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Mother's Day Mang0: A Melee God Strikes Back at Royal Flush

"A wise man once said, 'Thou shalt not sleep on The Kid.'"
-Joseph "Mang0" Marquez after Royal Flush

For those that have watched competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee in the past year, there's been one storyline that has stood out after every major tournament. Could anybody beat Armada? The Alliance's Adam "Armada" Lindgren, one of the heralded "Five Gods" of Melee, finished in second place at Evo 2016 and has proceeded to terrorize the Melee scene ever since, going undefeated in 2017 entering this past weekend's Royal Flush event in Atlantic City.

But the storyline of the unstoppable Armada took a backseat to a different one that fewer people expected to see: Mother's Day Mang0.

Melee viewers may have noticed that the first half of 2017 has been rough for Cloud9's Joseph "Mang0" Marquez, another of the Smash gods. Following a Genesis 4 second place finish to Armada, he's had some brutal early tournament losses at Smash Summit 4 and Smash Rivalries, both to Daniel "ChuDat" Rodriguez. He most recently had a disappointing fourth place finish at DreamHack Austin to Jason "Mew2King" Zimmerman, a tournament that Armada had dropped out due to a controller malfunction. As Royal Flush went into top 8, viewers were poised to witness another early Mang0 elimination, this time to DaJuan "Shroomed" McDaniel of Immortals.

Facing an 0-2 deficit, Mang0 was quickly taken out by an early up smash in game 3 and looked to be on the ropes. From there, the west coast Fox flipped a switch and played a more composed game. Mang0 ended that game with a crisp Shine combo and up smash before the series switched over to the Fountain of Dreams stage. That's where Mang0 took full control, playing aggressively for the next two matches and answering each stock loss with relentless combos and Shine specials. Once the series was tied at 2, the pressure went the other way and Mang0 was able to take the fifth and final game, displaying a calm composure the entire way.

The set against Shroomed put Mang0 on another level for the rest of the night. He faced Evo world champion Juan "Hungrybox" DeBiedma in Losers Finals and while the two Smash gods have gone back and forth over the years, this was Mang0's night. Mang0 pressured Hungrybox throughout the entire set, while the Evo champion struggled with some of his inputs, including missing a throw-into-Rest combo that he normally hits in his sleep. Mang0 went on to win the set 3-1.

Next up was the Grand Finals against Armada, who had already beaten Mang0 earlier in the day. And this set looked to be more of the same, with Armada's Peach taking the first game. After a brief gamble with Marth that didn't pay off, Mang0 went back to Fox and proceeded to go toe-to-toe with Armada for the last two games of the set. Armada had the tournament win in his grasp at several points, including an instance in the final game where he aggressively pursued Mang0's Fox off the ledge. But Mang0 somehow survived this and remained poised, coming back to reset the bracket.

The second set was just as intense, with Armada again going up 2-1. But he just couldn't finish Marquez off. The two had been evenly matched throughout the final two sets, but the final game belonged to Mang0. As Armada was on his final stock, Mang0 hit a quick down-air, Shine, and up smash combo in the blink of an eye, ultimately finishing with another up smash to give Armada his first runner-up placing of 2017.

Speaking to Phil DeBerry after Grand Finals, Mang0 attributed his win to staying calm. Noting that he had previously felt tilted after falling behind, "The Kid" noted that he managed to maintain his focus, especially in the aforementioned set against Shroomed. He also pointed to his increasingly aggressive style, pointing out that he can't spam Fox's lasers like he could back in 2014.

But where did this story of "Mother's Day Mang0" come from? Marquez was on a winning streak at tournaments held during this holiday weekend. His last four Mother's Day victories include Vindication, Get On My Level 2014, Press Start, and last year's DreamHack Austin. His last Mother's Day loss came at the TourneyPlay #5 regional in 2010 (the pre-esports era), where he finished runner-up. While Mang0 is considered one of the best Melee players in the world, he takes a special pride in this unique winning streak.

"I haven't seen my mom in four Mothers Days," Mang0 added. "So I gotta do something!"

And how did Mang0's mom react to her son's win?

Mang0 reminded Melee viewers once again at Royal Flush, "Don't sleep on The Kid." And that has proven true once again on Mother's Day.

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