Melee in 2011: Year in Review

Juggleguy

Smash Grimer
Premium
Joined
Aug 16, 2005
Messages
9,353
Location
Ann Arbor, MI
#1
Melee in 2011: Year in Review
The fourth annual Smash tournament industry report

Previous Editions
[2007]
[2008] (none)
[2009]
[2010]

Overview of 2011

It was another memorable year for the Melee community, which again produced a collection of intriguing storylines even in the game’s remarkable 10th year of existence. There were impressive performances, from the resurgence of Mango to the North American first-place breakthrough of Armada. There was a collective upgrade in tournament standards, including a rising trend in professional-style streaming and a never-before-done grassroots Apex qualifier series. Aside from the positive moments, there was controversy. The payout situation at Pound V and the prize pot near-disaster at Genesis 2 rank as some of the darkest moments in Melee tournament history, but they also shed light on some business realities of the community and brought key people closer together in times of adversity. 2011 showed what the Melee community is capable of, both the good and the bad.

Players wasted no time kicking off the year with strong attendance. Hosted in Sweden by Lolex, B.E.A.S.T brought in 100 singles entrants on the first weekend of January. New blood Ice (Germany) and Jeapie (Netherlands) turned in strong performances, but could not prevent a Grand Finals clash between Armada and Amsah, a common sight for the European Melee community. Back in the states, Azn Lep and Hyuga dialed up a national of their own just two weeks later; Winter Game Fest VI became the second tournament of the year to break 100 entrants. Mango took advantage of the spotlight by returning to national relevance after an uncharacteristic string of mediocre placings in the second half of 2010. But he was stopped by Dr. PeePee, who muscled out a victory in the highly anticipated Grand Finals matchup.


Ice (mid left) and Hack (mid right) fighting for the prize trophies (left) at B.E.A.S.T

With February came the fifth and final installment of the legendary national Melee series, *Pound V* hosted by Plank and Team Arlington. All strong performances aside, the highlight of the tournament had to be a shocking turn of events that unfolded before the Melee community like a cinematic plot twist. Deep into winners bracket, Armada unveiled his Young Link and stunned Hungrybox with a gutsy 2-0 victory, demonstrating complete mastery of the relatively unexplored matchup. When asked later, Armada explained that the character move was “kept a secret” in the weeks leading up to the event; his previous meeting with Hungrybox ended with a lopsided defeat at Apex 2010, prompting him to secretly train vs Jigglypuff using Young Link. Despite his dedicated efforts, Armada eventually fell in Grand Finals to Dr. PeePee, 3-2 and 3-1, in a two-set thriller reminiscent of his clash vs Mango at the original Genesis.


Prog and Wife on the commentary (right) for an intercontinental clash between Hax and Amsah (left) at *Pound V*

After giant events held by both power coasts and Europe, the Midwest wanted to get in on the party. BunBun and AOB answered the call, hosting SMYM12 in Champaign, IL on the first weekend of March. The 12th installment of the classic Midwest series featured the comeback of Darkrain, who had moved to Texas in late 2009. He dominated in his return by taking the tournament in surprisingly comfortable fashion. Just as surprising was the legendary Falcon’s opponent in Grand Finals; other top players fell one by one as Cosmo rode his crafty Zelda through a tough losers bracket, all the way to a strong 2nd place finish.

The year was off to a sizzling start, but almost nobody could have foreseen the grim news that would soon hit the community like a ton of bricks. On March 7th, 2011, it was revealed that there would be no prize money given out from Pound V by its main tournament organizer, Plank. The scenario was the result of a venue contract gone horribly wrong; the extravagant hotel in which the tournament took place was rented out on a sliding scale, the cost of the venue decreasing with each room booked by a Smash attendee. When not enough rooms were booked, players’ entry fees were dug into in order to cover the higher-than-anticipated venue cost.

