mudi’s landmark 4.93 Falco, breaking a 10-way tie from 2007

Melee Stadium: 2021 Year in Review

Michael Brancato
5 min readJan 1, 2022

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Melee turned 20 years old this year. Many readers are probably already aware of Melee’s incredibly strong tournament scene, but fewer know about the speedrunning / high score aka “Stadium” community (named for the in-game menu option). Somehow, two decades after the game’s release, we’re still out here pushing every character and stage to its absolute limits. As we reach the end of another year, we wanted to shine a spotlight on the Stadium community and commemorate the past year’s accomplishments.

Target Test

It was another explosive year for Target Test. Despite the 3-minute barrier already being completely destroyed, starting the year at 2:57.83, the community collectively found another 79 frames worth of improvements. samthedigital kicked off the year with a 5.28 Roy, a huge 10-frame improvement considering it didn’t use a new strategy. Mario 64 Master then continued what he does best, meticulously dissecting the strategies for Samus (7.53), Mr. Game & Watch (2.68), Pichu (5.45), and Luigi (3.20) for 4 untied WRs (although the latter was later tied by samthedigital).

Two other notable achievements were Yoshi and Mewtwo. For Yoshi, sockdude1 adjusted tauKhan’s (@tauKhan91) TAS strategy to shave 11 frames off the previous WR with a 7.03. mudi (@MDZ_mudi_I) soon followed up with a completion of Samplay’s (@SA_Samplay) new Mewtwo strategy that would ultimately shave over half a second off the record, remarkable considering the stage is already one of the shortest in the game. Samplay ultimately came out on top here; after being forced to settle with a tantalizing 4.00, he put in hours of attempts over 6+ months to finally break the sub-4 barrier with a 3.99. Jenkem66 also achieved his first untied WR with a 8.36 DK.

But by far the year’s biggest story came with Falco and Ganon, two characters that had WR ties held by 10+ people for years. Falco was long thought to be unbeatable outside of TAS, but sockdude1 theorized a new strategy and sparked a race to see who could break the tie first. That award went to mudi, achieving a 4.93 and taking down the WR first set in 2007.

With the Falco tie finally solved, the community set its sights to Ganon. It’s a notably open-ended and small stage… could there be a chance we missed something here? Well, it only took a few days for the collaborative group effort to find something new, with Samplay and BlueKandy (@Kyandishan) collectively finding a new TAS strategy, soon after adapted by mudi to break the tie with a 4.68. Over the following weeks this record would exchange hands multiple times, only to be reclaimed by mudi with a 4.58 to close out the year with a community THS of 2:56.52.

Not allowing the record to be stuck at 4.00, Samplay eventually triumphed with the first sub-4 Mewtwo

Home-Run Contest

Typo (@typohrc), the world’s best HRC player, achieved all of the new WRs in 2021. The first was Marth, for which the community considers the NTSC and PAL WRs to be separate due to how different Marth’s down-air is. Typo achieved a new Marth NTSC WR using a new ending for a tipper at 226%. Typo then returned at the end of the year with new WRs for Link and Falco. Link featured a new ending to achieve a tipper at 230%, nudging closer to the long-fabled 4k Link. Typo also revisited Sin’s Falco strategy from 2007, and on Christmas Day knocked down the 14-year old WR by being the first to achieve a tipper (at 259%), something that even Sin, notorious for always maxing his strategies, was unable to achieve.

Typo’s been pushing Link closer and closer to 4k. Will 2022 be the year?

10-Man Melee

2021 was a quieter year for 10-Man Melee after a revival in 2020. In response to Vegeto’s brief return in late 2020, when he achieved a new DK WR as well as his position as the #1 player (based on Total High Score), Nintendude (@NintendudeSSB) struck back with 7.06 DK, a 1-frame WR improvement. He combined this with a few more PBs to edge out Vegeto as the #1 player, a title he has held through the end of the year. DarkEmperor91 also finally achieved his first untied WR with 7.15 Mewtwo, notably being the first to accomplish the fastest version of the ending.

