Coaches have not been a major part of Super Smash Bros. Melee, ever, but even when it is a part of the scene it was not something people encouraged or liked. There is considerable controversy on the subject of coaches right now, especially after the last tournament, Shine 2016. The dominant player of the year, Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma, is one of the only players with an official coach in Melee.
Hungrybox played with his coach just off the main stage at the Evolution Championship Series “Evo,” and not much was said about it. During the last tournament of Shine 2016, however, that was not the case.
During Hungrybox’s set against, Zac “SFat” Cordoni, recruited fellow smash player, James “Duck” Ma, to be his coach for the set. After every game when Hungrybox would consult his coach Luis “Crunch” Rosias, Duck would jump on main stage to consult SFat on strat, and give the viewers a good laugh.
The crowd even started a Duck chant in between sets. Everyone loved it, except for Hungrybox. He was clearly upset, and it could be argued that this top player’s gameplay was affected by these fellow smasher’s antics. SFat ended up kicking Hungrybox into losers bracket by winning the set 3-1.
Hungrybox’s next set was against, Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson, who kept the coach joke coming, had one of his unknown friends come up and give him advice on how to beat Hungrybox’s jigglypuff. The jigglypuff player still did not find the gag funny, but there were laughs from the crowd.
It’s safe to say that coaches are not a norm for melee and that they are not easily accepted either. There are no rules against coaching, except that it can’t happen during the game. Hungrybox has attributed his last few wins, including Evo and Dreamhack, in part to his coach. This has really stirred up the commuinity on whether or not coaches should be allowed.
There have been several tweets, articles and posts about the subject where other players and fans of the game express their opinion. So far, the rules have not changed, but it continues to be a highly debated topic in the community, spectators and players alike wait to see if any changes will occur in the rules of the game regarding coaching.