For tournament organizers everywhere, it was a huge wake-up call; how careful and thorough must a financial evaluation be during all stages of planning for national events? For top players, it was a gut check; how exactly do you react to such an unprecedented blunder that cost dozens of people a well-earned payday? Angry outcries and even threatened lawsuits by several Brawl players ensued before the storm finally settled. Top placing players like Armada and Dr. PeePee publicly stated their forgiveness for Plank, and the community eventually accepted the grave reality of the situation. If Pound V was a test of the Melee community’s resolve, then most would agree today that it passed with flying colors.


Armada electrified the livestream (left) on his way to meeting Dr. PeePee in Grand Finals (right), but sadly, neither received prize money from *Pound V*

Players and tournament organizers everywhere just wanted to move on, and understandably so. Zenith, a throwback Melee super regional hosted by Alex Strife and crismas, provided the fresh, new start that the East Coast needed. The tourney seemed like Apex 2010 all over again; Axe stole the show and became the first player in recent memory to defeat Mew2King using a less-than-high-tier character (Pikachu), and added a 1st place finish in doubles with Kage on top of that. But he was just one of 83 entrants at the end of the day that couldn’t figure out Hungrybox, who crushed the competition and claimed a convincing singles victory.

Summer arrived, and only one thing was on players’ minds: Genesis II, the sequel to what is widely acknowledged as Melee’s official comeback tourney, Genesis. Hosted by DBR, 228 entrants gathered in Antioch, CA to participate in an international for the ages; turnout included the American national debuts of Kou (Japan) as well as Fuzzyness (UK) and Leffen (Sweden), who both carried strong performances into bracket. Taj quickly grabbed the headlines with an impressive defeat of Dr. PeePee in pools, then backed it up with another monumental upset, stunning Mango in a narrow five-game victory in Winners Semis.

Eventually, the usual suspect took over. Armada outlasted Hungrybox in another Young Link vs Jigglypuff marathon, then dispatched of Taj to secure a spot in Grand Finals. There, he clashed with Mango in their first in-tournament rematch since the original Genesis, needing five games before finally putting away the home region favorite. With this, Armada finally claimed his first national triumph on American soil after a long, well-documented string of disappointing close calls: he had finished a heartbreaking 2nd, 4th, 2nd, and 2nd at previous nationals Genesis, *Pound 4*, Apex 2010, and *Pound V* respectively.


The 228-person crowd (left) watches Armada wrap up a win vs Mango in Grand Finals (right) at Genesis 2


Lucien (left-left) vs Mew2King (left-right) in the crew battle at Genesis 2, hosted by Hyuga and DBR (right)

BEAST II was Europe’s answer to Genesis II. After success and hype from the original BEAST, Lolex and Aniolas brought a 2nd successful installment of the series to Sweden in mid-August. Without Amsah in attendance, the stage was set for another top player to step up and challenge Armada’s seemingly-eternal command of the continent. Fuzzyness gave him a run for his money by taking it to five games in an intense winners bracket set, and Ice stormed past Leffen and Zgetto to reach Grand Finals, but Armada overcame both, taking 1st place and continuing his year of international dominance.


Lolex monitoring AJP's livestream setup (left) as it overlooks the crowd (right) at B.E.A.S.T II

With Armada’s victory at Genesis II shifting much of the focus to Europe, many wondered if the year still had any big tournaments left in it back in the states. Alex Strife and the Apex staff made sure that answer was a resounding yes. The Road to Apex qualifier series, designed to promote Apex 2012 and give players seeding points by region, produced several notable events around the world. Among them were the previously-mentioned BEAST II in Sweden, a Ticket to Apex pseudo-revival tourney in Mexico won by Javi, and Smash Til’ You Crash 2 held in Quebec. By October, the Road to Apex series was off and running, and the last two of its scheduled events were set to reap the benefits of that momentum.

