This is it. The best of the best. In Ultimate’s wildest season, these players dominated time and again, showing why they belong at the top. Brought to you by Stuart98 with graphics by Cloudhead, these are the ten best players in the world.
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The Spring 2022 season might have been Gavin “TSM FTX | Tweek” Dempsey’s weakest in Ultimate yet, but Tweek at his worst is still a top 10 player. Tweek primarily used Diddy Kong and Sephiroth throughout this season with Diddy in particular giving him his best results, but other characters including Wolf, Wario, and Cloud also saw some use. Throughout Ultimate, Tweek has struggled with maintaining his consistency of results a full season despite very high peaks, and this season was no exception, as he peaked early but fell off somewhat down the stretch.
Tweek opened the season with a run to 5th at Smash Ultimate Summit 4. He struggled somewhat in pools, defeating BassMage but taking game 5 losses to Chag and Dabuz, then defeated Lavish and ProtoBanham in the gauntlet phase to make bracket in winners. In bracket, he defeated Glutonny 3-0 before losing game 5 to Light and 0-3 in a runback against ProtoBanham.
Tweek’s run at Collision 2022 was the single strongest bracket run of any player for the season. Just to get to top 8, Tweek defeated SuperGirlKels, Soar, BigBoss, and Glutonny, dropping only a single game to BigBoss. He then lost a close 2-3 set to Sparg0, falling to losers. In losers, he defeated Light 3-1, Riddles 3-2, and MkLeo 3-1 to get to Grands. Once there, he defeated Sparg0 3-0 but lost 0-3 in the reset, finishing 2nd after having defeated 4 top 5 players.
Tweek’s appearances after Collision were somewhat sporadic for a while, winning a monthly over Jakal in late March then not appearing again until Genesis 8. Genesis was the clear nadir of Tweek’s season, as he lost 0-2 to AC in a shock upset and then defeated Kazma and Grayson in losers before losing 0-3 to ESAM for a disappointing 33rd. He followed this up with an uncharacteristically poor showing at the April Platinum Star Smash Monthly, losing 0-2 to boosk with Diddy and 2-3 to Steffen with Cloud to finish 4th.
MomoCon 2022 was mostly a return to form for Tweek, as he beat Colorondo8, Lima, and Fatality to make top 12 before losing 1-3 to Maister. In losers, he defeated Ling, MuteAce, and Sonix, all 3-0, before once more losing 1-3 to Maister. At the Gimvitational, he defeated loaf and yonni in pools 3-0, but lost the final match of pools 2-3 to Riddles, then lost 1-3 to yonni and Kola in main bracket to finish 9th. His final event of the season was CEO 2022, where he defeated Luma, WaDi, and MVD to make top 8, but lost 2-3 to Toast and 0-3 to Sonix to place 5th.
Tweek’s play is still just the same as it’s ever been: inconsistent, but the best in the world when he feels like it. As we move into the Fall 2022 season, Super Smash Con presents the first real test of whether or not Tweek returns to form or not. As one of the few players to be positive on MkLeo post-quarantine, Tweek could pose one of the biggest challenges to Leo’s throne—if he can maintain the consistency needed to get to him.
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The King of New York, Samuel “Liquid | Dabuz” Buzby maintains his top 10 status for yet another season of Ultimate. Dabuz didn’t quite have the peaks of some of his other competitors, but his consistency throughout his 11 bracket runs was nearly unmatched. Every single one of his bracket runs was a net positive for his season, something unheard of for a top 10 competitor, and as the season went on, Dabuz’s results seemed only to get better and better.
Dabuz started the season with a run to 4th place at A-tier Let’s Make Big Moves 2022, nabbing wins on quiK and Goblin but losing 1-3 against both MuteAce and Kola. His next appearance of the season was his weakest of the season at Glitch – Infinite, where he beat Syrup, Beast, and Goblin but lost 2-3 to Cosmos and Jake. At Smash Ultimate Summit 4, he scored his 2nd best win of the season in a reverse 3-0 against Tweek and also picked up wins on Chag and BassMage, but lost game 5 to MkLeo and 1-3 to ProtoBanham in main bracket, finishing at 9th place. Genesis 8 was one of only two events of the season where Dabuz failed to defeat any top 50 players, with his best win at the event being BassMage as he fell to Light and Kola to place 9th. The 9th place streak continued at Pound 2022, where Dabuz defeated Pink Fresh and Myran but lost 1-3 to Glutonny and 2-3 to Zomba.
