There’s a selected group of players that go the extra mile. They push the barriers of what is possible, influencing millions along the way. Sometimes, it all comes together out of passion. Other times, it’s just a matter of personal goals. However, they never cease to amaze.
The pools of a tournament house a food chain. There are always the players that falter, losing two consecutive sets, the ones that compete but can’t outperform the heads of the chain, who proceed to exit without any issues. It isn’t always as straight forward as this. However, this cycle shows at anywhere from a local tournament to the EVO world championships.
Whenever spectating a major tournament, there’s a cast of players that generally perform very well. They are expected to at least place in the top 16. However, at times, an up-and-coming player upsets them by performing well. Recently, it’s been a fairly common occurrence. Multiple players have shown to be worthy of respect by getting solid wins over prestigious players.
David “LeoN” Leon
This particular player pushed the Bowser metagame. Before he started making appearances, people slept on Bowser. The community didn’t even think he was worth being a high tier. However, LeoN arrives and proves everyone wrong.
At Smash ‘N’ Splash 5, he managed to get victories over Reia “Blank” Drucker, Randy “RFang” Fang, and most notably Brian “Cosmos” Kalu. All respectable win for an up and comer, yet it doesn’t stop there. Another excellent showing for LeoN comes in Suplex City Smash were he beat Zamir “Juice” Johnson and Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada. To top this all off, he placed second in Defend the North 2019, on his way to grand finals defeating Tyler “Marss” Martins, Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby, and Paris “Light” Ramirez.
With this in mind, Leon is on a tear. His recent performances show off how talented he is. If he continues with this momentum, it’s only a matter of time before he establishes himself as one of the best players in the world.
Alan “Gen” Soriano
This New York player recently dialed it up a notch. His best wins before Defend the North 2019 were Rasheen “Dark Wizzy” Rose, Eric “Mr E” Weber, and Tsubasa “Tsu” Takuma. Nothing worth sleeping on.
However, in the previously mentioned event, he placed fourth with wins over Ricardo “Sinji” Mathison and Light. In this event, he showed his flexibility by utilizing Palutena, Ken and Fox – three very different characters. This shows that he carries enough potential to compete with top talent, hopefully making his way to being a top player in the future.
Stephen “Sandstorm” Myers
Sandstorm is widely known as the best Brawlhalla player in the world. This is nothing to look down on. However, does it translate to Smash? Prior to Low Tier City 7 he had some experience with the game. In Smash 4, he had decent placings, but never really competed nationally due to an inability to travel. This Ryu main has talent. However, he doesn’t practice the game often due to Brawllhalla being his prime focus. His performance at Low Tier City 7 might change this.
Through his run, he beat Eric “ESAM” Lew and managed to bring Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey to a game five, with Tweek arguably being a top-two player worldwide. Laying all this down, if Sandstorm starts putting in some work, he will become a real treat. With this as a baseline, enough practice should manage to give him that edge he needs.
This list has players that show potential. They still have lots of room to grow if they wish to climb the ranks. However, time will prove if they really will perform at a consistent rate.