After a year in which he stood as Melee’s best remaining Ice Climbers player, the Philadelphia No. 1 SluG took home the gold at CT GamerCon 4 on Saturday. Here, he defeated Jflex, 2saint, and many other Tristate/New England players. It was SluG’s first notable LAN performance since his run to third place at Gucci Gang: Leap Year Edition 19 months prior.
Over in the United Kingdom, Professor Pro came out on top at Nang: Home Sweet Home, an offline tournament. Frenzy 3’0’d him in winner’s bracket, but Professor Pro came back through losers to beat him 3-2, 3-1. One breakout performance from this event came from Kingu, a young Jigglypuff player who rose to prominence during rollback and eventually finished in third place at Nang, where he beat mordo and doubled Fat Tino, both longtime and strong players in their own right.
East of the United Kingdom and on Sunday, Nicki won TSEA Link x Mission Complete, where he beat Fout NL, Renzo, and skullbro without dropping a game. On the same day in Ontario, n0ne won Homecoming, beating Zuppy and Erik.
RAZONES POR VOTAR POR MACONDAL https://t.co/ARqj7LME8S
— Chape (@Chape_ssb) September 15, 2021
In other news over the weekend, Smash Bong Summit 2 concluded its first portion of voting. Alongside Nyx, hidden boss Peach player MCC also ended up making Chilean Summit in part due to an incredible campaign led by Chape and other top Chilean players.
Greatest Regional Players Ever: New England Edition
Not too long ago, Nicki ran a poll on Twitter asking people to name their region’s five greatest all-time players. As a Smash historian, author of an entire book dedicated to the scene, and as a person who got his start writing for the scene with similarly themed lists, I was fascinated by the question.
Makenshi made a tweet about this regarding countries, but this topic is still interesting when just looking at regions (including countries, parts of countries, states etc.)
Who are the top 5 greatest players (EITHER Melee OR post-Melee) of all time from your region?
— PS | Nicki (@leffenfanboy) September 5, 2021
While my initial response was pretty brief, I wanted to dedicate this column to my rationale for each choice. I did this because, one, it’s a slow news week so far, and two, there’s an interesting delineation to be made between a player’s national contributions and their locals performance. Put simply, I think you can argue that a player’s performance at locals matters more in a discussion about the greatest players of a given region.
So heading into this topic, I’m going to talk about the greatest New England players of all-time. It won’t be too different than how I would talk about their national legacies. I’ll still be bringing up about their major accomplishments, longevity, peak wins, and metagame accomplishments, but as a New Englander, I’ll share some local knowledge that you may not otherwise know.
Although I’ve always been a huge th0rn believer, even I forgot that he was once considered the world No. 38. The former top dog of Maine never quite reached that high ever again, but it wasn’t for a lack of skill. He just stopped entering as much. Still – there’s something to be said about being No. 6 in-region as far back as 2008 and staying there for most of the next decade. For what it’s worth, in the few rollback events he’s entered this year, he’s beaten Juicebox, Bobby Frizz, Bbatts, Tommy, and JSalt.
MattDotZeb was never Top 100, but he was a really solid player. In addition to being an annual mainstay on the New England power rankings, he would travel quite a bit out of region and beat strong players like KJH, Prince Abu, and Ryan Ford. However, what I’m most grateful for is MattDotZeb’s ultimate accomplishment: eliminating Leffen at a Northeast regional. To be clear, this is a great achievement for a set, but I’m really just thankful that MattDotZeb was so kind to do this and then inflate all of New England’s Armada numbers by proceeding to drop countless local sets over the next decade.
It’s hard to weigh KrazyJones’ accomplishments with everyone else on this list. His Melee career was really short and came in an era that’s difficult to compare with the modern one. With that said, the Rhode Island Peach main was considered the East Coast’s secret weapon for a reason. He punked Ken’s Fox in crews, got fifth place at FC3 – don’t forget that this was the biggest Melee tournament of its time – and was arguably Top 10 in 2005. A good comparison point for him in a much larger field is InfiniteNumbers.
