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Published September 1, 2016

It’s 2010: the first year of the current decade in smash history. Just after the year of Genesis and Revival of Melee, it was a year of high variance in Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament results and perceived player rankings. Well that, and people still casually said words like “rape” and “gay” in interviews.

While the year started off with 2009’s No. 1 in Mango winning Pound 4 without dropping a set,  Mango spent the rest of the year mostly getting drunk at tourneys or not trying his hardest, opting to go Mario, Captain Falcon, Marth or other secondaries rather than play his mains. This, as you can imagine, led to quite a bit of uncertainty within the scene’s community – not about the game’s post-Brawl future, which was beginning to boom again, but about who was going to take Melee’s empty throne. Was it someone else this year, or was it still the guy below?

As Juggleguy wrote in his Year in Review of 2010, out of the six biggest tournaments of the year (Pound 4, Show Me Your Moves 11, Apex 2010, Smash Needs You, Revival of Melee 3 and Don’t Go Down There Jeff), five people won them. Here’s a crazy hint: the guy who won two of those tourneys isn’t in our top five.

Catastrophe and I are back at it again with our RetroSSBMRank for 2010. You know the drill.

*Disclaimer: For the list, we decided to only include people that either entered two nationals or entered at least four tournaments we could find on the year. This is why we decided not to put Chu Dat or DaShizWiz in our honorable mentions, though the latter deserves props for going to Northern California during the year and winning a tourney over all of its best players despite not playing for six months. We also didn’t include Darkrain, who might have been easily Top 20 were it not for living in Texas at the time.

Honorable Mentions:

Aziz “Hax” Al-Yami

While he is a bit lower on the list than he was in 2009, Hax was still a force to be reckoned with and was easily being Tri-State’s third best player by the end of the year. At Pound 4, he defeated Amsah – and also in the year took a set of Jman, who only lost to him, Mew2King, th0rn and Swiftbass out of Northeast opponents in 2010.

Alex “Lambchops” Ucles

The laser guru out of all Falco players, Lambchops was still a top-level player in 2010, beating players like Colbol and Jman in the year. Legend has it that he bodied Armada in friendlies before GENESIS a year ago, without even knowing whom he was. You watch the videos and decide for yourself.

Dajuan “Shroomed” McDaniel

Before being known for being one of the world’s best Sheik players, Shroomed had the world’s best Doctor Mario, with tutelage from the likes of HomeMadeWaffles and Bob$. One of the best in NorCal, with wins over Lucien, SilentSpectre and more, Shroomed two years before had one of the most exciting, hyped up and bad-blooded money matches in all of smash history. Check it out here.

Ryan “Unknown522” Ford

His national placings were fairly low (25th at Apex 2010 and 17th at RoM 3), but locally, Unknown was probably Canada’s best player, with a 6-2 record on KirbyKaze and winning most of the Toronto/Ontario weeklies of the time. Along with being proficient vs. Sheik, Unknown also was great against Marth, always beating Canadian Marth main IB whenever they played.

Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson

The world’s best Pikachu player already shocked the world in 2009, when he upset Jman at GENESIS. But in 2010, he continued to make huge improvements, defeating DaShizWiz, Jman, Dr. PeePee, Scar and taking Armada to the brink at Apex 2010. While a year ago you could have said his success came primarily from people not knowing how to play against Pikachu, by the end of the year, Axe proved himself as not just a gimmick.

Julian “Zhu” Zhu

Zhu wasn’t Top Ten in the world any more, but he was still one of its most exciting Falcos, with some of the coolest combo videos at the time. He had two wins over Mango (sandbagging) and also beat Jman, Zgetto and Lucky within the year, showcasing that the SoCal Falco still had what it took to compete with the very best in the world.

Lucien “Lucien” Mayo

Some Sheiks, like Mew2King, will needle at you and sit by ledge, waiting for you to make a mistake so they can edgeguard you and get a cheesy kill. Other Sheiks, like Lucien, will play Sheik like a spacie, opting for aggressively zoning in and out their opponents spaces. NorCal’s most successful player in-region also has a plethora of useful tutorial videos online, still important for any smash player to watch.

