After months of looking up at the podium, Joseph “Mango” Marquez won his second Super Smash Bros. Melee Major of the season yesterday with an extremely tight victory over Zain Naghmi in the grand finals.
Ranked as the fifth-best Melee player in the world on the latest PGR list, Mango has performed well at every event he’s attended this year, placing no lower than 16th. But this victory at The Big House 9 is only his second title in 2019.
Mango said he thought his play throughout the event was pretty sloppy, especially in the later stages when he was knocked into the losers bracket by William “Leffen” Hjelte. Although that series was close, Leffen secured a 3-0 win and looked poised to take the event.
But Mango bounced back in a big way. To push into the homestretch, Mango had to take down the best player in the world, Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma, someone who’s had his number all year.
But Mango destroyed Hbox 3-1. Only one of those games came down to a last-stock situation for the Falco main, who was playing Fox. That win sparked something in Mango, pushing him into the top four where he took down Shephard “Fiction” Lima in a five-game set.
That set up a rematch against Leffen that was much more reminiscent of their usual series. It went to game five this time, but in the last two games, it looked like Mango found his groove and was easily reading his Swedish opponent.
After closing out the fifth game with two stocks, the grand finals were set and Mango went to work on a bracket reset against Zain.
The games were heated from the start, with Zain pulling off some insane Marth combos. But even after being saved by a clutch appearance by Randal on Yoshi’s Story, things started tipping toward Mango. After clutching out an intense game five, the bracket reset happened and Mango fought through everything Zain could throw at him.
Much like with Leffen, once Mango got into a groove, he was reading Zain much more often and playing freely. During the last game, he closed the entire tournament out by going for an on-stage spike instead of the safe ledge guard option to end it.
With this victory, Mango hoisted his second first-place trophy of the season, taking home $3,636 and giving the Mango Nation something to celebrate.