Major upsets against top players seemed to be the rule rather than the exception during the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 32-player semi-finals bracket at EVO 2019, allowing underrated and rising talent a chance to prove that they’re contenders too.
Betting men and women have likely picked Mexican Smash star MKLeo as their guy to win the entire thing. Leo has frequently placed first at tournaments around the country and is more or less the consensus pick for the best player in the scene currently. Yet, Japanese Mega Man whiz Kameme swept Leo’s Joker in a best-of-3 in the first round of the semi-finals, sending him to the loser’s bracket. Leo has unsurprisingly managed to stay afloat and will compete in the top 8 finals, with a chance to come back from his (relatively) early defeat and possibly run away with another first place victory. Meanwhile, Kameme couldn’t keep his hot streak alive, and was eliminated in the fourth round of the loser’s bracket.
Potentially even more shocking was Marss’ elimination from the tournament entirely. Marss has made a career out of his Zero Suit Samus play, and betting odds placed him as fourth most likely to win the tournament. When Marss lost to Japanese Wario player Nietono in the first round of the semis, it was an upset; he was then eliminated by Light’s Fox in the fourth round of loser’s, finishing at 13th, significantly lower than his projected 4th place finish. Nietono, meanwhile, was eliminated in the loser’s bracket as well.
Olimar and Rosalina player Dabuz faced a similar fate. He was projected just below Marss as the number five pick, and yet lost to Japanese Duck Hunt player Raito in the semis. He then went on to lose to upsetter extraordinaire Light in round four of the loser’s bracket. Raito also managed to defeat Shuton, another highly-rated Olimar player, in the first round of the semis, and will continue into the top 8 final round.
Smash Ultimate is the premier event at this year’s EVO, and recorded a record 3,492 entrants this year. The size and visibility of the tournament brought many Japanese players overseas to test their prowess against the larger Western scene. It’s no surprise that, with such a large and eager pool of entrants, players looking to prove themselves have done just that against some of the titans of the game. The final 8 finds a mix of established top talent and underdogs going head-to-head. If the current trend continues, expect a new name in the headlines come the coronation of Sunday evening’s victor.