A while after I completed the SoCal Top 50, I reflected on the project. It was one of the most fun editorial pieces I had ever worked on – in some ways, even more special than the Melee Stats All-Time Top 100. Where that project was meant to celebrate the contributions of players at the forefront of the scene’s history, this one celebrated the most prominent people of an entire region. It was more intimate and, in my opinion, a bit closer to the heart of Smash than other projects I had worked on before.
I decided to do it again – this time for the region nearest and dearest to me: New England. From when I got into Melee in 2013, I’ve always been a part of this region, though my activity has never been the highest. It made for an easy choice for which scene I would cover for my next Top 50 project.
Last question – if there is a region you’d like to see a Top 50 for, which one is it?
— Edwin (@edwin_budding) February 4, 2023
Similar to the SoCal Top 50, I decided to create a list of eligible players from September 21, 2022 to March 21, 2022. This would, for the most part, adhere to a lenient criteria. Any player must not have an active ban from a major and they must have attended six or more tournaments within this time span. Once again, much like the SoCal project, we then collected each of the seasonal head-to-heads for the 63 final players on the ballot and filtered them accordingly into one head-to-head table handed out to each panelist. Speaking of which, this panel had 10 members, making it a larger one than the SoCal panel. Furthermore, the actual process of data collection was easy, thanks to the help of Huffff and Analog, two people who tracked sets throughout the ranking period and further for New England’s actual official PR.
As the final failsafe to determine eligibility, I allowed for the New England panel to nominate and vote on “exceptions” to the existing standard I had set. The reason I did this was to give the region a prioritized subjective “voice” over my executive authority to determine it. It did not seem right of me to impose my idea of eligibility over the wishes of representatives from the region. The same idea was put in place for if a player could be considered “sufficiently New England.”
Below are the panelists involved in the project:
- Dr. Lame
Like the SoCal panel, each panelist was given a sheet with qualifying players, and their head-to-heads against each other, as well as provided a link to SmashDataGG for results outside of those head-to-heads. For instances of players sandbagging or choosing to play secondaries, it was ultimately each panelist’s job to factor that in as how they saw fit. They then ranked each player on a scale of 1.0 to 10.0, with 1.0 being the lowest score and 10.0 being the highest. The prompt was the following: “Based on OFFLINE data from 9/21/22 to 3/21/23, as well as your subjective assessment of this person’s performances, how well do you think they’d perform on average at 10 New England tournaments?”
Everyone’s scores were then normalized after being given, to ensure no inflated results. The only difference in how we did it this time was that we adjusted for two combined outliers rather than one, just based on what was appropriate for panelist scores. At the end of the process, we ended up with the final list. Before we get into our honorable mention, I’d like to bring up three notable inactive players who made a mark in their performances this season, but were not active enough to be considered in the ranking period. Consider them the “hidden bosses” of New England.
- YAMI: A Connecticut Fox player (formerly known as Ricky) who defeated Mekk and Kalvar en route to second place at CT GamerCon 6.
- Project: A Massachusetts Fox player formerly ranked No. 1 in his state; boasts wins over Q, Bank, Golden, glock in my toyota, and Silver.
- Q: A Connecticut Fox player who won an October local over Kikoho and Arty.
- Petey Walnuts
It’s been my dream to write a blurb about Petey Walnuts, one of my dearest friends in the whole Smash scene. This is someone I’ve known since he was that college freshman Fox player who didn’t know how to stage strike, but could do sextuple-shines on command. Much has changed since. He’s married, plays Falco, watches a Fiction lesson every night before going to bed, and he routinely terrorizes Nitro, Brub, Swampy, Nibbity, and Raventoly, among others in Connecticut brackets.
#melee Here is the new Connecticut Melee Power Ranking for Summer 2022!
Art by: @Tuba_ssbm pic.twitter.com/MIi2QAPgNc
— Hall of Gaming (@HoG_CT) September 30, 2022
In Connecticut’s last ranking season, he was voted “Most Improved,” and you can’t deny that he’s earned it. I wish I had the space to mention all the different inside jokes and references that our mutual group of friends bring up in relation to Peter – especially how he uses Falco’s laser like a paintbrush – and I also wish that he made the official Top 50. Alas, it did not happen, but none of that changes how sincerely proud I am of him as a player and how glad I am to be so close to him after all these years. Just don’t get him started on Ice Climbers.
RyuCloud’s the OG RI hidden boss. Anyone from RI knows that RyuCloud is RI Melee’s gatekeeper to greatness. Back in the day, he’d be posting on smashboards coaxing other players to come to RI tourneys and nowadays you’ll see him at the occasional havenshine on Mondays schooling the new school players with Marth, Fox, or Falco.
RyuCloud has been a staple competitor in the Rhode Island scene for over a decade. He’s also one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet in the community. Friendlies with him have personally been a blast for me ever since the beginning of my Melee career, even when I was still learning how to control my character. He’s here to stay so if you run into him, don’t be afraid to say what’s up, and hit him up for some good Melee!
- ETHAN BURKE
Maybe better known for posting images of cats under cupofwater’s tweets and the NEM general, Ethan Burke dropped the Monkeytoes identity for the full legal name swag and with it came notable growth. While he may not be the subfloat addict that defines modern Peach, his neutral game is patient and methodical. Don’t be fooled though, he still swings in spots that often catch his opponents off guard and frequently lead to monster damage.
Wins over Deadstock, FreeSSBM, Petey Walnuts, Future Shock, Riichi, and Yung Hunn0 show that he is solidly beating many at or above his skill level. If he keeps pushing, he’ll keep making progress at the rapid pace that defined his come up. Without a doubt, he’ll be in the conversation for best Peach once the few pieces click and he starts blowing up your favorite player on stream. Meanwhile, the whole of South Coast will be yelling “E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-THAAAAAN”.
I once asked Spades to give me some advice on how to fight Pikachu. Kind man that he is, he offered to watch a video of myself getting 7-stocked by bonn. Spades did so and then told me the good news: that basically everything I did, I should have done the opposite. I can’t attest to how useful the advice was, as I haven’t played a Pikachu since, but this memory of Spades stands out in my head and I wanted to share it to the world.
