Last weekend at the Smash Bros. super-major tournament Genesis 8, an unlikely figure rubbed shoulders with the game’s greats.
The New York Sheik main Jmook broke free from his 21st seed at the 1,552 person tourney to run through big names including lloD, n0ne, iBDW, and Plup, among others. Jmook finished his run with a second place finish, after losing in Winners and Grand Finals to Zain.
This run may have been aided, albeit unintentionally, by a Chicago-area Peach main.
Genesis was a tournament marked by incredible upsets, and one of the most notable came when Chicago Peach Eggy took down Canada’s top Fox Moky in a 2-1 set. In the process, Eggy, whose real name is Ruben Morin, arguably shifted the scope of the tournament, throwing its 12th seed off of Jmook’s path.
As a result, Jmook ended up playing against Falco main Cliché instead of Moky in the first round of Top 64. Jmook’s run showed that he was able to handle just about any player in Melee. Nonetheless, Eggy’s upset left one fewer highly seeded opponent from potentially impeding Jmook’s historic run.
The Moky victory puts the Chicago Peach on the map in a big way, giving credit to a player who has never really been nationally recognized. While Eggy made some strong performances in-region and at tournaments like Super Smash Con Fall Fest and Riptide last year, he’s never been ranked nationally, and is currently ranked at 12th on the Chicago Power Rankings.
Despite the incredible win, Morin actually fell short of his dreams for the event, a finish within Top 64. He says his performance faltered in the matches after his with Moky, where an hour wait to see if he would have his next match streamed left him cooling off a bit too much between the sets.
Still, the Moky victory will doubtlessly elevate Eggy’s profile, with his name becoming almost a meme on social media and on Twitch chats following the surprise win. Morin says Canadian top player Edgar “N0ne” even approached him at the venue with congratulations, and the tournament’s runaway star Jmook has followed his Twitter account.
As for how he did it, Morin says playing against Moky was not too different from playing any other fox. Moky won a close first game on Battlefield, and after Eggy took game 2 on Fountain of Dreams, he said he felt he knew he could win the set.
“Game 3 on Yoshi’s [Story] was also close, but I managed to beat him! I could tell he was getting tilted by pummels. Maybe that gave me the edge,” Morin said via Facebook messenger.
The win brings validation to a confidence that Morin has, even if he feels others have not always recognized him as a player. Morin believes he has been under seeded at many of these big events, limiting his placements.
His seed for his next major, this weekend’s Pound 2022, is 33rd out of 284 entrants. The projected bracket as of April 21 showed Eggy falling out the losers bracket to Chicago’s #1 ranked player, Skerzo after losing in the finals of his first round pool to New York Falcon main JoJo. Eggy told CLM not to expect the action of the tournament to follow these projections.
“Seeding is always whack for the most part, so pulling these upsets is what I want to keep doing until someone finally notices, I suppose,” Morin told CLM.
Sure enough, during his first round pools at Pound on Friday, April 22, Eggy was able to pull the upset over JoJo. Losing to Ice Climbers main JJM in losers, he ended up finishing 33rd, tying his seed.
Morin’s run on singles may be what gets remembered the most from this weekend, but he also made a surprisingly deep run in doubles at Genesis too. Morin believes his playstyle makes him somewhat unpopular among Chicago players, and perhaps fittingly he joined forces with Chicagoland’s “villain” NoFluxes at Genesis 8’s doubles tourney, finishing 17th, 20 placements above their seed. Most notably, the two beat the team of Spark and Rymo.
“We didn’t really even practice for this event so I’m not sure why we did so great,” Morin said about the run.
How Chicago performed at large
While many Chicagoland PR players were not present for Genesis 8, there were still some more upsets and strong performances to come out of CLM and Illinois players.
Tying Eggy, NoFluxes finished at 65th. Marth main Forrest finished at 97th. Mekk, Fluid, FoxCap and Killablue finished at 129th. Casual finished at 193rd. Kadence finished at 385th, and Rocks placed 513th. Everyone from the region who entered went at least 2-2 at Genesis 8.
Chicago Smash at large had a great weekend at Genesis, with Chicago’s number one ranked Smash Ultimate player Ikan getting 9th at the event. The Tripoint regular’s run included victory of known names from the game including yonni, Leon, Kurama, ESAM and Cosmos.
Meanwhile, a lower seeded Melee player from Chicago was making a strong run of his own. Players Shabo and Seal both finished with a 49th-64th placement.
