Melee in 2013: Year in Review

Melee in 2013: Year in Review
The sixth annual Smash tournament industry report

Previous Editions
[2008] (none)

Overview of 2013

2013… where do we begin.

As the year draws to a close, many members of the Melee community can’t help but look back at the past twelve months and ask: What happened this year? How did we get here? How is it that the scene is arguably stronger now than at any other point in history? The answers to these questions outline some of the most exciting, grueling, and heart-stopping moments the Melee community has ever seen. Resilience was tested with the “Spirit Bomb” donation drive, and vindication was achieved with the return of Melee to the Evolution Championship Series. Adversity was conquered through the Nintendo Stream Crisis, and antiquity was celebrated with the release of “The Smash Brothers” documentary. 2013 will likely be remembered as the year of EVO, but it should also go down as a truly remarkable twelve months to be relished by a community that rose to the challenge to make it all happen.

No year in review can do justice, let alone concisely summarize the events that swept the Melee world this year, but we have to start somewhere: the unofficial kickoff to the tournament calendar year, Apex 2013. A massive 336 entrants showed up at the doorsteps of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ to participate in the annual international event hosted by Alex Strife and crismas. Notables in attendance included Javi, the legendary Fox pro from Mexico returning to the states for the first time since his stunning 4th place Apex 2012 finish; Leffen, the much-maligned Swede banned from attending Smash tournaments in his own country due to detrimental conduct; and Gucci, the oft-hyped Japanese Falcon pro making his American tournament debut. The bracket pools stage of the event provided several surprises; ESAM grabbed the early headlines with an impressive win vs Javi, while Gucci immediately proved doubters wrong by defeating Westballz. However, the North American “big four” of Mango, Mew2King, Hungrybox, and Dr PeePee remained impervious to such upsets. Each claimed a spot in the eventual top five along with defending champion Armada, who was given a pair of stiff tests involving new character counterpicks by his opponents; the beast from Sweden weathered Hungrybox’s Ness in four nail-biting semifinal games, then survived Dr PeePee’s Marth in a thrilling two-set Grand Finals to repeat as Apex champion.

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The Apex 2013 crowd (left) could feel the salt in the air as a Shy Guy costs Hungrybox (right-left) a game in Winners Semis vs Armada (right-right) at Apex 2013

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Mew2King (left-left) double-eliminated Mango (left-right) from the Apex 2013 bracket; Armada (right) hangs on vs Dr PeePee to win an intense Grand Finals

Typically, a January Melee major transitions the scene into a period of relative inactivity for the rest of the spring, but that would not be the case in 2013, which turned the page on Apex almost instantly. On January 8, the Evolution Championship Series (EVO) announced the kickoff of an unprecedented 8th game donation drive, a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in which the highest-donating community earned a spot for their game at EVO 2013. For Melee fans everywhere who had made their voices heard through EVO’s Facebook poll in December 2012, this was a chance to put their money where their mouth was, and for a humble group of podcast enthusiasts to step up to the plate.

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Community leader Scar (right-bottom) was instrumental in helping Melee achieve victory in the EVO 2013 eighth game donation drive (left)

On the West Coast, Scar sprung into action, facilitating the “Spirit Bomb” donation drive in order to recruit a fundraising effort within the Smash community and beat the rest of the 8th game competition. After a week of nervous speculation in which exact donation numbers had not been made public yet, one contender emerged from the pack: Skullgirls. Taking advantage of FGC organization and aid from voice actors such as Cristina Vee, the Skullgirls community would raise the stakes on Melee’s quest to return to EVO, rallying the community to step up for a frantic month of fundraising by community members of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life. As the February 1st deadline hung in the balance, momentum for the donation drive built steadily: dozens of dollars turned into hundreds, and hundreds into thousands. By the time the final day rolled around, Melee and Skullgirls were neck-and-neck at over $50,000 each raised for Breast Cancer Research, setting the stage for one of the most memorable nights in the history of the community.

The Melee It On Me podcast became a rallying point for Smashers everywhere on the decisive night of January 31st. Garnering the support of big names in the streaming and speedrunning communities such as Trihex, Oddler, and SephirothKen himself, MIOM team members Scar and Prog led the charge with several final-day endeavors including a 4-for-1 pledge-matching program and a collective $11 at 11:00 effort. As the clock neared midnight on the West Coast, the Melee community’s last-minute “Spirit Bomb” push began, with remaining holdouts emptying their pockets and crafty donation snipers emerging from the shadows to take care of business. Melee pulled ahead of Skullgirls in the final minutes to put a seal on one of the proudest accomplishments for any gaming community ever — officially $94,557 dollars raised for Breast Cancer Research and an entire Melee scene chomping at the bit for another glorious opportunity on the grand stage of EVO 2013.

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The Smash community raised an astonishing $94,000 (left) in its support of Breast Cancer Research and quest to return to the EVO series (right)

However, the month of January was not all fun and games. In the midst of the EVO donation drive on January 20, Armada announced his retirement from the Melee community effective immediately, citing a lack of competitive fire and a desire to accomplish other things in life as his main reasons for moving on from the scene. Community reaction was mixed; many top players empathized with the motives behind the decision while others berated the Swede for quitting on the Melee scene too early in his esteemed career. For many, it was a sign that change was in the air for the upcoming year.

Across the US, spring was a down season on the national scale but healthy in local action. Notable March events included SMYM 14 and Xanadu Games Harlem Shake edition. The fourteenth installment of the SMYM tournament series saw the end of an era, with no Darkrain or AOB in attendance for the first time ever. Instead, new blood reigned as Kels took the annual tourney for the first time in his career, overwhelming Trail in Grand Finals. At Xanadu Games, Dr Peepee further etched his mark on the first half of 2013 by overpowering a resilient Mew2King in three hard-fought sets, and even more impressively, doing so by going Marth every game. Heading into the summer season, one could make a legitimate argument for any of Mango, Dr Peepee, or Hungrybox for title of best Melee player in the US.