After a disappointing Pound and Genesis, Dabuz went on a hot streak, placing in the top 4 at every event he would attend for the rest of the season. At Low Tide City 2022, Dabuz defeated yonni, Maister, and MuteAce while taking a game 5 loss to Kola and 0-3 loss to Sparg0 to finish 3rd. At MomoCon 2022, Dabuz’ strongest event of the season, he defeated Vendetta, Lui$, Scend, and Maister to make Winners Finals, where he lost 1-3 to Light. He defeated Maister once more in Losers Finals before losing Grands 0-3 to Light. At his next event, Dabuz won Warped! – Collision Series Premire Monthly event, defeating Quandale Dinglelingleton game 5 and also taking two wins on Zomba.
At Crown 2, Dabuz defeated H4DS, LeoN, and Kurama to make Winner’s Finals, then defeated Tea 3-2 to make Grands. On the cusp of a win, he had it snatched away from him, losing the first set of Grands in a reverse 3-0 and not taking any games in the reset. At CEO 2022 a week later, he defeated Peabnut, ZD, and Marss, but lost 2-3 to Riddles and 0-3 to Sonix. Dabuz’ had a rough start to his final event of the season in Double Down 2022, losing 1-2 to frawg in round 1 pools. However, he made an immaculate losers run to 4th place, winning 11 sets over the likes of Teaser, Chag, Ned, Kurama, Sonix, Jakal, and KEN before being eliminated 1-3 by Tea.
Though Dabuz was only able to obtain two wins on top 10 players, he has an impeccable loss record, with half of his losses being to the top 10 and three out of every four being to the top 20. An anomalous loss to frawg is his only loss to a player outside the top 50, and he has no losses to any players outside the top 100. A 2nd place finish at Smash Factor 9 is a great start to his Fall 2022 season. Just about the only thing Dabuz hasn’t achieved in this game is winning a major; if he can manage that, he may be able to find a place in the top 5.
The best Pac-Man and Kazuya player in the world, Takuma “Tea” Hirooka continued putting up top 10 level performances in the Spring 2022 season, though limited attendance limited just how high he could rank. Tea attended six different events in the Spring 2022 season, and while two were more or less duds, the remaining four were some of the best runs of anyone in the top 50. While his Kazuya debuted in 2021 as a mere secondary, in 2022 it blossomed into a full on co-main that was crucial to Tea’s success this past season.
Tea’s debut tournament for the season was also his worst, as he finished last at Smash Summit Ultimate 4, defeating Elegant and Lavish but losing the final set of his pool to Sparg0 and having the awful luck to face MkLeo in the first round of Gauntlet, losing 1-3 then taking an uncharacteristic loss to Goblin to finish at 13th. Tea’s next tournament wouldn’t be for a whole two months for Golden Week. At Maesuma TOP 7, Tea returned to form, beating Shogun 2-0, Munekin 2-1, Luminous 2-1, and Kome 2-0 to make top 8, where he lost 1-2 to Shuton. In losers, he defeated Kameme 2-1 before falling at 4th to acola 1-2. A few days later at Kagaribi 7, Tea beat Munekin and RYO in 3-0 sets, but lost 2-3 to Asimo and 0-3 to Shuton to finish at 9th place.
