Smash Summit has been a staple of the competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee scene for a number of years. With the release of Ultimate, Beyond the Summit announced the Smash Ultimate Summit. Six players received automatic invites. Here, we’ll look at those players and see if the Beyond the Summit team left off any important names.
Beyond the Summit invited three players known for their Smash 4 play: Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios, Leonardo “MKLeo” Lopez and Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada. They also invited three Smashers who rose to fame through Melee: Adam “Armada” Lindgren, William “Leffen” Hjelte, and Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman.
ZeRo’s invitation is perhaps a no-brainer. ZeRo’s reign in Smash 4 earned him a spot among not only Smash’s, but the entire fighting game community’s shortlist of greatest competitors. Despite a ninth place at his only Ultimate event, Smash Conference United, it’s almost unquestioned that ZeRo will be among the game’s best players.
ZeRo has also become a top streamer. He’s currently Twitch’s 35th most-watched streamer with nearly two millions viewer hours in the past 30 days. Summit is as much about entertainment as it is about competition and ZeRo is the most entertaining Smasher right now.
Another obvious choice, Nairo was ranked fourth on Panda Global’s final six-month ranking. He was also ranked second on the PGR 100 All-Time rankings. Nairo spent his entire Smash 4 career – which started when he was just 17 years old – within the ranked top five.
He’s also one of the most popular Smashers with roots in Smash 4. His Twitter account (@NairoMK) has 137K followers – ZeRo is the only Smasher with a larger following. Nairo will bring eyes and a legacy to Smash Ultimate Summit.
MKLeo finished Smash 4 as the best player in the world. Now, he is poised to make another run at the throne in Ultimate. Leo already secured a first-place finish under in Ultimate at Smash Conference United. Here he defeated Salem and Samsora en route to first.
Leo is also a dominant doubles player. The team of him and komorikri were arguably the best doubles team during the game’s run. With Genesis 6 looming, Leo has attended two previous Genesis events (G4 and G5), he’s won singles, and doubles at both tournaments.
A god in every game he touches, no Melee player has dedicated more time to other Smash games than M2K. He was ranked inside Smash 4’s top-30 until 2017. Afterward, he began to devote less time to the game. By 2018, he had mostly given up on the game. In the past year, he’s attended just five Smash 4 events.
However, M2K is putting most of his time and practice into Ultimate, including making it his priority at Genesis 6. A former Summit victor – with an iconic win at Summit 6 – M2K also has a history with the event. If any player not known for Smash 4 deserves an invite, it’s Mew2King.
The greatest Melee player to grace the Earth, Armada has taken his talents to Ultimate. Armada is a four-time Summit champion. He won the event’s first four iterations. The Swedish Sniper’s dominance and report at Summit make him a solid choice. Having him in the events and on the couch will be a treat.
Armada also has a history of success in other games. With Pit, Armada put together a dominant few months of Project M. In 2014, he entered 15 Project M tournaments. He won all but three. Fully dedicated to Ultimate, Armada’s ceiling is as high as anyone’s in the game.
The most controversial invitee, Leffen doesn’t have the same success in other Smash titles as M2K or Armada. However, Leffen has ventured into other franchises entirely. Most recently, he was ranked 14th on PGR’s Dragon Ball FighterZ rankings. Leffen is the only player to appear at Summit events for two different games.
Possibly to spite anyone who defies him, Leffen has been spending most of his time practicing Ultimate since the game’s release. He is currently the second most viewed individual streamer for Ultimate. He placed seventh at Europe’s largest Ultimate tournament to date, Valhalla II.
One could argue that a player who’s never been at the top of a Smash game outside of Ultimate doesn’t deserve an invite. Leffen is brash and liable to flame anyone on Twitter or his stream. He’s got a checkered past in the community. However, because he’s willing to call anyone out and speak his unabashed truth, he’s a delight on the couch. Leffen doesn’t have to be infallible in Ultimate to be a great choice for Summit.
Is the Best Player Missing?
The four highest placing non-invitees at Genesis 6 will be offered a spot at Smash Ultimate Summit. Another six will be attending via Summit’s fan voting. However, there are some players who may feel left out from the first round of invites.
Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey is emerging as a dominant force in the early days of Ultimate. He’s won Sky’s Ultimate Invitational, Let’s Make Moves, and Glitch 6. The latter two had 448 and 551 attendees, respectively. Tweek didn’t drop a game at any of these tournaments.
Tweek is an early favorite to win Genesis 6 so securing a wild-card invite shouldn’t be too hard. However, it only takes one bad tournament to force Tweek into the voting phase.
Outside Looking In
Japan’s Ultimate scene is incredibly strong. Umebura SP’s 746 entrants were so many that they had to move to a single elimination format. This is also the largest Ultimate event to date. Despite this, Japan was left out of the first six invitees.
Kengo “KEN” Suzuki was ranked ninth on the PGR 100 and already has a gold medal from Midwest Mayhem Ultimate. Zackray has won the two most recent Japanese majors including Ultimate’s fourth-largest tournament, Umebura SP 2.
Zackray was ranked 88th in the PGR 100 and KEN dropped to 30th in the final six-month ranking. It’s fair to say that both are worthy of Summit but weren’t must-haves in the initial round of invites.
Even if the first round of invitees may have been a bit Melee-heavy, wild-card bids and the voting will likely round out a superb pool of sixteen players.
Player images courtesy of Red Bull esports.
Featured image courtesy of Beyond the Summit.
You can follow Kyle @ffkylethekid where he tweets about fantasy football, Overwatch, and Smash.
If you enjoy what you read, consider contributing to our Patreon account!