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Zain Naghmi won Super Smash Bros. Melee Singles at Genesis 7 in Oakland, California on Jan. 26. While he has had many notable tournament wins, this was Zain’s first supermajor victory since Shine in August 2018.

Zain looked dominant leading up to top 32, earning flawless victories over Matt “Boyd” Reymann and Jake “Jakenshaken” Bloxsom. He then beat Johnny “S2J” Kim in the Marth-Captain Falcon matchup, which Zain historically struggled in prior to 2019. Zain found himself in top 8 on winners side after a 3-0 win over DaJuan “Shroomed” McDaniel.

Zain faced his toughest opponent in Winners Semis, the incumbent No. 1 player in the world, Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma. But Zain was not to be deterred, as he won that set 3-1. He continued his run with a close 3-2 win over Joseph “Mang0” Marquez in Winners Finals. With another 3-2 victory over Hungrybox in Grand Finals, Zain became the Genesis 7 Melee champion.

While Zain had a meteoric rise to the top 10 in 2018, his results plateaued a bit in 2019. As a result, he only rose a single rank from 2018 to 2019, now ranking No. 6 in the world.

Nevertheless, Zain is currently the highest-ranked free agent in all of Melee, as he parted ways with Panda Global on Nov. 8. For this particular event, he was sponsored by Ludwig Ahgren and sported Ludwig’s “Mogul Moves” merch while competing. Ludwig is even selling the jacket Zain wore during Genesis 7 Melee top 8 on his website.

Top 8 at Genesis 7 Melee Singles

Aziz “Hax” Al-Yami proved that his 3rd place finish at Mang0’s Birthday Bash last December wasn’t a fluke. Hax started his tournament off strong, scoring flawless victories over Derek “Aura” Olson and Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby. Though he suffered an 0-3 loss to William “Leffen” Hjelte, his insane losers run would ultimately carry him to 4th place in Genesis 7 Melee Singles.

In losers, Hax eliminated Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni, Weston “Westballz” Dennis, and Kevin “PewPewU” Toy to make top 8. He then beat Shroomed 3-0 and won his runback against Leffen before falling to Hungrybox in a reverse 3-0.

Shroomed placed 7th in Genesis 7 Melee Singles, his first major top 8 since Low Tier City 7 in July. A series of upsets made his bracket slightly easier than originally expected. Still, Shroomed earned respectable wins over Rishi Malhotra, Brandon “Panda” Orooji, Avery “Ginger” Wilson, and James “Swedish Delight” Liu.

Likewise, n0ne had an impressive run to 7th place after losing early in top 64 to Hax. On his losers run, he won sets against Michael “MikeHaze” Pulido, Ginger, S2J, and Masaya “aMSa” Chikamoto. During his top 8 set against Shephard “Fiction” Lima, n0ne sported the “KOBE” tag in honor of late NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

Upsets galore

Many of Melee’s top 10 players were eliminated before top 8 at Genesis 7. Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson placed 33rd, losing to Panda and Justin “Plup” McGrath. Plup (playing exclusively Fox) placed 25th, losing to PewPewU and Armand “ARMY” Del Duca. Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett placed 17th, losing to Nico “Ryobeat” Rodriguez and Griffin “Captain Faceroll” Williams.

Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman and Cody “iBDW” Schwab both placed 13th at Genesis. Mew2King lost to aMSa and Swedish Delight, while iBDW lost to PewPewU and Captain Faceroll. Finally, aMSa placed 9th, losing 0-3 to Mang0 (whom he was undefeated against in 2019) and 2-3 to n0ne.