With April came BEAST III, the international event hosted by Lolex in Sweden on April 3-7. Traveling to Europe for the first time, Mango’s trip to the event was made bittersweet by Armada’s reinforced announcement that he would not be entering the tournament, opting instead to help organize and play friendlies in lieu of his retirement from the game. While the eventual result was Mango’s first European Melee tournament win, it didn’t go as swimmingly as many expected: the venerable American dropped two games to Overtriforce in winners finals and also suffered a first-set casualty to Ice in Grand Finals before prevailing to take the tournament. This, combined with his widely-abhorred performance in several post-tournament friendlies vs Armada, led many to believe that Mango had plenty of work ahead of him in order to retake his #1 player in the world status.

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Scar and Mango (left) took 1st place in Melee Doubles at BEAST III, a rare instance of top American players in attendance at a European tournament

Back in the states, a storm was brewing in anticipation of EVO with players and TOs ready to embark on the summer season. TheCrimsonBlur and Team OXY wasted no time to make that happen, dialing up Kings of Cali 2 on April 13-14 and upgrading the KoC experience with a two-day sequel to the wildly successful original installment. 114 entrants stepped into Jake’s Bar and Grill in Pasadena, CA to witness some old-fashioned Melee fun: Scar edged past Ken in a highly entertaining seven-game exhibition set, and Mango romped through winners bracket culminating in a convincing Grand Finals victory over Wobbles. Little did anyone know, at the time, the significance and foreshadowing of that matchup in the months to come.

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Fly Amanita (left-left) vs Wobbles (left-right) in an all-ICs showdown; Scar finishes off Ken (right) in their exhibition match at Kings of Cali 2

West Coast wasn’t done yet. Just two weeks later, NorCal Regionals took place in Sunnyvale, CA and served as an EVO 2013 qualifier. The 70 entrants who packed the Melee-dedicated room at the FGC-based event witnessed a pair of unlikely upsets: HomeMadeWaffles returned to the spotlight with a surprising win vs Silent Wolf, and PewPewU took his game to new heights by taking out Mango in top 8 winners bracket. When the dust settled, Grand Finals produced another edition of Mango vs Hungrybox, with the Floridian Puff pro coming through in two sets for a rare win over his archrival.

The next EVO qualifier took us to East Coast and Zenith 2013, the annual tournament on June 1-2 in Morristown, NJ. 126 entrants showed up for the second tournament of the year to feature Mango, Mew2King, Hungrybox, and Dr PeePee. The vaunted big four didn’t disappoint; each member easily made it to winners semis, where Hungrybox defeated Dr PeePee for the first time in over two years and Mew2King continued where he left off at Apex by shipping Mango into losers bracket. However, the SoCal kingpin responded impressively with an explosive run, eliminating DaShizWiz, Dr PeePee, and Mew2King before sweeping Hungrybox in Grand Finals.

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DaShizWiz (left-left) and Abate (left-right) turned in excellent performances at Zenith 2013; Hungrybox, DoH, Hax, and Mew2King (right) duke it out in Melee Doubles

The rest of June and July leading up to EVO 2013 was consumed by a mixed bag of regional events and national news. Northwest Majors 5 was the unofficial sequel to Northwest Manifest, assembling 47 entrants into the Seattle, WA area on June 8-9. IMPULSE 2013 and GUTS 2 split the talent in the northeast on June 15-16, with Mango and Mew2King winning the events respectively. Smash 4 was officially announced by Nintendo at E3 2013, stirring the pot of casual Smash followers across the country and world. Scar made an appearance on UltraChenTV in order to promote Melee It On Me and the spectating value of Melee to the FGC at large. To add further to the hype, Armada made national headlines by announcing his conditional temporary unretirement. The deal was simple: raise $2000 towards his and his brother Android’s flights to America, and he’d make EVO 2013 his last hurrah. Thanks to community enthusiasm and assistance from a Doublejump t-shirt campaign, Armada’s unretirement became official just two weeks before EVO 2013, and the stage was finally set for a magnificent Melee event for the ages.

Or so we thought.

On July 9th, just three days before EVO 2013, director Joey “MrWizard” Cuellar and co-founder Tom “inkblot” Cannon announced on Shoryuken that they had received a cease-and-desist letter from Nintendo of America prohibiting the event from streaming Melee at EVO 2013. The unfathomable action by the videogame giant sparked a social media outrage by not only members of the Melee community, but those of the entire gaming world; after $94,000 raised for charity and months of anticipation, fans were stunned and enraged that the game developer itself would deliberately call for Melee’s undoing. However, in classic Melee community fashion, members of the scene never gave up; with the aid of frontpage Reddit exposure, vilifying coverage by more than 30 gaming-related news outlets, and a legion of Twitter voices, Nintendo shockingly reversed its decision just hours after the initial announcement. Melee players everywhere were not to be stopped from enjoying their banner event after all, and by the grace of the videogame gods, neither would the viewers at home.

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The Melee community’s year-long efforts were nearly crushed by Nintendo of America (left) before the company reversed its cease-and-desist decision (right) just three days before EVO 2013

The script could not have been written any better. After surviving intense competition from Skullgirls in the Breast Cancer Research Donation drive, coming together to raise $94,000 for charity as a community, luring one of the world’s best out of retirement, and successfully reversing a corporate decision just three days before the event, EVO 2013 finally arrived on July 12-14. An earth-shattering 696 entrants shook the floor of the Paris Hotel venue in Las Vegas, NV for a record-crushing turnout: the largest in Melee history and over twice as many entrants as the previous record holder, Pound 4. By far the oldest game featured at the event, Melee boasted the third-most entrants out of the eight games overall at the event, only behind Super Street Fighter 4 AE and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. Coming off the harrowing Nintendo Stream Crisis, the record crowd and frenzying community could hardly wait to begin.

