Super Smash Bros. Melee was first published in 2001 for the Nintendo Gamecube and has since become one of the most popular fighting games of all time, setting the bar for following sequels Brawl, Wii U, and Ultimate.
Melee is quicker and less forgiving than Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, making it more attractive to many experienced competitive players.
Here is our list of the top Super Smash Bros. Melee players in the globe at the start of the year, based on MPGR rankings, 2020 event outcomes, 2019 performances, and a generous sprinkling of personal opinion.
Justin "Wizzrobe" Hallett has long been regarded as one of Melee's greatest players, particularly for his work with Captain Falcon.
Last year, he defeated Hungrybox, Leffen, n0ne, and Spark to win Smash ‘N' Splash 5. This was followed by a second-place result at Smash Summit 8 behind Axe.
Although it would be silly to rule him out of Melee's finest, his results so far in 2020 haven't exactly matched what he's capable of.
Aziz “Hax” Al-Yami is a Fox player who seems to be on track to have his greatest year ever in 2020, after placing in the top four at both Genesis 7 and Scorpius 2020.
Hand problems and sleeplessness have hampered his performance in the past, but he's since proved his worth against the best players, finishing third behind Hungrybox and Mang0 at Mang0's Birthday Bash last year.
Cody "iBDW" Schwab, a relatively young player, is one of Melee's most promising players, having had his breakthrough performance at last year's Smash Summit 8, when he defeated Mang0, Hungrybox, and aMSa.
Last year, the Fox player finished in the top eight in a number of tournaments, including The Big House 9 and Shine 2019.
iBDW appears poised to climb the Melee rankings in 2020 after a tight battle against Zain at Smash Summit 9, finishing in 5-6th place.
“Fiction” by Shephard Lima began his career as a Wario player in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but moved to Melee in 2013 and currently plays Fox.
Fiction returned to the title in 2018 after a break and has gone from strength to strength. He's won DreamHack Anaheim and Saving Mr Lombardi 2 this year, as well as placing in the top eight at Smash Summit 9 and Genesis 7.
Fiction was signed with Poilon Software in February 2020, and his trajectory for the rest of the year seems to be on the rise.
Justin "Plup" McGrath rose to prominence in a duo alongside Hungrybox, where their lethal combination of Samus and Jigglypuff swept events.
He plays Sheik and Fox in Melee and has had many historic victories, ranging from Genesis 5 during the Five Gods period through a second-place result at Big House 7 in 2017.
Plup's tournament rankings dropped last year, but his recent performance at Smash Summit 9, where he finished second, was a thrilling reminder of his skills.
William "Leffen" Hjelte is the greatest current Melee player in Europe, and possibly the finest Fox player in history.
During the Five Gods period, he became the first player to defeat every member of the team, including Hungrybox, Mang0, Armada, Mew2King, and PPMD.
His results so far in 2020 have been varied, ranging from victories at Valhalla III to 9th-12th place finishes at Smash Summit 9, but he's another player who has shown great consistency throughout the years.
Jeffrey "Axe" Williamson is generally regarded as the greatest Pikachu player in the world, and he often dresses up as the electric mouse to represent him.
He helped put Pikachu on the professional map, most notably in last year's Smash Summit 8, when he defeated Zain, Mang0, Leffen, and Wizzrobe to win the tournament.
Axe is another Melee veteran, having joined the scene in 2009.
Joseph "Mang0" Marquez is another member of the Melee Five Gods, and he even organized a Smash tournament with Red Bull last year to celebrate his birthday.
His consistency, like Hungrybox's, has been legendary since he started competing in 2007. He won EVO two years in a row in 2013 and 2014.
His results in 2020 have been remarkable, with third-place finishes at both Genesis 7 and Smash Summit 9.
Zain Naghmi is the most exciting fresh blood in Melee, having made his greatest impact by winning the Genesis 7 tournament this year.
His first big victory was at Shine 2018, where he defeated legends like Mang0, Hungrybox, Lucky, and Drunksloth.
He's since joined with Golden Guardians after winning Genesis 7 in Marth, and he seems to be ready to make his mark in 2020. For the love of God, he's even a YouTube skit maestro.
Juan "Hungrybox" Debiedma and his tyrant Jigglypuff are still the most consistent players around, with top two results in his last four tournament appearances between Genesis 7 and Smash Summit.
He's regarded as one of the most talented players ever to compete under the Melee 'Five Gods' banner, garnering both respect and humorous villain reputation as a result of his domination.
Given that he began playing Melee in 2009, his consistency over the last decade is even more remarkable, solidifying his position as the best Melee player in the world.