On Saturday, over 400 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players convened in the DoubleTree Hilton hotel in Norwalk, California, for Heart of Battle, a super-regional Smash event hosted by 2GGaming.
By the day’s end, top seed Leonardo “MkLeo” Lopez Perez had won—and using Wolf, a secondary that the Mexican prodigy had supposedly picked up three days prior to the event. MkLeo’s success with a space animal—a very different character than Ike and Lucina, the sword-swingers that MkLeo used to win Genesis 6—shows that his spate of good results can be attributed more to his skill than to any sort of character advantage that he may hold over his fellow competitors.
Though it was MkLeo who ultimately lifted the trophy at Heart of Battle, the most electrifying run at the tournament was perhaps that of Tyler “Marss” Martins, the best Ultimate player in New England. After losing to Samus main Johnny Westside in pools, the Rhode Island native went on a legendary loser’s run, winning nine straight sets in order to make it to grand finals. There, he reset the bracket over MkLeo before falling 3-1 in the second set of grands. Marss’ loser’s run included wins over such talent as James “VoiD” Makekau-Tyson and Chris “WaDi” Boston.
WaDi, the Virginian R.O.B. main, had a strong tournament in his own right, rebounding after a disappointing 25th-place finish at Genesis to place third at Heart of Battle. Alex “Razo” Sanchez, a top Californian Peach main, also outplaced his seed, defeating Larry “Larry Lurr” Holland on his way to a fourth-place finish. VoiD and Larry Lurr, two titans of Southern California, tied for fifth, outplacing Guillermo “Stroder” Martinez and Quinton “ImHip” Goodman, who rounded out the tournament’s finals at seventh place.