Nintendude’s 7.06 DK was instrumental in reclaiming the 10-Man Melee throne (THS: 2:53.21)

Event Matches

There was 1 new WR for Event Matches in 2021, with newcomer CoiledOver achieving 15.26 on Event 33: Lethal Marathon after already breaking the record twice in 2 days. This record notably broke the TAS record at the time by getting better RNG, and snapped a lull in new records after Samplay’s 2020 rampage where he claimed 44 of the mode’s 51 possible WRs.

How often can you say your new WR beat the TAS?

2021 World Records Summary

Full Playlist

1/07/2021 — Target Test, Roy: 5.28 (samthedigital)
1/24/2021 — Target Test, Samus: 7.55 (Mario 64 Master)
2/24/2021 — 10-Man Melee, DK: 7.06 (Nintendude)
3/10/2021 — Target Test, Mr. G&W: 2.70 (Mario 64 Master)
4/12/2021 — Target Test, Yoshi: 7.20 (sockdude1)
4/13/2021 — Target Test, Yoshi: 7.16 (sockdude1)
4/17/2021 — Target Test, Yoshi: 7.15 (sockdude1)
4/17/2021 — Target Test, Yoshi: 7.13 (sockdude1)
4/18/2021 — Target Test, Yoshi: 7.08 (sockdude1)
4/19/2021 — Target Test, Yoshi: 7.03 (sockdude1)
4/23/2021 — Target Test, Mewtwo: 4.11 (mudi)
4/24/2021 — Target Test, Mewtwo: 4.06 (sockdude1)
4/24/2021 — Target Test, Mewtwo: 4.00 (Samplay)
4/25/2021 — Target Test, Mr. G&W: 2.68 (Mario 64 Master)
5/6/2021 — 10-Man Melee, Mewtwo: 7.15 (DarkEmperor91)
5/7/2021 — Home-Run Contest, Marth [NTSC]: 3756.7 ft / 1145.0 m (Typo)
6/25/2021 — Target Test, Samus: 7.53 (Mario 64 Master)
9/22/2021 — Target Test, Pichu: 5.45 (Mario 64 Master)
10/28/2021 — Target Test, Luigi: 3.20 (Mario 64 Master)
11/24/2021 — Target Test, Mewtwo: 3.99 (Samplay)
12/2/2021 — Target Test, DK: 8.36 (jenkem66)
12/6/2021 — Target Test, Falco: 4.93 (mudi)
12/7/2021 — Target Test, Ganondorf: 4.68 (mudi)
12/7/2021 — Target Test, Ganondorf: 4.67 (mudi)
12/7/2021 — Target Test, Ganondorf: 4.63 (Samplay)
12/10/2021 — Target Test, Ganondorf: 4.62 (mudi)
12/13/2021 — Event Match 33: 15.46 (CoiledOver)
12/14/2021 — Event Match 33: 15.45 (CoiledOver)
12/14/2021 — Event Match 33: 15.26 (CoiledOver)
12/15/2021 — Target Test, Ganondorf: 4.60 (Judge9)
12/17/2021 — Home-Run Contest, Link: 3839.3 ft / 1170.2 m (Typo)
12/19/2021 — Target Test, Ganondorf: 4.58 (mudi)
12/25/2021 — Home-Run Contest, Falco: 4723.9 ft / 1439.8 m (Typo)

Closing Thoughts

The community heads into 2022 the most active its ever been in the post-GameFAQs era, and there’s no signs of slowing down. This spotlight only covered the community’s achievements in the “official” WR categories, but there have been many more records set in the TAS and “Screwed Up Stadium” categories, the latter of which includes Mismatch and Randomizer. If you’d like to get involved and stay in touch with us, please join our Discord. Here’s to another great year of breaking targets, batting sandbags, and smashing wireframes.

- Nintendude

WR Playlists (for reference)

Target Test
Home-Run Contest
10-Man Melee
Event Match

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Michael Brancato

Super Smash Bros. Melee competitor and lead tournament organizer; Twitch Esports