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Published March 23, 2020

It’s Week 2 of the International Melee Quarantine. Most Melee events have moved over the Netplay, as the local community structure across Melee scenes has all but completely shifted over to the online sphere. The most notable ones were Stoc’s Digihog and SaveAsUntitled’s Untitled, both won by bobby big ballz.

Because there’s not much in the way for actual Melee news, in this edition of Monday Morning Marth, I’m going to instead shill for Melee Stats.

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Melee Stats March Madness 2020: The Greatest Upsets of All Time

Working on this project with GimmeDatWheat last year was a joy – back then, we did the best Melee “Moments”. This was tricky because we didn’t want to saturate our initial pool of 300+ “moments” with just post-tourney victory popoffs, but we ended up doing that. For this year’s March Madness, we went with a lot more simple of a concept: see the title. You can check out the project introduction here; and I’ll let you in on some more fun details of the project.

Gathering The Results Pool

Going into the project, Wheat and I knew that we couldn’t be the only ones working on this. When Wheat made the initial “results” list and shared it with the rest of Melee Stats, he had about 40 results over the last four years alone to look at. Two days later, we had 400, due to the influx of results already and conveniently tracked within Pikachu942’s “All-Time Major Results” database, which she still maintains and tracks to this day.

The nice thing was that we had all the “hard” research done. The bad thing was that we now had too many of them to sort through on our own. We enlisted Pikachu942, Ambisinister and ycz6’s help in tiering the results that stood out to us as most deserving.

We didn’t just want to order upsets based on the disparity between two given players of an upset; we also wanted to factor in the gravity of the tournament and the set. For example, although I eventually got my way in getting MDZ over Leffen into the final bracket, many of the other Melee Stats people were reluctant to place it on the list because it came at a relatively low-stakes regional, and not a supermajor.

One example of an upset that didn’t make the cut was Hyprid beating Zain at GOML. We instead went with Captain Smuckers beating Zain at The Gang Hosts A Melee Tournament because it was streamed, happened in grand finals, and also most of us were there to witness it. You read that right. This is the same reason why we decided to pick Ringler beating La Luna (Wheat is in the background of the video) over SAUS beating him.

Voting In Tiers

More often than not, we agreed on our seeds. For example, every panelist agreed in two definitive 1 seeds: Kage defeating Mango at Revival of Melee 2 and Lovage beating Leffen at GT-X 2017. However, both Pika and Ambi declined to put Albert vs. Hungrybox and SilentSpectre vs. Armada as 1 seeds. In Ambi’s notes, he argued that the damage ratio controversy partly ruined the Armada upset’s magic; when it came to the Hungrybox upset, he wrote in his notes, “Netplay set,” in reference to LTC 7 using monitors.

What Pika and Ambi had in their place was fairly telling of how each person viewed Melee. Pika’s remaining two No. 1 seeds were DSF beating Ken (TG 6) and Wobbles beating Hungrybox (Evo 2013), the former which came from her old-school bias, and the latter of which she justified as “literally the greatest run of all time.” Ambi’s picks were Javi beating PPMD at Apex 2012 and…Prince Abu beating Plup at Evo 2017. Curiously, upon seeing us place Prince Abu-Plup as a 4 seed, Ambi wrote “this should be way, way higher; it’s the least storied historic upset in Melee history.”

Though I obviously don’t agree with him, I rewatched Game 1 of the set and was blown away. After the first stock, Plup zero-to-deaths Prince Abu three times in a row without taking any damage. Hearing Toph immediately dub it “worse than Axe-Silent Wolf” makes the eventual Prince Abu victory that much funnier, as it also does for Toph’s disbelief at the end of the set. To date, I have no idea how this ever happened.

ycz’s tiers were wacky, but made sense in the context of him being an active Melee player around the Brawl era. For instance, he had Zhu beating Mew2King at Genesis as a Tier 2 upset; for reference, I had that same result as a Tier 9 upset. Curiously, he seemed to be a Prince Abu-Plup skeptic, in contrast to Ambi placing it as a 1 seed, ycz had it as a 7 seed. As a Samus player, he probably was closer to correctly assessing the technical impressiveness of Duck beating Hungrybox in 2018 – though we ended up agreeing to have it as an 8 seed, ycz had this as a 5 seed.

There were a couple personal blind spots that I had in my original tiers. For example, I initially had Magi beating Mango as a 13 seed, but upon seeing everyone else’s tiers, I realized that this made no sense. Similarly, I originally pushed for Abate over S2J as an 8 seed because its climax was so recognizable. However, in terms of being a notable upset, in hindsight, it definitely was not anywhere near a “god level” upset that could have taken its spot.

The only other note I’d have about our final bracket is that I’m fairly glad that we didn’t end up saturated with upsets that involved Ice Climbers players. We wanted to only pick the ones that stood out the most as surprising or memorable; not just any upsets in either direction. I’m really happy with what we have – and we’re going to start voting today around 12PM EST.

To vote on this, and see what’s up for voting, join the Melee Stats Podcast Discord server, and vote in the #Melee-Madness channel. We hope to see you there.



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