Super Smash Bros. Melee has a storied history at EVO, and the renowned championship series played a large part in kickstarting the game’s growth as an esport. From 2013 to 2018, Melee consistently brought in large entrants as well as high viewership numbers. To win an EVO title in Melee was to cement yourself as one of the game’s all-time greats; not an easy feat for a game released in 2001.
Melee’s first appearance at EVO in 2007 however, had some…unusual rules and results. While some of the names in the top 8 are familiar today, they weren’t expected at the time, and one could definitely call this a rocky start to Melee’s life at EVO.
A Rising Star: Mango Defeats Mew2King
Normally, a tournament match would consist of at least a best of three, meaning one of the players has to win two matches to win the set. But EVO has had a history of making odd ruleset choices for their featured games (see: Super Smash Bros. Brawl at EVO 2008.) Their biggest blunder was making Melee pools best of one matches with random stage select, meaning that everything was riding on a single game, and the stage would be outside your direct control.
This actually didn’t cause much bracket damage as it would today, as the talent pool that attended EVO wasn’t as large as other national tournaments at the time. Outside of the top seeds, there were only a handful of players who could take advantage of the ruleset and make an upset. Unfortunately for Mew2King, he had one of those players in his pool.
Mango was an up and coming player from Southern California, and while he was definitely respected in his region, he was still an unknown on a national scale. On the other hand, Mew2King was widely considered to be one of the best players in the world as this point, alongside PC Chris and KoreanDJ. By any measure, Mew2King was the favorite to win the whole thing.
Mango and Mew2King met up in pools to play in a best of one match. Mew2King opted to use Sheik while Mango went his trademark Jigglypuff, and the selected stage was Dreamland; an amazing Jigglypuff map. The rest is history.
This must’ve been a turning point for Mew2King, as he didn’t even make top 8; he ended up losing to Chillin and placing 9th overall.
The Return Of Ken
Ken Hoang was the most dominant Smash player from 2003-2006, but had started to slip as 2007 came around. After going on hiatus, he was determined to win one last big title in EVO 2007.
Perhaps he was aided by Mango defeating Mew2King in pools, or perhaps not: Mango actually knocked Ken into the loser’s bracket at the beginning of top 8. But Ken remained unphased, going on a tear through the bracket and defeating ChuDat, PC Chris, Mango in a rematch, and then HugS in two sets to claim the coveted EVO title.
Other Notable Names in Smash
Some other players of note who placed well at EVO 2007 include:
DieSuperFly – A longtime veteran of the scene who had strong wins throughout the early years of Melee, DieSuperFly was also one of the best Super Smash Bros. Brawl players early on in the game’s life. He got 7th overall.
Simna ibn Sind – The best Melee Ness player in the world placed 13th at EVO 2007. Simna streams on Twitch and continues to show his mastery of the low tier character.
Cactuar – A very strong Marth and Fox player placing 13th at EVO, he’s become well-known as a top notch practice partner and coach. He notably trained with Mew2King and PPMD, helping both players achieve next-level accomplishments.
SK92 – Placing 17th at this tournament, SK92 would later become the best Falco player in the early Brawl days. While he didn’t maintain his status as a top player later in the game’s life, he continued to have strong placings in both Melee and Brawl.
Lucky – One of the best and most entertaining Fox players in the modern Melee scene, Lucky had a 17th place showing at EVO 2007; Lucky would later go on to claim 5th place at EVO 2017, 10 years later.