Sami “DruggedFox” Muhanna has always been a well respected player in the Melee scene. A player known for his extensive game knowledge, who has been close to putting the pieces together to win tournaments. At Eden in Chicago, IL, he was finally able to string together enough solid matches to take his first major of 2016.
“This is such a release, “said DruggedFox, “I’ve been working so hard.” (Quote via Melee Everyday, follow and subscribe)
The Georgia native made plenty of changes to his game this year. He not only switched over from his original main in Sheik to Falco. He also made the move to Fox, and that decision is finally paying dividends. In the second to last major tournament of 2016, we witnessed the potential come out of DruggedFox’s Fox.
DruggedFox came out of the winners bracket to win his first major of 2016. His path to the championship went through some upset winners, including Rishi “SmashG0d” Malhotra, who beat European pro, Aaron “Professor Pro” Thomas. He was a dominating 10-2 in games before top-8.
DruggedFox Wins Two Fox Ditto’s in Top 8
In top 8, DruggedFox faced off against two of the top Fox mains in the world. Zac “SFAT” Cordoni and Mustafa “Ice” Akcakaya, two players ranked inside the top 10, and he managed to go 9-7 with the pressure on. It was an impressive showing for a player with less experience in the Fox matchup to go against two of the fastest players on the planet and win.
In fact, he showed the ability to adapt in nearly every situation. In six of his nine wins against SFAT and Ice, he fell behind first stock and still won the game. He also fell behind after losing the first set of Grand Finals to Ice 3-0, but changed up his counter-pick stages and reaped the rewards with a 3-1 win in the second set.
“One thing I’m proud of is, I did completely different stage striking in the second set (vs Ice),” said DruggedFox. “A lot of my losses to Ice were in micro-situations near the edge so I was like, ‘I’ll make you play the neutral game.'”
After losing to Ice on Fountain of Dreams and two consecutive matches on Yoshi’s Island (all small stages), he switched it up by staying on larger stages. In his three wins against Ice in grand finals, all of those games were on large stages (Final Destination, Pokémon stadium, and Dreamland). It allowed him to avoid the corner of the stage, an area in which Ice excels in.
Furthermore, DruggedFox taking a tournament with this many ranked players present was a big step forward. He had a strong year with standout performance, but his lack of a true main was holding him back. Sticking with Fox has changed his entire game and now he has the confidence and experience to expand on this outstanding performance at Eden.
“This isn’t the end for me,” said DruggedFox, “this is step one. I finally achieved my step one which was beat a bunch of good players with Fox. Show that I’ve been working on this for awhile. He’s always been my main.”
Eden won’t count towards the end of the year MIOM ranking, but it’s safe to say DruggedFox will be making a gigantic jump up the list from 18th in 2015. It’ll be exiting to see where DruggedFox finishes in 2017 considering Fox meshes perfectly with his read-and-react play style.