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Ken Hoang

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Ken Hoang
Ken Hoang.jpg
Ken Hoang at the Survivor finale showing, at CBS Studios, Los Angeles, California
Born (1985-10-10) October 10, 1985 (age 33)
HometownWestminster, California
Current teamTeam Liquid
LeagueMajor League Gaming
Evolution Championship Series
GamesSuper Smash Bros. Melee
Project M
ChampionshipsEVO World 2007
MLG New York 2005

Ken Hoang (born October 10, 1985), usually known simply as Ken, SephirothKen or Liquid`Ken is an American professional Super Smash Bros. Melee player and television personality. Ken plays Marth in Melee and is known for his comparatively aggressive style of play. His dominance with the character has led to his becoming the namesake of the "Ken Combo", an effective combo used in gameplay. He also largely brought about the implementation and popularization of "dashdancing", a movement technique involving rapid side-to-side dashing that has since become integral to all levels of competitive Melee.[1] Ken is also known by the nickname "King of Smash".[1]

Hoang was the 2004—2005 national champion of Major League Gaming, the 2007 international champion of Evolution Championship Series (EVO) World Finals,[2][3] 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.

Hoang possesses the highest major tournament win-to-loss ratio of any Super Smash Bros. Melee player from 2003 to 2007.[4] His three years of dominance earned him the nickname "The King of Smash" within the community.[3] 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.[5] Ken retired in 2006. In 2012, he officially returned to the Melee scene. In 2014 he and fellow Melee veteran Daniel "KoreanDJ" Jung joined Team Liquid as the team's first Smash Bros. players.[6]

Hoang was a contestant on Survivor: Gabon, which aired in the fall of 2008. He was the fifth-place finisher, and sixth member of the jury.

Smash Bros. career[edit]

Hoang started playing Super Smash Bros. when it was released for the Nintendo 64, but never competed in an organized tournament for the game, due to a lack of a widespread competitive scene at the time. 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.[citation needed] 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 Bros. 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.[7]

In 2003, he competed in his first major tournament, part of the Tournament Go (TG) series, one of the first major Melee tournament series.[8] 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.[7][9]

Seven months later, in August 2003, Hoang attended and won TG5. This was the first tournament where he partnered with Joel Isai Alvarado (otherwise known as "Malva00") for doubles in a team known as El Chocolate Diablo. 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.[10]

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. He traveled to Japan several times and defeated top players such as Aniki, Captain Jack, Masashi, Bombsoldier, Korius, and Mikael in the summer of 2005 and 2006.[11]

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.[2] 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, including EVO 2013, where he placed 49th out of 696 participants, then the Smash tournament with the largest number of entrants in history.

In 2013, Hoang's career was profiled in the documentary series The Smash Brothers.[1][13] At the end of the year, Ken was ranked in the final spot at 100th in Melee it on Me's 2013 SSBMRank listing of the best Melee players.[14]

On March 18, 2014, Team Liquid announced that Hoang and KDJ would be joining their new Super Smash Bros. team.[15] Ken rose to 58th in the 2014 SSBMRank.[16]

At Apex 2015 Ken finished 81st. At Apex he also played PC Chris in a Salty Suite exhibition match and lost 3-2.[17]

At EVO 2015 Ken finished 13th, his highest placing at a major since Super Champ Combo in 2007.

Notable tournament placings[edit]


Tournament[18] Date 1v1 Placement 2v2 Placement Partner
Tournament Go 4 January 19, 2003 1st 2nd Manacloud
Tournament Go 5 August 2–3, 2003 1st 1st Isai
Game Over January 10, 2004 1st 1st Isai
MELEE-FC1 July 9–10, 2004 1st 1st Isai
Tournament Go 6 August 21–22, 2004 9th 1st Isai
MLG New York 2004 October 24, 2004 1st 1st Isai
MOAST 3 January 16, 2005 2nd 1st Isai
MLG DC 2005 January 29–30, 2005 1st 1st Isai
MLG San Francisco 2005 February 26–27, 2005 1st 1st Isai
Gettin' Schooled 2 June 25, 2005 1st 1st Isai
MELEE-FC3 July 10–12, 2005 1st 1st Isai
Jack Garden Tournament August 20, 2005 1st
MLG Los Angeles 2005 October 14–16, 2005 2nd
MLG Atlanta 2005 November 25–27, 2005 1st 1st Isai
MLG Chicago 2005 December 16–18, 2005 1st
MLG New York 2005 February 24–26, 2006 1st 1st Isai
MLG New York Opener 2006 April 21–23, 2006 2nd 1st Isai
MLG Dallas 2006 May 19–21, 2006 1st 1st Isai
MLG Anaheim 2006 June 23–25, 2006 1st 1st Isai
MLG Chicago 2006 July 21–23, 2006 1st 2nd Isai
Zero Challenge 2 August 15–17, 2006 1st 7th Rob$
MLG Orlando 2006 August 25–27, 2006 5th 1st Isai
MLG New York Playoffs 2006 October 13–15, 2006 7th 3rd Isai
MLG Las Vegas 2006 November 17–19, 2006 3rd 1st Isai
Comrades 2 June 9, 2007 1st 1st CAOTIC
Zero Challenge 3 July 20–22, 2007 4th 2nd Bombsoldier
EVO World 2007 August 24–26, 2007 1st
Super Champ Combo September 29–30, 2007 7th 7th Isai
Kings of Cali November 10, 2012 33rd 3rd Dr. PeePee
Kings of Cali 2 April 13–14, 2013 17th Hairynipples
EVO 2013 July 12–14, 2013 49th
Kings of Cali 3 December 14–15, 2013 25th 5th HugS
Pat's House 2 May 24–25, 2014 17th 9th HugS
SKTAR 3 May 31-June 1, 2014 25th 9th KoreanDJ
SSS Lock-In June 14–15, 2014 9th 5th KoreanDJ
MLG Anaheim 2014 June 20–22, 2014 21st 9th KoreanDJ
CEO 2014 June 27–29, 2014 33rd 7th KoreanDJ
Kings of Cali 4 July 5–6, 2014 13th 4th DEHF
EVO 2014 July 11–13, 2014 33rd
Super Smash Sundays 29 December 7, 2014 9th 5th DEHF
Apex 2015 January 30-February 1, 2015 81st 25th KoreanDJ
I'm Not Yelling! April 11–12, 2015 25th 5th Lil Fumi
MVG Sandstorm April 18–19, 2015 17th 9th OkamiBW
Press Start May 9–10, 2015 25th 7th Kira
EVO 2015 July 17–19, 2015 13th
Paragon Los Angeles 2015 September 4–6, 2015 33rd
HTC Throwdown September 19, 2015 17th 5th Axe
GENESIS 3 January 15–17, 2016 33rd 17th Santiago
DreamHack Austin 2016 May 6–8, 2016 17th
EVO 2016 July 15–17, 2016 49th

