It’s a story almost unheard of in any sport, e or otherwise. A player, previously considered one of the best in the world ten years ago, coming back and proving that he can still battle with the best of them.
That is exactly what Daniel “ChuDat” Rodriguez is doing right now in Super Smash Bros Melee. In 2006 ChuDat was widely considered the second best player in the world, behind the King of Smash Ken (Not to be confused with Smash 4 Sonic main KEN). Now in 2017, After an impressive run of tournaments concluding with second place finish at Dreamhack Austin, people are saying that the Midwest Ice Climbers main might be as high as fourth in the world, over ten years later. Impressive.
ChuDat mains Ice Climbers who have the dubious honor of being the only character in Melee with a tournament legal infinite combo (in this case the combo is a grab). Under the right circumstances, a grab from Ice Climbers means certain death. On paper this seems like it would make the character one of the best in the game, but at the top level, this is not the case. The infinite grab (Wobble) requires that both Ice Climbers be alive and close to each other when the grab is performed. No easy feat when the second climber is controlled by a level 3 AI. Although possessing an infinite helps ChuDat immensely, he’s well known for being a great player even without it.
A lot of ChuDat’s recent success can be attributed to his defeats of fan favorite, Melee God and pro streamer, Joseph “Mang0” Marquez. The last three times they have played, ChuDat came out on top. Historically, Mang0 has been very good at the ice climbers matchup, making ChuDat’s victories all the more impressive.
It’s not just Mang0 who has felt the wrath of ChuDat. At DreamHack Austin he defeated Mew2King, another member of Melee’s God tier.
So what could stop ChuDat’s rise to the top?
The Peach vs Ice Climbers matchup is considered one of the most disadvantageous matchups in the game for Ice Climbers, even more so when you consider that the undisputed best player in the game, Armada, is a Peach main. To this day, ChuDat is the only Ice Climbers player ever to take a game from Armada.
There’s a ray of hope however. ChuDat debuted his Jigglypuff against Mew2King at Dreamhack Austin. Jigglypuff vs Peach is considered incredibly advantageous towards the Jigglypuff player. ChuDat showed this by defeating Mew2King’s Peach in two games. It should be noted, that many top players consider Mew2King’s Peach terrible. It’s a far cry from beating the best player and best Peach main in the world, but it’s a start.
All eyes are now on Atlantic City, as this weekend all the previously mentioned players will be meeting at Royal Flush. Tune in to Video Game Boot Camp’s stream on Saturday from 11am (EST) to see if ChuDat can keep proving that he’s “chu good”.