This series is a tribute to standard “Monday Morning Quarterback” columns in traditional sports. In it, I discuss my quick takeaways from the last week of the Smash community. Consider this a mix of news and mild takes. Featured image from When’s Melee.
Well, it happened. Before last weekend, competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee legend Armada retired from Melee singles. With the upcoming release of a sequel looming over the Smash community, Armada’s final goodbye – at least for now – marks the start of a transitional period in Melee, with its greatest player ever now gone from its premier format.
Amid a week of tears, laughs and groans, S2J won The Roast of Hugo Gonzalez over the weekend, defeating the invading Zain twice to take the stacked SoCal regional. In Indiana, Ohio Ice Climbers Boyd won The Midwest: Battlefield, impressively defeating Reeve, Drephen, Rik and Zamu to further build out a case for Top 100 by the end of the year. Over in Pittsburgh, lloD came out of his relative hiatus from attending tournaments to win Pitt Smash Presents: That Damn Move, while the two Spaniards, Trif and Over, took the top two spots in order over at Germany’s Melee Right Meow. North Carolina Sheik main Chi won the fifth edition of the NC Arcadian – and in New Jersey, fellow Sheik player Fable won the NJ Arcadian…despite having a No. 10 rank in the state.
1. Thoughts on Armada’s Retirement
If you want to hear my expanded thoughts on Armada’s leave from Melee, I’d check out the last episode Melee Stats Podcast, in which we discuss his legacy in great detail, as well as what we predict for a post-Armada age of Melee. But after nearly a week of preparing myself to write this, I’m still not sure how I could do justice for Armada’s contributions, so I’ll keep it short.
As much as people talk about the “Mango vs. Armada” and “Hungrybox vs. Armada” rivalries, the reality is that the Swede more often than not came out on top. His combined record against the two throughout his career: 62-40. For reference, Roger Federer, who many hail as the tennis “GOAT,” has a 37-47 record against Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, his two greatest rivals. And everybody can tell you about “The Streak,” which has been broken, unbroken and debated over an insufferably high amount of times.
What you might not know about Armada is that he was also a key tournament organizer in the rise of European Melee, specifically for BEAST II, 2, 3 4 and 5. When combined with him bringing his continent to the spotlight at the original Genesis, Armada has been an exceptional community leader.
Thanks for everything, Armada. We’ll miss you.
2. Rating The Roast of Hugo Gonzalez
Do you know the time? It’s Edwin’s comedic analysis time. Here’s my thoughts on each of the roasters.
Vish’s jokes were strong, but not ridiculously over the top or controversial. While I didn’t find his set too memorable, Vish’s role here was to set everyone else up without outshining them, as well as to set the tone of the night.
Best joke: Referring to BTS as over the hill.
Worst joke: Imitating Tafo and Chillin.
As a relative newcomer to Melee prominence, Ludwig basically had nothing to lose from going on the extreme. For every bad miss, he’d redeem himself with a successful swing. A mixed performance, but when he landed his jokes, they were among the funniest of the night.
Best joke: Referencing HugS dating a nineteen-year-old or the reference to Hungrybox’s grimy history of behavior around women at events.
Worst joke: His entire Dunk segment.
Tafo came exactly as expected, with a mix of dorky humor and a focus on punchlines rather than edgy jokes. His material was the most consistently funny, but his presentation slightly held him back.
Best joke: Referencing HugS crying in the corner of an airport (or at least just his history with women).
Worst joke: Forgetting to roast Ludwig (although maybe this was the best one).
When I first saw Dunk’s set, I initially thought he bombed because the awkward pauses and stumbles throughout his performance. For whatever reason though, watching it again, Dunk’s jokes seemed to hit a lot harder.
Best joke: “Who the fuck is Hugo?”
Worst joke: Making a joke about Hugo’s ex-girlfriend being “out of his league.”
After HugS, Chillin took the most heat throughout the night, mostly because of the nonstop and eyeroll-worthy fat jokes by other roasters. However, Chillin had an excellent set, mostly because he didn’t fall for low hanging fruit, at least except for jokes about HugS’ age. His jokes especially stood out as unique.
Best joke: The reference to La Luna’s Facebook post about oral sex.
Worst joke: “HugS86BC”
The star of the night from the get-go. There were still quite a few misses from jokes gone too far, but given the roast nature of the event, I’d like to think that him getting ruthlessly made fun of afterwards on commentary was a fitting response. Awesome job, HugS.
Best joke: “I did get 129th at Evo, but at least I am not best friends with ChuDat.”
Worst joke: The joke about Dunk’s fiance or the Smash Sisters joke.
3. Takeaways from the Tournament:
- We’ll remember this summer for Zain’s breakout victory at Shine, Leffen winning Evo and Armada’s retirement. However, beneath the top echelon of Melee, we should also remember it as the summer of S2J. Without spoiling too much about the details behind the upcoming Melee Stats Power Ranking, just know that S2J has multiple wins on Wizzrobe, SFAT and Zain within this ranking period. His trademark consistency clearly showed in a summer where he made top eight at every significant tournament he entered, sans CEO 2018, in which he finished ninth.
- Zain has been rightfully anointed as the new demigod in the Melee scene, but he’s going to need more consistency against the field. His wins on Hungrybox, Mango and Plup for the year are impressive, but in the year, he has losses to the likes of Swedish Delight, Duck, ARMY, PewPewU, Captain Smuckers, Hyprid and more.
- Similar to S2J, PewPewU has been another consistency monster of the summer. Though he doesn’t have a big win outside of a best-of-three win over Zain earlier in the year, PewPewU’s results against the players ranked between No. 11 and No. 25 on the summer’s MPGR list has been great. His “worst” loss from June onward is Gahtzu, who also has been on the rise.
- Though losses to S2J and PewPewU soured his overall run, Westballz still racked up convincing wins over Lucky, SFAT and AbsentPage. Considering Westballz’s struggles against Foxes earlier in the year, if you’re a Westballz fan, you’ll take this as a good tourney showing from him.
- Because of Fiction’s rise in SoCal, I almost forgot that Santiago was the original hidden boss of the region – with a key emphasis on the “almost” part.
- Keep an eye out for Kevbot, NorCal’s rising Fox star. He beat Squid and Eddy Mexico at this event, eventually finishing ninth.
- Keep an eye out for Prince Abu, the Midwest – wait. Abu came to this event and casually finished ninth?
4. Monday Morning Mailbag:
No questions this week. Preorder my book!