Blog

Orange’s 2013 RetroSSBBRank

Disclaimer: This work was entirely done by Orange, with no input from myself. I, Pikachu942, have no affiliation with the content of the article outside of posting it on my side and some minor editing. If you have any questions on the content, please contact Orange, who you can find most easily on Reddit at Orange_SSBU.

It took the world ending for me to stop procrastinating and actually post something, huh? If everything goes as planned, you should be reading this on Pikachu492’s website. She’s been a great help to me ever since the very beginning of this account back in February of 2019. When I went to post the RetroSSBB Rank on Reddit, it failed because I passed the character limit… by 10,000 characters. I just love to write, ok? The first person I thought of was Pika since she posts semiregularly on this website, and well, the rest is history. Depending on how much I write on the 2014 SSBB Rank, it might be on here too, but it depends, and it’ll be posted on my Reddit account anyways so you won’t miss it.

Without further ado…’

Continue reading “Orange’s 2013 RetroSSBBRank”

All-Time Melee Top 100: Another Year

I won’t bore anybody here with any extra things you don’t want to hear about, since I know why anybody would want to read this article. With the world being crazy right now, it’s almost poetic how it was matched by an equally crazy past year of Melee. The first time I did this, it was moreso a reestablishment of the ranking put out a year prior, and nice and easy to write about. This one, though, was insane, with so many twists and turns I’ll never forget, which made this article extremely difficult to write.

Without further ado, here we go!

Continue reading “All-Time Melee Top 100: Another Year”

Friday Surprise: Snexus 2

If you want to support my three articles a week, remember to pledge to me on Patreon!


 

In the oldest days of Melee, scenes were incredibly separated, with players from the East Coast and West Coast practically never meeting, let alone countries outside the United States. In the first few years, it was common to see players dominate their regions, but never travel to truly prove themselves as the best in the nation, or the world. This was understandable, given the lack of incentive to do so in Melee’s formative years, but still people were dying to know what scene was truly the best. That is when Snex, an old school Midwest TO, got a wonderful idea. He would host a large scale tournament for the time, Snexus 2, and fly out some of the very best from California to partake in the bracket. This is the story of one of the very first inter-regional meetings in Melee’s history, and arguably the first large tournament the game had ever seen.

While it may seem pitiful by today’s standards, Snexus 2 was able to garner 48 entrants, an astounding amount for the time. In fact, at the time it could’ve quite possibly been the largest tournament to ever take place, though there is scarce data from then to truly confirm this. Taking place on July 12th, 2003, over 16 years ago today, all the best in the Midwest gathered to face the West Coast elite. The very best of course were the ones known as Team Blood, made up of the Chicago duo of Eduardo and Eddie. While Eddie is more well-known in today’s era for his further success with Ganondorf, Eduardo was a force to be reckoned with, winning nearly every tourney at the time with his trusty Marth. In addition, the Kish Brothers of Indiana showed up, KishPrime, KishSquared and KishCubed, as well as the others in the Ship of Fools crew with Joshu and Ignatius, sometimes known as Iggy. Da’Shiekie, another of Illinois’ best with the Blood Brothers, also appeared, as well as up and coming Puff Andy, later to be known as Show Me Your Moves TO AOB. The best in Ohio also appeared, with Smog and Fusegen, and some older-school players, even for the time, like SmashBroPro and DJXXX also made the trip out. The very best from Canada also attended, with MikeMonkey and Jarrod from the Punch Crew, and finally, were the NorCal collective. Recipherus and Isai were the easy favorites to win this tournament, being the two best in the region at the time, while former European #1 turned top Cali star The Doug was another top contender. The original Dave himself, Scamp, also showed up, and rounded out the top participants for the tournament. This was going to be a hotly contested affair, and we won’t know who’ll take it until we begin.

