by Caspar “Mobiusman”  van der Sman (Twitter: @moby_osman)

At the end of my last article I said that the sheer volume of upcoming tournaments was hugely exciting, both as an analyst and as a spectator. Sure enough, June has been one of the busiest months on record, with 3 true majors (Smash’n’Splash, Low Tier City, CEO), one enormous regional (Emerald City), and two “minor majors” (Apex, Dreamhack Summer). Armada’s time off and a string of last-minute cancellations from CEO denied a lot of people the big-name head-to-heads they wanted to see, but as a result there have been a lot more emerging storylines between other top players. And, let’s face it, with Evo just around the corner, the Gods have a good reason to keep their tricks strictly under wraps.

For an explanation of the methodology used to generate these scores, please check the link above – I explained as best I could last month about Glicko and why I think it is suitable for Melee. There has been a lot of discussion recently about how ranking systems relate to esports in general, fueled by a lack of “international rankings” apparently being a factor in Leffen’s visa rejection. I think some people are concerned about using any objective system – Glicko or otherwise – for the purpose of seeding large tournaments, or even determining which players to float through a bracket. I would like to say that I think all tournaments should be seeded based on the TO’s discretion, and my intention in publishing these stats is not to influence anybody else’s ranking decisions. I am publishing them because I think they’re interesting, and they generate discussion about current trends in the game.

Rank (Previous) Player Score Deviation
1 (2) Hungrybox (Jigglypuff) 2380 46
2 (1) Armada (Peach, Fox) 2370 58
3 (4) Mango (Fox, Falco, Marth) 2303 44
4 (3) Leffen (Fox) 2292 65
5 — Mew2King (Sheik, Marth, Fox) 2188 49
6 — Plup (Sheik, Samus) 2151 53
7 — Westballz (Falco, Fox) 2112 48
8 (9) Shroomed (Sheik) 2089 52
9 (8) Axe (Pikachu, Falco) 2080 48
10 (18) SFAT (Fox) 2076 46
11 (10) Lucky (Fox) 2057 51
12 — PPMD (Falco, Marth) 2053 82
13 (15) Druggedfox (Fox, Sheik) 2038 63
14 (20) Wizzrobe (C. Falcon) 2034 48
15 (13) Ice (Fox) 2033.3 63
16 (22) Swedish Delight (Sheik) 2032.9 57
17 (11) Colbol (Fox, Marth) 2026 62
18 (17) Silent Wolf (Fox) 2019 61
19 (16) Duck (Samus) 2009 51
20 (28) ChuDat (Ice Climbers) 2006 77
21 (19) MacD (Peach) 1996 55
22 (21) S2J (C. Falcon) 1994 51
23 (14) Wobbles (Ice Climbers) 1991 62
24 (23) Nintendude (Ice Climbers) 1975 58
25 (24) PewPewU (Marth) 1963 64
26 — n0ne (C. Falcon, Ganondorf) 1956 61
27 (25) Professor Pro (Fox) 1949 72
28 (33) Laudandus (Sheik) 1939 65
29 (30) HugS (Samus) 1925 57
30 (31) Bladewise (Peach) 1921 58

The biggest success story this month is SFAT, who leapfrogs everyone else in the middle of the list to join Shroomed and Axe in the “near-demigod” region of the top 10. I think most people would have considered SFAT undervalued by the previous list, after a season lacking in big wins, but that trend was very much reversed in June with two wins each over Shroomed and Silent Wolf, and one over Plup at CEO. At Smash’n’Splash SFAT looked on the brink of defeating Hungrybox, but after failing to clutch that victory his subsequent run-ins with higher-ranked players have not been particularly close (0-3 against Hbox and 0-3, 1-3 against M2K). SFAT has not played any of the other gods very recently, although his matches with Leffen at Battle of BC were fairly close, so it is within the realms of possibility that he could give Mango or Armada a run for their money next time they meet, and I wouldn’t bet against him vs any non-God going into July.