Oh yeah; he’s pretty good at Melee. When he was active in Connecticut, he reached as high as No. 6 in the state, terrorizing many a spacie player and Marth player alike. He left for New York a couple months ago and hasn’t entered a New England Melee tournament since, but rest assured I’ll always be rooting for Spades’ success. Yes, before you ask, of course it helps that he’s a Melee Stats Patron.
- 33 toes
33 toes wants to set the record straight—no, they don’t actually have thirty-three toes, just the usual twenty. Jokes aside, if you’ve ever entered a Melee Netplay tournament or a Boston area local, chances are you’ve probably crossed paths with 33 toes. In 2022, 33 toes logged a staggering 1152 sets on start.gg, the most out of any Peach player worldwide. But don’t let this data point give you the false impression that 33 toes is a Netplay hermit. 33 toes has been a key community member since their days running the NEU Melee club through their recent breakthrough to viral Twitter fame.
please pretend i hit the edgeguard pic.twitter.com/YcAstfFKzx
— 33 toes (@33_toes) April 24, 2023
More recently, much to the dismay of every other character main, 33 toes made good on their promise to unionize the New England Peach mains. They founded an active Discord server that now counts 25+ local princesses among its ranks, including yours truly, catalyzing the resurgence of the character at locals. As one of New England’s fastest-rising Peach mains alongside ETHAN BURKE, 33 toes has felled many tough opponents including glock in my toyota, regEx, and hexjo. After Collision, they even made the switch to SmashBox. The hyperfloat Twitter combos from week one are already absolutely terrifying. God help us all when 33 toes gets comfy on the rectangle controller.
The old king of WPI, Arcade is one of the more technical Falcons in New England Melee. According to his WPI rivals, Arcade plays Melee more like a traditional fighting game. This allows him to net big neutral wins that he turns into strong punishes.
Although his activity has been a bit sporadic this season, Arcade has still managed to net winning records on other NEM top 50 contenders IOA, Tarchwood, and 33 toes. Regardless of his placing, Arcade is definitely a high upside player that surprises no one when he pulls off one of his patented “upset” victories.
Don’t let 2can’s boyish charm and friendly demeanor fool you. This Ice Climber warlord wants nothing more than to grab you and pummel you to dust. 2can employs a methodical zoning approach to the ICs neutral. He probably finds comfort in this playstyle due to his extensive experience as an ICs main in Smash Ultimate.
Once 2can gets the grab, he’s quite proficient with a varied mix of true hand-off chain grabs, desync nana fair combo starters, and more traditional down-throw dair re-grabs. 2can was ranked 8th on last season’s CT Summer PR. With winning records on Ant, Ac3r, and Petey Walnuts, you can expect to see 2can continue to “ice climb” the ranks of the CT PR.
When I first played Sweat in person, I got the sense that he might be a spiritual disciple of Jmook. After all he’s a sharply dressed, friendly, and composed Sheik player. But log onto Smash Twitter and you’ll get a glimpse of a different Alp: an old soul with a bone-dry sense of humor and a flair for the literary. To take a representative writing sample: “I had two cloyingly sweet scone-esque cookies, and now my stomach hurts. My hubris knows no bounds. Icarus, step aside.”
This season in particular Sweat’s been living up to his tag, toiling away in the lab and at the locals. Having mastered the not-so-secret technique of “if I help the TOs set up Wiis, I will have more time to play friendlies,” he’s often the first to show up and one of the last to leave. With recent set wins on Electroman, Mr. Heat, and Admiral Zhao, Sweat’s finally risen above the mid-level morass of Massachusetts Melee and his climb shows no signs of slowing any time soon.
Nitro’s Fox is like pre-patch Four Loko, darting around the stage with such ferocity you never know what’s about to hit you. He’s someone who plays for the love of the game, popping off for you combos mid set, and walking away with a smile even after a loss. Everyone’s a Jeff fan, everyone starts watching when Jeff is on stream, and you know you’re always in for a good show.
Jeff sees the game differently, every time you play him he somehow has something new to bring to the table. You would think that he would run out of combos but every time it’s always a new one, and Jeff never reuses his material, always got something better to hit you with. He plays every character like it’s Fox. I don’t know how he does it, but I swear I’ve been Shine spiked by his Young Link.
The first time I encountered Steven “IOA” Zarrella, I had the fun of experiencing something new: the wonders of playing Melee on a truly optimized CRT setup. IOA has been referred to as “the setup guy”, “the PVM guy”, “that guy that brings crazy, nice melee setups in a suitcase” and surely many more clever titles referring to his penchant for high caliber Melee setups. I was a little confused, however, as to why someone would bring themselves and their niche retro CRT from Massachusetts all the way up to Waterville Maine just to play some Melee. I soon learned that such traveling is the norm for this NEM nomad who loads up his “cah” to bring himself, his melee apparatuses, and his humble, easy going demeanor to tourneys all over the region.
Now, it turns out when I just referred to IOA as “humble”, I was lying. While few know the meaning of the tag “IOA”, everyone who has heard the truth has been aghast to learn the meaning: “I Own All”. For every event that IOA attends, he edges closer to upsetting your favorite regional talent sporting hard fought wins over the likes of Nage, FreeSSBM, Stacy’s Stepdad, and even a scrappy hard fought upset over cupofwater. Every player sleeping on IOA will soon experience the new feeling of dropping games and eventually sets as IOA continues his quest to Own All.
One might describe Cale “Tarchwood” Martie as a bit of a nomad. Not only have they lived in states like Kentucky, Texas, and Alabama – they’ve also attended major tournaments all across the US over nearly a decade. Today, however, the former Alabama Arcadian champ has their sights set on conquering a new region: New England. In this endeavor, Cale has largely succeeded, as they are one of Massachusetts’ premier Falcon mains, alongside Future Shock and Arcade.
One *could* say that Tarch has stomped the competition since arriving in Mass, as they have earned wins on Hexjo, Twisty, Future Shock, Yung Hunno, and even Awesome Video Games. Aside from attending NGPRs and Mass Madnesses, you can often spot them at NEU’s weekly Sconefest, where they earned a spot on the school’s power ranking. Perhaps in part due to their competitive experience, Tarchwood’s play style combines strong fundamentals with jump and drift timing mixups and a love of Raptor Boost. Given how many tournaments Cale has attended, I can only assume that they must also pilot the Blue Falcon – as this is the only possible explanation. And, as a Tarchwood fan, I look forward to seeing them pilot their star cruiser to new heights.
