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The professional Smashers at the E3 2018 Invitational – Everything you need to know

For all gamers, this coming week is going to be a very exciting one. The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, unveils various anticipated games, as well as some surprises. E3 is often described as “Christmas for Gamers” and fittingly so. It’s a time of excitement and hype for new games. At this year’s E3, there’s going to be one game in particular that will most definitely receive the most hype out of any game at the show. That game, of course, is the tentatively titled Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch.

In March, just a few weeks after the release of the reveal trailer for the game, Nintendo confirmed an Invitational Tournament Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch, to occur during E3 2018 alongside the Splatoon 2 World Championships. Ever since, both casual and competitive fans of Smash have been eagerly anticipating any additional details on the event.

Last month, Nintendo released a video on their YouTube channel that details eight professional players that will be participating in this year’s Invitational. More recently, Nintendo has also confirmed that a few celebrities and/or public figures will be participating in the E3 2018 Invitational as well.

With only a few days of eager anticipation remaining before the Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch’s tournament debut, now is as good a time as any to review all eight professional Smashers that will be attending the event.

ZeRo – The Chilean Champion

Team SoloMid’s Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios is one of, if not, the most recognizable name in the competitive Smash community. While he began his competitive career with Melee, ZeRo began attaining his legendary reputation during the era of Brawl and Project M. Upon winning significant events such as Apex 2012, ZeRo began to be recognized as one of Brawl’s best players.

Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios is coming out of retirement to attend this year’s Invitational Tournament.

However, ZeRo truly made a name for himself with Smash 4. ZeRo was in fact the first individual to ever win a Smash 4 tournament, as he was the champion of the Invitational Tournament hosted during E3 2014. After the game’s release, ZeRo dominated Smash 4’s competitive scene. His most notable achievement was his now-famous win streak, in which he won 54 consecutive tournaments. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized this feat as the longest win streak in the history of competitive Super Smash Bros.

ZeRo’s playstyle is one that’s very methodical and punishing. He opts for characters that have optimal set-up opportunities. As such, he mained as Diddy Kong throughout his Smash 4 career, while also frequently playing Sheik in tournament before she was nerfed in March of 2016.

Some of ZeRo’s most notable wins include EVO 2015 and GENESIS 3. He also placed 2nd at EVO 2017, and 2nd at the 2017 2GG Championship, one of his last tournaments before his retirement.

ZeRo announced his retirement earlier this year, deciding to no longer attend tournaments. Instead, he would focus on creating content for his YouTube and Twitch channels. As his Twitch streams illustrate, ZeRo still regularly plays Smash 4, so don’t expect his skills to be rusty at the E3 2018 Invitational. It will certainly be a joy to see ZeRo’s return from retirement during this tournament.

MkLeo – The Maestro from Mexico

MkLeo is one of the best (and youngest) Smash 4 players. It’ll be a joy to see his aggressive playstyle at the E3 2018 Invitational Tournament.

Echo Fox’s Leonardo “MkLeo” Perez is the epitome of a success story with humble beginnings. Prior to Smash 4’s release, MkLeo was unknown to players outside of Mexico. However, MkLeo received a travel visa in 2016, allowing him to participate in tournaments outside of his home country. This would allow him to display his unbelievable skill and knowledge of Smash to the entire world. He has cited that the Smash Bros. series has helped him bond with his family. He also has claimed that he uses his winnings from Smash tournaments to help support his family.

While only attending tournaments internationally for just under two years, MkLeo has taken the competitive Smash scene by storm. Despite being only 17 years old, he has bested many of the greatest Smash players to date. If anything, MkLeo proves that Smash is a game that can be mastered by anyone of any age.

MkLeo brings a very aggressive playstyle to the stage, while also being able to be patient when needed. He plays a variety of different characters, including Cloud, Marth, Bayonetta, Sheik and Meta Knight. Since he’s talented with a variety of characters, you never quite know what character he’ll pull out in tournament. And that’s what makes MkLeo one of the most entertaining Smash players around.

Some of MkLeo’s most notable wins include GENESIS 5, EVO Japan 2018 and the 2017 2GG Championship.

Armada and Mr. R – Representing Europe’s Best

Armada represents some of the best Melee talent in the world.

Alliance’s Adam “Armada” Lindgren is an incredibly talented Melee player. Currently ranked first on the European Melee Power Rankings, Armada is considered by many to be not just one of the best Melee players in Europe, but one of the best Melee players in the world. While he has participated in a few Project M and Smash 4 tournaments, Armada is truly a representative of Melee’s pool of players.

Armada consistently places high on all tournaments. He specifically performs well in doubles, where he frequently partners with his brother Andreas “Android” Lindgren, and Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman. Armada plays as Peach and Fox.

Armada (as well as Plup, Lucky and Mango) prove to be great choices to appear at the E3 2018 Invitational. While it perhaps may have been easier for Nintendo to exclusively invite players for the most recently released Super Smash Bros. game, Nintendo instead decided to represent talent from various Smash games. We have four representatives that primarily play Smash 4, and four representatives that primarily play Melee. As a result, we have a greater variety of players on display at this coming Invitational Tournament.

Mr. R
Mr. R represents the best of Europe’s Smash 4 competitive scene.

Some of Armada’s most notable victories include EVO 2017, GENESIS 2, 3 and 4.

While Armada represents Europe’s best for Melee, Ramin “Mr. R” Delshad represent Europe’s best for Smash 4. Hailing from the Netherlands and sponsored by boastcoast, this Sheik main impresses with his sheer consistency in tournament. While Mr. R doesn’t hold as many tournament victories as some of the other invited players, Mr. R does manage to frequently win tournaments and Europe. When he plays internationally, he consistently places high.

