Genesis 6 kicked off the 2019 Melee season and it did not disappoint. Here we’ll break down the biggest storylines that went down over the course of the tournament. Beware: spoilers lie ahead.
Genesis 6 brought the greatest Melee players to the Paramount Theater to set the tone for 2019. The tournament featured a slew of upsets and a number of incredible runs. However, in the end, Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma continued his streak of dominance.
The Best in the World
Hungrybox was tested before many thought he might be. Johny “S2J” Kim took him to a fifth game in order to get into top-eight from Winner’s Side. Hungrybox would deny S2J his first win against the Puff main in a close set en route to a Sunday appearance. Winner’s Finals was a repeat of Genesis 5 and the outcome was no different as Hungrybox defeated Justin “Plup” McGrath.
In Grand Finals, Hungrybox faced off against the Jeffery “Axe” Williamson. Hungrybox hadn’t lost to the Pikachu player since 2014. Despite a number of Game-Five sets, Hungrybox had always come out on top. Axe won the first game and looked poised to take the set with counter-pick advantage. After bringing it back to game five, Hungrybox got an early lead and never looked back, winning his first Genesis.
Despite falling to Hungrybox, Axe put together the best tournament of his career. His 2nd place finish is better than any other performance at a Super-Major. With wins over Plup, aMsa, Zain, and more, Axe started the 2019 Melee season off on the right foot.
The Ultimate Distraction
Many of Melee’s elite have taken to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on their streams and in their free time. While there’s hardly ever a single reason for a player losing, Melee did see a number of high-profile players take early exits, some of whom were taken by the Ultimate craze.
William “Leffen” Hjelte dropped out of Melee entirely when he found out that the bracket stages of both games were being held at the same time. With Smash Ultimate Summit on the horizon, it’s reasonable to expect Leffen to continue to focus on the newest game in the Smash series in the coming months.
Joseph “Mango” Marquez has been streaming Ultimate consistently and started his bracket off in shambles. A loss to the newly top-100 anointed Magi sent him to Loser’s Bracket from Round 2 Pools. After a long losers run, Mango finally fell to aMsa. This was the first time he lost to the Red Yoshi. Mango’s last tournament victory was 17 months ago and it is starting to look like his final tournament win may have already happened.
Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman announced beforehand that he would not be taking Melee too seriously to focus on Ultimate. This showed as he lost to Trifasia and Bananas on his way to 33rd place.
The title of Melee’s Best Ultimate Player goes to Leffen. Leffen finished 17th. He and Plup were the only two Melee players to make the Bracket stage in Ultimate.
Because of the large number of upsets, some competitors were able to seize the opportunity and make historic runs.
Just days after receiving his highest ranking (16th), Kevin “PewPewU” Toy had his best tournament run ever. Fifth place represents his highest finish at any Genesis, EVO, or Big House event. PewPewU only lost to the Genesis 6 Grand Finalists. He also took home a gold medal in the Melee Doubles event.
Ruling over Oregon’s PR since the Fall of 2015, Steven “FatGoku” Callopy has been searching for a breakout performance. After failing to pass the first bracket round at Genesis 5 and Genesis 4, he found the performance this year. FatGoku recorded wins over 2Saint, Chudat, Duck, and Rishi (who are all ranked ahead of FatGoku on the 2018 Melee Rankings). Ending up at 13, FatGoku should continue to rise throughout the year.
For Melee fans, especially those who lived through the dark Brawl ages, it may be concerning to see attendance numbers dropping. Genesis 6 saw the fewest Melee entries since the series’ return in 2015. Melee players like Leffen and Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallet also chose to pursue Ultimate at what some consider to be Melee’s biggest event of the year. The greatest player to pick up a GameCube controller, Adam “Armada” Lindgren retired last fall.
All of this points to a decline in Melee’s competitive scene. However, the viewership numbers tell a different tale. Despite the Super Bowl having just concluded and fan favorites like Mango and Leffen being eliminated prematurely, Melee was as popular as ever.
THIS IS CRAZY
MELEE IS OLD AND DECREPIT
— D1 (@xD1x) February 4, 2019
Even if top players diversify their interests and fewer people choose to fly across the country for big tournaments, Melee is alive and well. The release of Ultimate likely drew in new viewers and Melee might be facing a resurgence of eyes on the game.
Featured image courtesy of Genesis.
You can follow Kyle @ffkylethekid where he tweets about fantasy football, Overwatch, and Smash.
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