The same way you may feel a distant, superficial connection to a “friend of a friend,” I feel a weird sense of familiarity with WeWa. The reason: knowing the unimaginable suffering he has brought to my dear friend Petey Walnuts, as well as every Connecticut spacie. Whether it’s downtilting them by the ledge, nairing them in place, grabbing them by the corner or forward smashing them out of their jump, WeWa is a consistently deadly opponent for any who cross his path. It’s gotten so bad before that Peter, whom I share a group Discord chat with, once posted a .gif of Hungrybox repeatedly bobbing his head, and then told us he was going to start developing a Jigglypuff secondary for Marth.
One interesting thing about WeWa is that as far as Melee results are concerned, he never leaves Connecticut. Throughout this ranking period, the only events he went to were Hall of Gaming locals. In fact, from a third place run at the last HoG in December to the end of the ranking period, he didn’t enter any tournaments. I will end this blurb with a mouthful: WeWa, where were you?
The term “hidden boss” gets thrown around quite a lot, but FreeSSBM fits this criteria strongly for the midrange New England Melee scene. Attending 21 tournaments this season, Free has only attended 3 tournaments with over 16 attendees. That is due in part to the comradery around the small weekly called ESG held in Waterford, Connecticut, that he attends most Sundays. Melee is a grassroots scene, and in a region as large as New England it’s impressive and heartwarming to see a player more focused on enjoying a small local with friends, rather than seeking the fire of bigger events.
That’s not to say he isn’t a threat when he does decide to enter sizable tournaments. Through his bigger outings, Free has picked up wins on Nage, BINGHI, ac3r, and even found an upset over Connecticut gatekeeper, Arty. If you ever catch him in your bracket path during one of his outings, you better keep on your toes against his tactical Fox.
I don’t know a whole lot about PSI beyond the fact that he’s arguably the region’s top active Luigi main and the (possibly apocryphal) rumor that he’s dudutsai’s brother. But he seemed like one of the likely sleeper picks for this list so here it goes. Based on PSI’s results and first-hand experience he’s a formidable Peach slayer: he’s actually undefeated against the character this season (7-0) with dominant records over New England Peach aficionados Stacy’s Stepdad (2-0) and 33 toes (4-0) since the end of quarantine.
At NGPR 3.15, PSI went on an electric loser’s run, defeating Phil D. Beverage and dudutsai and double-eliminating Plush—a hidden boss Peach main who recently placed 65th at Collision. I hope that all my practice against my fast-improving Luigi rival Saucymain can prepare me for the next time I meet PSI in bracket. Surely, nobody beats the NEM Peach union eight times in a row.
- Yung Hunn0
In a timeline parallel to ours yet twisted in a sinister way, Falco Lombardi was shown the future of the metagame and understood that he must never let the opponent be in advantage, and thus was born “The Falco Who Laughs.” Yung Hunn0, who is the bearer of this knowledge, knows that in time, he too will never let his opponent land so much as a phantom on him, and is currently clawing his way up a rainswept mountain.
While he may be down in the head-to-head, wins over cupofwater and Trail certainly aren’t easy tasks. Dubs over Stacy’s Stepdad, MEAT, PSI, and Future Shock also attest to his ability to lock his opponent in his world. When he isn’t being your favorite hidden boss’s favorite final boss, he’s grinding it out on Twitch and putting out bangers on bangers.
Although ac3r was only a part of New England Melee for three months, he left an indelible mark on our local scene. In the final quarter of 2022, you could hardly go a weeknight browsing Melee Twitch streams without coming across a Sheik player with an American flag hat sitting in Top 8 of a New England local. I’m not exaggerating here: during the one-month span from October 22 to November 21 last year, ac3r entered a mind-boggling *twenty-one* events across Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, averaging over five tournaments per week.
Despite his breakneck travel schedule, ac3r managed to eke out wins over some of New England’s finest—including Kikoho and Trail—and took home hardware at locals across the region. Since his move to the San Diego area, ac3r’s been maintaining his steady record of local top 8 finishes, albeit now at a more sustainable rate of one or two per week. If SoCal keeps making Top 50 lists, don’t be surprised to see him there one day too.
When wobbling was around, Loadspiller was one of Massachusetts’ strongest players. But though it’s no longer allowed, Loadspiller’s still one of the state’s best. Crazier yet, he’s added a new weapon to his arsenal: Bowser. I’m dead serious. The Bowser has actually taken sets from Electroman and Nage. It’s as upsetting as it is shocking to learn.
Nonetheless, it’s a testament to his skill that he’s been able to remain relevant years following his rise – and even after it seemed like he had stopped playing. From getting grimed out of a mid-game wobble by Mew2King at Shine to beating Future Shock and Trail in this ranking season, Loadspiller seems like a safe bet to always do well.
Raventoly has come a long way since the days of being a 2-2’r in 2016. I remember playing them all the way back at Shine 2016, and they’ve come such a long way since. It’s genuinely great to see them still dedicated to the game. As Connecticut’s local rectangle-wielding Falco player, Raventoly’s had strong results in-region over the last year. In this ranking period, they have wins over Spades, Speez, and Trail, which I find especially interesting for symbolic value. With those three wins, they had beaten a Slippi kid, someone from their own generation, and a benevolent dinosaur.
The one “question” I’ve had with Raventoly, however, is how they would perform out of his state. Raventoly began this ranking period with a rough 1-2 showing at Mass Madness and didn’t enter anything out of Connecticut for the rest of the season. Then again, if history’s any indication, Raventoly’s always been about playing the long game.
My friendship with Miles predates either of us picking up a controller. Of course, they have changed since the days of us playing Mario Fox on a laggy monitor (I was Fox and lost lol) or playing melee for uncountable Fridays after school. A Marth and ICs main for the first 4 years of playing, they have found success after switching to maining fox during their freshman year. Over the past few seasons, their results have been on the up and up, with them tallying wins over players such as Younger, regEx, Twisty, and Mr. Heat.
