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(02-16-2015, 01:53 AM)
Anth0ny's Avatar

NeoGAF Competitive Discussion Thread

"Melee is the sharpest game in the series. It's pretty speedy all around and asks a lot of your coordination skills. Fans of the first Smash Bros. got into it quickly, and it just felt really good to play."

- Masahiro Sakurai, Director of the Super Smash Bros. franchise

May 17, 2001.

On that day, Super Smash Bros. Melee was revealed to the world for the first time. The excitement was palpable that day, and nearly fourteen years later, that excitement has yet to die down. Melee was instantly one of the most highly anticipated games for Nintendo’s upcoming Gamecube, and at this point I think it’s safe to say it lived up to the hype. A tremendous evolution from the previous Smash Bros. on the N64, Melee introduced 14 new characters, new and retro stages, forward specials, air dodging, side steps, light shielding, an incredible fully orchestrated soundtrack and much, much more. Smash had officially become one of Nintendo’s most important, and biggest selling, properties. Melee was critically acclaimed and went on to become the best selling game on the Gamecube.

Super Smash Bros. Melee is a fighting game for the Nintendo Gamecube that was released on December 3, 2001 in North America. Despite its age and the release of three successive games in the Smash Bros. series, Melee is still widely played today and enjoys a thriving competitive community. This thread is dedicated to the competitive Melee community: discussion of high level play, tournaments, the game's history, learning how to play the game competitively, or anything else you might find fun about the game!

For about as long as there has been Smash Bros. Melee, there has been competitive Melee. Tournament results can be traced back as early as April 2002, with the Tournament Go series of tournaments hosted in California by (now senior product manager at Capcom) Matt Deezie. Since the beginning, Falco, Fox and Sheik were the favourite characters of competitive players, and while many things have changed with regards to Melee over the years, I guess some things still stay the same! Then, in early 2003, some kid named Ken showed up and dominated everyone with Marth… But more on him later.

It’s no secret that Super Smash Bros. is not a traditional fighting game. Masahiro Sakurai has made it clear that he never intended for the game to be played at a competitive level, but instead as a silly, casual experience with friends. Nonetheless, fans of the game took advantage of the in-game customization options to create a “competitive” rule set. Essentially, the rule set was created to minimize randomness in matches as well as keeping the game fair and interesting at high levels of play. At its core, competitive Melee turns items off, sets the game to 4-stocks, and plays on small, flat stages. In some regions, select items were legal during the early days of competitive Melee. While some of the crazier stages, like Brinstar Depths and Icicle Mountain were banned from the beginning, stages like Poke Floats and Mute City were in fact legal in competitive play for a long time. As players became better at the game, more and more exploits were found that forced certain stages to be banned, unless they wanted to take an automatic loss from a waveshining Fox. The current, generally accepted rule set for competitive Melee is known as the Apex Rule Set (named after the biggest Smash Bros tournament) and is featured later in this post.

Melee’s popularity as a competitive game truly exploded in 2004, when Major League Gaming added Melee to their competitive circuit.

The Smash Brothers documentary explains this era of competitive Melee far better than I ever could in this post, so check that out. Also, definitely take a look at the linked full matches from the MLG era, complete with commentary. Briefly, the MLG era brought Melee’s popularity as a competitive game to heights the community couldn’t ever have imagined. Tournament entrants were higher than ever before, and competitive Melee was even featured in a 2006 issue of Nintendo Power, covering the MLG events and players like Ken. As a relatively young community, before MLG, Melee tournaments were run largely in the TO’s basement. The larger tournaments were held in rec centers and gyms. MLG brought the game to convention centers with huge stages, professional lighting, and for the first time, play by play commentary for the matches. From 2004 to 2006, MLG held a whopping 22 Melee tournaments. Ken established his position as the King of Smash during these years, taking first place at the majority of the tournaments. Other names also became legendary during this time: PC Chris, Korean DJ, Azen and Isai. For anyone trying to get into the game, the MLG Era offers a look at a very exciting time in Smash history that was also less focused on the insane technical play of today, and more focused on spacing and mind games. I’d recommend checking those matches out, especially if you are a new player who might have a hard time following the fast paced action of the 2015 metagame. Not to mention those matches have some fantastic commentary that is still relevant even today. These were the matches that got me into competitive Smash, personally. I can’t recommend them enough.

Despite dropping Melee from the main circuit in 2006, MLG continued to strongly support the grassroots Melee scene with the 2007 MLG Smash Series. Sponsoring huge tournaments like Pound 2 and MELEE-FC Diamond, the competitive Melee scene continued to thrive. Melee’s popularity as a competitive fighting game could not be ignored, and in 2007, it got onto the Evolution 2007 line-up. With 270 entrants, Evo 2007 was by far the biggest Melee tournament of all time, and would mark the peak of the Golden Age of Melee.

Everything was about to change.

In 2007, there were many players attempting to break into the upper echelon of Melee play. Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman was one of them. An extremely dedicated and technical player, M2K created what is essentially a bible of Melee knowledge by himself: a frame by frame analysis of the game using nothing but the pause button. Thanks to his nearly perfect technical execution, M2K placed high in MLG tournaments, but never managed to place first.

This all changed one day in 2007, when his Fox controller broke and he was forced to use Marth instead.

M2K’s change from Fox to Marth gave birth to a persona still referred to today as “2007 Mew2King”. His Marth struck viciously and with pinpoint precision. One grab usually resulted in death for his opponents. Ken had retired from the game in 2007, and M2K not only quickly became the top Marth, but the top player in Melee. 2007 was absolute decimation on the part of M2K. It seemed like the game was figured out, as no one could even come close to defeating M2K. Seemingly reaching the peak of the metagame, competitive play and tournament attendance dwindled in 2007. In addition, something big was on the horizon…

At E3 2006, after an incredible E3 conference that introduced the world to the Wii, Nintendo announced the newest installment in the Super Smash Bros. franchise: Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Following one of the greatest unveil trailers of all time, the game was hyped to unreasonable expectations. Perhaps no one had higher hopes for the game than the competitive Melee community, who had dedicated years to the Smash Bros. franchise. Following an insane build up with the Smash Bros. Dojo and two delays, Brawl finally launched on March 9, 2008.

