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Zain puts an end to Jmook's Cinderella run, wins Genesis 8 Melee tournament

The 21st seed of the event, a relatively unknown Sheik main from New York, made it a historic run to grand finals of the most prestigious Melee event of the year.
Zain puts an end to Jmook's Cinderella run, wins Genesis 8 Melee tournament

It's often said within the Smash community that Melee is the game that refuses to die. Enduring Nintendo's cold shoulder, evolving past the need for old hardware, and even boasting a more robust online experience than newer, fancier Smash games, the 20-year-old fighter still produces memorable moments each tournament.

Genesis, an event that gave birth to some of Melee's more iconic beats throughout its history, returned after a two-year hiatus, giving birth to perhaps one of the most incredible underdog stories the scene has ever seen, that of Jake "Jmook" DiRado.

The North American Sheik main has been competing sporadically since 2016, but rarely with any consistency that led to astonishing results these past years. That is, until very recently.

Jmook started catching the attention of dedicated Melee enthusiasts with his showing at the Smash World Tour, placing 13th, and later at Gigaschwab 2, where he finished 4th taking Melee God Juan "Hungrybox" Debiedma to a game five in an ultimately losing effort. 

zain genesis 8
Zain has won the last two Genesis events. (Picture: Genesis)

Seeded 21st for Genesis 8, Jmook was projected to have a decent bracket run, however, still far away from matching against the top competitors that have become synonymous with Melee for the past years. 

Jmook stunned the community during his Top 64 match against Genesis5 champion Justin "Plup" McGrath. A proficient Sheik of his own, Plup went Fox the entire set, unable to match Jmook's incredible reactions, with pristine tech chases to extend the damage as much as possible.

From there, there was no stopping the upset train, which ran through Arjun "Llod" Malhotra, Edgar "n0ne" Sheleby, and even Cody "iBDW" Schwab. Facing Zain Naghmi in winners finals, Jmook couldn't find an answer to his biggest demon: Marth. 

As Mango faulters, Zain rises to the top

If you look at the Genesis 8 bracket, you may be wondering where Joseph "Mang0" Marquez was. "Did he compete?" The answer is yes, and he missed Top 8 of the event that forged its legacy on the back of The Kid's greatest achievements. 

Sent to losers early in pools by Evan "Fizzwiggle" Akhavan, Mang0 had to run a gruelling bracket, facing off against the likes of Bobby Big Ballz, Zachari "SFAT" Cordoni, and Jeffrey "Axe" Williamson. On the verge of Top 8, none other than Hungrybox stood in his way.

A far cry from their nail-biting close bouts, Hbox took advantage of a seemingly sauceless Mang0, taking the set with ease 3-0, putting an end to many peoples' dream of seeing a Mang0 vs Zain grand finals.

Zain, on the other hand, did not waiver. Looking to prove he was still a force set to dominate Melee's post-five Gods era after failing to win both Smash Summit 11 and 12, the Golden Guardians rep went on a tear, only dropping six games in his run. 

His biggest hurdle was iBDW, a Fox player that managed to beat him at Summit 12. It's been theorised for years that Marth holds a massive stage advantage over the spacie, making games on Final Destination virtually unwinnable for the leader of the Star Fox squad. 

Taking advantage of FD, and closing it out on an evenly matched playing field like Yoshi's Story, Zain soon made quick work of Jmook, putting an end to the greatest Cinderella story Melee's seen.

Sadly, the Sheik player has yet to crack the Marth matchup, as according to PGStats, he holds a 1-31 record against the swordie.

Regardless, Genesis 8 could potentially be seen as the start of a fresh journey for Jmook, becoming a symbol for a new era of Smash Melee, one propelled by Slippi rollback netcode and the opportunities to play the game online seamlessly.

Melee truly is the game that will never die, and we wouldn't want it any other way. 

Genesis 8 Melee tournament final results

Jmook's run could signify the start of a new era for Melee. (Picture: Genesis)

These are the final Top 8 placings for Genesis 8 on the Smash Melee side of things.

  • 1st.- Zain
  • 2nd.- Jmook
  • 3rd.- iBDW
  • 4th.- n0ne
  • 5th.- aMSa
  • 5h.- Hungrybox
  • 7th.- lloD
  • 7th.- Kalamazhu


For more on all things Smash Melee, check out our dedicated section filled with news, tournament results, and more.


Featured image courtesy of Genesis.