How to Get into Super Smash Brothers Melee in 2020
Tue 7th Jan 2020 - 8:24pm
Super Smash Brothers Melee is an extremely technical game, which is why is appeals to people but also why it is extremely difficult to just jump in. There is no way to teach you all the advanced techniques in the game. No tutorial. Nothing, because they were not supposed to be there in the first place. Super Smash Brothers Melee is a beautiful mistake and you'll hear that a lot. People sped up the game by finding basically glitches that they use in competitive play. So now that you know the background, here is my guide if I were to start playing Smash Brothers competitively in 2020. This beautiful accident made it hard to access tools, tips, and tricks back in the day, because the true only way to figure out how to play was to find a few matches online, go to SmashBoards and read guides, or figure out where your local tournaments are and have someone who has learned how to play Smash competitively teach you right then and there. Now, we have an abundance of tools to use to get into Smash! More than we have ever had before, and anyone can learn in a short while and be using the tactics and tricks professionals use within days of playing.
First, I would get the 20XX training pack for Melee which helps remarkably. It includes many training simulators and added tutorials which are extremely helpful to beginners and advanced techniques one can learn later. One of the tools that I wish I had taken advantage of especially in 20XX is the mode where, when you do a successful L cancel, your character will flash white. An L Cancel (or Lag cancel) is when the player uses an aerial then presses one of the shield buttons to cancel the frames so the move is performed faster. This is especially helpful because, when one is learning how to L cancel, it is difficult to see if the animation of any aerial was cancelled. They have tools that allow you to set up a bot to do a move on shield so you can practice punishing moves out of shield. This is how specific 20XX will get.
Even character specific practicing, such as practicing SDIng Fox’s up-throw as Jigglypuff so you don’t lose a stock early, can be practiced. This is also fantastic for beginners! When I started, I didn't know what to practice or what techniques were necessary to learn, and there were certain set-ups that would physically require two players to practice. However, a learning tool like 20XX helps guide the beginner and lets them practice on their own. Also, it has a pretty good gradual increase in difficulty of moves to practice, starting from easy skills to difficult techniques, which is amazing.
Second, I would go and watch videos of the basics, especially wave dashing, which is using the air dodge mechanic into the ground to propel your movement. Wave dashing can be practiced with any character, but I would use Luigi to wave dash, as he is the easiest to wave dash with in the game (until you get it down), because Luigi has a very slippery physics to him as a character. But why is wave dashing specifically important and pretty high on my list of things to learn when getting into Melee? Well, movement is extremely important in Melee.
One needs to move around to make the opponent miss a move to be able to punish them or put them in an unfavorable position using wave dashing and other sort of moves. Movement is so important in Melee, because it is considered to be part of Neutral, which is the foundation of any fighting game. Neutral is composed of the moments when both characters are not getting comboed or in a bad position at all. Just two characters moving around, attempting to get a hit in. Which is why I rate learning how to wave dash so high on what to do when trying to learn Melee in 2020. For a visual on how to wave dash, check out this tutorial by SSBM Tutorials:
Pick a Main Character
Third, know what character you want to primarily play (main). I do support picking a character you love to play first and foremost, so play on random for a while and you will start to play a singular character more often than others and gain a connection with that character. However, some characters (nine specifically) are more viable than others, and starting off with one of the most viable right from the start can help you out. If you don't choose one of these high tiered characters (Fox, Falco, Marth, Peach, Falcon, Sheik, Puff, or the Ice Climbers), what I would recommend is to spend a great deal of time with that character. When a person sees a player like Amsa with his Yoshi or Axe with his Pikachu do well, it is because they have absolute mastery over their character. One can absolutely do it! After you pick your character, stick with it for a while. Staying with one character when learning Melee helps a lot.
You will learn the basic techniques and will be able to transfer them to other characters. For example, Marth’s spacing ability is pretty universal, while up-throw up-air from Fox is a combo that a great deal of characters have. Once you're confident enough to play around with other characters, do so! You will learn while playing other characters why they do certain options and your mind will pick up what the character is good at and bad at in another perspective because you are directly playing that character. It is a great tool for learning.
The fourth step would be to get a Gamecube adapter and go to Anther's Ladder. There you can make an account and practice using netplay, which is playing against other people over the internet. Netplay has been pushed very far over the years and it is a great learning tool to play against someone your skill level online. It grades you on where you are in the world and one can build up to eventually be platinum or master rank. Also, if you are in an area where locals or people who play Melee are very scarce, you can always hop onto netplay and play against some of the best players. Make sure you use a wired connection while doing so to have the best experience, especially in Melee where every frame counts.
They also have online tournaments so you can get tournament experience without even leaving the comfort of their home and can grind 24-7 whatever your schedule is. I myself am a huge advocate of Netplay as it gives one practice against other people. Yes, online is different then playing in person, but the practice one gains is worth it. Also Faster Melee has become better and better, reducing internet lag with each iteration of it. Now on a 20 to 30 ping connection, it still runs like butter.
Finally, watch the pros and see what they do in situations and why, and you'll get a great foundation on how to play your character. When I started, I was a spacie player, so I watched Joseph “Mang0” Marquez play his Fox and Falco all the time. There are tons of tips and tricks videos on YouTube, and almost every match from every tournament is now posted online, sometimes immediately after the game is over. On top of that, SmashBoards has extremely in-depth guides for every single character, while there are character-specific Discords, which I personally use all the time as they post and are always updating to the newest tech for the character. All of these forums also have frame data for your character and matchup guides as well. Between the 20XX pack, videos from professionals, video tutorials on percentages, combos etc, forums with matchup guides, Netplay to practice against other people, and just in general local tournament groups, 2020 has the most data to learn Melee than we have ever had before. Using all of these tricks and tips you'll be ready to get started in Super Smash Brothers Melee in 2020.