Tasked with the mountainous requirement of reducing the competition from 696 entrants to just 92, Day 1 was a marathon as is typical of the first stages of a massive international tournament. Under the bracket pools format, each match held enormous weight even for top players due to the threat of being bounced early into losers bracket. With nerves, excitement, and high stakes in the air, several players rose to the occasion: Tomber grabbed the early headlines with victories over Scar and DEHF to advance, validating his claim to the title of Europe’s best Ice Climbers; Leffen put a halt to Jman’s comeback to the national scene by tossing him into losers; Bladewise earned an impressive win vs Lucky in the pseudo-winners finals of their bracket pool; and aMSa began to raise eyebrows with impressive Yoshi play versus high-profile opponents. All in all, it was a day of weeding out the competition and assembling the pieces for an epic two days to follow.

Day 2 provided several notable triumphs and casualties in its quest to narrow the field to the prestigious top 8. The “Quarterfinals” stage played host to some of the most exciting sets of the tournament. Hax and S2J clashed in a showdown of the top Falcon mains in the world, with the former coming out on top for the East Coast. Wobbles stole the show with a stunning upset vs Mango, employing his trademark Ice Climbers infinite to full effect and sending the SoCal superstar into losers. But the highlight of the day belonged to Dr PeePee, who established his might in a thrilling victory over Armada to send the Swedish sensation to his earliest losers bracket entrance in over three years. At the end of the evening, only eight remained: winners bracket housed Mew2King, Hungrybox, Dr PeePee, and Wobbles, while losers bracket contained Mango, Armada, Ice, and Shroomed.

Sandwiched between King of Fighters and Injustice, Melee on Day 3 spanned a breathtaking 2 hours and 10 minutes on the afternoon of Sunday, July 14th, taking the EVO stage to a rousing video introduction in front of the 6,000 attendees at the Paris Las Vegas hotel ballroom. On the losers side, Armada started things off with a quick win over Shroomed, while Mango took care of business by eliminating Ice. On the winners side, Hungrybox waltzed over Mew2King in perhaps the most lopsided result of top 8, while Wobbles continued his maniacal bracket run by unseating Dr PeePee to advance to winners finals. There, the veteran Ice Climbers pro stamped his name into the Melee history books with a stunning upset win over Hungrybox — a result famously made controversial by the fact that neither player knew they were playing a best-of-3 set before being notified of such after Game 3.

After wins over Dr PeePee and Mew2King respectively, Mango and Armada clashed in the intercontinental showdown of the year. In this sixth meeting between the Melee powerhouses in their illustrious careers, the SoCal native avenged his losses from Genesis 2 and Apex 2012; Mango muscled out a 2-0 victory to send Armada home in 4th place in his worst tournament placing in over three years. Proceeding to oust Hungrybox in losers finals, Mango completed his march through losers bracket with a masterful performance vs Wobbles, dominating their rematch to take Grand Finals and with it his biggest tournament win to date. Mango had skyrocketed to the top of the Melee world at the pinnacle fighting games event of the year, and the entire gaming world was there to see it: although topped by UMvC3 just hours later, the mind-boggling 135,000 stream viewers who tuned in to watch Melee on Day 3 marked a new all-time fighting games viewership record, an achievement that would launch a stampede of momentum for Melee throughout the rest of the calendar year.

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EVO 2013: Dr PeePee (left-right) improved to 5-8 lifetime vs Armada (left-left) in quarterfinals, while Wobbles (right-left) earned his first career victory over Hungrybox (right-right) in winners finals

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EVO 2013: Mango (left-left) and Armada (left-right) annihilated their initial Day 3 foes on their way to clashing in losers semis

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Mango (left-right) defeats Wobbles (left-left) in Grand Finals to become EVO 2013 champion; Melee Top 8 group photo (from right-left to right-right: Ice, Shroomed, Dr PeePee, Mew2King, Armada, Mango, Hungrybox, Wobbles)

The EVO effect would prove quite strong from the get-go. On August 11th, Team OXY cooked up the first of many Super Smash Sundays, a biweekly tournament series taking place at Super Arcade in Walnut, CA. Partnering with Alex Valle and LevelUpLive, TheCrimsonBlur and company effectively ushered in a new era of locals: each event in the series between August and December garnered at least 60 entrants, including two installments of at least 90 entrants and even one of 100 entrants. Numbers like these are unprecedented in the history of Melee tournaments, especially when considering the breakneck frequency of the event; because of this, SSS will likely go down as one of the greatest accomplishments of the year for both the resourceful TOing team behind the series and the SoCal player base supporting it. Over the course of the fall season, SSS became a friendly abode to the resurgent Lucky, who reeled in three of the first five installments in the absence of an Ohio-bound Mango.

Coming off WGF VIII hosting duties, Andrew Wu and company decided to run it back for another event, this time bringing Melee to LANHAMMER 2013 on August 17-18th. His faith paid off big time, as an absurd 170 entrants packed the San Francisco, CA venue for what some call the “biggest local in Melee history” — only Silent Wolf could claim out-of-California attendee status. But the story of the tournament centered on PewPewU. The NorCal aficionado continued his rise to prominence with a two-set thrashing of Mango in Grand Finals, defending his home turf by claiming the edge in Marth dittos.

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PewPewU (mid-mid), Mango (mid-left), and Fly Amanita (mid-right) took top 3 respectively at LANHAMMER 2013

September was notable for two tournaments that leaned on the smaller scale in attendance, but boasted big starpower nonetheless. The Fall Classic took place September 14-15, bringing 48 entrants to Raleigh, NC for a showcase of three of North America’s big four. It turned out to be Hungrybox’s day, as he eked out wins vs a slumping Dr PeePee and a determined Mew2King to claim 1st place. Two weeks later, Canada Cup gave it a go with its own Melee event, attracting just 35 entrants to Vancouver, CA but among them Hax and Unknown522: in a rematch of the foes eerily reminiscent of their earlier meeting at Toryuken 2, Hax squeaked out the victory requiring two sets in Grand Finals to take the tournament.

