Ken Hoang

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Ken Hoang
Ken Hoang.jpg
Status Active
Date of birth (1985-10-10) October 10, 1985 (age 29)
Hometown Westminster, California
Current team Team Liquid
Games Super Smash Bros. Melee

Ken "Kenny" Hoang (born October 10, 1985) is a Vietnamese American professional electronic sports player who plays Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Hoang is the 2004-2005 national champion of Major League Gaming, the 2007 international champion of EVO World Finals,[1][2] and was the highest ranked Super Smash Bros. Melee player in the United States. He was also the world champion for several years, having defeated reputable players from around the globe, including top Japanese players such as Aniki, Captain Jack, Masashi, Bombsoldier, Korius, and Mikael in the summer of 2005 and 2006.[3] In the competitive gaming community, he is known simply as "Ken" or by his gamer tag "SephirothKen".

Hoang possesses the highest major tournament win-to-loss ratio of any Super Smash Brothers Melee player from 2003 to 2007.[4] His three years of dominance earned him the nickname "The King of Smash" within the community.[5] His primary character in the game is Marth, and his secondary is Fox. He received minor television coverage in MTV's True Life: I'm a Professional Gamer, and received further coverage in the fall of 2006 after MLG arrived on cable television.[6]

Hoang was a contestant in Survivor: Gabon,[7] which aired in the fall of 2008.[8]


Hoang started playing Super Smash Bros. when it was released for the Nintendo 64, but never competed in a major tournament for the game. When Super Smash Bros. Melee was released for the Nintendo GameCube, Ken initially did not enjoy it, but the game grew on him after a period of a few months. By the time he attended his first tournament, he already built up a reputation in his town as the best Smash player. This tournament differed from most later Super Smash Brothers Melee tournaments in that matches were free-for-all matches between four players rather than a 1 vs 1 match. The other players teamed up against Hoang to eliminate him.[9]

In 2003, he competed in his first major tournament, part of the Tournament Go (TG) series, one of the first major Super Smash Brothers Melee tournament series. In this, the fourth installment of the tournament series, Hoang won the singles (1 vs 1) tournament and lost in the doubles (2 vs 2) tournament to the winners of the first two TG tournaments.[9][10]

Seven months later, in August 2003, Hoang attended and won TG5. This was the first tournament where he partnered with Isai "Isaiah" Alvarado (otherwise known as "Malva00") for doubles. Their victory in the doubles tournament started a two-and-a-half year winning streak. They won every doubles tournament they entered until MLG Chicago in July 2006, where they were defeated by Azen and Chillindude829 in the finals and received second place. However, they reclaimed their title later that year in August at MLG Orlando where they defeated Azen and Chillindude829 6-3 in the finals.[11]

For the next two years, he continued to win nearly every competition he entered. The worst loss he ever garnered in his competitive career was in August 2004 at TG6 where he placed 9th out of approximately 128 competitors.

Ken retired from competitive play in 2008. Although retired, he was regarded as one of the top players long after his departure from the tournament scene.[1] In September 2006, Ken was nominated in "The Dangerous Five" as one of "The World's Most Dangerous Gamers" by Electronic Gaming Monthly, in which he was called "The Duper" for his fast, smart, and aggressive play.[12]

Hoang returned to the game in 2012 after a five year hiatus and placed 33rd in Kings of Cali. He has since attended several additional tournaments most recently the 2013 Evolution Championship Series where he placed 49th out of 696 participates, the Smash tournament with the largest number of entrants in history.

In 2013, Ken's smash career was profiled in the documentary series The Smash Brothers

On March 18, 2014, Team Liquid announced that Hoang and KoreanDJ would be joining Liquid's new Super Smash Bros Team.[13]

Notable Tournament placings[edit]

Note: These are only major tournaments which include professional and amateur tournaments with 60 or more players.