Shortly before Brawl’s launch, Pound 3 took place in February of 2008. With some players already getting their hands on the Japanese version of the game, many considered Pound 3 to be the final national Melee tournament. With Brawl on the horizon, there was going to be no need to return to this game. Mew2King dominated the tournament… until the grand finals.

He lost.

To a Jigglypuff player from the west coast named Mango.

Weird. That must have been a fluke. First of all, who is this kid? Second of all, he plays Puff. Definitely a fluke. Finally, Brawl is out! Melee is dead. We’re moving on.

The entire community more or less did move on to Brawl. In 2008, Brawl was the dominant game in the competitive Smash Bros. community, and Melee was relegated to side-event status, at best. Many top Melee players, including M2K and Azen, put most of their focus on the new game. M2K’s dominance in Melee transferred to Brawl, where his Meta Knight was far and away the best in the world. With the top Melee player now focusing on Brawl, there is little to say about the game in 2008 and early 2009.

Melee was seemingly dead.

When Brawl was released, many top players criticized the game, including M2K himself. The game was too slow, too floaty, lacked hitstun and the advanced techniques that made Melee such a quick paced, smooth experience. The Brawl vs. Melee war had begun. Despite all of the criticism, the numbers were against Melee players. Brawl was thriving, and for every Melee player that quit the game for being too slow and boring, five new players took their spot. Gradually though, the game was hurting, even to the Brawl faithful. As the meta game evolved, the game became slower, not faster, as camping techniques like Planking and timing out began to see dominance at high levels of play. Meta Knight was not only the best character in the game, but by FAR the best character in the game, and the easiest to use to boot. MK dominated Brawl top 8s everywhere, and despite exciting and creative play from top level competitors like Ally (Snake), ADHD (Diddy) and DEHF (Falco), the Meta Knight army was taking its toll on the Brawl meta game.

Meanwhile, Melee players continued to run small tournaments, in conquest for the elusive 70% of the $45 pot.

Then, in an era where Brawl’s meta game was dominated by Meta Knight dittos, a Melee played named HomeMadeWaffles opened a Youtube account, uploading tournament videos featuring the best of the West Coast, including Pound 3 winner Mango and arguably the best Captain Falcon in the world at the time, Silent Spectre.

In a teams set at one of these tournaments, this happened.

Yes, that really happened. Oh my god.

The wombo combo gave Melee the most exposure it’s had since Brawl’s launch. This kind of moment certainly wasn’t something you were going to see at a Brawl tournament. HMW’s excitement was contagious, and slowly, Melee was gaining back some momentum.

In early 2009, Alukard announced what would become one of the most important, and memorable, Melee tournaments of all time. Revival of Melee would take place on March 8th 2009, one year after Brawl's release. Billed as the biggest Melee-only tournament since Brawl’s release, M2K would attend the tournament, and Mango would be making the trip from Socal, allowing for the much anticipated rematch from Pound 3 a year earlier. This was going to be the tournament where M2K would prove Mango’s win was just a fluke. Also attending was Florida Falco player DaShizWiz, who was making waves with that set in Florida.

Melee players from all over North America would make it to ROM. With 136 players in attendance, ROM was by far the biggest Melee tournament since Brawl’s release. But mere attendance wouldn’t be enough to revive the game from the dead.

In winner’s finals, M2K met Mango once again.

Mango defeated M2K decisively, with a 4 stock in the final game. Since his come to dominance in 2007, M2K was never so utterly defeated. Was he rusty from Brawl? Perhaps Mango was actually just that damn good. Whatever the reason, he had a match in losers finals with DaShizWiz.

And then this happened.

ROM is fondly remembered as not only one of the most exciting Melee tournaments of all time, but as the spark that really did revive Melee from near death. Mango solidified his spot at the top of the Melee world, and would dominate nearly every tournament he attended for years to come. With the wombo combo and M2K’s incredible comeback on Shiz, excitement for the game was coming back. While Brawl still dominated, tournament attendance for Melee side tournaments was increasing. The hype built up to July 2009 and by far the biggest Smash tournament of all time up to that point: GENESIS.

With 292 entrants, GENESIS would be the largest Brawl tournament of all time up to that point. Melee had… 290 entrants, which was the biggest Melee tournament up to that point.

Wait what?

All the big names were there. Mango. Mew2King. Shiz. Zhu. Even an up and coming Jigglypuff main named Hungrybox.

Oh and apparently some European player who plays Peach was going to come to America for the first time. Apparently he’s good or something. Whatever. Europe isn’t good.

While you’d be hard pressed to recall what happened at the Brawl tournament at GENESIS, Melee took centre stage, and may have been the most exciting tournament in the game’s life up to that point. That European Peach player was Armada. The 17 year old Swede made his American debut at GENESIS and proceeded to dominate every top ranked player, including M2K and Mango. With PEACH. WHAT IS GOING ON?

Mango and Armada would face off in one of the most incredible grand finals you will ever see. This would not only kick off the greatest rivalry in Melee history, but the true revival of Melee. The game was producing the hype moments that Brawl simply was not. Despite being 8 years old at this point, Melee was still evolving, and new players like Hungrybox and Armada were playing the game in ways people hadn’t ever imagined possible, with characters once deemed nonviable at the top level of play. The two gods of the game, Mew2King and Mango, were capable of losing sets. Who was Armada playing with in Sweden that was making him so good? High level Melee had story lines. You didn’t know what was going to happen next.

