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Vendetta Sweeps ESAM in Grand Finals of NA Southeast Qualifiers

The Smash Ultimate NA Southeast Online Qualifiers was held on May 15-16th. It was the tenth Super Smash bros. Ultimate qualifier for Phase One of the Smash World Tour 2021. The tournament had a stacked lineup with top players such as Eric “ESAM” Lew, Cameron “Vendetta” Garrett, Kolawole “Kola” Aideyan, Yezre’el “Yez’ Askew and Carrington “Wrath” Osbome, to name a few.

The tournament was hard-fought. Still, Vendetta, came out on top, cementing his placement in the Smash World Tour regional finals. While Vendetta is not a “household” name in the Smash community, his dominance of ESAM has definitely helped his already formidable credibility within the Smash Ultimate Competitive scene. The Article aims to go over the Grand Finals sets as well as the player’s run to Grand Finals.

Vendetta & ESAM’s Run to Grand Finals

Smash World Tour NA Southeast Ultimate qualifier, taken from EventHub

In the Online Qualifiers phase 1, ESAM and Vendetta dominated their respective brackets, taking them without losing a single game, thus moving on to Phase 2. In Phase 2, ESAM and Vendetta yet again dominated their brackets, With ESAM yet again sweeping the bracket. At the same time, Vendetta only lost a single match to Pellonian, a Wi-Fi warrior from Florida.  ESAM and Vendetta finally met in Winners finals, the set went back and forth, but Vendetta came out on top 3-2, giving Vendetta winners side of Grand Finals. Being sent to losers Finals, ESAM faced Kola’s Snake. ESAM took the set against Kola 3-0 and found himself yet again facing off against Vendetta.

Vendetta adapted to ESAM’s Pikachu play style extremely fast in Winners finals, making ESAM switch to Samus and Mii Fighter in the five-game set. Vendetta took Winners finals 3-2 against ESAM. While Winners finals was a back and forth set, Grand Finals was a different story.

Game 1 of Grand Finals

In game one of Grand Finals, ESAM opted to go back to Pikachu against Vendetta’s Ryu. ESAM started off strong with a perfectly executed combo that sent Vendetta far offstage. However, ESAM flubbed his recovery by hitting the bottom of the stage with Pikachus Up-B, making him freefall to his death while Vendetta was able to get back on stage with no issues. Still, this did not tilt the veteran player ESAM, taking Vendetta’s first stock, only taking 48% damage on ESAMS second stock. The fight seemed to be going back into ESAM’s favor until Vendetta broke ESAM’s shield at the ledge and took his second stock with a fully charged forward smash. At this point, ESAM seemed to lose his momentum, and Vendetta took the match with a two-stock lead.

Game 2 of Grand Finals

depiction of Ryu hitting Pikachu in Smash Ultimate

ESAM opted to switch to his Mii Brawler for game two and chose Yoshi’s Story as the counter pick stage. However, ESAM missed a combo into his Up-B, allowing Vendetta to set up for a Shoryuken, taking ESAM’s first stock. Vendetta used Ryu’s Shakunestsu Hadoken to keep force ESAM to jump over the platforms. Still, ESAM was able to take Vendetta’s first stock with 63% on ESAM’s second stock, almost evening up the match. ESAM played a bit more patient after taking Vendetta’s stock but was caught by Ryu’s down tilt, setting up for a Shoruken to take ESAM’s second stock of the match. ESAM was able to even up the stock count but had 112%. Miraculously, ESAM was able to take the lead in the match, getting Vendetta to 123% but was taken out by a desperate Ryu side-B, giving Vendetta a 2-0 lead in Grand Finals.

Game 3 of Grand Finals

Ending of game 3

ESAM chose to go with Min-Min in game three and counter-picked to Small Battlefield. However, Vendetta did not give ESAM any room to set up, crowding ESAM and taking his first stock, only taking 13% damage. ESAM set up more effectively on his second stock, getting Vendetta off stage and ledge guarding him with Min-Min’s arms without taking any damage, evening up the game at two stocks. ESAM was able to create space and get some damage on Vendetta. Vendetta was having issues closing the distance but chipped away at ESAM with Hadukens. Eventually, he caught ESAM at the ledge, getting a Shoryuken to confirm off of down tilt. ESAM baited out an air dodge off stage with one of Min-Min’s arms. Which lead to a second arm hitting Vendetta, taking his second stock. However, the final stock was all Vendetta, closing the distance between him and ESAM and whittling down ESAM’s shield to get another Shoryuken confirm, taking the set 3-0.

Speculation on Smash World

Smash World Tour logo, taken from Inven Global

Vendetta had an impressive and surprising tournament run. Many in the smash community did not know of Vendetta, being known chiefly in his home region of Georgia. However, Vendetta has definitely made a name for himself in this tournament. Taking out a PGR ranked player such as ESAM, shutting him out 3-0. Both ESAM and Vendetta qualified for the Smash World Tour. It will be interesting to see how far both players go in their Regional Finals.

The Smash Ultimate World Tour is shaping up to be an exciting event. With one more qualifying tournament left, the NA Northeast Ultimate Online Qualifier’s on May 22-23. It is something for the Smash community to look forward to in the coming days and months.

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