MkLeo is only the beginning for Mexico in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Mexican Smash has more to it than MkLeo

MkLeo is only the beginning for Mexico in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Mexico has emerged as one of the best regions in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
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Leonardo “MkLeo” López Pérez had a weekly routine while growing up outside Mexico City. He would take a one hour subway trip outside his home in Naucalpan de Juárez and get off right in front of his Super Smash Bros. Ultimate meet-up in the city. He would go inside the game store and see familiar faces, like Santiago “Chag” Perez and Abraham “BigBoss” Slane Parra. And then MkLeo would win a lot of those weeklies — though the others never made the path to victory easy.

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“It was hard, it was just hard,” MkLeo said from his home in Los Angeles. “I felt that people really tried to beat me in 2015. That’s when I started realizing Mexico could be really strong.”

The Super Smash Bros. scene is as spread out as a fighting game community can be, but most of the action has centered on the United States. Other regions, from Sweden in Melee or Japan in Brawl and Smash 4, have grown over time. Yet, one region that few expected could play a major role in the future of competitive Ultimate: Mexico.

Much of that is due to MkLeo, who is the best Ultimate player in the world, wracking up tournament win after tournament win. For years, he used to be the sole representative from Mexico on the biggest Smash stages as he climbed the ladder of success. Now, other players are starting to follow in his footsteps.

“Back in Smash 4, MkLeo gave us faith because he did so amazing,” Chag said. “Everyone was like ‘oh Mexico is really strong, Mexico can do this.”

Chag himself has had a quiet career ever since his breakout performance at Genesis 4, but in the post-pandemic era, the twenty year-old has placed top eight at back-to-back events. Chag attributes his success to learning from Mexico’s best and growing more confident in his play. He isn’t the only one in the Mexican scene who’s been learning from MkLeo, however.

Mexico’s proving ground

While the majority of the Super Smash Bros. community refers to him as Enrique “Maister” Hernández Solís, MkLeo knows him as just Enrique. The two had known each other for some time but hadn’t become friends until Maister started performing well outside Mexico. That’s when Maister needed to crash in MkLeo’s hotel room.

Even though Maister and MkLeo have never played in a Mexican tournament together, they’ve faced off plenty of times. Maister, who says that MkLeo is his inspiration, has never been able to best his idol.

“Honestly, Leo is just a lot different.” Maister said. “He’s literally number one in the world. I mean, there’s a reason why he doesn’t drop below second place.”

Maister
Maister, the best Mr. Game & Watch player in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. | Provided by Beyond the Summit

MkLeo has been the best player in Smash 4 and Ultimate for years at this point, but he didn’t get there on his own. Mexico is also home to some of the best character specialists in the world. Maister, for example, excels with Mr.Game & Watch. In fact, the character has been synonymous with Mexico ever since Smash 4, when Alejandro “Regi Shikimi” Martínez helped put him on the map.

There are also plenty of big events in Mexico, where MkLeo and the region’s other rising stars can hone their skills. Smash Factor, for example, has been Mexico’s premier Smash event since 2013. The annual event, held in Puebla, Mexico is the biggest Smash Bros tournament of the year for many of Mexico’s talented players.

The series didn’t really pick up traction until Smash Factor 4 in 2015, which was one of MKLeo’s first tournament wins. Meanwhile, Maister placed 65th at Smash Factor 6 and then 17th the next time. He came into his own in the process, placing third at Smash Factor 8,  but ran up against an all too familiar road block.

After beating fellow Game & Watch specialist Regi Shikimi in four games, Maister moved on to his nemesis and mentor, MkLeo. Maister fell to MkLeo in the first round before clawing his way back through the loser’s bracket. He met MkLeo again in the loser’s final, ultimately losing 3-1.

“I hear a lot of people say ‘oh once Maister stops running into Leo he will do really well,’” Maister said, “but I’m really aware of the fact that if I want to win a major I have to beat anyone in my path.”

Author
Image of Warren Younger
Warren Younger
ASU alum with a B.A in Sports Journalism, Warren is one of the premier TFT Journalists in the scene and is a decent TFT player as well who has peaked Challenger and has had multiple accounts in Master+ over all sets. Warren also specializes in other esports content including League of Legends, Valorant, Smash Bros, and more.