After Golden Week, Tea would not compete in Japan again, but instead put up a series of three incredible runs at overseas majors. At Battle of BC 4, Tea defeated SpamCop 3-0, Tilde 3-1, MVD 3-2, and Glutonny 3-2 to make Winner’s Finals, where he lost 1-3 to KEN. He defeated Ouch!? in Losers Finals in one of the most lopsided sets of the season, then lost a tight game 5 set to KEN to finish at 2nd. At Crown 2, Tea defeated Peckham 2-0, Klaatu 3-0, Goblin 3-1 in a runback from Summit, and KEN 3-1 in a runback from BoBC4 to make winners finals against Dabuz. After taking the first two games, Tea was on the receiving end of a reverse 3-0 from Dabuz, sending him to Losers Finals against Shuton. Tea defeated his longtime bracket demon in a Game 5 set going all Kazuya, putting him up against Dabuz once again. This time, Tea found himself down 0-2 but delivered a devastating reverse 3-0 of his own to Dabuz to reset the bracket, then cleaned Dabuz up with a solid 3-0 in the reset. Lastly, at Double Down 2022, Tea defeated Skyjay 3-1, Goblin 3-0, Cosmos 3-0, and Sonix 3-0 to make Top 8 Winners. He lost 2-3 to MkLeo going all Kazuya in a set which featured multiple uncharacteristic missed conversions, sending him to Losers. After going down 0-2 vs Kola, Tea reverse 3-0’d the world’s best Roy using Pac-Man to advance to Losers Semifinals vs Dabuz. Continuing his record from a few weeks prior, Tea defeated Dabuz in a solid 3-1 set to advance to Losers Finals against MkLeo. Unlike their winners side encounter, this one was a decisive 0-3 win for MkLeo, with neither Tea’s Kazuya nor his Pac-Man able to put a chink in Leo’s play, sending him packing at 3rd place.
Tea is the third of just five players to have no losses to players outside the top 50, and two out of every three of his losses were to players in the top 10; in fact, only one of his losses, Goblin at Smash Summit Ultimate 4, was outside of top 20. However, low attendance at only six events with two of them having no top 50 wins prevents Tea from appearing any deeper into the top 10. In Japan or Overseas, Tea remains one of the most colorful, most creative, and most dangerous players to run into, and as he continues to transition into dual-maining, the sky might truly be the limit for how far he can go.
Naoto “CR | ProtoBanham” Tsuji left 2021 as the undisputed #1 in Japan after a dominant performance that saw him lose only three out of eight domestic tournaments he entered, but taking disappointing losses to Kola and Dabuz at his sole overseas performance. It’s ironic then that his 2022 season was starkly opposite in nature, with ProtoBanham struggling at home but delivering jaw-dropping performances overseas.
ProtoBanham opened the season with a run to 9th place at Kagaribi 6. After taking a surprising loss to Lea in a reverse 3-0, ProtoBanham defeated DoubleA, Tsubotsubo, Munekin, and Omuatsu to make top 12, where he was eliminated in a statement 3-0 by Zackray’s Sheik. At his next appearance, Smash Ultimate Summit 4, ProtoBanham defeated Goblin in pools but took game 5 losses to Fatality and Maister, then lost 1-3 to Tweek in the gauntlet, meaning that he started main bracket in losers. Undeterred, he defeated NAKAT 3-0, Dabuz 3-1 in a runback from the 2021 Smash World Tour Championships, BassMage 3-1, and Tweek 3-0 in a runback from the Gauntlet, putting him up against MkLeo. In an incredibly hype upset that involved alternating between both Min-Min and Lucina, ProtoBanham eliminated MkLeo at 4th place, ending a nearly three year long grand finals streak from Leo that began at MomoCon 2019. Though ProtoBanham’s own run would end a round later in an 0-3 loss to Light, this alone was an incredible accomplishment for his season.
Returning to Japan, ProtoBanham had a rough golden week. A 17th place finish at Maesuma TOP 7 was ProtoBanham’s worst of the season, as he took an 0-2 loss to a player at the time considered Kansai’s third best Inkling, showers, and was eliminated by Hero 1-2, though in between the two upsets ProtoBanham did manage to score wins on Mottsuan, Asimo, and ZAKI. At Kagaribi 7 a few days later, he defeated Lv.1, Shogun, Noi, and KEN, but lost 1-3 to Asimo and 2-3 to Kome to fall at 13th.
ProtoBanham put up more characteristic performances at two regional events he attended. At Shinosuma HEROES, he made Grand Finals by defeating Abadango 3-1, Shuton 3-0, and KEN 3-0, though he lost the first set of Grands to Shuton 2-3 and the second 0-3. At the best of nine Shin-Ken League, ProtoBanham defeated Tarakotori, YOC, Mao, and Kameme in pools while taking a 3-5 loss to Paseriman, qualifying him for final bracket, where he defeated Shuton 5-2 and Paseriman 5-3 to win the event. At his next few tournaments however, ProtoBanham would suffer from a classic case of the worf effect, taking losses to several players who succeeded or nearly succeeded in putting together a late-breaking top 50 season. At Maesuma TOP 8, ProtoBanham defeated Mao, Etsuji, and Rizeasu to make top 12, but he lost 2-3 to Nietono, and after defeating Toura 3-1, he lost the runback against Etsuji 1-3 to finish 7th. At WAVE 1, he scored wins on sky, kept, Umeki, and two separate players with the tag ‘Mirin’, but was double eliminated by Abadango in 1-3 sets to place 9th. Lastly, while he managed to win Seibugeki 11 with wins on Nao, Noi, Yamanaction, and Akakikusu, he dropped the first set of Grand Finals to Sigma 2-3 before winning the reset 3-1.
