Brandon Sullivan, a 19-year old sociology sophomore, has joined the ranks of the Top 100 Super Smash Bros. Melee players in the world, ranking 97th as a Falco main.
Sullivan started playing Melee in January 2014 after getting hooked from The Smash Brothers on YouTube. Since watching, Sullivan picked up the name “Magi” for tournaments and reached the Top 100 after five years of grinding and hard work.
“I’d been anxious about the rankings ever since the season ended, and just being able to see all the hard work pay off and be recognized nationally was such a great feeling,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan picked up the name Magi from when he played competitive Yu-Gi-Oh before he entered the Melee community. He would say “magi” when he placed down a certain card, and it stuck with him when he needed a name when joining SmashBoards, a forum many Melee players used to use.
Sullivan recently attended Genesis 6, where he upset the fifth-ranked player in the world, Mang0. He’s gotten a “huge surge” of popularity since the upset on Feb. 2. He even caught the attention of popular Melee player Leffen with a congratulatory message on Twitter for his big win.
“It was easily the biggest thing that’s ever happened to me in my Melee career and will probably always stand out regardless of whatever I will accomplish from this point onward,” Sullivan said.
Mang0 happens to also be one of Sullivan’s biggest role models in the Melee community. Sullivan has looked up to him his entire career and has major respect for him.
“He’s basically the hero in the community,” Sullivan said. “It’s honestly a dream of mine to ever have the hearts of the crowd like Mang0 does.”
Historically, Melee players from Louisiana have not performed well once they start competing outside the state. It was a nice change when Sullivan went to Dreamhack Austin in June 2018 and received $500 for placing fifth among high-profile Melee players.
Sullivan has really appreciated the camaraderie amongst players not just in the Melee community, but the esports community as a whole.
“It’s honestly just nice to be a part of a community that collectively understands the beauty and difficulty of a lot of these video games,” Sullivan said. “I think there are still a lot of people that scoff at the idea of video games being genuine forms of competition, so having a community that does get it and appreciates it is really nice.”
Sullivan encourages anybody who is interested in joining the scene to not be scared to jump in or think it is too late. The University’s Melee players meet for a weekly practice session at Tureaud Hall on Tuesdays, and are more than happy to bring in more players.