Miles has also taken over responsibilities as the head TO of Northeastern University’s weekly Sconefest, all while entering and beating Awesome Video Games, me, BChu and Tarchwood. No matter how much time passes, some things stay the same: Miles, Awesome Video Games and I being the top 3 of our high school and NEU, and Miles and I playing every week. I say there are 3 certainties in life: death, taxes, and Miles and I playing a tight set at Sconefest.
- Future Shock
If you’ve been to a tournament this year, there’s a pretty solid shot you’ve probably seen Alex. With over 40 tournaments attended, Future Shock is literally the No. 1 grinder in the region right now. Anyone who is part of New England Melee would have to live under a rock if they’d never heard of him. He’s got wins over bonfire, Trail, Mr. Heat, and Guex this season which is no easy feat.
I remember the days when me and this guy would fight for scraps in Taunton on Friday nights in 12 man brackets. Look at him now; he’s always punching well above his seed on his good days and criminally slept on overall. If Future Shock has a million fans, I am one of them. If Future Shock has only one fan, I am that fan. If Future Shock has no fans, then lord, I am dead.
I remember watching Nage’s YouTube channel, if only because he’d constantly upload these long and otherwise forgotten Zain VODs. It is somewhat funny, right? This is such a strange association – perhaps even a parasocial one, in a sense – to have with someone in the community. It’s the kind of thing that would only happen in Smash. But, in hindsight, maybe that was a sign that this guy was pretty dedicated to becoming a strong player.
In recent times, Nage has experienced a bit of a level up. Near the end of the ranking period, he won a local over Loadspiller and Future Shock.He’s also achieved notable highs like stealing sets from cupofwater and Trail. Given how many strong Marth players exist in New England – I’m looking at you, Massachusetts – I have to say, this is pretty damn good for someone who’s basically become relevant in the last year as a competitor. But also where the hell are the other Zain VODs, Nage? You have a true fan waiting here!
Even those in the know will admit that it’s occasionally difficult to remember all the different New England Jigglypuff players over the years. Yeah, it’s easy enough to remember Darc, but between dudutsai, the former Puff-turned-Fox Squible, and the old New England Arcadian champ Hysteric, you have to forgive me for not knowing what to say about another Puff off the top of my head. But thinking about it more – and looking through his results to ‘refamiliarize’ myself – Twisty’s done enough to locally make a name for himself. No; I’m not just talking about his former status as one of the top Project M Wario players, something I totally did not just learn when I wrote this blurb.
Anyway, the Melee results he had in our ranking period were pretty good; in his last few events, he’s defeated hexjo, regEx, Ant and Younger. Whatever he accomplishes from here on out, you can see him doing it with the support of all the previous Jigglypuff players in New England behind him. Imagine them smiling at him from the skies at night, like Mufasa looking down on Simba. Jesus Christ. What a cursed thought.
If I were producing an anime about post-pandemic New England Melee, I would cast Alex “Coolslice” Perez as our plucky protagonist. In true main character fashion, he’s the perennial underdog against New England’s top echelon of PR-level players, but when it all comes together it feels like he can beat just about anyone. It also helps my hypothetical scenario that Alex passes the eyeball test, with pink-tinged dyed hair and earrings vaguely reminiscent of Tanjiro from Demon Slayer.
Coolslice proudly represents the MA-based crew Nothing But Big Checks (NBBC) with an easy-going demeanor, Moky-esque Fox combo extensions, and some of the best drip to ever grace our local Melee scene. At NGPR 3.15, Coolslice stunned dudutsai and PSI with back-to-back victories, but fell just short of first place at the hands of Ant’s Samus. Not to be discouraged, Coolslice struck again the following month with a 9th place run at Mass Madness 39 over Primer, Nage, and New England PR #14 Golden. With the hot streak Alex has been on, I can’t wait to see what sort of thrilling finale this PR season has in store for us. Stay tuned to see which one of New England’s big bosses will fall victim to Alex’s character development arc.
I’m going to keep it real with all of you: I could not believe a dude with the tag “MEAT” was actually a strong player. I cannot imagine the psychological pain of losing to someone with this tag, but apparently it’s quite common. On the right day, it may even be expected. One of many strong Marth players from New England, as well as hailing from North Carolina, MEAT’s come up on the spot as one of the hidden stars within Massachusetts.
His consistency has especially stood out, as he basically only loses to state PR players. Don’t fool that for him being a gatekeeper, however. In January, he nabbed a set from Kalvar in the Marth ditto, showing that he could be due for another breakout win in the future. I would not be surprised to see him continue to improve upon these results no matter where he is.
The University of Connecticut, my dear alma mater, has always been a breeding ground for Smash talent, and Deadstock follows a long line of notable smashers from our shared school. Today, you can find him either on Slippi, playing under the “AdamFriedland” tag, or at Rhode Island events, where his Fox has taken sets from Artelind and RyuCloud, among many other of the state’s best players.
Mate At The Elm #6
Super Smash Bros. Melee Singles
1st – @SsbmKalvar
2nd – Silver
3rd – @max_rais
4th – Deadstock
5th – @cupofwater_ssbm
5th – @trailsucks
7th – @not2fruity
7th – @EenTheMachine pic.twitter.com/6I9bjDPfvD
— 22K (@REAL22K) October 19, 2022
Generally speaking, a look through his results will show impressive consistency and extraordinary peaks alike. I was wowed by his most recent performance at the New England Arcadian. Here, he tore through Guex, Awesome Video Games and Ember. I like this performance because in addition to beating three good players, he broke the hearts of three different states.
I don’t know if there’s a better first impression you could make than sending Kalvar down to loser’s bracket and forcing him to claw his way through a 9-game grands in order to win the new tournament you’re TOing, but that’s exactly how I first heard of Abel. When I saw the startgg page, I was suspicious of sandbagging shenanigans, but when I asked Kalvar what the deal was, he told me “No those were real sets; he’s just a really good Puff.” Kalvar was proven right in that assessment.
