Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma won Super Smash Bros. Melee Singles at Mainstage in Ontario, California on Sept. 22. This event marked his eighth major tournament victory of the year. As a result, Hungrybox has all but guaranteed his status as No. 1 in the world for 2019.
Hungrybox started top 64 with predictable 3-0 victories over Kevin Maples and Zaid “Spark” Ali. But in Winners Quarters, Hungrybox faced a significant challenge in the form of Masaya “aMSa” Chikamoto. Prior to this event, aMSa was the only person in the world with a flawless record against Hungrybox in 2019. However, Hungrybox won via timeout in a decisive game five, making their set history 1-1 for the year.
In Winners Semis of Mainstage, Hungrybox faced off against Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson. Though Axe managed to take game one, Hungrybox won the next three games to take the set. Then in Winners Finals, Hungrybox earned a 3-2 win against Zain Naghmi. Hungrybox played Axe again in Grand Finals. Axe could not win with his Pikachu, Young Link, or Falco, allowing Hungrybox to win Mainstage after a clean 3-0.
With so many major victories, it’s hard to imagine that Hungrybox will lose his No. 1 spot on the MPGR. Only four other players have won supermajors this year: William “Leffen” Hjelte, Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett, Joseph “Mang0” Marquez, and Axe. And these players all have only one major win each. In addition, The Big House 9 may be Melee’s last supermajor of 2019, leaving little time for rankings to change.
Axe advanced into top 16 defeating Theodore “Bladewise” Seybold and narrowly winning his set against Joey “Lucky” Aldama. Then in Winners Quarters, Axe earned perhaps his most impressive win of Mainstage over Ice Climbers main Armand “ARMY” Del Duca. Axe notoriously struggles against Ice Climbers. Prior to this set, he held losing records against ARMY, Daniel “ChuDat” Rodriguez, Connor “Bananas” Lamb, and Michael “PudgyPanda” Serpico. Nevertheless, Axe’s Falco defeated the Ice Climbers player who had just defeated Mang0 and ChuDat.
Despite his convincing losses to Hungrybox, Axe still had strong showings in top 8. He scored a 3-1 win against Avery “Ginger” Wilson and a 3-2 win against aMSa. Axe’s run culminated in a 3-0 win against Zain in Losers Finals. This was Axe’s third 2nd place finish at a supermajor, following GENESIS 6 and GOML 2019.
Lucky placed 7th at Mainstage, playing some of the best Super Smash Bros. Melee of his recent career. His top 64 run included 3-0 wins over Ginger and Kalindi “KJH” Henderson, plus a close set with Axe. Then in top 16, Lucky earned his first ever victory against long-time friend Mang0. Lucky also beat Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby before losing his rematch to Ginger in top 8.
Quite a few players made surprising runs to top 16 at Mainstage. SoCal Dr. Mario main Aljon “Franz” Apilado placed 9th. Along the way, he beat Juan “Medz” Garcia, Derek “Aura” Olsen, and Hugo “HugS” Gonzalez. Franz earned Dr. Mario his best national performance since DaJuan “Shroomed” McDaniel dropped the character in 2014.
Michael “Nut” Silver, another SoCal native, also had a strong run to 9th place at this tournament. In top 64, he won tight sets over Alejandro “Chango” Callahan and Jeffery “billybopeep” Palmer. The latter win is impressive considering billybopeep had just upset Shroomed. Then Nut earned a huge upset over Johnny “S2J” Kim. Nut also beat Andrew “Tai” Vo in top 16.
HugS managed to earn his best major tournament run of the year thus far at Mainstage. Interestingly, both of HugS’ losses were considered upsets, as he lost to Joseph “Azel” Resplandor and Franz. However, HugS offset these losses by upsetting three players ranked above him. He ran through a gauntlet of Foxes, eliminating Michael “MikeHaze” Pulido, Medz, and Cody “iBDW” Schwab.
Dylan Tate is a student in 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, including Smash Bros., Splatoon, ARMS, and Pokémon. Dylan also writes Nintendo news articles for Nintendo Enthusiast.