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Members of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate community showed up in droves for their first in-person supermajor post-quarantine.With 1,024 entrants, Riptide slots in as the 10th largest Smash Ultimate tournament of all time. Amid a field of upsets and unexpected breakout performances, Ultimate’s most consistent player still came out on top.
Here’s a look at Leonardo “MkLeo” Lopez Perez’s victory, along with other takeaways from Riptide.
MkLeo avenges his Ultimate Summit loss at Riptide
After experiencing a dip in his results at online tournaments during quarantine, MkLeo came into Smash Ultimate Summit 3 hoping to reclaim his title as the best player in the world. Instead, he suffered two 3-0 losses to Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey to finish in second place. With a long road to victory ahead of him, MkLeo sought to avenge his Ultimate Summit loss at Riptide.
Though once a Joker main, he did not use a bit of Joker throughout the tournament. Early on, MkLeo tried using mostly Pyra and Mythra. But, after dropping games to Corbin “DEVOTED” Croom and Stephen “Doorstop” Schmidt before top 64, he instead opted to lean on his Byleth.
MkLeo proceeded to beat Michael “Tilde” Tedesco 3-0, Gabriel “Epic_Gabriel” Romero 3-0 and Noah “naitosharp” McCulley 3-0 en route to top eight. In winners semis, MkLeo faced fellow Mexican Enrique “Maister” Hernández Solís, against whom he had never lost an offline set. He kept that streak alive by defeating Maister 3-1.
Winners finals featured another set in the budding rivalry between MkLeo and Tweek. Just as in their last two encounters, Tweek went up 2-0 to start the set. But, this time, MkLeo completed the reverse 3-0 for which he has become so notorious. He even three-stocked Tweek in Game 5 to win the set 3-2.
Tweek made his way back to MkLeo for a rematch in grand finals. After losing the first game, MkLeo solidly won the next two games. As a result, Tweek opted to switch off of Diddy Kong and onto Sephiroth. The character switch did not deter MkLeo at all, as his Byleth proceeded to three-stock Tweek. This allowed him to win the set 3-1. Thus, with Byleth now at the forefront of his character roster, MkLeo won Ultimate Singles at Riptide and continued to make a claim for himself as the best player in the world once again.
Won riptide 2021 over tweek in grands 3-1 considering i got destroyed at summit
Im super happy i was able to bring this back. Thank you so much everyone that cheered for me. ❤️
Gotta keep grinding!
Really happy i won with mostly byleth ❤️
He gives me marth vibes @T1 #T1WIN
— T1 | MkLeo (@Mkleosb) September 13, 2021
Ultimate’s post-quarantine elite is being established
MkLeo was not the only player to show off impressive consistency in the midst of the changing tides of competitive Smash Ultimate. MkLeo and Tweek, already established as two of the best in the game before the pandemic, have remained consistent by reaching grand finals at both Ultimate Summit 3 and Riptide. In addition, Edgar “Sparg0” Valdez, a new member of the highest echelons of competitive play, placed third at both events.
Prior to winners finals, Tweek only dropped a single game to Salvatore “Zomba” DeSena. From there, he swept Kobe “Kobe” Murray, Chris “WaDi” Boston and Matt “Elegant” Fitzpatrick. Additionally, Tweek conquered Sparg0 3-1 in losers finals.
Sparg0 fell into the losers bracket early after dropping a five-game set against WaDi’s Mewtwo. Nevertheless, he ran through the losers bracket to reach top eight, eliminating the likes of David “LeoN” Leon, Kobe and Ricky “LingLing” Gorritz. In top eight, Sparg0 brought out his signature Cloud alongside his Pyra and Mythra. With this line-up, he beat Luis “Lui$” Oceguera 3-2, Maister 3-0 and Elegant 3-2. The 15-year-old prodigy is well on his way to cementing his status as one of the best Smash Ultimate players in the world.
3rd place again. Not bad:p
— Sparg0 (@Sparg0ssb) September 13, 2021
Goblin takes up the Roy mantle in top eight
Thanks to his top-eight finish at Summit, Kolawole “Kola” Aideyan was rewarded with a top-eight seed at Riptide Smash Ultimate Singles. However, the Roy main finished in a disappointing 65th place after being upset by naitosharp and Troy “BassMage” Waters. Despite Kola’s underperformance, 36th seed Alexis “Goblin” Stennett took up the mantle, carrying his Roy to fifth place.
Due to his fairly low seed, Goblin fought Maister in Round 1 of top 64 and suffered a 3-0 loss. However, he made a commanding run through the losers bracket, eliminating Robert “Myran” Herrin 3-1, Guillermo “Stroder Ame” Martinez Jr. 3-1 and Antony “MuteAce” Hoo 3-2.
His next match was against fellow Floridian Epic_Gabriel, with whom he frequently travels the country to attend tournaments and against whom he frequently plays in bracket. Goblin came out on top after a five-game set. Afterward, he won another nail-biter set over “Yonni” 3-2 to qualify for top eight.
Next, he faced Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby in top eight. Goblin got off to a strong start, winning the first two games against Dabuz’s Olimar. Dabuz switched to Min Min, enabling him to win Game 3. However, Goblin bounced back with a two-stock in Game 4 to win the set 3-2. Ultimately, Goblin was eliminated by Elegant after yet another five-game set.
5th /1024 at Riptide beating Yoomoo, Myran, Stroder, MuteAce, Gabriel, Yonni and Dabuz. Losing to Maister and Elegant. going into this weekend I did not expect to do anywhere as good as I did, I hadn’t gone to tournaments for a few weeks so I was ready for whatever result.
— Goblin (@GoblinFL) September 13, 2021
Wi-fi warriors find offline success
Going into the first post-quarantine supermajor, many members of the Smash community wondered if those who excelled at online tournaments would be able to make a splash offline. After Riptide’s Smash Ultimate event, it seems the answer is a resounding “yes.” In particular, naitosharp and Yonni both finished in ninth place, only one set shy from reaching top eight.
Even before top 64, naitosharp defeated Grayson “Grayson” Ramos and scored a big upset over Kola. From there, his Joker and Zero Suit Samus helped him to defeat Jonathan “Pellonian” Olivo 3-1 and MuteAce 3-0. His only losses came against top 10 players MkLeo and Dabuz. Even then, naitosharp pushed Dabuz all the way to Game 5.
9th at riptide joker zss
beat kola muteace grayson pelonian, lost to leo and dabuz
— naitosharp (@naitosharp) September 12, 2021
While his greatest successes had come online, naitosharp still had a good deal of offline tournament experience. Conversely, Riptide was Yonni’s first offline Ultimate major. As the 172nd seed, his breakout run required a whole slew of upsets. En route to winners quarters, Yonni beat Colin “colinies” Landals 2-0, Armando “Citadel” Porte 2-1, Myran 2-0, Jeffrey “ATATA” Solberg 3-2 and Dabuz 3-1. From there, he lost 3-0 to Maister and 3-2 to Goblin.
Oh shit it’s hitting me now, I got 9th at a fucking super major bro what the fuck
— IluZ | Yonni (@FrYonni) September 12, 2021
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.