For the next few years, Brawl continued to outpace Melee in the attendance game. But Melee tournaments were getting big numbers, approaching the ones seen during the Golden Age. New players that Brawl took in were making the jump to Melee. Retired veterans were making comebacks. More and more Melee only tournaments were being run, and were successful. Melee was back, but what happened next no one could have predicted.

The Apex series of tournaments kicked off in 2009 and soon became the biggest annual Smash Bros event, bringing in 200+ entrants for both Melee and Brawl in 2010, 400 for Brawl and 300+ for Melee in 2012, and 338 for Brawl and 336 for Melee in 2013. As it would turn out, Apex 2013 would be the last major tournament where Brawl attendance exceeded Melee attendance.

In October 2012, some random nobody noticed tournament organizer Mr.Wizard doing a poll on the Evo Championship Series Facebook page. Wizard was gauging interest in what games should be on the roster. So this dude decided to make a thread on Smashboards about the poll. It was mostly a joke.

Melee was over 11 years old at this point. Even if the game was the highest voted on the Facebook poll, the Evo staff was likely to laugh it off and disqualify it due to not only being old, but requiring CRT televisions. Somehow, Melee won the Facebook poll. By a lot. Whatever, it’s just a dumb poll that means nothing.

Then, Mr. Wizard announced something we never saw coming as a part of the Evo 2013 line-up announcement. In addition to the 7 announced games, there would be an eight game added to the line-up. Whichever game’s community donated the most to breast cancer research would have its game added to the Evo roster.

Is this really happening?

As it turns out, the Melee community had grown up. The game being over ten years old, many of the players who competed in high school now had full time jobs and money.

Super Smash Bros Melee won the donation drive with $94,683. Melee was back at Evo for the first time in 6 years.

With the news that Melee would be on the main stage at the biggest fighting game tournament in the world, hype was higher for the game than ever before. Starting with Apex 2013, entrants for Melee tournaments skyrocketed, often surpassing Brawl. At Evo 2013, Melee demolished the previous record for highest tournament attendance with an astonishing 709 entrants.

Coming off the incredible success of Melee at Evo 2013, Samox released his much anticipated Smash Brothers documentary in October 2013. Following the story of 7 top Melee players and exploring the history of the game, the documentary was featured on many gaming websites and outlets that would have never given competitive Smash Bros. the light of day. Melee was being seen by more eyes than ever before, and as a result, the community grew.

The one-two punch of Evo and the documentary ushered in a new era for Melee: The Platinum Age. Not only was Melee far more popular than Brawl at this point, but it was more popular than it had ever been in its entire life, now twelve years old.

It didn’t stop there. 2014 kicked off with Melee being invited back to Evo. After witnessing the game's undeniable popularity in 2013, there was no donation drive needed this time. Days before Evo 2013, there was a brief scare that threatened to close down not only the stream, but the entire Melee tournament. Nintendo of America had become aware of the event, and wanted to shut it down. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed, and the tournament went on as expected. A year later, Nintendo would be sponsoring Evo 2014, complete with a message to the Smash community from Reggie Fils Aime himself. For nearly 13 years, the Smash community thrived without the involvement or support of Nintendo. That finally changed in 2014, with not only Nintendo sponsoring Evo, but holding an invitational event for Smash 4 at E3 2014, featuring top competitive Melee and Brawl players. It was the biggest stage the competitive Smash community had ever seen. Believe it or not, it gets better. MLG, the company that helped Melee reach greatness, brought the game back for their Anaheim event in July 2014.

The combination of E3, Evo and MLG, in addition to other large tournaments, in June and July 2014 has been dubbed “The Summer of Smash”. 2014 was by far Melee’s biggest year ever.

This brings us to the current day. Despite the release of another new Smash Bros. game, there would not be another Brawl situation. Melee would have its biggest tournament to date in January 2015 at Apex 2015, with an unfathomable 1037 entrants. At the same time, Smash 4 would have its first major and bring in a whopping 837 entrants. Compare that to the number of entrants at GENESIS for a moment. The Smash Community has come a long way since then.

Melee, and the competitive Smash Community in general, is stronger and larger than ever before. After nearly 14 years, Melee is bigger than ever and shows no signs of slowing down, with another appearance at Evo to come later this year. I think it’s about time there was a competitive Melee discussion thread on NeoGAF, so let’s begin!
(02-16-2015, 01:54 AM)
Anth0ny's Avatar

I’m interested in attending a Melee tournament. Where could I go to find tournaments in my region?

The most active discussion for your region is probably in a group on Facebook. Try to search Melee *insert region here* and see if anything pops up. If not, look into the regional boards on Smashboards or the Tournament Listings sub-forum on Smashboards. Pretty much every big tournament is going to have a thread there, weeklies might just be announced on Facebook.

Melee is nearly 14 years old. Everyone playing now has been playing for years. Is there even a point in trying to jump in now or am I just going to get killed?

Absolutely. PPMD started playing after Brawl’s release and is considered one of the top players in the world right now. Many high ranked players have just started playing the game seriously in the last couple of years. It is never too late to start playing this game. Try to attend tournaments or Smashfests (community get togethers) taking place near you. Get practice against real people, as practicing against CPUs can only get you so far. You might get destroyed at your first few tournaments, but we all do. Even if you are losing, you are gaining valuable experience and improving. I swear. There are always friendly setups at tournaments, so if you are eliminated early from the tournament, jump onto one and play with other people as much as possible.

So I need to play Fox, right? Maybe Marth?