Since then, Abel has firmly established himself as one of our region’s best Jigglypuff players. He’s managed to consistently perform well at some of our biggest events thanks to his ability to secure solid records against much of New England’s mid-level as well as his ability to punch upwards, as shown in his win over Golden this season at SSS 16.4. Abel represents a new generation of NH as a player and TO, both through taking sets off some of our best and through helping build a revitalized tournament infrastructure with King of the Cobb. As someone who’s always been worried about our scene being a bit too cliquey and stagnant, I’m glad we’ve gotten to the point where NH Melee is no longer just the same old group of people at the same old venue once a month.
- Stacy’s Stepdad
Smasher fits have long been a conversation for Twitter debates, with the average player being better at the game than their styles. Jordan “Stacy’s Stepdad” Roche is far from an average player, and despite this, has fits better than even their skill at Melee. A mainstay of New England ever since they were ranked in North Eastern University in 2016, you will see Jordan traveling from his home area of Portland, Maine all across New England.
Notably, Jordan is not afraid to time players out to win sets and has done so to both a fan favorite Ness and the puff player “Big Kid.” He always seems to improve at a rate exactly fast enough to maintain gatekeeper status to New England PR, sometimes taking sets off ranked players and rarely losing to unranked ones. With the existence of a Maine local again, the revival of the Maine scene, and new found motivation, we may find him on more than just Best Tags by State rankings in the near future.
By Dr. Lame
It must be Samus season, because Ant’s run at NGPR: Pre-Collision Edition coinciding with Wevans’s awesome run at The Coinbox #52 is simply bewildering. At that tournament, Ant, as the 11-seed, defeated the 6-seed in me twice, the 3-seed in dudutsai, and the 2-seed in Shmeeli, landing with a 2nd place finish, only falling twice to Younger. It was a spectacular run, and with every win the Twitch chat popped off. In addition to that run, Ant has wins on Abel, MEAT, and Coolslice, showing consistent top 8 finishes at NGPR since the turn of the calendar year.
I know first hand what it feels to play Ant, and let me tell you your stocks can go out with a blink of an eye. However, I think what makes Ant the most intriguing is that he always feels like the coolest person in the room while not even trying, and it’s what makes playing against him so fun. While he’s not the only Samus in town, you’d be a fool not to prepare for him. As one of the more underrated players in the region before his last few events, you don’t want to be caught slipping vs this New England bounty hunter.
- glock in my toyota
glock in my toyota is probably the scariest player you could ever see in your bracket path. Losing to him is pure ego death, not because you lost to a “bad” character, but because you got so thoroughly outplayed by someone who held W harder than anyone else could for the majority of the match. He plays around GnW’s weaknesses and harnesses his strengths so well that he’ll have you questioning your tier list opinions. For the player-to-player matchups he’d rather not use GnW in, he boasts a toolbox of secondaries that can perform just as well as his main.
Not ONLY does New England have the best player in the world, LINT, but also bolsters such talent as, glock in my Toyota, bonkcushy, squible, twisty, and who could forget, Mr. Lemon
— Alex Chu (@chu_k_a) January 11, 2018
Even with Melee being a low priority for a large part of this ranking season, he was still able to prove he can threaten anyone in the region. It most strikingly showed in his first place at NGPR 3.16 where he ran over regEx, dudutsai, and Younger to win without dropping a set. Since then, he‘s performed well against the region’s mid-level, including a run to top 8 at Mass Madness 39 where he nearly 3-0’d Kalvar before ultimately falling. It closed what would’ve been the cherry on top of New England’s craziest regional in a long time.
- Dr. Lame
While they may be a doctor, I don’t know that I’d call Dr. Lame lame at all. I met Josh over the pandemic when we played at an online tournament, and it’s funny because I distinctly remember being the lame one during those sets. Josh is an awesome person and an equally awesome competitor. Since LAN events started to come back in 2021, they began to rule the great state of Maine with a fervor for winning. And this season, they boast even stronger results. They took home an Arty win at the 9th New England Melee Arcadian and picked up a solid 1st place at NCS: Engaged over MEAT, Jwilli, and Stacy’s Stepdad, with no games lost.
Maine Melee's New PR, looking forward to next season as our state becomes more competitive out of region again, beyond Stacy's Stepdad carrying us for a few years! pic.twitter.com/8bflD5ZbF4
— Dr. Lame (@Dr_LameME) January 6, 2022
And in what was probably their strongest showing this season, Josh picked up Golden and Kalvar wins at Birthday Lobster Roll. Living in northern Maine, Dr. Lame finds the most difficulty in traveling out of state. With everything taking 4 or more hours to get to, the journey to compete IRL can be a long one. Even so, when they do travel, they’ve shown awesome consistency with results like 17th at CT Gamercon and getting to round 2 pools at Collision 2023. Maine has been home to some of the most legendary players in New England Melee history, with names such as Dazwa, th0rn, and Darc. I believe one day Dr. Lame will be one of those names. The pincer attack is unfolding.
The man, the myth, the legend of Waterbury himself, Arty is a gift to the Connecticut scene. Not content with being a longtime power-ranked player of Connecticut, Arty bought Hall of Gaming – as in the entire-ass venue – and now runs it for the betterment of his scene. Believe it or not, the once runner-up finisher at the New York Arcadian has continued to stay at the forefront of New England in competition too.
Along with being one of the few Connecticut players who can put up a fight against Kikoho, Arty has acted as something of a gatekeeper for his region. Within this ranking period, he boasted near-unparalleled consistency against the field, overwhelmingly dominating everyone beneath the top half of the Connecticut power rankings. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also genuinely one of the most positive, friendly, and earnest people in the whole community.
In computer science, a regex (short for “regular expression”) represents a pattern in a piece of text, so it tracks that regEx is a player who likes to stick to his patterns. To illustrate this point, regEx and I once played an hour of Marth/Peach friendlies at Balance Patch, and every single game lasted over six minutes (even on Yoshi’s Story!) because of regEx’s firm commitment to not approaching my Peach under any circumstances. But don’t let regEx’s steadfast adherence to his game plans over the course of a set fool you: the duckbill-masked Marth main has continued to adapt and refine his strategies since arriving on the scene in September of last year.
regEx won New Game Plus Revival 3.10 in December after defeating dudutsai and double-eliminating Younger in grand finals. He followed it up with third place the following week with an upset over Shmeeli. Recently, regEx says his tournament placements have taken a backseat as he says he’s been prioritizing long-term improvement over short-term results. But if winning NGPR was just a stepping stone, who knows where his ambition will lead? One thing is for certain: nowhere within bikeable distance is safe from a regEx bracket run.