Swedish Delight and Wizzrobe are probably the two fastest-improving players of 2016, and both have looked extremely consistent over the last month. Swedish’s run at Smash’n’Splash – double eliminating M2K and beating Westballz – is certainly the most impressive we’ve seen from a lower-seeded player since Wobbles at Battle of the Five Gods. After M2K 3-0’d Plup at Smash Summit 2, it looked like his mastery of the ditto was as secure as ever, but Swedish changed all that. The fact that M2K opted (successfully) to use his Fox on Stadium as a counterpick against Swedish rather than play another game of the ditto speaks volumes about the place we have arrived at, both in terms of Sheik’s metagame as a character and the metagame between these players. Wizzrobe meanwhile extended his winning record over Lucky to 3-0 this year. While S2J and n0ne are not far behind, I think on results Wizzy is currently the clear frontrunner this year for the title of best Falcon. It’s worth noting that Laudandus and dizzkidboogie, who Wizzy defeated at CEO, each have recent wins over both S2J and n0ne. However, with the exception of Lucky, Wizzy’s record against the top of the leaderboard is pretty poor. A 2-3 loss to M2K at Smash’n’Splash was the closest he has come yet to causing a real upset. It’s possible another breakthrough is needed before 20GX is capable of taking down the Gods, but if anyone is going to do it, Wizzy is the one to watch.

The other winner this month, of course, was Chu. Some people may be reluctant to talk about it, but it’s hard to argue that any character has had a better 2016 than Ice Climbers. Nintendude at Genesis, Wobbles at Five Gods, Infinite Numbers at Pound, dizz at Fight Pitt, ARMY at Mayhem – the list gets longer and longer, with dizz, Chu and Nintendude all making top 16 at CEO (dizz was #31 on this month’s list). While I would not personally describe wobbling as a problem, it is undeniably at this point a major influence on the metagame. Anyway, apart from just how convincing his 3-0 win over Druggedfox was, I don’t think any of Chu’s top 8 run at CEO was particularly surprising. He has been an underrated player for a longer time, somehow remaining under the radar despite getting top 8 at Evo last year and beating Axe as recently as Pound. I would not describe him as a safe pick for a deep run at this year’s Evo, as Icies remain a high-variance character, but he is better-positioned to cause an upset than most.

A brief roundup of the other results from CEO: PewPewU finished at a respectable (and idiosyncratic) 9th place, but CEO’s slightly wonky bracket meant that the highest-ranked players he actually beat were MikeHaze and Nightmare before losing to Hbox and Axe, so overall the tournament wasn’t worth many points for him. I talked at some length last month about Colbol’s consistency in 2016, and I appear to have jinxed him: CEO was easily his worst outing this year, with losses to The Moon and Kalamzhu. And finally, despite a somewhat shaky start to the year, Shroomed performed solidly this month, with convincing wins over HugS, Axe, and the newly minted Sheik ditto master Swedish. We even got a good outing from the rarely seen red Marth, winning a close set against Chu. Add this to a win over Westballz at Smash’n’Splash and Shroomed remains a top candidate to place just below the Gods at any given event.

The worst slide this month came from the most unpredicatable man in Smash, Wobbles. Traditionally, Texan tournaments have brought out the fiercest competition from Wobbles – notably, at LTC3 he double-eliminated M2K to win the tournament from winners’ side. But this time around the killer instinct seemed to be missing, and despite a win over Wizzrobe he went on to be eliminated by teammate ESAM. CEO also was disappointing, with a very early loss to A Rookie. Evo is of course a tournament with more personal significance for Wobbles than most, but it is anyone’s guess whether it is the Wobbles of 2013 or the Wobbles of 2015 that we will see on the big stage.

I almost forgot to mention – Hungrybox is now #1. While I know that my word for it means nothing compared to an Evo trophy, this is still a milestone from my point of view, as it is the first time since I started collating results that anyone but Armada has been even remotely considered for the top spot. Hungrybox has been by far the most active of the Gods since GOML, keeping a busy schedule with Smash’n’Splash, LTC and CEO, and not losing a set between any of them. By comparison, Armada – following a disappointing 5th place finish at GOML – has not competed in the last month, not even on his home turf at Dreamhack Summer. The lack of recent data points between Hbox, Armada and Leffen makes it difficult to make any predictions going into Evo, but as it stands, Hbox is the man that everyone should be gunning for. SFAT, Lucky, and PewPewU have all taken him to game 5 this month, but Hbox’s superhuman resolve under pressure has so far failed to crack.

It looks like there will only be two large tournaments in July, but it is still the most important month on most people’s Smash calendar. WTFox will be a great opportunity to gauge the state of play leading up to Evo, marking Armada’s return to the US, as well as giving us the data on Mango and Westballz that we were denied at CEO. Other top players in attendance include SFAT and Wizzrobe, who have another chance to cause a major upset; Colbol, who will be looking to redeem himself after CEO; and Druggedfox, who, it is worth noting, recently took his first major names as Fox with wins over Lucky and Swedish. Evo is always a magical time for Smash viewers, and this year – already confirmed to be the first ever Melee tournament with over 2000 entrants – could be the most unpredictable yet.