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Published January 27, 2017

If you’ve ever played Super Smash Bros. Melee, chances are that you already know about “secret” advanced techniques, like L-canceling (referred to in the original as “smooth landing”) and, of course, wavedashing. But before the competitive scene came to be as we know it today, the line between casual and tournament players was far more difficult to distinguish.

In a special edition of Smash History, my longtime partner-in-crime Michael “Catastrophe” Forde and I do our best to cover the very beginnings of the tournament scene. Before we start, please know that a lot of the data we have is incomplete – so inform either of us of any corrections or additions that need to be done!


With the creation of Smash World Forums by 13-year old Ricky “Gideon” Tilton in 2000 (later renamed Smashboards), North American smashers soon had a central hub to discuss smash and meet other enthusiasts. But while the creation of SWF played a huge role in the competitive scene’s development, it’s important to acknowledge other websites as well.

Gaming forums like GameFAQS were still heavily used  – and  websites like “Smabrer’s Garden,” “Sumabura-bu,” and “XMS,” were effective mediums for Japanese smashers. According to Captain Jack, Smabrer’s Garden, created by a man named Hyoga (who disappeared from the scene), was the most important website for the original Super Smash Bros. community in Japan.

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People today might not understand it, but back then, these websites were the primary resources for in-depth smash content. Unlike today, where social media platforms like Reddit, Facebook and Twitter have all but invalidated smash-specific websites as important communication tools, back then, talking to strangers was considered dangerous.

Nonetheless, even before Melee’s release, 64 played a huge role in providing a blueprint for how to build a community. This sounds absurd, but consider how Captain Jack, Ken, Azen, Isai and several others all got into Melee because of 64. Far too often, 64’s impact on the smash scene is forgotten because Melee came out two years later.

Along with 64’s popularity, Melee’s growth also came as a result of the advent of the Internet, the start of a new millennium and the game’s status as an upcoming title for Nintendo’s new system: the GameCube. These factors led to the first ever Melee tournament – before it was even released. You can read about the details here, but if you don’t have the time, here’s what happened:

Premium Fight! (August 25-27, 2001)

1. Yasuhito Murofushi
2. Yuta Suzuki
3. Oikawa/?????

Murofushi was a 16 year-old who played Mario, while Suzuki, the same age, played Kirby. The two played in a tournament-deciding stock-match (the stock count is unknown), while the rest of the single-elimination tournament was based around two-minute free-for-alls with four players and items turned on.  In those previous matches, only the player with the highest score advanced. The game was also still technically still under development, with only a limited cast.

Here’s another fun fact: before the championship match, there was an exhibition “coin battle” between two of the tournament’s MCs: people by the names of Horiguchi and Kawamoto. Kawamoto, who played Peach, beat Horiguchi, who played Ice Climbers, by eight coins.

On November 21, 2001, Nintendo released Melee in Japan, to the delight of smashers, Nintendo fans and gamers alike. A week before, Melee garnered a 37/40 on Famitsu Magazine, also gaining the outlet’s first ever Platinum Award. Two weeks after it’s Japanese release, on December 3, the game came out in North America.

Although the person who holds this video hasn’t responded to our request for comment, if its description is to be believed, the video below is the oldest footage of a tournament match in competitive Melee history – even older than the frequently cited Azen vs. Anden match from late 2002. If anyone can translate any of the Japanese below or clarify, please contact us!


By the time the game came out in North America, smashers across the world were ready to transition toward playing Melee over its Nintendo 64 predecessor. Some people even found advanced techniques within the game, as seen below. Either way, a scene was building.

Melee Fighting Road (March 3, 2002)

1. Keropi-
2. MIF

Although this was technically the culmination of a seasonal circuit, Melee Fighting Road in Hiroshima was the first significant post-launch Melee national. Preceding it were six other tournaments in six weeks before: held within Osaka, Tokyo, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Shizuoka and Sendai from January 20 to February 24. Based on what little we know, as well as Jack’s account, the top players from each event, somewhat similar to MLG, competed at Hiroshima for the title of best Melee player in Japan.

This picture is as taken from Captain Jack’s website.

As Jack details, “almost no pictures remain,” from the event, since digital cameras back then were too expensive for most students to afford. Moreover, the ruleset from the majority of Premium Fight remained – four players, free-for-all, items on, and two minute timers.