If EVO provided a push for the community, the fall season saw it carried into full swing. The Big House 3, hosted by Juggleguy in Ann Arbor, MI, drew an extraordinary 172 entrants, becoming the biggest Midwest Melee tournament since FC-Diamond in 2007 and the third-largest Melee tournament of 2013 thus far. With three of the big four in attendance and a slew of other top-tier competitors stepping to the plate, the stage was set for an explosive weekend of Melee on October 12-13. Indeed, Hax and PewPewU played one of the sets of the year in a highly anticipated EC vs WC matchup, while Mew2King returned to form in spectacular fashion with a surprising sweep of Dr PeePee and Hungrybox in the late stages of winners bracket. The latter would eventually make it back to Grand Finals, where Mew2King put on arguably his best performance in years; the Zimmermanson from Cinnaminson took down Hungrybox in a stunning 3-0 triumph, and with it, his mental block against a character and opponent who had haunted him for years.

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SFAT and PewPewU (left-left) vs Hax and Dr PeePee (left-right) in teams losers finals; Mew2King (right) hoisting the Melee 1st place trophy at The Big House 3

Every so often, there comes a piece of work that redefines what we know about a community and its history. That is a fitting introduction to “The Smash Brothers”, the lauded documentary by Travis “Samox” Beauchamp chronicling seven of the greatest Melee players in history and the rise of the Melee community leading up to and throughout the golden era of the game. Featuring an abundance of historical footage, in-person interview segments from the game’s greats, and a level of production quality virtually unmatched by any previous Smash-related work, “The Smash Brothers” received universal acclaim from both inside and outside the community for both its intricate personal touch and its concise ability to present a community’s overall timeline.

“’The Smash Brothers’ might be the best eSports documentary of all time.”
The Daily Dot

“… a fascinating look at the world’s best Super Smash Bros. players.”

“… shines a bright light on what makes these players tick and why they deserve your attention.”

“… a fantastically engaging look into the world of early competitive Melee fighting tournaments.”
Inside Gaming Daily

“… solid proof of the integrity of gamers brought together by a common love.”
Liberty Voice

“… a seemingly unmatched look into a community that has scratched and clawed from the depths of basements to world stages.”
Nintendo Enthusiast

“Anybody who has a passing interest or curiosity about Melee owes it to him or herself to watch this excellent documentary.”

October 11th saw the release of this storied production with the first episode of the documentary premiering through Melee It On Me live at The Big House 3 and all other episodes releasing concurrently with the tournament that weekend. Initially quoted as saying his goal was to reach 100,000 views on YouTube, producer Samox has subsequently been treated to an avalanche of praise and the goal-crushing figure of over one million views by gamers, spectators, and casuals alike in their appreciation for the final product. Revered by Smashers and community figures everywhere, it would be the understatement of the year to say that the documentary had an effect on the growth of the Melee scene towards the end of 2013. Just how great of an effect? The answer to that question would come in the form of both an unprecedented fall attendance spike and, to the bewilderment of Smashers everywhere, a knocking of the door by our old friends at MLG near the end of the year.

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“The Smash Brothers” documentary (left) made waves within the entire gaming community in fall 2013, and an exclusive DVD (right) is set to be released in 2014 by producer Samox

Record-setting numbers rung in the month November as the Melee scene saw arguably its largest local attendance since 2007. Starting things off was Pound V.5, the transition event hosted by Plank in the still-discussed aftermath of the Pound 5 payout incident. Often criticized for his mishandlings of that event’s finances, but nonetheless praised for his sheer TOing ability, Plank made the most of his comeback to tournament hosting by pulling 93 entrants into Frederick, MD for the one-day throwback event on November 9th. Among the attendees was Mango, toting his Marth and Falcon for the majority of bracket, and Mew2King, who cemented his first Pound tournament title.

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Mango (left-right) fended off Chillin (left-left) at Pound V.5 to advance to Grand Finals, where he fell to Mew2King (right-right)

Just one week later on November 16-17 came Revival of Melee 6, the annual edition of the legendary series put together by Alukard. 118 entrants checked into Toy Wiz at Nanuet, NY for the sixth installment of the tournament of upsets, where TheMoon raised eyebrows everywhere with a superb win over Chillindude829 to finish strong in 3rd place. And for the third time in just over a month, the robot from New Jersey delivered a big-time tournament performance. Mew2King put his remaining skeptics to bed with a pair of dominating set wins vs Hungrybox, proving to many that The Big House 3 result was not a fluke and continuing to assert his comeback to the Melee elite, popularly dubbed “The Return of the King” by Smashers across social media.

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Kage and Toph (left-left) vs Reno and Cactuar (left-right); D1 and prog (right) collapsing in hype on the commentary at Revival of Melee 6

After consecutive weekends of Pound V.5 and ROM 6, most community members got caught peeking ahead to the winter season. But TOs across the country made sure that was put on hold until after Thanksgiving; the weekend of November 22-24 was perhaps the most impressive three days of Melee in the year 2013 outside of EVO. MattDotZeb and company got things started with Northeastern Smash Attack, attracting 108 entrants into the Boston area for an unprecedented triple-digit Friday local. Just one day later came Fight Pitt 3, the Pittsburgh regional run by bearsfan which boasted 95 entrants and the top-tier billing of Mango vs M2K; and Winter Warehouse Throwdown 2 hosted by Bayless, who brought 81 entrants into Minneapolis, MN for a day of Midwest Melee. And the insanity continued on Sunday with The Arcadian, a brilliant “tournament without ranked players” constructed by TheCrimsonBlur, who spun together the unique tournament format to an astonishing 146-entrant turnout in Walnut, CA. It seemed that Smashers across the country had officially hopped on the Melee hype train that had taken off in Las Vegas in July and picked up even more steam from “The Smash Brothers” documentary in October.

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The Arcadian featured the unique “tournament without ranked players” format, a concept innovated by TheCrimsonBlur from previous SoCal Arcadian installments

Tipped Off 9 was just what the South needed: a large-scale tournament to validate the rejuvenation of the region’s scene which, shockingly, had failed to produce a Melee tournament of 100+ entrants since 2008. That drought finally ended, as FullMetal and company rounded up 112 entrants into Atlanta, GA on December 14-15th to participate in the ninth installment of the regional series. A familiar clash ensued: Hungrybox and Dr PeePee faced off for the third time at a Tipped Off event in a rivalry known for its closely-contested matches. However, the Falco pro from North Carolina wasted no time in this meeting, dismantling Hungrybox in a clean 6-1 victory.

