Here are the most dangerous players in the collegiate Melee community as we've seen so far. Find out who made the list in our first power ranking (in no particular order) of the season!
Moving from the Midwest to the West Coast for college has seemed only to help Chicago native Griffin “Captain Faceroll” Williams and his Sheik climb to the top of the Melee world. Now 45th in the world and fittingly the captain of UC Irvine’s legacy team, he’s officially qualified for regionals, where he’ll be helping his school fight their way through the season.
UCI made it to the national finals of TMG last season, but they fell bittersweetly short of victory. After starting with a four stock deficit versus Gahtzu’s Captain Falcon, Faceroll (Sheik) was left with his team’s last stock against UCF’s final player, Envy the Jigglypuff. With the west coast on his back, Faceroll made a brave stand but ultimately lost after removing two of Envy’s stocks. The spirit of vengeance runs deep within Captain Faceroll now--how far it takes UCI this time remains to be seen, but they’ll be at regionals with a second seed.
Notable quote: “I love CSL because it gets our whole school together. It's really cool to see non-smashers rally around us."
Not long ago, Jay “drunksloth” Dahya was but a lowly “baddie,” sacrificing stocks to Mang0 on stage for charity. Fastforward to 2017 and drunksloth has been nationally ranked top 100 and even beaten Mang0 in tournament. He’s quick to remind you that the sets were off his Falcon, but given the Ice Climbers’ difficulty with that matchup and Mang0’s penchant for busting the Captain out in tournament on occasion, it’s hard to write off the wins.
drunksloth’s team, UCF, is fresh off the heels of a national victory in the 2016-17 TMG season. While he may not be the highest-ranked individual player in the program, he strongly believes his team’s lineup is the cream of the crop and that they have a good shot at taking the crown again. Each member of their team touts at least one top 100 win. Our next featured player is living proof that drunksloth might be onto something.
Notable quote: “skate or die”
Optimization scientist and “last year’s collegiate champion” (as he has requested we referred to him as) Jason “Gahtzu” Diehl is back for another season after piloting UCF to first place of TMG in 2016-17. Gahtzu is one among a handful of craftsmen attempting to redefine Captain Falcon’s metagame by perfecting reactionary techchases off of throws. His refusal to cave in by switching to a stronger or more popular character like Fox has made him a fan favorite as spectators hope to watch the 20GX movement come to fruition.
Currently sitting at 35th in the world but only fourth on his local power ranking, Gahtzu is a testament to the extreme concentration of talent in Central Florida Melee--only Hungrybox, Plup, and Colbol outplace him at home. The fusion of this wild-yet-precise speed demon and drunksloth’s funky Ice Climbers will prove fatal to many teams on the road to their chance at another national championship.
Notable quote: “We embarrassed all the teams last year and will probably do the same this year, only with a lot more money.”
Virginia’s own Zain Naghmi, who goes by only his first name, has already left his mark on 2017-18 TMG. VTech destroyed the competition at DMV locals, leaving even historically strong teams like William & Mary in the dust on their undefeated path through the bracket. He’s ranked 41st in the world right now with a promising upward trajectory.
Incredible opponents such as Leffen have fallen to Zain’s Marth in the past, so it’s no surprise that he’s one of the most dominant faces at the collegiate level. He hasn’t been competing for nearly as long as most players at his level, so his meteoric rise is particularly exciting. Zain is a sign that new blood is always coursing through the veins of the Smash community, and that it’s possible to catch up with the years of experience the old guard brings to the table relatively quickly with the right tools.
Notable quote: “Shoutouts to 800j.”
Jack “Crush” Hoyt is the number one player in all of New England, and a shoe-in for top 20 on the next MIOM global ranking--he’s currently 23rd. His school was able to qualify for regionals in a tough region even without him present, but they barely got by with a fourth place finish. Northeastern will definitely need to lean on him at regionals, where they’ll be taking on a first seed in round one of winners.
Crush is notorious not only for his buttery smooth Fox, but also for his witty, almost-too-self-aware tweets. He became a fan favorite seemingly overnight with wins on many of the players ranked above and below him, and is now a household name despite being a relatively young player. Pending the rest of his incredible season, he will be the highest ranked player in the entire TMG program. That said, strong teams can overcome strong players, so we’ll see just how far Northeastern can make it with Crush as their anchor.
Notable quote: “retreating to the side platform/ledge in the neutral game is like not voting.”