Welcome to the Melee edition of the MLG World Finals Preview.
MLG Finals is just starting up this weekend and it may be the first time you see Smash Brothers played competitively, or it might just be your 400th tournament watched in the past 3 years. Either way, here is my guide covering what to watch for, the storylines, and the people.
The notables in Melee are not of the same caliber as Smash 4. Both games have very little cross over at the top. Because of scheduling conflicts, personal reasons, and timing of the MLG Finals, a lot of the players at the top of Melee just haven’t turned up. The biggest notables that won’t be there are Mang0, Armada, Leffen, PPMD, Lucky, Westballz, Plup, MacD, and several others that are perennials in the top 16 of most big tournaments.
With Melee, the cast is a bit mixed. It isn’t necessarily stacked, but it has a good mix of top players that could play out interestingly. HungryBox and M2K are the only 2 out of the Top 6 that are around right now. There is then a smattering of people in the top 50-100 players. What you can expect is a great grand finals between M2K and HungryBox, and good matches between everyone else.
Players to look out for in Melee:
Liquid Hungry Box:
This is a chance for HBox to take a tournament. He has played well all summer, only being stopped by Armada when he is at the top of his game. It would be a crazy upset to see someone outside of M2K to beat him. I just don’t see a good enough Fox, or a player that can compete at the same level. The last time M2K and he met in grand finals, HBox had the quickest match of his life. They have since traded a few sets back and forth. HBox got the last win in the loser’s finals of Big House 5, and M2K with the victory before at Paragon.
After a bit of a slump around the start of Melee, M2K has had a bit of a rebirth. At PAX, he took 6 games over Leffen. Ever since then, he has been able to compete at the highest level. His Shiek is his main weapon, and when he needs to pull out a Marth for Fox, or a Fox for Jigglypuff, or even against another Fox, he is down to do it. He is fundamentally the strongest player in the tournament. Yet again, I only see HBox as a threat to him winning the tournament.
Characters: Sheik, Marth, Fox
Tempo Storm Axe
He is the last of the top 10 Players in New Orleans. He is the by far the best Pikachu that there ever has been. He plays faster than lightning as he jumps around the stages to pressure his opponents. He has taken sets from M2K before, and might just do it again. However, he needs to stay focused on his other matchups because he might get taken out by Wizzrobe, DruggedFox or Chillin if he isn’t careful.
Characters: mostly Pikachu, sometimes Falco
Wizzy is the young gun to the scene. He has shot up fast throughout this year. Some have called him the young M2K in that he is a very fundamentally sound player and good at every Smash game. His Falcon is known for tech chases and clean cut combos. He isn’t known for going for style unless it leads to a guaranteed kill.
Nintendude is the only notable Ice Climbers Main in this list. When talking about top Ice Climbers players, they all have a potential for an upset. They all have the infinite called wobbling in their back pocket that can be pulled out at any time. Nintendude is probably one of the best at trapping people into it. He is a super technical player that knows the game and players inside out. I expect him to make Top 8.
Characters: Ice Climbers, sometimes Peach (he may play Peach vs Peach against M2K since M2K uses the bad matchup advantage for Ice Climbers for his favor).
This guy has been around for a while, but has really proven himself this summer. He was just a blip on the radar before EVO, but challenging all the top players made people realize how good he can actually be. Many people compare his play style to M2K because they both play Sheik and Marth, and that they both punish heavy players. If you are touched by Drugged Fox’s attacks, you will probably die. I expect to see more progress from him as the tournaments keep coming, and this one is just another stepping stone to prove his place on the rankings.
Character: Sheik and Marth
Chillin is known for 2 things. Being an old school figurehead in the Smash documentary, he was there as the metagame evolved, he was there before wavedashing, or shielddrops. His second thing he is known for is challenging Leffen to a salty suite match during last winter’s Apex tournament. He got trounced. I don’t think his ego has recovered yet, but I expect him to make a decent run in this tournament. He can get in the top 8 and prove that an old dog can be at the top again.
Complete list of Melee notables coming into MLG World finals:Melee: Hbox, M2K, Axe, Nintendude, Wizzrobe, DruggedFox, Chillin, Bladewise, Blea Gelo, Prince Abu