The Five Gods of Melee Chapter 3: Armada
Refer to index if there is a term that needs clarification.
Adam “Armada” Lindgren is a Peach/Fox dual main from Sweden. He began his career as a solo Peach player, where he revolutionized the Peach metagame when he entered American tournaments. In 2015, he developed a tremendously well-rounded Fox to counter match-ups that he believed to be difficult with Peach. Armada’s playstyle is known to be extremely unforgiving, as he can convert the tiniest of openings into kills. His Peach is known for incredible up-air techchases, use of turnips, and deep edgeguards. His Fox, while still developing, has already changed the metagame, with its up-air techchases and shine spike edgeguards, known as the “Armada shine.” Armada is also a very consistent player and rarely finishes below 3rd place at any national. This consistency has led him to be the most difficult god to beat for a non-god, as he has not lost to a player outside the top 6 rankings in over 5 years.
Armada began entering European tournaments in 2007, during which time he quickly developed into a top European player. He entered Renaissance of Smash 4, where he finished 4th, nearly beating the best European player at the time, Amsah. In 2008, he entered Epita Smash Arena 2 in France, where he placed 3rd after being double eliminated by Captain Jack. Nevertheless, he was improving exponentially fast and looking to win his first European national. He entered Epita Smash Arena 3 in 2009,where he was defeated by Zgetto in Winner’s Finals. This proved to be the last set he would lose in Europe for the next five years. In Loser’s bracket, he came back to win two successive Grand Final sets against Zgetto and win the tournament. As a result, he established himself as the best European player. For the next five years, he completely dominated the European scene, as he won every tournament without losing a set. However, Armada still desired more. Becoming the best in Europe was only a small step towards his greater goal of being the best player in the world.
Thus, Armada attended his first American tournament in the summer of 2009, the famed GENESIS. Prior to the tournament, there was a lot of speculation regarding how Armada would perform. There was a common pattern in the Smash community: an international player would dominate their scene, only to come to America and place mediocre. Many believed that Armada would be the same, and that he easily fall to the top American players. Of course, Armada proved them wrong, and had an amazing performance that shocked the Melee community.
As Armada tore through the GENESIS bracket, a familiar pattern began to emerge. He would lose the first game of the set, but would win on his counterpick as well as his opponent’s counterpick to win the set. It showed how quickly he adapted to the opponent’s playstyle and the differences in the NTSC version of the game. Europe plays the PAL version of Melee, which has some significant changes that requires foreigners such as Armada to adjust. First, he beat Lucky, Mang0’s practice partner, longtime friend, and top player in his own right. He then went on to beat DaShizWiz, one of the greatest Falco players of all time, to reach Winner’s Semis against Mew2king. Reaching this point was an accomplishment in itself – very few expected him to get there and he had already proven his skill. However, while Lucky and DaShizWiz are amazing players, Mew2king was in a different tier. Absolutely nobody expected him to even have a chance against Mew2king, who was the #2 American player at the time. This was compounded by the fact that they were playing Peach vs. Marth, a matchup that was considered very difficult for Peach at the time. Game 1 went as expected, a decisive win for Mew2king on Final Destination. Game 2 was Armada’s counterpick, and he made some adaptations to win the game. Yet, most people still considered the set to be over, because the third and final game was on Final Destination. This was Mew2king’s home – he has always felt extremely comfortable on Final Destination. It was also considered to Peach’s worst stage against Marth; there was no way Armada would win. But somehow, Armada found a way and achieved the impossible. He shocked the crowd by winning game 3 and advanced to Winner’s Finals to face Mang0. Of course, Armada won Winner’s Finals and would take a 2-1 lead in Grand Finals, which is when he was hit with the “Rest Heard Round the World.”
In a 2015 interview, Armada stated that he had made one of the worst mistakes a competitor can make during Grand Finals of GENESIS. He had felt like he already won, and just needed to close out the final stock to take the tournament. However, after the rest, he became afraid of losing instead of playing to win. Armada stated that, “It felt like I already had my hands on the trophy and when that trophy was gone I could not play anymore.” Moreover, the entire California crowd of GENESIS was on Mang0’s side. Armada never had to experience hundreds of screaming individuals cheering against him, and it impacted him. Mang0 proceeded to make his magnificent comeback, and GENESIS ended in a heartbreaking 2nd place finish for Armada.
