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Published March 21, 2022

Sent to loser’s bracket early as the No. 1 seed of Smash Camp 2022, KoDoRiN turned it around to win the three-day event through loser’s, defeating Suf, Albert, Spark in the runback of their winners’ set, and SFAT twice. Combined with his previous victories at The Town Throwdown, two Pizza Times, Colossus 4, and each of the three Lawless Melee iterations, Smash Camp marks KoDoRiN’s eighth LAN win of the year. He has yet to drop an offline tournament so far.

At the same event, its organizers also announced a late October follow-up to be held in Oregon, Smash Camp: New Lands. Per contra, a longtime tournament organizer from the same state, its planned to be capped at around 260 people, with many of the spots held for in-region attendees.

In other news over the weekend, FatGoku won the latest Melee at Epic edition over Aura in Oregon, Ben won the latest Minnesota Monthly Melee edition over Slowking, essy won the Cincinnati Smash Classic VIII over Drephen, and S2J won the most recent Lawless Melee over Westballz.

To follow more daily tournament related news, follow Melee Stats on Twitter.

5 Rivalries To Watch in 2022

April 2022 looks like it might be one of the biggest months in Melee history. Coinciding with spring, it’s going to have Genesis 8, Pound 2022, and so many other offline events. I made this pretty clear in my column last week – historically speaking, renaissance periods of Melee tend to follow lulls. Of course, there’s only one thing people at the end of the day care about: stakes. What gives better stakes to tournament sets than rivalries between good players.

In today’s column, I’m going to talk about five rivalries in Melee that have especially emerged within the first three months of this year. Focusing only on rivalries outside of the mainstream, I’m going to summarize each involved player’s histories, give numbers to their head-to-head and and explain why I find it so fascinating. It’s up to you to determine whether you care for them, but I hope you leave this column with a little more knowledge on what’s been going on.

NOTE: I’ve tried to shy away from repeat mentions of individual players.

Spark vs. CPU0

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you know Spark. Over the last five years, he’s gone from having matches of him dislike-bombed on YouTube to becoming a Top 100 player, both for a single year and for all-time. He’s one of the most exciting people to watch in Melee today. It’s particularly great to now see him in Arizona, where’s he’s not only fresh off an excellent third place finish at Smash Camp, but also developed a fun little rivalry with CPU0.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Edwin, I just watched Smash Camp top eight. Who s CPU0?” CPU0 is the best Jigglypuff player that nobody knows. In fact, he’s the current reigning No. 1 in Arizona since Axe, Medz, and Tai have gone inactive. Truth be told though, he’s been proving himself for far longer. Around early 2021, when his state used to run a weekly ladder series, you could find him usually winning these tournaments over the rest of Arizona’s mid-level. That’s when he first caught my attention, and shortly after that, he beat Gahtzu at a TMT. Since then, he’s taken sets from the likes of Blues Clues, LAG, PanterA, and Salt. Lately, he’s been sticking to locals, where it’s practically always him and Spark in grands.

In what I have right now, Spark is up 8-4. Following their results, many of their sets are close. That’s crazy. Spark is an internationally renowned top player who is being challenged by someone he probably didn’t even know about when he came to Arizona. When someone like CPU0 is able to semi-consistently challenge someone of Spark’s caliber in such a short time, it’s typically an indicator that they’re worth paying attention to. I also think that it’s awesome for Arizona, a region that’s been ruled by Axe, Medz, and Tai for so long, to have someone leading a new generation of talent.

Suf vs. Casper

I wish Waiting for Game had a Bingo board. If we did, one of the spots for something we’d say would be “Suf is the greatest player of all-time; he cannot be stopped.” It was a great running gag when Suf was a more obscure player who we mostly knew for destroying San Diego’s mid-level and continuously showing up to online tournaments in the early part of the pandemic. Unfortunately, we may have to retire this bit now that he’s just made a top eight at a large tournament and taken his second set from Fiction this year.

Casper’s one of Suf’s in-region rivals, and he’s also a player I’ve had my eye on for some time. He’s been ranked in SoCal for a few years now and usually goes back and forth or outright positive with good players like Venelox, Westballz, and Nut. What I find interesting about Casper is that he’s incrementally gotten better over the last few years, but not many people know him. This in spite of Casper taking a set from FatGoku at Mainstage last year, so it’s not like he lacks national results. He reminds me of where null was before null became more nationally known.