Rhode Island is home to some of the most dedicated grinders in our whole region, and there’s no better example of the type of dedication a small tight knit scene produces than Guex. From humble beginnings, making gold players rage on Anther’s and grinding mercilessly at Taunton’s former best local, I seriously haven’t met a single other player aside from maybe Mekk with such a healthy attitude towards competing and improvement.
Found a new way to convert into dsmash pic.twitter.com/7iLDdBGUYR
— Guex (@GuexYoshiSSBM) April 25, 2023
In fact, I think it’s only a matter of time before New England transitions away from “Falcon is 3rd” over to the correct placement of Yoshi at 3rd, when the last pieces finally click and you see this guy owning all the top 50 players that have it coming to them. While his season these last few months have had some rough patches, a win over Kikoho at Gamercon is no easy feat. There’s gas in the tank, fuel in the combo machine – and brother? The dino is on a warpath and he is coming for YOU.
If you want to find a Sheik that can techchase you to death, look no further than our region’s very own Meep. Meep started off the season with an absolute bang when he earned an undefeated 1st place at the 94-entrant 9th New England Melee Arcadian. There, he defeated the likes of Deadstock, myself, and Artelind twice to win, dropping only 4 games the entire tournament. Meep also has a win on Golden and winning records on regEx, Bank, Artelind, and myself. Meep is so excellent at techchasing that every time I play him, I consider DIng off-stage. No other Sheik in the region has that ability. And best of all, he does it all with a smile and a kindness that makes it impossible to feel frustrated at him when you lose.
After the Arcadian, Meep took a step back from regularly competing due to moving to western Massachusetts. But just recently, he’s moved back to Boston, so we should begin to see him regularly entering tournaments in the region once again. If you’re a Sheik player that is looking to learn how to disintegrate spacie stocks, you’ll need to peep Meep.
Every time I play Artelind I feel like life is going ok for all of about three seconds before he downloads me and shows me every gaping flaw I have with my play. To every so-called “hidden boss” spacie that thinks if they could bring their tech skill back to 2005 and wipe the floor, I 100% guarantee if Artelind was there, you are getting 2nd at best. In fact, after 18 years of competing he is rather efficiently farming Multishine every week, winning 9 out of the 14 that have taken place this season, with some of those losses being chalked up to still placing good with his seasoned Roy.
Though he hasn’t attended anything else, besides the Arcadian where he got 2nd, a 3-5 record with cupofwater, 2-3 with Electroman, and impressive 2-1 count over Bekvin should show that he’s more than capable of keeping up with the competition if and when he may decide to bless us with a surprise regional attendance.
Like a maniacal villain, ready to strike at a moment’s notice, Bank has waited for her ideal opportunities to strike the perfect heists this season. A brief seven tournament bender netted some fine trophies, notably dutdutsai, Awesome Video Games,Younger and Q at the Spartan, and an even 1-1 exchange of sets between her and Kalvar. Then, just like that, she disappeared into the night.
Want to know what she did when she returned? She dropped an EP with straight fire front to back. Who knows when Bank may grace us with her dastardly doings once again? If she returns, no one can predict what kind of crazy fucked up shit will happen on your own TV right in front of your eyes.
Looking for the next Zoomer Fox that’ll blow up on the scene the second they get released from the time prison that is a college degree? Then search no further for One Up Games’ premier sponsored player: Electroman. Gent has been on the come up for a few years now and his patient playstyle has netted him some pretty solid head-to-heads, with even records with bonfire and Shmeeli as well as wins over Ember, AVG, dudutsai, Guex, and Stacy’s Stepdad.
His biggest bracket demons this season have definitely been niche floaty matchups, notably Ant and Loadspiller. That being said, when you’re studying to become the Bay State’s next Senator and fight the D.C. fat cats, it’s kinda hard to prepare for every single matchup under Peach on the tier list. With summer approaching, you have my vote that Electroman is going to literally shock every single player, like a toaster oven dropped in a small lake.
Having been on half of all New England Power Rankings since 2015, nobody should be surprised that dudutsai is still here kicking. My first ever interaction with Tsai was playing and losing to his Ganon 5-6 years ago at the BAR local here in Massachusetts. This season, Tsai has wins on Awesome Video Games, Stacy’s Stepdad, and myself and undefeated records on Silver and Meep. In addition, he picked up wins on bonfire10 and Bekvin at Mass Madness 39, with what was his best regional result in years. And while the record may not be in his favor, having the most wins across Massachusetts on Younger, a contender for the best in the state, and even an NGPR over him, is incredibly impressive.
These days, when I speak with Tsai about his decade and a half long journey competing, he admits that it can be difficult to take it as seriously as he used to, but he still puts himself out there and applauds the younger players’ passion with the game. Though dudutsai continues to make waves after 15 years of competing, the rest of us will probably be more impressed by the endless sets of pushups you’ll see him doing in the corner of the venue.
Don’t be fooled by Ember’s relatively few tournaments or her quiet demeanor. Her presence is a statement on its own. Two things come to mind: her second place run at a February SSS and her fifth place run at the New England Arcadian. In these two events, she nabbed sets over Dr. Lame, Awesome Video Games, Golden and bonfire10.
However, my favorite memory of Ember was actually meeting her for the first time at Genesis 8. What did she say, you ask? Technically, she said nothing. She saw me and my friends – all people she knows from our mutual Discord – and walked away without saying a word. A day later, because I’m an asshole, I thought it’d be funny to ask her why she didn’t say hello. Instead of nervously laughing or coming up with bullshit, she gave a truly powerful and sincere response: “Eh. I didn’t feel like talking to you guys.” That was the last time I talked to Ember in-person. I fully expect her to 3-0 many more people in and out of the game for years to come.
