Hello, everyone! Pikachu942 and I are happy to present the next part of our Top 100 Melee players of all-time. In our last post, we uncovered the the players ranked 61-70. Today, we’ll be going over the players ranked 51-60. Here’s a brief FAQ on our project:
What is the Smash History Top 100 Melee Players of All-Time project?
It’s a ranking of the top 100 Melee singles players of all-time, determined by both members of the Smash History research and editorial series team: Edwin Budding (myself) and Pikachu942. The project is also an expansion of what I wrote in 2016, but with even more research, having taken us half a year to prepare on its own.
How did you guys determine the Top 100?
In order to rank players, we collected a list of every player ranked within the Top 25 of SSBMRank, mentioned within RetroSSBMRank and every player who placed in the top eight of a supermajor since Game Over in 2004, what we consider the start of competitive Melee as we know it today.
After creating this initial list, we added more notable names that we felt were “outlier” players whose results and rankings may not accurately reflect their playing impact on the Melee scene, such as international players.
What did you take into account when ranking players?
The four key factors we looked at and tried our best to stay consistent to were the following:
- How well did a player perform at the biggest majors of their era?
- How consistent was this player during their active years of competing?
- How long did their playing career last?
- If this player never existed, how much does their absence impact the metagame, large major results or the greater scene in Melee history?
I’ve never heard of you or Pikachu! What makes you guys think you’re qualified to determine Melee’s best players above anyone else?
Because until someone else helps write over 300 pages of Melee history on a personal website for free, we feel like we’re about as qualified as anyone can reasonably be.
60. Ryan “La Luna” Coker-Welch
4th at The Fall Classic
5th at WTFox 2
7th at EVO 2017
7th at Royal Flush
7th at CEO 2015
La Luna is one of the breakout stars of the post-Evo 2013 era. Once known as “The Moon” – and before that, “SilverLight,” – he is one of Melee’s premier solo Marth mains over the last few years, holding wins on nearly every relevant Fox and impressively winning Super Famicon 2017 over SFAT, Westballz and dizzkidboogie.
The most recognizable aspect of La Luna’s gameplay is his consistent kill setups. With a character that many think struggles with closing out stocks, he has a great understanding of Marth’s modern combo trees across different weight classes and percents. He combines this with tricky movement to confuse his opponents and manipulate their positioning, in a Taj-esque manner. A disciple of old-school NYC, who still comes up with new ways to convert off hits, La Luna remains a player to watch in the present and future of competitive Melee.
– Edwin Budding
59. Kei “Kei” Nakaima
2nd at MLG Seattle 2005
7th at Zero Challenge 2
13th at MELEE-FC3
One of the most important figures in both Washington and Japanese Melee, Kei, also sometimes known as Takagi back in the day, was a consistent force in the early years of the game. His 2nd place at MLG Seattle, defeating both Sastopher and ChuDat, might be his best performance by the numbers, but make no mistake, he had plenty more under his belt. Defeating ChuDat on pretty much every occasion they fought, Kei was a master at the Peach-ICs matchup, and his wide array of character choices that often overlapped with Chu’s helped him snuff out the oddities of some of his counterpicks.
Kei’s peak year was clearly 2005, where he was arguably the best in the Pacific Northwest above Sastopher locally, and later traveled back to Japan where he competed with the top players in the country during a time where they were some of the best in the world. Kei was also pivotal in connections between the international scenes, due to his heavy ties with both the USA and Japan. Kei still plays sometimes today, but is much less active overall. Despite his prime being past, Kei is one of the most important figures to ever grace our game.
58. Roberto “Rob$” Aldape
5th at Tournament Go 6
5th at MLG New York 2005
5th at MELEE-FC6
5th at MOAST 3
9th at MLG New York Playoffs 2006
As one of the early members of the Crystal City smash crew, Rob$ often slips under the radar. His gameplay is especially reminiscent of Melee’s pre-Bombsoldier metagame, with a focus on overshot dash attacks, a heavy use of shield and full hops to defensively play keep-away from opponents. It was often frustrating to deal with and it led to strong results for the Texas legend.
With wins over Azen and KoreanDJ, it’s clear that Rob$ could hang with the elite of his time, even as the metagame progressed from its infancy. Though many argue just how portable his playstyle is to the modern era of Melee, results make it clear that you just can’t ignore Rob$.
– Edwin Budding
57. Andreas “Ek” Ek
Now, I know what you might be thinking, “Why is Ek so high on the list, or even on it at all?! He never even went to any notable majors!” Why yes, astute viewer, you are correct on that front. Ek never did attend any event that we would award as a “title”. However, despite that, Ek was one of the most dominant and influential European players of all time.
A Marth main from Sweden, Ek won practically every tournament he entered from 2004 to 2006 against his European comrades, and easily solidified himself as the best on the continent. When Captain Jack, one of the world’s finest, came to challenge him at RoofSM, he barely scraped by with a victory, claiming the Euro Marth was as good as the King of Smash himself, Ken. Ek’s play inspired many other of Europe’s greats, such as Amsah and Armada, even at one point resulting in Armada using Marth as his main for a brief time. Despite his lack of exposure to the rest of the world, Ek is more than important enough to not just European Smash, but the entire scene as a whole, to warrant a spot on the list.
