From April 29 through May 5, Japan will celebrate Golden Week, a five-day stretch that includes four public holidays. During this year’s Golden Week and the following weekend, Japan will host three major Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments: Maesuma Top 12 on April 30, Delta 4 on May 4 and Kagaribi 10 from May 6-7.
This will be the most important week of competition for Japanese Smashers all year, as Japan’s finest players will look to secure top rankings on the next iteration of the UltRank. At the same time, several international players will travel to enter tournaments in one of the most stacked regions for Ultimate in the world.
Keep reading for an overview of some of the best Smash Ultimate players that viewers should keep an eye on throughout Golden Week in Japan.
Local Smash Ultimate players to watch during Golden Week: Miya and zackray
Since earning his first major victory at Kagaribi 8 last year, Mr. Game & Watch main Miya has been steadily rising to the top of Japan. Along with Shuto “Shuton” Moriya and Brian “Cosmos” Kalu, Miya is among the most notable players who has registered to attend all three Golden Week Smash Ultimate majors.
So far this year, Miya has been one of Japan’s most active and consistent threats. Outside of his uncharacteristic 49th-place finish at Kagaribi 9, he has placed in the top 16 of every tournament he has entered. Furthermore, Miya has finished in first place more often than not this year, including two major wins at Maesuma Top 11 and Seibugeki 13.
Across his many tournament appearances in 2023, Miya has already beaten the likes of Mashita “acola” Hayato, Shuton, Yoshidora, Takuto “Kameme” Ono, Kazuki “Asimo” Takeuchi, Cosmos and Kengo “KEN” Suzuki, among others. Although he faces stiff competition from acola for the top spot, Miya could at least stake his claim for the title of No. 2 in Japan with some standout performances during Golden Week.
— 西武撃 (@Seibugeki_Smash) March 12, 2023
Meanwhile, Sota “zackray” Okada has been inactive and unpredictable compared to Miya. Zackray has had mixed results since he stepped away from competitive Pokémon UNITE and returned to competitive Smash last summer.
Earlier this year, zackray garnered international attention for his third-place finish at Kagaribi 9. There, he defeated Yoshidora, Kameme, KEN and more amid a 10-set losers run using predominantly Pit. However, his most recent tournament appearance was a mediocre 33rd-place finish at Wave 4.
Despite his recent inconsistency, zackray has been one of the most storied and successful players from Japan throughout the history of competitive Smash Ultimate. He could undoubtedly make a deep run at Kagaribi 10, the only Golden Week tournament he is currently slated to attend.
International players to watch: Sparg0 and Riddles
Kagaribi 10 will mark Edgar “Sparg0” Valdez’s first time competing outside of North America. Sparg0 recently earned his first major win of the year at Major Upset, where he conquered Leonardo “MkLeo” López Pérez, Michael “Riddles” Kim, Dawson “Big D” Perron and more.
Sparg0’s chances of winning Kagaribi 10 look solid thanks to his lifetime winning record against the prospective first seed, acola. However, he has also recently suffered upset losses to the likes of James “VoiD” Makekau-Tyson. As a result, there’s no guarantee that Sparg0 will make it past the onslaught of Japanese hidden bosses on his road to facing acola.
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— FaZe Sparg0 (@Sparg0ssb) April 9, 2023
Meanwhile, Riddles’ resume for the year is similar to that of Miya, although he has attended slightly fewer majors than Miya. Riddles’ 33rd-place finish at Genesis 9 is the only significant blemish on an otherwise impressive record so far this year, which includes a major win at Collision 2023. His 2023 resume includes multiple major top-eight finishes and multiple regional first-place finishes.
This year, Riddles has beaten players like MkLeo, Sparg0, Carlos “Sonix” Pérez, Juan Pablo “Skyjay” Osorio Lozada, Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby, Big D, Pedro “Kurama” Alonso Jr., Dylan “ApolloKage” J. and more. To excel at Smash Ultimate Golden Week majors Maesuma Top 12 and Kagaribi 10, Riddles will likely need to find the right balance between Kazuya and Terry to take on the large array of match-ups he could reasonably face in a diverse and powerful region like Japan.
About the Author
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.