- Awesome Video Games
Coming from a long list of elite Northeastern University No. 1s, Awesome Video Games boasts results and a Marth playstyle as awesome and unique as his tag. His dominance in matchups like ICs, Falco, Peach, and Puff show in his wins over Bekvin, Younger, Shmeeli, Arty, Stacy’s Stepdad, Dudutsai, and Abel. His intimidating play includes a plethora of low % kills, weak down and forward smashes combined with smart, patient play. With Trail declaring him a “villainous gamer” along with AVG proclaiming himself the villain of NEU Melee, this is truly a bracket nightmare for many in the New England region.
As his static doubles partner and high school friend, I can personally attest to his dominance in the Falco matchup in particular. A favorite anecdote of mine is that following one of his prompt annihilations of me, I proclaimed that I had “figured him out.” He then proceeded to beat me another 10 sets in a row. So after nearly 10 years of losing to Henry, I can confidently say that I’m no closer to figuring him out than I was years ago.
I first interacted with Silver when a mutual friend had us play netplay together about 1.5 years ago. Admittedly, I whooped him in those games, but I doubt he remembers (sorry Silver!). A lot has changed since then. With all the new spacies in the New England Melee scene these days, Silver stands out as a veteran of the region. I can say personally that every time I watch Silver, I find something new that most of us aren’t doing. While not attending too many locals, Silver’s monthly and regional results are unwavering, landing top 8 finishes at all but one.
His resume speaks for itself, with wins on bonfire10 and winning records on Meep, myself, Arty, Ember, and Younger. In addition, I have to mention Silver’s prolific doubles career with his static partner in JoeST. And of course, I would be remiss not to mention Silver’s phenomenal P+ career, where he’s been ranked top 50 in the 2017-2019 years, landing at his highest at 23rd in 2019. Silver’s a true student of the game, and if you talk to him about Melee, you’ll find that he only ever talks about improving his gameplay, rarely blaming anything else. Silver’s a silent killer, and if you find yourself in the middle of his path to winning, prepare yourself.
Coming in as the fastest spacie this side of the Mississippi is none other than Shmeeli. To many, Shmeeli may seem like a relative newcomer to the New England Melee scene. He sort of is, on a larger scale, but after moving to Massachusetts for school a few years ago and attending as many events as he could get to, Shmeeli’s made quite the name for himself. This season, Shmeeli was able to rack up wins on myself, Awesome Video Games, and Younger. He also boasts winning records on dudutsai, Ember, Silver, Golden, and cupofwater.
Eli is an absolute wizard when it comes to the spacie matchup, having winning or even records with all in the region with the exception of Kacey, but don’t underestimate the rest of his matchup spread. Showcasing how formidable he can be at regionals, Eli would miss top 8 only once and would go on some of the best runs by a spacie this season in Mass Madness 38 and the 1st New England Melee Spartan. After landing as one of two honorable mentions in Massachusetts two seasons ago, Eli would debut at 13th on last season’s regional PR. I remember speaking with Eli during that time and the drive to prove he was better was clearly there, he just needed more time. Now, the region is seeing the fruits of his labor as he continues to slay the Fox and Falcos in his way.
A pillar of the Boston Melee scene, Younger returned to Massachusetts from San Diego just prior to the start of the pandemic. With a skillset honed in the enduring gauntlet that is Northeastern University’s weekly Bonefest/Sconefest, Max plays a Falco that is as intellectual and consistent as it is clutch. Don’t believe me? Look no further than his comeback against Marth main MEAT at the Pre-Collision NGP, where he came back from down 3 stocks to 1 to win the set and ultimately won the tournament through winners. Or, consider the fact that Younger’s accolades include debuting on the very first Massachusetts Power Ranking back in 2017, as well as currently being ranked the state’s best player, an elite distinction that includes NEU legend Crush, Tiramisu, Project, and cupofwater.
The NEU Alum also boasts a well-rounded matchup spread, with wins on bonfire10, cupofwater, Golden, Trail, and Shmeeli. And if you tune into AllstonMelee’s Twitch channel on any given Tuesday, odds are you’ll see the Falco phenom lasering, comboing, clutching, and winning at NGP.
Golden has held the title of the region’s best Captain Falcon players for a while now, but over the past few years he’s slowly but surely established himself as one of New England’s best players, period. When you look at his play, a less discerning eye probably wouldn’t get what the big deal is. He doesn’t techchase you to death, he doesn’t edge cancel around the stage like a maniac, and he doesn’t go for “swag” combos like he’s compensating for something. If you look a little closer, though, what you will see is some of the most fundamentally solid play around.
These fundamentals carried him through his best performances yet, including a first place at SSS 16.1 over Kalvar and Bank without dropping a set, as well as a long losers run at SSS 16.3 where he beat Awesome Video Games and bonfire10 back to back. He’s put together a great collection of records against New England’s best, including going up 2-0 on cupofwater, holding an even 3-3 with bonfire and proving himself as seemingly the only player in the region who can take sets off Kalvar more than once in a blue moon.
As of this article’s release, Trail’s tournament melee career is about to gain the right to vote. With a smashboards account creation in August of 2004, and a first tournament of Show Me Your Moves 3, held on April 30th, 2005, Trail has seen every era of melee develop around him. This storied history is clearly one filled with talent, as he gained the prestige of being on the 2013 and 2014 Top 100 SSBMRank. In the last 6 months, with a healthy 31 tournaments, Trail has taken a set off of all but one top 10 New England player (via a 0-1 H2H with Younger, while playing secondaries).
Outside of being a legacy player, Trail continues to give to the community around him. The last two years he’s hosted the Trail Invitational (TI), and Trail Invitational Two (TIT). These tournaments bolstered $1000 prize pools, as well as a myriad of top players being flown in, all on the old man’s dime. All of this is to bring top talent to the New England community, for a stellar viewer experience. Trail is a role model of a community member, great friend, and anyone would be lucky to have him in their scene or sitting in the chair opposite them for a fierce set.
