For most of competitive Melee history, the scene has been dominated by United States players. If you look at the list of Melee supermajor champions, Leffen, Armada and CaptainJack are the only examples of non-Americans to win significant events. However, what’s little known about among most Smash players is the rise of a small, but active European scene that spans several countries. In order to understand Austrian Melee history, it’s critical to understand the history of European Melee as a whole.
A Brief Overview
One of the earliest documented tournaments to ever happen in Melee history was in the Netherlands at a tourney aptly named “Dutch Tournament,” on November 2, 2002. It sounds irrelevant in the context of Austrian Melee history, but when I mention it, it’s more as an example as to the small size of the European scene. I couldn’t find a specific entrant count anywhere online, but given how the early Tournament Go iterations in America would receive anywhere from 20 to 40 people, I would guess that these events would be in a slightly lower ballpark – still notable for an era of competitive infancy.
It’s worth admitting that one of the biggest obstacles, alongside translation issues and the sheer amount of online information that is lost over time, that came with researching the history of Austrian Melee was that the Smashboards website wasn’t always the biggest medium of use for Austrian smashers. In fact, there were two other forums of note that were of use for players from German speaking countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland): a now-defunct German Smash website that now leads to the German Smash Discord and another website called “Smash Labs” that’s still active from the end of Brawl/early Smash 4 days, though it was more for Smash 4 players who felt like they needed a separate community.
If you look hard enough on YouTube, you can find old Austrian Melee videos. A Fox/Falco player named Fox128 is probably the most significant one that can be linked back to the Austria community. He was around from the very beginnings of competitive Melee, only falling off once Brawl came out. Of note, he finished 17th at The Renaissance of Smash 2 and its followup, showing that at the very least, he was in the upper mid-level of Europe’s triple-digit competitive Melee population. A fun fact: he once held the record for Marth’s home run contest in PAL.
For most of its history, the Austrian scene was typically interconnected with the German scene, due to the shared language, proximity and small size of the scene. Among the most notable names that came to decent prominence around the post-Brawl era was Pasi, a Fox main. Notably, Pasi finished fourth at the first ever BEAST. His friend, fellow Fox128 apprentice and Falco main, BaronBrody, became another local hero.
Like other regions, it’s hard to bridge the gap between the Brawl era and the “post-doc” era. The scene was so obscure around the late 00s – in relation, the 2013/2014 Melee and esports boom brought the Austrian scene to new heights. However, rather than talking about the Austrian scene structure or its top players, I’m going to mention someone who is arguably the entire Melee scene’s most underappreciated contributor: Kadano.
While a respectable Marth player in his own right, Kadano is arguably the most knowledgeable person about Melee frame data on the planet and by far the most significant Austrian smasher ever. Between his years-ahead research on the Marth metagame to his acclaimed ability to make high-quality controllers, Kadano is among the most valuable members of Melee history ever and a definitive world class authority on Melee mechanics.
Similar to SuperDoodleMan in Minnesota, Kadano also used to hold smashfests and monthly events within his Vienna apartment, when there was no structure for a consistent local scene. If Fox128 and his successors defined the 00s for Austrian Melee, Kadano did the same for the first half of the 2010s, also putting forth a claim to be Melee’s greatest frame data nerd. To this day, he continues to fix controllers.
It’s partially because of Kadano’s influence that the Austrian Melee scene grew, not just because of his contributions to the greater Melee scene, but because he was at least a capable player and tournament organizer. Filling the gap left by Pasi departing Austria, Falco main Timi and Peach main Ares came on top as the two fastest improving players. The growing activity of the scene even inspired BaronBrody to return as a TO in 2014.
In 2016, Austria finally entered the spotlight at Heir 3, where Austria made an epic run to second place in the event’s crew battle bracket, even sending Sweden, the heavy favorites, to loser’s bracket early. Practically no one out of Austria had ever heard of its five players: Ares, Timi, gLory, Ramon and Clemens. Esports had never even caught on in Austria as much as it had in countries like Sweden. For reference, in the winner’s bracket match of Austria vs. Sweden, Armada only took six stocks, when the expectation was that he would likely annihilate most of, if not the entire crew.
The long story short is that over just under two decades, the Austrian Melee scene is still alive and better than its ever been, thanks the efforts of unlikely heroes. Let’s take a look at some of its top players right now. For the purpose of this report, all of them are from Vienna due to the skill gap between Vienna and the rest of the Austrian scene. If you live in Vienna and want to attend a Melee event, the Respawn esports bar hosts a local every Tuesday evening.
Timi (No. 1)
Timi plays a very patient and spacing-heavy blue Falco, likely due to his time improving in-region with Ares. Timi has never been ranked Top 100, but was on the nominee list in 2018 and finished No. 37 in the HEIR Spring 2018 rankings for EU players. In his career, he has wins on Professor Pro, Overtriforce, Frenzy, Milkman and Nicki. One of the faces of his continent’s new generation of competitors.
Clemens (No. 2)
A do-it-all Fox main who managed to take a set off Swedish Delight at a local in 2018. Clemens does not have many standout results out of region, but is among his country’s elite players and would almost certainly do well if he had more opportunities to travel.
gLory (No. 3)
Originally hailing from Germany, Sheik main gLory began improving not just within Austria, but also with training sessions and playing with Ice. He used to play both spacies and eventually transitioned to playing Sheik. In 2018, gLory became more well-known among Melee stream fiend circles thanks to a series of performances at The Parking Lot locals before Don’t Park On The Grass, in which he earned wins on n0ne, Spud and Fiction.
Ares (Not Ranked/HM)
Ares is Timi’s main rival from the early post-doc era in Vienna and the best Peach player in Austria. Although he wasn’t as active in 2018 as he was before, Ares is still among Austria’s best players. He is most notable for defeating n0ne and Dutch spacies player Adam at Heir 3, where Ares ended up placing a solid 13th.
Ramon (Not Ranked/HM)
Ramon is a Captain Falcon player from Vienna. He’s not as well known as the four players above and isn’t on the most recent PR, although he previously finished No. 5 in 2016. Nevertheless, Ramon was a member of the Heir 3 Austria Melee crew.
Pasi (Not Ranked/HM)
A longtime Fox main that I previously mentioned, Pasi defeated Chillin at Heir 5 last year and finished at No. 36 in the EU HEIR rankings – notably as the highest ranked Austrian player. For other wins over his career, he has beaten Reno and reaper. Pasi once finished at No. 3 in Germany’s power rankings as recently as July 2017.
A side note: The YouTube Smash entertainment collective, Beefy Smash Doods, is from Austria.
I would like to thank the Melee Stats Patrons for helping make projects like these possible:
- Oz N Breton
- Milo Edwards
- Matthew Bittle
- Joey Daniewicz
- Greg Schaefer
- Brock Aston
- Alek Vuksinic
I’d also like to thank BaronBrody and Kadano for helping me out with this piece, as well as Swedish Delight for supporting this report! See you guys next time.