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The three man race to the third Smash Summit

Juan "Hungrybox" Debiedma, right, reacts as he works to reset the brackets in his Super Smash Bros. Melee grand finals matchup against Adam "Armada" Lindgren at Evo 2016. Gail Fisher for ESPN

Adam "Armada" Lindgren comes in fresh with a win at the Canada Cup and looks forward to his third consecutive Smash Summit as he tries to cement his place as the best player of 2016.

He started the year strong with a win at Genesis 3 over his rival, Joseph "Mango" Marquez. Yet for a few months, Armada elected to stay in Europe as Juan "Hungrybox" Debiedma started to win nearly every event in the United States. After a third place finish at Battle of the Five Gods, many began to wonder whether or not Armada lost his title to Hungrybox as the best player in the world. These speculations were put to a sudden halt as Armada took Smash Summit 2 over Hungrybox.

The tables turned in the summer for Armada. He struggled against Mango's new playstyle and lost to him at Get On My Level 2016 and WTFox 2. Hungrybox got his revenge at Evo 2016 but afterwards, Armada spent most of his time in Europe, where he won Heir 3 and Syndicate 2016 with relative ease.

Still, many began to wonder if Armada could win another major in the U.S. Both Mango and Hungrybox seemed to figure out how to handle Armada's playstyle: Mango added Falco and Marth to his arsenal and Hungrybox studied Armada's playstyle extensively with his coach.

Furthermore, the lack of strong practice seemed to put Armada further behind as Hungrybox and Mango practiced against each other every other week. The end of summer brought bigger questions in the race for number one. Armada started the year strong, but Hungrybox's streak of wins leading into Evo were equally, if not more, impressive. Although Mango did not have as many victories underneath his belt, he quietly put together a strong 2016 with a multitude of second place finishes and a strong overall head-to-head record against Armada (7-3) and Hungrybox (8-9).

In the three-man race for best Melee player in 2016, could Armada pull ahead or will the other two surpass him?

The Big House 6 has given us some answers, but also more questions. Mango ended up winning the entire event, but Armada showed they were equal in skill. Both of them won seven games, and Armada was on the verge of winning before Mango managed to clutch out the final game. Along the way, Armada handily defeated Hungrybox and Jason "Mew2King" Zimmerman.

In strange fashion, Hungrybox lost to his nemesis, Zachary "SFAT" Cordoni, in a lopsided set that put Hungrybox on emotional tilt for the rest of the tournament. Shortly after the event, Hungrybox pledged his life to full-time Melee and announced that he would quit his engineering job so that he could focus solely on Smash. Meanwhile, Armada has slowly returned to form, most recently winning the Canada Cup over Hungrybox and Mew2King. The win marks his first major win in North America since Smash Summit 2.

With only a handful of majors left in 2016, winning means more than ever. Mango, Armada and Hungrybox all come in with high expectations. After winning The Big House 6, Mango believes he's figured out the current metagame and boldly claimed that he will win the Smash Summit 3. Armada continues to gain confidence with every passing day as he has eyes set on winning his third Smash Summit. Hungrybox has had big aspirations to earn the title of "best Melee player of the year."

The other top players believe that Armada will bounce back from his mini-slump and come back even stronger, now that he can dedicate himself fully to the game. Could Smash Summit 3 be his comeback event?