The former ICs main and Anther’s Ladder try-hard, post-covid cupofwater has slowly transformed himself into New England’s premier Fox player. Part of the new generation of One Up Games talent, “the cup” (also known as bingusfan) has not only replaced decrepit old man Trail as the best One Up Gamer, but he has also made appearances on each of the last two New England PRs. The latter achievement is made even more impressive by the fact that cupofwater spent most of the latest PR season beginning his transition to b0xx.
cupofwater employs a very cerebral and defensive-minded approach to the game. He is constantly probing his opponents’ neutral with tight dash-dance spacing and hard-to-predict short-hop/full-hop aerial approaches. This season “the cup” has winning records on Kikoho, Bonfire, Trail, and Silver. All of you “Cup Heads” out there can catch pro-gamer Sean “the cup” O’Connell competing next at Trail Invitational 3 and his home-away-from-home, MATE 10.
Kikoho’s a man of many surprises. The first time I ever met him was at Shine 2019, when he gave a 15-minute explanation for why it’s okay to down-throw downtilt spacies. At that same event, he upset Drephen. Legend has it that after the match, Drephen turned to his friends and mimicked the motion of dash dancing with his fingers, right before asking them “how do I beat this?”
I definitely need to work on competing in two different games simultaneously and caring about both of them. It felt next to impossible yesterday and it's insane to me that people can do that so easily.
Just a skill I need to build though. pic.twitter.com/ECzbP7xkgs
— Kikoho (@KikohoSSBM) March 19, 2023
Ever since then, Kikoho’s had an interesting, if not fittingly confusing, career. Within the ranking period of this project, he basically trounced the entirety of Connecticut, dominating Arty in a 23-2 season-long head-to-head and at one point, winning ten locals in a row. But that’s only one part of the story. The next part is the most bizarre: disappearing after an unusual fourth-place showing at a January local and then returning at CT GamerCon, where he finished in seventeenth place, seemingly not giving a shit the whole time. What happened? Apparently, Melty Blood. Not only is Kikoho an elite Melty Blood player; he led a Top 50 rankings project for that community. Way to make me look bad, Kiko.
Through a mix of quarantine, a region change, a tag change, and a character change, Bekvin was an enigma to most of New England coming into this year. Since entering tournaments post lockdown, it is safe to say this mystery is no more. An impeccable Ice Climbers player with a pristine pocket Marth, Bekvin has shown that their name should be remembered. Over the last six months, Bekvin has outplaced or placed their seed at every event, barring one event where they placed third, instead of second. By the way, this incredibly handsome and brilliant competitor has done even better online. Closer followers of Bekvin will recall that they’ve outright won sets over Salt, bobby big ballz, Akir, Bbatts, Slowking, JSalt, and more. It must be the mere presence of their cat, Carrot, in the comfort of their own home.
ridin the wave pic.twitter.com/apaFlE4uBR
— kevin (@bekvin_) April 1, 2023
Outside of competing, it’s hard to find aspects of the game Bekvin hasn’t mastered. Between photographing events, creating graphics, sitting behind the microphone commentating, TO’ing a plethora of events, throwing money in for prize pools, having an affinity for doubles, or being the player with the most games of random in tournament sets for 2022, Bekvin loves Melee for Melee. It’s hard to say if Bekvin will join the Ice Climbers before, who have had a great year then disappeared into the mist, or if they will continue to show dominance over the New England scene, but one thing is for sure: they will be happy to play the game with a community they love.
Kacey missed out for much of this ranking period. In fact, chances are that she will not count as technically active for the “official” New England Power Rankings, due to her taking some personal time off. However, for full transparency’s sake, she did attend five tournaments, and her inclusion on this list went to a panel-wide vote. It was a fundamental question we had to ask ourselves: is it in the spirit of representing New England Melee to provide an exception for Kacey? The answer was “yes.”
Money matching at collision :)!! Just respond to thread we’ll figure it out
— Kacey (@KaceyBeSpittin) March 12, 2023
Though you wouldn’t see her often, her results showed she was still one of the best in the region. Take, for instance, her bronze medal showing at the New England Spartan, where she beat bonfire10, Trail, and Shmeeli. Or how about Kacey’s surprise appearance at a One Up local, where she beat Bank, Trail, and cupofwater without breaking a sweat? The fact that the panel chose to include Kacey is a testament to how much respect people in her region have for the results she’s brought to the table. Regardless of what you think about her appearance on the list, she’ll always have the support of New England.
When you compare bonfire10’s emergence as a top-level New England player post-pandemic to other stories of improvement in that same time period, it doesn’t seem to make much sense. For someone who went from honorable mention on the last pre-COVID 15-man PR to No. 6 on the first post-COVID one, you’d expect her story to be of someone who spent the pandemic grinding netplay tournaments and Slippi sessions day in and day out. In reality, she entered very few online tournaments and whenever she did play unranked, it had to compete for her attention against all the episodes of One Piece she’d have playing on her other monitor.
congrats to @bonfireten taking another NGPR! after being sent to younger in wf, tori gave a must-watch grands along with winning our valentine doubles bracket w/ MEAT!
4th: stocmoney/33 toes
brackets below ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/cN6SQXoB2e
— New England Melee (@newenglandssbm) February 15, 2023
Nevertheless, she came out of the online era somehow playing better than she ever had and has only continued to improve from there. Bringing us to the present, she’s stayed as consistent of a player as you could expect of someone this high on the rankings, with only a small handful of people able to take sets. Her highlight of this ranking period would probably have to be snagging her first-ever Mass Madness win back in December, along the way beating Bbatts in two sets that didn’t feel particularly close.
It seems like yesterday when I met Kalvar at BUST 2. Back then, he was this random dweeb mixing my shit in friendlies, drinking from his comically large jug of water, and swearing on his bloodline that Falco was actually a mid-tier. Several years later, Kalvar has become one of the most recognizable people in the whole community. But what many people might not remember is that he relatively disappeared during the pandemic. Truthfully, he hated playing online and it led to about two years where he was out of the picture. A Melee community without Kalvar, along with the whole “quarantine” thing, was a sign that we were in the endtimes.
Of course, the world did not actually end. As we all began leaving our homes again, so did Kalvar. He then went right back to doing what he loved more than anything else: playing Melee, in-person, with other people. With so much he’s accomplished for his region, it’s safe to say that Kalvar has nothing left to prove. He is a deserving No. 1 on this list and perhaps more than anyone else, he embodies the spirit of New England Melee: climbing to the top, sticking around for your friends afterward and staying true to your most core belief…that Falco is a mid-tier. Cheers.