56. Dustin “Darc” Hayes
5th at Revival of Melee 2
7th at Viva La Smashtaclysm
7th at Revival of Melee 3
9th at Cataclysm 3
9th at Revival of Melee 7
Darc is a longtime staple for both New England and Jigglypuff players. Older veterans can attest to Darc’s skill, as he was among the few in-region players to seriously challenge KoreanDJ during the MLG and post-MLG era. Who can forget the Genesis East vs. West crew battle, when Darc made a two-stock comeback on Brinstar to defeat Zhu, resting him twice to close their match?
He’s sometimes overlooked in comparison to players like Mang0 and Hungrybox, but Darc is unarguably the third most successful Jigglypuff ever in terms of results. From his ninth to Cataclysm 3 to his 13th at SKTAR 3 seven years later, he had a long stretch of being among the scene’s most consistent competitors. Today, he plays more Project M and has retired from Melee singles.
– Edwin Budding
55. James “Duck” Ma
5th at DreamHack Winter 2015
5th at EGLX
5th at Super SWEET
5th at GOML 2014
7th at Smash Summit 3
Before he boasted three set victories over Leffen, Duck had a plethora of SWEET tourney victories, eventually becoming both Michigan and the Midwest’s best player. Just last year, Duck won Pat’s House 3, where he defeated HugS, SFAT, Crush, lloD and Zain to win the stacked tournament.
As arguably the best Samus solo main in the world, Duck has an analytic style that gives him an edge over his opponents – especially Fox, a character who Duck boasts a large resume of victories over. His both intuitive and well-researched knowledge of Melee is legendary for both making him a formidable competitor and a gadfly for commentators who get the smallest detail wrong in their analysis.
– Edwin Budding
54. Michael “Nintendude” Brancato
5th at The Big House 3
7th at GENESIS 3
7th at Royal Flush
7th at Paragon Los Angeles 2015
7th at DreamHack Austin 2016
Nintendude played without wobbling for years. In fact, his highest placing performance at a national tournament came at TBH3, where he defeated PewPewU, while wobbling remained banned. This was a surprise, particularly because outside of New York and MDVA, not many smashers knew about Nintendude.
He’s particularly good at reading his opponent’s movement, frequently chasing them down and proactively creating openings. Out of active Ice Climbers players, he is without a doubt the most aggressive. With wins on Mango and Mew2King – the latter whom he has beaten numerous times – Nintendude has been one of the best players in the modern generation of smashers. It’s time to give him his due credit.
– Edwin Budding
53. McCain “MacD” Lavelle
4th at EGLX
4th at FC SMASH 15XR: Return
5th at Canada Cup 2016
7th at Shine 2016
7th at DreamHack Winter 2015
Once having a “downsmash” heavy reputation, MacD eventually grew into a virtual lock for top 16 at any supermajor he attended. The SoCal Peach was among his region’s best players and peaked in 2015, with wins over Plup, Druggedfox and Mango. MacD also excels in doubles, having formerly been one half of the short-lived “MacLeffen” duo, which notably won Sandstorm over Armada and Mew2King.
He’s yet to make a consistent return to the top level of competition. Issues within his personal life, along with career uncertainty, led MacD to slowly disappear from the national spotlight. Nonetheless, he’s already accomplished quite a bit within his long time in Melee, having finished top eight at seven nationals. That’s the second most out any Peach main ever.
– Edwin Budding
52. Colin “Colbol” Green
5th at APEX 2014
5th at HTC Throwdown
7th at CEO 2014
7th at Pound 2016
9th at GENESIS 3
One of the most high octane players to ever grace our game, the Floridian Fox known as Colbol has been a long-standing member of the community. Attending tournaments from as early as 2006, Colbol broke into national spotlight with his 9th place at Viva La Smashtaclysm in late 2007, defeating players like Cactuar and Jiano. Since then, he has remained a fixture of the Melee scene, and one of the best players in Florida, notably holding a positive record over Hungrybox during his breakout year in 2009.
His career has seen multiple ups and downs over the years, mainly due to Colbol’s risky playstyle compared to most, but his highs are indubitably some of the best in the game, with wins on players like Mew2King coming to him at majors. While he is currently experiencing one of the valleys of his career, if there’s one thing we know about Colbol, it’s that with every strange loss comes another crazy, unprecedented win.
51. Alex “DieSuperFly” Fuentes
7th at MELEE-FC3
7th at Tournament Go 6
7th at EVO World 2007
9th at Zero Challenge 2
Back in the day, major upsets were rather uncommon. One could attribute this to the lack of tournaments compared to today’s day and age, but it was also mainly due to just how much better the top players were than those below them. This especially was the case with the then King of Smash, SephirothKen, who rarely dropped sets and even less so tournaments. Prior to Tournament Go 6, Ken had only dropped one set in his career, and never got less than 1st.
However, that would all change at this tournament, where a fast-improving Sheik would change history. DieSuperFly, also known as DSF, became the first player to eliminate Ken from a tournament and shocked the world with one of the biggest upsets the game has ever seen. It’s not like this was his only highlight, however, as DSF proceeded to attain multiple more top eights, even at one of Melee’s most stacked events ever in MELEE-FC3. He was also a dominant force in the SoCal region pre-Brawl- and held positive records over HugS and Mango in 2007, the same year both showcased impressive major results.
Thank you for reading, everybody. We’ll be back with a new article – Pikachu942’s honorable mentions for the Top 100 – before we head into our Top 50, coming soon!