Hello, everyone! Pikachu942 and I are finally back, with the first part of our Top 100 Melee players of all-time list. But before we start, we’d like to mention a few updates to our project.
In our last post, we attempted to reach out to more community members for joining our panel. We’d like to thank everyone who applied, but sadly, we were saddened by the relative lack of interest. Our initial goal in running this project was to create a top 100 that we thought would be reflective of what many of Melee’s leaders would consider to be an appropriate Top 100.
As people that gathered the data ourselves, we realized that the amount of effort we were putting into compiling every major top eight, determining an appropriate candidate pool and research were going to fall on deaf ears. Simply put, the task of creating a top 100 players list was a lengthy process that many notable community figures were understandably skeptical about.
In the end, Pikachu and I have decided to just use our ballots, due to our own countless hours of research and studying of Melee history (and our own egos).
We apologize to the small group of people that applied, but we’re still grateful for your interest and are confident that our rankings will nonetheless turn out fine. At the end of our Top 100 rankings, we’ll release the amount of data that we used to come up with our decision.
Here’s a brief FAQ:
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.
For now though, we like our chances. So without anything else to say, we’d like to start off our Top 100 list!
100. Robert “Zelgadis” Scherer
17th at MLG Dallas 2006
17th at Super Champ Combo
25th at Zero Challenge 3
25th at Zero Challenge 2
49th at Tournament Go 6
Zelgadis is the reason many smashers play Melee. His legendary combo video “Shined Blind” paved the way for modern Fox tech skill, showcasing Fox’s toolkit in ways that people didn’t think was possible, particularly with his use of Fox’s reflector as an offensive weapon and combo move. The DBR legend was also a respectable player for his time, defeating Isai at MLG San Francisco 2005.
It’s unfortunate that Zelgadis’ reputation later took a dark turn, because his impact on the scene is among the game’s greatest. Yet it also remains a cautionary tale for mythologizing your personal heroes: even they are capable of ruining their own legacies.
– Edwin Budding
99. Paul “Pink Shinobi” Vang
9th at GENESIS
Known for shamelessly defensive and zoning heavy play, the NorCal Peach and former in-region No. 1 dominated his local scene in 2009, also taking a game off Mango at the first Genesis. Though most people remember him for infamously timing out RockCrock on the stage Kongo Jungle 64, make no mistake: Pink Shinobi was a force to be reckoned with in bracket.
Had he stayed in the Melee community, perhaps his legacy would be more well-known. Either way, Pink Shinobi was a staple of post-Brawl NorCal.
– Edwin Budding
98. Jonah “KM” Terrill
9th at MELEE-FC6
9th at Gettin’ Schooled 2
9th at Pound 2
9th at MLG DC 2005
13th at MELEE-FC3
When talking about hidden bosses in the old school scene of Melee, one of the first names that should come to mind is MDVA’s KM. Not often traveling out of the region, KM was considered a fearsome threat to any that fought him, from as early as 2005. Many thought of him on the level of players like NEO or Chillin.
With wins on the two aforementioned players locally, KM even had some set wins over players as skilled as Azen, and nationally had players such as the Midwest’s Drephen on his resume. At one point ranked as high as 11th on the Smash Panel Power Rankings in 2006, KM had an excellent prime worthy of recognition.
97. Daniel “KishCubed” Kish
5th at MELEE-FC
Considered the strongest player of the legendary Kish Brothers, KishCubed was a founding father of Sheik play, posting up solid results at the top of the Midwest as early as 2003. He competed with the likes of Eddie for best in his region and Cubed boasted an impressive performance at MELEE-FC.
Sadly, his career was cut tragically short due to complications following heart surgery, and he passed away on January 15, 2005. His final tournament was the high profile regional Flames of Bowser 3 in the previous November, where he dominated. Here, he defeated players like DieSuperFly, Eddie and Drephen without dropping a game. Nevertheless, KishCubed is still fondly remembered as one of the original greats of the Midwest and an important figure in Melee history.
96. Zain “Zain” Naghmi
5th at Super Smash Con 2017
7th at DreamHack Denver 2017
13th at GENESIS 5
13th at Smash n Splash 3
17th at The Big House 6″
Zain is the personification of every Fox player’s worst fear: a Marth main that will pivot and crouch grab everything. But Zain’s first big win wasn’t even a Fox – it was a Sheik. At The Big House 6, Zain turned heads with a stunning 2-0 victory over Plup, months before his shocking defeat of Leffen at Smash N Splash 3.
