Throughout the course of any competitive esports season, there’s bound to be ups and downs. Even as players transition from season to season, many will emerge as contenders while others fall to the wayside. In the case of Smash Ultimate, some contenders come and go as the scene takes them, while others will experience competitive journeys that are much more drastic. Here are three such players whose 2019 ended on a downswing, but could potentially have a bounceback season come next year.
Perhaps the most polarizing top player throughout all of competitive Smash this year, Brian “Cosmos” Kalu has experienced some seriously high highs as well as some incredibly low lows. In the earlier part of the year, Cosmos was a force to be reckoned with, finishing at number 11 on the PGRU after stringing together a season that saw him finish in the top 8 at nine consecutive major tournaments. However, in the game’s second season, Cosmos failed to place in the top 16 at any S-tier event. His best showing was a 2nd place finish at Nightmare on Smashville, but beyond that, his performance in the latter half of 2019 left a lot to be desired.
Still, don’t be shocked if Cosmos rebounds heavily next year as he’s still one of the most talented players in the world. When it comes to raw mechanical skill, Cosmos is most definitely among the most elite players in the game. And with the competitive scene sure to shift by the time next year’s waves of S-tier tourneys start to roll out, it wouldn’t be out of the question to assume that the best Inkling in the world could have a chance at reclaiming some of those top 8 finishes that have eluded him over the course of the past few months.
Jestise “MVD” Negron emerged back in season 1 as one of the professional players to put Snake on the map. After he won Ultimate’s first ever major, Don’t Park on the Grass 2018, he placed just outside the top 12 at Genesis, while going on to place in the top 8 at Frostbite and Pound. After just a few months, Snake was strongly considered as one of the best characters in the game, and MVD was seen as his strongest orchestrator.
But after securing another top 8 finish at Low Tier City, and a full-blown tourney win at Thunder Smash 2, MVD fell into a major slump. Despite all the momentum in his favor after a raucous start to the summer, MVD experienced a seriously unfortunate stretch of tournaments in the month of August. A 65th place finish at EVO, partnered with two 49th place finishes at Super Smash Con and Shine effectively made his second season an uphill battle right from the start. Like Cosmos, he failed to reach the top 16 at any S-tier tournament this season.
Still, as one of the most formidable players in the scene, MVD could be poised to take back his place atop the professional scene come next season. It would be unwise to underestimate someone with so much history and talent. Come 2020, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect MVD to rebound with a vengeance.
Robert “Myran” Herrin is someone who saw tons of early success in 2019 but fell off immensely in the second half, ultimately putting up an uninspiring performance in the latter parts of the year. However, a 9th place finish at Genesis, a 3rd place finish at Frostbite, and a 2nd place finish at Pound are certainly nothing to scoff at. Obviously the potential is there as Myran certainly has the ability to win within him. Don’t be stunned if he experiences another upswing once 2020 kicks into full gear.
Still, after various nerfs to Olimar significantly hurt Myran’s main at the back end of the Spring, his results started to diminish rapidly raising questions if he was carried by his character. While 25th place finishes at tournaments like Shine and Evo are certainly underwhelming, it’s important to realize that Myran is really only losing to players who are significantly better than him. Losses to players like Sota “Zackray” Okada, Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey, and William “Glutonny” Belaid, while definitely hurtful to his season, are nothing to hang his head over.
The fact of the matter in regards to Myran is that in Season 2, he finally started losing to the players he was supposed to lose to. If he can turn things around and start stealing some wins in bracket, there’s a real possibility that he could return to form in 2020. He proved this year, at the very least, that he deserves a spot in the conversation.
Photo Credit: Nintendo, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, 2GG, Thunder Gaming, VGBootCamp