Year Placings
  • 1st - Tournament Go 4 (TG4) ($900)
  • 1st - SoCal Inland Empire SSB:M
  • 1st - Tournament Go 5 (TG5) ($1000)
  • 1st - Game Over ($650)
  • 1st - The 0-C (Zero Challenge) ($650)
  • 1st - MELEE-FC ($500)
  • 9th - Tournament Go 6 (TG6)
  • 1st - Major League Gaming (MLG) 2004 Season Finals New York ($2000)
  • 1st - MLG 2004 Season points
  • 2nd - MOAST 3 ($400)
  • 1st - MLG 2005 (Season OpenerTournament) DC ($1000)
  • 1st - MLG 2005 (Season Tournament) San Francisco ($500)
  • 2nd - MLG 2005 (West Coast Regionals) Los Angeles ($1000)
  • 1st - MLG 2005 (East Coast Regionals) Atlanta ($2000)
  • 1st - MLG 2005 (Central Regionals) Chicago ($2000)
  • 1st - MLG 2005 Season Finals New York ($5000)[5]
  • 1st - MLG 2005 Season points leader
  • 1st - Jack Garden Tournament (JGT) (Japan)
  • 1st - Getting Schooled 2 ($800)
  • 1st - MELEE-FC3 ($800)
  • 1st - Champ Combo: NorCal Edition ($400)
  • 1st - Champ Combo: Yayuhzzz Edition ($400)
  • 1st - 0-C2 (Zero Challenge 2) ($1200)
  • 2nd - MLG 2006 (Season Tournament) New York ($1200)
  • 1st - MLG 2006 (Season Tournament) Dallas ($2000)
  • 1st - MLG 2006 (Season Tournament) Anaheim ($2000)
  • 1st - MLG 2006 (Season Tournament) Chicago ($2000)
  • 5th - MLG 2006 (Season Tournament) Orlando ($300)
  • 7th - MLG 2006 (Season Playoffs) New York ($375)
  • 1st - NCT2: The Big One ($1080)
  • 3rd - MLG 2006 (National Championships Singles) Las Vegas ($3000)
  • 1st - MLG 2006 (National Championships Doubles) Las Vegas ($5000) per team member
  • 1st - MLG 2006 Season points leader ($4000)
  • 4th - 0-C3 (Zero Challenge 3)
  • 1st - EVO World 2007 ($5000)
  • 2nd - EVO World 2008
  • 33rd - Kings of Cali
  • 49th - EVO 2013
  • 25th - Kings of Cali 3
  • 9th - SoCal Regionals 2014
  • 17th - Pat's House 2
  • 25th - SKTAR 3
  • 9th - Super Smash Bros 4 invitational (PR Event)
  • 33rd - CEO2014
  • 21st - MLG 2014 Anaheim
  • 13th - Kings of Cali 4
  • 33rd - EVO 2014

Personal life[edit]

Ken attended California State University, Long Beach where he completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration.[14]

He has expressed interest in working for Wizards of the Coast and Nintendo.[citation needed] He credits his earnings from playing Super Smash Bros Melee for financing him through college.

Survivor: Gabon[edit]

In August 2008 it was announced that Hoang would be appearing on Survivor on the American television network CBS. He openly stated that he believed himself to be the underdog but hoped that it would garner popular support.[7]

Hoang was chosen to join the Fang tribe in the first episode when Danny (GC) Brown picked him. Fang was weaker than the opposing Kota tribe in challenges, losing five of the first six immunity challenges, and Hoang was in danger of elimination several times during the pre-merge stage of the game. He formed an early bond with fellow Fang castaway Michelle Chase,[15] who ended up being the first person voted off. During the second Tribal Council, he was a target for elimination by Gillian Larson, but was spared as the rest of the tribe saw Larson as the weaker player. Hoang single-handedly won the first immunity challenge for Fang, in which his puzzle-solving skills were pitted against physics teacher Bob Crowley of the Kota tribe. Though Kota was in the lead at the end of the first section of the challenge, which allowed Crowley a head start in solving his puzzle, Hoang solved the puzzle first and saved his tribe from Tribal Council.

Hoang made the merge and was in the merged tribe, named Nobag, a phrase he coined himself.[16] He was the fifth place finisher, and sixth member of the jury. He voted for Susie Smith in the final Tribal Council, who placed second.[17]


  1. ^ a b "MLG Interview with Ken". Major League Gaming. 2007-09-05. Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  2. ^ Campbell, Sean (2006-05-29). "Are they worth fighting for?". Got Frag. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  3. ^ Alphazealot (2007-11-22). "Smash Pro Profiles from 2006". Major League Gaming. Archived from the original on 2008-04-16. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  4. ^ CAMILLE DODERO (2006-11-21). "The next action sport". The Phoenix. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  5. ^ a b Sean Campbell (2006-05-29). "Are They Worth Fighting For?". GotFrag DPAD. Archived from the original on 2012-02-10. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  6. ^ Pro video gaming comes to cable TV
  7. ^ a b ", Ken Hoang bio". Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  8. ^ "What We’re Watching This Fall". AsianWeek. Retrieved on 2008-09-15.
  9. ^ a b "The King of Smash: MLG Interviews Ken". Major League Gaming. 2006-01-04. Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  10. ^ KishPrime (May 2005). "MELEE-FC: Where it all began". MELEE-FC. Archived from the original on 2007-03-15. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  11. ^ "MLG Chicago Smash Wrap-Up". Major League Gaming. 2006-07-31. Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  12. ^ "The World's Most Dangerous Gamers". Electronic Gaming Monthly (208). October 2006. pp. 52–53. 
  13. ^ "Liquid Smash Brothers Melee". Team Liquid. 2014-03-18. Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  14. ^ Larsen, Peter (September 22, 2008). "It's 'game on' for Westminster 'Survivor' contestant". The Orange County Register. Retrieved January 27, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Want to See the Elephant Dung?". Survivor: Gabon. 2008-09-25. CBS.
  16. ^ "The Brains Behind Everything". Survivor: Gabon. 2008-11-13. CBS.
  17. ^ "Reunion". Survivor: Gabon. 2008-12-14. CBS.

External links[edit]