[Inven Global Awards] The top 5 Melee matches of 2020

Source: Todd Gutierrez for BTS

Previously on the Inven Global Awards

The best stories and worst dramas of 2020
The most outstanding community members of 2020
The best tournaments of 2020

 

2020 will go down in history as one of the weirdest ones for esports, and for Smash in particular. With very few LAN events and being forced into largely online environment — saved in large by Slippi.gg — pro Smashers had to play, and win, on a rather uncharted ground.

 

While 2020 lacked a lot of the electrifying LAN face-offs, it still produced a heap of memorable matches, the best one being... well, we wouldn't want to spoil it, would we?

 

5. Sfat (Fox) vs. Hax$ (Fox)Losers finals @ Galint Melee Open

 

 

This is a back-and-forth Fox mirror that ends with an incredible game 5 last stock scenario. Both players are near pitch-perfect on the smallest stage Melee has to offer. The tension is palpable, to say the least.

 

Wizzrobe (Falcon) vs. Ginger (Falco)Losers Round 4 @ Smash Summit 10

 

 

Wizzrobe starts by winning two in a row but Ginger returns the serve to tie it at 2 apiece. What follows is a game 5 that ends with Wizzrobe's most intense pop-off of the year. The entire set was filled with comeback after comeback and it was anyone's game almost all the time.

 

3. Zain (Marth) vs. Leffen (Fox)Swiss Round 5 @ Smash Summit 9

 

 

Before Smash went online for 2020, there was the 3-0 Marth vs. Fox set between Zain and Leffen. This match gets the nod because it was the beginning of Zain's ascendence to the undisputed best Melee player of 2020. The level of Marth play is so incredibly high that it shocked commentators and viewers alike. This is the set that urged Leffen to put serious tournament practice into Sheik and caused many fans to argue that Marth is the best character in the game. We all know now it was just Zain being Zain.

 

2. Captain Faceroll (Sheik) vs. Mang0 (Falco), n0ne (Falcon)Slippi Champions League, Season 1, Week 3

 

Unfortunately, all of the commentary matches from the Slippi Championship League have been removed due to fear of Nintendo litigation but that shouldn't stop the community from recognizing the time that Captain Faceroll played the best two sets in his life back to back.

 

First, in an incredibly unlikely result, he upsets Mang0 in a 3-2 victory. The style of Sheik play on display is incredibly precise and worth watching.

 

 

Then, he does the same thing to n0ne, another world-class player that Captain Faceroll had no business defeating. Captain Faceroll would end up placing 2nd that week, losing to Zain's Marth in the finals, but these sets were a clear message that Captain Faceroll is a premier Sheik player to pay attention to.

 

WINNER: Zain (Marth) vs. Mang0 (Falco)Grand Finals @ Smash Summit 10

 

 

There has been a lot of debate whether or not 2020 tournament victories really "counted" due to the competitive scene being forced to play online and, as such, deal with elements of lag or delay. Pro Smashers seemed divided on the topic. Many top competitors felt that playing online, even in a near lagless environment thanks to Slippi.gg, diminished the esport and cited this as their reason for not taking Melee seriously in 2020.

 

However, Mang0 and Zain are not those players. The two spent nearly all of 2020 practicing to be the very best, and their grand finals set at Smash Summit 10 was an electrifying way to end the year. Mang0 and Zain are, without a doubt, the best two Smashers in the world right now and they have their year of hard work and serious tournament play to thank for it. 

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