The Summer 2022 MPGR has revealed the top 10 Melee players for the first half of the year, with Zain “Zain” Naghmi, Cody “iBDW” Schwab and Jake “Jmook” DiRado rounding out the top three. With this placement, Zain and Jmook have both made Melee history.
Though the era of the five gods has long since passed, Melee gods like Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma and Joseph “Mang0” Marquez have still had firm control of recent Melee rankings. However, with his top placement on the Summer 2022 MPGR, Zain has become the first non-god to claim the No. 1 spot on an official Melee ranking.
The five gods had previously dominated Melee tournaments, even before the first official ranking in 2013. According to the unofficial RetroSSBMRank, Zain is the first non-god to rank No. 1 since Ken “Ken” Hoang in 2006.
However, Zain’s hold on the top spot is tenuous. Zain has won fewer majors than iBDW this year and also has a losing record against him. While iBDW’s poor losses have held him back on this ranking, Zain will need to bring back his “Golden Age” from earlier in the year to maintain his position at the top.
— Melee Stats (@MeleeStatsPod) August 5, 2022
Zain and Jmook rise to the top of the MPGR
Meanwhile, Jmook’s unprecedented rise to third on the Summer 2022 MPGR marks the highest debut of a previously-unranked player on an official Melee ranking. Barring the first official ranking — the 2013 SSBMRank — the previous honor went to Dawud “Aklo” Rahman. Aklo was ranked top 20 in North America on MPGRContenders. This region-split ranking grouped players into tiers rather than giving them specific ranks.
Of course, Aklo’s high debut could be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. He had already become an established threat at online tournaments in 2020 and 2021. However, there was never an official ranking that took online tournaments into account.
Conversely, Jmook had largely been inactive, entering only a couple of online tournaments in early 2021. As a result, Jmook’s historic rise can largely be attributed to him traveling to compete for the first time in his Melee career.
Jmook boasts winning records against Zain and William “Leffen” Hjelte and has lost to only one player outside of the top 10 — Mang0. However, he has yet to win a major and is held back by his 0-5 record against Hungrybox. Nevertheless, both Jmook and Zain will continue into the next MPGR season with lots of momentum.
Dylan Tate is an alumnus of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a gaming journalist with a love for Nintendo esports, particularly Super Smash Bros. and Pokémon.