ProtoBanham’s final appearance was at the season closing Double Down 2022, where he made Winners Finals by taking down Bloom4Eva, Ned, Jake, and KEN. Ever since ProtoBanham first played MkLeo in a tight 1-2 loss at CEO 2019, fans eagerly awaited the day when they would face off in the finals of a supermajor. After over three years, that day finally came in Winners Finals of Double Down 2022. After dropping the first game with Lucina to MkLeo’s Corrin in a three stock, ProtoBanham fired back, taking three consecutive games with Min-Min to make himself one of the few players to have a winning record on the world’s best player. In the first set of grands, things went awry, as MkLeo pulled out his surprise R.O.B. secondary, narrowly reseting the bracket 2-3. In the second set, however, ProtoBanham cleaned things up, taking down MkLeo for the third time in the season and earning himself his first overseas major victory.
ProtoBanham ends the season with winning records on the top 10, top 20, and top 50, including being the only player to be positive on MkLeo with multiple sets played. He fails to make top 5, however, on account of numerous weak appearances at domestic majors, with his loss to showers at Maesuma TOP 7 being particularly damaging. If ProtoBanham is able to combine his domestic dominance of 2021 with his overseas runs of 2022, he would be in the conversation not only for best player in Japan, but best player in the world. For the time being, 7th in the world is where he stands.
For how much of a staple presence he’s been in Japan’s Smash Ultimate scene, Shuto “SST | Shuton” Moriya occupies remarkably little of the headspace of overseas smashers, neglected in conversations about the best active players despite being a solidly top 10 player for every season of Smash Ultimate except for Fall 2019. Perhaps it’s because of the characters he plays, perhaps it’s because outside a steller run at Prime Saga early in Ultimate’s lifespan, his best events have always been in Japan. Regardless, Shuton’s low-key presence in the minds of overseas players has always stood in stark contrast to the dominance he exerts over the Japanese smash scene, and Shuton in the first half of 2022 was more dominant than usual as he went to 13 different tournaments, made grands in 8 of them, and won 4 of them.
Shuton’s first event of the season was Kagaribi 6, where he defeated Huto, Omuatsu, KEN, Repo, and Paseriman to make Grand Finals. His only game dropped to get there, surprisingly enough, was to Kansai peach player Nau in the finals of his pool. Tragically for shuton, he was eliminated in grands by Zackray in two consecutive 1-3 losses. His next appearance was the first Maesuma offline invitational, where he defeated Luminous 3-0, Hero 3-2, and Yaura 3-0 to make grands. Unexpectedly, he dropped the first set game 5 to wifi legend acola, but solidly 3-0’d him in the reset. Surely the set loss was a fluke and would never happen again, right? At Smash OPEN in Akihabara Esports Japan, Shuton defeated HIKARU and takera to make Grand Finals, but dropped the first set of grands to takera, one of his two losses this season to a player outside the top 50. At Sumabato SP 25, Shuton defeated Sylph, Bino, and kept in winners but took an unexpected game 5 loss to DIO. He ran it back all the way to Grands, taking down Yaura, Nietono, and winning the runback against DIO in Losers Finals to get there, and defeated KEN game 5 to reset the bracket before losing the reset 1-3. At the stacked 96 entrant event WINNER! -Next Gen-, Shuton defeated YOC, Kameme, Akasa, KEN, and Paseriman to place 2nd while losing 1-2 to KEN in Winners and 2-3 to Paseriman in the Grand Finals Reset.