Nope. While I wouldn’t recommend starting today with Kirby or Pichu, top level players are seeing great success with characters once deemed nonviable, such as Pikachu and Yoshi. While I do think it’s wise to learn the fundamentals of the game with a high tier character that is easy to pick up and play, such as Sheik or Marth, never be afraid to play who you find the most fun. Fun is the whole reason we play this game, anyways.

For what it’s worth, here’s the current tier list:

Sounds good. I want to learn the game. What resources should I consult?

The best place to start is probably with Wak's “Advanced how to play” videos:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

After that, Google or Youtube is your friend. There are tons of text and video guides out there just a search away. Remember to actually watch tournament matches too in order to see everything applied in a real match situation. Be sure to read the rest of this post too, as I've included a bunch of short tutorials and helpful links at the bottom of the post. If you still can't find what you're looking for, be sure to ask in this thread! That's what it's for.

These advanced techniques seem difficult. Do I need to know how to do them in order to compete at the competitive level?

There was a time when the answer to this question might have been no. Fundamentals might have been enough in 2005 or 2006, but today, players are just way too fast and technical. While certain techniques that are extremely difficult to execute, such as moonwalking and multi-shining, aren’t necessary, incorporating techniques like L-cancelling and DI are essential in today’s Melee landscape. Because they are so important, I’m going to break down what I feel are the most important techniques that all aspiring Melee players should learn:

The Most Important Advanced Techniques

Short Hop

A short hop is performed by quickly tapping the jump button (X, Y or up on the control stick). This technique is extremely important in high level Smash. By short hopping and throwing out an aerial attack, you put a great amount of pressure on your opponent. A standard full hop aerial isn't going to do much damage to a grounded opponent; they're going to see it coming a mile away and punish you for it. A short hop aerial is much faster and will hit your grounded opponent. Successfully landing a short hop aerial can lead to combos, damage, shield pressure. Alternatively, throwing out a short hop aerial is a good spacing tool, and can keep your opponent away. Learning how to short hop is absolutely essential, and can easily be practiced at home in training mode.

Fast Falling

Fast Falling is performed by smashing down on the control stick when in the air. In most cases, if you are in the air, you will want to get back to the ground as quickly as possible, so fast falling becomes very important. Luckily, it's one of the easiest techniques to perform, so it shouldn't be too hard to pick up and add to your game.


L-cancelling, which stands for Lag Cancelling, is a technique that has become synonymous with high level Melee play, and for good reason. At this point in the metagame, a missed L-cancel can result in a punish that could very easily lead to a lost stock. By pressing shield (L, R or Z) just before hitting the ground when performing an aerial, half of the move's landing lag will be cancelled. Like short hopping, practice makes perfect with L-cancelling. Getting the timing down for each aerial may take a while, but the speed of your game will increase dramatically once you get it down. Keep in mind that the timing of an L-cancel changes depending on whether you hit nothing, hit an opponent, or hit an opponent's shield. L-cancelling Captain Falcon's knee in the middle of Final Destination 100 times is great, but keep in mind that timing will get you punished if you short hop knee an opponent's shield. Practice practice practice. Eventually L-cancelling becomes second nature.


I believe this is the most important technique in the game, and the reason why Melee is the beautiful, fast paced game that it is. Short hopping is cool. Fast falling is cool. L cancelling is very cool. But it’s doing all three together that is essentially the meta game of Melee. If you can’t SHFFL consistently, you will not be able to keep up with your opponent. A Fox that can SHFFL and a Fox that can’t are two very different beasts. As as beginner, it is easier to learn each of the three techniques individually before trying to combine them all together. My practice technique for SHFFLing is to go on one side of Final Destination, put on some music, and just SHFFL the same aerial from one side of the stage to the other, then turn around and do it again. and again. and again.

Dash Dancing

In the early days of Melee, Ken didn't know how to wavedash. Instead, he destroyed the competition by dash dancing. The ultimate mind game, dash dancing exists to bait your opponent into throwing out a move. In Melee, you can pretty much do anything out of a dash (grab, short hop aerial, smash attack), so constantly hanging out in a dash state is a good thing. Learn your dash dance distances and timings, as they are different for every character. The above gif is basically the perfect implementation of dash dancing, and why it's so important in high level play.


Along with L-Cancelling, the advanced technique most associated with competitive Melee. It is performed by jumping and quickly air-dodging into the ground at a diagonal angle. If done correctly, your character should slide.Though nowhere near as important as any of the techniques mentioned above, wavedashing is still an important tool with much utility. Wavedashing can be used as a spacing technique: think wavedashing backward, dodging a grab, and punishing the whiffed grab with a Marth forward smash. Alternatively, it can be used as a way to speed up your character. You better believe Luigi's standard dash isn't getting him across the stage as quickly as his wavedash, as you can see in the gif above. Finally, wavedashing is commonly used as a way to quickly grab the ledge. Overall, this technique is important if you want to speed up your movement, which is always a good way to throw off your opponent.

Edge Hogging

The Melee edge game works very differently than the one seen in Smash 4. Edge Hogging is an important technique where you essentially grab the edge of a stage so that your recovering opponent cannot. As small as it seems, edge hogging often means the difference between your opponent just barely returning back to the stage and your opponent just barely losing a stock. Keep in mind that grabbing the ledge gives your character a few frames of invincibility. This is important because certain recoveries, like Marth or Fox's up special, can hit you off the edge. To prevent this from happening, you need to refresh your invincibility frames by dropping of the edge then regrabbing. Alternatively, you can roll onto the stage (by pressing L), as demonstrated by the gif above, and the game will still think you are hanging on the edge.

Directional Influence (D.I.)

Directional Influence is another important technique that has a multitude of uses. By pressing a certain direction on the control stick, the trajectory of your character will change, as demonstrated by the above gif.

There are two main types of DI in the game. Survival DI and Combo DI.

