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Published March 1, 2021

On Sunday, Leffen won The Upset over Trif, taking his first European major victory of 2021. It was also the biggest win for Leffen on (mostly) his new Frame 1 controller.

In America, the weekend saw S2J win Super Smash Sundays Online over bobby big ballz. The victory was his 18th SSS win ever and gave him the slight lead over Westballz for most amount of SSS victories ever.

For other tournament related news, follow us on Twitter for daily reporting of national, regional and local results across the Melee community.

  1. February Player Spotlight: KoDoRiN

Over the last month, I saw so many people in the Melee scene get better results. However, when it came down to making a decision about a fitting candidate for this award, there was no better choice for a player who remarkably made a jump in their own play than KoDoRiN, a longtime SoCal ranked Marth player and TO.

KoDoRiN finished 2019 at the No. 70 position on MPGR. At the time, it seemed like a fair position for him. He was in the upper-mid level of power-ranked SoCal players. I remember studying many of his sets against Falco in particular, since it seemed like one of his strongest matchups (as did Sheik).

Recently, KoDoRiN won two consecutive Training Mode Tournaments. You might be tempted to discount these as mere local victories, but given how many good players attend these tournaments, they are about as reasonably stacked as West Coast events can be. Winning them is the equivalent of winning a Super Smash Sundays or a Rollback Rumble. It’s not as if KoDoRiN was the beneficiary of a fortunate bracket. The last two TMTs he won included him defeating Ginger, Lucky, Soonsay, bobby big ballz and Medz.

I took a look at his head-to-heads since LACS3, just to provide some kind of arbitrary time frame beyond just February. There’s a lot to like. I won’t go into too much detail, but here’s a quick summary of its highlights: 4-2 vs. Ginger, 3-2 vs. Soonsay, 3-1 vs Lucky, 5-4 vs bobby big ballz, 3-0 vs SFOP, 1-0 vs Medz, 2-0 vs Eddy Mexico, and 3-0 vs Pappi.

When people bring up how good someone is, they’ll often point to an individual result – that Player A beat Player B. But cumulative head-to-heads showcase long-term trends than any single set. In other words, KoDoRiN isn’t just getting wins by sole virtue of playing good people a lot. He’s consistently beating them.

As a point of comparison, I looked at someone who most would unambiguously see as Top 25: LSD. He’s currently on break from competing, but during this same stretch of time, he is 1-1 vs. Ginger, 1-0 vs Soonsay, 1-0 vs bobby big ballz, 2-1 vs FatGoku, 1-0 vs SluG and 4-1 against Ben. Once again, this is by no means a comprehensive look at LSD’s full resume; I’m gassing up KoDoRiN with this comparison.

Speaking of which, I talked to him about his latest stretch of play. According to KoDoRiN, it’s been a combination of multiple factors. He said that if he were to guess, the biggest change he made over the last year was being more in the present and sticking to executing simple gameplans for different matchups. This, accompanied with practicing consistency in edgeguards, tech chasing and his combo game has helped him.

For what it’s worth, KoDoRiN had also been getting formal coaching from players like Zain, Mew2King and Fiction. KoDoRiN offers lessons himself, so along with his own interest in improving, he was particularly interested in hearing how others verbalized the game and approached teaching.

PPMD also played a huge role in helping him get better. What KoDoRiN especially liked about PPMD was that he knew KoDoRiN’s style and could immediately pinpoint what gave him the most trouble. On a similar note, KoDoRiN cited Druggedfox as also helpful, though he mentioned that Druggedfox was not an official teacher for him as much as someone who was willing to answer any questions he had.

I asked KoDoRiN about what goals he currently had as a player. The first thing he noted was beating S2J. Given KoDoRiN’s rate of improvement, I fully expect to see him start taking sets, not just beating him once or twice. I’m a big believer in KoDoRiN and am thrilled to see how his Melee career develops through the Smash World Tour and beyond.