Robert “Wobbles” Wright

Though Wobbles had a rough Tipped Off 6, where he lost to Rayku and RockCrock, he also beat Darkrain, Zhu, DaShizWiz, (sandbagging) Mango, Lucky, Fly, Kels and Iori, among others within the year. If Wobbles entered a little bit more to make up for his TO6 performance, maybe he would be in the top ten.

Miguel “Zgetto” Rodriguez

In Zgetto, Amsah finally had the rival to challenge him for supremacy within the Netherlands. The Dutch Fox beat KirbyKaze and Cactuar at Pound 4 in January, only losing to Armada and Amsah in Europe, and even defeating the latter once in the year, showing that the once untouchable in-region Sheik player couldn’t sleep on his opponents.

Jeffrey “SilentSpectre” Leung

NorCal’s wackiest Falcon and arguably its best player at nationals, SilentSpectre started off the year with a bang, sending Armada to losers bracket at Pound 4, while also finishing 3rd at Good Shit German and ninth at DGDTJ, named after him. Not to mention, winning Nice Shot Hugo: a tourney that Lovage, Axe, Forward, Mango, Lucky and almost all of California went to.

Top Ten of RetroSSBMRank

10. Jeremy “Fly Amanita” Westfahl

By the end of December, everyone was talking about Fly Amanita’s victory over Hungrybox being one of the best upsets of the year. Yet, it’s important to note that SoCal’s finest Ice Climbers was still one of his region’s best players. In 2010, Fly Amanita had an even record with Lucky, beat Lucien and was arguably the third best in his region, despite not being able to consistently wobble. Not that it mattered anyway.

9. Joey “Lucky” Aldama

When I talked to Lucky at Shine and asked him whether he thinks he’d be top ten in 2010, he laughed and said he was mostly inactive around this time. However, when we took a look at Lucky’s results, his wealth of data and strong victories stand out against his contemporaries. By the end of December, California’s best Fox player had wins over Hungrybox, Dr. PeePee, Amsah, Shroomed, Lovage, Lucien and Scar, among being part of arguably the best team in the world with Mango. I guess he must have confused the years, because in 2010, he has a resume that’s unquestionably top ten. Either that, or he didn’t want to remember the hair.

8. David “KirbyKaze” McDonald

Arguably Canada’s best player, KirbyKaze had victories over Mango (sandbagging), Dr. PeePee and SilentSpectre by the end of the year. While KirbyKaze occasionally struggled against local competition (2-6 vs. Unknown522 and 3-2 vs. RaynEX), his third place at RoM 3 was a huge reason for his high placing on our list. Moreover, KirbyKaze’s colorful, tongue-in-cheek, if not self-deprecating posts on Smashboards provide a gold mine for players looking for useful information even today. Along with DruggedFox back then, KirbyKaze was practically the human database on Sheik and Melee on Smashboards, always willing to chat with anyone that had questions.

7. Amsah “Amsah” D. Augustuszoon

Europe’s best Sheik had a relatively low data set for American tournaments, but from what we saw, Amsah was every bit the real deal. At Pound 4, the Dutch No. 1 beat Ka-Master, Lovage, Falcomist, Remen, Linguini, Tope, Zhu, Jman and Armada himself to finish in third place for what was at the time the biggest smash tournament of all time.

6. Jesus “Jman” Fernandez

He didn’t beat Mew2King like he did last year, but Jman was inarguably Tri-State’s No. 2 in 2010. With a patient, laser-heavy Fox known for camping out opponents and forcing them to approach, the New York-based Fox main had several impressive set victories over the likes of Darkrain, PC Chris, Dr. PeePee – and even won the year’s final major in DGDTJ. Here, Jman defeated SFAT, Falcomist, Mango’s Marth, Zhu and Lucky without dropping a set en route to close out a chaotic year for Melee’s top players.

5. Kevin “Dr. PeePee” Nanney

Was Dr. PeePee a “god” of Melee yet? Maybe not initially, given that he began the year with losses to Smash History contributor SleepyK, Axe and Lucky in its first month. After Pound 4, however, North Carolina’s finest began to make his case for being one of Melee’s greatest players.

