Four takeaways from Galint Melee Open: Spring Edition
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The Galint Gaming team returned this weekend with their second major tournament of 2021, Galint Melee Open: Spring Edition. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the second Super Smash Bros. Melee major this month.

S2J positions himself just outside the highest echelon of play

Johnny “S2J” Kim started 2021 on a strong note. He won 10 online weeklies and only occasionally dropped sets to lower ranking players. Even so, S2J’s results exploded this month with even better peaks as he began to enter larger national tournaments. He earned the No. 1 seed at Galint Melee Open: Spring Edition thanks to his second place finish at Four Loko Fight Night, which included a coveted win over Zain Naghmi. 

S2J established early on that his Four Loko Fight Night performance was no fluke. In winners quarters, he drew a difficult opponent in Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma. Against Hungrybox, S2J had a lifetime record of 0-19. However, S2J dominated Hungrybox, beating him 3-0 with a two-stock or three-stock every game. 

From there, S2J ran a gauntlet of high-level Fox players. He defeated Cody “iBDW” Schwab 3-1 and Kurtis “moky” Pratt 3-2. While S2J held a large lead in game five against moky, moky earned a zero-to-death and seemed poised to make the comeback. But, S2J was able to finish his food, punishing moky’s recovery with a strong forward-air to end the game and the set.

Finally, S2J rematched iBDW in grand finals of Galint Melee Open: Spring Edition. Just like their winners semis set, S2J secured a convincing 3-1 victory. Notably, S2J only dropped four games across the course of the entire tournament, and all of those game losses came in top eight. 

Based on S2J’s recent tournament performances, it seems Zain may be the only player who has good odds of stopping him. Joseph “Mang0” Marquez is also a clear favorite against S2J, but Mang0 has only entered one tournament so far this year; Four Loko Fight Night, where he sandbagged with Captain Falcon because he was ill.

iBDW impresses at his first tournament after a break

Galint Melee Open: Spring Edition was iBDW’s first online tournament in over a month and his first major tournament all year. His second place finish suggests he hasn’t missed a step, but it also shows he still has to learn how to overcome a rapidly improving S2J. 

iBDW cruised into top eight relatively unopposed with 3-1 wins over Arjun “lloD” Malhotra and John “KoDoRiN” Ko. After S2J sent him to the losers bracket, iBDW scored several other impressive wins. In losers quarters, he eliminated Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni, who had just come off of impressive victories against Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby and Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson.

He then swept Avery “Ginger” Wilson 3-0 to earn a spot in losers finals. There, iBDW was able to counter moky’s aggressive Fox style and win the set 3-1, including a three-stock to close out the set. 

Throughout much of the online era, iBDW has been the clear No. 3 in North America, failing to defeat Zain or Mang0 but consistently outperforming everyone else. Although S2J has posed a new threat for iBDW, he stills seems to maintain his status as one of North America’s best. 

Moky’s stock is rising

Unreliable internet plagued moky throughout 2020, resulting in inconsistent tournament performances. Sometimes, he outmatched other top Foxes like Shephard “Fiction” Lima, Colin “Colbol” Green and Miles “Soonsay” Foster. Yet, on another occasion, he lost his round one match against the relatively unknown Henry “Hank” Latshaw.

However, moky’s internet has improved this year, as well as his results. He double-eliminated Ginger to win a stacked Hax’s Nightclub tournament in early January. In addition, moky defeated Jason “Gahtzu” Diehl, Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallet and Jake “Jmook” Arvonio en route to fourth place at Four Loko Fight Night. 

With a third place finish at Galint Melee Open: Spring Edition, it’s clear that moky is still on the rise. His flashy, offensive style earned moky 3-1 wins against Aziz “Hax” Al-Yami and Axe, along with a narrow 3-2 win against Ginger. And, while he failed to beat S2J, he was the only person at the tournament to force S2J to game five.

East Coast cements itself as the best coast

Like many other online tournaments, Galint Melee Open: Spring Edition featured region-locked pools leading into a mixed top 16. Many Super Smash Bros. Melee fans noticed that the East Coast bracket was substantially harder

For example, one East Coast match pitted Hungrybox and n0ne against each other, with both players ranking in the top 15 on the 2019 MPGR. Conversely, the equivalent West Coast match featured Isaac “bobby big ballz” P. and KoDoRiN. Neither player was in the top 50 on the last offline ranking but both have made considerable improvements in the online era.

The East Coast’s superiority showed when the brackets merged in top 16. Of the eight East versus West matches, East Coast players won seven of them. In addition, top eight featured five East Coast players and three West Coast players.

Dylan Tate is an alumnus of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a gaming journalist with a love for Nintendo esports, particularly Super Smash Bros. and Pokémon.