Armada’s next American tournament was Pound 4, where he was upset by a Captain Falcon player from Northern California named Silent Spectre in Winner’s Bracket. In fact, Silent Spectre is one of two players to hold a winning record against Armada, as he is 1-0. The other is a retired Japanese player named Captain Jack, who is 2-0. This win over Armada was so significant that Northern California tournament organizers will purposely make sure that Armada and Silent Spectre do not meet in bracket, for his winning record would surely disappear if they were to play again. Having a winning record against Armada is an incredible feat, as even the gods have negative records against him. Armada lost to Amsah to finish 4th at Pound 4, which was a disappointing result by his standards.
At Apex 2010, Armada finished 2nd, which was becoming a familiar feeling to him. In a similar manner to GENESIS, he lost to Jigglypuff. This time it was Hungrybox, who beat him in Winner’s Finals and Grand Finals to win the tournament. It was at this point that Armada gave up on the Peach vs. Jigglypuff matchup; he believed that it was impossible for Peach. As a result, he returned to Europe and decided to work on a character to specifically counter Jigglypuff. He realized that it had to be a character that had a decent matchup against Jigglypuff, and one that Hungrybox could not prepare for. He eventually decided that Young Link would be the perfect choice. He is not used often but does well against Jigglypuff. As a result, Hungrybox would not have the matchup experience; Young Link was the perfect character to take him by surprise.
Armada perfected his Young Link in Europe and unveiled it at his next American tournament: Pound V. With his Young Link, Armada decisively beat Hungrybox 2-0 in Winner’s bracket. He reached Winner’s Finals, where he defeated PPMD to advance to Grand Finals. However, he made the same mistake he did during GENESIS. He felt like he had won, and was so close to the prize. Instead, he suffered a heartbreaking loss to PPMD in two successive Grand Finals set, and finished in that familiar 2nd place position. Pound V was a source of stress for him in many ways, as he had borrowed money from a friend to pay for his plane ticket. He was confident that he would do well, and that he would be able to pay his friend back when he won the prize money. Unfortunately, due to controversy surrounding the event, the tournament organizer was unable to afford to pay the players. Armada’s 2nd place prize money was not given to him until 2015. He had fallen into debt, and his parents began to question whether he should be travelling to America. His next tournament was GENESIS 2, and he felt that it was all or nothing for him.
GENESIS 2 meant so much for Armada in so many ways. He absolutely needed to win because he was so close to winning during the original GENESIS. The night before the final day, he had pictured himself as the champion, holding the belt awarded to the winner. That night, he realized that it was his time to make his dreams of becoming the best a reality. In bracket, Armada defeated PPMD in Winner’s Quarters and used his Young Link to defeat Hungrybox in Winner’s Semis. Although he was projected to play against Mang0 in Winner’s Finals, Mang0 was upset by an Arizona player named Taj. Armada defeated Taj, and Mang0 won Loser’s Finals to set up another classic Grand Finals set. However, there was no comeback this time. It was finally Armada’s turn, and he defeated Mang0 to become the GENESIS 2 champion.
The victory at GENESIS 2 kickstarted two years of Armada dominance, where he won every single tournament he attended. At Apex 2012, Armada showed his incredible composure by defeating Hungrybox in set 2 of Grand Finals. Hungrybox had been on a ferocious Loser’s bracket run and momentum seemed to be on his side, especially after winning Grand Finals set 1. Yet, Armada learned from his past experience to remain calm and win the second set. In a similar manner, Armada won Smasher’s Reunion Melee Grande by beating PPMD in Grand Finals set 2 after losing the first set. At Apex 2013, Armada successfully defended his title by beating PPMD in Grand Finals set 2. After his victory at Apex 2013, Armada shocked the Melee community by announcing his retirement from the game.