Along with going even against Hungrybox, Dr. PeePee also has one of the year’s best tournaments runs at RoM 3, where he lost to KirbyKaze in winners semifinals, before defeating Hbox, Jman, getting revenge on KirbyKaze and shocking the world with taking two sets over Mew2King in grand finals. Most people didn’t consider Dr. PeePee a “god” until Pound V, but with Mango continuing to mostly sandbag against his opponents, the world’s best Falco main in 2010 might have just been Dr. PeePee.

4. Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman

You’d be surprised at how many people still johnned for Mew2King even after he began to focus heavily on playing Brawl – some things truly never change. Nevertheless, he was still among the top echelon of players and was essentially an early recovery away from defeating Armada at Pound 4, suffering one of the year’s most heartbreaking losses, along with losing a close last-stock, last game, stitchface-influenced set against him at Apex 2010.

Mew2King could have an argument to be even higher, given his 3-0 head to head against Mango, though Mango played Falcon and Mario in these sets. Although he didn’t win anything, Mew2King also deserves credit for never dropping a set to anyone outside of the top five of the year.

3. Adam “Armada” Lindgren

After GENESIS, there was still a bit of cautious skepticism of Armada since that was his only American tournament so far. By the end of Pound 4, when Armada had lost to SilentSpectre and Amsah to go home at fourth place, the Swedish Peach still looked like one of the world’s elite players, but his stock wasn’t necessarily as high as before.

Nevertheless, as the year progressed, Armada looked like he forgot how to lose, only dropping Apex 2010 to Hungrybox in a lopsided Peach vs. Jigglypuff matchup in two brutal sets. Other than that, Armada didn’t drop a set to anyone else for the rest of the year. Though his lack of an American title drops him on our list, Armada’s epic consistency, and wins over high level competition puts him as one of the men among (mostly) boys in the Melee community.

2. Joseph “MaNg0” Marquez/Joshua “Scorpion Master” Lopez

It feels almost wrong to say that Mango was the best player of 2010, but in terms of perceived skill, he might have been. For over half of the year, SoCal’s No. 1 sandbagged in several sets, opting to play the likes of Mario, Captain Falcon and Marth in tournament rather than the vaunted Puff and Falco that ruled the world just a year ago and won Pound 4 without dropping a set.

Frequently using the tag “Scorpion Master” and creating a ridiculous backstory for this persona so that no one outside of his friends in the scene would recognize his presence online, Mango routinely embarrassed top players with his secondaries while under the alias. Some notable moments include his destruction of Kage, who ended Mango’s “reign” in 2009, with Link at RoM 3, as well as beating HugS and SilentSpectre with Mario. Mango was still the West Coast’s best player and even dominated Hungrybox in money matches after the Florida Jigglypuff won Apex 2010.

At some point though, you can’t reward a player for not caring enough to play seriously in tournament. Along with Mango’s list of notable wins, come some pretty ugly showings at nationals, including a 9th place finish at RoM 3 and a 25th stinker at Apex 2010. It wasn’t even like his Falco was unstoppable either, as it lost a game against Cactuar before Mango opted to go Mario.

1. Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma

Six years before he dominated the summer of 2016, Hungrybox was arguably the world’s best and most consistent Melee player, with a win at Apex 2010 and high placings every other tournament he entered. Oh – and just in case you thought Jigglypuff carried him, he finished second at a Florida local while playing Sheik, losing only to Colbol: an arguably Top 25-30 player in the world at the time.

Mango fans might point to Pound 4 as proof that Mango was better than Hungrybox for the year, but along with how early in the year this was, consider how close most of the games were, jab rest punishes aside. Now remember that when the two rematched at DGDTJ in December, Hungrybox’s worst tournament of the year, he still won over Mango’s Fox: at the time, still one of Mango’s best characters. How much can we excuse Mango’s sandbagging without ignoring Hungrybox’s strong showings in tourney?

Was Hungrybox definitively the best player heading into 2011? It’s hard to say, with his losses at RoM 3 and DGDTJ showcasing players seemingly figuring out how to beat Jigglypuff near the end of the year. But it’s also near impossible to find a player who in the year demonstrated the level of consistency, success and positive player matchup spread as Hungrybox.

Data dump is below:

Enjoy – and if you want to see us get more attention and reception, tweet to us @ssbmjecht or @GCH_Catastrophe or fellow contributor/advisor @sleepike for more smash history takes.

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