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This isn’t your everyday residence hall round-robin tournament.

In recent years, the popularity of eSports — competitive video games played in leagues and tournaments — has skyrocketed. The fighting game community is mostly centered around single-player tournaments, where competitors play one-on-one matches to advance through the brackets. EVO, the largest fighting game tournament in the world, will be starting in early August, and the “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” tournament is one of the most anticipated events; more than 3,000 people have already registered to play “Smash,” and all the top players will be in attendance.

“Super Smash Bros.” is a crossover fighting game series that features characters from Nintendo games and third-party developers, such as Capcom, Square Enix and Konami. “Super Smash Bros Ultimate,” the most recent installment in the franchise, was released in December, and it’s currently the most popular fighting game out there, with tens of thousands of views on Twitch.TV for each major tournament.

August 1 is the final day the Panda Global Rankings for “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” will be released. The PGR ranks the top players in the game by their tournament placings; these are just a few of the players expected to rank highly on the PGR.

MVG Echo Fox MKLeo

Leonardo Perez, aka MKLeo, is the best player from Mexico and, undeniably, the best “Ultimate” player in the world. He dominated the “Super Smash Bros 4” competitive scene, after the previous champion, Gonzalo Barrios, aka ZeRo, retired. Leo plays a number of characters, but lately, he has found the most success with Joker, a DLC character that was added in April.

Leo has come in first at every S-Tier tournament he’s attended, and hasn’t lost a major tournament since Umebura, an A-Tier tournament with all the best Japanese players in attendance. Leo streams frequently on Twitch.TV and is the player to beat at EVO.

NRG Nairo

Nairoby Quezada, aka Nairo, is the most popular player in the “Super Smash Bros.” competitive scene. Nairo has been a part of the community since “Super Smash Bros. Brawl,” where he was a top-three player; he was also a top-five player in “Smash 4.”

Nairo plays as Palutena and is best known for his aggressive, in-your-face playstyle. Nairo is always the crowd favorite, and his fans have taken to calling themselves “Naifus.” He has the largest Twitch.TV following out of all the competitive players, and frequently streams himself playing against other top players.

TSM Tweek

Gavin Dempsey, aka Tweek, is a top-three player in “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.” Tweek is fresh off of a first-place win at the most recent S-Tier tournament, Low Tier City 7, and after he dominated at tournaments earlier this year, he was signed to a premier eSports team, Team SoloMid, where he joined legendary eSports athletes.

Tweek mains Wario; however, he has also been sweeping top players with his Roy and Pokemon Trainer, characters that most pros thought wouldn’t be able to win major tournaments. Tweek currently has a winning record over almost every top-ranked player, despite his diverse selection of characters.

Liquid Dabuz

Samuel Buzby, aka Dabuz, is the best “Smash” player in New York. Dabuz has played the character Olimar in every “Super Smash Bros.” game, but he’s also known to play as Rosalina. Since he started to compete, Dabuz has been a top-five player in every “Smash” game.

Dabuz frequently places in the top three for “Ultimate” tournaments, but he hasn’t won a major event yet. He’s widely considered to be the smartest competitor to face off against, and often figures out his opponents’ strageties as soon as he starts playing.

PG Marss

Tyler Martins, aka Marss, is making a name for New England in the fighting game world. Marss is considered to be one of the best players in the league, with strong first place finishes at Full Bloom 5 and Collision 2019. During all these tournaments, he sports his iconic pajama pants.

Marss is loyal to his character, Zero Suit Samus, and, even though he thinks the character is worse than in previous games, he still defeats players handily. Marss is notorious for his “off-the-stage” edge-guarding and fast movement, also known in the “Smash” community as “schmoovement.”

Solary Glutonny

William Belaid, aka Glutonny, hails from France and is the best European player. Out of the three major regions, Europe has the weakest player base for fighting games, but Glutonny is looking to change that with his first-place finish at Europe’s first super major, Albion 4.

Throughout his time in the league, Glutonny has played Wario in each “Super Smash Bros.” game, and he’s really made a name for himself in Europe. He’s an extremely underrated player, but he’s a contender to watch out for in EVO.

SS Shuton

Shuto Moriya, aka Shuton, is the best Olimar player in Japan and is widely believed to be the best “Smash” player in Japan overall. Shuton shocked the world when he destroyed his competition at 2GG: Prime Saga, and after that win, he became notorious among the “Super Smash Bros.” community. He’s considered to be one of the toughest players to beat.

Japan has an entirely different “Smash” scene of its own that’s just as big as the North American community, because “Super Smash Bros.” was developed there, where the competitive scene took off before anywhere else. Japanese tournaments aren’t as flashy, and the players show more respect to their opponents. Shuton exemplifies the Japanese player mentality and might just have the tournament experience to win EVO.

eU Samsora

Ezra Morris, aka Samsora, is the best Peach player in the world — which is saying something, since Peach is considered one of the best characters. Samsora is from Lousiana, a state that doesn’t have much of an eSports presence, but he consistently places in the top eight at almost every tournament, and he even won the most recent A-Tier tournament, Defend the North. In January, he was signed on to the well-known eSports team, eUnited.

Samsora is known in the “Smash” community for his sense of humor and iconic laugh. He’s an extremely fun player to watch, and is friends with pretty much everyone in the league.

Other top Ultimate players include Light, Cosmos, Void, Kameme and MVD. And there are plenty of other players to keep an eye out for, such as Zackray, a 16-year-old prodigy from Japan.

“Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” hasn’t even been out for a year, and the competitive scene is likely to change, as new players come out from the sidelines and become eSports stars. And Nintendo is always updating the game and adding new characters, so there is a lot to look forward to in the future.

Editor’s Note: The “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” EVO Placings have been announced, and the official bracket can be found here.

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