Ultimate has made an early splash as one of the most watched fighting games in the past month. Whether it’s a major tournament or a stream from NRG Nairo, Tempo’s Zero, or Melee “God” C9 Mango, the viewership and excitement surrounding Ultimate is palpable.
This excitement only continued with a back-to-back feature of tournaments that ended in dramatic fashion. In Europe, Valhalla took place with Gluttony taking 1st with Wario, a lower-mid tier character in Smash 4. However, Wario in Ultimate is a force to be reckoned with. Tweek and the previously mentioned Mango each play Wario seriously and the potential for him is impossible to ignore. Gluttony put on a show with his proficiency and accuracy with Wario, notably taking Melee and DBFZ top player, TSM Leffen, to a Game 5 situation with each player being on their last stock. Gluttony made an impeccable edgeguard and forced Leffen too low to recover. This was only a warmup for Smash Conference, a Florida major featuring Smash 4 and Melee players.
Smash Conference had a ridiculous amount of anticipation as this tournament would start to shape the meta, player rankings, and future character tier lists. It would also be a tournament where stage lists would be explored with stages such as Castle Siege being tested for tournament viability. With so much on the line, Smash Conference peaked at Grand Finals with nearly 75,000 viewers. Melee players and Smash 4 players alike made fantastic plays and had sets come down to the wire. A Liquid face-off occurred in pools with Hungrybox and a better Jigglypuff fought Salem and an also improved Link. The set came down to the final hit on the last stock and showed us that Melee players will be able to adapt to Ultimate’s faster and more aggressive style. In doubles, more Melee aficionados made waves with Wizzrobe and Mew2King both placing Top 3 in their respective teams.
However, it was MKLeo and Samsora who made the most noise with their dominant play throughout the tournament, with MKLeo taking 1st. EchoFox’s youngest sponsored player has now become an established force, being able to play at a high level in two Smash iterations with Fire Emblem characters. eUnited’s newly sponsored player, Samsora, was also a force to be reckoned with in Smash 4 as a master of Peach. With Peach now being seen as a top tier character, Samsora was able to make an unbelievable loser’s run to make us all into Peach believers.
The Grand Finals match was one that toiled back and forth with each person trading games from each other. It was MKLeo who made the final blow with a gutsy edgeguard against one of the game’s best recovery characters. MKLeo was able to force Samsora low after a back air near the edge. After baiting a float and fall, MKLeo positioned himself on the edge and used Ike’s immaculate strength to forward tilt Peach into the blast zone for the win. Samsora looked shocked, knowing he could have won Game 4 and reset the bracket if not for an unfortunate Bob-omb pull from Peach. It is clear Ike and Peach will be some of the best characters in this game.
For Rectify, it was a disappointing, but promising day as WonderBread was able to take 17th in doubles with friend and mentor, Ryo and took 33rd in singles. The duo used a Fire Emblem team with Ryo’s trademark Ike and WonderBread’s Smash 4 secondary, Lucina. They unfortunately fell to Dark Wizzy and Salem, the eventual 1st place finishers, with an 0-2 loss. In singles, WonderBread was able to cruise through his pool with only one loss to Dark Wizzy and made a Top 48 berth. On Sunday, WonderBread played his heart out and fell in the first round of Top 48 to Epic_Gabriel, who also upset Mew2King along the way. Although this is disappointing, the future is still bright for WonderBread. Lucina is seen as a much better character than her previous version due to Ultimate’s faster mechanics. WonderBread also made Top 48 in one of the most stacked majors in awhile and he did so with very limited practice due to not having a Nintendo Switch. The potential for WonderBread is as high as it can be and Rectify is confident that he will make a giant splash soon with his talent, hard work, and dedication to Smash Ultimate.