The Smash season is set to close this weekend with its final major of the PGR season at 2GG’s Kongo Saga. The event is set to cap off a historic year for Ultimate as the game took the franchise’s competitive scene to an entirely new level. A full 365 days after the release of Smash Ultimate, Kongo Saga has the potential to put a bow on a truly historic year. Here are the biggest storylines to keep an eye on as the tournament unfolds.
Can Nairo continue his hot streak?
Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada has most definitely been one of the more inconsistent players in the professional scene this year. There were some tournaments where he’d streamroll his way through bracket and easily reach the top 8, while on other occasions, he’d fall short and place far below his seeding. However, with his recent performance in mind, it’s fair to say that Nairo is on a ridiculous hot streak and doesn’t show any signs of cooling off any time soon.
After a win at Mainstage, he followed up his performance with top 4 finishes at both Big House 9 and Ultimate Summit 2. Just about a month ago, Nairo was able to win Tri-state Showdown with a massive win over Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey. If Nairo is able to continue playing at this pace, there’s reason to believe that he can contend for the top spot this weekend.
Will Tweek reverse the EVO curse?
Ever since getting reversed 3-0’d by Leonardo “Mkleo” Lopez at EVO earlier this year, Tweek hasn’t been able to win a major. He landed on the doorstep of winning the “Super Bowl of Smash” and was promptly thrown off, failing to walk away from anything major with a first place finish to boot.
It’s obvious that he was one of the most dominant players in the world back in the earlier months of 2019, but as of late, he’s fallen short of his former self. Looking back at his past few entries, Tweek managed to reach the top 8 at Shine, Glitch 7, and Big House 9, but failed to make any major strides at Ultimate Summit 2 and Dreamhack Atlanta, finishing in a tie for 16th at both events. Sure, he won Return to Yoshi’s Island last month and finished 2nd at Tri-state Showdown, but Tweek has to take home first place at a major tournament to really be brought back into the fray. This weekend is his chance.
Can Cosmos win a major in 2019?
Back when Smash Ultimate launched a year ago, Inkling was immediately determined to be one of, if not, the best character in the game. And Brian “Cosmos” Kalu was drawn up to be the best Inkling player in the world right off the bat. A year later, both of those statements are still true, but the results just haven’t been there for Cosmos.
He’s yet to win a Smash Ultimate major and has failed to reach the top 8 at nine different majors this year. However, the potential is there when it’s not offset by streakiness. Before a 16th place finish at Momocon earlier this year, Cosmos had placed in the top 8 at nine consecutive tournaments that he entered. Since then, he’s faltered for sure, but with a win at Kongo Saga, he could finally end a year-long drought that’s plagued him since the game’s release.
Will Mkleo’s streak end?
Speaking of streaks, perhaps the most incredible ongoing streak right now in the Smash scene belongs to Mkleo. Dating back to the last weekend of May, Leo hasn’t missed Grand Finals at a tournament that he entered since Get on My Level. For clarity’s sake, that’s 13 straight tournaments without missing Grands. Out of those 13 tourneys, he’s won 10 of them – Smash Factor 8, Shine, and Mainstage being the exceptions.
Regardless, the man is on fire and is easily going to secure his top spot on the PGR for a second straight season. At this point, all Mkleo has to worry about is keeping this streak of continuous top-level performances intact, and with the way he’s playing, there’s no reason to believe he won’t do so at Kongo Saga.
Photo Credit: Hector Amezcua, EVO, 2GG, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Nintendo, Panda Global