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Super Smash Bros. Melee: Did the 2018 Rankings Get it Right?

Every year (and summer), a new set of Super Smash Bros. Melee player rankings are released. This list sets the baseline for the coming Melee season, influences seeding, and can help rising players acquire crucial sponsorships. With the 2018 rankings coming out just before Genesis 6, what did it get right and who should have been ranked differently?

Red Bull Esports, in conjunction with Panda Global, has put out the rankings for the past two years, broken up over a few weeks. Check out the rankings here.

The Great Mango Debate

Voters for the 2019 Melee Rankings ballot were presented with one of their hardest decisions when looking at ranks five through seven.

Smash Bros. Melee Rankings
Courtesy of SmashWiki.

Note: The rankers were actually asked to rate each player on a 1-10 scale, but you get the point.

The players most commonly in contention here were Joseph “Mango” Marquez, Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman, and Zain Naghmi. All have arguments for the fourth spot but Mango ultimately got the spot. He was followed by Mew2King and then Zain.

Mango got this ranking despite having no tournament wins in 2018. Zain took home first at Shine 2018 while Mew2King won Summit 6 and Canada Cup 2018. Mango’s saving grace was 10 top-eights, more than Mew2King or Zain. If a win continues to elude Mango, fifth may be just the beginning of his fall.

Underrated Icies

Ranking successful Ice Climbers players is no easy task. The prompt they were given for ranking is as follows:

“Based on quality and quantity of results in 2018, rate each player on a scale of 1 to 10. A tournament is held every weekend during the ranking period, and all players on the list are able to attend every event. Over the course of the season, who performs the best?”

This still leaves some questions like: Is the seeding the same at every tournament? Are there pools? How many times does Armada’s controller break? Does Mango have access to beer?

Linger questions aside, Armand “Army” Del Luca and Connor “Bananas” Lamb may have been given a particular discount. The duo comes in at 20 and 19 respectively. Bananas recorded three wins over the current top-six (Plup, Mango, and Mew2King). He also has a win against Axe, another top-ten member. Given that no other player ranked 11-20 has more than one win over a top-six player, the rankers may want to think twice when evaluating the upstart Ice Climbers player.

Smash Bros. Melee Rankings
Courtesy of Red Bull Esports.

Army doesn’t have quite the murderers’ row of victories to his name. However, he has beaten three players ranked inside the top-ten – something few players ranked 11-20 can say.

Army and Bananas represent a clear divide in the community. Is there a discount on upsets using Ice Climbers? The rankings seem to think so. This is in spite of the fact they are designed to predict hypothetical future performances, based on the wording of the ballot prompt. If real-world results are used as a proxy for the prompts weekly tournament, then the prompt is asking voters to predict real-world performances.

Ice Climbers players will always have a higher standard for what their wins mean.

A Few More Left Behind

Charlie “AbsentPage” McKinley has shown a meteoric rise in talent, coupled with a stunning dedication to national attendance. He attended over 20 events beyond locals. AbsentPage also placed top-eight at Low Tier City 6 and The Big House 8. His year culminated with a first-place finish at Dreamhack Atlanta 2018.

A 24th rank isn’t insultingly low, but the rising Fox main was ranked 22nd in the Summer. The second half of the year only served to affirm his dominance yet he fell two spots. A few more wins at regional events should net AbsentPage the top-20 spot he deserves.

Cody “iBDW” Schwab, another player the community has been sleeping on, may have earned a spot higher than he was awarded. With top-13 finishes at nationals like CEO 2018, Super Smash Con 2018, and Don’t Park on the Grass, it’s easy to see the young Fox main rising. In spite of his achievements, he ranks just 34th.

Another arena iBDW has shown his prowess in is smaller events. At GEMINI, he knocked off Slox, La Luna, and Rishi. That’s three top-50 players in one day. The voters have given a number of veteran players the benefit of the doubt. This, in turn, has kept players like iBDW and AbsenPage out of the highest ranks.

However, they can only be held down for so long. Players like Crush and went from their first ranking to a top-15 spot in three years or less. It’s likely that we see young layers climbing the rankings even faster moving forward.


Featured image courtesy of Red Bull Esports.

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1 comment

Super Smash Bros. Melee: Living Without Wobbling February 15, 2019 at 6:05 am

[…] pride resting on the shoulder of someone who plays the controversial mountaineers. Texas has rising star Connor “Bananas” Lamb and North Carolina is represented by Tyler “Sharkz” […]


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