Ginger's Midwest Dominance continues at HTL6

By "Hank" Strandberg | 08/16/21

After getting a taste of a true Melee major in the form of Smash Summit 11 last month, the U.S. Melee community was hungry for more than just locals. This past Saturday, they got their full course meal in Hold That L 6.

After more than a year with no in-person tournaments, players from all over the Midwest and the East Coast crossed state lines to converge in Chicago for Melee’s first regional-sized tournament of 2021. The result of said convergence was an entire day of intense, entertaining competition with some highly memorable moments along the way. 
As the reigning Hold That L champion,
was the first seed at the event, and just like at Hold That L #5, Ginger swept the tournament without dropping a single set, only being taken to game five twice throughout the whole tournament by
in both winner semis and winners finals respectively. 
With a win at Hold That L #6, Ginger has most likely cemented his place as the Midwest’s greatest Melee player, and has built up a nice bit of momentum heading into Riptide, Melee’s first major of 2021. 
After a year of collecting big-time wins online, Ben was the player going into Hold That L #6 with the heaviest expectations. Now, this tournament would be the perfect test to see if he could cross controllers with the MPGR-ranked players he had defeated over the course of the past year in an offline setting. It is safe to say Ben passed with flying colors after a phenomenal second place finish in a tournament that had eight MPGR ranked players. 
A goal of Ben’s once in-person tournaments came back was to make the top 100. While the continuing pandemic leaves the future of the MPGR up in the air, in a standard year, this kind of performance would have made a strong case. Of the eight currently-ranked top 100 players in attendance, Ben defeated three of them: Polish,
twice, and
; they were all ranked within the top 63 in the world (Zamu #48, Drephen #49, and Polish #63).
Ben at Hold That L 6. Click to expand.
Interestingly enough, Ben defeated Drephen twice at Hold That L #6. In doing so, he avenged his loss from when they played at House of Paign 22, where Ben lost to Drephen 3-0. If Ben can keep racking up MPGR wins throughout the rest of the year, he could potentially hear his name in the talks during the next ranking phase, whatever form they take.
Going from one Sheik main to another, a spotlight must be given to perennial Midwest staple, Drephen. Drephen has been getting high placements at tournaments since before some of the up incoming players were even alive, and even all these years later, he still is making top eight.
After being sent to losers in winners quarters by Ben, Drephen showcased his veteran composure by embarking on a three-set win streak in the losers bracket. On his warpath, the battle-tested Sheik main beat Pleeba
, and the two best Samus players at the event, Morsecode762
, and TheSWOOPER
, before losing another close game five set against eventual second placer, Ben.
Drephen at Hold That L 6. Click to expand.
Even though he may not have won the event, Drephen has shown that he still has a wealth of Melee mileage left in his tank and that he won’t let any generation of player take him down easily.
"Hank" Strandberg is a Super Smash Bros. Melee and Magic the Gathering enthusiast from Minnesota currently attending Hamline University. Follow him on Twitter at @HankStrandberg.