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Published April 11, 2022

32 Players To Watch At Genesis 8

In the famous words of HomeMadeWaffles, “you already know what time it is.” With over 4,400 entrants and counting, Genesis 8 is on pace to be the largest Smash tournament ever. It’s the first true supermajor we’ll be having since, well, Genesis 7. Better yet, I’ll be attending it. I’ve dedicated this column to breaking down 32 players that you should look out for at Genesis 8. Keep in mind that I haven’t looked too deeply at projected bracket paths because those can change over time.

Regardless – you’re not going to find a deeper or better supermajor breakdown than this one. Let’s not waste any more time.

Safe Picks To Do Well

  • Aura
  • Panda
  • Krudo
  • Zuppy
  • null
  • Zamu
  • Kalamazhu
  • Spark
  • Ben
  • Magi
  • bobby big ballz
  • Sora

Aura often flies under the radar when in reality, he has a lot of memorable performances. One of his most impressive results was winning Domino Effect 19 over Dacky, Ka-Master, and Bladewise in January. A month later, he arguably topped it, finishing in first place at Melee at Epic 178 over his career kryptonite, FatGoku.

Panda’s one of the most wild players to predict. He could finish anywhere from 129th to 7th place at this event and I wouldn’t be surprised. What I was personally impressed with, however, was how Panda ended 2021. To close the year, he won The Nightclub Online: Function Flyout, obtaining a flight to The Function 2 by beating Dawson, PudgyPanda, Lunar Dusk, and Zuppy twice.

Logan once told me that he thought Krudo was secretly a Top 25 player. Just last week, Krudo took an online set from Hungrybox, also beating Swift and Jflex, each one for the second time this year. He’s been a particularly good pick vs. Captain Falcon. In 2022, he’s undefeated vs. Mekk (4-0) and Salt (2-0).

You know what’s funny about Zuppy? In spite of having mostly online results – which may lead you to think he’s a wild card – his records tell a safe story. As of when I wrote this, he boasts 2022 head-to-head leads over bobby big ballz (8-5), Zamu (6-5), Ben (3-1), Jflex (2-0), Salt (5-0), Mekk (5-0), Bbatts (6-0), and Dawson (5-0). All signs point to an offline breakout; we just have to see it.

A fun fact about null is that he took a set from KoDoRiN at Lawless Melee 2. Outside of that, he’s had overwhelmingly strong performances, including being a stock away from winning a TMT over Plup. null may have not won it, but he walked away with a set over SFAT and he currently looks like a solid pick for Top 32.

I completely forgot that Zamu casually split sets with null at a Verdugo in March. This was just a few days after already defeating Free Palestine and Zealot at Smash Camp. That same month, Zamu took sets from Salt, Mekk, Bbatts, Mot$, Zuppy, and bobby big ballz – beating the last four in particular at a Salt Mine that he won. How does Zamu do this?

Kalamazhu has one data point this year: a 25th place showing at LACS 4 where he beat Zamu and lost to Dacky and Dawson. Before that, all we have is in 2021, where he briefly looked unstoppable versus fast fallers. Granted, he ended that year with a lukewarm showing at the Smash World Tour Championships, mostly because he started running into everyone else.

When Spark’s not running the King of the Cube series – where he’s taken down Dacky, KoDoRiN, and Soonsay – he’s killing it offline. In the LAN tournaments he’s entered this year, Spark has taken sets over SFAT and Faceroll as well, boasting a second place finish at The Town Throwdown: Episode 2 and a third place showing at Smash Camp 2022.

One thing has marked Ben’s 2022: showing up when it counts. In the last two months, he’s defended his home state  from people like Ginger, Zamu, Krudo, Wally, and Slowking. Ben also had an amazing second place at the latest Galint Melee Open, taking down three demons of his in a row: Chem, Aklo, and Zuppy. Forget Big Game James. How about Big Game Ben?

We’ve seen a bit of a return to Earth for Magi this year, in part due to tougher brackets. I noticed this when she ran into Eddy Mexico and longtime nemesis KJH at GIGASCHWAB. However, she also had a great performance at The Town Throwdown: Episode 1, where she beat Spark, Azel, and Lucky, only losing to KoDoRiN.

