William "Leffen" Hjelte won Super Smash Bros. Melee at Evo in dominating fashion. It was a monumental success for him, and the tournament victory is the best of his career. But Leffen has always been capable of playing at that level, and the Melee community has seen it before.

At Get On My Level 2016 in Canada, Leffen crushed every player who stood in his way, besting Adam "Armada" Lindgren, Jason "Mew2King" Zimmerman, and Joseph "Mang0" Marquez. That all happened while he experienced problems acquiring a visa that prevented him from attending many of the majors in 2015 and 2016. It seemed to be a miracle win as Leffen was leveling up as a player.


But the visa problems persisted, and he wasn't granted one until October 2016. Understandably so, when Leffen started competing in the U.S. again, he was nowhere near as strong as when he won GOML 2016. Outside of winning Heir 4 and Get On My Level 2017, Leffen had a streak of fifth or worse placings. Near the end of 2017, shades of the meteoric Leffen started returning, and now, in 2018, it appears Leffen has recovered completely and is starting a career peak.


In Leffen's Evo run, he beat Adam "Armada" Lindgren, Juan "Hungrybox" DeBiedma, and Justin "Plup" McGrath -- the only three players in the entire world ranked higher than him on the summer MPGR.

It's worth mentioning Hungrybox sustained an injury before Evo that could have heavily affected the outcome of the close 2-1 set Leffen won in winners semis. But one can't take too much from Leffen's win, as he dismantled Plup in the winners final, 3-0, before 3-0'ing Armada in the grand final. Evo was a tournament where Leffen was clearly playing better than everyone else, and at that moment, was the best player in the world.


This could be a sign of Leffen finally breaking out of the top five muck and surpassing it. Leffen has shown he can play at that level before, but in order to truly become one of the greatest to ever do it, he needs to show that he can consistently play at that level. It won't be easy, as Hungrybox will inevitably return to full strength, but Leffen has the ability to take down Hungrybox and everyone else.


With Armada falling from grace after a loss to James "Swedish Delight" Liu, his first loss to a non-top eight player since 2012, and Mang0's decline in strength, there are not many threats left standing in Leffen's way to the top. Leffen has shown that he can dismantle Mew2King, and Plup, two others that could challenge them.


The only thing that can really stop Leffen now is himself. With a victory at Heir 5, his hot streak continues. It's clear that he can outplay everyone in the room, he just needs to tap into that energy and use it to succeed.


Photo courtesy of Carlton Beener/Evo