Seal breaks from his seed
At the 2021 Chicago Arcadian, reserved for only unranked players, Sheik main Seal got a respectable 5th place finish. This past weekend, he tied with Shabo as the region’s highest placing player, finishing at 49th.
Seal outplaced countless regionally ranked players at Genesis with an expectation-smashing run through the tournament’s losers bracket. As the 269th seed, he left the event at 49th place.
Seal attributes this success in part to a consistent work ethic when it comes to Melee. The Sheik player is a true fan of the game and its community, a regular fixture in the comment sections of countless melee VODs, video essays and tutorial videos. He’s also a commentator known for his encyclopedic knowledge of Melee players and statistics. Save for two exact days, he’s played Melee every day since the Summer 2020 release of Melee’s rollback netcode client, Project Slippi.
Based in Chicago at the moment, Seal’s work schedule has kept him away from locals for the most part, and while he thinks he is probably good enough to be ranked in Chicagoland or Wisconsin, his work schedule has made it difficult to attend local events.
The story of his Genesis run perhaps truly begins at last year’s Chicago Arcadian, when a double elimination at the hands of fox players made Seal confront his struggles with that matchup, which he considers Sheik’s toughest.
This weekend, Seal could have easily lost to several foxes in his path, but set after set, he found himself taking the lead and winning.
Perhaps fittingly, the Sheik player’s series of upsets at Genesis 8 began with a loss of his own to another under-seeded player.
In his Round 1 pool, Seal had expected to face off against San Diego Samus Gulu to get into winners side Round 2, a matchup heavily favored towards Sheik. Instead, the Sheik found himself facing off against Luigi player C0XX, who was seeded 781 and had already trounced Gulu. After Seal won the first game, games two and three of the set were won handily by the Luigi player. Seal was now in the losers bracket.
Unperturbed, the Sheik main managed to make it out of his pool in, returning Saturday to play Round 2 pools. He started his pool by playing Virginia Fox Big Matt, winning 2-0. New York Falco Tribe, who was seeded considerably above Seal at 173rd, took a game off of the Chicago Sheik, but Seal was able to make a comeback and clutch their second game. When Seal found himself in the lead throughout Game three, he found keeping that lead to be much easier than clawing one out from behind. He held that lead and won the set.
“When I have the lead, I play a lot better,” he said.
This upset alone was enough to pump Seal up. Had he lost the set, he would have placed within his seed, but now anything he could achieve would be icing on the cake.
Against Fox player Altimor, Seal found that again that he was able to keep a lead. He won their set 2-0. After taking the edge in a close and nervous first game, Seal three-stocked Swiss Marth MadeInShineA, moving forward yet again.
Seal recognized his next opponent, Zbert, from a close set the California Fox main had played with iBDW at Genesis 7. Surely, this would be the end of Seal’s Cinderella run, right?
After a dominant win for Zbert in the first game of the set, Seal again held the lead on game two and was able to box out his approaches in game three to win the set. After bumping elbows with his vanquished opponent, Seal could only sit in disbelief.
He had beaten a strong Fox player. He was one round away from making Top 64 at Genesis. Only one more Fox, Norcal’s Blargh, stood in his way.
“Let’s do this, Youtube comment man,” said Blargh.
It was the 269th seed vs. the 84th. Seal lost one game, but again clutched the victory.
The two bumped elbows and Seal again stayed put in his chair, his hands shaking. He had made it into Top 64. It was perhaps the best run a Youtube Comments Guy has ever made.
Seal’s run of unexpected wins ended with this set, as he lost his first round of Top 64 to Falco main Rom 3-0. Still, he had plenty to celebrate both about his run and those of his friends. A friend of Seal’s, Fox main Ambisinister, also made top 64 with a seed of only 188, taking victories over Toph and Bonfire10.
Seal also was able to warm up Minnesota Falco Slowking before a Top 64 match against Shroomed that ended with the Falco emerging victorious. As a Sheik main, Seal had plenty of exciting play to watch too, from Jmook’s dominant run to Fizzwiggle’s upset over Mang0.
What’s next for the Sheik main? He hopes to raise his profile as a commentator, continuing off momentum he gained in quarantine as the caster of online tournaments like Rollback Rumble and GALINT Melee Open. He also plans to attend at least a few more majors this year, including Shine, the Big House and Riptide, at which he hopes to also be able to commentate. Commentating a major is one of his big goals moving forward, as is becoming ranked in a region.