Shaun Lucas
Opinion Editor

Massive triumphs and grave defeats tell the story of the second week of the Slippi Champions League. However, after his second-place finish in Division 1 last week, Zain Naghmi achieved first place after a strong run in defeating Avery “Ginger” Wilson, Cody “iBDW” Schwab, and Edgar “n0ne” Sheleby.

The Division 1 and 2 brackets held today weren’t the only high stakes Melee played this week. On Oct. 16, Schwab competed against Florida’s Juan “HungryBox” Debidema in a VGBootcamp (tournament streaming organization) sponsored $5,000 “best of 11” money match. With previous success against Debiedma, Schwab’s confidence led to a 6-2 victory.

Unfortunately, two days later, Debiedma would be sent to Division 1 relegations by Schwab in round one of the Division 1 bracket (3-1). In relegation, Debidema would have to compete against a top 4 finalist of the Division 2 league to remain in the prime grouping. 

Debidema, 2019’s highest ranked Melee player, competed against Joseph “Azel” Resplandor, recently ranked 100 in the 2018 MPGR top 100. The young Fox/Falco player defeated Debiedma after a grueling five game set, submitting himself in Division 1.

“my heart is elsewhere,” Debiedma tweeted moments after being de-ranked into Division 2. Resplandor also tweeted after the set: “dang, I’m vibin.”

Other missteps in high potential runs came with Wilson once again being sent into Division 2. Last week, Wilson defeated Division 1 invitee Jeffery “Axe” Williamson, meaning Wilson became the first non-Division 1 started to join Division 1. His Division 1 bracket swiftly ended with a 3-0 from Naghmi, with Zain’s dominance against Ginger’s Falco well established in previous encounters. Division 1 relegation then had Wilson lose another decisive 3-0 to Johnny “S2J” Kim. Fortunately for Kim, this means he will be playing in Division 1 next saturday.

Besides Kim and Resplandor, the other new member of Division 1, qualifying through relegation, is Griffin “Captain Faceroll” Williams. The Southern Californian Sheik player defeated Florida’s Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett, after Hallet was sent to Division 1 relegation.  Sheik is a notably difficult character for Captain Falcon, Hallet’s character, to defeat due to the tools Sheik uses to capitalise on Falcon’s poor recovery moves and fast fall speed. This is the second week in a row where Hallet had to compete to remain in Division 1 through relegation, showing shaky performances compared to his offline play.

Sheleby, a Canadian Captain Falcon player, continued his strong play by achieving major career upsets. After defeating Debiedma for the first time in his Melee career last week, Sheleby began his Division 1 bracket by defeating Justin “Plup” McGrath for the first time. Sheleby defeated McGrath (3-2), making their set record 4-1, according to esports record website Liquipedia. Sheleby then defeated Joseph “Mang0” Marquez (3-1), after their two last encounters favored Marquez. Sheleby would unfortunately then lose to Naghmi in Division 1 finals, with Naghmi displaying unnecessary movement and strange combos as a subtle form of showmanship.

Next Sunday’s matchups are listed on Liquipedia: Zain vs. Azel, iBDW vs. Plup, S2J vs. n0ne, and Mango vs. Captain Faceroll. Division 2 players are Wizzrobe, Ginger, Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni, Kevin “PewPewU” Toy, Axe, HungryBox, Zaid “Spark” Ali, and Dawud “Aklo” Rahman.

I’m excited for Division 1, as I feel both Marquez and Naghmi will meet in finals, as they did week 1. The two both haven’t been quite at peak at the same time. Yet, the pressure to be first is likely enough to motivate both to their ridiculously high standard of play. Division 1 bracket week 3 kicks off at 5 p.m. on Oct. 25.