Iron Man Speedruns: Combining The Fighting Game Meta And Speedrunning


    With the introduction of rollback netcode and integrated matchmaking via Slippi, online Super Smash Bros. Melee has never been easier, smoother or more active. In a matter of seconds, you can go from the title screen to a match against anyone from around the world.

    The speed and ease of this new matchmaking system has made iron man challenges much more feasible; and as a result, iron man speedruns for Melee have begun to pick up steam.

    What Is An Iron Man Challenge In Fighting Games?

    An iron man challenge is when a player attempts to win a match with every single character on the roster without losing. Any losses means that the player must start from the beginning of the roster again.

    All of the games are played via whatever random matchmaking service a game offers. To make it even harder, iron mans generally have a rule that a player cannot play the same person more than once in a row. After every win, the player must requeue to find a new opponent.

    Because most matchmaking services will try to find players around one’s skill level, iron man challenges are incredibly difficult. It requires a solid understanding of every character in the game, as well as a good amount of luck that you don’t pair up with a skilled opponent in an unfavorable matchup.

    How Does An Iron Man Speedrun Work?

    Like any speedrun, the timer begins as soon as the first match begins, and ends when the final character wins the last match. All the same rules of a standard iron man challenge apply, although certain strategies might be employed to reduce time.

    For example, living to high percents in Melee might be unfavorable for a speedrun because of how long it takes to recover; this adds up over time, so it may be optimal to just self-destruct in certain cases to reduce time. This is risky, however, because in Melee, every stock is very important and intentional SDs could prove fatal in the long run.

    This is especially tough on characters such as Kirby, who is not only a bottom tier character, but also incredibly floaty. For some of the slower and weaker characters, a bit of luck is needed to avoid unfavorable matchups in these speedruns.

    Iron man speedruns are a volatile type of category for this reason; it only takes one match for things to come crashing down, and how quickly certain characters go by can depend on the skill level of players who the runner matches up against. A lot of random elements play a pivotal role.

    Who Holds The Current World Record?

    The current world record for the Melee ironman speedrun is Leffen, who achieved a time of 1:04:27.24. A highlight video of the run can be found on his channel.

    There are several players whose knowledge of the cast and iron man attempts could lead to them chasing the same record. Leffen, Plup, Mew2King and others frequently stream Melee and, as top players, are contenders to push the world record even further.

    For another unique speedrunning category, check out the story behind the Super Marihour!