During Smash Summit 7 in November, streaming organization Beyond the Summit aired a brief promo announcing the date of a Smash Ultimate invitational event to be held in early March 2019 at the organization’s venue in southern California. Today, the group released a list of six players who will be auto-invited to the event: Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios, Leonardo “MkLeo” Lopez Perez, Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada, Adam “Armada” Lindgren, William “Leffen” Hjelte, and Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman.
Beyond the Summit’s list reflects tournament organizers’ hope that Smash Ultimate will provide a battleground on which competitors from both the Melee and Smash 4 scenes can face off, thanks to the game’s faster-paced neutral and improved combo mechanics. Three of the players—ZeRo, MkLeo, and Nairo—are Smash Ultimate specialists who began their competitive careers during the Super Smash Bros. Brawl days, while the other three have spent most of the last five years competing in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
Though Smash Ultimate is certainly mechanically closer to Smash 4 than it is to Melee, that doesn’t mean that the three Melee players invited to the Ultimate Summit don’t have the potential to make deep bracket runs. Armada, who is now retired from competitive Melee singles, has announced his intention to compete seriously in Smash Ultimate, while Leffen has led the charge for Melee streamers to give serious consideration and screen time to the new Smash iteration. Both Armada and Leffen saw some tournament success during the early Smash 4 days, but Mew2King’s resume in the post-Melee Smash games is by far the most impressive of the three: he reigned supreme during most of the Brawl era and secured a number of top-level wins in Smash 4, including an infamous 3-0 over ZeRo at Get On My Level 2016.
It appears the three players who came out of Smash 4 were chosen for a combination of their name-brand recognizability and their record of strong performances in the Wii U title. For most of Smash 4’s lifespan, ZeRo and Nairo battled for supremacy, with MkLeo inserting himself into the mix in 2016 to become another major contender. The three of them formed the top-three of the PGR100, the all-time Smash 4 rankings released by Panda Global last December.
The Ultimate Summit’s full list of players has not yet been released. Besides the six players who will make their way into the event via Beyond the Summit’s voting process, the four highest-placing non-invited players at early February’s Genesis 6 will earn themselves spots at the invitational. No matter who rounds out its bracket, the Ultimate Summit is sure to be an entertaining—and surprising—look into the early Smash Ultimate metagame.
If a Smash Ultimate clash between Smash 4’s usual suspects and top contenders from Melee sounds like your cup of tea, tune in to Beyond the Summit’s Smash Twitch channel between March 7 and March 10 to catch the action live.