An Interview with #62 Ranked Stango: One of Melee's Rising Stars
Sat 4th May 2019 - 1:28pm
Nick Stango is one of Melee’s fastest rising stars. He recently debuted on the Top 100 list at rank #62 and has shown no signs of slowing down. Stango became a recognizable name after a monstrous performance at Genesis 5 beating Android, Colbol, Darkatma, and Abate, only losing game 5 sets to Mango and Crush en route to a 17th place. He kept that momentum going for the rest of the year placing 5th at The Gang Host a Melee Tournament and Pound Underground scoring wins over Rishi, Swedish Delight, Boyd, Slox, and Vortex.
Unsurprisingly, his play so far in 2019 has looked no different, if not better. At the beginning of April, he had an outstanding run at Fight Pitt 9 where he defeated Gahtzu, Boyd, Lucky, Jakenshaken, Cactuar, and Colbol, earning 2nd place at the event. Stango is a name that every Melee fan should know as he’s proved his breakout year in 2018 was not a fluke and he’s only getting better.
What got you into Smash? When did you start playing Melee competitively?
Stango: I first started playing smash with my cousin all the way back in 2001, I was really young and loved Nintendo so a fighting game with Mario, Luigi was an auto classic in my heart. As I got older my cousin started to introduce me to competitive play with Ken, Bomb Soldier, PC Chris, etc. I consider my competitively career starting in 2012 when I entered my first local in Abington, PA. Funny enough, that tourney was sniped by Mew2King and Hax$. Ah. The age of Melee before esports.
Did you always main Marth or did you start out with another character?
Stango: My first main was Falco, My cousin was like a big brother to me and I copied a lot of things he did. He played Falco so I’m gonna play Falco. Then later I mained Falco, Link, Fox, and then finally Marth.
Who were some of your inspirations when you were starting out? Did you have a mentor in the local scene?
Stango: My first big inspiration was Mew2King I watched some many videos of his Marth and was in awe, Mew2King made me want to become the best in the world at Melee. I actually had a few mentors through my time in melee. Metal Reaper from 2012-2014. Around the start of 2014, I started learning under Cactuar. That was a major experience for me and I contribute a lot of my thinking and skill to Cactuar. Shout out to Charlies!
Despite living in a fairly isolated region, it seems like your skill level has exploded in the last few years. What do you think have been the main factors in that?
Stango: Throughout my time in my region, one thing that I always focused on that if I’m gonna be the best here and everywhere else I need to improve even if I’m better than my local players. Overtime my goal was to extend my lead in skill with my fellow players, but one thing I did to ensure that the pressure is there for me to improve. I taught my local players, I coached them, I encouraged them to be better to think better. A lot of players in my region now are really solid cause they believe in themselves and additional they TRY. I will always help players who want to improve if they TRY. Effort is what brings results and I’m happy for a lot of my homies in Philly and Delaware.
Do you have a daily routine for Melee?
Stango: I always try to play Melee at least once a day. If I can’t because of work, I usually watch Melee in my free time and see what my peers are doing that I can apply to my game.
Do you play netplay? If so, do you think it's a good tool to use for improvement?
Stango: Yes, I do play netplay. When I started in Melee, netplay was actually introduced pretty recently with the rise of melee in 2014-2015. The thing is it was laggy, not many people could even run it on their PC (Me LOL) so it wasn’t very convenient. Nowadays, NETPLAY IS SO AWESOME! I still believe that if it’s possible you should mix a healthy mix of local melee and netplay. But this age in Melee is the best time to play, improvement is so easy, Uncle Punch, 20XX, Netplay are tools that I didn’t have when I was climbing and if I did I know for a fact I would be where I am or even higher!
You just placed 2nd at Fight Pitt 9 beating Gahtzu, Boyd, Lucky, Jakenshaken, Cactuar, and Colbol. Do you think you were playing at your peak that weekend or was that performance something you think you can replicate in the future?
Stango: That weekend was me playing Melee at the level and thought that I know I can do consistently. My strongest strength as a player is my mind. If I can actively enact my strategies and adapt to my opponent's objectives and their adaptations, I know that I can beat anyone. That weekend was a prime example of my play I KNOW I can consistently tap into. All it takes is practice, practice, practice.
You’ve amassed a very impressive resume over the past 2 years. Is there a tournament run or win on a particular player you’re the proudest of?
Stango: My Genesis 5 run is of course the best in my career and honestly is such an important tourney that made me ranked that year. My favorite win(s)? I would probably say Gahtzu first, the narrative that Gahtzu is a Marth slayer was motivation for me to try and take it home. Never think you’re gonna lose to a person because they’re good in that MU, you can always win! As for my 2nd favorite would prob be Cactuar. Honestly, he is so slept on and it took a lot out of me to even take him out and finally beat him after all these years feels like a big chapter of my career is now closed.
You recently moved from Philadelphia to Delaware and don’t attend locals as much. Has that affected that way you play and practice at all?
Stango: I feel that the move has last to do with the locals and more like work. I work full time at Best Buy because unfortunately, unless 80+ people go to locals consistently, I can’t make enough money to support myself and my girlfriend Brooke. Has it affected my practice? I think so, I do need to hunker down and start grinding more and I can shape up in a lot of small parts in my play that equate to a large result of it.
Are there any players you’d like to play against at your next major?
Stango: I want my Mango run back, I think I can do it this time. I wanna have a set versus Leffen, Plup, some favorites because they’re homies and I like battling my friends. Spud, IBDW, Wizzrobe and so many more!
What are your goals in Melee for 2019? Is there a specific rank you’d like to reach on the top 100?
Stango: My main goal is to attend more tourneys. It’s always been my issue that prevents me spreading my name and moving up the rankings. As far as specific rank? Ummm maybe Top 30... Yeah, that sounds nice.
Are there any players either locally or nationally that you think will make waves in 2019?
Stango: My picks for this goes like this:
SluG - Philly Ice Climbers, smart dude and improves rapidly.
Nagy - Delaware Marth, I’ve seen a lot of solid play from him, WATCH OUT FOR HIM AT POUND, HE IS GONNA GO OFF I KNOW IT.
Holiday - Played with him on netplay several times, he’s a big look at the national arcadian.
And so much more, East Coast is a strong region that has so many people that can peak. Don’t sleep on us.
What upcoming tournaments do you plan on attending?
Stango: Nothing large locked in yet, but my PTO refreshes in August so I guess Winter is coming.
Any final shoutouts?
Stango: Shoutouts to SluG for setting this up for me, Big S.O to Delaware and Philly all my boys that support me, S.O to my love Brooke she’s great. Thanks to Dignitas for hosting this article for me and giving me this opportunity.
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