Kings of Cali 3 can be considered a culmination of many efforts: the Melee community’s renewed enthusiasm in the wake of EVO and the documentary, the excellent TOing example set by TheCrimsonBlur and Team OXY in SoCal, and the social media outreach set ablaze by GimR and the VGBootCamp team in the second half of 2013. A whopping 202 entrants stormed into Pasadena, CA for the biggest SoCal tournament since OC3 in 2007 and just the third Melee event of the year to top 200 entrants. In bracket, Fly Amanita orchestrated one of the great comebacks in recent memory vs Silent Wolf by erasing an 0-2 deficit, and even more impressively doing so from a Nana-less 2-stock deficit during Game 5. But in unsurprising fashion, Mew2King was the man of the hour once again at the end of the day, besting Westballz, Shroomed, and Fly Amanita to take home another piece of hardware to add to his list of tournament wins during the fall season.

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Hungrybox (left-left) and Dr PeePee (left-right) collided in winners finals at Tipped Off 9; PewPewU (left-left) vs Ken (left-right) in a old school vs new school showdown at Kings of Cali 3

With the Melee scene at its highest peak in years, good news kept pouring in still. Smashers everywhere were treated to an absurdly pleasant surprise when the year concluded with MLG’s exciting announcement about its plans to bring Melee back to the Anaheim event in 2014, along with the possibility of Brawl and Smash 4 pending the latter’s release date. Longtime Smash mainstay Solid Jake will serve as the unofficial liaison to the community, boasting prior tournament hosting experience through the Cataclysm series in 2006-2007. The MLG veteran has already kicked things off nicely, hosting a Smash Brothers Marathon at the MLG headquarters in New York featuring special guests prog, Samox, and a cast of Tristate players such as Hax and Wes. It was a fitting end to a year of Melee that can only be described as one that lived a newly-charmed existence.

25 Noteworthy Tournaments from 2013

This list is based on popularity and importance as determined by number of participants, prize money, and prestige.

Apex 2013: Worldwide Event (336 entrants)
1/11/13 – 1/13/13
New Brunswick, NJ
1: Armada
2: Dr PeePee
3: CT EMP Mew2King
4: Mango
5: Hungrybox
5: Shroomed
7: KirbyKaze
7: Hax

Winter Game Fest VIII (100 entrants)
San Diego, CA
1: Westballz
2: Eddie Mexico
3: Lil Fumi
4: Bimbo Mexico

SMYM 14 (72 entrants)
Champaign, IL
1: Kels
2: Trail
3: Matt R
4: Dart

BEAST III (89 entrants)
4/3/13 – 4/7/13
Gothenburg, Sweden
1: Mango
2: Ice
3: Overtriforce
4: Zgetto

Kings of Cali 2 (112 entrants)
4/13/13 – 4/14/13
Pasadena, CA
1: Mango
2: Wobbles
3: Shroomed
4: PewPewU
5: Fly Amanita
7: Westballz
7: Axe

NorCal Regionals (73 entrants)
4/26/13 – 4/28/13
Sunnyvale, CA
1: Hungrybox
2: Mango
3: PewPewU
4: Westballz

Vindication (59 entrants)
Ontario, CA
1: Mango
2: Mew2King
3: Westballz
4: S2J

Zenith 2013 (126 entrants)
6/1/13 – 6/2/13
Morristown, NJ
1: Mango
2: CT | Hungrybox
3: CT EMP | Mew2King
4: VGBC | Dr PeePee
5: Hax
5: DaShizWiz
7: Abate
7: ZoSo

IMPULSE 2013 (80 entrants)
6/15/13 – 6/16/13
Toronto, Ontario
1: MIOM | Mango
2: A&C | Unknown522
3: Weon-X
4: I.B.

EVO 2013 (696 entrants)
7/12/13 – 7/14/13
Las Vegas, NV
1: MIOM | Mango
2: Wobbles
3: CT | Hungrybox
4: Armada
5: CT EMP | Mew2King
5: VGBC | Dr PeePee
7: Ice
7: Shroomed

LANHAMMER 2013 (170 entrants)
San Francisco, CA
1: PewPewU
2: MIOM | Mango
3: Fly Amanita
4: GC | Silent Wolf
5: MacD
5: Zhu
7: HomeMadeWaffles

Mass Madness CE (70 entrants)
Boston, MA
1: CT | Hax
2: CT EMP | Mew2King
3: th0rn
4: KoreanDJ

Super Smash Sundays 3 (100 entrants)
Walnut, CA
1: S2J
3: Connor
4: Fiction

The Fall Classic (48 entrants)
9/14/13 – 9/15/13
Raleigh, NC
1. CT | Hungrybox
2. CT EMP | Mew2King
3. VGBC | Dr PeePee
4. The Moon

The Big House 3 (172 entrants)
10/12/13 – 10/13/13
Ann Arbor, MI
1: CT EMP | Mew2King
2: CT | Hungrybox
3: VGBC | Dr PeePee
5: CT | Hax
5: Nintendude
7: PewPewU
7: darkatma

Pound V.5 (93 entrants)
Frederick, MD
1: CT EMP | Mew2King
2: MIOM | Mango
3: Chillindude829
4: Abate

Revival of Melee 6 (118 entrants)
11/16/13 – 11/17/13
Nanuet, NY
1: CT EMP | Mew2King
2: CT | Hungrybox
3: TheMoon
4: Chillindude829
5: Darc
5: CTRL | DJ Nintendo
7: Tope
7: Darrell

Northeastern Smash Attack (108 entrants)
Boston, MA
1: UMB | KoreanDJ
2: TheMoon
3: ZoSo
4: Sai
5: MIT | YCZ6
5: QC | MattDotZeb
7: Sora
7: UML | Nuro

