. I’ve never had a good handle on analyzing his results and he always seems to surprise me, so consider this my way of giving him props.

Where do you think Amsa ought to be seeded for Summit–assuming the better Netplay heavy hitters such as s2j, ginger, Wizzy, etc. ultimately get voted in/qualify? – thegrooseisloose18

I asked this on Twitter a while ago. For what it’s worth I think Ambi’s response to it just about summarized where my position would be.

I’d put him somewhere around the 12th to 14th range – just beneath wherever we place Axe.

As a more difficult/fun thought experiment, in what order would you seed these sheiks in the next offline supermajor: Ben, Spark, Faceroll, Shroomed – thegrooseisloose18

Without thinking about it too much: Faceroll, Spark, Ben and Shroomed. Is this unfair to Ben? Maybe, but I view Faceroll and Spark’s LAN accomplishments incredibly highly. We’ve seen these two still be successful on what little they’ve entered on rollback. As far as offline is concerned, I need to see how Ben performs, but I’m hopeful.

I guess it’s somewhat low effort, but genuinely would love to see a brief list of who you think are the top 5 Falcos now and the top 5 Falcos of all time – Formality

I mentioned my current top five Falcos before, so I’ll jump into my top five Falcos ever: Mango, PPMD, Westballz, PC Chris (who was difficult to assess because he mostly played Fox and played a lot of other characters as well) and Zhu. For what it’s worth, I did not include DaShizWiz, but even if I did, Zhu has an argument to be included ahead of him.

If the general consensus were to acknowledge Gahtzu as a top 10 player, that would make 4 representatives of the same character in the top 10, tied-all time with Fox. If this were to become a reality, is there a reasonable avenue of discussion that involves labeling Falcon as a top 4, maybe even top 3 character in Melee? If not, do you believe that Falcon is buffed on Netplay more-so than any other character? – V0ltTackle

As tempting as it is to use this opportunity to preach how much I hate Captain Falcon, that has another time and place. For now, I’ll talk about this in good faith.

The current rollback playing field just lacks too many players for me to say that being “Top 10” right now means as much as it did during LAN. It certainly seems like S2J, Gahtzu and n0ne improved, but their increased national standings have come in the context of a field that lacks the following Top 5 to 25 players players: Leffen, aMSa,  Fiction, Swedish Delight, Trif, Spark, and Captain Faceroll (mostly, at least).

On a character-versus-character level, I just don’t see it. The best case interpretation for Falcon’s matchup spread is that he has “losing but doable” matchups against Fox and Falco: two of the most popular characters in the game. For reference, Marth, Sheik and Jigglypuff are the three other characters that Falcon would have to compete with to be Top 3 or 4. It has become fashionable even for spacie players to hate Falcon, but I think they would see his chances against them as closer to Jigglypuff than they are to Marth. Realistically, they’re probably worse.

Other than Peach and possibly Jigglypuff, I just don’t see Falcon winning another matchup in the top seven. I hate Falcon so much, but I’m not willing to go as far as to say he beats Sheik and Marth handily enough to overcome relatively underwhelming matchups against Fox and Falco. And if you think Falcon beats Fox or Falco, then…props to you for being an insane person.

Do you think Melee will be popping this summer? – aero_plane

Yes, but I wouldn’t expect it at the major level. In their place, I could see locals in established scenes to returning to larger attendances than before. My brain tells me it will be a modest return to form, but my heart is telling me to hope for mid-2015 levels of in-person Melee hype.

Stoc – a New England TO and Melee Stats Patron – has talked about wanting to create a “mini-Midwest culture” in the Northeast with regards to encouraging inter-regional travel. With the pandemic in the rear view mirror (fingers crossed), I fully expect this to continue.

As a relatively newcomer to the scene, how did you become comfortable with establishing yourself as a historian for events that you weren’t directly a part with? Being a conduit of 00’s smash culture that you only experienced second-hand from smashboards and the people you talk to etc? – X10shun

I think I became comfortable with it because I wanted to give a perspective that the scene lacked – a more journalistic one. Most of Melee history has been told through the lens of people who were deeply involved in the competitive scene’s survival. There’s value in a detached, encylopedic, but appreciative approach, and it’s one I hope the scene benefited from.

With that said, I think my reputation in the scene is a little different than what it used to be. In early 2017, I was the “Smash History” guy who wrote longform articles that subverted the “listicle” genre (similar to what my Allston Melee comrades do) by complementing the format with dedicated research from myself and a friend (Pikachu942). Two years later, I was the author of The Book of Melee; someone who expected, upon publishing this book, to never write about Melee again.

Long story short: I was wrong about that, and I couldn’t be any happier. Thanks to everyone who asked questions for this week’s column. See you guys next week.

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