Japan United Smash Festa Round-Robin 2 (March 2002, Round-Robin)

1. Keropi- / Captain Jack
3. Wolfon
4. Michael
5. Samus / Picardy
8. Prince

Although the date hasn’t been specified (outside of the month and year), Jack wrote on his website (see Sources at the bottom) about the first of many annual round-robin Melee tournaments held within his community (the first one was for 64). Keropi, the MFR champion, tied for first at this tournament with Jack, whose 64 skills seemed to translate well into Melee.

Tournament Go 1 (April 6, 2002, Items)

1. JR Castillo
2. Justin Junio
3. Recipherus
4. Matt Deezie

While there might have been other Melee tournaments at the time, Tournament Go is ultimately why Matt Deezie is considered the forefather of competitive Melee. It started off as a small gathering of Northern California smashers to see who was the best among them, but after being advertised online, became extremely popular. JR Castillo, a Fox main ended up winning over the first “premier” Falco player of his time: Justin Junio.

In the post-tournament thread, you can read Deezie’s account for what it was like to TO the event. Some highlights include his complaints about the tournament running 2-3 hours late, having to host over 40 players at his house, debating the competitive merits of items, etc.

Part of Matt Deezie’s post from an archived Smashboards post.

At this point in time, Melee had been out for half a year, to critical acclaim. But there were several key differences between how people perceived Melee’s engine vs. its predecessor. In response to a user on Smashboards years later, the old school player SmashBroPro summed up his feelings of the early metagame.

There were a few major changes though in game dynamics from the first game. First and foremost was grabbing was strongly reduced in effectiveness. Players saw that grabs, in particular running grabs, where a far less viable means of KO, the % damage it inflicted was fairly marginal, and particularly at low damages it didn’t set opponents up as nicely into combos (a common example was how characters like Fox and Sheik’s dash attack flowed so nicely into their aerial kill moves).

So dash grabs saw a decent decline in usage, particularly in offensive minded players. The result favored defensive players. They could shield grab with increased safety. Ironically this didn’t immediately lead players into countering with more dash grabs, but rather with an emphasis on spacing moves (like Marth’s aerial forward A) and “cross ups” (a nearly forgotten move where you time your dash attack to carry over to your opponents other side of the shield).

Tournament Go 2 (June 15, 2002, Items)

1. Justin Junio
2. Recipherus
3. Matt Deezie
4. Terrakalar
5. Adam/Scamp
7. Vien/Super Mac
9. JR Castillo/???

Funnily enough, the next important tourney we found was also from the TG series: the sequel known as Tournament Go 2. The previous champion JR Castillo was the favorite heading in, but the TO, Deezie, upset him in winners quarters, leading the former TG title holder to be eliminated early.

Deezie, still hosting the event, made his way to winners finals, but his Fox and Mario couldn’t overcome Justin Junio’s Falco. Already having finished second at the first TG, Junio won a nailbiter grand finals against Recipherus, now having an argument to be the best in NorCal.

Chicago Tournament (August 5, 2002)

1. Eduardo
3. Eddie
4. SmashBroPro

In case you thought the only American scene that existed was in California, we’ll take you back to the Midwest. Chicago was one of the first smash-hubs in the United States, with players like the Ganon legend Eddie making his tournament debut, as well as the Marth main Eduardo, his older brother, and his other brother DJXXX.

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Around this time was the creation of Melee’s first ever tier list. Current smashboards owner and longtime Melee figure AlphaZealot goes into further detail in his Smashboards post titled, “The History of Competitive Smash.”

The backroom originally started as a social room back around 2001-2002. It was simply an extra room that more experienced players could go to talk more personally – almost as a reward for being on the site. This was before the days of weekly or even monthly tournaments.

“American Legion Tournament” (14 Entrants, August 17, 2002, Items)

1. Azen
2. Anden
3. Eric
4. Chillin

If you’re familiar with Chillin’s History of a Smasher series, you’ll know this tournament (not literally named “American Legion Tournament”) already. Back then, Azen was considered the best within the original “Ha Ha You Lose” crew (him, Anden, Mild and Chillin), but he was upset in winners bracket by a Yoshi main named Eric, who was part of the DYCE crew from Maryland.

