The end of Summer marks the end of the busiest season in the Super Smash Brothers tournament scene and the start of a brief rest period before the next big major event (The Big House 6, October 7-9th). The summer [of Smash] provided a great deal of major tournaments and gave us a good indication of where the meta-game currently stands and where each player is individually ranked heading into the off-season.
It’s the fourth consecutive summer in a row where the Smash community has had two premier events (as decided by Liquipedia). This year the Smash community held four premier events (CEO, GOML, Evo, Super Smash Con) and five other major events (Dreamhack, Shine, Smash N’ Splash, WTFox2, and Clutch City Clash). Every weekend consisted of a Major throughout the end of June all the way to the end of August.
The number of large tournaments allows for analyst, like myself, to figure in a lot of data points and see how the landscaped has formed after a busy Summer schedule. Every top player, outside of William “Leffen” Hjelte, played each other and every player in the big five (Armada, Hungrybox, Mango, Leffen, and Mew2King) won a fairly large tournament. The frequency of these events and how often these matchups occur on a weekly basis give us an understanding of where the game and players are at this point in its life cycle.
The largest event in terms of entrants, Evolution 2016, was won by Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma. It was his first Evo championship and a stepping stone for Hungrybox on his rise to the top of the 2016 rankings. The current number one world ranked player, Adam “Armada” Lindgren, had a rough summer finishing second at both Evo and WTFox2. He did take the top spot at Heir 3, but failed to win any of the North American Summer events.
The summer gave way to some rising stars in the community. Zac “SFAT” Cordoni has established himself as one of the best players in Smash and is now threatening to win major tournaments over the big five. His second place finish at both CCC and Shine had never been done before from a player outside the top six. He also finished third at CEO 2016. Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett also took a big step forward this summer and finished within the top 10 in the rankings.
The rest of Northern California had a very successful summer campaign with SFAT, Kevin “PPU” Toy, and DeJuan “Shroomed” McDaniel all finishing in the top eight at premium majors. All three players are threatening to become the next tournament winning-level player in the Smash scene, something that hasn’t been accomplished since Leffen’s leap to top five in 2014.
The Summer of Hungrybox
Some would call it the summer of Hungrybox, who took home five tournament victories and moved himself into second in terms of career winnings behind only Armada. His Jigglypuff play took the character to new heights, as he vastly improved his micro spacing and conversions to rest throughout the Summer. There’s an argument to be made that Hungrybox is deserving of the top overall spot in all of 2016, but there’s still a long way to go before the end of 2016.
Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman and Joseph “Mango” Marquez both left their mark on this Summer by taking home two major tournaments. The crowd favorites of the Melee scene were able to deliver, by not only relying on their extremely extensive game experience but finding new creative ways to deal with their weaknesses. Mango has had to reinvent parts of his game to keep pace with the other top players and it paid off.
In terms of how the Melee meta-game has developed this summer is interesting, Fox is still the center of the Melee meta-game but other characters and strategies are starting to become more effective. We saw a Jigglypuff main dominant the game for a couple months and seem to essentially figure out the Fox match up. The counter-pick meta developed, with known quantities picking up secondary’s for specific match ups. The majority of top level play has been Fox centric with players like Justin “Plup” McGrath picking up the Spacie.
Outside of Fox being the center of the meta-game, Captain Falcon made waves with more defensive style game play. Centering their play styles around crouch cancelling and looking for more openings made players who usually beat Falcon-mains struggled. Edgard “N0ne” Sheleby took out Mew2King at Get On My Level 2016, marking the first time Mew2King ever lost to a Captain Falcon main.
Shield dropping became more prevalent throughout the Summer as more players continue to incorporate new techniques into their game. More players are comfortable with it and it’s become an option players have to be weary of.
Here’s how the summer played out, this ranking only takes into account the Summer majors and gives more points to events like Evo (100 points for first place) and less to smaller events like Shine (75 for first place). It also rewards players for showing up at events, Leffen only attended two events but still finished in the top five because he won a Premier event.
Here’s the top 12 of the summer
The Top 12
- Liquid Hungrybox (500 points)
- C9 Mango (470 points)
- MVG/ Echo Fox Mew2King (410 points)
- CLG SFAT (242 points)
- Alliance Armada (185 points)
- COG Wizzrobe (116 points)
- TSM Leffen (110 points)
- PG Plup (110 points)
- G2 Westballz (109 points)
- Winterfox Shroomed (101 points)
- Tempo Axe (101 points)
- CLG PewPewU (41 points)