At higher percents, powerful moves will send you flying off the stage. During this situation, you want to implement Survival DI, that is, DI that will help you survive attacks that would otherwise kill you. The rule here is to DI perpendicular to the direction you are sent. As you can see in the gif above, Ganon's Warlock Punch sends the player in a horizontal direction. You are going to want to DI up (hold up on the control stick) in order to be sent more up than horizontal. Down works too, up is clearly the better option if you want to return back to the stage! Other attacks, such as Fox's up smash, send the player in a vertical direction. In this case, you want to DI in the direction your opponent was facing when they hit you with the attack. So if a Fox is facing right and hits you with an up smash at a high percent, DI to the right. Easy, right?

Next is Combo DI, which is probably a bit easier to understand. At low percents, one move will combo into another, unless you DI out of the combo. You are going to want to DI away from any low percent combo moves to make it harder for your opponent to follow up with another hit. This gif should sum things up nicely:


This is not really an advanced technique, but I think it is very important that new players understand the importance of the C-stick. First of all, no, it is not cheap to use the C-stick. Got it? Good. Next, the C-stick, when on the ground, maps to the smash attack corresponding with the direction you push. It is the fastest and easiest way to get a smash attack out, so unless you want a charged smash, you should probably use the C-stick rather than smashing the control stick in a direction and hitting A.

More importantly, in the air, pressing the C-stick in a direction will throw out the corresponding aerial. By using aerials with the C-stick, you can now perform an aerial in one direction and weave back with the control stick. A good example of this is Jigglypuff's back air. Assuming Jiggs is facing the right, jumping and hitting left on the C-stick will allow her to perform a back air. However, if you jump, hit left on C-stick, and hit RIGHT on the control stick, you are performing a spaced aerial. Jiggs is throwing out the move, and she is getting out of harm's way of your opponent at the same time. This can be applied to every characters' aerials and is extremely important in high level play. Simply jumping on the spot or forward and performing an aerial leaves you in the position to be punished if your opponent shields correctly. By weaving out of your opponent's range with the control stick and C-stick aerials, you can avoid said punishes.

Learn to love the C-stick!

*Special Thanks to DJLO for some of the incredibly educational gifs used in this post!*

What is the competitive rule set at tournaments? What stages are legal?

The most common rule set used at Melee tournaments today is known as the Apex rule set, named after the biggest annual Smash Bros. tournament. It is as follows:

Stage List


Yoshi’s Story
Fountain of Dreams
Final Destination
Dream Land


Pokemon Stadium

General Rules

* Items are set to off

* Stock and time are set to 4 stock and 8 minutes, respectively

The rest of the rules can be found here!

Melee is the most hype game on the planet. What streams/tournaments/players should I be watching?

The top Smash Bros. streamer is VGBootCamp. Run by GIMR, it has the highest production values of any stream in the Smash community. As a result, VGBC is usually in charge of streaming at the biggest Melee events.

Many top players also have their own streams. You can’t go wrong with any of the 6 gods of Melee. Anytime they are participating in a tournament, stakes, and the level of play, are high.

The Six gods of Melee?

Over the last few years, five established top players have moved so far ahead of the rest of the pack that they have been referred to as the five "gods" of Melee. They win every tournament they go to, usually with ease. What makes it so exciting is that each of the gods are more or less equal, and can take each other out on any given day. When at least two gods are present at a tournament, you’re probably watching a major. Only at the very biggest tournaments of the year (Apex, Evo) do all six gods appear at one time, as they not only all live in very different states, but some in different continents.

If a god loses to a non-god, it is usually considered a major upset. There are MANY hungry top players at the cusp of god-status, and it is watching these great players trying to break through that makes Melee so fun to watch. Last month, for the first time ever, a player took a set off all five of the Melee gods. Leffen, the Fox main from Sweden, finally conquered his demon and defeated M2K. As a result of his incredibly strong play, many are considering Leffen to be the sixth god, myself included.


The only player on the planet that has managed to take a set off the five players ranked about him. At the moment, his skill level is far above anyone ranked below him, and thus he is generally deemed the sixth god. Some even believe he’s surpassed a couple of the players ranked above him…


Hbox is single-handedly showing the world why Puff is still high tier in this game. His spacing and punish game is possibly the best in the business, and the rests he manages to land in high pressure situations against the best players on the planet are straight up ridiculous. Even though it seems like the top Foxes may have finally figured out his Puff, this man has no fear, and I expect him to level up his game and combat them come Evo 2015.


Though not as dominant as he once was, Mew2King is still capable of beating any player on the planet and making it look easy. He is known for counter picking his opponents to FD with Marth, where he proceeds to chain grab them from zero to death with his impeccable, frame perfect Marth combos. For this, M2K’s patented black Marth has been dubbed “The Final Boss” when played on FD, as it seems downright unstoppable. M2K has been focusing on Smash 4 lately, but I expect him to keep his Melee play polished and capable of defeating the other gods.


Known for being the best Falco, PPMD has also developed his Marth to the very top level, even defeating other top Marth mains such as M2K and PewPewU in the Marth ditto. After returning from a hiatus and winning the largest Melee tournament of all time, Apex 2015, PPMD seems determined to prove that he’s not just one of the top players, but THE top player on the planet.


Has Armada joined the dark side? The man who single handedly brought Peach to top tier in the current metagame and won countless tournaments with the Princess appears to have dropped the character for Fox. While he’s found success with the character change, lets hope we still see the Peach come out from time to time, and it was a sight to behold when controlled by the Swedish Sniper.


2x Evo champion. MLG champion. Simply put, Mango is the greatest to ever play the game. The results speak for themselves: since 2008 Mango has wrecked everyone in his path. While the other gods are certainly capable of taking sets, and even tournaments, off Mango, he always seems to find a way to bounce back. Will he make it a three peat this year?