Armada’s retirement was very surprising for many fans of the game. He was at the peak of his game, and dominating the other gods. In spite of this, he had good justification for his retirement. The reality of his situation was that he lived in Sweden, where there are not many players. He had nobody to play with except for his brother, Android. As a result, he had to constantly practice against CPUs to stay competitive, which he found to be extremely boring. All the other gods were American and had the opportunity to practice against good players regularly. Unfortunately for Armada, he only had that opportunity when he travelled to America.
Ironically, Armada chose a terrible time to retire from the game, as the scene grew tremendously from 2013 onwards. Much of this can be credited to Melee’s inclusion in EVO 2013, a popular fighting game tournament that raised Melee’s exposure in the fighting game community. Due to the scope of the event, as well as it being Android’s first Armerican tournament, Armada decided to temporarily come out of his retirement for EVO 2013. Despite not playing for over six months, Armada performed well at the event. After an early loss to PPMD in Winner’s Bracket, Armada went through the Loser’s bracket, which included a win over Mew2king, to reach Loser’s Semis. He played against Mang0, and fell prey to his monstrous Loser’s bracket run 0-2 to finish 4th. Mang0 went on to win the event and establish himself as the best in the world, while Armada returned to retirement. His retirement was short lived, as he could not have possibly predicted that the Melee community was about to undergo a huge change.
On October 11th, 2013 the Smash Brothers documentary was released. It was a great representation of the top players in the earlier days of Melee: Azen, Ken, Isai, PC Chris, Korean DJ, Mew2king and Mang0. The documentary quickly became popular and attracted an enormous amount of new players to the scene. For instance, EVO saw a year-on-year growth between 2013 and 2014: 709 entrants in 2013 compared to 970 in 2014. Although Armada was barely featured in the documentary itself, the growth of the game motivated him to return. As a result, in 2014, he began to practice again, and entered a European tournament called B.E.A.S.T 4. There, he was upset by an up and coming Swedish Fox player named Leffen and finished 2nd. Armada continued to enter European tournaments in preparation for his first American tournament back: SKTAR 3.
At SKTAR 3, it became clear that the rest of the gods had improved during Armada’s retirement. He was knocked into loser’s bracket by PPMD, and had to play against Mew2king in Loser’s Semis. During that set, Armada lost to Mew2king for the first and only time in his career. It was a very close 1-2 loss, and Mew2king pulled two incredible comebacks in game 2 and 3 to win the set. Armada finished a disappointing 4th place at SKTAR 3. Despite this, Armada showed that he could quickly return to form the following week, where he defeated Mang0 and Mew2king to win SUPER SWEET.
Armada entered MLG Anaheim 2014, which had all five gods in attendance, as well as numerous other top players. It was his first supermajor since his return, and like the other gods, Armada was aiming to win the tournament. In pool play, he played phenomenally; he finished undefeated and boasted wins over Mang0 and Hungrybox. He also played well in bracket, where he defeated Mew2king in Winner’s Semis. However, he lost to an on-fire Mang0 2-3 in both Winner’s Finals and Grand Finals to finish 2nd. Armada’s performance at MLG Anaheim 2014 proved to be an accurate depiction of his first year back from retirement. He seemed to perform well when the stakes were low, such as in pool play, but fell short when it truly mattered in bracket. As a result, he earned the reputation of a “regular season” player. He would win many regionals and smaller nationals, but struggled to win supernationals in 2014.
CEO 2014 was the weekend after MLG Anaheim, and Armada managed to win the tournament by winning two successive Grand Finals sets against Mang0. The following weekend was King of Cali 4, where Mang0 prevailed over Armada in Grand Finals. This created an interesting narrative going into EVO 2014, as the tournament was supposed to settle their rivalry. The previous three weeks consisted of Mang0 and Armada trading Grand Finals sets. EVO 2014 was supposed to be the Grand Finals that settled it all. For Armada, it was his chance to prove that he was the best again. While he did enter EVO 2013, he was not practicing at that time and did not take the tournament seriously. EVO 2014 was different; Armada was constantly practicing and was determined to win. He had a champion’s mentality, and would not accept anything but 1st place.