Eric eventually made it to winners finals, where he lost to the H2YL Jigglypuff Anden. In the first notable losers runs in North American history, Azen fought his way back to grands, defeating Chillin, beating Eric in the runback and overcoming Anden in the first recorded verifiable tournament set of Melee ever.

Kengo’s Tourney (~30 Entrants, Late 2002, Single-Elim, Top 3 RR)

1. Derrick
2. Eric
3. Azen
4. Chillin/Anden/???

Again – MDVA’s rivalry between DYCE and H2YL continued, but this time DYCE’s Derrick (a Sheik player) and Eric took the top two spots. In a surprise for H2YL at a single-elimination tournament, Azen failed to beat either member, effectively placing DYCE as the best known crew in MDVA.

Tournament Go 3 (~20 Entrants, August 24, 2002, Items)

1. Recipherus
2. Adam
3. Vien
4. Sultan of Samitude
5. Matt Deezie/Justin Junio
7. JR Castillo/Scamp

Back in the West Coast, the next installment of the TG series was underway, as more people than ever showed up to prove themselves as the best in their region. Players like the Doctor Mario main Vien greatly improved since TG2, while the debuting Sultan of Samitude staked his claim for the best Falco – a lofty claim given Junio’s TG2 victory.

In the end, two brothers, Recipherus and the Luigi main Adam made the Top 2. With Junio faltering at a fifth place finish, and Recipherus improving his placing at each TG he entered, the NorCal Sheik main had an argument for being the best in NorCal, the West Coast and perhaps even the United States.

Chicago Championship (September 2002)

1. Eduardo
3. MikeMonkey
4. SmashBroPro

Canada showed up for the next big Midwest tourney, and its best, Falcon/DK dual main MikeMonkey, showed up to replace Eddie in the top four. Nevertheless, Eduardo continued to dominate the Midwest.

Melee Toys R Us National Tournament (Championship) (October 13, 2002)

1. Rid
2. Shu

As Jack wrote on his website, the Toys R Us championship happened after qualifying, smaller tournaments from late August. After the success of Fighting Road, this circuit was actually the second Nintendo-announced national series – and, per Jack, was even larger, given Nintendo’s enthusiasm and Melee’s growth. Other than that, there’s not much else written online, though Shu transitioned to playing each of the future smash games, while Rid’s activities remain unknown. A few more notes from Jack’s personal blog:

Of course all other competitive smasher tried to conquer the official tournaments to the victory, but their ambition was shattered in front of the 4-man 2-min item-on official ruleset.

Masashi and me stupidly entered the same qualifying tournament in Toys”R”Us in Kyoto, and his Marth beat my Ganondorf in Temple. So that I couldn’t make it to the championship.

These 2 tournaments were the only official event of Melee in Japan until nowadays.

Dutch Tournament 1 (November 2, 2002)

1. Rune
2. Mr. Silver

Outside of America, there was one other place where the Smash scene was starting to develop: the Netherlands. The first major tourney between the Dutch was at DT1, where Rune took it over Mr. Silver to solidify himself as the best in his country.

Michigan Tournament (November 29, 2002)

1. SmashBroPro
2. Jv3x3

SBP traveled out to Michigan near the end of the year to fight the scene’s reigning champ, Jv3x3, known as the originator of the term “JV” (beating someone with no percent taken off their current stock). SBP took it fairly decisively over JV, proving to the rest of the Midwest that Chicago was the strongest region in the area.

JTanic’s House Tourney (December 2002, Single-Elim, Top 3 RR)

1. Eric/Derrick/Chu Dat
4. Azen/Chillin/Anden
7. Mild/JTanic/???

DYCE and H2YL’s next clash turned out badly for H2YL. A Fox main back then, Chu Dat, upset Azen, making it to the top three round robin. However, the top three of the tournament were caught in a precarious position, as Eric (now a Peach player) would always beat Derrick, but Chu would beat Eric and Derrick would beat Chu. The three effectively drew for first, but Chu later joined H2YL and later started his own legacy as an Ice Climbers player. At the same time, this was around when Chillin considered switching mains, from Sheik to Fox.

Dutch Tournament 2 (December 22, 2002)

1. Flok
2. Remen
3. Marc
4. Danny

DT2 was a much bigger affair than the previous DT, bringing more of the top players from the Netherlands.