Road to Apex: The Big House featured one of the largest and most unique collections of Melee players ever seen at a Midwest tourney. 115 entrants arrived in Ann Arbor, MI looking to make a statement against West Coast powerhouses S2J, Lovage, and SFAT, who all flew in for the event. Canada had arguably the most success top-to-bottom, with five players landing in the top twelve led by KirbyKaze’s 4th place finish. Major storylines were produced from singles bracket; Duck became a hometown hero by defeating SFAT in a never-before-seen Michigan vs NorCal matchup, and new Midwest resident VaNz clawed his way to 3rd place, doing his best Armada-vs-Hungrybox impersonation on the way. However, the last laugh belonged to Lovage and S2J; the duo from SoCal claimed the top two placings of both doubles and singles after several tense, competitive sets worthy of a top-ten highlight reel.


A pair of old school vs new school showdowns: Tink (left-left) vs S2J (left-right), and Lovage (right-left) vs Duck (right-right) at Road to Apex: The Big House

Revival of Melee 4 was the last national hurrah of 2011, becoming the final tournament of the year to break 100 entrants. For yet another installment, RoM maintained its reputation as the tournament of upsets. SilentSwag made headlines by collecting multiple surprise victories on his way to 9th place, and DJ Nintendo mowed down a disappointed Overtriforce, who flew in from Spain for the event. And it was Kage who once again brought his “A” game to RoM, giving all Ganon players a lesson in the Falcon matchup with a triumph over Hax in winners bracket. When all was said and done, the crowd got the Grand Finals showdown it had waited for, Mango vs Dr. PeePee. The so-called “Battle for America” was a far cry from the previous January meeting between the two Melee superpowers; this time Mango prevailed in a routine two-set sweep.


Two of the best game faces in the business: Grand Finals (right) between Mango and Dr. PeePee at Revival of Melee 4


25 Noteworthy Tournaments from 2011

BEAST I (100 entrants)
1/8/11 - 1/9/11
1: Armada
2: Amsah
3: Ice
4: Pasi
5: Zgetto
5: Hack
7: Calle W
7: Pamaro

Smashing Grounds IV (44 entrants)
1/15/11
1: Kels
2: Matt
3: Dart
4: Tink
5: Deku
5: ORLY
7: Vro
7: Duck

Mass Madness: Ranking Battle (50 entrants)
1/15/11
1: KoreanDJ
2: th0rn
3: Elen
4: Yedi
5: KevinM
5: Brookman
7: Kyu Puff
7: Zoso

NOOB3 (45 entrants)
1/15/11
1: Hungrybox
2: Colbol
3: DaShizWiz
4: Linguini
5: Plup
5: Nicaboy
7: harriettheguy
7: Toobz

G6 Monthlies: Like a G6 (60 entrants)
1/15/11
1: Dr. PeePee
2: Tope
3: Everlasting Yayuhz
4: LoZR
5: JesiahTEG
5: Twitch
7: XIF
7: Stingers

Winter Game Fest VI (105 entrants)
1/22/11
1: Dr. PeePee
2: Mango
3: Fly Amanita
4: Zhu
5: HugS
5: Mew2King
7: Shroomed
7: DEHF
9: EddyMexico
9: Replicate
9: Lucky
9: Lovage

*Pound V* (243 entrants)
2/18/11 - 2/20/11
1: Dr. PeePee
2: Armada
3: Hungrybox
4: Axe
5: Mew2King
5: Hax
7: Cactuar
7: VaNz
9: Cyrain
9: Shroomed
9: Amsah
9: Remen

Show Me Your Moves 12 (103 entrants)
3/5/11
1: Darkrain
2: Cosmo
3: AnDaLe
4: darkatma
5: Aarosmashguy
5: Matt R
7: Duck
7: Rat
9: Dart
9: Tom R
9: Deku
9: dmac

Good **** Stratford (64 entrants)
3/19/11
1: Kels
2: Velynn
3: Teczero
4: Dart
5: Shady
6: Taki
7: Tink
7: Laudandus

Is That Tournament? (43 entrants)
3/19/11
1) Shroomed
2) Lord
3) Lunin
4) SFAT
5) L
5) Phil
7) Scar
7) Hydro Kirby

G6 Monthlies 2 (58 entrants)
3/19/11
1: Mew2King (split)
2: Dr. PeePee (split)
3: Merc
4: Everlasting Yayuhz
5: Dop
5: LoZR
7: ?
7: ?

