Everything to know about CEO 2022 - Upcomer
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Everything to know about CEO 2022

The long-awaited Panda Cup officially begins this weekend

The Community Effort Orlando Fighting Game Championships will return to Daytona Beach, Florida this weekend, bringing over 2,000 players together in 18 different games. In addition, it will mark the beginning of the Panda Cup, a Super Smash Bros. circuit formed out of a partnership between Panda Global and Nintendo.

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Three players from both Melee and Ultimate will qualify for the Panda Cup Finale at this event. Here’s everything viewers need to know about CEO 2022, including how to watch the tournament and which players are most likely to have strong performances.

Smash players to watch

Although he will enter the tournament as the second seed, Michael “Riddles” Kim is the strongest contender for first place going into the CEO 2022 Smash Ultimate bracket, as he has never dropped an offline set to No. 3 seed Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby; he also recently defeated No. 1 seed Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey en route to third place at The Gimvitational.

As the ninth seed, Zero Suit Samus main Tyler “Marss” Martins won’t be as safe of a pick to win the whole thing as usual. Nevertheless, Marss proved he was full of surprises by using his secondary Joker to beat Paris “Light” Ramirez, Benjamin “loaf” Rust and Lucas “Chase” Ray at The Gimvitational. As a result, he could very well rack up more upsets with this newly-minted Joker at CEO.

The Melee bracket looks to be a toss-up between the top two seeds, William “Leffen” Hjelte and Cody “iBDW” Schwab. They are the only players who have won majors this year besides Zain “Zain” Naghmi, who will not be at CEO 2022. In addition, they are both 2-0 against No. 3 seed Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma at offline tournaments this year.

While they haven’t yet played this year, iBDW has beaten Leffen 3-2 in their last three sets, making him the slight favorite if they meet again at this tournament. However, iBDW’s relative inconsistency could be Leffen’s saving grace, as iBDW is more likely to be upset before their projected winners finals face-off.

How to watch CEO 2022

Round one pools for both Smash brackets and a handful of other fighting games at CEO 2022 will kick off at noon ET on Friday, lasting all day. The Smash pools will resume at 10 am on Saturday, with phase two of the Melee bracket starting at noon. Phase two of Ultimate Singles will then begin at 2 p.m Saturday.

Melee’s top 16 will later start at 4 p.m. on Saturday, while Ultimate top 32 will start at 6 p.m. On Championship Sunday, Melee top eight will kick off at noon, followed by Ultimate top eight at 4 p.m.

The entirety of the Ultimate bracket and Melee top eight at CEO 2022 will be streamed on the new Panda Cup Twitch channel. Their secondary channel, pandacup2, will stream the Melee bracket up to the top eight. The full stream schedule for every event at CEO is available on the tournament’s start.gg page.

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Dylan Tate
Dylan Tate is an alumnus of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a gaming journalist with a love for Nintendo esports, particularly Super Smash Bros. and Pokémon.