2. Monday Morning Mailbag

Does the panel plan on clarifying the selection standards at any point? I think there are some interesting questions about the philosophy of the panel that could be cleared up. Things like: how are 2020 tourneys weighed relative to 2021 tourneys? is there a rough requirement for tournament activity? Are region locked tourneys more valuable than national tournaments with all of the top players? etc etc – thegrooseisloose18

I can’t speak for anyone else on the panel, but I can give my own thoughts on some of these topics.
For your first question, the way I’m approaching being a panelist is just treating it as if I am an “MPGR” panelist. In other words, the way I treat locals, regionals, and majors will obviously be analogous to how I have done it in the past for MPGR. I will tend to prioritize trends and head-to-head records over placements, peak results, and valleys. If this isn’t a satisfying answer, I’ll talk to some of the other Melee Stats members about releasing a video or publishing a write-up over how we approach rankings.

My perspective for your second question is a little more complicated. 2020 tourneys certainly inform my “priors” about many notable rollback players. For example, I would feel far more confident in evaluating a tournament performance from Lotfy, having more familiarity with his trajectory as a player, than I would with someone less notable who has just had their first comparable showing.

However, because the panel is voting on the players most deserving of a spot in the 2021 Smash World Tour regional finals, it would be extremely unfair to weigh 2020 tourneys as equal to tournaments held during the SWT period. For this reason, I will be biased toward events that happened this year.

There is not a rough requirement for tournament activity, but as far as this is concerned, every single panelist would be silly to not defer to a region’s TO. Personally, I tend to err on the side of incentivizing good players to attend as many tournaments as possible, so I would never want to vote in a way that rewarded people for coasting off their reputation. But simultaneously, if a TO is confident that someone is worthy of a spot over another player who may attend more, I’m certainly not going to contest their judgment.

I’ve written my thoughts about region-locked vs. national tournaments before, so I’ll give a TL;DR on it: region-locking from TOs is the best way to ensure competitive legitimacy of their event results, but the onus on the players. If lag is such a big deal to you, then you also have every right to not enter cross-country tournaments.

What’s your take on legality of new controllers? Things like the goomwave, box controllers without boxx nerfs, and button remapping on GCC are becoming more popular and are kinda toeing the grey area of legality. I feel like I go back and forth every day, I think they can make it a bit easier for people to get into the game but might be a bit busted at the top level. – cfitz17

I think I’m probably the worst possible person to answer this question. I’m also going to do it anyway and put a disclaimer that all of you reading this should take my opinion with a grain of salt.

I have never cared much about the legality of alternate controllers. One of the things that makes our scene and game so awesome is that we have a socially constructed competitive infrastructure. In other words, we the people, at least in theory, democratically, decide what our idea “competitive Melee” is and we communally legislate it.

To me, the question of “are these controllers too good” slightly obscures the more important question: “do these controllers fit our version of what competitive Melee should be?” It seems like most of the community thinks they do. I intuitively lean toward the side of letting people play the game how they want, even if it gives them a slight advantage.

However, it’s worth noting that I have heard pretty good arguments for many of these controllers holding significant, discrete advantages over the standard GameCube Controller. The summary version of these arguments essentially boil down to one overarching theme: that there is a level of precision and execution consistency you can achieve with a box-style controller that just isn’t practical on a GCC.

It doesn’t mean these controllers have no disadvantages. My understanding is that basic inputs are harder to consistently get used to and that DIing is more difficult on a box-style controller (I can’t speak as to GameCube controllers specifically made to have an advantage). But the point is: they’re just different.

Up to a certain point (like mapping multiple inputs to one button), I have a pretty high tolerance for what advantages may exist in an alternative controller. I truly do not think the ones that exist today will make a difference in the experience for 99 percent of competitors. They do not make me want to play Melee any less. I am not sure if even controller skeptics/people who want them banned would outright refuse to play against someone with a better controller.

On the latest episode of “Mango and the 6-4,” Mango and Zain basically just agreed that they’d wait until there was one discrete case of a controller that was noticeably too good. Then, top players would comment actively more on it and our community would figure it out.

Is this basically their way of saying, “let’s wing it?” Yep. But frankly, I can’t think of any more fitting way for our scene to handle it.

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