Is 20XX real?


For beginners:

The Smash Brothers Documentary

First and foremost, anyone that is new to competitive Smash should watch the documentary. It’s split into 9 parts and runs about 4 hours long, so you probably won’t get through it all in one sitting. But I highly recommend you check this out, it gives a great look at the history and culture of Melee.

Smashboards: The home of Smash Bros on the internet. While lots of discussion that once took place on Smashboards now takes place on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, the character discussion boards are still invaluable to any competitive player. Furthermore, every notable tournament has a dedicated thread in the tournament listing sub-forum on Smashboards.

Reddit /r/smashbros: A great resource for gifs, discussion, videos, tips and news regarding competitive Smash.

Wak's Advanced How to Play

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Smash Lounge - Lots of great gifs and tutorials for advanced techniques can be found here.

Melee it on Me - Home of the great MIOM podcast, tons of informative blog posts, and the SSBM top 100 rankings. A great resource.

Streams/Youtube Accounts


VGBC Youtube (most big tournaments from the modern era can be found here)
HomeMadeWaffles Youtube (Videos from GENESIS and many other great tournaments can be found here)
OptimusLime (Many great vids from the Golden Age and MLG can be found here)
GRSmash (Fantastic top 10 compilation vids. Most are both awesome and hilarious)
EvenMatchupGaming (the best Canadian resource for Smash, includes many great highlight reels)

Classic Sets

Ken vs. PC Chris (MLG NY, 2006)
Ken vs. PC Chris (MLG Dallas, 2006)
Ken vs. PC Chris (MLG Anaheim)

Three classic sets from two of the all time greats.

Mango vs. Mew2King (Pound 3, 2008)
Armada vs. Mew2King (GENESIS, 2009)
Mango vs. Armada (GENESIS, 2009)
Mew2King vs. Hungrybox (The Big House 3 2013)
PPMD vs. Leffen (MLG Anaheim 2014)
Leffen vs. Armada (Paragon 2015)


Smash @ Xanadu (S@X) - A weekly tournament series in Maryland held every Wednesday, featuring Melee and Smash 64. Streamed by VGBC.

Super Smash Sundays - A biweekly tournament series that takes place in California and features the best players on the West Coast, and therefore some of the best in the world. Every other Sunday. Currently on hiatus.

Get Smashed At The Foundry - A weekly Norcal tournament series featuring top Norcal players. Also, as the name would suggest, alcohol. Commentary is not e-sports! Streamed by Showdown Smash every Tuesday night.

Evolution 2015 - July 17-19, Las Vegas.

*Upcoming Events Section To Be Updated As Tournaments Are Announced*

These posts are not complete. Melee is a deeper game than you can even begin to imagine, and I know I've missed a ton of stuff. As important topics are brought up in the thread, I will add them to these posts.

Special thanks to everyone who showed interest in this thread on GAF, and all the photographers/artists/videomakers whose work I featured in these posts! <3

Super special thanks to DICKS AHOY for the new, super stylish banners! ppmdkreygasm
(02-16-2015, 02:04 AM)
DNAbro's Avatar
Hungrybox is GOAT. Come at me.

No items. Fox only. Final Destiniation

awesome topic. very informative.
(02-16-2015, 02:06 AM)
(02-16-2015, 02:08 AM)
Kraatu's Avatar
2015 had the wackiest of all tournaments, Apex.
Not a single soul saw PPMD coming, not even himself!
I still wanna see Leffen have his way. I bet if he played at home without jet lag johns he would win a lot of tournaments.
This is a beautiful thread. Props OP
(02-16-2015, 02:09 AM)
making history!! :D

(time to read)

Also, you are awesome Anth0ny :)
(02-16-2015, 02:11 AM)
My main problem when it comes to playing Melee competitively is I can pull off wavedashing/dash dancing/ (sort of) shuffling well, but have zero clue how to properly apply it in any real fight.

Still impressive just how far the community's come, all things considered.
(02-16-2015, 02:13 AM)
Icyflamez96's Avatar
I love the artstyle of that Leffen & Fox drawing.
(02-16-2015, 02:14 AM)
it's funny how small everything from 2013 and earlier looks now lol
(02-16-2015, 02:15 AM)
eRonin's Avatar
Great OP, Anth0ny! Really sick writeup.

I attended my first Melee tournament yesterday, after watching/following the pro scene for about the last 6 years or so (mostly Brawl, Melee only lately). I didn't actually join the tournament since I'm still awful at Melee/came late, I just watched and played friendlies. Cao was there, which was really cool to watch since he's probably the most famous Australian player, having been featured in the Smash Bros documentary.
(02-16-2015, 02:17 AM)
Great work on the thread Anth0ny.

Personal opinion on Leffen; he ain't no god. He's an anti-god if anything. There's really no point in expanding that pantheon and it means more than just beating five dudes.
(02-16-2015, 02:22 AM)
That OP is delicious

Also M2K just beat a doubles Tourney using a level 9 Luigi CPU as his partner lmao. He's still my favorite Melee player alongside mangoAT.
(02-16-2015, 02:22 AM)
Alchemy's Avatar
Melee will never die as long as Nintendo dances around making a proper successor (Same IP with different mechanics does not count, sorry). Melee is so damn exciting to watch at a competitive level, I love it. So tense watching streams and seeing good back and forth matches. I really miss having a group to play with semi-competitive Melee with.
Captain Rage Quit 69
(02-16-2015, 02:23 AM)
This is godlike.

So, does anyone here play Melee Netplay? I've stuck to locals mostly, but I'd love to give it a shot with some GAF mates if anyone has experience with it. I play Doc, so pls no bullying from marth ;__;
(02-16-2015, 02:24 AM)
naw's Avatar
damn this a novel forreal

good stuff tho
(02-16-2015, 02:27 AM)
xezuru's Avatar

Originally Posted by Captain Rage Quit 69

This is godlike.