Since they’re both from SoCal, they play a decent amount. Suf’s up 6-3 in the 2022 head-to-head and is the stronger player by results. Casper, however, really does seem on the verge of breakout. For what it’s worth, two of those wins came at a Pizza Time that he outright won over Suf. This alone makes this rivalry one to look out for as the two inevitably play more sets.

bobby big ballz vs. Salt

In spite of being banned by Twitter, bobby big ballz is a name you can’t avoid if you’re in the Smash scene. He’s one of the most active competitors in the scene – leading the world in tournament sets played last year – and a nonstop source of content, between ranting about Marth in the middle of an e-date and his infamous outburst to Medz. His competitive achievements stand on their own; there’s no point rehashing all of them.

I’ve written about Salt as a rising star before. He’s continued to exceed expectations, most recently taking online sets from iBDW and SFAT. I don’t know what else to say about him other than that he’s easily one of the best active Captain Falcons right now. I guess something that not many people know is that he’s got, like, six characters that he plays nearly just as well as his Falcon.

Contrary to what you might guess for a Falco vs. Falcon head-to-head, Salt is actually up this year, 5-4, across both LAN and online sets. This is unusual especially because bobby, all things considered, is more established as a top player and he plays the winning character in their matchup. They’re also both from Texas, meaning that when larger in-state tournament happen that feature both Houston and Dallas smashers in attendance, we could potentially be seeing a lot of them playing each other. It helps that they’re both extremely exciting to watch.

Zamu vs. Zuppy

It used to be cool to be a Zamu fan. Now, it’s still cool, but slightly less cool because everybody knows he’s good. He started off as a bit of a Fox ditto specialist in Champaign, but now has career accomplishments like finishing as a ranked player within the PreGR and, well before that, winning an entire tournament over Trif. What I’ve found great for Zamu in recent times is his commitment to entering LAN tournaments as well as offline; if there’s a notable LAN event happening over a weekend, there’s a high chance that Zamu will be there.

Zuppy’s pretty well-known at this point, but I don’t think people are familiar with his career trajectory. For the early part of it, he hovered around the Ontario Power Rankings for a while, at the same time taking sets from the likes of Kage, Drephen, and Legend at big events. Then, during the pandemic, he started entering a ton of online events, over time gaining a reputation as a well-rounded Fox player. His victories and positive head-to-heads in recent times have come against people like Jflex, Ben, Mekk, bobby big ballz, Salt, and Bbatts.

There’s a chance that mentioning this rivalry in particular might stand out to as relatively obvious, as the two play a lot. However, Zuppy goes relatively under the radar because his primary way of competing is through online tournaments. In a way, his resume’s not significantly better or worse than Zamu’s; he just doesn’t get an opportunity to prove himself offline because he’s in Canada. Nonetheless, the two are currently tied 5-5 in total sets this year. If you’re paying attention to Zamu, it’s only fair that you pay attention to another active Fox whose tag begins with a Z. I swear; there’s too many of them.

Ben vs. Mekk

I learned about Ben back when he took a set from AbsentPage at Smash N Splash 4, and little did I know that he had a lot more in store. Over the pandemic, he became known as the guy who whooped Hungrybox every East Coast Fridays…and that wasn’t the end of his rise. This year, he’s gathered up a nice little LAN resume of his own, defending Minnesota in recent times from the likes of Ginger. Ben is no longer “just” a Netplay kid – he’s undeniably a household name in the scene.

While he plays a different character, Mekk is kind of like 2022 Ben in terms of being an online tournament grinder. I’ve written before about his unparalleled commitment to entering tournaments no matter who’s in it, so I’m not going to go into it all over again, but what you need to know is that Mekk is the rising Netplay star of 2022. He overwhelmingly clobbers anyone who isn’t at the Top 100 level. By sheer virtue of entering a ton of tournaments, his resume is quite strong too, with peaks as high as winning the East Coast Rollback Championships Circuit Qualifier over Ben.

Right now, these two are 9-9 for the year, with all their sets coming online. Mekk’s won their last three sets, but before that, Ben had won the previous four, usually in convincing fashion. It’s not quite the dynamic you’d envision in a Sheik-Falcon head-to-head, let alone one where the Sheik is the far more established “top threat.” I have no idea how this rivalry will continue to develop in the future. Both players are really strong and clearly bringing new things out of each other.


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