Melee is a game of demoralization. You get demoralized, I get demoralized, local shitters get demoralized, top players get demoralized, and so on. Tournaments are demoralizing, practice is demoralizing, losing is demoralizing, hell, even winning is demoralizing for some. When you enter an event, regardless of if you’re a high-skill and well-adjusted normie or a bottom-feeding screecher, you’re likely going to encounter disappointment in a myriad of ways. The knowledge that suffering is an inevitability when playing Melee, while Nietzschen, is still incredibly important if you wish to overcome the pain of performance, so to speak, for only through the acknowledgement of the inevitable can we seek to overcome it. To play is to suffer, just as to live is to suffer, but much in the same way that we rarely anticipate or prepare for the worst that life has to offer, we all too often to fail to prepare for the worst that Melee has to offer. The worst of the worst is neither mangled hands nor the Sisyphean task of reading and responding to post-supermajor Reddit thinkpieces. No, the worst of the worst, undoubtedly, is losing to a low-tier.
Allow me to set the scene here-
You’ve arrived at your first important event. You’ve had some decent showings at your local tournaments, but now, perhaps as a business move, perhaps because of how stale your locals have become, you’re now looking to step onto a big stage and show your worth at a regional. You sit down for your 1st pools match. Your opponent sits next to you. You glance at them and offer a pleasantry. You then hear a sound come from the CRT and you realize that your opponent has selected Kirby. You scoff under your breath, perhaps even feeling sorry that this person who has obviously never been to a tournament before is getting thrown to the wolves. You smile and tell him he can ban first, for you are like Xerxes, a generous god. You two strike to Battlefield and bump fists.
Enter Game 1- You exit from your trance-like autopilot and realize that Kirbymaster has taken 2 of your stocks in the first minute. You have now gone from dismissive overconfidence to fear-induced sharting in time shorter than it takes DJ Nintendo to go from “No” to “IIIIIIIII”. You collect yourself while on the cloud. Despite being outplayed in virtually every facet of the game, you convince yourself he’s just getting by on gimmicks and you’ll soon adapt. No way he’s actually capable of beating you. You play Falco, you play an S-Tier, you’re fine. All that you need to do are remember your fundamentals- invisible shines, platform cancels, and stickywalking. You take a deep breath and drop down onto the top platform.
You get 2 stocked Game 1.
Invariably, at this point several people have noticed there’s a Kirby beating the ever-loving shit out of a Falco in a tournament set and have begun crowding around the set-up so that they may cheer for Kirbymaster. He has become the coolest person in the sweaty and Dengue fever-laden venue, and you are merely a vessel by which he achieves that. Game 2 has begun and there are now at least a dozen people watching you flub the simplest shit possible in Game 2 as Kirbymaster somehow manages to kill you off one of his patented “roll backwards into you and uptilt” approaches. He’s planking by the ledge and you take the opportunity to execute an off-stage dair. He responds by moving slightly to the left and then pirouetting on your head as you try to return to the stage, spiking you into the unforgiving abyss. You are now on-course to be 3-stocked game 2 and are no longer deluding yourself into thinking you’ll win the set. Now is the time for you to enter damage control mode, trying to play to the crowd, laughing, etc, all to save face in the eyes of the spectators. But inside you aren’t laughing. Inside you’re doubting everything you thought you knew about this game and yourself.
Mercifully, the set is now over. You’ve been 2-0’d by a Kirby. You look over to your opponent, the individual you thought would give you a guaranteed win, and you see him giving you this look, this look that every low-tier main in the history of forever has given each and every person they’ve beaten- the shittiest shit-eating grin out there. The picture below, with Randall playing the role of Kirbymaster and TJ playing the role of you, is as perfect of a recreation of this look that I’ve ever seen.
Kirbymaster has given you the look, so he has done his job. Thus, he leaves with his posse of low-tier sycophants, but you remain in your chair, broken… hollow.
In a darker time you would have been left to fend for yourself in a cruel, post-low-tier loss world, but fear not, we’re in the Platinum Age, and as such, you have resources like this- The Bad Melee guide to coping and recovering from a loss to a low-tier.
Step 1- Acceptance
I know it’s hard to admit, it’s hard to come to grips, but you have to understand and accept one simple fact before you are ready to carry forward- you got outplayed. You can cry inexperience, you can cry gimmick, and you know what? That’s fine. But you’re wrong and being a bit of a bitch.
In this situation you are not the hapless grunt in an RPG who is forced to fight a power-leveled mage who carries The Staff of Anal Obliteration, you are not Youngster Joey’s Rattata being forced into a battle against a Mega-Charizard. You know what you are? You’re the kid who lost his starting Point Guard position to the Golden Retriever from the Air Bud movie. Before you complain and curse the fates for matching you against a character that you don’t know, think about what a little dickhead that kid would sound like if he tried to explain that the only reason he lost his 1v1 was because he wasn’t familiar with how a dog would dribble the ball? That is precisely what you sound like when you try to say you only lost because you didn’t know you could mash out of Kirby’s throws.