The tournament started with doubles, and while I wouldn’t normally talk too much about these results, I feel it is important to highlight the first big upset of the day. Recipherus and Isai, the dominant favorites heading in, especially with Isai’s still blossoming but known doubles prowess, were actually taken down by the legendary Team Blood. Eddie and Eduardo defended the Midwest in doubles, which perhaps was a good sign heading into the main event: the singles bracket.

The first round begins, with only a single notable matchup to go over before Winner’s Round 2:

Da’Shiekie vs. Smog

In the first regional battle of the day, Illinois and Ohio faced off in a heated contest. Sheik was commonly heralded as the best character in the game at this point, though with Recipherus’ known struggles against both Sultan of Samitude and Justin Junio, perhaps Falco was the answer. Smog further drove this point home, defeating Da’Shiekie to advance in the bracket.

Joshu vs. Fusegen

Another notable Ohio matchup, this time against Indiana. Fusegen was considered the 2nd best in the region, just behind Smog, while Joshu was more in the 3-5 range for his state. However, Joshu proved just how stacked Indiana was at the time, and easily dispatched of Fusegen to continue.

Scamp vs. KishSquared

The first true test of California vs. the rest, Scamp went up against the often considered 2nd best of the Kishes, KishSquared, and fell just short. Midwest had proven its ability to beat the middling tiers of the West, but could they beat the higher ups?

Recipherus vs. KishCubed

That answer seemed to come shortly after, when Recipherus easily dispatched of the often considered best in Indiana, KishCubed. While it was the highly volatile Sheik ditto, it’s easy to look at this, and begin to feel disheartened about the Midwest’s chances.

Jarrod vs. KishPrime

At the very least, though, the final Kish proved that it’d take more than #2 in Canada to send them packing, as he was able to take out Jarrod of the Punch Crew to make it to Winner’s Round 3.

Fusegen vs. Jarrod (19th)

Yes, 19th place. The bracket was a bit strange in this bracket, as they wound up somehow having uneven sides on each one. This led to them doing 3 way FFA’s in the 4th round, in order to decide who would get the bye, causing a bit of a mixup in the loser’s bracket. While Melee was beginning to form into a national, regulated scene, there were still some strange rules such as this back in 2003. Anyways, Fusegen eliminated Jarrod, removing one of Canada’s best from the tournament.

Scamp vs. Da’Sheikie (19th)

…And yet another out of region player eliminated, as Da’Sheikie successfully eliminated one of California’s fly-outs to progress on. It seems some of the Midwest could indeed hang.

The Doug vs. Joshu

This matchup was probably a fairly exciting one, considering both being considered just under the very best of their respective regions. The Doug was able to prove both Europe and California proud, however, when he vanquished the Midwest Luigi.

Eddie vs. KishSquared

In a battle long-awaited by some, the two often considered 2nd best of their states battled for supremacy, in a match that hadn’t occurred before. Eddie was able to take it this time, but rest assured, Indiana would not go quietly into the night.

MikeMonkey vs. Recipherus

Another best in region battle for Recipherus, and another victory. Recipherus handily defeated MikeMonkey to continue on, proving his superiority over not only Indiana, but the entirety of Canada as well.

Smog vs. KishPrime

Ohio continued to prove itself here, as Smog was able to take down one of the lofted Kishes in singles action. Ohio was often left out of conversations for the best region in the Midwest at the time, it almost always being between Illinois and Indiana, but Smog was making an amazing case for both himself and his region here.

Isai vs. Eduardo

One of the most anticipated matchups of the tournaments, Isai and Eduardo battled fiercely in a match that could make or break the Midwest. While Team Blood had successfully defended themselves in doubles, it looked like singles would be a different story, as Isai was able to somehow take out the Midwest’s absolute best, and advance in the bracket.

KishPrime vs. Da’Sheikie (13th)

The best player in Illinois that didn’t start with Ed, Da’Sheikie continued his trek to try and make Top 8 at this prestigious event. However, KishPrime was able to stop him in his tracks, forwarding Indiana’s claim for the best state of the bunch.