Meleepalooza (December 23, 2002, Items)

1. Sultan of Samitude
2. Justin Junio
3. Recipherus

At the end of 2002, the West Coast decided to host one more tourney in the year, but instead of Deezie hosting it, Justin Junio did. However, the quickly improving Sultan of Samitude came through, and defeated both Junio and Recipherus, seemingly cementing his once lofty claim as the best Falco – or at least on the West Coast.

Although Melee didn’t quite have a unified scene at the end of the year, what’s clear is that community figures within Japan, MDVA, the Netherlands, California and Chicago provided early documentation for the inklings of competitive tournaments.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Before I get my head bitten off for this – yes. I realize that what we’ve written so far hasn’t included any Deadly Alliance tournaments, but there’s little recorded tournament data I could find online. What we do know is that the crew regularly hosted smashfests within New York and that they dominated a tournament called “Best in New York” (B.I.N.), along with regularly attending “Phillyfests,” per Wes’ knowledge.

It’s impossible to separate DA from Melee’s beginnings, even if we can’t find records of their first tournaments. Starting off as just Wes, Kamaal and HellFox playing regularly at KillaOR’s house, these players were forefathers of many different characters and provided the foundations for early versions of matchups. Part of what made DA so influential on the scene was how versatile its roster of character mains were. Combined with Empire Arcadia later, famous and controversial in many other ways, DA was one of the most successful and innovating esports groups ever.


While 2002 was the start of a national scene in Japan – and several fragmented ones within North America and Europe – 2003 was when the North American scenes came into contact a lot more frequently. In addition to members of each community boasting about themselves and discussing others’ play on forums, smashers soon had videos to watch and share with each other. Soon enough, people were traveling miles just to play Melee.

Because of more and more people talking about the game, soon enough, people began sharing footage of themselves playing. It’s unclear as to what exactly the first combo video was, but the best we could find was something Prog wrote for Melee It On Me in early-mid 2015.

Long before Melee hit the front page of Twitch (or even before our earliest streams were on Ustream and, before YouTube became the primary location for video storage, and even predating the DC++ hub, Smashers used free Angelfire websites to host videos. Match footage, friendlies, they all were recorded and posted if the person was interested in doing so.

Taking note from other competitive gaming scenes and traditional sports, a light bulb went off. Why not make a montage of a player’s match highlights and set it to music? This was different from many traditional fighting games, these weren’t proof of concept videos; these were in medias res, a dance between the players being shown. And although we don’t have an exact date, we generally attribute the first player highlight reels in Melee to The Punch Crew, dating back to 2003. The combo video was born.

MOAST 1 (January 6, 2003)

1. Zulu
2. Recipherus
3/4. Caveman/Rob$ (Placing unclear)

At the dawn of a new year, the first major tourney came in Texas: part of a relatively unknown region in the South. What made this tournament remarkable was NorCal’s Recipherus coming out: a rare, if not unprecedented, occasion of a premier player from one region traveling to another one.

However, Texas’s best, Zulu, had other things to say, as he won the tournament, instantly giving credibility to the South as  Melee region to watch in the future.

Tournament Go 4 (85-90 Entrants, January 19, 2003, Items)

1. Ken
2. Recipherus
3. Sultan of Samitude
4. Justin Junio
5. Jeff/Matt Deezie
7. Isai/Vien

For extremely obvious reasons, this tournament is an incredibly pivotal tourney in Melee’s history – as both Ken’s debut at a significant tournament and in terms of size.

Nonetheless, the Southern California Marth powered through, not dropping a game until grand finals, but winning anyway. Unlike other players who wavedashed and seemed to know the game’s technical limits well, Ken was just smarter, using strategies like dash dancing to pressure his opponents. Watch this money match against the Sultan of Samitude (also a tournament match), when Ken four-stocked him.

Although this tournament is known as Ken’s regional debut, don’t forget about Recipherus’ loser’s run. After losing to Sam in winners semis, the NorCal Sheik made a run through both Justin Junio and Sam, seemingly overcoming his Falco problem and proving to be somewhat close to Ken’s level as a player.

SoCal Inland Empire (???, 2003, Items)

1. Ken

This was the biggest tourney at this point in SoCal, a then-often forgotten region in the face of the dominant NorCal. Ken dominated it, once again proving his TG4 win was not a fluke. While not much is known of this tourney, it cements Ken as easily the best in his region.

