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Tweek’s Fall or MKLeo’s Resurgence? – EVO 2019 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Grand Finals Analysis

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s first ever EVO was one to be remembered, finishing off the tournament with one of the most unbelievable Grand Finals comebacks in competitive Smash Bros. history. Facing a 2-0 deficit in Grand Finals after a dominant run through the loser’s side of Top 8, Leonardo “MKLeo” Perez pulled of the improbable: a six game reverse sweep over TSM’s Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey.

Tweek looked to be in a prime position to secure a dominant victory over the PGR’s number one ranked player, but MKLeo performed a monumental momentum shift. Tweek might not have showed signs of losing this set during the first two games, however, he nearly gave up a similar lead in Winner’s Finals to Glutonny who managed to take Tweek to a fifth game after he led 2-0.

So what happened? Let’s take a look at the final six games of EVO 2019’s Grand Finals and try to find out.

Game 3 

Stage: Pokemon Stadium 2

EVO 2019 Smash Finals

MKLeo started off this game fantastically by forcing Tweek off the ledge and racking up roughly 52% with some well-placed Eihas off-stage. MKLeo’s lead would be short lived as Tweek managed to even things up after some well placed hits from Charizard and a near KO with Ivysaur’s Vine Whip near the right edge of the stage. Tweek even got some mileage out of Squirtle at higher percents, which was crucial in racking up some extra damage. Leo ended up taking the first stock, but Tweek closed out Leo’s first stock after some minimal damage taken.

Leo once again demonstrated full control off-stage when taking Tweek’s second stock as he caught both of Tweek’s recovery attempts with Makarakarn and another back-air. On Tweek’s final stock, Leo was all over him, racking up almost 60% before Tweek could find an opportunity to switch to Ivysaur and secure a KO. By then it was too late, as Leo was able to combo the life out of Charizard into an up-smash confirm on the left platform.

2-1 (Tweek)

Game 4

Stage: Pokemon Stadium 2

EVO 2019 Smash Finals

After trading combos, Tweek took the first stock with Charizard’s forward tilt catching Leo’s neutral get-up. Tweek seemed to be running away with this game after quickly racking up over 100% on Leo, which led to yet another stock at the hands (or tail in this case) of Charizard. But then, Leo snapped.

Leo’s capitalization of Arsene in this game was phenomenal, being able to quickly close out Tweek’s first stock and entire second stock with an unforgiving string of combos on Squirtle. Tweek’s desperation switch to Ivysaur proved futile as Leo caught him with a back-air KOing early thanks to Arsene. In a last stock situation, however, Leo proved he didn’t need Arsene to complete this comeback. Tweek nearly stole Leo’s final stock with a down-air near the ledge, but Leo’s tech saved him from the tournament-winning spike. Tweek had yet another opportunity after knocking Leo off-stage with a back-air from Charizard which led to a forward-throw off stage, but once Leo made it back to the stage, Arsene was back. Tweek didn’t last much longer after that.

2-2 (Tied)

Game 5 

Stage: Pokemon Stadium 2

EVO 2019 Smash Finals

This game was all MKLeo. Tweek stormed out in front first, but racking up damage on Joker means Arsene won’t be far behind. Once Arsene showed up, Tweek’s opening stock was gone in seconds. Even without Arsene’s pressure, Tweek could not find an opportunity to score a KO, leading Leo to another off-stage back-air as Tweek attempted a Pokemon switch. Arsene made another appearance for Leo’s second stock and this time it was a forward-air off-stage to complete the reverse sweep of the first set.

2-3 (MKLeo wins first set)

[Finals Reset] Game 1

Stage: Pokemon Stadium 2

EVO 2019 Smash Finals

Tweek was able to wait out Arsene and keep up with Leo (for the most part) on their first stocks, but even without Arsene, Leo scored a up-air drag down confirm to KO Ivysaur with an up-smash. Leo maintained a low level of damage on his second stock as he was once again able to win the war of attrition with Squirtle. If it wasn’t clear by now, the nerves looked to be getting to Tweek as Leo was able to gimp him off-stage with Joker’s weaker gun projectile.

It wasn’t over yet for Tweek as he managed to wait out Arsene and take Leo’s second stock with some clever Pokemon switching. Tweek looked to be making a sizable comeback with nearly 70% on Leo bringing out Arsene once again. The game ends off-stage with Tweek going for it all on a Flare Blitz with sends him hurdling towards the right blast zone.

There was nothing but confusion surrounding this play from Tweek. Perhaps it was a mis-input or an attempt to get one of the most stylish KO’s of the tournament, but either way, that was a stock that was tossed out prematurely.

1-0 (Leo)

[Finals Reset] Game 2

Stage: Town and City

EVO 2019 Smash Finals

Town and City finally marked a change in scenery, and it’s interesting to consider why Tweek took this long to counterpick to it. This stage is potentially more advantageous for Tweek considering this limits MKLeo’s platform utility to just one (and zero once the platforms temporarily disappear) for those deadly up-smash conversions. Meanwhile, Squirtle and Ivysaur can utilize all of the platforms for furthering combos or securing KOs.

Another game where Tweek started out beautifully by taking Leo to almost 90% even with Arsene in play. After some hits that took Tweek off-stage, Leo landed a stinging down-air spike making quick work of Tweek’s first stock. Leo made even better use of his first stock (again, without Arsene) by nearly eliminating Tweek’s second, and even though Tweek finally nabbed a KO with Charizard, Leo quickly dropped in and landed a forward-smash to send Tweek to his final stock.

Being at a deficit, with Arsene showing up quickly after some early combo strings from Squirtle, it took just a few up-airs and back-airs near the edge for Tweek’s final stock to disappear.

2-0 (MKLeo)

[Finals Reset] Game 3

Stage: Pokemon Stadium 2

EVO 2019 Smash Finals

After five games, suddenly Tweek found himself on the opposite end of the situation he was in last set. Tweek actually made some notable adjustments this game including challenging Leo’s off-stage projectiles with Ivysaur’s Razor Leaf and using the ledge to camp out Arsene. He was able to stall out two Arsene appearances before finally losing his first stock to an off-stage Tetrakarn.

Tweek completely switched up his approach for his next encounter with Arsene, being much more aggressive. Even though this cost Tweek his second stock and nearly 50% on his last, he was able to put Leo in some disadvantageous positions off-stage which went surprisingly unpunished.

Leo got Tweek to over 100% without getting hit once on his final stock, and when this looked all but over, Tweek managed to hang on with Charizard an put up a valiant effort. Unfortunately, one missed down-air from Tweek led to a successful one from Leo, and with that, the reverse sweep was completed, and MKLeo became the first ever Super Smash Bros. Ultimate EVO champion.

3-0 (MKLeo wins second set)

Takeaways

  • For every clever Pokemon switch from Tweek came one that resulted in a costly punish, mainly in the desperation switches off-stage that resulted in back-airs from Leo.
  • Arsene dominated moments of advantage and disadvantage for Leo. Tweek maybe had the right idea trying to wait Arsene out on the ledge.
  • Leo was a monster off-stage. Not much Tweek could do to overcome Leo’s precision when he had control of the ledge.

Even though these sets became completely one-sided by their conclusion, every game felt like an even matchup (for the most part). This set could’ve gone either way, but in the end, MKLeo was able to capitalize on many more opportunities than Tweek, showing the world why he deserves to be known as the best player in the world.

 



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Images from Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Nintendo, VGBootCamp and EVO 2019. 

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