MikeMonkey vs. Fusegen (13th)

Fusegen, after just slaying Jarrod the round previous, was probably feeling pretty good about his changes to finish off Canada and prove Ohio’s greatness, especially after seeing Smog’s run through winner’s. However, MikeMonkey snuffed those hopes out, gaining vengeance on Fusegen for his brethren and advancing forwards.

Anyways, as I said, Winner’s Round 4 was initially decided with FFA’s to determine who would get the initial bye to round 5. The first of which was between The Doug, Iggy and Eddie, which Eddie was able to come out on top of. The second was between Recipherus, Isai and Smog, in which Recipherus was able to win. This led to Winner’s Round 4 being:

The Doug vs. Iggy

The Doug continued his warpath through the Ship of Fools crew, as he struck down yet another member with Iggy. Put whatever Indiana player you want in The Doug’s way, he would take them all down. California seemed to really putting a number on the Midwest this tournament.

Isai vs. Smog

Finally, Smog’s miracle run through winner’s was thwarted, as Isai was able to soundly send him to the loser’s bracket. While he may have been taken down, perhaps Smog’s miracle energy had transitioned to Isai, considering his next match…

Eddie vs. The Doug

In what may have been a shocking result for the time, the soon to be legendary Ganon main Eddie was able to send The Doug to the loser’s bracket, and advance to Winner’s Finals. This would mark the first time Eddie would truly begin to outshine his partner Eduardo, and start to cement himself as one of the game’s very best.

Recipherus vs. Isai

And in what was definitely a shocking upset, Isai scored his first truly top level win in singles, defeating Recipherus to make it to Winner’s Finals as well! Isai had often not tried incredibly hard at the previous Tournament Go entries, notably only reaching 7th at the last one, TG4. However, since Ken’s debut there, he has been practicing extensively with the King of Smash, and really learning to expand his game beyond just his 64 expertise. Isai started his establishment as one of the greatest players to ever touch a Gamecube controller right here, and it would only go up.

Eduardo vs. KishCubed (9th)

KishCubed honestly had a rough bracket, having to face both Recipherus and Eduardo, quite possibly the two best at the tournament, so early on. Sadly, that’s what he had to face, as #1 in Indiana fell to the best in NorCal and the best in Illinois for a paltry 9th place finish.

Iggy vs. KishPrime (9th)

Fear not, though, as the Kishes had more to say in this tournament. While KishCubed got knocked out unfortunately early, KishPrime continued his run into Top 8, eliminating Iggy in an Indiana teamkill. Considering their recent tournament performances, this very well could’ve been considered an upset.

MikeMonkey vs. Joshu (9th)

Canada sadly was unable to make Top 8, as Indiana gained yet another spot in the lofty bracket. Joshu was able to take down MikeMonkey, proving Luigi’s potential as a viable character at the top level.

Recipherus vs. KishSquared (9th)

Recipherus, despite his earlier upset loss to Isai, was not about to let himself fall short once again. Early in the year, Recipherus had failed to conquer Texas at MOAST, losing in an intense Grand Finals to the best in the region, Zulu. He was not about to let this happen again, as he took down KishSquared to advance into Top 8.

The Doug vs. Eduardo (7th)

Another interesting matchup, caused by the famously weird bracket structure of 2003 Melee, and we see the best in the Midwest against the best from Europe. In a heated affair, Eduardo proved that Team Blood was not one to be messed with, as he finished what Eddie started, and ended The Doug’s tournament run at a perhaps disappointing 7th place.

Smog vs. Joshu (7th)

In a perhaps lower level but still equally exciting match, Smog continued his amazing run through the tournament, taking out another of the region’s best in Joshu. Smog had firmly but Ohio on the map, being its first truly top level talent.