So, does anyone here play Melee Netplay? I've stuck to locals mostly, but I'd love to give it a shot with some GAF mates if anyone has experience with it. I play Doc, so pls no bullying from marth ;__;

I play netplay and Marth HUEHUEHUE.
I'm westcoast if it matters, can help other people setup Netplay if they need help.
My comp ain't greaaaat though, most the times it's still 60fps except for FoD.
Personally, I got controller johns hue, and pretty low-medium skill wise, enough to wavedash + dancedash comfortably but still miss L cancels and such alot.
(02-16-2015, 02:28 AM)
Metaroo's Avatar
Melee GAF??


Seven Force
(02-16-2015, 02:29 AM)
Seven Force's Avatar
Fantastic OP.

Originally Posted by Anth0ny

Is 20XX real?


(02-16-2015, 02:31 AM)
Great first post, Anth0ny
The Sarcastic Dude
(02-16-2015, 02:32 AM)
Z I P BO Y S song
(02-16-2015, 02:33 AM)
Lothars's Avatar

Originally Posted by Alchemy

Melee will never die as long as Nintendo dances around making a proper successor (Same IP with different mechanics does not count, sorry). Melee is so damn exciting to watch at a competitive level, I love it. So tense watching streams and seeing good back and forth matches. I really miss having a group to play with semi-competitive Melee with.

disagree and that's a really bad way to look at it honestly, Melee may never die but doesn't mean Smash 4 isn't a good successor to melee. it's the stubborness of the fans that will hurt the community in the long run imo
Captain Rage Quit 69
(02-16-2015, 02:34 AM)

Originally Posted by xezuru

I play netplay and Marth HUEHUEHUE.
I'm westcoast if it matters, can help other people setup Netplay if they need help.
My comp ain't greaaaat though, most the times it's still 60fps except for FoD.
Personally, I got controller johns hue, and pretty low-medium skill wise, enough to wavedash + dancedash comfortably but still miss L cancels and such alot.

Midwest here, I can get constant 60fps on 4x native, oh yeah.

Well, at least I can on Brawl and PM. >>;;;

My only issue is in actually acquiring the Melee iso, as I don't know how to get it from my disc (no illegal shenanigans pls I wanna be legit), so I can't play netplay like I want to. ;__;

Hehe, L cancels just need a lot of practice to get the muscle memory, I used to miss it all the time with my dair so I just hit the training and daired a Fox dummy until I could do it 10 times in a row without missing a beat.
Azure J
(02-16-2015, 02:36 AM)
Azure J's Avatar
God DAMN that OP is beautiful.

I actually found myself learning something big through it too. I didn't realize WOMBO COMBO was a thing that directly contributed to the seeds of a greater awareness of Melee in a post-Brawl world. I just thought that it was one of those wacky one offs that hit the right level of infectious comedy and positioning in the post YouTube era.

On another tangent, I am so glad that I helped contribute to Melee's appearance at EVO 2013. That was probably one of the biggest things that had to happen to lead into Melee's Platinum Era. :lol
A Pretty Panda
fuckin' called it, man
(02-16-2015, 02:36 AM)
A Pretty Panda's Avatar

Originally Posted by Anth0ny

Why don't you play for fun instead of wen you play nd you dont have fun???

This game is old why don't you just play the new one???
(02-16-2015, 02:37 AM)
InfiniteCombo's Avatar

Originally Posted by Seven Force

Fantastic OP.

Came in to say this. I don't even regularly play or care for Smash, especially Melee, but damn did that OP at least get me interested. Beautifully done.
(02-16-2015, 02:37 AM)
Has the wombo combo successfully gone down as the most successful smash video other than the Giga Bowser Falcon Punch?
Junior Member
(02-16-2015, 02:40 AM)
Neoxon's Avatar
This thread is all kinds of amazing. Even though I mainly do Smash 4 in my scene, I'm trying to get back into the Melee groove. Too bad my disc is scratched up to hell.
Azure J
(02-16-2015, 02:40 AM)
Azure J's Avatar

Originally Posted by theprodigy

it's funny how small everything from 2013 and earlier looks now lol

Isn't this the truth?

Also when did everyone start using AbyssWolf's Smash 4 sprites as avatars? I was on that from urley™. I expect my royalty checks in the mail asap.
(02-16-2015, 02:41 AM)
Awesome OP, Anth0ny!
(02-16-2015, 02:55 AM)
Awesome thread Anthony. Gonna be awesome having a melee thread here.

I play melee netplay too. Gotta get some games in with gaffers.
(02-16-2015, 03:21 AM)
Revven's Avatar
Skimmed through the OP, insanely detailed. You did good work here with it. Hope this thread remains active for as long as it can.
(02-16-2015, 03:29 AM)
freethoughtbubble's Avatar
AMAZING thread! I know what I'm going to be reading before knocking out tonight, hahaha.
(02-16-2015, 03:33 AM)
Karsticles's Avatar
Read from beginning to end. Great stuff.
(02-16-2015, 03:34 AM)

Originally Posted by Azure J

Isn't this the truth?

Also when did everyone start using AbyssWolf's Smash 4 sprites as avatars? I was on that from urley™. I expect my royalty checks in the mail asap.

Rayman thread

I jumped in after everything was over to nab Rosalina and Greninja lol
(02-16-2015, 03:40 AM)
FSLink's Avatar
Great opening post.

For anybody who has Wii/Wii U virtual Wii homebrew or Dolphin access:

This is a great mod that gives Melee some really nice options to train with. Some cool stuff like the game instantly booting to VS mode with all characters/stages unlocked, Project M-esque stage striking, longer name tags, some extra stages and costumes, and more.