For every random set he drops, bobby big ballz has multiple positive head-to-heads. I’ve been especially impressed with his ability to consistently remain a thorn in the side of tough opponents like KoDoRiN (1-1), Lucky (3-1), Soonsay (4-4), Ben (7-2), Jflex (5-3), Drephen (3-0), and Mekk (14-5). His incredible LACS 4 run makes me bullish on his chances at Genesis 8.

It was such a blast to have Sora in the United States. Not only was he a great podcast guest – we saw him beat everyone active in SoCal except for KoDoRiN and Fiction. He finished the trip by beating Bimbo, Zealot, Jamrun, and n0ne at LACS 4. The craziest part: this performance was somehow on the lower end of how Sora played in America.

Heavy Hitters

  • Jmook
  • N0ne
  • SluG
  • Fiction
  • Axe
  • Ginger
  • Polish
  • SFAT
  • S2J

When I recapped Jmook’s 2021, I was floored by his consistency and peak results. So far, the only event he’s attended in 2022 was GIGASCHWAB 2, where he beat Salt and Zuppy, losing to Hungrybox and Aklo. I have him relatively low on my list of players because he hasn’t been too active.

The only n0ne we’ve seen of late has been online. He did alright at LACS 4, where he beat Gahtzu and 404cray. Afterward, he had a lackluster East Coast Fridays showing, finishing third to moky and bobby big ballz before winning the next one. We all know that n0ne has the ability to beat anyone above him, even if we haven’t seen a lot of it lately.

In addition to having a win versus iBDW this year, SluG has split sets with Hungrybox (1-1), and convincingly beat players like moky, Aklo, and KJH. Now, like any Ice Climbers player, SluG shouldn’t be strictly measured only his highs. His Fox is still a work in progress against characters like Samus and Peach. At the same time, the sky’s the limit with a favorable bracket.

Consistency has been Fiction’s hallmark this year. You look at his records and they all make sense: Lucky (2-0), Logan (1-0), Soonsay (1-1), Sora (4-0), bobby big ballz (1-0), Panda (1-0), Dacky (1-0), Suf (4-2), Eddy Mexico (3-0), null (9-0), Smashdaddy (3-0) – you know what? He’s going to beat Leffen or something, and we’re all gonna sit here and be totally unsurprised.

In spite of having a lackluster 2021, Axe actually looked great by the end of the year. At the two offline tournaments before he had to DQ out of LACS 4, he beat Mot$, Jflex, Faceroll (twice), Ben, SFOP, and Zealot, only losing to Wizzrobe, iBDW, Trif, and Sora. Also, I’m not betting against Axe if he plays Zain in bracket, let alone any Marth player.

Ginger’s been entering a lot – just not as much as we might be used to. He’s one of the few people who’ve played lloD in multiple sets and come to a draw (2-2), which in 2022 might as well be like winning a bet over the devil. Great records vs. KJH (4-1), Zamu (4-0), Zuppy (4-1), and Ben (6-4) certainly stand out, as do stray sets over SFAT and S2J.

“What’s wrong with you? Why is Polish so low?” Let me tell you why they’re so low: they spent most of the last four months playing Fox. As far as Peach results have gone, Polish has a fourth place finish at The Nightclub VIP and a bronze medal showing at GIGASCHWAB 3. They’re still a strong player, but many of their peers have remained active.

SFAT’s lately been on the Netplay grind, and it’s brought him mixed results. The long story short is that he makes it deep into TMT every week before usually losing to KoDoRiN (2-7). To be fair though, he did have a great second place run at the offline Smash Camp 2022, where he beat Spark, Albert, and Suf, before losing to, well, KoDoRiN. These Marths, man.

S2J seems to be trending upward, even if it’s not necessarily exactly where he was a year ago. Some of his more impressive head-to-heads of this year are against Fiction (6-4), SFAT (3-1), Soonsay (2-1), and Salt (3-0). Is it so crazy to imagine that he could take a set over someone like aMSa, Wizzrobe or, dare I say it, Zain at Genesis 8?