Shuton attended all three large events during Golden Week. At Maesuma TOP 7, he made Grands by taking down Kie, Mao, Sigma, KEN, Tea, and Yoshidora, but lost the first set of Grand Finals to acola 2-3 and the reset 0-3, finishing at 2nd. Though the bulk of bracket at Seibugeki 10 devolved into a nonsensical mess of upsets, Shuton stayed above the fray, winning the event without dropping a set while taking down Akasa, Rido, Manzoku, Lisuto, and Asimo. Lastly, at Kagaribi 7, Shuton defeated Eim before falling 0-3 to Lea in a surprising upset. In losers, he made top 8 by defeating Kameme, Hero, and Tea, and also took down Kome 3-1 in top 8 before losing to longtime bracket demon Gackt 0-3 to finish at 5th place.
At Shinosuma HEROES, Shuton lost to ProtoBanham in top 8 winners, but ran it back, taking down Tarakotori, Abadango, and KEN in losers, then double eliminated ProtoBanham in grands 3-2 and 3-0. At the Shin-Ken Leage, Shuton swept his pool over Kirihara, Brood, Tsubotsubo, HIKARU, and KEN, not dropping more than two games in each best of nine set. In main bracket however, he found himself on the receiving end of such circumstances, losing the Semi-Final match 2-5 to ProtoBanham and the 3rd place tiebreak 2-5 to KEN. This was Shuton’s last domestic performance of the season; his remaining three events were all overseas.
At Battle of BC 4, Shuton defeated Lemmon, Peli, and Sisqui before falling 2-3 to KEN in Top 8 winners. He was then eliminated 2-3 in a surprising upset by Ouch!?, ending his first overseas run of the season at 5th place. At Crown 2, Shuton suffered a 1-3 loss to Kurama, but defeated a bevy of top North American talent in losers, beating MVD, Goblin, Lui$, Kurama in a runback, and Zomba before falling game 5 to Tea. Lastly, at Double Down 2022, Shuton brought down Smallleft, thirty4, yonni, and Aaron before falling to KEN and Kola in game 5 sets, his sole finish outside of top 8 of the season.
Shuton has a dominant 30-19 record over the top 50, and an even more dominant 39-20 record over the top 100. Additionally, he only took one loss to a player outside the top 100 this season (takera), with his only other non-top 50 loss being to Kurama. However, he lands at fifth after being unable to seal the deal and secure a 1st place win at any of the majors he attended, with all three of his overseas events in particular being underperformances. Despite what seemed at first to be a strong argument for best player in Japan this season, one player swooped in almost out of nowhere over the course of the season, outclassing him in almost every aspect. Still, Shuton’s own season is nothing to sneer at; he’s indisputably one of the best players in Japan and the world, and is due for an overseas performance that ensures nobody forgets him in the conversation again.
The contrast between two back to back seasons in Smash Ultimate can be stark, and few instances are more stark than that of William “Solary | Glutonny” Belaïd’s 2021 and Spring 2022 seasons. After his worst season of Ultimate yet in 2021, where Glutonny took multiple unexpected losses and failed to acquire any wins over top 10 players. Glutonny followed it up with his best season of Ultimate yet. Gluto’s season was an odd one, marked by heretofore unseen performances in North America yet bizarrely weak performances in Europe. The latter half of this odd duality cost Glutonny a chance at the top 2, but also boosted many of his European compatriots into the top 100, top 50, and top 20.
Glutonny opened the season with an uncharacteristic 17th at WANTED S4 C3 – Saint Valentin Edition, losing 0-2 to Mr. E and Mezcaul. At Glitch – Infinite, Glutonny finished at 5th place to Zomba and Gackt, but without any top 50 wins as his head to head record peaked with a win on Vendetta. At DOSE2SEL x Rivival of Lyon, Glutonny defeated Oryon and Raflow, but lost both sets of Grand Finals to Raflow 0-3 and 2-3, the first time he had ever been double eliminated by a single European competitor at a non-local while going his main.
