Joel Isai Alvarado, known as Isai (often pronounced "Isaiah"), is an American Super Smash Bros. 64 player widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time. He is credited with creating the modern metagame and was so far ahead of all other competitors that he was virtually untouchable, giving rise to the meme "Isai is too good" within the community. 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, Luigi, Fox, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, and Jigglypuff.
He is a former Super Smash Bros. Melee player and was ranked 7th best in the United States before retiring from the game. He mained Captain Falcon and Sheik in Melee, while using Fox as a secondary. He was ranked first on the Melee NorCal Power Rankings in 2006.
Super Smash Bros.
Isai is considered by many to be the best Super Smash Bros. player of all time. The only player to ever beat him in a twelve character battle is the Japanese champion Jousuke (possibly due to the battle being done on the Japanese version of the game) and the only smashers who have shown true competition to his Pikachu are wario, Gerson and Alvin (one of the best Japanese and Peruvian players, respectively), who have taken multiple matches against Isai in dittos, as well as wangera and Mariguas, who are the only two people to have defeated Isai's Pikachu in a tournament set. Isai is currently ranked 3rd on the 2018 64 League Rankings.
Isai traveled to West Japan in November of 2006 to play the professional players there. He played at Tokyo and a Hokkaido Smashfest in December 2006 and in Osaka in January 2007 and recorded a lot of matches that can be found on his Youtube channel. He lost a few games playing as Mario, Samus, DK or Captain Falcon (against Sima's Ness, Hoto's Luigi, Tatsuman, Rinko and Tsukuru), but generally did not have any true competition.
He won FC Diamond in 2007, which can be considered the first US major Smash 64 tournament. With 64 participants, it was the largest US Smash 64 tournament for a few years. In grand finals he won Link dittos against Sensei.
In 2011 he travelled to Peru to compete against the top players there. At a smashfest in July in Lima he had no competition, but in August in Tacna he had some close matches and lost a few times against Alvin, Gerson and Marka.
Isai is also known for his impressive performance with the low-tier character Link. He managed to finish second at Apex 2012 by only using Link, only losing to SuPeRbOoMfAn's Captain Falcon and still winning a few matches against the latter. He also won the European tournament B.E.A.S.T 7 using primarily Link.
From around 2005-2007, Isai was the leader of his online crew MC. MC was considered the preeminent crew and recruited some of the best players before its disbandment, later ceding its best crew title to PPS.
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.