Saleem “Salem” Young won Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Singles at Port Priority 5 in Seattle, Washington on Sept. 8. This was Salem’s first tournament victory since Paradigm Shift in July. It was also his biggest tournament victory to date for Smash Ultimate.
Salem advanced into top 8 with a relatively easy bracket as a result of upsets. Even so, he was dominant in his top 64 sets, defeating all of his opponents with no game fives. These opponents included R. “Biggymouth” Stumbaugh, Katu “Tra$h Koopa God” L., and Spencer “BestNess” Garner.
Salem started off top 8 with a 3-1 victory over Guillermo “StroKaze” Martinez Jr. in Winners Semis. He faced a bit more difficulty in his next two sets of Port Priority 5. Still, he emerged victorious with 3-2 wins over both Yatiyaña “yeti” Schaper and Nicko Bonilla.
Since he began to split his focus between both Snake and Hero, Salem’s results have suffered. He failed to place even in the top 32 of his last three supermajors. However, it is promising that Salem placed 1st at Port Priority 5 ahead of such a talented field of players.
Reigning Port Priority 4 champion Nicko had an impressive and unexpected run to 2nd place at Port Priority 5. He made it to Winners Quarters with upset victories over Landon “Captain L” Trybuch and Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby. While he lost his set against yeti, Nicko still reached top 8 with a 3-2 victory over Trae “Deci” Rawls.
Once in top 8, Nicko went on a dominating path to Grand Finals. He started with convincing victories over Pedro “Prodigy” Alonso and StroKaze. Then Nicko accomplished the unthinkable and beat No. 1 seed Dabuz again. Nicko also won his runback against yeti in Losers Finals before falling to Salem in Grands.
StroKaze scored a few impressive wins in order to reach Port Priority 5 top 8 on winners side. He defeated Robert “Myran” Herrin and Jestise “MVD” Negron. Nevertheless, StroKaze has faced repeated criticism online for his previous racial slur controversy. This has included comments in the chat of tournament livestreams saying “racism is dead” whenever StroKaze loses. He has since deactivated his Twitter account, likely in response to this constant criticism. Many top players have come to StroKaze’s defense, urging viewers to stop harassing him.
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.