Rising Stars

  • KoDoRiN
  • moky
  • lloD

How has KoDoRiN not dropped a LAN tournament this year? For whatever signs of mortality he’s shown on rollback, KoDoRiN has basically dominated the West Coast offline. The only question I have is his ability to consistently defeat the cream of the crop at supermajors. While he’s proven he can take sets, when you’re this good, the climb gets more brutal.

moky’s third place at LACS 4 not only netted me a ton of money – it came with wins over KoDoRiN, Fiction, Plup, and Hungrybox. Speaking of which, he’s run a train on Hungrybox (5-0) this year, as well as recently beat down iBDW in their only set. The one thing that holds me back with moky is that all his results, as amazing as they are, have come online.

If you only looked at online results, lloD would be in the above tier. It honestly freaks me out that this guy trounced Top 10 players every week in March. Let me list some truly awe-inspiring 2022 head-to-heads: 2-1 vs. Hungrybox, 1-0 vs. KoDoRiN, 2-0 vs. moky, 1-0 vs. Polish, 5-2 vs. Aklo, 2-2 vs. Ginger, 3-0 vs. Logan, 3-1 vs. Zuppy, and 2-0 vs. Ben. lloD might actually be a god.

Top 8 Favorites

  • aMSa
  • Hungrybox
  • Wizzrobe
  • Leffen
  • iBDW

At the Smash World Tour Championships and Smash Summit 12, aMSa looked like the best player in the world. only to lose his matches immediately upon making top eight on winners’ side. Although I don’t doubt aMSa’s ability to compete with people in this tier and above it, I wonder if his first open bracket in years will lead to some unexpected challenges.

Ugh. Do we have to talk about Hungrybox? He’ll likely have to go either 3-1 or 3-0 vs. any member of this group or above. The long story short: I’d give it a two percent chance of happening. Crazier things have happened, but given his likely seed at this tournament, as well as how scary the field is, I’m not sure that even offline Hungrybox has the magic any more.

Where in the world is Wizzrobe? The only thing I’m certain of is that he’ll beat Hungrybox or aMSa if they play, and he’ll probably lose to Mango, Plup, or iBDW. While I like Wizzrobe’s chances vs. Leffen, and think he’s got a good shot at beating Zain, getting that far in the tournament will be a challenge, especially if he hasn’t competed in so long.

Although trashing the two best players in the world in exhibitions is certainly no feat to ignore, even Leffen would acknowledge that these weren’t tournament sets. I’m convinced that the Zain set was repeatable, and yet we’ve seen literally nothing else since. Any – and I mean any – outcome would be believable from Leffen, including not attending the event.

Since his magical Smash Summit 12 run, we’ve seen iBDW show signs of mortality vs. moky, Aklo, SluG, Salt, and TheSWOOPER. You can never fully count out iBDW; after all, the chance of his Summit win was probably less than one percent. However, I’m keeping him in this tier for now.

Leading Contenders 

  • Mango
  • Zain

Not counting individual weeks of Summit Champions League, the last time Mango won a notable event in the first four months of the year was back in 2014, when he won Revival of Melee 7 over Mew2King. We also haven’t seen him compete at an open offline major since Genesis 7. That’s not typically something you can waltz right back into. Or maybe it is.

We’re in the middle of an unusually long break from seeing Zain compete. The last time he spent three months or longer away was when he took a break between LACS 2, which he dominantly won, and SCL Season 1 Week 1, when Mango beat him. Could Zain defend his Genesis title and finally shut everyone up about online vs. offline? Sure.

My Pick

  • Plup

It wasn’t always this good for Plup. I would say that early 2019 to early 2021 was a particularly terrible time. A large part of it was because of how he performed vs. Fox, as Hax, Fiction, moky, and SFAT were beating him at seemingly every other major. When the online era began, Plup was continuously mollywhopped by iBDW, additionally dropping sets to n0ne and KoDoRiN, two people he would have been practically guaranteed to win against. The most infuriating part of this period, however, was when he began picking Fox when it only hurt him to not play Sheik. Remember when the Falco players in his Smash Summit 10 Online pool took turns smacking him around? That sucked.