However, this is not to discredit other people in SoCal. Including Ken, SoCal had an Elite 4 (later 5) that had Ken’s brother ManaCloud, Tavo7, Pedro and the Jigglypuff/Bowser extraordinaire in Arash, among other members later. Nonetheless, this crew dominated the SoCal scene for several years until late 2004 to early 2005 when players like DieSuperFly and HugS started to become notable.

Japan United Smash Festa Round-Robin 3 (March 2003, Round-Robin)

1. Captain Jack
2. Masashi
3. Michael (not Mikael!)
4. RAIN (yes – that RAIN!)
5. Nine Tales
6. Syogo
7. Taizo
8. Aniki

The first major Japanese tourney of 2003, USFRR 3 showcased the best of West Japan, with Captain Jack taking first place. It’s interesting to note that he and Masashi actually had an equal win-loss record at the event, though Jack finished higher in total points. This, in addition to Jack stating himself that Masashi beat him at other, smaller tourneys, makes it much less clear as to who the best in Japan was at the time, though these two were certainly above everyone else.

IVGF Northwest Regionals (151* Entrants, March 1st, 2003, Items)

1. Recipherus
2. Matt Deezie
3. Adam
4. CauthonLuck
5. Jem/Duff0

*-The entrants count is not fully substantiated

If you wanted to be a smartass and talk about the biggest Melee tournaments ever, this is technically a good answer until FC3, even if the number of entrants wasn’t completely indicative of serious competitive players. Nonetheless, this was the first tournament to feature the best of NorCal against the Pacific Northwest.

Usually when people think of PNW, they either think of Silent Wolf, Bladewise or Sastopher, but even back in 2003, this region was strong. In particular, one name stood out: CauthonLuck, otherwise known as Rori.

A Pikachu/Falco dual main, Rori consistently placed highly or won every PNW tourney he entered up until this point, with the exception of his very first one. Through his time in the scene, his success was particularly remarkable because of how Peach-ridden his region was, with players like Kei (Takagi), BaleFireBoy and Sastopher doing well. Rori’s ability to hang with and usually beat these players initially made people back then think that Pikachu was a good counterpick against Peach.

Despite his reputation, Rori placed beneath three of Norcal’s best. Recipherus won a purported $8,000 at this event, which stood as a record for nearly 4 years.


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Chris = Sastopher
Rori = CauthonLuck
Jeremy=1psemet AKA J-Dawg

If anyone’s curious, this data, according to conversations with Kei, covers SKYPAL tourneys from their inception in mid-2003 to October 2005. These were some of the biggest tournaments in the PNW region.

Dutch Tournament 3 (March 3, 2003)

1. Flok
2. Remen
3. Danny
4. Rune

Dutch Tournament 4 (May 17, 2003)

1. Remen
2. Flok
3. Steven
4. Mr. Silver

This next string of tourneys is purely European, as they took up the bulk of notable tourneys in this part of the year. Remen and Flok proved themselves to be the top two in the Netherlands, trading wins at the past three events. The rankings below were much less clear, as the players beneath them were all close in skill.

St. Louis Tournament (June 21, 2003)

1. KishSquared
2. KishCubed
3. Joshu
4. Iggy

The first major tournament in the Midwest not involving Chicago, this marked the debut of the Ship of Fools, which included Joshu, Iggy and the legendary Kish Brothers from Indiana. KishSquared won this event, and this tourney in general legitimized Indiana, as the Kishes threw their state in what was once an Illinois-dominated conversation for best state in the Midwest.

Snexus 2 (48 Entrants, July 12, 2003)

1. Recipherus
2. Isai
3. Eddie
4. Eduardo
5. KishCubed, KishPrime
7. Iggy, The Doug

Snexus 2 was the first meeting not just between the two big regions of the Midwest (Illinois and Indiana), but also the West Coast, with Recipherus, Isai and The Doug.

The tourney started off strong for the Midwest. Eddie and Eduardo, then known as Team Blood, shockingly defeated the West Coast team of Recipherus and Isai in doubles, showing that the two Midwest players were as much of a tournament threat as their West Coast contemporaries. However, they couldn’t carry their success into singles, though they placed over their rivals in the Kish brothers. Defeating Eduardo, Eddie and Isai twice from losers, Recipherus ended up winning yet another tournament.

