With Frostbite 2019 set to kick off in less than 24 hours, all eyes will be focused on Detroit, Michigan for the duration of the coming weekend. As top talent in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate gathers from across the globe, Frostbite will serve as yet another focal point in the competitive scene. Here are the top players you should be keeping tabs on throughout the course of the tournament.
After heading into Genesis 6 as the number 1 overall seed at the tournament, Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey suffered an early exit at the hands of Eric “ESAM” Lew and Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby. Although a 9th place finish at a major international tournament should surely be nothing to be upset about, it’s definitely not where a player of Tweek’s stature should have ended up – especially after running the table at Glitch 6 just a few weeks prior. It’s no secret that Tweek is a top-tier player and that he most definitely cracks the top 5 in terms of worldwide talent. There’s a reason he comes into Frostbite as the number 2 seed overall.
But now, it’s time to prove why he’s so high on the table and secure a title at a major event. Look for him to start his vengeance tour at Frostbite, as anything but a redemptive 1st place finish should be considered a shortcoming. Of course, he’ll have to pass by the players who took him down at Genesis, as well as fellow top-3 talent in James “VoiD” Makekau-Tyson and Leonardo “Mkleo” Lopez, but if there’s ever going to be a time for Tweek to bounce back, it would definitely be this weekend in Detroit. Don’t expect him to stay down for too long, as Frostbite could serve as the perfect opportunity to pounce right back to the top of the scene.
If there’s any player who’s making some solid moves at a seriously low-key level, it’s Robert “Myran” Herrin. Easily a top-5 player in Florida, Myran has been quickly rising through the competitive scene, and coming into Frostbite, there’s really good reason as to why he’s the 19th overall seed. If it weren’t for players like Mkleo, Ezra “Samsora” Morris, and Saleem “Salem” Young, Myran would easily be the top player from the state, and even though he’s in a pond with some very big fish, Myran is proving that he belongs in the conversation.
After being seeding 35th at Genesis 6, he easily outdid his initial seeding as he came just 1 game away from a top-8 appearance, falling just short at the hands of Brian “Cosmos” Kalu. Additionally, a top-8 finish at Smash Conference United has definitely boosted his Smash Ultimate profile. And now, as a bonafide high-tier player, Myran, who is seeding 20th overall at Frostbite, is less of a sleeper pick and more of a surefire player. Expect a top 20 finish at Frostbite from this top 20 talent. The sky’s the limit for Myran, and if he continues to play at the pace he’s currently playing at, his potential could be absolutely limitless. It’s only a matter of time until he’s a household name, and Frostbite could be the catalyst that skyrockets him.
Easily the most disappointing performance at Genesis 6 belonged to Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada. A 17th-24th place finish was incredibly underwhelming when compared to his number 2 overall seeding at the tournament. However, Frostbite could definitely serve as a turning point for this top talent, as a strong finish here would leave Genesis far behind in the rearview mirror. Similarly to Tweek, Nairo is an elite player who should never be counted out, and with a top-8 seeding, a top-8 finish should easily be expected. After all, he’s still one of the best players in the world and a quick stumble at a major tournament shouldn’t make anyone lower their expectations.
Speaking of players in need of a massive bounce back, Matt “Elegant” Fitzpatrick is a top level player who is banking on the prospect of a miracle run at Frostbite, as his professional resume has been quite lackluster for the first two months of Ultimate’s lifespan. With a few local victories, a 9th place run at No Fun Allowed 3, and a 3rd place finish at SoCal Chronicles, Elegant has played average enough throughout the course of the past few weeks. However, he couldn’t convert that success at locals and regionals into success at Genesis, as his 45th overall seeding resulted in a finish at 193rd place.
Needless to say, Frostbite needs to serve as a major turning point for Elegant, as he’s still an extremely talented player with a seriously niche pick in his back pocket – one that he plays better than anyone else in the world. There’s no doubt that Elegant is sitting on a mountain of potential – it’s just up to him to unleash it and find that success he’s been chasing for quite some time now. If he can string a few wins together and play to the level he’s certainly capable of, there’s no reason why Elegant can’t splash his way into the upper echelons of the tournament. Sure, he’s only seeded 66th overall at the tournament, but a top-8 player is simply waiting to be uncovered. The only thing standing in Elegant’s way is Elegant himself.
Another player who’s been keeping things low-key, David “UtopianRay” Estrada has been rising through the ranks of the Ultimate competitive scene. With a top-8 placing at NYXL back in December and a 17th place finish at Glitch 6 last month (in addition to plenty of strong finishes at House of 3000’s NYC locals), UtopianRay has quietly risen to the upper level of talent on the East coast. And with a strong finish at Frostbite, he could make a serious dent on the international and national radars.
Coming into the tournament with a top-50 seed at 48th overall, as well as a 3rd place finish at the pre-Frostbite warm-up tourney Ursa Minor 3 just last night, UtopianRay has all the momentum at his back and could potentially be the sleeper pick at Frostbite. Expect him to place well and showcase his talents, but don’t be shocked if you see him during the later stages of the weekend.
Photo Credit: Robert Paul, Meghan Montalvo, VGBootCamp