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This weekend, one of the most prestigious tournament series in Super Smash Bros. history will return to San Jose, California. With more than 1,000 entrants for both games, Genesis 9 will be the biggest Melee tournament since Genesis 8 and the biggest Ultimate tournament since Super Smash Con 2022.

But, the numbers alone don’t tell the whole story. Both brackets will feature a stacked line-up of many of the best players in the world, including all of the current top eight Melee players.

The journey to the top begins for aMSa at Genesis 9

After winning his first major, The Big House 10, Masaya “aMSa” Chikamoto said his next goal was to become the best player in the world. Since then, he’s won two more majors and tied with Cody “iBDW” Schwab for the best match-up spread against fellow members of the top eight. Both of them finished 2022 with five winning records and two losing records among the top eight players.

Due to his outstanding finish to last year, aMSa is entering Genesis 9 as the first seed. As a result, he will undoubtedly look to make it the first step on his journey to becoming the No. 1 player in the world for 2023. However, he will have to overcome a difficult bracket to win this tournament.

In winners quarters, aMSa will likely have to face Justin “Plup” McGrath, who won their only set last year. Perhaps even more telling was their recent online exhibition set, a best-of-49 where Plup handed aMSa a brutal 25-2 loss.

Even if he overcomes Plup, aMSa will then likely face iBDW, the only other member of the top eight who had a winning record against him last year. Unless these players get upset earlier in the bracket, it will take a statement performance for aMSa to come out on top at Genesis.

Jmook may finally have a major-winning bracket

Jake “Jmook” DiRado shocked viewers with his breakout performance at Genesis 8. At his first tournament outside of the East Coast, Jmook made a Cinderella run to second place as the 21st seed. Since then, he has consistently placed in the top eight of every tournament he has entered.

However, one substantial obstacle has prevented Jmook from winning his first major: Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma. Jmook was rarely able to avoid running into his bracket demon last year. He incurred a 1-11 record against Hungrybox as a result. However, Jmook may finally get a Hungrybox-less bracket at Genesis 9.

To get to winners finals, Jmook will likely have to beat Joseph “Mang0” Marquez and either Zain “Zain” Naghmi or William “Leffen” Hjelte. He had winning or even records against all of them last year. Meanwhile, Hungrybox’s road to winners finals would require beating iBDW and either aMSa or Plup, all of whom he had losing records against last year.

In addition, Jmook’s most likely winners finals opponent would be Cody “iBDW” Schwab. He beat iBDW the last time they played at the Scuffed World Tour. Jmook’s scariest opponent may actually be Davis “Palpa” Scherer, an up-and-coming Jigglypuff main he is projected to play prior to top 64. But, if he can stay in the winners bracket, this may be Jmook’s greatest opportunity yet to win a major.

Ultimate storylines at Genesis 9

On the Ultimate side, Leonardo “MkLeo” López Pérez has been seeded fourth. This ties with Smash Ultimate Summit in March of 2019 as the lowest he has ever been seeded at an Ultimate tournament. Of course, the seed is fitting considering MkLeo has averaged around a fourth-place finish across his last six tournaments.

Nevertheless, it’d be foolish to ever count MkLeo out. He was seeded third going into the Ludwig Smash Invitational, the most stacked tournament of all time. Nevertheless, he won the tournament in dominant fashion.

Still, a victory for MkLeo feels like less of an inevitability than ever. The top three seeds at Genesis 9 — Edgar “Sparg0” Valdez, Mashita “acola” Hayato and Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey — have all won majors since the Ludwig Smash Invitational. If MkLeo falls short, the three of them will all be jockeying for a shot at the No. 1 spot on the rankings for the first time in their Ultimate careers.