The fact that Air-Bud dribbled with its nose doesn’t change the fact that he got outplayed by a fucking dog. In the same way, the fact that you don’t know every in and out about Kirby doesn’t excuse you from losing to him. Forgive me for sounding like a redboner, but dogs are simply not as good as humans at basketball, it’s a simple fact. In the same vein, Kirby and other low-tiers are simply not as good as high-tiers at being characters in Melee. What this means is that if you lost it’s either because they’re amazing, you’re terrible, or both. Only by coming to grips with that can you hope to move forward. Acceptance is the first step, friend.
Step 2- Motivation
This step is far less taxing than the previous one. The reason for that? You already have everything you need inside of you. For step 1 you had to overcome the self, overcome the desire to make excuses for oneself. Essentially, you had to fight against the emotions that make us human. For step 2, I ask that you do the opposite. Embrace your embarrassment, your dismay. Use your anger as a tool. You must take the spark of fury that you felt when you saw his shit-eating grin and harness it, turn it into a flame. Do whatever it takes to do that- be it listening to My Chemical Romance, watching replays of your set, or slaughtering Young
lings Links. This is perhaps the most important step, as even if you have all the necessary tools to beat Kirbymaster at your disposal you cannot use them without the will to do so. For that reason, before you go back to practicing your waveshines and watching GR Smash videos, think instead about the shame you felt when reporting your score to the TO, the fire you felt in your chest when you got roasted on the community Facebook page, and the plane of existence you will ascend to once you deflate both Kirby, and Kirbymaster’s ego.
Step 3- Learn and Strategize
It isn’t enough to be angry however. You must take your anger and use it as motivation for your practice. Like a /fit/ user who only achieved vascularity after their qt was taken from them by a Chad, your feelings ought to be what propels you into a strict regimen of practice and learning. Your practice is your practice and I won’t tell you how to conduct it (do it to the tune of 80’s montage music), but I feel there is one bit of knowledge that will be invaluable for it. It is as follows- you are playing against a low-tier. Do not deceive yourself or overcomplicate things. Stick to your fundamentals, balance your strengths with their weaknesses, and don’t play their game. To refer back to an earlier example, Buddy the Golden Retriever should never win a 1v1 against any player, even at the middle school level, if said player is keeping things simple and not trying to score every point by shooting 360 no look hook shots from half-court. That’s perhaps the best strategy for success against the Kirbymasters of the world. Treat the low-tiers as what they are- evil, one-dimensional characters. Prokaryotes, essentially. That doesn’t mean disrespect them. When you’re going head-to-head against Buddy you don’t spit in his eyes, because he’s likely to take a bite a testicle off. There is a large difference between playing disrespectfully and playing in a way that’s representative of the fact that you’re facing off against a generally terrible character. The former will take you to a place of no return, whereas the latter will bring you sweet retribution.
Step 4- Revenge
By now you should have accepted you were outplayed, motivated yourself, and learned how to combat your foe, but your recovery is not over yet. No, in order to truly redeem yourself you must defeat them in a set with an equal or greater amount at stake than the set you lost. Kirbymasters are slimy creatures, eager to maintain a breadth of 1-0 records vs. opponents, so if you want the nightmares to end, you need to do everything in your power to meet them again in bracket. Travel across state lines, force a shared acquaintance to gaslight them into attending a tournament of your choice, bribe the TO into matching you two into the same pool, it doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it. No excuse is excusable for them. If they say they can’t attend a tournament because of the world famous “personal reasons” excuse, then truly make it personal and hold their true love hostage at a tournament and offer to money match Kirbymaster for the hostage’s life. Do everything in your power to get them into a position that will allow you to take your revenge. Once you are at that point, once you’ve sat down next to him and bestowed upon him a pleasantry, it’s time for you to do what you’ve been working towards.
Step 5- How to handle the result
My parents taught me that only one who is gracious in victory has truly been victorious. Given their track record in regards to Santa Claus and the whereabouts of my 1st dog, I’m not inclined to believe them. HOWEVER, in this instance, they are correct. This is not because I believe there to be any value in being gracious to that which is valueless, but because only through pretending that this was all no big deal, that your victory was just a regular step in the journey, can you do true damage to the Kirbymaster. Through painstaking research, I have discovered that low-tier mains require neither food nor water; rather, they derive sustenance solely off of the energy in the air comes from the results of their sets. Therefore, if your desire is to not just win, but to take a large step towards eliminating this Kirbymaster from existence, you must give them nothing to stick their horrible little tendrils into. Fistbump, curt nod, and walk away. Once you’re out of sight you can do whatever you wanna do- do a happy dance, bust a nut, whatever, just don’t let them see it. By taking from them the source of their will to continue, you can hopefully leave them dessicated, devoid of any and all low-tier derived joy. Their joy is gone and yours has come back. Congratulations friend, you did it.
Step 5.5- The other result
What? You lost again? Well then. I have no words for you. I think that I know someone who does though. Perhaps they can take you down the correct path- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3ed_k5XFv8