The 2018 Super Smash Bros. Melee season has come and gone and with it many of the old narratives surrounding the gods of the game. Here we’ll look at how 2018 treated the gods of the game and what it means heading into 2019.
The GOAT Hangs up his Controller
Regardless of what the 2019 Melee season brings us, one storyline will be painfully absent: Adam “Armada” Lindgren’s fight to dominate Melee. After a year of middling performances—keep in mind that “middling” for Armada means showing signs of mortality—Armada was able to put one more trophy in the case with a victory at Super Smash Con 2018.
At SSC18 he showed what had made him the best player for years. In winner’s finals, Armada beat Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma. He was the only player with a positive record over Hungrybox in 2018. Also he got the better of Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman despite dropping their first set in grand finals.
Armada was always a player who wasn’t clutch. He didn’t need to be. While other players got hot when the pressure was on, Armada played like a god from the first game. In the tenth game of a grueling grand finals, Armada won SSC18.
Armada announced his retirement from Melee singles shortly after the event. He still competes in doubles with his brother, Andreas “Android” Lindgren, and will be competing in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate at Genesis 6.
Months of Uncertainty
Hungrybox is all but guaranteed to be ranked No. 1 in the 2019 SSBM Ranks. But until the final months of 2018, it was much more contentious.
The year kicked off with Justin “Plup” McGrath winning Genesis 5. This marked the first time a player outside of the top-six won a major event in the gods era of the game. He did so by defeating Armada—with the final stocking being taken by his Zelda—Hungrybox and Joseph “Mango” Marquez. 2018 featured a wealth of great sets but this one was possibly the best.
If you asked Mew2King what the most surprising tournament victory of the year was, he’d likely answer Smash Summit 6: the tournament he won. In grand finals, he defeated Armada, the four-time Summit champion. His reaction gave old-school Melee fans the Mew2King victory they had been waiting on for years.
"oh did I win?… no seriously I won?" @echofoxgg @MVG_Mew2King is your Smash Summit 6 champion! 🏆 Congratulations on winning one of the hypest Smash Summits ever! 🔥#SmashSummit6 #Wholesome2King pic.twitter.com/kGckHePzCa
— Most Valuable Gaming (@MVGLeague) May 7, 2018
Leffen’s time came at Evo, the most prestigious fighting game tournament, where he devoted himself to Melee instead of Dragon Ball FighterZ. He had picked it up, became Europe’s best player and then dropped itwithin a year. Where Plup clawed tooth and nail for every win in his tournament run, Leffen looked to be on another level relative to his competitors.
Before Hungrybox—the best player of 2018—won an event with 500 or more attendees, he would be eliminated in grand finals by Zain Naghmi at Shine 2018 and Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett at Optic Arena.
Hungrybox’s Second-Half Surge
Despite a quiet nine months, Hungrybox had a good argument to remain the No. 1 player heading into The Big House 8. He had wins at numerous events like Low Tier City 6 and Get On My Level 2018. Now, he was just missing a signature tournament on his resume. That win came at The Big House. Hungrybox dropped just one game the entire event en route to a repeat of his 2017 victory in the Midwest.
From Dreamhack Montreal in September to Summit 7, his final event of the year, Hungrybox dropped only one set. He lost to James “Duck” Ma at Canada Cup, before defeating him in their second set of grand finals.
Hungrybox won five straight events to end the year. Although it took him a few tries to find an iconic win, he ensured that his name would once again occupy the No. 1 spot.
A Year to Forget for the Nation
One god’s name has yet to appear in this catalog of their 2018 accomplishments: Mango. Every member of the top-six won a major event this year except for “The Kid”. Mango has not won a tournament in 16 months.
He has a losing record against every top-six member. And what year for “The Buster” would be complete without some classic Ice Climbers losses? Those have come to Charles “Flipsy” Botello and Connor “Bananas” Lamb.
2019 is set up to be another battle of Hungrybox versus the world. With Armada out of the picture, Hungrybox is in prime position to reign over the Melee scene for a third consecutive year.
Mango also has his work cut out for him with balancing streaming (twitch.tv/mang0) with his competitive prowess. His time spent as a twitch personality has kept him from attending as many events as other top players, but with nearly 10,000 subs it’s hard to argue against how he spends his time.
Featured image courtesy of Liquidpedia
You can follow Kyle @ffkylethekid where he tweets about fantasy football, Overwatch, and Smash.
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