Following a delay caused by the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Super Smash Bros supermajor Genesis 8 is set to take place this weekend in San Jose, California. 1,550 players are signed up for the Melee Singles bracket, making Genesis 8 the 6th largest LAN Melee tournament ever and the largest since Genesis 7 in 2020. Almost all of the best players in the world will be in attendance, leading to an insane number of phenomenal sets to look forward to. If you can only tune in for a minute, here are five sets you might hope to see.
#5: Ben vs. Hungrybox
There was a time when Ben was giving Hungrybox a beatdown weekly, sometimes more than once. Last year, Ben held a six-set win streak over the former #1 player in the world’s Jigglypuff. Hungrybox broke the streak at Riptide, taking a game 5 victory over Ben at their first LAN meeting. Since then, Ben has only bested Hungrybox once. Their record stands at a perfectly even 9-9.
Hungrybox is accustomed to having all eyes on him at major tournaments. If he wins this set, as projected, he is set to face Polish, a Peach player he recently dominated at the online tournament GIGASCHWAB. This will launch him to a Top 8 qualifying set against Mang0, a real chance to swipe the first seed and prove he’s still got the magic. But first, Ben has his chance to slap Hungrybox into the Losers Bracket.
#4: iBDW/Fiction vs. Plup/aMSa
Teams is possibly the most unique game mode in any fighting game, found only in the Super Smash Bros series. Unfortunately, Doubles is not as popular as Singles in modern Melee; though many top players will still find the time to enter. Here, tucked away in the second round of the Doubles bracket, we have four examples of such players.
iBDW and Fiction started teaming up when iBDW lived in California. They performed well in the latter half of 2019, taking second at Shine 2019, third at Mainstage, and second at The Big House 9 before finishing fifth at Genesis 7. Between the COVID pandemic and iBDW’s move back to New York, the two did not enter together until Mainstage 2021, finishing second. Plup and aMSa are doubles mainstays, though usually with different teammates. Plup will typically team with Mew2King while aMSa teams with Axe, but absent their static partners, the two have joined forces for Genesis 8. There is high upset potential in this match, and a chance to see aMSa’s unique Yoshi in the context of doubles.
#3: SFAT vs. SluG
If you didn’t know about SluG before the pandemic, there’s no avoiding him these days. Online, he has risen to prominence as one of the only top representatives of the Ice Climbers. He’s one of many regular entrants in online weeklies like Salt Mine and Training Mode Tuesdays, but he also had a LAN breakout last year when he beat n0ne at Mainstage 2021 to finish 13th. This weekend, he finds himself in SFAT’s path.
Something you might not know, but will likely not surprise you, is SFAT’s record against Ice Climbers. He boasts stellar 8-2 and 15-6 lifetime records against ChuDat and ARMY respectively. SFAT has repeatedly shown how the strengths of Fox can deny characters from the mid-tiers, like Yoshi, Samus, Pikachu, and Ice Climbers. However, SluG might be the best that we’ve seen him right now, having recently beaten iBDW’s Fox at a Salt Mine. It would be devastating to see a player like SFAT enter the Losers Bracket so early, but I see a reasonable chance it will happen.
#2: aMSa vs. KoDoRiN
Like many players not based in North America, aMSa was not able to compete during the COVID pandemic. On one of two trips to North America last year, he attended Smash Summit 11, his first recorded tournament in a year and a half. He faced Zain in pools at that tournament, and while he fell to Zain for the third consecutive set, it was a highly competitive five-game set that demonstrated that aMSa had not missed a beat.
In the time since aMSa’s last visit to the United States, KoDoRiN has become a genuine Top 10 contender and the best player in SoCal, taking wins over iBDW, Magi, SFAT, and S2J. KoDoRiN has never had the opportunity to face aMSa, and certainly has never played him at the skill level he’s reached recently. If Zain is pushed to a last-stock situation against aMSa, how will KoDoRiN fare this weekend?
#1: Zain vs. Mang0
The biggest question surrounding this weekend is who the eventual victor will be. There are many contenders in the top seeds – iBDW, Plup, Wizzrobe, aMSa. Even lower seeds like Hungrybox, KoDoRiN, or SFAT might get long odds for first place. But in my mind, this weekend will culminate in a showdown between Zain and Mang0.
These two players have defined many of the largest events in the past two-and-a-half years. They’ve played seventeen times since their Grand Finals set at LACS 2 in July of 2020. In those seventeen sets, Zain has taken 11 of them, winning LACS 2, Smash Summit 10, and LACS 4 in the process. Mang0, to his credit, has shown up when it counted, taking two sets in a row to win Smash Summit 11 and winning their face-off at Smash Summit 12 to finish second. These wins shot Mang0 to be named the best player in North America on Panda Global’s Contenders ranking for 2021. So many tournaments have felt like these two were on a collision course, and Genesis 8 is no exception.
Genesis 8 will be held in San Jose, California from April 15th-17th. Streams for Melee and Ultimate will be through Beyond the Summit’s multiple channels dedicated to Smash. For updates on the event, follow @Genesis_Smash and @BTSsmash on Twitter.