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Published June 20, 2022

With about two weeks until the half-year mark, we’ve learned a lot about the competitive Melee field. From Jmook’s breakout Genesis run – maybe the greatest underdog run of all-time – to Leffen winning his first major in three years, and Mango slumping harder than ever, the top level has been in unparalleled flux. You can’t watch a Melee stream these days without someone asking who’s Top 5, Top 10, and who will win the next major. Believe me. I contribute to this, albeit with clickbait podcast titles.

However, beneath the peak of the game, a ton of amazing regionals have happened. Just outside of nationals, we’ve seen absolutely bonkers tournaments with standout performances. In today’s column, I’m recapping my five favorite regional victories of the year.

5. Bbatts ascends into another plane to win Creed

You’d have to live under a rock to be in the Northeast and not know Bbatts. Over the last year and a half, he’s been one of the rising East Coast stars, playing Peach and taking sets off many Top 100 players. Though he’s not necessarily as well known as Wally or Aura, let alone standout representatives like lloD or Polish, Bbatts is certainly someone you could find every week in a New Jersey, New York City, or rollback weekly top eight. This year alone, Bbatts has nabbed offline sets over KJH and null.

With that in mind, Bbatts’ run at Creed is by far the highlight of his 2022. Finishing to his sixth seed would have been impressive enough. Instead, he won the whole damn event. He beat Khryke, Churze, Jflex, and, most wildly, 2saint, 6’0ing 2saint so bad that they went Fox in the final game of grand finals. 2saint, someone who basically wins every Nightclub they enter; practically the best active regional player in the Northeast; top Jigglypuff player…went Fox vs. Bbatts in a 6-0. To date, Bbatts is the only person since The Nightclub S3E1 to play multiple sets vs. 2saint and sport a winning record (2-0).

4. Ben stays king of the Midwest at Hold That L 7

It’s tough to evaluate Ben’s 2022. The expectations anyone could have for the guy who once farmed Hungrybox were already sky high, We’ve seen both the best of Ben and the worst of Ben this year. As far as the former is concerned though, it usually comes in the Midwest. Fun fact about Ben: until last weekend, he hadn’t lost a Midwest tournament since finishing in second place at Wavedash Wednesday 18 last September. Apparently, he’s powered by the mere scenery of cornfields, tumbleweeds, and great lakes.

While Ben has vanquished people like Ginger and Krudo in Minnesota, as well as held off Wally and Slowking, my favorite performance of his came at the most recent Hold That L. From winners round 1 to grand finals, the guy had to mow down Balloon Day, Eggy, Free Palestine, Skerzo, Zamu, and Jflex. That’s potentially six Top 100 players. By virtue of coming on LAN, I also view it as a bit more meaningful than his second place at Galint Melee Open: Spring Edition, where he beat a Fox gauntlet of Aklo, Zuppy, and Chem. Though I chose Hold That L 7, as he won the tournament, I still wanted to show that his Galint performance was not ignored.

3. Ginger steals the best Falco player crown at The Function 2

I know what you’re thinking. “Edwin, you’re such a troll. Obviously, Mango is actually the best Falco. He just has to show it in his results.” Fair. Since we’re talking purely results though, I’m going to assume that the specific version of Mango who failed to make a single major top eight in three tries would have done about as well as iBDW at this tournament. Frankly, other than a pools set vs. Jmook, I haven’t seen any version of offline Mango this year that’s come close to what Ginger accomplished by winning The Function 2.

Ginger won this ridiculously stacked tournament without dropping a set. He did it by cooling off a red-hot moky, as well as beating SluG, Krudo, Zuppy, Swift, and Wally. Think about it. Ginger played Wally – who has taken a set from Top 10 player KoDoRiN – in winners’ semifinals of his pool. There’s Top 10 players whom I’m not sure would would be a 100 percent guaranteed bet to win a set over Wally, let alone finish in first place at The Function 2. Ginger actually doing it shouldn’t be overlooked just because he’s an established top player.

2. Indiana’s Mad Tyro cyclones the shit out of everyone at Lift Off

I did not start off as a Mad Tyro believer. A couple years ago, I ran into him on Netplay and got salty from losing a bunch. I messaged Siddward, verbatim and in reference to Mad Tyro. “I hate them. Let’s play sometime and you can show me how to make Luigi players want to quit Melee.” Spoiler alert: I did not follow up. Meanwhile, Mad Tyro eventually gained a reputation as one of the most exciting representatives for his character.

Getting owned is one funny part of the story. But it’s not the end. A year and a half after I had my ass kicked in a session with him, Mad Tyro comes to Pound and beats a top player whom I literally sponsored. At his very next event, MadTyro overcomes an early loss to essy to practically beat every top player at Lift Off – Zamu, Skerzo, Grab, and essy in the runback – in a massive loser’s run. For how bat shit insane and unpredictable this was, as well as personally hilarious, it’s easily earned a top two spot on my list.

1. Pipsqueak rewards Melee Stats’ faith in him at Low Tide City 2022

Come on. Did you expect anyone else to take this spot? Let’s go down the list of Melee Stats and Pipsqueak lore: him calling our podcast out for being wrong about PAL Fox, his subsequent appearance on Deep Dives, him and I together sharing our mutual love for Opeth and writing, me predicting Pipsqueak as a 2020 breakout star, us actually sponsoring him this year, and, of course, him winning a whole ass event. We’ve been through it all together.

To be clear, Pipsqueak wasn’t exactly an obscure player. By Low Tide City, he had already done things like make a major top eight, qualify for Smash Summit multiple times, and cement himself as a Top 5 player in Europe. But I don’t think anyone expected Pipsqueak to come to America, steamroll Salt, put on a clinic vs. Axe, and stop Mekk right in his tracks. Actually, I guess a few of us did.


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