Project M[edit]

Tournament[19] Date 1v1 Placement 2v2 Placement Partner
SKTAR 3 May 31, 2014 193rd
CEO 2014 June 27–29, 2014 25th 7th KoreanDJ

Personal life[edit]

Hoang's family is Vietnamese.[1] Ken attended California State University, Long Beach where he completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illustration.[20] He credits his earnings from playing Super Smash Bros Melee for financing him through college.


In August 2008 it was announced that Hoang would be appearing on Survivor: Gabon, on the American television network CBS.[21][22] He stated that he believed he was the underdog but hoped that it would garner him popular support.[21]

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,[23] 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 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 name that he coined himself.[24] He wanted to seem like a weaker player, when in reality, he was the mastermind of some of the most important votes. He was the fifth-place finisher, and sixth member of the jury. In the Final Tribal Council, he voted for Susie Smith, who placed second behind Crowley, in the vote for Sole Survivor.[25]


  1. ^ a b c d Beauchamp, Travis (2013). The Smash Brothers: Episode 4 - The King of Smash. EastPointPictures.
  2. ^ a b "MLG Interview with Ken". Major League Gaming. 2007-09-05. Retrieved 2012-05-19.
  3. ^ a b Campbell, Sean (2006-05-29). "Are they worth fighting for?". Got Frag. Archived from the original on 2012-02-10.
  4. ^ CAMILLE DODERO (2006-11-21). "The next action sport". The Phoenix. Archived from the original on 2007-10-21. Retrieved 2008-03-03.
  5. ^ Pro video gaming comes to cable TV
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b "The King of Smash: MLG Interviews Ken". Major League Gaming. 2006-01-04. Retrieved 2012-05-19.
  8. ^
  9. ^ KishPrime (May 2005). "MELEE-FC: Where it all began". MELEE-FC. Archived from the original on 2007-03-15. Retrieved 2008-03-03.
  10. ^ "MLG Chicago Smash Wrap-Up". Major League Gaming. 2006-07-31. Retrieved 2012-05-19.
  11. ^ Alphazealot (2007-11-22). "Smash Pro Profiles from 2006". Major League Gaming. Archived from the original on 2008-04-16. Retrieved 2008-03-03.
  12. ^ "The World's Most Dangerous Gamers". Electronic Gaming Monthly (208). October 2006. pp. 52–53. Archived from the original on 2011-05-22.
  13. ^ Hernandez, Patricia (2013-10-16). "A Fascinating Look At The World's Best Super Smash Bros. Players". Kotaku. Retrieved 2015-01-29.
  14. ^ Lee, Daniel (December 9, 2013). "2013 SSBM Player Rankings: 91-100". Melee it on Me. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  15. ^ "Liquid Smash Brothers Melee". Team Liquid. 2014-03-18. Archived from the original on 2014-03-19. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
  16. ^ Lee, Daniel (December 5, 2014). "SSBM Rank 2014 (60-51)". Melee it on Me. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  17. ^ Apex 2015. February 1, 2015.
  18. ^ "Melee". SmashBoards. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  19. ^ "Project M". SmashBoards. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  20. ^ Larsen, Peter (September 22, 2008). "It's 'game on' for Westminster 'Survivor' contestant". The Orange County Register. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  21. ^ a b ", Ken Hoang bio". Retrieved 2012-05-19.
  22. ^ "What We’re Watching This Fall" Archived 2008-09-06 at the Wayback Machine. AsianWeek. Retrieved on 2008-09-15.
  23. ^ "Want to See the Elephant Dung?". Survivor: Gabon. 2008-09-25. CBS.
  24. ^ "The Brains Behind Everything". Survivor: Gabon. 2008-11-13. CBS.
  25. ^ "Reunion". Survivor: Gabon. 2008-12-14. CBS.

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