Zain Naghmi won Super Smash Bros. Melee Singles at the Ludwig Ahgren Championship Series 2 (LACS 2) on July 26. Ludwig Ahgren hosted and streamed the event, which was sponsored by Raid: Shadow Legends. Its $25,001 prize pool was the tenth-largest in Melee history, beating out Battle of the Five Gods by one dollar.

Zain’s run began with a handful of flawless wins leading up to top 16. He earned 3-0 victories over Andrew “DD” Lopez, Jonathan “Bimbo” Rocha, and James “Swedish Delight” Liu. Interestingly, Zain’s greatest challenge of the event came against Johnny S2J Kim in Winners Quarters. Although Zain still won the set, S2J was the only player to push Zain to game five during the tournament.

Zain’s performances in top 8 were incredibly convincing. He advanced into Grand Finals on winners side after scoring 3-0 wins against Justin “Plup” McGrath and Joseph “Mang0” Marquez. Thanks in large part to his devastating punish game, Zain secured a solid 3-1 victory over Mang0 in Grand Finals. As a result, he earned the title of the LACS 2 champion.

With his LACS 2 tournament victory, Zain has cemented himself as the best online Super Smash Bros. Melee player. He also won Pound Online, the only other online national Melee tournament since the beginning of the pandemic. Considering his offline tournament win at Genesis 7 in January, Zain will be the person to beat whenever quarantine ends.

The runners-up

Prior to reaching top 8 at the LACS 2, Mang0 did not drop a single game. Despite struggling with heartburn, he swept through Noah “Nogh” Sundook, Colin “Colbol” Green, Kevin “PewPewU” Toy, and Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby. In top 8, Mang0 earned a pair of 3-1 wins against Cody “iBDW” Schwab before he was double-eliminated by Zain.

Like his Winners Semis opponent, iBDW dropped zero games on the way to top 8. His flawless win list included Julian Zhu, Rishi Malhotra, Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett, and Arjun “lloD” Malhotra. After his first loss to Mang0, iBDW earned another 3-0 win over Wizzrobe, along with a 3-0 win over Plup.

Other results from the LACS 2

It was difficult to predict how Wizzrobe would perform at the LACS 2, as it was his first online tournament since the beginning of the pandemic. However, Wizzrobe proved he hasn’t gotten rusty yet, placing a respectable 5th. He defeated both Kundan “Fro116” Chintamaneni and Toussaint “2saint” Turnier 3-0 before his first loss to iBDW. Then, Wizzrobe went on a spectacular losers run, defeating Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni 3-1, Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma 3-1, Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson 3-0, and S2J 3-0.

On his road to 7th place, Peach main lloD shocked the Melee scene by defeating Jigglypuff main Hungrybox 3-1. Jigglypuff is considered Peach’s hardest matchup, and Hungrybox’s Jigglypuff has never lost to a Peach main at an offline tournament. In fact, lloD became the first Peach player to even take a game off of Hungrybox in roughly nine years at Shine 2019. In addition to beating Hungrybox, birthday boy lloD overcame Arthur “404Cray” Hernandez, Jason “Just Jason DiMicelli, and Jason “Gahtzu Diehl.

Hungrybox greatly underperformed at the LACS 2, finishing in 13th place. He has not placed lower than 9th at an offline event since a local tournament in 2007. Recently, Hungrybox has focused on making Smash Ultimate content rather than practicing Melee. He will most likely continue to do so until offline tournaments return.

Dylan Tate
Dylan Tate is a student in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a gaming journalist with a love for Nintendo esports, including Smash Bros., Splatoon, ARMS, and Pokémon. Dylan also writes Nintendo news articles for Nintendo Enthusiast.