If Mew2King wrote the textbook on how to kill opponents as quickly and efficiently as possible, then Zain took what Mew2King wrote and added modern swagger to it. Edge canceling his aerials, pivoting at will and making seemingly endless highlight reels on his opponents, Zain is a marvel to watch and a terrifying force to play. Now having a bigger target on his back than ever in his career, it’ll be a treat to see how Zain transitions from being the new kid on the block to joining Melee’s Marth dynasty.
– Edwin Budding
95. Kelly “Kels” Smith
7th at The Big House 4
13th at Pound V
13th at The Big House 3
17th at Smash N Splash 3
17th at UGC Smash Open
For years, Darkrain dominated the Midwest during the post-Brawl era. But as Darkrain fell out of the limelight, Kels eventually took the reins as his region’s top representative. Hailing from Chicago, the Fox/Sheik frequently won his locals with ease earlier this decade. A veteran of the scene for over ten years, Kels’ trademark safe, low-risk and smart approach to playing gained him a reputation as the guy no one rooted for at local tournaments, despite his well-liked reputation in the Midwest.
It’s ironically beautiful that his greatest performance came at The Big House 4, where Kels defeated Axe, Wizzrobe, Bladewise and Nintendude, finishing an impressive seventh place to wild cheers among the Midwest home crowd. This tournament catapulted Kels from being a Midwest darling into someone with a national legacy of his own. Today, he’s known as the man, the myth, Kelly Smith.
– Edwin Budding
94. Wesley”FASTLIKETREE” Hunt
5th at MLG Dallas 2006
13th at MLG Anaheim 2006
17th at MELEE-FC6
FASTLIKETREE was a rare sight at nationals, but he made his present felt at his first. At MLG Dallas, he defeated Isai’s Sheik, who some considered to be superior to his Falcon, in his very first set, eventually finishing fifth.
He’s often credited as the first notable player to truly implement pivoting with Marth. This was a technique later popularized by a more modern Texas Marth known as Arc, followed by PewPewU in his win over Hungrybox at Apex 2015 and nearly every relevant Marth player today. His contributions to the Marth metagame are still felt to this day.
93. Aaron “Professor Pro” Thomas
5th at UGC Smash Open
5th at DreamHack Winter 2016
5th at BEAST 5
9th at Paragon Los Angeles 2015
9th at Pound 2016
Outside of The Doug in the early years of Melee, the United Kingdom never had a top-level representative in competitive smash. Professor Pro changed that with a victory over Hungrybox at Paragon LA that brought him to the national spotlight. Months later, he then took a set from Leffen at Kickstart 7, joining an elite category of players in the modern era of Melee that have beaten two members of Melee’s Big Six.
As far as his in-game contributions go, Professor Pro has a world-class out-of-shield game, making him a pesky opponent to fight. With a few more improvements, he could not only bring the UK to a greater level of representation to the smash scene, but improve his quietly impressive all-time standing.
– Edwin Budding
92. Lucien “Lucien” Mitchell Mayo
13th at EVO 2013
17th at GENESIS 2
33rd at EVO 2014
Lucien (formerly ZodiakLucien) was ranked No. 1 in NorCal during a time when interest in Melee waned in favor of Brawl. While less well-known than other local heroes like Isai, SilentSpectre (and the rest of the DBR crew), and modern players like SFAT, Shroomed and PewPewU, Lucien was still a force to be reckoned with in 2010, continuing to be a well-regarded competitor for years after his peak.
Outside of his solid national and regional results, Lucien’s true legacy comes from not only his local performances, but his tutelage of both old and new smashers alike. His guides and tips to players who either struggled to improve in the game or whose interest faltered in declining scene helped push NorCal along in such trying times, keeping the player base alive. Lucien’s efforts were bright light that led the charge of the NorCal scene to a new era, one with players who are now household names.
91. Jonathan “Bum” Farley
4th at MLG Long Island 2007
Easily the greatest Donkey Kong main of all time, Bum was a New Yorker whose overall skills came from years of playing locally with Deadly Alliance and some of Tristate’s best players in the MLG and post-MLG era. However, when a major finally came to him in MLG Long Island, Bum proved his worth, defeating then top players Isai and ChuDat and taking Mew2King to his last stock in one of the greatest low-tier performances at a national in Melee history.
Bum rarely traveled, but he shocked those who played him for the first time. Legend has it that he used to beat up on lesser players while blindfolded or with his back turned to the screen. He also still defeated players like PC Chris, DA Wes, Cactuar and KoreanDJ at locals across the Tristate region. One of the more interesting and elusive players of all time, Bum truly proved what it meant to be the first member of the DK Crew.
Thank you for reading, everybody. We’ll be back with 81-90, coming soon!