ZoSo has one of the strangest Melee careers ever. Although his out-of-region performances have always been up and down, he basically ran over every local player in 2014. This was no small feat – he won Game Over nearly every single Tuesday, he was Crush’s first real bracket demon, and he finished the year at No. 50 in the world. With that said, my pick for his best moment is when ZoSo broke a long hiatus from the game in early 2018. Along with randomly 3-0’ing Crush at a local, he won CT GamerCon 2 over Kalvar, vortex, Captain Smuckers, SluG, and bonfire10 without dropping a set.
— Edwin (@edwin_budding) August 21, 2021
When I was first getting into Melee in 2013, I first heard of Slox as a rising star within the Connecticut scene. After making Top 100 in 2014, Slox finally earned his spot at No. 1 in late 2015, and he continued to hold both for the rest of the decade. He’s also been ranked No. 1 in New England multiple times, beating players such as SFAT, Swedish Delight, Duck, Ryan Ford, KJH, and Jerry at larger events. However, the true standout of Slox’s career is finishing 2015 as the world No. 69. Well – that or finishing No. 38 in the world for the summer of 2017.
Swiftbass’ career has basically been the reverse of ZoSo’s in that Swiftbass has always exceeded expectations on a national level in spite of relatively underperforming in his own region. From making Top 16 at Don’t Go Down There Jeff in 2010, to stunning the likes of Shroomed, Westballz, tafokints, and MikeHaze, Swiftbass has a strange penchant for giving top West Coast players a tougher time than they might expect. As my good friend Ambisinister would put it, “Swiftbass is truly the most terrifying opponent of all-time.”
I’ll be honest. I used to think Crush was a twerp. I wasn’t alone here – he notoriously trolled Smashboards and Facebook when he was younger. At the same time, I had to give him credit for both being good at the game and having really funny roasts of other players. Thankfully, Crush became much more tolerable right before he started blowing out the rest of the region. Between finishing 2017 as the world No. 15, winning the Holiday Bash Smash Invitational, and having an awesome start to 2018, the sky really seemed like the limit for him. A year following his sudden retirement, and under a new tag, “Kimba” beat down Hax$, Slox, and 2saint without dropping a single set to win Cold Hard Smash 6. I’m pretty sure he would still destroy all of New England and be Top 20 without breaking a sweat today.
Darc used to routinely make Top 32s throughout the Post Brawl era and was top five in New England for about half a decade. Between having his success with his character obscured by Mango and Hungrybox, as well as his regional success overshadowed by KoreanDJ, I feel like Darc is one of the most underrated players ever. Old-time doubles aficionados might remember that Darc was especially good here. He and Scar finished in second place at Genesis, and who can forget the hilarious double-Puff combo of Darc and Hungrybox, who rested their way to second at Revival of Melee 7?
Speaking of underrated players, it’s a shame that Cort’s prime coincided with the community’s temporary transition to Brawl, because he had a case for being a top five player during this time. He used to outright beat Azen, Jman, and PC Chris in 2008, which I previously considered him the No. 3. It’s also worth taking note of Cort’s understated metagame impact. Along with having a strong Captain Falcon, his Marth was the main inspiration for PPMD’s style, and he was considered the best Peach player in the world before Armada. That probably also adds to how Cort’s legacy often gets overlooked. Regardless, he seems like the clear cut No. 2 for this list.
I don’t think I’m going to upset anyone with my selection here. KoreanDJ is the only New England player to ever win a national, and one of a small group of players to consistently come out on top over “2007 M2K” in multiple sets. In spite of how successful KoreanDJ was, the craziest thing about it is that KoreanDJ could have been even better if he fully dedicated himself to competing and traveling. For most of his career, he prioritized his academic obligations over Melee.
However, I want you to leave this column with one of the funniest local stories I have ever heard. While I cannot verify if it’s true or not, and although I don’t want to name who it involved, it’s great and low-stakes enough to where I’m willing to share it. When an anonymous New England player beat KoreanDJ for the first time, they called their father in disbelief and amazement that they had finally done it after so many years. In all seriousness, you can’t blame them. KoreanDJ is the greatest New England player ever.