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Published November 1, 2021

After a several notable upsets and a stunning run to winner’s finals by Polish, it was Zain who finished in first place and provided order to Sunday’s chaotic NA East Regional Finals for the Smash World Tour. Dropping only a few games throughout the tournament, Zain defeated iBDW, Polish, Hungrybox, Colbol, Gahtzu, Aklo and Zamu in a row to cap a dominant performance.

However, the primary story of the weekend was Polish’s breakout. After looking like a contender for best Peach in the world, he cemented himself as the leading favorite for the title, defeating iBDW, lloD, Hungrybox, Ginger and Magi at the same event.

In other news over the weekend, Mot$ won Saturday’s Scarlet Knightmare, defeating fellow New Jersey residents Wally and Bbatts. On Sunday, Secrets won Colorado’s Terror from the Ledge, beating Conman & DSJ.

The Second-Best Falco Debate

The Melee community (myself included) love to argue over the most random titles. Back in 2015, there were debates over if Leffen was a “god.” A few years later, we celebrated the end of Armada’s “streak,” which happened to have ever-shifting parameters from “not losing to anyone outside the gods,” to “not losing to anyone outside the gods and Leffen,” to “not losing to anyone outside of the Top 6 in a given year.” As of late, there’s been no more random title than “second best Falco.”

So, as any good columnist does, I’m going to throw my opinion into this ridiculously specific debate. Just as I’ve done with Peach and Jigglypuff players in the past, I’m going to be breaking down each of the main contenders for second best Falco in the world: Ginger and Fiction. I will be evaluating their results over the last four months.

Sidenote: For the purposes of this column, I will not be counting Flash within this column. The only tournament he has entered in 2021 is Riptide, where he finished in ninth place, beating Ginger, Juicebox, Slowking, The Leaf, Rabbit, and Pleeba, only losing to Wizzrobe twice. This is an incredible showing, but it’s also one tournament and it does not seem fair to compare his resume to the other peers.


I may as well start with the most obvious contender – and, frankly, the only reasonable pick if the time frame was the last year. There’s been basically no Falco player who’s been as active as Ginger over the last two years. No matter the format – rollback, local, regional, or major – you can guarantee that Ginger’s going to be playing Melee at a tournament each month. It’s simply not reasonable to say that another Falco has surprised him for the title of No. 2 behind Mango.

I also think that it’s worth noting that he’s maintained his level of play over the last four months, in which he continues to have, by far, the most results. The peak was winning Low Tide City, where he beat Magi and SDJ, double eliminating Axe. However, citing this regional victory, as strong as it is, undersells Ginger’s recent results. Below, I have listed some notable head-to-head records he has since July.

  • Axe: 2-0
  • Polish: 3-1
  • Lucky: 1-0
  • Ben: 3-0
  • Magi: 1-1
  • Jflex: 1-0
  • Zealot: 1-0
  • Drephen: 1-0
  • TheSWOOPER: 1-0
  • Eddy Mexico: 1-0
  • SDJ: 1-0
  • Darktooth: 1-0
  • Salt: 1-0
  • Morsecode762: 1-0
  • Kuyashi: 1-0
  • Ossify: 1-0
  • Hungrybox: 0-1
  • Wizzrobe: 0-1
  • KoDoRiN: 0-1
  • Flash: 0-1
  • ARMY: 0-1
  • KJH: 1-2

This is unambiguously the kind of consistent highs we’d expect to see from a Top 10 to Top 15 player. Although we can argue over the merits of what sets over Axe mean in 2021 vs. Axe in 2019, what we can say is that Ginger has a very good record against players we can expect to see in winner’s bracket of Top 32 at any supermajor.

If I were to find a “weakness” in Ginger’s record, it would be three things that I’m not quite sure I couldn’t hold against anyone else. They are the following: losing to dark horse major contenders, dropping sets to career-long Falco-slayers, and having losses to players who haven’t shown us a lot, but have shown us “enough” to consider them functionally capable of taking down comparable players to Ginger.


Fiction’s switch to Falco was amusing for a variety of reasons. If you’ve ever listened to a Waiting for Game episode, you’ll know that Wheat, Ambi, and myself are huge Fiction fans. In recent times, we’ve loved his refreshing optimism for Falco – and before he started entering tournaments again, we knew intuitively that he was “good” based on streamed friendlies with other top players. We just didn’t know if it was reasonable to expect “Early 2020 Fiction Fox” level results.

So, what’s his resume been like since the switch? Well, Fiction doesn’t have the same kind of cross-regional results that Ginger has, but he has something different. What Fiction boasts is incredible consistency against a limited, but high-talent pool. Check it out.

  • 0-1 vs Plup
  • 3-1 vs S2J
  • 0-1 vs SFAT
  • 2-4 vs KoDoRiN
  • 3-1 vs Lucky
  • 0-1 vs Captain Faceroll
  • 1-0 vs Medz
  • 1-0 vs bobby big ballz
  • 5-3 vs Westballz
  • 1-1 vs ARMY
  • 1-0 vs Rocky
  • 4-0 vs Android 0
  • 1-0 vs Tai
  • 8-2 vs null
  • 5-0 vs Casper
  • 2-0 vs Smashdaddy
  • 1-0 vs Asashi
  • 1-0 vs MegaXmas
  • 5-0 vs Kurv
  • 2-1 vs Nut
  • 1-0 vs Gooms
  • 0-1 vs Manray

The local records are astounding on their own. But as Fiction showed at Smash World Tour’s NA West Regional Finals, he can consistently take down comparable high-caliber across the West Coast.  If we counted S2J to Android 0 as a range of “potential 6 seed to 50 seed” players at supermajors, Fiction’s record within this group is 21-12. Within “Top 10” players alone, he’s split sets with them at 3-3, though all three wins came against S2J.

I looked really hard at what could be considered Fiction’s “weakness” in this list of results, and frankly there’s nothing there. I’m not convinced that Ginger would somehow trounce null (a Top 75-100 player in results most likely) or the comparable field any more than Ginger would be. If anything, I would only give Ginger the edge within the Top 10 against SFAT, whom he’s positive against (7-5) since rollback.



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