DCSS #1 (40 Entrants, July 12, 2003)

1. Azen
2. Chu Dat
3. Chillin
4. Mild
5. Derrick/???
7. Anden/???

After their painful losses to DYCE and even Chu at their last tournament, H2YL came back (along with Chu) with a vengeance, returning at DC Super Smash. Having trained for eight months in preparation for competing again, the crew took the tournament’s top four spots, with Azen coming out on top and proving himself as the best in MD/VA and perhaps even the East Coast.

Tournament Go 5 (~80-90 Entrants, August 2-3, 2003, Items)

1. Ken
2. Recipherus
3. Isai
4. Azen
5. Wes/Justin Junio
7. Sultan of Samitude/The Doug
9. Hien/Sastopher/Rori/Mike G
13. Mr.Silver/Scamp/Eddie/Caveman

While it’s easy to read Deezie’s old tourney posts and laugh, keep in mind that back then, it was already difficult to organize get-togethers with friends. Imagine being a teenager or young adult, having to organize travel for tons of players, while also making sure they were housed, brought to the venue, etc. Deezie was one of the first TO’s to pay out of pocket for these tournaments. In a way, Tournament Go 5 was revolutionary in how it somehow managed to get the best players on the continent in one place.


With the best from NorCal, the East Coast, Midwest and Ken at the same tourney, TG5 was America’s most stacked tournament yet, even featuring the return of Justin Junio. However, Ken still decisively won, while the East Coast’s Azen finished modestly with Sheik, but lost to Recipherus and Isai, seemingly proving that California was indeed the best region.

We’ve written this before, but the tournament results didn’t come without controversy.  East Coast players were unfamiliar with the stock count (they played mostly with five) and playing with items. As a result, many who were fans of Azen at the time complained that the “Master of Diversity” never got a fair chance to prove his skill, since he was playing in unfamiliar territory.

Midwest Challenge (19 Entrants, August 9, 2003)

1. Eddie
2. KishCubed
3. KishSquared
4. Joshu
5. Iggy/???

Shortly after in the Midwest, Eddie came back to show his ninth at TG5 was not a result of a decline in skill, as he decisively won Midwest Challenge, now known by some as MELEE-FC0. This was the first time the Kishes hosted a tourney of any notoriety, and as such added their own spin to it. FC0 was also the first tournament to have a crew battle, and is thus a massive landmark in Melee history.

Live or Die (August 23, 2003)

1. Azen
2. Anden
3. Mild
4. JTanic
5. Chillin

Azen showed that his time in NorCal was not wasted, as he easily dispatched the competition.

Dutch Tournament 5 (August 30, 2003)

1. Reffie
2. Steven
3. Remen
4. Flok

Unlike before, where Remen and Flok went back and forth, a hidden boss named Reffie showed up to beat both of them.

DCSS #2 (42 Entrants, September 20, 2003)

1. Azen
2. Wes
3. Kamaal
4. Chu Dat
5. Anden/Mild/JTanic
7. Chillin/JTanic/Mild

The final East Coast major arriving, DCSS 2 was the first formal confrontation between H2YL and DA. Both crews had met before in smashfests, but only Azen and Chu could seriously compete with the rest of DA. Nonetheless, with New York invaders, Azen defended his home ground, decisively taking the tournament.

This tournament is also notable for a controversial winners semis match between Wes and Chu. In the last game of their best-of-three set, Chu timed out Wes, expecting to win the set, due to having lower percent. However, due to a different tournament ruleset, the two were forced to play the resulting Sudden Death, in which Wes won.

Dutch Tournament 6 (October 25, 2003)

1. The Doug
2. Remen
3. Flok
4. Danny

The Doug, a player initially from the U.K., traveled frequently throughout the beginning of the decade, moving to California and then visiting the Netherlands. Winning the tourney over Remen, Flok and Danny, 3 of Netherlands’ best, Doug once again established himself as a top-level player.

Flame of Bowser (November 22, 2003)

1.  Eddie
2. Eduardo
3. AOB
4. Fusegen
5. KishCubed/Smog
7. Iggy/CAHPhoenix

The final Midwest major of the year, Eduardo finally showed up to his first tourney since Snexus 2, in an attempt to prove that he was still the best player in-region. However, in a classic tale of “little brother overcomes big brother,” Eddie defeated Eduardo in grand finals, proving himself as the new kind of the Midwest. At this same tournament, a rising Jigglypuff main – and later the TO of one of America’s longest lasting tourney series in Show Me Your Moves – AOB showed that there was new blood.