Armada’s EVO 2014 bracket started off business as usual and he made Winner’s Semis relatively easily. In Winner’s Semis, he played against Hungrybox and decided to use Young Link against Hungrybox’s Jigglypuff as per usual. Since the time Armada debuted his Young Link at Pound V until EVO 2014, he had a 7-1 record against Hungrybox. EVO 2014 was not supposed to be any different, and Armada did win game 1. Nevertheless, Hungrybox played incredibly well to beat Armada’s Young Link in game 2 and 3 to win the set.
Armada still had a chance to win through Loser’s bracket, and managed to beat Axe in Loser’s Quarters and PPMD in Loser’s Semis. This set up a rematch against Hungrybox in Loser’s Finals. It was Armada’s chance to avenge his loss in Winner’s bracket, and he managed to go up 2-0 in the best of 5 set. In Melee, it is incredibly difficult to come back to win the set after being down 2-0. Incredibly, Hungrybox made adjustments to win three straight games and beat Armada once again. As a result, Armada finished 3rd in what was his most heartbreaking loss since GENESIS. He did not get the chance to play against Mang0, and was denied by Jigglypuff just like in GENESIS. Seeing Armada accept his 3rd place medal was one of the saddest moments in Melee history. He clearly did not want to be there, and looked like he was about to burst into tears. Everything he worked so hard for was lost.
The moment he lost at EVO 2014, Armada’s goal was to win EVO 2015. He had such a strong desire to win an EVO, but needed to wait an entire year. In the meantime, he looked towards The Big House 4, the last supermajor of 2014. Unfortunately, The Big House 4 did not go well for Armada, as he lost to Leffen and Mang0 to finish 4th. Overall, it was a disappointing year for him, as he failed to win a supermajor and only managed to win a few smaller nationals. He was ranked #2 in MIOM’s 2014 SSBMRank.
Armada’s first trip to America in 2015 was Paragon Orlando, which also had Mew2king, Hungrybox and Leffen in attendance. He faced Hungrybox in Winner’s Semis, and decided to try Peach against Jigglypuff once again. After his loss at EVO 2014, he had given up on using Young Link and needed a new way to combat Jigglypuff. Peach did not work well for him, and he lost the first two games of the set. In game 3, Armada shockingly switched to Fox and proceeded to win the next two games. He ultimately lost game 5, but his Fox played very well. In Loser’s Quarters, he played against Leffen and his rapidly improving Fox. It proved to be an incredible set, one that Leffen believes to be the best set of all time. In the past year, Leffen had been giving Armada a lot of trouble in the Fox vs. Peach matchup. He is extremely good at the matchup, to the point where it feels impossible for Peach when Leffen is playing well. Paragon Orlando was no different, and Leffen dismantled Armada’s Peach to go up 1-0. In game 2, Armada switched to Fox and lost handily to go down 2-0. There was a huge turnaround in game 3, and Armada managed to dominate Leffen for a four stock. It was amazing to see Armada use a secondary character of his to dismantle one of the best Foxes in the world. He went on to win game 4, but lost game 5 and the set. Despite finishing a disappointing 5th place, Paragon was an experiment for Armada. He wanted to see how his Fox would fair, and it certainly showed promise.
The first supermajor of the year was Apex 2015, and there were many questions regarding Armada’s Fox. Fans were unsure of whether the Fox would make an appearance, or whether he would solely use Peach like he usually did. In Winner’s bracket, Armada did, in fact, use Peach, but lost in Winner’s Semis to PPMD. In Loser’s bracket, he almost exclusively used Fox and did very well. He defeated Hungrybox in Loser’s Quarters, Mang0 in Loser’s Semis and Leffen in Loser’s Finals. In Grand Finals, he managed to win the first set against PPMD with Fox, but ultimately lost the second set to finish 2nd. Although he did not succeed in winning, his Fox performed well again. After the tournament, Armada tweeted that he would start using Peach less frequently as Fox was the better character. This shocked the Melee community because Armada was considered by far the best Peach player. Moreover, the Melee community was already discussing the possibility of 20XX: the idea that the metagame will eventually be pushed to the point where it is only possible to win with Fox. Armada’s announcement that he would switch to Fox further propelled the idea of 20XX.
