The last major Smash Ultimate event of the year is in the books, and it’s going to be a while until we’re treated to another S-tier tournament. There’s at least a month and a half to go until Genesis 7 comes around in late January, but even still, it’s undebatable that the game’s 2nd PGR season came to a close with one of the most impressive tournaments of 2019.
When you look at all of the major tournaments that have taken place over the course of Ultimate’s lifespan – Genesis 6, EVO, and everything in between – it’s easy to see why this weekend’s Kongo Saga stacks up among the greatest of them. Throughout the course of the entire tournament, some of the most intriguing storylines and themes in the game’s young history were on full display. Between the continued dominance of Leonardo “Mkleo” Lopez, a return to prominence for Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey, and the solidification of Japan as a region in a global context, Kongo Saga served as not only a fitting finale to an incredible year of professional Smash, but a glimpse into the game’s future, as well.
Coming into the tournament, plenty of questions surrounded the event as it seemed entirely possible any reasonable contender could take home the victory. Additionally, with an incredible amount of international talent at Kongo Saga, fans were hypothesizing that a European or Japanese player could dethrone the North American conglomerate that has dominated the game throughout all of 2019 in the season’s final moments.
With performances from players like Isami “T” Ikeda and William “Glutonny” Belaid in mind, it wasn’t entirely out of the question to suggest that an international player would walk away from Kongo Saga as champion. However, the tournament went as most tournaments did in 2019, with the two best players in the world facing off in yet another edition of the greatest rivalry that the game has to offer. Everybody played everybody, but in the end, Leo beat Tweek. That’s just the way it’s gone in 2019.
After a weekend of pomp, circumstance, and some of the best sets that the year has seen to date, Kongo Saga exemplified exactly what 2019 in Smash was all about. The game is still in a healthy position and this tournament served as proof of that point. When all of the game’s biggest stars from around the globe all come together at major S-tier events, the community stops and takes notice.
And as we move into 2020, major tournaments like this one will have to serve as the backbone of the game’s competitive scene. They’re what drive the players at the top to play their best, while also promoting members of the game’s community at all levels to stay engaged with the scene. If all tournaments in 2020 are going to be like Kongo Saga, it’s safe to say that we’re going to be in for a really intriguing and entertaining year.
Photo Credit: Nintendo, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, 2GGaming