At Smash Ultimate Summit 4, Glutonny turned things around, unexpectedly reverse 3-0ing both Light and MkLeo to sweep his pool. He lost his first round of bracket 0-3 to Tweek, but defeated Goblin and Elegant in losers in game 5 sets to place 5th before losing 1-3 in a rematch against MkLeo. At the G4 Smash Invitational the day after Summit, Glutonny defeated BigBoss and Chag while losing 1-2 to Sparg0 and 0-2 to MkLeo. At Collision 2022, Glutonny defeated Ling and Toast but lost 0-3 to a Tweek that was on an incredible run himself, and took a 2-3 loss to Kola. At WANTED S4 C4 – Free Agent Edition, Glutonny had his worst performance of the season, losing 1-2 to two different French Luigis outside of the top 100 in Réhann and Momon to place 17th. He bounced back at Delfino Maza RETA 2022, defeating Rox 3-0, SkyJay 3-2, Chag 3-0, Maister 3-2, and Sparg0 3-2 while taking a loss to AlanDiss in pools, eventually losing Winners Finals 0-3 to MkLeo and Losers Finals 0-3 to Sparg0.
The stage was set for Glutonny to deliver a string of ridiculous performances at his next two open bracket majors. At Genesis 8, Glutonny defeated frawg 2-0, BigBoss 3-0, and Cosmos 3-2 to make top 12, where he lost 0-3 to MkLeo. In losers, he defeated Sisqui 3-0, Kola 3-1, Zomba 3-0, Light 3-0, and Sparg0 3-1 to make Grand Finals against MkLeo, where he lost 0-3. At Pound 2022, Glutonny gave his best performance of the season, defeating Axiom XL, Sonix, Dabuz, MkLeo, and Light to make Grand Finals. He lost the first set of Grands 1-3 to MkLeo but defeated him 3-2 in the reset to take home the first win by a European at a North American major in a post-Melee Smash game.
Glutonny’s next event wouldn’t be until June’s KRBanger #03: The Prequel, where he defeated a slew of France’s top players including Mr. E, MoDzai, Ogey, and Raflow to secure his sole win at a European tournament of the season. At Battle of BC 4, Glutonny defeated Ludo, Larry Lurr, and Kome to make top 8 without dropping a game, but lost 2-3 to Tea and 1-3 to Riddles to finish 5th. At e-Caribana, Glutonny dropped yet another set game 5 to Peli, a longtime bracket demon, and immediately lost game 5 to an also upset Sisqui in losers to finish 17th. At 95 Kings of Fields 2, Glutonny defeated Vidad, NaetorU, and Tropped to make top 8 but lost 1-3 to Maister. He took revenge on Mr. E in losers for a loss previously in the season, but was eliminated by Raflow 2-3 to finish at 4th. At COLOSSEL 2022, Glutonny defeated Lancelot, Mr.R, and Chag to make top 8 but fell once again to Maister 1-3 in Winners, and lost to Bloom4Eva 1-3 in losers to finish 5th at his final tournament of the season.
Glutonny is tied 8-8 in sets against the few players ranked above him, having more wins on the top 5 than anyone other than Leo himself. His uncharacteristically weak performances in Europe drag his season down and prevent him from being in contention for the top 2, but make no mistake: this is solidly the best season not only for Glutonny ever, but for any European in a post-Melee smash game since Mr.R’s incredible 2015 runs in Smash 4. If Glutonny is able to keep up the stellar highs of his April while avoiding the pitfalls of the rest of his Spring 2022, he could put himself in contention for the best player in the world. For now, he sits at 5th.
Paris “Moist | Light” Ramirez has had moments where he looked like a top 5 player before this year, but they inevitably would always evaporate, weaker performances weighing him down to a position lower in the top 10, or in the case of last year, not even that. Not so for his Spring 2022 season. After a weak opening to the season, Light put up consistent top 5 level results at 7 of the 8 tournaments he attended, never finishing outside of top 6 after a bad 13th at Glitch Infinite. Consistency isn’t what you’d expect from a player as flashy as Light, but consistent he was, and that consistency earns him his #4 ranking for the Spring 2022 season of ΩRank.
Glitch – Infinite was Light’s first performance of the season, and it was easily his weakest. He took an early loss to Jake 0-2 in top 96, and after running through Ned, SlushieV2, and Quandale Dinglelingleton in losers, he was stopped in his tracks by Vendetta 2-3, taking his singular loss to a player outside the top 50 of the year. At Smash Ultimate Summit 4, Light followed up his worst performance of the season with his best, losing game 5 to Glutonny in pools but defeating MkLeo 3-0 and NAKAT 3-2, then defeating BassMage 3-1 in gauntlet to make the main bracket in Winners. There, Light defeated Maister and Tweek in game 5 sets, but lost Winners Finals 2-3 to Sparg0. In Losers Finals, he 3-0’d ProtoBanham before losing Grands 0-3 to Sparg0. At Collision 2022, Light delivered another solid performance, defeating longtime bracket demon Jakal 3-2 before falling 1-3 to Riddles in the first round of Top 24. In losers, he defeated Peabnut, LeoN, Zomba, and Chag, with all of those sets except a 3-1 win over LeoN going to game 5, before being eliminated 1-3 by Tweek to finish 5th.
