Leonardo “MkLeo” Perez won Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Singles at EVO 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada early Monday morning. With this victory, MkLeo has continued to assert his dominance as the best Smash Ultimate player in the world. Though he placed 2nd last weekend at Smash Factor 8, he has won three other major tournaments since May.
MkLeo cruised into top 32 with wins over “Cyro” and Yuki “Etsuji” Kajihara. However, he dropped into the losers bracket early after suffering a loss to Takuto “Kameme” Ono. MkLeo even suffered a scare in losers when Enrique “Maister” Hernandez took him to game three. Even so, MkLeo came out on top against his fellow Mexican competitor.
After his win over Maister, MkLeo advanced into top 8 by defeating Andrew “ScAtt” Huntley and Yuta “Abadango” Kawamura. Once in EVO 2019 Smash Ultimate top 8, MkLeo began a sweeping run into Grand Finals. He defeated Sota “Zackray” Okada, Ishiguro “Raito” Tetsuya, Ezra “Samsora” Morris, and William “Glutonny” Belaid without dropping any games.
In Grand Finals, MkLeo faced No. 2 in the world, Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey. Tweek was poised to win in the first set, as he was up 2-1 in games and a two-stock advantage. However, MkLeo pulled off the reverse three stock to win game four. He ultimately won set one 3-2. MkLeo won set two more convincingly, scoring a 3-0 to win EVO 2019 Smash Ultimate Singles.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fared well as the main event of EVO 2019. It was the largest tournament for any Smash game ever, with 3,522 entrants. MkLeo won $21,204 for placing 1st, the highest amount earned for a Smash Ultimate tournament. In addition, Ultimate top 8 peaked at over 279,000 viewers, the highest for any game in EVO history.
As a largely best-of-three bracket, EVO 2019 Smash Ultimate was filled with upsets and surprising results. However, Tweek’s commanding 2nd place finish was far from surprising. Using Pokémon Trainer, Tweek made it all the way to Grand Finals on winners side. He won sets over Liam “Phantom” Giannico, “Lea”, “ProtoBanham”, Abadango, Samsora, and Glutonny along the way.
In his second American major, ProtoBanham put on quite a performance. His 5th place finish in EVO 2019 Smash Ultimate Singles was far better than his 13th place finish at CEO 2019. ProtoBanham beat Luis “Lui$” Oceguera, Justin “Plup” McGrath, Eita “HIKARU” Hoshi, Ramin “Mr. R” Delshad, Kameme, and Paris “Light” Ramirez.
While top 8 was filled with household names, many unexpected faces appeared in the EVO 2019 Smash Ultimate top 32. Super Smash Bros. Melee extraordinaire Plup made a strong run to 17th. He scored victories over “Seven”, Cody “Skilly” Jordan, Zack “ZD” Darby, and Jestise “MVD” Negron.
Seven is a Japanese Falco main who was well-known in Brawl but did not play Smash 4 at all. Because of this, he was seeded quite low at EVO. His 25th place finish certainly defied expectations. Seven won sets against Charlie “Charliedaking” Antoun, Pedro “Prodigy” Alonso, and Cyro.
A few other lesser-known Japanese players scored upsets in order to make top 32. “Rotsuku” beat Ricky “LingLing” Gorritz, Edgar “Sparg0” Valdez, and James “VoiD” Makekau-Tyson. Tomoki “kept” Ikeda defeated Larry “Larry Lurr” Holland, “Mao,” and Mehdi “Flow” Z. Vincent “Vintendo” Martinez, a little-known American Duck Hunt main, also placed 25th in EVO 2019 Smash Ultimate Singles. He took sets over “Kome,” Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman, and Dillon “Biddy” Clark.
Dylan Tate is a student in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a gaming journalist with a love for Nintendo esports, including Smash Bros., Splatoon, ARMS, and Pokémon. Dylan also writes Nintendo news articles for Nintendo Enthusiast.