Eduardo vs. KishPrime (5th)

Eduardo once again proved himself to be no laughing matter, with another take down of Indiana’s best, this time with video! This tournament proved that while Indiana may have more depth than Illinois, at the top level there was no contest. Illinois had taken half of the Top 4 spots in the tournament, while Indiana had taken none of them. The battle for best state in the region was over, and Illinois had won decisively.

Recipherus vs. Smog (5th)

However, the true battle was still underway, as the Midwest fought to protect itself from the California invaders. Smog was unable to do so, falling convincingly to Recipherus. However, he had proven himself, and broken through as one of the best in any state with his amazing run today.

Isai vs. Eddie

In what was more than likely a very surprising Winner’s Finals, Isai and Eddie faced off as the two often considered silver medallists of their regions. Isai pulled out the Fox for this set, as opposed to his Falcon or Sheik, while Eddie stuck to his trademark Ganon. It was decently close, but seemed to be fairly in Isai’s favor as he wound up taking the set, having defeated Eddie, Eduardo and Recipherus to make Grand Finals. Perhaps Isai truly was the best in the nation, or maybe 2nd to Ken.

Recipherus vs. Eduardo (4th)

While it was in a place not many expected, this was the matchup everybody was waiting for. The best in NorCal, facing off against the best in the Midwest. Both had experience with this matchup, with Recipherus having played Ken, and Eduardo having played Da’Shiekie. The match seemed close at first, but in the end, Recipherus pulled ahead, notching an impressive victory over the hometown’s champion. Recipherus would carry this momentum.

To spare you all more needless descriptions, Recipherus found his groove after the hardfought win over Eduardo, easily dispatching of Eddie, before taking out Isai twice from loser’s in two rather convincing sets to take the tournament. Recipherus had accomplished his goal, avenging his loss at MOAST and proving he was indeed one of the best in the nation, while Isai proved his was a force to be reckoned, taking sets off all the contenders. While Eddie and Eduardo did fall in singles, they did defeat the invaders in doubles, and proved at the top level, they were the best state in the Midwest. Smog established himself as a harrowing player to face off with, and Indiana showcased their depth of talent, hosting nearly half of the Top 12. Almost everybody had something to be proud of with this event, though none more than the organizer, Snex.

Snex himself actually had a fairly impressive run, only losing to Isai and KishSquared for 13th, though that isn’t exactly what I mean. Snex proved that you could run a successful, large scale tournament, housing multiple top players from multiple regions. This was something that would only expand from here, with the likes of Tournament Go 5 and Game Over on the West and East Coasts being Melee’s first true majors. However, it all started here, in a small venue in Chicago, over 16 years ago. The West Coast proving themselves as the best region in the nation, at least to themselves, was often a topic on SmashBoards after this. The East Coast didn’t take too kindly to this, nor did any region for that matter, and they decided it was time to meet them on their home turf. This tournament in some ways did lead to the growth of Melee, and is an important old-school tournament, never to be forgotten.

Final Placings

1.Recipherus

2.Isai

3.Eddie

4.Eduardo

5.KishPrime/Smog

7.The Doug/Joshu

9.KishCubed/Iggy/MikeMonkey/KishSquared

An Underrated Innovator: The Career of FASTLIKETREE

Hey all, back with another article! Remember, if you want to support these THREE ARTICLES A WEEK, and maybe more down the line, come over and support me on Patreon! I’d really appreciate it.


 

In Melee’s history, the development of the characters and technical skills used are fairly well-documented, from videos like Shined Blind showing where Fox could go back in 2004, to videos like Perfect Dark showing where they have yet to in 2011. Many other examples exist, such as character threads on SmashBoards, or specific sets one could point to as a turning point in the game, like Leffen and Armada at Paragon Orlando. However, out of all of these names, I feel there is one vastly overlooked. One who had developed the meta in multiple ways way back during the game’s Golden Age, and in ways still felt to this day. That man, if you couldn’t guess by the title, is the Fox and Marth player known as FASTLIKETREE.

