Best Smash Melee Players Based on 2022 Performance

I just created Smash Ultimate players based on 2022 performance, but if you thought I would stop at Ultimate, you'd be sadly mistaken, because I also love to watch competitive Melee as well. Again, this is based on how good players did throughout the year, and not how good they theoretically would be.
The Top Ten
1 Zain

Very often in Melee's history, there is someone that is clearly better than the other players. 2022, however, was a year where the competition for number 1 was higher than ever before. I say that because even though I and others would rank the Marth player Zain at number 1, it isn't by an enormous margin.

That being said, damn was Zain good in 2022! He had an incredible start of the year by winning Genesis 8, the Melee tournament with the most entrants that year, and then winning Pound right after. He later would win Shine and the incredibly stacked Ludwig Smash Invitational. The worst part is that when he won those events, he didn't lose a single set and looked almost unbeatable.

If we are talking about raw placements, Zain is very good on that front, and he never got below 5th at any event he attended. Zain's biggest weakness is probably the fact that compared to other players of a comparable skill level, he is probably the most prone to getting upset by a random player, which does make his high raw placings less impressive. However, Zain still has arguably the most impressive wins out of any player on that list. So yeah, I think he deserves to be at the top.

2 aMSa

If we have to talk about one of Melee's most incredible stories, especially in 2022, we have to talk about aMSa. aMSa has been playing Melee for years with a character that pretty much nobody else plays at a high level: Yoshi. Initially, people thought Yoshi was a bad character, but aMSa single-handedly made people think he is much better than we actually thought. When 2022 started, it already seemed like his best year so far.

5th at Genesis 8? 3rd at Pound? 4th at Battle of BC4? Those are very good results! Easily enough to be somewhere near the middle of the ranking for 2022. Then he got 2nd at Double Down, only losing to Cody, which was easily the peak of aMSa's career at the time. We even started to ask ourselves if it was possible for a Yoshi to win a major. Little did we know that this part of the year would be where we would see aMSa's weakest performance in 2022.

aMSa, who was a Japanese player up until this point, ended up moving to Canada, so now this guy lives in the same country as I do. Cool! More importantly, we got to the Big House 10, one of the biggest Smash tournaments of the year. aMSa made history by being the first player to win a major (let alone a supermajor) with only Yoshi. In case we thought it wasn't enough, he won the Off Season. Then he won Apex. And then he won the Scuffed World Tour!

aMSa wasn't just winning tournaments with Yoshi. He was making a case for being the best player in the world with Yoshi. He was closer to being number 1 in the world with Yoshi than any player was at being number 1 with only Fox! That's crazy! And he is also a pretty damn consistent player on top of that!

The only result you could consider to be underwhelming before his big breakout was a 9th place at Get On My Level. After his breakout, the only time he got out of the top 3 was at the Ludwig Smash Invitational, where he placed 7th, probably the event where you should be the least ashamed of not placing that... more

3 Mang0

Mang0, the kid, the GOAT. All that stuff. The history behind this Melee player, who was considered to be one of the 5 gods, is quite massive, to say the least, and he is extremely popular as well. So, I guess that for some people, it must have hurt quite a bit to see Mang0 having rather underwhelming results at the start of 2022. In fact, that somewhat extensive period of underwhelming results is pretty much the main reason why he isn't higher, if you ask me, since none of the other players in the top 5 or even some of the players outside of it had a period like this.

Like aMSa, Mang0 similarly started his year not as good as he ended it, but he still did impressive stuff during that period where he was "weaker." Even back then, I knew that at ANY TIME, Mang0 could come out and remind us why he is such a legendary player. That moment happened when he won Super Smash Con.

Mang0 wasn't done because he also won Lost Tech City, Smash Summit 14, and Mainstage. In fact, he almost seemed unbeatable during those events. I should also mention how his second place at the Big House was very impressive. Since Smash Con, the only time Mang0 dropped below third in the rest of the year was at Shine and the Ludwig Smash Invitational, and again, the latter is probably the tournament you should be the least ashamed of not placing that well.

Really, Mang0 was a very good player that did extremely well in 2022. Don't be surprised if, despite placing the lowest in his entire long career at Genesis 9 in 2023, he still ends up winning other tournaments later on.

4 Cody Schwab (IBDW)

Cody Schwab, formerly known as IBDW, is simply an incredible Fox player who did amazingly this year. He has a couple of very good wins under his belt, like Smash Summit 13, Double Down, and Phantom, as well as very good placings in tournaments he didn't win, like 3rd at Genesis 8, 3rd at Big House 10, 2nd at Smash Summit 14, and 2nd at Mainstage.