Mr. R is widely considered to be the best European Smash 4 player. It’ll be great to see both Mr. R and Armada represent their competitive scenes over in Europe during the upcoming invitational. Some of Mr. R’s most notable accomplishments include placing second at EVO 2015 and placing 9th at GENESIS 5.

Abadango – The Japanese Challenger

Japan’s competitive Smash scene is very distinct from anywhere else in the world. Given that all of the Smash games are developed in the land of the rising sun, it’s only fitting for Japan’s competitive scene to get some representation at the E3 2018 Invitational.

Abadango has a history of turning heads with unique character choices. Perhaps we can expect some of that in the upcoming invitational.

The currently unsigned Yuta “Abadango” Kawamura is an excellent selection choice to represent the Japanese competitive scene. While having made his tournament debut in Brawl, Abadango has made a name for himself with Smash 4. Abadango attained a lot of notoriety in the international competitive Smash community with his Apex 2015 performance. Here, he shocked the world with his impressive Pac-Man play. Playing as an underrepresented character at a major tournament turned some heads. Abadango placing 7th at the event with Pac-Man turned even more heads.

While he was considered as the world’s best Pac-Man player for a time, Abadango has since moved on to mainly use Bayonetta and Mewtwo in tournaments. While these characters are more typical sights in tournaments, that shouldn’t deter from the fact that Abadango’s play is still remarkably impressive. In fact, Abadango is currently considered to be one of the best Mewtwo players in the world.

Some of Abadango’s most notable accomplishments include placing 7th at Apex 2015, placing 7th at the 2017 2GG Championship, and placing 2nd at EVO Japan earlier this year.

Mango, Lucky and Plup – The Titans of Melee

Mango is a fitting candidate for the E3 2018 Invitational, given that he’s considered to be one of the best players in the world.

Cloud9’s Joseph “Mango” Marquez is another one of the most recognizable names in all of competitive Super Smash Bros. Frequently attending major tournaments since 2007, Mango is considered by many to be the greatest Melee player of all time. Additionally, due to his great performance with the character, Mango is additionally credited as one of the main reasons why Jigglypuff rose in Melee’s tier list.

Like Abadango, Mango is able to play a variety of characters at the competitive level. Additionally, Mango represents the most optimal neutral game. He rarely allows opponents to attain any kind of advantage over him. Mango represents some of the best talent in the entire Smash Bros. community. As such, his incredibly high level of play will prove to be entertaining at this year’s invitational.

The appearance of both Mango and Lucky begs the question: Can we expect to see doubles at the E3 2018 Invitational?

Some of Mango’s most notable accomplishments include winning EVO 2013, EVO 2014 and placing second at EVO 2017.

Mango frequently plays and performs quite well in doubles. It just so happens that one of his many doubles partners will be attending the upcoming invitational at this E3. That partner is none other than Jose “Lucky” Aldama. Similar to Mango, Lucky primarily plays Melee.

Currently signed to Team Dignitas, Lucky has made a name for himself as one of the greatest Fox players in Southern California, one of the most prominent regions for competitive Smash. Moreover, Lucky established his reputation by frequently playing in doubles with Mango. Lucky mostly sees top five placements when performing in doubles. Though, that isn’t to say he isn’t a prominent singles player as well. While he doesn’t land high placements as consistently as he does in doubles, Lucky has proven to be a player to expect seeing in top 8 sets at any major tournament.

Plup (left) rounds out the Melee talent on display at the E3 2018 Invitational.

Some of Lucky’s most notable accomplishments include placing 9th at GENESIS 4, 5th at EVO 2017 and 5th at GENESIS 5.

Lastly, Panda Global’s Justin “Plup” McGrath is yet another highly respected Melee player that is among the best Melee players in the world. Currently sitting at 5th on SSBMRank, Plup is a Sheik main that also has experience with using the lesser-played Samus in tournament. Plup is also another prominent doubles player, often teaming with Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma and Mew2King.

Some of Plup’s most notable accomplishments include placing 1st at GENESIS 5, placing 5th at EVO 2017 and placing 3rd at EVO 2016.

Countdown to the E3 2018 Invitational

It’s surreal to think that, a few days from now, we’ll have an information blowout about Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch (or whatever its final title will be). The previously mentioned E3 2014 Invitational Tournament was certainly exciting, but the difference with that tournament was viewers already had a clear idea of what to expect from Smash 4 at the time.

This year, that isn’t the case. We know next to nothing about the next iteration of Super Smash Bros., which makes this upcoming tournament feel all the more exciting. Thankfully, we won’t have to hold onto the excitement for much longer. You can look forward to seeing Nintendo’s E3 Presentation at 9 A.M PST / 12:00 P.M. EST on Tuesday, June 12, where Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch will be unveiled.

The E3 2018 Invitational Tournament will begin after the conclusion of the Splatoon 2 Championships at 1:00 P.M. PST / 4:00 P.M. EST. To watch the event live, tune into or visit Nintendo’s YouTube or Twitch channels.

As for the roster, what do you think of all of the players that will be attending the E3 2018 Invitational? Are you satisfied with the lineup? Do you think there’s a Hungrybox-shaped hole in the roster of professional players? And are you looking forward to watching the tournament? As always, join the conversation and let us know!


All images courtesy of Nintendo via YouTube.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other TGH writers along with Derek. 

You can also follow Derek @DerekExMachina.

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