After a two-month long hiatus from competing, 2saint returned last Sunday to steal the show at Ginger’s Pot O’ Gold: May, winning the tournament by beating bobby big ballz, TheRealThing and S2J twice. It is 2saint’s best showing of the year.
I WON LG GINGER'S 306 ENTRANT MELEE TOURNAMENT!!!! WOOOOO ALL THRU WINNERS BABY! I DID IT LIVE ON MY STREAM https://t.co/RlnrDsrTaz HELL YEAH
— 2saint (@2Saintt) May 17, 2021
Earlier in the weekend, Samox announced a new episode to complement his “Metagame” series: “The Gods’ Response.” This will be a brief catchup with each of the central figures (the “five gods” and Leffen) covered in the movie, as well as their thoughts on the documentary. The episode will be aired from June 5 to June 6.
Who is the Best Jigglypuff Main Right Now?
There seems to be more representation of Puff within Melee’s mid-level than ever before. Encouragingly (or perhaps terrifyingly), it’s been across a variety of Melee regions, be it the Atlantic South, Ontario, Tristate, the Midwest, or Europe. At the same time, the most prominent Puff player of all-time recently lost a set to Free Balloon Day, who was playing under the tag Harry Poggers. It’s weird.
A long time ago, this column would have been unthinkable. Times change. We went from unanimously agreeing that Netplay wasn’t real to arguing over if Netplay is better than CRT. Regardless, in this column, I’m going to dive into the three Puff players whom I believe are her three best representatives right now. I will briefly talk about each player’s trajectory heading into 2021, with a focus on their LAN results. Then, I will talk about their highs and lows within just this year. After I do this for each player, I will tell you who I think is the best Puff player in the world.
DISCLAIMER: Because most of his activity has been within the confines of Chicago Netplay events and because he has entered significantly less notable larger events than these three, I have chosen to not include Michael. I obviously still think he is good and not too far off from these three players, but I wanted to pick pople who had crossed a certain threshold of events featuring a broader talent pool.
Solobattle first caught my attention when he beat the brakes off Trif in late 2019. While I knew that he was one of the best European Jigglypuff players and Finland’s No. 1, I figured that beating a Top 25 player mostly illustrated the then-community-agreed-upon lopsided nature of Puff-Peach. When he beat Trif again and continued to do well at European events, it solidified him around the level of “somewhere between Michael and Snowy.” He looked like a Top 100 player who never hadn’t had a chance to prove himself against the Americans yet.
Although that’s remained the case during rollback, we’ve also seen a lot more of Solobattle against European talent. Here’s something crazy about him: in 13 events this year, Solobattle does not have a single loss with Puff to a player outside of the first 10 people I mentioned in my massive Europe deep dive. In other words, he doesn’t lose to people who aren’t Top 10 (roughly) in Europe. With additional favorable head-to-heads against Frenzy (7-6), Jah Ridin’ (3-0) and Levingy (6-1), it’s no surprise that Solobattle is a lock for top eight at almost every event he enters.
The key word is “almost.” At Poilon Colosseum, an invitational tournament, Solobattle got jabbed, grabbed, lasered and kicked around like a volleyball by MINT (1-3), Nicki (0-3), Pipsqueak (0-1) and Leffen (0-4) en route to last place. Fox has been a huge problem for Solobattle this year, and even Trif has successfully counter-picked him (0-1). While Solobattle is even with Ice (1-1) in the couple of sets they’ve played, perhaps nothing tells the story of Solobattle’s year more than the following LEVO tradition: him consistently making it to winner’s finals and him getting promptly smacked down to loser’s by Professor Pro (1-8).
When offline events were around, 2saint’s time as a notable player came in three stages. First, he was the rising upstate New York Jigglypuff who whooped on much worse players. Next, he was the wild card of Tristate; someone just as likely to 3-0 anyone in the top five of his region as he was to lose to a Donkey Kong. Lastly, he remained volatile on the big stage, finishing anywhere from 13th to 33rd place at majors, but he had dominant showings at stacked regionals like Defend the North and Aurora Blitz 2.
2saint’s first place finish at the last Ginger’s Pot O’ Gold is quite obviously the highlight of his year. Before that, he beat Hungrybox (1-0), Aklo (1-0), Colbol (1-0) and Aura (1-0) en route to seventh at Galint Melee Open: Spring Edition, as well as won weeklies with wins over the likes of Mot$ (2-0), Jmook (1-0), LSD (2-1), Zuppy (1-1), Komodo (1-0), Bones (2-0) and Lotfy (1-1). I also recall 2saint’s strong second-place showing at the Black Empowerment Melee Invitational, in which he double-eliminated billybopeep (2-0), beat Axe (1-0) and just finished under TheRealThing (2-2). If you wanted to count custom-stage tournaments, he also finished in first place at one such event over SFOP (2-0) and Albert (2-1).