Armada almost exclusively used Fox for the next few tournaments he attended. He won McSmashter 4 and Beauty 10 using mostly Fox. Yet another change was seen at his next American tournament: I’m Not Yelling! He used Fox in almost all of his Winner’s bracket matches, but was handily beaten by Mang0 in Winner’s Finals. In Loser’s Finals, he managed to beat Leffen in Fox dittos. After the set, Leffen told Armada to have faith in his Peach against Mang0. Armada started Grand Finals using Fox but lost game 1. He took Leffen’s advice and switched to Peach, which he used to win both sets of Grand Finals to win the tournament. After I’m Not Yelling!, Armada reintroduced his Peach. He began to dual main and used his Peach in conjunction with his Fox. The reality of the matter is that Armada needs Peach and Fox. The characters complement each other well, and there are certain matchups that he can only win with one of them. After I’m Not Yelling!, Armada won a string of smaller nationals, and looked like the favourite to win the larger tournaments during the summer of 2015.
The first summer tournament was CEO 2015, and Armada was the clear favourite to win; he was on a winning streak against Mang0, Hungrybox and Leffen. He cruised to Winner’s Finals but was decisively beaten by Leffen. During the set, it was clear that Leffen had practiced and improved his game even further. Armada made Grand Finals through Loser’s bracket, yet lost again to Leffen to finish 2nd. The following weekend was FC Return, where he was beaten by Leffen and Hungrybox to finish 3rd. At WTFox, he lost to Leffen once again in Winner’s Finals. In Loser’s Finals, his winning streak against Mang0 ended in a close 2-3 loss. In a short 3 weeks, Armada went from being a clear favourite to win EVO to a huge question mark. Going into EVO 2015, Armada had lost the last set he played against Mang0, Leffen, Hungrybox, and PPMD. Despite this fact, Armada was still confident going in. On his twitter page the week before EVO, one tweet stood out in a sea of homesick and tired tweets. It read: “I’m ready to fight to the very end. I WANT TO WIN EVO! I will create a way to actually win in the end.” While Mang0 is always confident, Armada is usually more humble. It is very rare for him to say that he will win. Therefore, this tweet meant that he was very serious about winning.
Armada was nearly upset by Silent Wolf in Winner’s bracket of EVO, but managed to qualify for Winner’s Semis. He advanced to Winner’s Finals by beating Hungrybox 2-1 to set up an Apex rematch against PPMD. Armada swiftly defeated him 3-0 to advance to Grand Finals. Similar to how Armada failed to reach EVO 2014 Grand Finals, Mang0 failed in 2015. Once again, Hungrybox stopped a Grand Finals set between the two, as he advanced himself. Armada defeated Hungrybox in Grand Finals to win the tournament. It was an incredible moment; the goal that he had been working towards for an entire year was finally accomplished. He has stated that EVO 2015 was his best win since GENESIS 2.
The next supermajor of the year was The Big House 5, and Armada won without losing a set. He boasted victories over Mew2king and Hungrybox to take the tournament. His win at The Big House further proved that he had become the best in the world again. Moreover, Armada won Smash Summit over PPMD, Mang0, and Mew2king. His only loss in the fall of 2015 was at Dreamhack, where he finished in 2nd place behind Hungrybox. Armada’s dominant 2015 earned his rank #1 in MIOM’s 2015 SSBMRank.
