One Of The Biggest Upsets In Super Smash Bros. Melee History Was Played With Faulty Rules

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When Armada first came to the United States for Genesis in 2009, he tore through the bracket, defeating DaShizWiz, Mew2King, and Mango before losing to Mango in the runback to claim 2nd place. This was the beginning of one of the most consistent and dominant careers in Super Smash Bros. Melee history, and when Armada retired from Melee singles in 2018, he was widely hailed as the greatest player the game has ever seen.

One of the amazing feats he accomplished was rarely losing to anyone outside of the top six until losing to Swedish Delight at EVO 2018. The last time he had lost to someone that was outside the top echelon of skill was SilentSpectre at Pound 4 in 2010, in one of the greatest matches and upsets in Melee’s history.

Or was it? In 2019, we have access to many tools and resources that allow us to analyze and dissect the game; and because of this, someone has noticed something about the famous SilentSpectre vs. Armada set that will forever change how we view the legendary upset.

The Wrong Rules

At the time, and even today to the untrained eye, the match looks just like any other epic Melee match; fast-paced, solid neutral and punish games, and hype moment after hype moment. 

But SSBM_Mafia posted an interesting tweet, in which he questioned whether the match was played on the standard 1.0 launch rate, or whether the launch rate was set to 0.9. Mafia, a Peach main, recognized that one of the throws Armada did would normally lead to a knockdown at those percents, but it did not in the match vs. SilentSpectre.

Launch rates affect the trajectory of moves and throws, and depending on what the launch rate is set to, different combos may or may not work at varying percents in Melee. Another user, Bones, recreated the situation down to the moves used, and when he tested the same situation with the 0.9 launch setting, the results were clear: the SilentSpectre vs. Armada match had to have been played on 0.9.

So what does this mean? Well, you can’t go back and time and disqualify the win; it’s on the tournament organizers to make sure all tournament setups have the proper rules, and it’s on the players to bring up concerns if they notice something off about the game (such as Leffen bringing up that UCF was turned off in his set vs. ChuDat at Shine 2017.)

Unfortunately, it sours SilentSpectre’s historic victory since the rules weren’t exactly “legitimate” and although they played it out and he won, you can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened with the standard 1.0 launch rate.

Not The First Time

This is not the first time that the launch rate being set to 0.9 has affected a tournament match. In fact, at Genesis 4, a top 8 set between CaptainZack and Komorikiri which CaptainZack had won, was found out to have been played on 0.9 immediately after the set. The tournament organizers had to make a decision, and they opted to replay the final game, which CaptainZack won. The event left a sour taste in spectator’s mouths, as they felt the integrity of the match had been compromised; some thought they should stick with the initial result as it played out rather than extending the set as they did, while others pointed out that other sets in the top 8 had already been played with the faulty ruleset.

The SilentSpectre vs. Armada set has long held a place in Melee fans’ hearts as one of the few times Armada was bested by someone who wasn’t the cream of the crop, and to learn that it was played on a faulty ruleset is devastating to an extent. We can only assume that, with the tools and resources we have now, that we may discover even more tournament sets have been compromised over the years.