At CT Gamercon 5, Light defeated PkChris, naitosharp, Axiom XL, and Ling to take home the gold. At Genesis 8, Light defeated Rocke, Tsubotsubo, Nicko, Chag, and Dabuz to make top 8, where he lost 1-3 to MkLeo. In losers, he 3-0’d Myran but was himself 3-0’d by Glutonny. At Pound 2022, Light looked unstoppable for a period as he defeated Dark Wizzy, Lancelot, Jakal, and Riddles to make Winners Finals without dropping a game, but he was defeated there by Glutonny game 5 and subsequently eliminated 1-3 by MkLeo. Light’s next event was MomoCon 2022, where he obtained his first major win of the season by running through DDee, JMafia, Riddles, Sonix, and taking two sets over Dabuz while only dropping two games total: one to ChunkyKong in pools, and one to Dabuz in Winners Finals. His final event of the season was a 2nd place finish at The Gimvitational. Light started main bracket in losers after losing to Marss and Asimo in 1-3 sets in Pools and game 5 to Cosmos in gauntlet, but he ran things all the way to grands over Gackt, Marss, Cosmos, yonni, Kola, and Riddles. Light was confident going into Grands but lost 1-3 to Japanese prodigy acola, overwhelmed by his Steve play despite easily defeating yonni earlier in his losers run.
Light’s sole loss to a player outside the top 50 was Vendetta at Glitch – Infinite, a result that looks anomalous against the season that followed it. His next worst loss is to Jake, also at the same event, and then to Marss at the Gimvitational: among the best loss record of any player, which is why he ranks in the top 5. If there is a weak point to Light’s season, it’s his 1-8 record to the top 5, scoring a single win on MkLeo at Summit and getting no other top 5 wins. There is a limit to just how far consistency can take you, and this is it. Getting to a top 2 spot will require not just failing to lose to players below him, but also beating players above him with far more consistency. However, there is little in Light’s career as a competitor to suggest that this would be out of reach.
There has been no story in 2022 smash more shocking, more out of nowhere, more unprecedented than the rise of acola. After dominating Japan’s wifi scene in 2021, many expected acola to be good. Nobody expected him to be a top 5 player in the world. However, that’s exactly what happened, as acola came out of the gate swinging and didn’t stop until his final event of the season. Players have gone from unranked to top 10 in the span of a season before. Nobody has gone from unknown to top 10 in the span of a season before, from having no offline history to scoring a top 10 win at one’s first notable offline event. acola is the story of the year, going on such dominance throughout his nine bracket runs that it seems more fitting of an anime villain than of a hero.
acola opened the season with his first offline event of note, the first Maesuma offline invitational. Things at acola’s first offline outing went shaky: every single one of his set wins went to game 5, including against Raito, Kome, and Yaura, except for a 3-0 on Hero, and he dropped his second set 2-3 to Yaura. He ran things back in losers until getting to Grands, where he easily defeated Shuton’s Aegis and took a game off the Olimar after narrowly avoiding a reverse 3-0. In the second set of Grands, however, he lost 0-3. At his next event, Sumabato SP 24, he took an early 1-2 loss to HIKARU in top 24, but ran things back all the way Grand Finals, taking down Kuroponzu, Chichibu Travel, showers, Lunamado, Abadango, Kome, and Asimo, then defeated HIKARU in back to back 3-1 wins. At the second Maesuma offline invitational, acola lost 1-3 to Shirayuki but defeated Showers, Rarukun, and alice to earn a rematch in Grands, which he easily took in two 3-0 sets.
