SSBM 2020 Q1 Rank: 20-16 - Upcomer
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Welcome to the SSBM 2020 Q1 Rank, hosted by Daily Esports! With the coronavirus pandemic bringing esports competition to a halt, this ranking recognizes those who performed well in early 2020. This series will detail the results of the current top 25 Super Smash Bros. Melee players in the world.

Today’s article includes five long-time veterans of the Super Smash Bros. Melee community. Naturally, some of their placements differ a good deal from the 2019 rankings. Even so, none of these players are strangers to ranking in the top 20 in the world.

#20 – aMSa

Though Masaya “aMSa” Chikamoto has fallen from his No. 7 ranking on the 2019 MPGR, he still boasted respectable results. The Japanese Yoshi aficionado started 2020 with an impressive 9th place finish at Genesis 7. Along the way, aMSa defeated Darrell, Krudo, Ice, and Mew2King. His losses, while hardly concerning on paper, were worse than fans might have expected from aMSa given his incredible 2019. He dropped sets to Mang0 and n0ne, both of whom he was undefeated against last year.

Following Genesis, aMSa had an altogether mediocre Melee showing at Smash Summit 9. While he earned predictable victories over Shroomed, Magi, bobby big ballz, and Pricent, he lost every set to players in the same tier as him. Consequently, aMSa racked up losses against Hungrybox, Mang0, Axe, and Fiction with no exceptional wins to show for it. To close out his season, aMSa won Battlegateway #30 in Japan over Kobobi.

With a 1-6 record against the 2019 MPGR top 15, it’s hard to place aMSa in the top 10 where he previously stood. However, aMSa had no losses outside of the top 15, a distinction even many top 10 players couldn’t claim. Despite lacking myriad good wins, aMSa’s consistency and his win over Mew2King helped secure his spot in the top 20.

#19 – SFAT

Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni had quiet but solid performances this year, despite lacking the big wins Melee fans might have expected. He placed 17th at Genesis, beating Tai, billybopeep, and Panda while losing to Ginger and Hax. At Saving Mr. Lombardi 2, SFAT finished in 9th place. Though he dropped sets to MikeHaze, Ginger, and Trif, he also defeated Captain Faceroll, Professor Pro, KoDoRiN, and Nut.

SFAT’s local performances helped to round out his 2020 résumé in a positive way. He placed in the top 4 of every SoCal local he attended this year. In the process, SFAT earned wins over the likes of Lucky, Ginger, Professor Pro, KoDoRiN, null, and Nut. All the while, he avoided any serious upset losses. However, with no sets against the 2019 MPGR top 15, SFAT lacked the high-quality wins necessary to finish any higher on the SSBM 2020 Q1 Rank.

#18 – Ginger

Avery “Ginger” Wilson maintained impressive results while being one of the most active Melee players in early 2020. To kick off the 2020 season, the Michigan native spent some time competing in California. He defeated Kalvar and SFAT en route to 17th place at Genesis 7, while losing sets to Shroomed and n0ne. Throughout the next week, Ginger won sets over null, Ice, KoDoRiN, SFAT, and Fiction at local tournaments.

Ginger closed out his time in California by placing 5th at Saving Mr. Lombardi 2. At this event, he notably beat SFAT again, giving him a 3-2 set record against SFAT for the season. Later in February, Ginger headed over to Illinois to compete. While he lost the Smashelor EP4 local to FatGoku, he placed 1st at Hold That L #5 the next day. In the process, he beat Prince Abu and double-eliminated Magi.

Ginger concluded his season with a pair of locals back in Michigan, both of which he won. While he dropped a set to Heartstrings along the way, he also picked up two wins over KJH. Though his win list is not particularly long, Ginger has proven his ability to consistently challenge others in the top 20.

#17 – Lucky

Joey “Lucky” Aldama’s season was marked by very high highs and very low lows. This set him apart from the first three players in this edition of the SSBM 2020 Q1 Rank, all of whom were much more consistent. Genesis 7 was a definite low for Lucky, as he lost to Ice and Darrell for a shocking 65th place.

However, Lucky returned stronger at Saving Mr. Lombardi 2, placing 7th in a run that highlighted his unpredictability. He scored flawless 3-0 victories over Fiction and Spark and narrowly defeated MikeHaze, Bimbo, and Blassy. Meanwhile, his only losses were to 2019 MPGR top 15 players… and null. Lucky lost to Westballz and deft to place 9th at his only other regional, DreamHack Anaheim 2020.

Despite some shaky showings at majors and regionals, Lucky’s local performances proved much more solid. He consistently placed in the top 3 of SoCal’s stacked local tournaments. Along the way, Lucky won sets over S2J, Captain Faceroll, Westballz, KoDoRiN, null, Nut, and Squid. Lucky’s incredible wins in-region have carried him into the top 20, even with his bad losses.

#16 – Westballz

Volatility has long been the name of the game for Weston “Westballz” Dennis, and early 2020 was no exception. Westballz boasted a list of wins rivaling that of SSBM 2020 Q1 Rank top 10 players. He also had a handful of losses to players not even in contention for the top 100. Westballz started his roller coaster of a season with a respectable 13th place finish at Genesis 7. There, he defeated Amida, Ryobeat, and SluG, while dropping sets to Fiction and Hax.

A few days later, Westballz put up perhaps his best performance of the year at Melee @ Verdugo West #95. He claimed 1st place at this local by defeating Fiction, SFAT, and Ginger. As for regional results, Westballz placed 13th at Saving Mr. Lombardi 2, taking a set off of Ginger while losing to S2J, MikeHaze, Ice, and Prince Abu. He did better at DreamHack Anaheim, defeating Schythed, Lucky, Tai, and ARMY to place 3rd.

Westballz’ results at local tournaments were a mixed bag of atrocious and fantastic. He dropped multiple sets MegaXmas, null, and KoDoRiN, with additional losses to Epic Murloc and Squid. Other concerning stats include his 5-6 record against Nut and his 1-7 record against Fiction. On the flip side, Westballz had winning records against Professor Pro (1-0), SFAT (3-0), Lucky (3-1), and Captain Faceroll (2-1). Even with his inconsistency against lower-ranked players, Westballz proved himself a threat against several highly-ranked players in SoCal.

Make sure to check back tomorrow, as the rankings resume with the SSBM 2020 Q1 Rank: 15-11.

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.