Midwest Massacre (30 Entrants, November 29, 2003)

1. Smog
2. Fusegen

Other than these two placings, this was notable for being Dope’s first tournament (Midwest Falco).

BOMB1 (Late 2003)

1. Mild
2. Chillin
3. MuffinKing

As the first important MDVA tournament to not feature Azen, naturally, Chillin expected himself to win the tournament. Unfortunately for him, his brother Mild beat him – an accomplishment he still holds over him to this day.

If any of you have followed our series, you’ll know that at the end of these kinds of articles, we usually do rankings of the top ten players per year in Melee. But within Melee’s first two years, even with all the data we have, it’s difficult to come up with a global ranking, since the communication between different local communities was still a work in progress.

Both Catastrophe and I have enjoyed doing our best to chronicle Melee’s history – and to an extent, it saddens us that our “years in review” and attempts at a past ranking system are finished.

Yet simultaneously, we know that we haven’t covered everything. There’s countless tournaments, communities, players, stories and mysteries that we don’t know about. Thank you to everyone that’s supported our journey to to share Melee’s history. We’ll be back with more!

General Sources:

(Anecdotal accounts from DrewTheDragon, Chillin and Kei)

Premium Fight: The Very First Melee Tournament

Catastrophe’s rankings:

MDVA (2002):

1. Derrick (Sheik Main, DYCE Member)
2. Eric (Yoshi/Peach, DYCE Member)
3. Azen (Many Characters)
4. Chu Dat (Fox Main at the time)
5. Anden (Puff Main)
6. Chillin (Sheik Main at the time)
7. Mild (Sheik Main)
8. JTanic (Samus Main)

West Coast (2002):

1. Recipherus (Sheik Main, NorCal)
2. Justin Junio (Falco Main, NorCal)
3. Sultan of Samitude (Falco Main, NorCal)
4. Matt Deezie (Mario/Fox Main, NorCal)
5. JR Castillo (Fox Main, NorCal)
6. Adam (Luigi Main, NorCal, Recipherus’s Brother)
7. Vien (Dr. Mario Main, NorCal)
8. Terrakalar (Many Characters, Justin Junio’s Brother)
9. Scamp (Fox Main, NorCal, is the Dave in “Dave’s Stupid Rule” or DSR)

Midwest (2002):

1. Eduardo (Marth Main, Chicago)
2. DJXXX (Chicago)
3. Eddie (Chicago)
4. SmashBroPro (Chicago)
5. Jv3x3 (Michigan)

Netherlands (2002-2003):

1. Remen
2. Flok
3. Reffie
4. Steven
5. Danny
6. Rune
7. Mr. Silver
8. Marc

*The Doug moved to Netherlands at the end of 2003, but lived prior in the U.K. and California.

East Coast (2003):

1. Azen
2. Wes
3. Kamaal
4. DA Dave
5. Chu Dat
6. Mike G
7. Hein
8. HellFox
9. Mild
10. Chillin
11. Anden
12. JTanic

West Coast (2003):

1. Ken
2. Recipherus
3. Isai
4. Sultan of Samitude
5. Justin Junio
6. The Doug
7. Matt Deezie
8. Adam
9. Jeff
10. Vien

Midwest (2003):

1. Eddie
2. Eduardo
3. KishSquared
4. KishCubed
5. AOB
6. KishPrime
7. Joshu
8. Iggy
9. Snex

National Ranking (2003):

1. Ken
2. Recipherus
3. Isai
4. Azen
5. Sultan of Samitude
6. Justin Junio
7. Zulu
8. Wes
9. Eddie
10. The Doug
11. Eduardo
12. Rori


  1. BX BX

    Wow what a good read!

  2. Nicely done on this and other articles about the old days. I’m enjoying them.

    Correction to the Flame of Bowser placings. Amazingly I still have an old html of the bracket.
    1. Eddie
    2. Eduardo
    3. AOB
    4. Fusegen
    5. KishCubed/Smog
    7. Iggy/CAHPhoenix

    • Glad to see that you enjoyed them. I’d love to contact you some time in the future if you get a chance to talk!

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