The first Smash Melee Supermajor of the year and perhaps the biggest of the year is happening this weekend in San Jose, California. Nine of the top 10 players from Nerd Street's Smash Melee top 10 for 2022 are going to be in attendance with many other top 100 players competing this weekend too. The only player missing in attendance is Philadelphia’s own Hugh "SluG" Hegarty who recently posted a cryptic tweet that has led to speculation about his retirement from competitive Melee.
Among the many exciting events surrounding this tournament, former No. 1 player in the world Armada will be attending and commentating during the tournament. It’s a rare sighting of Armada who has largely distanced himself from Melee after retiring in 2018. Streamer and big Smash supporter Ludwig “Ludwig” Ahgren is expected to play in a $20,000 money match in Smash Ultimate that should be entertaining to watch for Ultimate and Melee players alike.
In the doubles bracket, Justin "Plup" McGrath and Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma, known in the community as “Plupbox,” are seeded No. 1 and favored to win. However, there are other strong pairings looking to upset them. Their strongest challengers are likely to be Masaya "aMSa" Chikamoto/Joseph "Mango" Marquez and Cody "iBDW" Schwab/Jake "Jmook" DiRado. All of those other players were ranked in Nerd Street’s top 10 and expected to be in the top 10 of the Start.gg SSBM Rankings. Besides these top teams, another duo to watch is the Mexican pairing of Jonathan "Bimbo Mexico" Rocha and Eduardo "Eddy Mexico" Lucatero Rincon. The Falco and Luigi mains, respectively, both have the ability to take their opponents by surprise with this odd character pairing.
Mang0, left and iBDW, right, are both expected to be strong contenders at Genesis 9. Photo credit: Beyond the Summit
The singles bracket will be very exciting and should set the tone for the 2023 season. After his strong second half of 2022, the Yoshi main aMSa is the first seed of the tournament but is potentially going to run into a difficult match up in Plup in the winners quarterfinals. Sheik is a difficult matchup for Yoshi, best shown by the now infamous first to 25 online showmatch where Plup dominated aMSa. If he can dodge this matchup by having Jeffrey "Axe" Williamson or Gio "null" Rossi defeat him in an earlier match, then aMSa has a great chance of running the bracket to the winner’s side of the grand final.
One of the most interesting potential matchups is a projected winner’s semifinal between Mang0 and Zain “Zain” Naghmi. These players had one of if not the best grand finals sets ever at Smash Summit 11 where Mang0 came out victorious. Getting to this match isn’t a simple task for either, with Zain needing to take down Swedish Fox William "Leffen" Hjelte and Mang0 needing to defeat Jmook.
Hungrybox has two Foxes to defeat to get to the winner’s semis in Kurtis "moky" Pratt and iBDW which can be a very tricky matchup for Jigglypuff. It doesn’t get easier after that as he would be projected to tackle the aforementioned aMSa, Axe or Plup. Hungrybox doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses in any matchups across the bracket, so in that fourth seed, he has the potential to make a run that vaults him back into the conversation of No. 1 in the world.
Hungrybox, left, finished second to Zain at Genesis 7, and Jmook, right, finished second at last year's Genesis. Photo credit: Beyond the Summit
Among the honorable mentions from my top 10 list, I am excited to watch Davis "Palpa" Scherer, who is projected to run into British player Elliot "Frenzy" Grossman and then Avery "Ginger" Wilson in the loser’s bracket. Palpa certainly has the skill to defeat these Falcos. He has shown that with wins over fellow Texan Bobby Big Ballz and the Prettiest Falco in the game, Sasha "Magi" Sullivan. Wevans has a very interesting potential matchup in the loser’s bracket against Aljon "Franz" Apilado. A top 64 matchup at Genesis between Samus and Dr. Mario might not have been on your Bingo card, but we might get that this weekend.
In the end, Zain is my favorite to take the entire bracket followed by aMSa, Mang0 and Hungrybox. My dark horse favorite is Plup as he has favorable matchups to get to the winner’s semis where anything can happen. Whoever you are rooting for, make sure to tune in starting Friday to check out some high level Melee all weekend.
Lead photo credit: Beyond the Summit
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