Tampora 2 (65 entrants)
4/29/11 - 5/1/11
1: Armada
2: leffen
3: IVP
4: Pepito
5: Randomness
5: Pepi
7: Nipi
7: Jadde

Zenith (83 entrants)
5/28/11 - 5/29/11
1: Hungrybox
2: Mew2King
3: Axe
4: Jman
5: Chillin
5: Kage
7: Tope
7: ChuDat

/HOPE 3 (39 entrants)
7/2/11
1: Hungrybox
2: Vudujin
3: Redd
4: Duck
5: VaNz
5: Winston
7: DoH
7: Juggleguy

DBR Presents: Genesis 2 (228 entrants)
7/15/11 - 7/17/11
1: Armada
2: Mango
3: Taj
4: Hungrybox
5: Mew2King
6: Shroomed
7: Dr. Peepee
8: S2J
9: SFAT
9: MacD
9: Hax
9: Wobbles

No Johns (54 entrants)
8/6/11
1: Zhu
2: Mew2King
3: VaNz
4: Hax
5: Teczero
5: Eggm
7: Cactuar
7: Jman

MIST (63 entrants)
8/6/11
1: Kels
2: Kage
3: Dart
4: Deku
5: Tink
5: ihavespaceballs
7: ORLY
7: Trail

Road to Apex: BEAST II (112 entrants)
8/11/11 - 8/14/11
1: Armada
2: Ice
3: Zgetto
4: leffen
5: Hack
5: Aldwyn
7: Faab
7: IVP
9: Pepito
9: Tekk
9: Pamaro
9: Calle W

Road to Apex: Smash Til You Crash 2 (60 entrants)
8/20/11
1: Mew2King
2: Unknown522
3: KirbyKaze
4: Bam
5: Vwins
5: Kage
7: Weon-X
7: Ministry

Mass Madness 27 (60 entrants)
9/10/11
1: KoreanDJ
2: th0rn
3: Darc
4: Dazwa
5: MacD
5: Spawn
7: Banks
7: Zoso

Mexico: Ticket to Apex (17 entrants)
9/17/11
1: Javi
2: Tuga
3: Yu
4: Valdo
5: Tutty
5: Vena
7: Aza
7: Johnny

Road to Apex: The Big House (115 entrants)
10/22/11
1: Lovage
2: S2J
3: VaNz
4: KirbyKaze
5: Unknown522
5: Duck
7: RaynEX
7: Weon-X
9: Tink
9: Trail
9: Dart
9: Idea

GameClucks Washington (39 entrants)
11/5/11
1: Silent Wolf
2: Eggz
3: Bladewise
4: C!Z
5: DJ Combo
5: Toph
7: iceman
7: ThePrime

Sudden Death IV (29 entrants)
11/5/11
1: Mew2King
2: Mango
3: Niko
4: StricNYN3
5: Jman
5: Cactuar
7: Hax
7: Eggm

Road to Apex: Revival of Melee 4 (110 entrants)
11/19/11 - 11/20/11
1: Mango
2: Dr. PeePee
3: Mew2King
4: Jman
5: Hax
5: Kage
7: Azen
7: Teczero
9: DoH
9: Cactuar
9: Darrell
9: SilentSwag

Road to Apex: Tipped Off 7 (54 entrants)
12/3/11 - 12/4/11
1: Dr. PeePee
2: XIF
3: Nite
4: -Chad-
5: Druggedfox
5: Linguini
7: Flaminroy
7: Articanus


Growth

2004's largest tournament: TG6
100 people: 2 (TG6, GO)
200 people: 0

2005's largest tournament: FC3
100 people: 6 (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, FC6, OC2, SMYM 6, Gauntlet)
200 People: 2 (MLG New York Playoffs, FC6)

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

2008's largest tournament: ESA 2
100 people: 4 (Pound 3, UCLA V, ESA 2, 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 V
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