I looked through 2saint’s losses in the year, and the “worst” one I could find was to Justus (0-1), someone I mentioned as a borderline Top 100 talent in my West Coast preview. Outside of the losses I noted in previous head-to-heads, 2saint has also lost his only sets against Eddy Mexico (0-1), FatGoku (0-1), rocky (0-1), KoDoRiN (0-1), Hax$ (0-1), Ginger (0-1) and SluG (0-1).
Hold your breath, folks. It’s the elephant in the room; the man who controls the narrative of Melee. Even when he backs out of challenging 20 straight Fox players on Twitter, Hungrybox is the central driving force behind this column; the shadow of its implicit premise. After three years of world No. 1 dominance, is Hungrybox no longer the best Jigglypuff player in the world?
For what it’s worth, Hungrybox started 2021 with a bang, winning the first Galint Melee Open over SFAT (2-0), Kalamazhu (1-0), Jflex (5-0) and Hax$ (1-2). It’s not his only highlight. Hungrybox also has wins over Ginger (7-6), Soonsay (1-0), Lucky (1-0), Magi (1-0), Aklo (3-0), Colbol (3-0), SluG (1-0), bobby big ballz (4-0), Panda (3-0), TheRealThing (1-0), Jamrun (2-0), Golden (1-0) and Justus (1-0). Amid everything else, it’s easy to forget that Hungrybox still beats good players more often than not.
I'm hungrybox now pic.twitter.com/NDgHhxxgtU
— hungrybox (@LiquidHbox) May 5, 2021
So let’s get into it. The “bad” isn’t just the losses to Elliott (0-1), Free Balloon Day (0-1), Blues Clues (0-1), BZimm (0-1) or 2saint (0-1). It’s also not just the dropped sets to KoDoRiN (1-1), Albert (1-1), Fable (2-1), Kuyashi (1-1) or Bones (1-1). When you enter 22 weeklies in five months and you’re not a Top 5 player any more, you’re going to have hiccups. What’s also concerning is the lack of payoff. Hungrybox has shown no pathway to consistent success against the “SCL” tier players. I’m not just talking about Ben eating him for dinner every Friday (3-8). Hungrybox is behind in the head-to-head vs. Gahtzu (1-2), n0ne (1-2), moky (0-1), S2J (0-1), Wizzrobe (0-2), iBDW (0-1) and Zain (0-2). Considering that 2saint just won an entire tournament over S2J, it’s not unreasonable to wonder if 2saint would consistently fare better against the first four players of this group than Hungrybox.
Europe puts a big question mark behind Solobattle. If I were to call him the best Jigglypuff player right now, it would have to be with some of the following assumptions; that Hungrybox and 2saint would struggle vs. the European Fox players just like Solobattle, that these two would not be as consistent against the field as Solobattle, and that if Solobattle were in the United States, he would outperform Hungrybox and 2saint. I’m not willing to go that far yet.
I was honestly stunned by 2saint’s resume. He entered a lot more in 2021 than I remembered. Moreover, for someone who used to drop sets to Phish-it and Sypher at his lows, 2saint really didn’t have many standout negatives within his current resume. The 12 performances he’s shown me this year point to a different player than what the unpredictable world No. 35 was in late 2019 or early 2020.
Hungrybox has the most glaring losses, as well as the biggest fall from grace in terms of competitive expectations. He’s gone from invulnerable against the field and deadly within the top-level to being a volatile favorite against anyone who isn’t within the elite tier of players and a heavy underdog against the best players in the world. But there’s still value in many of his accomplishments, and his worst losses have to be contextualized within him entering a Melee tournament every week. In a weird way, Hungrybox’s decline in results and the type of bizarre lows he’s had remind me eerily of what 2saint looked like before rollback, but with more immediately noticeable and positive head-to-heads within his own current “tier.”
Between Hungrybox and 2saint, it’s a closer call than you’d think. But if you’ve been reading this column for long enough, you’ll know that I tend to err fairly conservatively in my Melee opinions. As tempting as it is to say otherwise, I’m going to say that Hungrybox is still the best Jigglypuff player in the world.
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