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James “VoiD” Makekau-Tyson was the first best player in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl. The week the game came out, he swept an invitational hosted by Nickelodeon and went on a 12-1 run to win the game’s first open-bracket online major, Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma’s The Box: Juice Box #53.
— CLG (@clgaming) October 9, 2021
His tenure at the top was, admittedly, short-lived. He stopped competing shortly after NASB came out, leaving players like Lilybunn and Aaron “Bodedee” Hansen to rise to the top of more formal rankings. Nevertheless, for as long as he did play, VoiD was the person to beat for other high-level NASB players.
A little under a year later, VoiD staked his claim for the title of first best player in a different platform fighter, alongside his long-time Doubles partner, Tyrell “NAKAT” Coleman. NAKAT and VoiD won the first-ever in-person MultiVersus tournament at Evo 2022, thanks in large part to the synergy they’ve developed since they started teaming at Super Smash Bros. for Wii U tournaments in 2016.
“The general principles carry over; when I want to be aggressive, when he wants to be aggressive, how we like playing in last hit situations,” VoiD said. “All of that stuff, we don’t have to talk about it or figure it out. So, we can just focus on being good at the game.”
Leading up to the event, the Smash veterans were among a handful of top performers gunning for a first-place finish. While VoiD and NAKAT won the race to become the first best players in MultiVersus, the marathon of staying at the top has now begun.
The contenders emerge
At a tournament like this, it’d be hard to call any outcome an upset. With the game being so new and with players having minimal experience playing offline, it’d hardly be surprising to see a little-known team make a deep run.
And yet, there was little doubt going into Evo who the top teams would be. No. 1 seeds Synume and Leviathan and No. 2 seeds DJ “RoseJ” A. and Tyler “mirrorman” Morgan had consistently put up top results and traded sets with each other at online tournaments. As expected, both teams maintained their high level of consistency en route to top-three finishes at Evo.
— MVSGaming ✈ EVO (@MVSGaming) August 5, 2022
As the fourth-seeded team, VoiD and NAKAT were the odd men out in the top three. While Evo was their first official tournament together, many players still considered them a threat to win it all. In the week leading up to Evo, VoiD had claimed first place at another debut online tournament hosted by Hungrybox, The Coinbox #26.
Not only did the seeders know these teams would go far; the players themselves knew it too. Fittingly, VoiD said he considered NASB veterans mirrorman and RoseJ to be his and NAKAT’s biggest rivals in MultiVersus.
“We’ve scrimmed against them a lot and they’re really good,” VoiD said prior to top eight.
Meanwhile, mirrorman identified multiple teams who had the potential to be the best MultiVersus players; including VoiD and NAKAT, Synume and Leviathan, and Zage and Courage. In particular, RoseJ acknowledged that Leviathan could pose a threat to them due to his unpredictability.
“It kind of seems like he can play every character in the game and he knows things about the characters that no one else does,” RoseJ said. “Just kind of knowing he could pull out a secondary at any moment and we’re not prepared for that at all is something to worry about.”
Yet, both mirrorman and RoseJ both picked the Smash veterans as the team they expected to face in grand finals.
“VoiD and NAKAT have been looking very strong,” RoseJ said prior to top eight. “They look like a new team since we last played.”
Top teams duke it out
The script played out more or less as expected at Evo. The NASB duo cruised into grand finals after beating Synume and Leviathan 3-0 and VoiD and NAKAT 3-1. Throughout the tournament, they ran a Bugs Bunny and Velma team composition, the clear best team in the game.
Top eight of Evo featured three Bugs-Velma pairs, plus another three teams where at least one member played Velma. The strength of these two characters was evident enough to prompt a character switch from the NASB team; while mirrorman was an established Bugs main, RoseJ mostly played Arya Stark at previous events before switching to Velma for Evo.
Their dominant run to grand finals prompted mirrorman to say on the broadcast that he was “not surprised” that he and RoseJ had conquered the Smash duo of VoiD and NAKAT in winners finals. However, the confident statement may have been mirrorman’s biggest mistake.
“I’m really happy mirrorman said he wasn’t surprised he won,” VoiD said in an on-stream interview after grand finals. “That ignited a fire in me and NAKAT to try as hard as we did. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
After a narrow 3-2 win over the top-seeded Synume and Leviathan in losers finals, VoiD and NAKAT went into grand finals with a clear mission: to reach the top with Tom & Jerry and Wonder Woman, the characters they had been piloting since the first alpha playtests.
“I’m ready to stop the Bugs-Velma meta,” NAKAT said in an on-stream interview after losers finals.
The result was a dominant 6-0 sweep between both sets of grand finals. While RoseJ tried bringing back his tried-and-true Arya for set two, he and mirrorman were ultimately unable to match their success from winners finals against a resurgent VoiD and NAKAT.
They started strong and finished stronger 💪
Thank you to all the players that participated this weekend. We have more to come so stay tooned😉 pic.twitter.com/1oORCJcfZ4
— MVSGaming ✈ EVO (@MVSGaming) August 7, 2022
What it takes to be the best MultiVersus players
In a new and ever-changing game like MultiVersus, flexibility and adaptability will be crucial for any players aiming to be the best. Just as mirrorman and RoseJ were willing to switch up their team composition to include both of the best characters in the game, they may have to change their line-up again with Bugs (and likely Velma) nerfs on the horizon.
Yet, mirrorman is confident that the fundamentals he developed in NASB will continue to help him in MultiVersus. He said both games require pressing buttons quickly and have similar enough timings that muscle memory from NASB will help out in MultiVersus.
“A lot of the time you’re hitting dodge [in MultiVersus] at the same time you’d air [dash] in NASB and the general flow of the game feels really similar,” mirrorman said.
In addition, RoseJ said their experience with team-based shooting games — RoseJ plays VALORANT and mirrorman plays Team Fortress 2 — gives them the necessary communication skills that some players native to the platform fighting genre might lack.
“I think one of the things that me and mirrorman do best is, we’re not only communicating during the matches — what we need or what we have to do — but post-set we kind of talk about what happened during that match, what can we change, how should we go into the next one,” RoseJ said.
While many of the current best MultiVersus players have put substantial hours into the game since its earliest playtests, newer players still have the potential to join in the race to the top by watching other high-level players and learning what does and doesn’t work for them.
“Once a lot more people got their hands on the game, they pretty much adjusted really fast, so I don’t really think there’s an advantage at the moment,” NAKAT said in an on-stream interview after losers finals. “There’s a lot of good players now.”
Given his success in Smash, NASB and MultiVersus, it’s easy to view VoiD as a naturally-gifted platform fighter player. But, for his own part, VoiD attributes much of it to the fact that, as a streamer, he gets paid to spend a lot of time grinding new games. Still, there’s no doubt that VoiD’s seasoned mentality has played a large part in making him one of the first top players in multiple games.
“I don’t really care about winning, I care about having fun and getting better,” VoiD said. “So, I feel like the mentality just carries over really easily to a new game.”
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.