by Cary “Vro” Zhang

The first National Melee Arcadian was held in March 2018. Only players who have never been ranked within the top 100 Melee power rankings were allowed to compete. Many old school names and bright eyed noobs came to Chicago to compete. Here are the top 8 finalists from last year and where they are now.

Morsecode762 is a Samus main from Michigan. Notably seen carrying a 2 liter of Mountain Dew, Morsecode surprised everyone at the National Melee Arcadian placing 7th. He is currently ranked 4th in both Project M and Melee on the Michigan Power Rankings. Since March, Morsecode has had incredible placements at nationals with 33rd at Smash N Splash, 65th at The Big House, and 13th at Low Tier City. He continues to show improvement and will certainly will continue in 2019. He is now ranked 99th on the 2018 MPGR.

Bananas is the number one player from Texas and has been skyrocketing to the top over the past two years. He placed 7th at the National Melee Arcadian, losing to Michael and TheRealThing. Bananas would go on to place 3rd at DreamHack Austin, 5th at The Big House, 9th at GTX, 9th at Smash Summit, and 17th at Don’t Park On The Grass. His incredible run in 2018 initially surprised a lot of people outside of home state of Texas. Bananas is now considered the best Ice Climbers in the world, right above Army, so he won’t be surprising anyone in 2019. He is now ranked 19th on the 2018 MPGR, one of the biggest debuts ever.

A Rookie is the best Mario player in the world and placed 5th at the National Melee Arcadian. His Mario has a long tournament career dating back to Genesis 1 in 2009. Despite his great performances, A Rookie has never been ranked within the top 100 of SSBMRank, mostly due to inactivity. Since March, he placed 17th at Low Tier City, 33rd at EVO, and 25th at DreamHack Atlanta, showing us he’s still got what it takes. A former SoCal resident, A Rookie now lives in Florida.

Reeve is the number one player from Kentucky and placed 5th at the National Melee Arcadian. A strong Marth main, Reeve had a close set with TheRealThing, ending game 5 last stock. Since March, Reeve placed 65th at Smash N Splash and 49th at Super Smash Con. Many know Reeve for his Smash Summit campaign and for being ranked 101st on the 2017 SSBMRank. It’s only a matter of time before Reeve is known for more.

TheRealThing is a Falco player from Ohio. His gameplay switches between aggressive and defensive styles, helping him secure close sets against Bananas and Reeve at the National Melee Arcadian. Since March, TheRealThing has traveled out of region twice placing 9th at Pound Underground and 129th at Shine. He also earned 49th place at The Big House, showcasing a lot of potential for this upcoming year. He is now ranked 91st on the 2018 MPGR.

Fizzle_Boy is an Ohio player that finished 3rd at the National Melee Arcadian. Since March, he hasn’t had an opportunity to travel out of the Midwest and has done his best to improve within region. He placed 97th at The Big House, 3rd at Outfoxx’d, being double eliminated by Kels, and 4th at Midwest Battlefield, being double elinated by Zamu. Fizzle_Boy mains Jigglypuff but has been switching to secondary characters such as Falco, DK, and even Sheik. He says he’s currently working on switching off of Puff.

MrLz, now known as 4est, placed 2nd at the National Melee Arcadian, only losing to Michael. While many know Lz for his Project M dominance, his Melee Marth has fluidity and aggression. Since last March, 4est won his first big regional at GatorLAN, placed 65th at The Big House, and had an incredible performance at DreamHack Atlanta finishing 5th. At only age 17, 4est shows a lot of promise. When asked about Smash Ultimate, he said that he liked it but he would not pursue it competitively.

Michael has been a rising star over the past 3 years, starting on netplay. He won the National Melee Arcadian with 0 games lost in the top 32 bracket. His Jigglypuff has consistency and patience, something he is not afraid of taking advantage of in his infamous Puff vs ICs matchup. Since being a National Arcadian winner, he’s taken 4th at Combo Breaker, defeating S2J, Nintendude, and Drephen. He placed 33rd at Shine and 17th at The Big House. Michael most recently placed 9th at Don’t Park On The Grass, the last major of 2018. Without question, Michael “41 billion” will rest among the best Puffs ever. He is now ranked 41st on the 2018 MPGR.

That’s all 8 of them! Many of them are now top tier threats, with Bananas making the biggest debut into the top 100. It’s only a matter of time before another National Melee Arcadian is announced… who do you think will place top 8 then?