On Saturday, Team Liquid’s Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma drew a hard line underneath his SSBMRank 2018 No. 1 ranking when he defeated Panda Global’s Justin “Plup” McGrath in two sets of Grand Finals at Northern California’s Noods Noods Noods: Oakland Edition. This victory is the Jigglypuff main’s third consecutive victory at an event featuring other “gods” of Melee, and his sixth consecutive tournament win since he came in second at GENESIS 2 behind his longtime Floridian compatriot Plup.
However, Noods Noods Noods was far from a clean victory for Hungrybox. In Winner’s Finals of the event, the world No. 1 was handed a 3-0 loss by Plup, whose dominant Fox play was evocative of the beatdowns delivered to Hungrybox in years past by Joseph “Mang0” Marquez. Plup’s blazing movement and frenetic punish game were so impressive that some parts of Twitch chat were hooting that he had “figured out” Hungrybox’s Jigglypuff even after Hungrybox showed that he was still capable of winning in Grands.
The takeaway from this bracket should be that, while Hungrybox remains a powerful competitor indeed, he is far from insurmountable and the intrinsic weaknesses of his character are ready to be exploited through patient and well-executed play. While some doomsayers might decry Hungyrbox’s continued victories as indications of the inevitable “death of Melee,” the metagame is still very much in flux. If only a few neutral exchanges had gone in Plup’s favor last Saturday, he could very well have lifted the giant-cup-noodle trophy of Noods Noods Noods at the end of the day.