FASTLIKETREE started out his journey in 2004, getting 5th at his very first tournament. Early on, he showed signs of true skill, despite his lack of technical ability during his formative year. And when I say year, I mean year, as within those 12 months he quickly rose to be the best player in Texas locally in 2005. While he didn’t travel like his contemporaries, he began to consistently defeat well-known players from the time such as Rob$ and Caveman at locals, two players well within the Top 20 in the world. During that time, his technical skill also rose to extremely high levels, being quite possibly the only player in the world at the time to be able to consistently perform Fox’s waveshine infinite across the stage. His Marth was also fantastic, innovating in many ways, particularly with his pivot play, which no Marth had ever even considered beforehand. He was also known for “Tree-grabbing”, a technique that allowed Marths to grab players while running from behind them, much like the more well-known “Johnny grab” with Falcon. Before long, it was time for his very first major.

MLG Dallas 2006 was the first major tournament to happen near FASTLIKETREE, and so he was finally able to go to it. Immediately, he established himself as a threat, defeating Isai’s Sheik in the very first round of the tournament, in what was probably one of the biggest upsets of the year’s circuit. He went on to beat fellow Texas player Rob$, as well as Wife before making Winner’s Semis at the event, eventually earning 5th place. This was a huge statement, but sadly not one he would replicate on a national scale. He would still pick up some wins on the big stage, notably Taj at MLG Anaheim in his first performance out of Texas, and Chillin at MELEE-FC6. By year’s end he would be ranked #21 in the world by the Smash Panel Power Rankings, and #19 in the world by RetroSSBMRank.

However, by 2007, FASTLIKETREE would fade from the Melee scene, eventually leaving it all together. His last gift to us was teaching a certain fellow Marth main some important tactics on pivoting, something he would improve upon in years to come. That player would be Arc, the one often credited for utilizing and inventing many of the techniques people use today, most notably the pivot tippers against Jigglypuff that famously gave PewPewU his win over Hungrybox at APEX 2015, as well as Zain for his major win at Shine 2018.

FASTLIKETREE’s legacy is an often overlooked one, and while it was brief, it was extremely important nonetheless. Without him, many things we’ve seen with both Fox and Marth may not have been developed as far as they have been and be set back many years. The careers of great players like Arc, KJH, PewPewU or Zain may not have taken off as strongly without the years of knowledge and detail that birthed from this relatively unknown player from Texas. His mark on the game is an irrefutable one, and something everybody should know about. Float like a butterfly, and be fast like a tree.


I know this article was a much shorter one, but it was just a story I wanted to get out there about a player I particularly love, despite his fairly short career. I hope you all enjoyed it nonetheless!

Melee’s Greatest Moments: Mew2King 6-0’s Leffen

Hey all, back again for another week! Remember, if you want to support me and my work of three articles every single week, come over to my Patreon and pledge your heart out!


 

Mew2King is one of the longest tenured smashers in our game’s history, not just in Melee, but in all games. He has proved to perform at the very top level in Melee, Brawl and Smash 4, becoming the best in the world at the former two on multiple occasions. However, despite all his success, it seemed as if his career was finally coming to a slow end. As 2014 and 2015 rolled on, Mew2King struggled in Smash 4, suffering a character crisis after the nerfs to his previous main, Diddy Kong. While this would be bad enough, the once stable pillar he had in Melee as one of the Five Gods was also beginning to fall, as he found himself slipping further and further down the totem pole. Mew2King had finally begun losing to the up and coming Leffen, who at this point had started to establish himself as quite possibly the best player in the world. This all came to a head in a dominant display at the very first Super Smash Con.

In under 10 minutes, Leffen decimated the once proud slayer of space animals, beating him at his own game badly in one of the only times M2K has lost to a Fox multiple times in a row on Final Destination. The domination continued with another decisive 3-1 victory in Grand Finals, and it seemed Leffen had finally figured Mew2King out. Leffen even made an infamous tweet about the event, claiming that he had trouble not three stocking Mew2King. However, while swung at the king and did not miss, the king wouldn’t stay down for long.

