Hax prophesied it a year ago. A post-apocalyptic future where Fox is the only viable character. It started out as a joke, until Hax himself ushered in 20XX as the real deal.
He started it and turned the joke into a reality. Just last week, we watched him ride the Fox McCloud train all the way to the finals of Zenith 2014. Until Game 5 of Winner’s Finals. Hax had just lost his 2-0 lead against Mew2King. He had won the first of their many games on Final Destination, a stage where nearly every Fox player says that playing a Marth equals death. Hax had the momentum to that point and looked to down the only “Smash God” in attendance.
Then Mew2King ran it back at Final Destination. A two-stock win to slowly swing the momentum. Hax countered to Pokémon Stadium. M2K with another two-stock win to mash his foot on the throttle. Hax took M2K back to Final Destination, this time abandoning 20XX for just one game at Zenith (to my knowledge). Hax’s Falcon was back. The Falcon that every Falcon dreamed of becoming. The Falcon who had only been released this year during The Next Episode Round Robin.
And within four minutes, this happened:
He took one stock before Mew2King ended the set and sent him to losers. Whether it be that his Falcon was rusty or he was just outplayed during that game, he lost in a matchup that D1 said, “Hax still believes that Captain Falcon counters Marth on Final Destination” as Hax began Grand Finals. He abandoned the character he believed to be the best just for a split second, lost convincingly and went right back to Fox, where he beat Zhu in Loser’s Finals. He then reset the bracket in Grand Finals against Mew2King before he lost the second set, taking second at Zenith 2014.
The question now: Is 2014 the beginning of 20XX?
Scar and Toph recollect the story of 20xx
Once again, Hax is the model of why 20XX might be valid. He was no question the best Falcon at the time he dropped the character, but Fox better fit his mind set and playstyle. “For Jeff (Silent Specter), he just loves those hard reads and getting hella rewards from it. So Falcon’s a good character for him,” Scar had said at CEO 2014. “Hax has always wanted to find the optimal punish and execute it. That’s not Falcon. It’s not Falcon.”
Looking at it that way, it seemed as if Hax’s switch to Fox was inevitable.
Let’s look at the major tournaments of this year to decide, including Apex 2014, RoM 7, SKTAR 3, Super SWEET, MLG Anaheim, CEO 2014, Kings of Cali 4, EVO 2014 and Zenith 2014. From there, let’s take the Top 16 of each tourney and display the number of that character. We’ll compare those numbers to the numbers of six of the major tournaments from a year ago.
For the record, the way I recorded the graph goes as follows: if a player plays/played multiple characters, each character will be counted. I only displayed the characters that finished in the Top 16 at least 5 times in the six tournaments I picked from.
|Character||Apex 2013||BEAST 3||Zenith 2013||Evo 2013||RoM6||Big House 3||Total|
2013 Top 16 Stats
|Character||Apex 2014||RoM 7||SKATAR 3||MLG Anaheim||KoC4||Evo 2014||Total|
2013 Top 16 Stats
So it’s obvious that the number of Foxes that have placed Top 16 has skyrocketed from last year to now. But that’s not to say that players are switching to Fox.
Let’s also look at the six players who placed in the Top 16 at Evo 2014: Mango, Silent Wolf, Chillin, Leffen, Hax and Fiction. Of those six players all have been longtime Fox mains, the only player switching to him being Hax.
Thus question remains: Is the year 20XX? To be honest, I don’t think 20XX will ever fully be here. We’ve see two of the other “Smash Gods” take a dip in the Fox pool. Armada openly admits to playing Fox and we’ve seen him dabble with him when facing another Fox. Yet during the Summer of Smash, in every time he has faced Mango, he has opted to go with Peach.
We also saw Hungrybox, who has struggled against Armada’s Young Link counterpick, stay with Fox for two sets at CEO 2014. That brought an end to Hungryfox (Thank you /r/smashbros).We’ve seen two of the five best players give Fox a run and back off for their main. We also have players like S2J, Plup and Fly Amanita stay true to their mains, even if they aren’t a Star Fox character.
The closest thing I can think of comparing this to is the NFL. As of right now, the National Football League is a pass heavy league. The days of pounding the ball up the middle aren’t as prevalent anymore. Yet, we’ve seen in recent years teams still find success in running the ball (2011 Broncos and last year’s Seahawks and Chiefs).
Fox is Melee’s best character and it’s his world. That’s pretty undisputed. But we’ll never see a day when he’s the only viable character. 20XX isn’t a time period to wipe out other characters. It’s just a statement that Fox is good.