This weekend, the 2020 Smash Ultimate season kicks into high gear in Oakland, CA at Genesis 7. With over 1,600 entrants, it’s set to be one of the biggest Smash Ultimate tourneys ever. Here are the biggest storylines to keep an eye on as the tournament unfolds.
The Return of the King
So far in 2020, two major tournaments in the United States, Let’s Make Big Moves and Glitch 8, have played host to pretty much every top player in the scene except Leonardo “Mkleo” Perez. Genesis will be the first event of the year where Leo makes an appearance, and frankly, there’s no reason to believe why he shouldn’t sweep through the tournament. Despite not having competed since Kongo Saga, Mkleo is still Mkleo. He’s still the best player in the world and there shouldn’t be any reason to doubt that the rust will be shaken off almost immediately. It might be his first tourney in over a month, but don’t be shocked if Leo comes storming out of the gate looking like he hasn’t missed any time at all.
Searching for Genesis Redemption
Last year, the Ultimate landscape was terraformed dramatically right from the start as some of the most prominent names in the scene were shut out at Genesis 6. Players like Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey and Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada failed to reach the top 8 after having immense expectations attached to them heading into the tournament. Here in 2020, those expectations remain, but the scene is much more stable. That volatility and factor of unexpectedness is mostly gone a year into Ultimate’s lifespan and it wouldn’t be out of the question to see players like Tweek and Nairo, who are seeded 5th and 2nd respectively, live up to their expectations.
Those Looking to Cash In
2019 saw many top players in the Smash scene crack the pinnacle of competition but still shy away from breaking the glass ceiling and winning a major tournament. Two of those players included Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby (8th seed) and Paris “Light” Ramirez (9th seed), who both failed to win an A-tier or S-tier tournament throughout the entirety of 2019. Last year, both players reached the top 8 at Genesis and have both been on a roll heading into the wheelhouse of the 2020 Smash season. Perhaps Genesis could serve as the necessary medium for those who are on the cusp to finally break through early in 2020.
Capitalizing on Momentum
Speaking of breaking through, there’s a few players I’m keeping an eye on to perform way beyond expectations at Genesis 7. After a series of promising results over the course of the past few months, don’t be shocked if Rasheen “Dark Wizzy” Rose (11th seed) sneaks his way into the top 8. He hasn’t missed the top 8 at 7 consecutive tournaments and there’s really no reason to believe that his hot streak is going to be halted any time soon. In addition to Wizzy, it’s also worth keeping an eye on players like Jestise “MVD” Negron and Eric “ESAM” Lew, two players who are trending upwards and could definitely turn some heads at Genesis.
The Harder they Fall, the Stronger they…Rebound?
A lot has changed since the last Genesis. The meta has drastically shifted time and again while the top spots of the competitive ladder have been occupied and reoccupied on countless occasions. However, perhaps the most drastic changes in terms of player personnel have come in the forms of Brian “Cosmos” Kalu and James “VoiD” Makekau-Tyson. After both players made the top 8 at Genesis last year (with VoiD reaching Grand Finals), they’ve each fallen on some hard times in terms of their results and are currently seeded 12th and 28th, respectively at Genesis 7. However, with some recent solid performances in tow for both VoiD and Cosmos, most notably a 5th place finish at Mainstage for VoiD and a 4th place finish at Glitch 8 for Cosmos, there’s reason to believe that both players could carry some of that late-season 2 momentum into 2020.
Searching for Sleepers
One of the most intriguing elements of supermajors is watching the bracket unfold and seeing mid-tier players outside the top 20 seeds make some miracle runs. This year, Genesis has the chance to see some really unorthodox players take a stab at the top 8. Keep an eye on some fringe candidates such as Matt “Elegant” Fitzpatrick (24th seed) and Alan “Gen” Soriano (23rd seed) to potentially make a deep run into the later stages of the tournament.
Crowning a Winner
When the dust settles, a winner will have to be crowned at Genesis 7. While it’s easy to predict that Mkleo will probably walk away from the event on top, there’s solid enough backup to any claim that would predict a victory for Tweek, Nairo, or any other of the top 10 seeds. The odds are more than stacked in the favor of Leo – who has won five consecutive tournaments – but the rest of the scene is most definitely within reach and is quickly approaching his doorstep. While he may be the clear favorite coming into the weekend, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see another contender walk away from Genesis 7 on top.
Photo Credit: Nintendo, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Robert Paul, Genesis