Joel Isai Alvarado, often referred to as simply Isai (pronounced "EYE-ZAY-UH"), is an American smasher and is considered the world champion of Super Smash Bros.. He was ranked 7th best in the United States in Super Smash Bros. Melee before he retired from that game. He mains Pikachu in Super Smash Bros., but can use the entire cast at a top professional level, choosing to use a variety of secondaries at tournaments. Isai has stated on Reddit that his favorite characters are Link, Mario, Fox, Luigi, Donkey Kong, Yoshi and Jigglypuff. He mained Captain Falcon and Sheik in Melee, while using Fox as a secondary. He was also ranked first on the NorCal Power Rankings. Having retired from Melee, Isai now plays Smash 64 exclusively. As a result of his particularly high technical expertise and skill in both Melee and Smash 64, and for being virtually untouchable in the latter game to an extent beyond the top players in the other Smash games, the phrase "Isai is too good" became a meme in the Smash Bros. community.
Super Smash Bros.
Isai is the undisputed world champion of Super Smash Bros.. The only player to ever beat him in a 12 character battle is the Japanese champion Jousuke and the only other smasher who has shown true competition to his Pikachu is the Peruvian champion Gerson, who has taken multiple matches against Isai in dittos. Isai is currently ranked 3rd on the unfinished Smash 64 ELO Rating.
Isai traveled to West Japan in November of 2006 to play the professional players there. However, no sets against the Japanese champion Jousuke (nor many other top Japanese players) were recorded and as a result of this, Isai generally did not have any true competition.
Isai is in part responsible for the higher position of Link in the most recent tier list, due to his overall astonishing performance with the character, later confirmed at Apex 2012 where he managed to finish second by only using Link, only losing to SuPeRbOoMfAn's Captain Falcon and still winning a few matches against the latter. However, with the recent banning of Hyrule Castle in certain rulesets (including Apex 2014), this newfound position is again in jeopardy.
After winning Apex 2014 and defeating Moyashi, the player considered the best Kirby in the world twice, many again question Jigglypuff's tier placement.
Notable tournament placings
CT Live stream
Isai agreed in November 2013 to regularly stream online sessions of Smash 64 through CLASH Tournaments' Twitch channel in exchange of revenue based on viewership count. These take place on Tuesday nights at 8PM PST (11PM EST). Smashers regularly featured on the stream include Bane, Mariguas, and Near among others.
Isai in his prime was regarded as the best Melee Captain Falcon player in the world. Although his placings at Melee singles tournaments lowered over time, he is one of the few players to have defeated former Melee world champion Ken multiple times.
Isai and Ken constituted El Chocolate Diablo, the strongest doubles team in the world circa 2004-2006. El Chocolate Diablo remained undefeated in tournament sets until their loss to Taj and Forward at a Champ Combo tournament, and placed 1st at every tournament they entered until placing 2nd behind Azen and Chillin at MLG Chicago 2006. However, Isai and Ken would later win MLG Las Vegas 2006, the final MLG National Championship for Melee teams in 2006. Following this win, El Chocolate Diablo became inactive for almost a year until their final appearance at Super Champ Combo, where they placed 7th.
Loss of interest in Melee
Despite his success, Isai gradually lost interest in Melee in 2007. In early 2010, Isai expressed interest in playing Melee seriously again, but after smashing with Scar and entering a handful of tournaments, Isai still did not find it enjoyable anymore.
Notable sandbagging incidents
At Apex 2012, he was unexpectedly convinced by the crowd to play a Melee exhibition match against the other Smash veteran Captain Jack. However, he only sandbagged and was 4-stocked, much to the audience's disappointment.