He also has very good head-to-heads with other players. He doesn't have as impressive wins as the players above him, and he did suffer from that time he got 9th at Function 2 and Pound (less so Ludwig Invitational, because again it's not that painful to lose in an event this stacked).

But Cody is still an absolutely amazing player. And with him being second at Genesis 9 at the start of 2023, it doesn't seem like he is going to stop.

5 Hungrybox

Here is the other former member of the five gods on this list. Hungrybox was pretty much the titan of 2017, 2018, and 2019 in competitive Melee with his terrifying Jigglypuff. Even though he isn't unquestionably number 1 anymore, he is still one of the absolute best players currently in the game. In fact, most people agree that in 2022, there is a clear definitive top 5, and most people agree that Hungrybox is in there, so this is definitely an achievement.

The main reason why he is the lowest of that top 5 is that his wins are probably the least impressive of the top 5. But it's not like he doesn't have any impressive wins, since he did win Get On My Level, where he notably got his legendary win over Cody for many reasons. Those who know, know. Winning Wavedash and Riptide was impressive too. He also arguably has some of the most impressive non-wins with a second place at Pound, Super Smash Con, Scuffed World Tour, and most notably the Ludwig Smash Invitational.

So yeah, Hungrybox is still an incredible player that also does incredible pop-offs.

6 Jmook
7 Leffen

Formerly known as the Godslayer, for being the one to show that anyone can challenge the best in the world with enough training, Leffen is still a very good player this year. Leffen's biggest problem in 2022 was a lack of attendance and the fact he didn't have the best results to make up for it.

However, he still has very good results, like an extremely impressive 3rd place at the Ludwig Smash Invitational, a win at Dreamhack Rotterdam that showed he is still the best European player out there, and most importantly, a rather dominant win at Battle of BC 4.

Overall, Leffen is truly great, and we need to watch out for him whenever he shows up.

8 Plup

Like Leffen, Plup does suffer from a lack of attendance but still has great placings. In the middle of the year, in particular, it was almost unreal how good Plup was. He had really good 2nd places at Smash Summit 13, Riptide, and Lost Tech City. Even though his CEO 2022 win wasn't exactly the most impressive tournament win we saw this year, it is still a tournament win that he should be proud of.

Unfortunately, he didn't have the best runs at Genesis 8, Smash Summit 14, and the Scuffed World Tour. But it doesn't take away from his better results throughout the year. He did get 4th at Genesis 9, which is really good, and we'll see if he'll continue having good results in 2023.

9 SluG

You would think that after wobbling, the infamous infinite that made Ice Climbers so good, got banned more than a year ago, we wouldn't see Ice Climbers players making deep runs anymore. Well, it turns out SluG managed to do a lot of stuff in 2022. Like A LOT of really cool stuff.

It started at Double Down 2022, where SluG managed to defeat Zain in an impressive upset, allowing SluG to end up at 4th place in that tournament. If you thought this would be a one-time thing we would never see again in the rest of the year, you wouldn't be ready for what would happen at the Ludwig Smash Invitational. This guy ended up in 4th place, beating Mang0 and Jmook along the way, only to lose in a tight 5 games against Hungrybox. He even got a very good 4th place at Mainstage after that, which is neat.

The main reason why SluG manages to be in the top 10 is that despite not having any big tournament wins or anything, and never going beyond 3rd place, he has pretty much proven that he can beat ANY player he faces at this point. After seeing aMSa win a major (and other majors) in 2022 with Yoshi, and Jmook winning Genesis 9 with Sheik, the next step to develop the Melee meta would be to see SluG win a major with his Ice Climbers. I do think he has the potential to do it. The only question is, will he do it?

10 Axe

Axe, also known as the best Melee Pikachu player of all time, had a pretty rough start to 2022. He got an underwhelming 13th at Genesis and Pound, and his 3rd place at Low Tide City isn't all that impressive when you consider there weren't any top players there.

But then, after stopping to attend a few events, Axe became much more of what we expect from him. From Super Smash Con onwards, most players he lost to were very respectable, and he got much more consistent placings across the board. His most impressive runs were the Scuffed World Tour, where he placed 4th, and especially his 4th at Shine 2022, where he beat SluG and Jmook, the current best players of the characters that destroy Pikachu the most: Ice Climbers and Sheik.

To be fair, Jmook beat him in the runback in losers, so we could assume that Jmook simply needed time to learn the matchup. But then Axe ended up beating him again at Smash Summit 14. So, yeah, Axe is a very solid player overall.

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