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The Most Dominant Primes of All Time: Part 2
2006 was a turbulent year for the top of the Melee metagame. Ken had won the most big events, but it was technically PC Chris who finished the year as Melee’s champion. For a two tournament stretch in the summer, Azen looked like the best player in the world, having won both MLG Orlando 2006 and MLG New York 2006 without dropping a set against PC, KoreanDJ, ChuDat and Ken.
EDITOR NOTE: Had Azen carried this stretch beyond just two tournaments, he very well could have had an article of his own in this series. By the numbers, Azen’s 8-0 streak against fellow Top 5 players is about as good as any of PPMD’s or Leffen’s stretches. However, unlike Azen, those two will likely have articles of their own within this series, due to having their primes cover a larger distance of time.
The announcement of Melee’s sequel further complicated the future of the metagame, as did MLG dropping Melee from its official circuit (though it maintained its underground circuit). Although Evo gave the competitive scene a chance for glory in the summer of 2007, the scene was clearly on its way out. None of that deterred Mew2King, whose 2007 season would become legend within the community.
Mew2King was known for his meticulous study of Melee’s mechanics and his strong opinions online before he had ever entered a tournament. In early 2005, Mew2King finally attended his first event.
The experience of playing others helped Mew2King rapidly improve. Across the next year and a half, he finished in several major top eights and qualified for the MLG finals in 2006. Bolstered by a technical Fox, Mew2King was consistent against the field and had flashes of brilliance, knocking Azen out of bracket at MLG Chicago 2006 and eliminating Ken at MLG New York 2006.
As early as MLG Dallas 2006, Mew2King had began to experiment with Marth. Mew2King claims that he gave Ken the idea to use Marth’s counter against PC, who had beaten Ken in their previous head-to-head. Though Mew2King continued to play Fox in tournament, behind the scenes, he was getting his newest weapon up to speed.
The Legend of 2007 Mew2King
In the year’s first major at Cataclysm 3, Mew2King stunned everyone by winning the event. The Marth especially helped him overcome PC Chris, who was a tournament demon for Mew2King in the previous MLG season. What especially stood out about Mew2King’s Marth was the combo game, which looked years beyond everyone else.
One video showcases proof of Mew2King’s dominance of the time – and it didn’t even happen in the middle of a singles bracket. It happened in a crew battle bracket at Zero Challenge 3, which featured some of the best American and Japanese players. Mew2King’s performance in this crew battle remains one of the greatest crew battle performances, if not the greatest crew battle performance, of all time.
In this video (and subsequent videos) Mew2King takes 16 stocks from Ken, Isai, Disk (a relatively strong Japanese Marth player), and Manacloud (Ken’s brother and a top SoCal player). His convincing three-stock victory over Ken was an effective passing of the torch between the two Marths, which came after months of community hype surrounding the two’s eventual showdown. Their personal distaste for each other only added more to the excitement.
Adding insult to injury, Mew2King beat Ken in winner’s bracket as well. This silenced any doubt that Mew2King was the best Marth player, even as PC ended up winning the event over him. Nevertheless, Mew2King’s showing against Crazy Return remains one of his greatest moments as a player.
In Pikachu942’s All-Time Major Results database, she has qualified 11 tournaments from 2007 as “major” tournaments. Below is a list of all 11 events, with the bolded ones being tournaments that Mew2King won.
- Cataclysm 3
- MLG Long Island 2007
- EVO East 2007
- Pound 2
- MELEE-FC Diamond
- Zero Challenge 3
- EVO West 2007
- EVO World 2007
- Super Champ Combo
- C3: A Tournament in October
- Viva La Smashtaclysm
Out of curiosity, I looked up the C3 event in her database and found her reasoning for why this qualified as a “major” level victory. This edition of C3 featured Azen, PC Chris and ChuDat in attendance: three fellow Top 6 members. Though it only had 57 entrants, the top-heaviness of this regional effectively qualified it as a “major” for Pikachu942. Per G-reg in the post-tournament thread, all of the sets were competitively legitimate.
It’s frankly stunning that Mew2King attended and won as many events as he did. This was a time when Melee was near the end of its heyday. His willingness to compete at every single top-level event separated him from the field. Save for VLS and Evo World 2007, Mew2King finished in the Top 2 of every event.
Mew2King also had strong head-to-heads. Of note were his records against PC Chris (12-3; the two played at many regionals together) and Azen (4-0), and he won his only set against Ken. Against the 2007 Top 10, Mew2King was a combined 32-16. The players who had the next most impressive records were KoreanDJ (13-4), PC Chris (28-22) and Ken (9-4). No other player in 2007 comes as close to the combined volume and efficiency of wins as Mew2King.
Similar to Ken’s prime, Mew2King’s prime comes with asterisks. He had two losing records at the top level: one against ChuDat (4-6) and another against KoreanDJ (1-3). More pressingly, few events featured every single top player seriously competing. KoreanDJ was likely Mew2King’s toughest opponent out of his peers, but he barely attended anything outside of New England. In Ken’s case, OC3 was his first major of the year, and that was all the way in the summer, when Ken also won Evo shortly afterward.
Moreover, in the context of assessing the greatest Melee primes ever, it hurts Mew2King that of the three premier events of the year (Evo World 2007, SCC and VLS), he only won one of them. In a way, this isn’t too dissimilar to another clear, but “mortal” world No. 1 in 2019 Hungrybox. Like Mew2King in 2007, Hungrybox in 2019 finished his year with losing head-to-heads of his own.
To be fair to Mew2King, his worst performance of the year deserves an asterisk. Evo World 2007 was the year’s most important event, but it featured an unusual rule set that involved best-of-one sets before Top 12, with random stage selection. His set against Chillin in loser’s was a legitimate loss, but the unusual circumstances behind his one-game loss to Mango on Dreamland should be taken with a grain of salt.
2007 Mew2King as Community Legend
“2007 Mew2King” is both a topic of debate and a running gag within the Melee community. This is because of the titular player’s simultaneously confident, outlandish, sincere, but ultimately unfalsifiable claims about his own play. For example, Mew2King swears that his punish and edgeguard game against Fox and Falco on Final Destination was better in 2007 than it is now.
Most people from back then cite the lopsided margins of Mew2King’s victories as proof of how far ahead he was from the pack when he was playing well. Regardless, I believe nothing epitomizes the legend of 2007 Mew2King more than the mystery of MELEE-FC Diamond – more specifically, the lost tapes of its grand finals.
The account of a Mew2King 6-0 victory from loser’s bracket over PC Chris is undisputed, but Mew2King claims that the official MLG recap is inaccurate. According to Mew2King, the two best-of-five sets he and PC Chris played cumulatively took less than ten minutes. He says that each game was about 90 seconds, with Mew2King’s victories ranging from JV3s to three-stocks to JV4s. If true, this would be by far the most dominant 6-0 in Melee history.
I asked Mew2King why the reporter would try to make Mew2King look worse. Mew2King told me he couldn’t give a definitive reason, but affirmed that out of anyone, that his own account of his tournament sets should be prioritized, and that Cactuar and Cort would back up his personal account.
Full transparency: I’ve reached out to Cort, so I’ll update this column as needed later if he responds. I forgot to write to Cactuar, so I’ll do that as well.
In next week’s column, I will analyze the reign of Mango, from Pound 3 to Pound 4.