All of this is to say that we’ve seen a massive turnaround from Plup in the last ten months. I’ve listed Plup’s records since Plup Showdown, with his records against Fox mains italicized.

  • 0-1 vs Zain
  • 2-2 vs iBDW
  • 1-2 vs Mango* (0-1 vs Falco, 1-1 vs Fox)
  • 4-0 vs Wizzrobe
  • 1-0 vs Hungrybox
  • 1-0 vs aMSa
  • 0-1 vs moky
  • 4-1 vs SFAT
  • 3-0 vs KoDoRiN
  • 1-0 vs Aklo
  • 1-0 vs S2J
  • 1-0 vs Mew2King
  • 1-0 vs Ginger
  • 2-0 vs Fiction
  • 1-0 vs SluG
  • 2-0 vs Captain Faceroll
  • 1-0 vs Gahtzu
  • 1-0 vs Axe
  • 1-0 vs Pipsqueak
  • 1-0 vs Medz
  • 1-0 vs billybopeep
  • 1-0 vs 2saint
  • 1-0 vs Ice
  • 2-0 vs null
  • 1-0 vs Smashdaddy
  • 1-0 vs Eddy Mexico
  • 1-0 vs Logos
  • 1-1 vs aCID

Counting Mango’s Fox, iBDW, moky, SFAT, and Aklo as their own category of “Top 10 active 2022 Foxes,” Plup’s records in offline and online come out to 8-5. Although it’s not Zain-level dominant, that’s pretty damn good in a matchup that’s supposed to be a weak point. As a point of comparison, iBDW is 7-4 against moky, SFAT, and Aklo in the last two years. Against every other Fox I listed above, which can be broadly counted as “the average Top 100 caliber Fox,” Plup is 8-1. It may be tempting to look at the one loss to aCID, but it’s also important to remember that it’s ultimately one hiccup in otherwise fairly convincing trend.

One matchup that could be tricky for Plup is Leffen. However, I’m not convinced that he will be significantly harder than iBDW, who we’ve seen Plup turn it around against. Technically Leffen’s up 4-1 in their last five head-to-heads, and yet the last set they played was at Smash ‘N’ Splash 5. It’s been way too long for me to act like a matchup between them is anything other than a coin flip.

If that’s supposed to be Plup’s scary matchup, then everything else is astoundingly favorable. Plup’s constantly tossing Wizzrobe aside when they play. He’s also fresh off a dominant victory over aMSa, whooping the other Captain Falcon players, beating KoDoRiN with multiple characters, breezing by the Falco mains, and, most surprisingly, taking a set from his career demon Hungrybox. Better yet, the set he took came with his Sheik – not the Fox that dropped 12 of Plup’s last 13 sets vs. Hungrybox. Their rivalry is practically in unchartered waters, which is far more favorable to Plup.

The worst possible interpretation is that Plup’s chances are equal to iBDW’s chance right before iBDW won Smash Summit 12. The best possible interpretation is that he might struggle with Zain and go back and forth with – maybe even be slightly favored over – Mango. As far as the former is concerned, if Leffen can figure out how to beat Zain in that matchup, I’m sure Plup can find a way.

Examining the bigger picture, Plup’s performances at the last notable offline tournaments have been a fourth place at Smash Summit 11, second place at Riptide, and consecutive first place finishes at Smash World Tour’s NA West Regional Finals and Championships. As far as online goes, he still finished in fourth place at LACS 4 and won a stacked TMT. Looking through his Liquipedia page, the last time Plup did this well was in the second half of 2018. This was right before Smash Ultimate came out, and he ended up finishing No. 4 for that year. That’s not too far from where you could place him right now. If anything, his chances might be even better since wobbling – another thing he hates and has lost to before – is banned.

It’s time for the Plup Club to go all in. Plup is my official pick to win Genesis 8. 


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