Surviving multiple sequels touted to overthrone it, being dropped from Evo, the most prestigious fighting game event in the world, and even a global pandemic, with community members developing new ways to experience the game thanks to Slippi's rollback netcode, Melee seems destined to grant fans a never-ending supply of excitement, with Smash Summit 11 breaking all sorts of records as the game returned to LAN.
Summit 11 was a spectacular reminder of why people love competitive Melee, with many figureheads coming toe to toe in what was an already historic event before it began, as it boasted the biggest prize pool in Smash history with over $150k, a far cry from the days in which Joseph "Mang0" Marquez fought for 70% of a $45 prize pool.
It couldn't have been anyone else but him, one of the last two remaining "Five Gods of Melee" active as competitors within the community (the other being Juan "Hungrybox" Debiedma), the instinct-driven fan-favourite spacie enthusiast Mang0, the one that took home the fattest stacks of cash Melee's ever seen, but also his first-ever Summit win capping a near impossible loser's run.
As if written by destiny, Mang0 did so in a memorable 10-game match against Zain Naghmi, a "Doc Kid," a term commonly used for players that were introduced to Melee after the widely renowned Smash Documentary, which gave outsiders a brief introduction into the early years of competitive Melee.
A man who's been around since virtually the beginning of the Melee competitive scene against the new generation of players, Mang0's win holds more significance that one can think of, as he became the oldest Melee player to win a Major, dethroning Jason "M2K" Zimmerman and his Summit 6 win.
The Kid, who earned his victory earlier this month, did so at the age of 29 and 7 months, meanwhile, Mew2King won Summit 6 back in 2018 when he was 29 and 3 months.
Unlike the Marth main, Mang0 isn't going anywhere anytime soon, claiming that he's got a "few years left in the tank," driven by his newborn rivalry with Zain.
Without Zain there isn't the melee we all see today— Joseph Marquez (@C9Mang0) July 19, 2021
I wouldn't be here playing if I didn't think some little hot shot fuck could make me the absolute best version of myself
I look forward to the classics we will share
I got atleast a few years in the tank
Seeing pillars of a community age alongside its game is a fascinating process within FGC/Smash. Street Fighter is a prime example, with the likes of Daigo Umehara still flash-kicking people now in his 40s, though for some like Yusuke Momochi this is a sign of disinterest amongst younger FGC members or apathy towards the franchise.
For Melee, a completely grassroots community that's been built from the ground up, these veterans don't gatekeep the young enthusiasts but rather inspire them to achieve the same amount of success and try to surpass them in an era in which getting into competitive Melee is more accessible than ever before.
With over 100k viewers tuning in to watch one of the greatest Melee grand finals of all time, including thousands of young Ludwig viewers, we're sure a whole new generation of pros will spring out from this moment, elevating a 20-year-old game to newer, unimaginable heights in the future.
Long live Super Smash Bros Melee.