The second round of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate singles tournament at this weekend’s Super Smash Con featured a long-awaited matchup between Saleem "Salem" Akiel Young and William "Leffen" Peter Hjelte. The matchup delivered on a massive amount of hype that had been building in the Smash community since a heated exchange between both players went viral last December.
First, some context for those unaware of these two players’ storied history with one another: their feud was unintentionally kicked off by a Tweet by FGC superstar SonicFox about maining Daisy in Smash Ultimate. In the post's reply section, Salem found himself in the position of arguing Snake's viability as a competitive character to Leffen, who claimed that Salem's valuation of the character came from a lack of knowledge about the game.
Tension only escalated from there, as a much larger debate about the role of Melee within the Smash community at large became the focus of their back-and-forth. Essentially, Leffen is considered one of the best Melee players in the world, and has remained a top tournament competitor well into the lifespans of subsequent Smash games. Salem is slightly newer to the Smash scene, beginning to play competitively during the Brawl era and transitioning into the more recent games upon their release.
To drastically simplify a much more nuanced discussion, Salem represented the anti-Melee side and Leffen the pro-Melee side of the debate. More words were said, a Twitlonger was posted (never a good sign) and a meme was born. The feud grew so large that it was reported on by major news outlets.
As any connoisseur of great internet drama (which essentially includes everyone with an internet connection) can understand, a match between these two players became eagerly anticipated immediately following this dispute. Their matchup was projected at multiple tournaments thereafter, including most recently, at EVO 2019, which Leffen was ultimately unable to attend due to visa issues.
At Smash Con 2019, it finally happened. In rounds one and two, Leffen's Pokémon trainer went up against Salem's Snake—who else?—and each round resulted in a final stock comeback, for Leffen in round one and Salem in round two. For the tiebreaker round, Salem switched to Hero, the controversial new addition to Smash Ultimate, for, as he put it in his post-match Tweet, "max shamble."
Round three, despite Salem's quasi-troll pick, featured one nail-biting moment after another as momentum swung back and forth between each player. Then, yet another comeback-from-behind came from none other than Leffen, who took the win.
Reactions by those who watched live all seemed to be in agreement that the match lived up to the hype, though Leffen's post-match Tweet seemed to downplay the enormity of the moment, possibly just in order to discourage internet toxicity and bring a courteous end to a lengthy saga.