2016 began with the missing chapter in the Melee community: GENESIS 3 had finally arrived. After five long years, the tiebreaker GENESIS was here, as Mang0 won the first and Armada won the second. Going into the tournament, Armada was the favourite to win. On the other hand, Mang0 had been struggling and many believed that he would not make Grand Finals. The tournament turned out to be incredible. Armada decisively defeated PPMD and Hungrybox to comfortably make Grand Finals through Winner’s bracket. Mang0 took a different route; after being knocked into Loser’s bracket early, he tore through the bracket to set up a clash of two titans in Grand Finals. To begin the first set, Mang0 decided to Fox ditto Armada, which is one of Armada’s best matchups. The Fox ditto was one of the reasons why Armada started using Fox, and it was a matchup that he was practicing and perfecting for a year. Despite this fact, Mang0 dominated Armada in two Fox dittos while using some of Armada’s best strategies against him. The crowd was going wild for Mang0 with roaring cheers whenever he would take a stock. Every time he won a game, the crowd would erupt as if they were personally winning. Virtually everybody there wanted Mang0 to win. Moreover, Mang0 had an enormous amount of momentum from his Loser’s bracket run. For a while, it was looking like Armada would collapse, just like in the first GENESIS.
Ironically, Armada switched to Peach for game 3. He spent the last year focusing on his Fox and talking about how Peach was no longer good enough. Yet, during Grand Finals, his Fox failed and he reverted back to Peach. Armada won game 3 with his Peach, but lost game 4 and the first set. During the second set, his Peach prevailed over Mang0’s Fox 3-1. It was an incredible display by Armada. Despite the crowd cheering against him and the momentum on Mang0’s side, Armada kept his composure and prevailed. Mang0 was playing at his best, but Armada still won. As a result, the rest of 2016 is looking promising for Armada. At the start of 2015, Mang0 was clearly the greatest of all time. However, Armada matched Mang0’s 2014 with an equally impressive 2015. Therefore, 2016 is the year where they will have the opportunity to pull ahead, and as of right now, it looks like Armada will seize this opportunity.
Ditto: A matchup in which both players are using the same character. I.e In fox dittos, both players are using Fox.
Edgeguarding: The act of intercepting the opponent’s recovery when they are off stage to secure a kill
Loser’s/Winner’s Bracket: Melee tournaments follow a double elimination style. If a player loses in Winner’s bracket, they still have a chance to advance through Loser’s bracket. The winner of Winner’s Finals and Loser’s Finals meet in Grand Finals, which decides the winner of the tournament. The player coming from Winner’s Finals only needs to win one set, while the player from Loser’s Finals must win two successive sets to win the tournament.
Neutral game: A phase in which no player has an advantage over the other. The goal is to win neutral by finding an opening
Punish game: How well a player can convert a neutral win. If a player’s punish game is strong, they will have devastating combos out of a small opening in neutral.
Rest: An extremely powerful Jigglypuff move. Leaves the user very vulnerable, allowing the opponent to badly punish Jigglypuff if she misses
Tournaments: Tournament can be divided into four broad categories, based on how many top players are present.
- A local is a small tournament with a region’s best players in attendance, generally has no significance for gods
- A regional is a tournament that tends to attract the best players in the region in which it is hosted, as well as top players from nearby regions. Generally has low significance for gods
- A national/major tends to have the region’s best players, a 2-3 gods as well as several top 30 players. Generally moderate to high sginificance for gods. Tournaments in this category include: CEO 2014, I’m Not Yelling!, MVG Sandstorm, Super SWEET, Smash Summit, Smashers’ Reunion: Melee Grande, Paragon Orlando, Paragon Los Angeles, HTC Throwdown, FC Return, Melee FC10R Legacy, WTFox, Revival of Melee, The Big House 2&3, Press Start, Kings of Cali 4, Zenith
- A supernational/supermajor has at least 4 gods in attendance and most of the top 30 players. Very high significance for gods. Tournaments in this category include: Apex, EVO, Pound, GENESIS, CEO 2015, MLG Anaheim 2014, The Big House 4&5, Dreamhack Winter
Sandbagging: Intentionally not trying, frequently done with low tier characters.
Set: A set in Melee is a series of four stock games that are played between two players. The sets tend to be best-of-three earlier in bracket and best-of-five later in bracket. The set begins with a game that is played out on a neutral game. The subsequent games are played on a stage that is chosen by the loser, known as a counterpick.
Zero to death: The opponent begins at 0% and is killed off of one combo