Shaun Lucas
Opinion Editor

The penultimate week of Super Smash Bros. Melee’s Slippi Champions League remains mostly consistent with the league’s competition so far. Zain Naghmi gained his second first place Division 1 bracket, defeating Joseph “Azel” Resplandor, Cody “iBDW” Schwab, and Griffin “Captain Faceroll” Williams. In addition, Edgar “n0ne” Sheleby and Schwab finished in top 4 of Division 1 for the third straight week of competition.

Joseph “Mang0” Marquez, who finished first and third in Division 1 on week 1 and 2 respectively, was eliminated from Division 1 bracket in his first match this week. Marquez lost a close set (3-2) to Williams. The two have only one set prior to their Division 1 meeting at 2019’s “Smash Camp: End of the Summer,” with Marquez’s victorious (3-2) according to liquipedia. In addition, Marquez played weak against Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett, as Hallet barely lost to Marquez (3-2) after Marquez’s previous dominance against Hallet. 

Unfortunately for Marquez, the upset from Williams was poorly timed: this week, Marquez found himself in a Twitter argument with 2015 and 2016’s number 1 ranked Melee player, Sweden’s Adam “Armada” Lindgreen. The two have competed at top level for over a decade, and were disputing on who deserves to be considered Melee’s “Greatest of All Time (G.O.A.T). In addition, Marquez criticized Lindgreen’s statement regarding the game’s stagnation in terms of technical and competitive advancements, primarily due to Lindgreen’s inactivity.

“Yeah but you [Lindgreen] don’t get to not play and say you would be top 5. That’s the whole point of competing,” Marquez tweeted. “I don’t think anyone is denying that Armada could come back and not be amazing again. But to just say it is dumb and pointless and takes away from everyone who’s grinding.”

Marquez continued with his stance during a broadcast this week: “By saying the meta [the general state of a competition] hasn’t changed, you’re just trying to say that you would still be good,” Marquez said, referring to retired Melee players who share Lindgreen’s perspective.

Focusing on Williams, the Southern California Sheik player had an amazing last few weeks. On week 2, Williams qualified for Division 1 after defeating Division 1 invitee Hallet. This week, Williams instantly capitalizes on his qualification by defeating both Marquez and Sheleby. In Division 1 finals, Williams ends his run by pushing Naghmi to his limits, with each of their 4 games being extremely tense and competitive.

Another important Twitter moment came with the announcement of Juan “HungryBox” Debiedma opting out of the final weeks of league brackets. Despite speculations that the self-disqualification came due to disappointing losses, @BTSsmash clarified Debiedma planned a vacation for the weeks of Oct. 25 and Oct. 31. With Debiedma’s Division 2 spot vacant, Saturday’s open bracket winner, Shephard “Fiction” Lima, immediately gained the spot. Unfortunately, Lima was swifty eliminated from the league, losing to Hallet in the Division 2 bracket and then Jason “Gahtzu” Diehl in Division 2 relegation. Diehl will compete in Division 2 in the final week of the league.

Lima wasn’t the only league member to derank after just qualifying: after his unexpected Division 1 qualification last week, Resplandor’s first loss came from Naghmi (3-0), even after Resplandor gained another chance at a third game after server issues. In Division 1 relegation, Resplandor lost to local rival Zaid “Spark” Ali. Ali will then compete in Division 1 next Saturday.

While there were many exciting sets this week, both in Division 1 and Division 2, perhaps the tragedy of this week was the underperformance of fan favorite character, Falco. Marquez’s run was described in grave detail, Avery “Ginger” Wilson once again failed to regain his Division 1 spot, and Jeffery “Axe” Williamson failed to beat Ali after attempting to use his secondhand Falco (3-2). 

Next Sunday’s matchups are listed on Liquipedia: Zain vs. Mang0 (although, according to his Twitter, Marquez may not be able to compete), n0ne vs. Plup, Captain Faceroll vs. S2J, and iBDW vs. Spark.

The easy answer for the grand victor of the final week is Naghmi: two first place finishes and only one set loss is certainly a sign of consistency. In fact, either Naghmi immediately eliminates Marquez, or Marquez doesn’t even play and Naghmi receives a free round. Yet, looking at the bracket, Nagmi has three Sheik players he’d potentially play against: Ali, Williams (Faceroll), and Justin “Plup” McGrath. Sheik is notably a difficult character for Naghmi, as seen in finals of this week. Naghmi will have to continue his consistent play to overcome his mighty competitors this Saturday, Oct. 31.