(R+D-Pad Left) P2 [Spacie] Offensive Shine Pressure [Achilles]
Insane (yet 20XX realistic) spacie shine pressure.
Random dairs or nairs after a forward jump.
Random aerial timing mixups
Random double shine and shine-grab mixups
If second shine is aerial --> wavedash down in place (Westballz - 20XX certified member).
If P2 successfully grabs an opponent, the uthrow --> uair command is executed (only works against P1).
Practice your out of shield options.

Like...stuff like this is just really awesome. There's also one to have Falco short hop laser over and over so you can practice powershielding among other stuff.
(02-16-2015, 04:17 AM)
Tomohawk's Avatar
Great OP!, made we watch the genesis armada vs mango matches for the first time.
As in "Heathcliff"
(02-16-2015, 04:19 AM)
IntelliHeath's Avatar
Here we go!

Good Job with OT, Anthony!
Azure J
(02-16-2015, 04:27 AM)
Azure J's Avatar

Originally Posted by theprodigy

Rayman thread

I jumped in after everything was over to nab Rosalina and Greninja lol

I had both of those on standby! :P

As a result I had to go to my main to make sure he wasn't taken. :lol

That Pit was just too well done.
(02-16-2015, 04:30 AM)
Wanna get into tournament play for Smash 4 in SoCal, but have no clue...
(02-16-2015, 04:41 AM)
Clawww's Avatar
nice OP dude i actually read the whole thing
(02-16-2015, 04:49 AM)
thoseAREmySHOES's Avatar
Incredible OT. Can I suggest adding a link to GRSmash's youtube channel? It's awesome for clip compilations. EDIT: I'm a moron, I somehow skipped right over it.

I'm comparatively new to the Smash competitive scene, but just as a watcher. I don't have the determination to try to master advanced techniques, but man do I love watching smash videos.

Anyways, is Mew2King the only significant player in that "early days" picture? I was trying to see if I recognized anyone else, but he's the only one standing out to me.
(02-16-2015, 05:04 AM)
WarAdept's Avatar
Goddamn, this brings back memories. Those nights perfecting Fox's Waveshine, trying to beat the Break the Target's WR's (seriously whoever figured out Link's is a genius) and Home Run Contest strats.

Bring on EVO 2015 with both Melee and the newcomer Smash 4, and good luck to both!
(02-16-2015, 05:12 AM)
J@hranimo's Avatar
None other than Anth0ny would make this thread. Nay, could make it. Great job!

I think half of this summer I'm gonna delve back into Melee seriously for the first time in at least 7 years. MAYLAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(02-16-2015, 05:20 AM)

- this may be dumb, but you didn't mention the input for dash dancing :p (it's something easy to figure out but still...)

Fast Falling is performed by smashing down on the control stick when in the air.

here you didn't mention that you have to press down once you have reached the peak of your jump

The Melee edge game works very differently than the one seen in Smash 4...

Melee is different than the latest smash games in some crucial aspects. For example, like you said, the edge game. So, for the same reason that you mentioned the edge game, i think that there's a couple more things that it would be good to mention (as they are different in melee):

- momentum conservation. You mention everything about short hops (SHFFL) but not this. And it's definitely one of the things that allows melee being such an air based game.

- mentioning the difference between doing your out of shield defensive options with the analog stick or with the C-stick. I suggested that in the other thread. Also, mentioning the advanteges of doing uair and down air with the C-stick:

the C-stick: new players know that the C-stick can be used for doing smash attacks and, because is something that is mentioned quite often, they may also be aware of the benefits of using the c-stick for doing aerials (you can do fair and bair without affecting your momentum, uair without double jumping, and dair without fast falling) but they may not know that there’s some situations where both the analog stick and the C-stick have similar uses:

- when you are on your shield, everyone knows that you can do 3 actions with the analog stick: jumps out of shield with up, roll with right or left, or spot dodge with down. Before learning about competitive melee, most players probably used the analog stick when they were on their shield. And once they have learned about competitive melee, some will continue to use the analog stick. Why? Well, like I said before, it’s actually a lot easier to read/watch about things like L-cancelling and wave dashing than it is to find an in deep explanation about the different uses of each button. So, many people that have played melee in the past won’t be aware that you can use the C-stick for moving out of your shield and, if they are, they will probably think “oh, it’s the same thing. Neat, but i’m used to using the analog stick, so i’ll continue using that”. As we all know, it’s actually crucial to use the C-stick instead as, unlike the analog stick, it buffers the action and allow you to do it as soon as you are no longer in shield stun. Instead of mashing the analog stick for rolling, what a new player would need to learn is to hold the C-stick in the desired direction.

just some random ideas
(02-16-2015, 05:27 AM)

Originally Posted by Calvero

Wanna get into tournament play for Smash 4 in SoCal, but have no clue...

I'm looking for Smash 4 tournaments in Austin Texas. I'm not going back to Melee ever.
(02-16-2015, 05:28 AM)
Shimesaba's Avatar
From Mew2King's Brawl Hate thread, linked above:

Spade59, you were so right.
(02-16-2015, 05:30 AM)
Rizific's Avatar
Awesome OP, very well done!
(02-16-2015, 05:36 AM)
biosnake20's Avatar
I don't even play smash but this OP is godlike. Good shit Anth0ny
(02-16-2015, 05:37 AM)
Hero's Avatar
As much as I hate how Melee is in the competitive scene tournament games still fascinate me. Great OP too! Well done!
(02-16-2015, 05:38 AM)
Shimesaba's Avatar

Originally Posted by Hero

As much as I hate how Melee is in the competitive scene tournament games still fascinate me. Great OP too! Well done!

What do you hate?

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