Super Smash Bros. Ultimate pro Tyler “Marss” Martins announced Tuesday that he is no longer part of esports organization Panda. He was the final remaining Smash player on Panda’s professional team.
“It was an amazing ride while it lasted. [I] appreciate all the people I met and opportunities I was given thanks to them,” Marss tweeted. “I’m optimistic about the future, and looking forward to bigger and better things.”
Sadly today I announce that I am no longer with @PandaGlobal. It was an amazing ride while it lasted, appreciate all the people I met and opportunities I was given thanks to them 💚. I'm optimistic about the future, and looking forward to bigger and better things.
— 🍥 Marss (@Marss_NE) January 16, 2023
Panda has been enveloped in controversy since the cancellation of the 2022 Smash World Tour Championships in November. The circuit organizers accused then-Panda CEO Alan Bunney of attempting to strongarm Smash tournament organizers into adding their events to the Nintendo-partnered Panda Cup, a claim which several other TOs corroborated.
Following the allegations, numerous professional players, content creators and staff members left Panda due to the organization’s damaged brand. These included Cody “iBDW” Schwab, Justin “Plup” McGrath, and Chris “WaDi” Boston. After the dust settled, Marss and Eric “ESAM” Lew were the only players who said they would remain with Panda.
However, ESAM announced he was leaving the organization on Sunday, noting that it was not his decision to do so. Following Marss’ departure, it seems that the organization may be on its way to becoming defunct.
Today is the end of my 7.5 years at @PandaGlobal. This was not my decision, but I am now a free agent looking for new esports and content teams.
I’ll give an explanation what’s happening later because right now I’m focusing on Genesis.
— ESAM (@imESAM) January 15, 2023
Marss’ tenure with Panda
Since Genesis 3, where he made his first major Super Smash Bros. for Wii U top eight as an 18-year-old, Marss has been the premier Zero Suit Samus player, in both Smash 4 and Ultimate. More than three years after his national breakout, Marss joined Panda in March of 2019.
Prior to quarantine, Marss earned major victories at events like Collision 2019, Smash Factor 8 and Genesis 7. As a result, he ranked in the top five on the Spring 2019 PGRU and the Fall 2019 PGRU. While his results dipped after quarantine, he still ranked in the top 20 in North America on the PGRU v3.
His best performance of the past season came at Lost Tech City. There, he defeated Enrique “Maister” Hernández Solís, Bharat “Lima” Chintapall, Salvatore “Zomba” DeSena and ESAM to place first. Marss also earned wins over Paris “Light” Ramirez, Pedro “Kurama” Alonso, Jestise “MVD” Negron, Aaron “Aaron” Wilhite and Christian “Peabnut” Londoño over the course of the season, resulting in a 36th-place finish on the UltRank.
Since Marss and the other professional Smash players have left, it is unclear if Panda has any plans to continue operating in the future. The organization has not made any official public communications since December, when it announced that Bunney was no longer CEO.
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.