Fight Pitt 3 (95 entrants)
Pittsburgh, PA
1: CT EMP | Mew2King
2: MIOM | Mango
3: Nakamaru
4: Taki

Winter Warehouse Throwdown 2 (81 entrants)
St. Cloud, MN
1: Kels
2: Slayer
3: Zelgadis
4: Mundungu

The Arcadian (146 entrants)
Walnut, CA
1: Lil Fumi
2: LeeLand
3: Obey
4: Khepri
5: OXY_TheCrimsonBlur
5: Combofest
7: Squid
7: Bardull

Kings of Cali 3 (202 entrants)
12/14/13 – 12/15/13
Pasadena, CA
1: CT EMP | Mew2King
2: Fly Amanita
3: Shroomed
4: Axe
5: PewPewU
5: OXY | Westballz
7: 62Bit | Bladewise
7: GC | Silent Wolf

Tipped Off 9 (112 entrants)
12/14/13 – 12/15/13
Duluth, GA
1: VGBC | Dr Peepee
2: CT | Hungrybox
3: DruggedFox
4: Colbol
5: XIF
5: PikaChad
7: Plup
7: s0ft

Forte (86 entrants)
12/21/13 – 12/22/13
Austin, TX
1: CT EMP | Mew2King
2: Tirno
4: DoH

EXP 6 (88 entrants)
Chicago, IL
1: Kels
2: Dart
3: Tink
4: Trail

10 Honorable Mention Tournaments from 2013

This list comprises of events that were significant, but just below the bar set by the top 25 noteworthy tournaments above.

Xanadu Games: Harlem Shake Edition (39 entrants)
Baltimore, MD
1: Dr PeePee
2: Mew2King
4: Chillindude829

Toryuken 2 (33 entrants)
5/18/13 – 5/19/13
Toronto, Ontario
1: Hax
2: Unknown522
3: Weon-X
4: I.B.

HF-Lan 5 (58 entrants)
Noisy-le-Grand, France
1: Ice
2: Overtriforce
3: Baxon
4: Salepâte

Northwest Majors 5 (47 entrants)
6/7/13 – 6/9/13
Des Moines, WA
1: CT EMP | Mew2King
2: Silent Wolf
3: Bladewise
4: Blunted_object10

Super Smash Sundays Premiere (88 entrants)
Walnut, CA
1: MIOM | Mango
2: Fly Amanita
3: Lucky
4: Westballz

Carrollfest 4 (66 entrants)
Bridgeville, PA
1: CT EMP | Mew2King
2: VaNz
3: TheLake
4: Ambix

MICE (71 entrants)
Orlando, FL
1: Hungrybox
2: Plup
3: Colbol
4: WhiteBoyWasted

Canada Cup (35 entrants)
9/28/13 – 9/29/13
Vancouver, BC
1: Hax
2: Unknown522
3: Bladewise
4: Silent Wolf

Avalon (70 entrants)
Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
1: Ice
2: Amsah
3: Zgetto
4: Remen

Melee Night in Canada: Industrial Revolution (51 entrants)
1: Weon-X
2: KirbyKaze
3: Vwins
4: Kage


2004’s largest tournament: TG6
100 people: 2 (TG6, Game Over)
200 people: 0

2005’s largest tournament: MELEE-FC3
100 people: 6 (MELEE-FC3, GS2, MLG DC, MLG SF, BOMB 4, MOAST 3)
200 people: 0

2006’s largest tournament: MLG New York Playoffs
100 People: 10 (MLG New York Opener, MLG Dallas, MLG Anaheim, MLG Chicago, MLG Orlando, MLG New York Playoffs, MELEE-FC6, OC2, SMYM 6, Gauntlet)
200 People: 2 (MLG New York Playoffs, MELEE-FC6)

2007’s largest tournament: EVO World
100 people: 14 (Cataclysm III, EVO South, Innsomnia V, Smash Royale III, RoS 4, Pound 2, C3 Smash Battle, FC-Diamond, OC3, EVO West, EVO World, SCC, VLS, UCLA IV)
200 people: 5 (FC-Diamond, Pound 2, SCC, EVO World, and OC3)

2008’s largest tournament: ESA 2
100 people: 5 (Pound 3, ESA 2, UCLA V, TGMTSBCO, Event 52)
200 people: 2 (Pound 3, ESA 2)

2009’s largest tournament: Genesis
100 people: 10 (SMYM 9, Revival of Melee, Mango Juice, Smash Attack, ESA 3, Genesis, SMYM 10, TSL 4, Pat’s House, ROM 2)
200 people: 1 (Genesis)

2010’s largest tournament: Pound 4
100 people: 6 (Pound 4, SMYM 11, APEX 2010, SNY 1, ROM 3, DGDTJ)
200 people: 2 (Pound 4, APEX 2010)
300 people: 1 (Pound 4)

2011’s largest tournament: Pound 5
100 people: 8 (BEAST, WGF VI*, Pound 5, SMYM 12, Genesis 2, BEAST II, The Big House, ROM 4)
200 people: 2 (Pound 5, Genesis 2)
300 people: 0

2012’s largest tournament: Apex 2012
100 people: 8 (Apex 2012, WGF VII*, Smashers Reunion, SRT*, MELEE-FC10R, The Big House 2, Kings of Cali, ROM 5)
200 people: 1 (Apex 2012)
300 people: 1 (Apex 2012)

2013’s largest tournament: EVO 2013
100 people: 13 (Apex 2013, WGF VIII*, KoC 2, Zenith 2013, EVO 2013, LANHAMMER 2013*, SSS 3, The Big House 3, ROM 6, NSA, Arcadian, Tipped Off 9, KoC 3)
200 people: 3 (Apex 2013, EVO 2013, KoC 3)
300 people: 2 (Apex 2013, EVO 2013)
400 people: 1 (EVO 2013)
500 people: 1 (EVO 2013)
600 people: 1 (EVO 2013)