Closing Thoughts

It was another banner year for the Melee community, which celebrated its 10th birthday in grand fashion by producing eight tournaments of 100-entrants or more, an increase from the previous year. What should we look forward to in 2012? The answer right now has to be Apex 2012. A whopping 320 Melee entrants have registered for the upcoming mega-international hosted by Alex Strife and crismas, climbing the charts to become the second-largest tournament in Melee history. With each installment of the series getting bigger and better since its inception in 2009, international hype has culminated in confirmed attendance from four different continents, including the American national debuts for Ice (Germany), Hack (Sweden), and Javi (Mexico). Among the other notable international players: the legendary Captain Jack (Japan), Kou (Japan), Leffen (Sweden), and of course Amsah (Netherlands) and Armada (Sweden). When considering the number of registered Brawl players from overseas as well, Apex 2012 will perhaps go down as the most international Smash tournament of all-time.

A big impact is also being made elsewhere by some key community figures. While the Melee community is primarily grassroots at this stage in the game’s life, professional documentations of the scene are always welcome. Samox (EastPointPictures) has done just that with “The Smash Brothers”, blazing a trail for what looks to be an intriguing chronicle of the history of competitive Melee. The series is due for release late next year. All in all, there is plenty to look forward to in 2012, and it’s becoming more and more likely that the competitive scene will still be in great shape as Melee approaches its teenage years.



An all-Luigi setup (from left to right): Nicknyte, Winston, and Vist at *Pound V*


Several Melee players also entered the Project: M tournament at *Pound V*


KoreanDJ teaches Smash students everywhere to respect their elders


The trophy table at Genesis 2


Armada (left) finally claimed his first American national victory at Genesis 2.


Genesis 2 crew battle: Mango (left) vs Dart (right)


(B.E.A.S.T II in Gothenburg, Sweden)


(from left to right) RaynEX, Unknown522, S2J, and Lovage in teams Grand Finals at The Big House


A University of Michigan themed controller used by Roller, in preparation for The Big House


Kage (right) and Chillin (left) duking it out at Revival of Melee 4

Credits to:
Hadster (photos, tourney info)
t3h Icy (tourney info)
Samox (photos)
EastPointPictures (photos)
GetYourTournament (photos)
Strong Bad (photos)
GermsLady (photos)
Papero (photos)
Ryuker (photos)
MonkUnit (photos)
ru5514n (corrections)
baka4moé (corrections)
ERayz (corrections)

Thanks for reading, everyone. Please reply with thoughts, questions, and/or corrections, I'd like to hear them!

LONG LIVE MELEE :denzel:
 

Merkuri

Smash Lord
Joined
Apr 1, 2010
Messages
1,861
#6
Awesome job. I would have liked you to mention how every 100+ tourney in the U.S. this year, had a less than high tier character in the top 5, but oh well :/
 

Battlecow

Play to Win
Joined
May 19, 2009
Messages
8,746
Location
Chicago
#18
Very well-written, really a class job.

I do think, however, that it would have been best to include some sort of nod to the controversy surrounding mango's loss to PP in WGF and PP's poor performance at G2, something you could easily have done without compromising your neutrality. I also think that you were a bit quick to present the Pound V thing as totally patched up and to present plank's version of events as totally accurate; at the very least, a sentence like "some players, like Hax, were not so quick to forgive, claiming that..." would have provided a more complete and nuanced view of the situation to a reader unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the community.
 

RJ<3

Smash Journeyman
Joined
Sep 5, 2011
Messages
268
3DS FC
4554-1137-4668
NNID
peachyandfabrj
#21
This was quite a 10th year for Melee. It was beyond wonderful! The Melee community has gotten even better. <3
 

baka4moé

Smash Champion
Joined
Oct 1, 2008
Messages
2,053
Location
Richmond, TX
#28
good ****

just wanted to point out for clarity's sake, that g2 crew battle pic about m2k and silent wolf is actually m2k and lucien.
 

Metal Reeper

Smash Champion
Joined
Oct 20, 2006
Messages
2,285
Location
Abington PA
#34
Juggleguy ILY these are always my favorite threads. I havent even read this yet and I know it's going to give me those once a year goosebumps you give me <3
 
Top