Zain Naghmi has competed in four different Genesis tournaments since joining the Super Smash Bros. Melee professional scene in 2015, and after three years of improving his placement with each attendance, he finally claimed first place.
In a tough run through the bracket that put him up against some of the best to play the game, Zain closed out Genesis 7 with a huge win over Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma to win it all.
To make it into the top eight, Zain took down both Johnny “S2J” Kim and DaJuan “Shroomed” McDaniel in two very one-sided sets that put him in his first matchup with Hbox of the year. The two had met several times throughout 2019 and just competed as a team in Doubles the night before, but their match showed that the Marth main was not messing around.
He ended up securing a 3-1 win over the top player in the world, handily taking the first game and then clutching out two one stock wins that very nearly went the other way. This was an amazing way for him to start his top eight run, but his next opponent had a completely different playstyle.
While Zain was able to stay back and play with some patience against Hbox’s Jigglypuff, it’s difficult to stay composed when Joseph “Mang0” Marquez is in your face and shining you into the ground.
That massive shift in tempo took Zain by surprise in game one, but after getting two-stocked by Mang0’s Falco, he was able to adapt and won game two by three stocks. His Marth was able to close out a closer game two, but Mang0 forced a decisive fifth match that came down to the last stock, with Zain using the stage to his advantage to close it out.
And after Hbox survived three straight rounds against some of the best Fox players in the world, it all came down to a rematch between the Jigglypuff main and Zain.
Hbox was faced with having to take six games off of Zain if he wanted to take home the Genesis crown for a second straight year. But it looked like Zain was more prepared for the match as Hbox missed some key conversions and didn’t even attempt some of his more deadly combos.
The pair traded sets for the first four games, with Zain’s wins looking much better than Hbox’s in terms of movement, spacing, and overall ability to convert. But in game five it looked like a dead-even competition up until the final moments.
During the most important seconds of the tournament as both players were down to their final stock, Zain was able to get away with several sloppy jumps that Hbox normally would have capitalized on. Instead, the Marth got to land freely and chased Jigglypuff down.
The two players took to the air, where Jigglypuff is usually the dominant character, but Hbox was already at 131 percent and one solid hit from Marth’s sword as Zain jumped off of the windmill on Pokémon Stadium sealed the game and the tournament.
Zain, who came into this tournament as a free agent sponsored by streamer and Melee commentator Ludwig Ahgren, is now the first player to win a Super Major in the new decade.
His win at Genesis 7 capped a four-year run at the event that started with him being knocked out at 33rd in 2017, 13th in 2018, and ninth last season. You can’t get much better than first, but he’ll be heading into February with a lot of momentum.