* denotes a free-entry tournament

Biggest Melee tournaments of all-time

  1. EVO 2013 (696 entrants)
  2. Pound 4 (347 entrants)
  3. Apex 2013 (336 entrants)
  4. Apex 2012 (318 entrants)
  5. Genesis (290 entrants)
  6. EVO World 2007 (270 entrants)
  7. FC-Diamond (256 entrants)
  8. Pound 5 (243 entrants)
  9. Epita Smash Arena 2 (231 entrants)
  10. Genesis 2 (228 entrants)
  11. OC3 (228 entrants)
  12. Pound 3 (224 entrants)
  13. Apex 2010 (220 entrants)
  14. MLG New York Playoffs 2006 (208 entrants)
  15. MELEE-FC6 (205 entrants)
  16. Kings of Cali 3 (202 entrants)
  17. Super Champ Combo (201 entrants)
  18. Pound 2 (200 entrants)
  19. OC2 (192 entrants)
  20. MELEE-FC3 (189 entrants)
  21. Viva La Smashtaclysm (188 entrants)
  22. MLG Chicago 2006 (184 entrants)
  23. MLG Orlando 2006 (176 entrants)
  24. The Big House 3 (172 entrants)
  25. LANHAMMER 2013 (170 entrants) *
  26. Revival of Melee 3 (163 entrants)
  27. MLG Anaheim 2006 (160 entrants)
  28. Revival of Melee 2 (159 entrants)
  29. Winter Games Fest VII (155 entrants) *
  30. UCLA V (149 entrants)
  31. Sun Rise Tournament 2012 (148 entrants) *
  32. The Arcadian (146 entrants)
  33. MELEE-FC10R (146 entrants)
  34. MLG Dallas 2006 (144 entrants)
  35. MLG New York 2006 (143 entrants)
  36. Revival of Melee (136 entrants)
  37. Renaissance of Smash 4 (132 entrants)
  38. Smash Attack (131 entrants)
  39. The Big House 2 (128 entrants)
  40. Mango Juice (128 entrants)
  41. Evo West (128 entrants)
  42. Evo South (128 entrants)
  43. MOAST 3 (128 entrants)
  44. Zenith 2013 (126 entrants)
  45. Kings of Cali (126 entrants)
  46. SMYM 10 (124 entrants)
  47. UCLA IV (120 entrants)
  48. Revival of Melee 6 (118 entrants)
  49. TGMTSBCO (118 entrants)
  50. Innsomnia V (116 entrants)
  51. The Big House (115 entrants)
  52. Event 52 (115 entrants)
  53. Kings of Cali 2 (114 entrants)
  54. Revival of Melee 5 (114 entrants)
  55. The Super Lion 4 (113 entrants)
  56. Tipped Off 9 (112 entrants)
  57. BEAST 2 (112 entrants)
  58. SMYM 9 (112 entrants)
  59. Cataclysm III (112 entrants)
  60. Tournament Go 6 (112 entrants)
  61. Pat’s House (111 entrants)
  62. Revival of Melee 4 (110 entrants)
  63. Northeastern Smash Attack (108 entrants)
  64. SMYM 11 (108 entrants)
  65. Don’t Go Down There Jeff! (108 entrants)
  66. Epita Smash Arena 3 (108 entrants)
  67. Smash Royale III (107 entrants)
  68. Winter Games Fest VI (105 entrants)
  69. BOMB 4 (105 entrants)
  70. SMYM 6 (104 entrants)
  71. SMYM 12 (103 entrants)
  72. Getting Schooled 2 (102 entrants)
  73. C3 Smash Battle (101 entrants)
  74. Super Smash Sundays 3 (100 entrants)
  75. Winter Games Fest VIII (100 entrants) *
  76. BEAST (100 entrants)
  77. SNY 1 (100 entrants)
  78. Gauntlet (100 entrants)
  79. MLG SF 2005 (100 entrants)
  80. MLG DC 2005 (100 entrants)
  81. Game Over (100 entrants)

* denotes a free-entry tournament

Closing Thoughts

There has never been a year quite like 2013 in Melee’s history. Setting aside the already well-established achievements such as EVO 2013 and the documentary, Melee players and community members continue to impress with the staunch innovation constantly shown to their craft. Melee was played lagless on HDTVs for the first time, with players taking advantage of the Avermedia LGP’s ability to passthrough a component signal into an HDMI cable and subsequently onto a Asus VH236H monitor display. The Melee Online community made several strides as well, building upon the initial Dolphin Netplay concept and hosting the first-ever notable online tournaments for the game. Project M growth continues at a frenetic pace through its version 3.0 release, spurring record-breaking local numbers and successfully expanding to the national scene, led by The Big House 3’s year-high 90 entrants and the upcoming Apex 2014’s jaw-dropping 256 pre-registrants. And finally, community content was at an all-time high — a fact that can be attributed in part to the extraordinary production work and media coverage fueled by groups such as VGBootCamp and CLASH Tournaments, and also to the incomparable individual efforts delivered by community members such as Tafokints, whose SSBMRank nationwide Melee rankings project made waves across social media late in the year.

With a myriad of corporate sponsors and organizations willing to take a second chance with the game, the future of the community is as bright as it has ever shone and its current state as healthy as it has ever gotten. Major questions looming for 2014 deal with the presence of MLG; the impending release of Smash 4; and our status within the EVO lineup. How will MLG support grassroots qualifiers and what exactly is in the works for MLG Anaheim? Will Smash 4 be released by the end of the 2014 calendar year, and if so, what will be its effect on the competitive landscape? Will Melee be back at EVO, and how does Nintendo’s support (or lack thereof) factor into our continued presence at events of such magnitude? 2014 may very well end up being the greatest year in the history of the Smash community, and those who have followed the scene for the past twelve months can agree that the collective level of excitement moving forward is unmatched from any previous period of time. Whether you call it the Melee Renaissance, the Second Golden Era, or any other moniker, the idea remains the same. Some of the biggest developments ever are on the table for what promises to be a spectacular 2014 of Melee; just exactly how we get there is to be seen.