Enter PAX Prime 2015, a tournament once again featuring Leffen and Mew2King. Taking place a mere three weeks after the Smash Con debacle, there was no reason to think anything different would happen here. The fight was over, and Leffen had won, he had figured out the way to finally topple the King of the Mews. There was no going back now, as Leffen would continue his dominance en route to a #1 placing on the year. He had even overcome a longstanding Samus problem, decimating HugS in Winner’s Semis, a player who had defeated him earlier in the year at Press Start. Meanwhile, Mew2King scraped by in a hardfought set against Westballz, before meeting Leffen in Winner’s Finals. What follows, is legendary.

Having cycled through all his characters previously in their last set, Mew2King once again attempted this against Leffen, starting with what many would consider his 3rd best character in Fox. Leffen was well-known at this point for his strength in the Fox ditto, memories of the iconic Paragon set against Armada still ringing throughout the audience. Mew2King, however, wasn’t Armada. He was different, he played different, as his Fox looked calculated and precise, like the robotic Mew2King of old; fitting, considering this was his original main. With a shocking comeback, Mew2King clutched out the final stock and took the first game in stunning fashion. The crowd was in disbelief: could this be it?

No, of course not, Mew2King had no chance here. It was a fluke of the Fox ditto, a famously volatile matchup, and nothing more. Mew2King perhaps thought this as well and, in addition to the closeness of that game, this led to him switching to his more comfortable Sheik, a character he is well-known for today. Another exciting game ensued, as Mew2King once again fought his way back from a deficit, a heartstopping final sequence securing him another comeback and game. D1 and Blur on commentary exuding the exact emotion most of the crowd watching was, both in the venue and those watching on stream. Bewilderment, excitement, and disbelief. The King had…returned?

Game 3, Mew2King remains his patented Sheik, and this game would not need a comeback from him, nor would it be particularly competitive, as Mew2King decimated Leffen with a series of stylish plays reminiscent of him at his prime. A dominant three stock would occur as Leffen merely gave up on his final one, laughing at the result. It seemed unthinkable, but Mew2King had won, he did it! Mew2King was in Grand Finals. However, Leffen was a tough foe, and after a sound beatdown on Westballz in Loser’s Finals, Leffen was ready to take this tourney back for himself, and prove why he was the best in the world.

…Or, I guess not. While Leffen started out hot in Game 1, Mew2King made yet another amazing comeback and early gimp with his Sheik, Leffen once again laughing at the result as Mew2King went up again. Leffen seemed to have almost resigned at this point to many, and Mew2King was only picking up more steam. A switch to Marth came for Game 2, as Mew2King would stay this character for the remainder of the set. From here on out, this was the M2K show, featuring Leffen as the fortunate victim. While both games would indeed be rather close, the consistent, punishing Marth stole all the highlights, with flashy combos and kills galore. Leffen could do nothing but smile and laugh at what he was witnessing throughout the set, perhaps in disbelief, or anger…or fear at what he had awakened?

Nonetheless, with a final forward smash, Mew2King had sealed the 6-0. An iconic moment in the history of M2K’s career, and a huge turning point for it as well. At this time in his life, Mew2King looked as if he was fading from the top echelon of Smash play, that he didn’t have much more to offer. His primary game, Melee, saw him slowly falling, and he just could not find himself in the newest installment. PAX Prime was the jolt of energy he needed, as Mew2King soared to the top once more. The tournament would also be the same for Smash 4, as Mew2King found his new main in Donkey Kong, notably upsetting MVD in another solid set to watch. M2K would continue to say with us on our streams to this day at the highest level of play. What lays beyond 2019 for Mew2King is a mystery, with his continued absence at multiple tournaments throughout the year since GENESIS. One thing’s for certain though: We’re glad you’re still here.

Long live the King.