As the year 2021 draws to a close, we at Inven Global are looking back at the players, casters, events, and games that made this year of competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee so special. In a year of turmoil, the Smash community continued to thrive and bring some incredible competition — as well as passionate content.
We're excited to present the second year of the Inven Global Awards (IGA). Voted by the editorial crew of Inven Global, along with some of the game’s most well-respected players, casters, and community figures, the IGAs celebrate the many strong facets of Melee in 2021 — the best players, casters, content creators, etc.
For so long, Smash was focused on the top players. Content creator, though, has allowed a new group of players to have a prominent role in the community. It’s almost a given that a top player will stream and make YouTube videos, and former hobbyists in some cases can make a living making content for the community.
Though it’s a space growing with competition, here are what our panelists voted for the five nominees for Best Content Creator. Fans can also vote for the content creator they think deserves it the most, and the person with the most votes will receive the IGA Community Award.
Joseph “Mango” Marquez
While one of the biggest stories of the last few years has been the reemergence of Mango being potentially the best player in the world, he somehow is able to do this while also making bigger strides as a content creator.
While a lot of his streaming success is carried by his mythical status and natural charisma, Mango knows to never be too lazy when streaming. He always has good energy (or somehow just is), makes sure to have a steady supply of entertaining peers to stream with, and just makes watching fun. What more could you want?
Trying to make good, serious content in any game is difficult. With how challenging media in the Smash community is without high-profile names involved (especially compared to other esports), it’s a feat that Melee Stats has survived as long as it has. It’s a marvel, though, that they had arguably their best year of content ever.
Let’s go down the list. They released their best documentary to date (along with other great videos), created an updated edition of the Top 100 Players of All Time that was both better written and had a methodology — and still had time to maintain staples like “When’s Melee?” and “Monday Morning Marth."
While other content groups can make very high-quality work, Melee Stats embodies the same spirit of the Melee community: a grassroots initiative built on passion, that can still produce work that rivals any budget. It’ll be a joy to see more.
What the team at GG Melee is doing is very special. As a division of the Golden Guardians esports team (itself a project of the Golden State Warriors), they’re proving to the top esports team that investment in Smash is worthwhile. Golden Guardians — a team still finding its footing in League of Legends and not able to generate much excitement in World of Warcraft — has grown a prominent following in Melee less than a year after placing a foot in.
There have been plenty of big teams that have joined Smash, and there are organizations like Panda that have shown what’s possible with Smash content. GG Melee though is the first example of an outside team entering Smash to make content — and succeeding. With groups like Beastcoast building their name as well, the future looks bright.
In addition to that, their content has just been a joy to watch. Having one of the best players in the world, one of the best casters in the world, and one of the best players of all time making videos on a regular basis is great (and a top Falcon ties it together). Melee Jeopardy, Radio Melee, and tons of great shorts to choose from — Golden Guardians made the right choice.
AsumSaus’s channel is like a vast desert. His upload schedule is dry as can be — only releasing four videos in 2021 (one coming at the very end of the year). When you finally get to watch one, though, when you’ve found that oasis, nothing is so satisfying.
Yeah, he only released four videos throughout the year, but all of them were bangers — the best videos of his career. They were all well-produced, interesting, and provided great insight into why Melee is so cool. A video like “Strange Pikachu Things... debunk?” makes you appreciate the greatness of Jeffrey "Axe" Williamson that much more.
AsumSaus benefits by choosing video subjects almost no other video maker would touch. Every time he takes super technical topics, though, he is somehow able to make them fun without watering them down.
Plus, you can tell how much fun he has with them — how he just keeps finding new ways to explore a topic you think is worth maybe thirty seconds to talk about. The worst part about AsumSaus videos is knowing you’ll have to wait several months just to get a few more minutes of one. Another great year, another great video.
Walter “Turndownforwalt” Brandsema
It’s been a busy year for Turndownforwalt. Through 2021 he maintained a consistent upload schedule of insightful and entertaining videos, released several documentaries that were considered some of the best content of the year, and rounded it off with some great casting gigs. And this isn’t even his day job.
Ignoring his Energizer Bunny work-ethic, Turndownforwalt’s 2021 is too overflowing to not include him. It’s hit after hit after hit. The Story of APEX 2015, 16 Stocks, 20 Years of Melee — my hands will get carpal tunnel if I keep listing the great work he’s released this year. These videos highlight important moments from our scene and tell them in a way that’s never boring.
Turndownforwalt has continued to grow as a video-making talent. The production value has never been more polished, his music choices are always good, and his narration keeps you engaged without ever coming off as obnoxious. Another great year for one of Melee’s rising stars. And with him joining as the Lead Producer for PGstats, and continuing to provide strong game casts, hopefully he’s only beginning.
The Inven Global Smash Awards panel for Melee
- Alexander Lee
- Austin Watts
- John "Oddball" Popko
- Julian Carney
- Tim Masters
*Note: Nobody can vote for themselves in the Inven Global Smash Awards
Who has your vote for best Melee content creator?
I write. I rap. I run. That’s pretty much it.