Javi (left) reacts to a crew battle moment between Armada (mid-left) and Westballz (mid-right) at Apex 2013

Dr PeePee (left) discusses gameplay strategy with Cactuar (right) during Grand Finals at Apex 2013

Mew2King (left) and Armada (right) took 1st place in Melee Doubles at Apex 2013

Dr PeePee finished the fight for USA in its crew battle vs The World at Apex 2013

BEAST III Grand Finals: Mango (left) vs Ice (right)

BEAST III group photo: German Smash

Dr PeePee (right) and Unknown522 (left) took 3rd place in Melee Doubles at Zenith 2013

Hax (right) vs ZoSo (left) in a loser-takes-7th-place battle at Zenith 2013

Prog (left) and Toph (right) working the commentary station at IMPULSE 2013

Mango (middle) took 1st place at IMPULSE 2013; Unknown522 (right) and Weon-X (left) rounded out the top 3

Melee made the frontpage headlines on Reddit during the peak of the Nintendo Stream Crisis

Kotaku writes about Nintendo’s initial decision to deny EVO 2013 the rights to stream Melee

Melee It On Me Episode 2×4 Live from EVO 2013 (from left to right: Toasty, Juggleguy, Scar, Hyuga)

Melee’s video introduction at EVO 2013 was produced by Seth Mussey and FamilyJules7X

EVO 2013 winners semis: Wobbles (left) vs Dr PeePee (right)

The coveted EVO 2013 1st place Melee trophy

Mew2King (left) dropped to 0-4 lifetime vs Armada (right) at EVO 2013

Prog (left) worked with James Chen (right) to broadcast Melee Top 8 to an incredible 135,000 stream viewers at EVO 2013

EVO 2013 losers finals: Mango (left) improved to a 9-2 record vs Hungrybox (right) since January 2012

The final moments of Mango vs Armada at EVO 2013, as seen from the perspective of the 6000-person crowd

Mango’s post-game shirt toss after eliminating Armada from losers bracket at EVO 2013

Mango holding the EVO 2013 1st place Melee trophy after emerging from the wreckage of Top 8 on Day 3

Melee players took to the outdoors for a unique summer Smashfest at Bryant Park in New York

Wife (top-left-left) made a return to national commentary with co-caster Toph (top-left-right) at The Big House 3

Mew2King (left) defeated Hungrybox (right) in tourney for the first time in over two years at The Big House 3

PC Chris is the centerpiece of Revolution, the fifth episode of “The Smash Brothers” documentary

KoreanDJ is the centerpiece of Paper Cuts, the sixth episode of “The Smash Brothers” documentary

The crowd enjoys its friendlies at the Revival of Melee 6 venue

Darrell and Darc (left) made an impressive run to Grand Finals at Revival of Melee 6, where they fell to Mew2King and Hungrybox (right)

The crowd watches Grand Finals between Kels and Slayer at Winter Warehouse Throwdown 2

Forte was the culmination of a season-long circuit of Melee events in the Texas area

In addition to contributing to the Smash documentary, Wife published a book in 2013 entitled “Team Ben: A Year As A Professional Gamer” focusing on his personal journey through the Golden Era of Melee

Ken is the centerpiece of The King of Smash, the fourth episode of “The Smash Brothers” documentary


Robert Paul (Apex 2013 photos)
Gunnar (WGF VIII photos)
Aayla (BEAST 3 photos)
LeFrenchMelee team (BEAST 3 photos)
Prog (Zenith 2013 photos)
PB&J (Zenith 2013 photos)
Vitality (IMPULSE 2013 photos)
Karaface (EVO 2013 photos)
Polygon (EVO 2013 photos)
Scout (EVO 2013 photos)
leTan Photography (LANHAMMER 2013 photos)
Wall Street Journal (outdoor Smashfest photos)
Josh Lozar (The Big House 3 photos)
MD/VA (Pound V.5 photos)
IEBattleGrounds (Arcadian photos)
David Campbell (ROM 6 photos)
John Howard (Forte photos)
Alex Chiricosta (Tipped Off 9 photos)
TheCrimsonBlur (editing and fact checking)
Tafokints (editing and fact checking)
Dan Zhou (corrections)
Jake Robins (corrections)
Bobby Deak (corrections)
Tai (corrections)
SolKirby (corrections)
Carroll (corrections)
Fizzi36 (corrections)
MattDotZeb (corrections)

WHAT A YEAR FOR MELEE! Please leave a comment below with any feedback, thoughts, or corrections you may have. I’m always interested in hearing them. Thanks for reading!

16 thoughts on “Melee in 2013: Year in Review

  1. It says, near the end, that PC Chris’ and KoreanDJ’s episodes were 6th and 7th when they were actually 5th and 6th, respectively (after the 4th ep. featuring Ken).

    Amazing stuff though, love reading these.

  2. Pretty sure Dr PeePee vs Armada is 5-8, not 5-7.

    Armada’s set wins:
    Apex 2010, Pound V, Genesis 2, Apex 2012, Smashers Reunion (x2), Apex 2013 (x2) = 8 set wins

    Dr PeePee’s set wins:
    Pound V (x2), Smashers Reunion, Apex 2013, EVO 2013

  3. Good stuff Juggleguy. Great read as always.

    What a crazy fuckin year for Melee. Looking forward to 2014 :D

  4. You should have added that our bros from Brawl, 64 and P:M helped make the spirit bomb possible. We can’t thank them enough.

  5. Pingback: Melee It On Me | Onward to 2014

  6. Pingback: Melee It On Me’s Robin “Juggleguy” Harn Releases Review of Super Smash Bros. Melee’s Whirlwind 2013 | Teemosaur

  7. Pingback: Fighting Games Brasil » Melee It On Me’s Robin “Juggleguy” Harn Releases Review of Super Smash Bros. Melee’s Whirlwind 2013

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  11. Pingback: Melee It On Me – MIOM 3×06 – 2013 in Review

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