Golden Week was acola’s first real test, as he participated in his first two supermajors. At Maesuma TOP 7, acola defeated Levi, Tsumusuto, Paseriman, and Jogibu to get to top 8 winners, but lost 1-2 to Yoshidora. In losers, he defeated Hero, Tea, and Yoshidora 3-1 in a rematch to get to Grand Finals against Shuton, where he defeated Shuton game 5 in the first set and 3-0 in the second to secure his first supermajor win. A terrible seeding algorithm left acola as the 57th seed for his next event, Kagaribi 7 a few days later, meaning that he had to play Yoshidora again in the first round of top 96, a set that he won 3-2. He then defeated Konokururu 3-0, Omuatsu 3-2, Lea 3-1, and Gackt 3-2 to get to Winners Finals. There, acola easily defeated Asimo 3-0, and repeated the feat in Grand Finals to secure his second supermajor victory, all in the span of less than a week.
His next two events continued his rivalry with Yoshidora. At Sumabato SP 26, he placed 2nd, defeating Injelly, Shirayuki twice, ZAKI, and Asimo, but losing 2-3 to Yoshidora in Winners and 1-3 in Grands. acola clapped back at Kamisuma 13, defeating Tsuna and Rido to get to Winners Finals, where he defeated the blue Yoshi 3-2, and won their final encounter of the season in Grands 3-1. His strong performance at Kagaribi 7 earned him an invitation to his first overseas event, the Gimvitational. After close game 5s with Ferps and Kola in pools, along with a 3-0 win over Larry Lurr, acola ran through main bracket, taking down Marss, Asimo, Riddles, and Light to deliver the best first overseas event for a Japanese player since Tsu’s near win over the best player in the world at Frostbite 2017.
acola’s final event of the season, Maesuma Offline featuring Zenisuma/Mamebura, is notable for how starkly it contrasts the rest of the season, almost feeling like an alternate reality. acola played shaky throughout the event, dropping a game to Takuteria in his round 3, then dropping a set to Falco player Kashiya, the worst loss of any player in the top 10. A 5 set losers run ended in a 1-3 loss to alice, acola’s sole finish outside of Grand Finals the entire season. A bizarre performance for any top 10 player, it looks even stranger against the consistency that is the rest of acola’s season. It seems likely that it will prove to be anomalous, as acola’s latest notable offline event in the new season featured his signature dominance, dropping a set to Yoshidora but taking the event in the second set of Grands.
acola possesses some of the best head to heads against the top 10, top 20, and top 50 of any player, notably being better than the two players above him in all three categories. Additionally, he has winning records on all but two players he played more than once, and only a single losing record overall. If not for his two losses to players outside the top 100, he may well have been in contention for 2nd or even 1st on the ranking. Unfortunately and confoundingly, those two losses did happen, and acola lies after a meteoric rise as the third best player in the world. As we move into the Fall 2022 season, there may be nothing stopping the Japanese prodigy from claiming the throne for himself, if he can take down the reigning champion at events like Smash Summit Ultimate 5 and the Smash World Tour Championships.
From Genesis 6 through the end of last year, MkLeo reigned unchallenged. Not only the best player in the world, but so dominantly so that for not a single one month period did it look like someone else was going to eclipse him. That changed this year, as Edgar “FaZe | Sparg0” Valdez brought the King of Smash Ultimate to his knees, having unquestionably better results for over a month. Though he failed to close out his bid for MkLeo’s throne, Sparg0 came closer than anyone has since Ultimate’s first season, leaving an even greater mark than his rise to 2nd in the world last year already had. In contrast to his 2021, where he primarily used the Aegis, Sparg0 spent the bulk of 2022 using his original main in Cloud, and it paid off in spades.
Sparg0’s first month of the season was pure dominance, taking 1st place at Smash Ultimate Summit 4 without dropping a set. Sparg0 ran through Lavish, Elegant, and Tea in pools, then defeated Chag in main bracket to earn the right to face off against MkLeo., a set that he would take 3-1 with the final stock being one of the most iconic of the year. He then defeated Light 3-2 in Winners Finals and 3-0 in Grand Finals to score his first major win. At the G4 Smash Invitational a day later, he defeated VoiD and Glutonny in 2-1 sets, then defeated Larry Lurr 3-1 in Winners Finals and 3-2 in Grand Finals, substantially outperforming MkLeo after Leo was double eliminated by Larry. At Collision 2022, Sparg0 earned his first open bracket major victory by defeating Grayson, Sinji, LeoN, Riddles, and Tweek to make Winners Finals. After dispatching Leo 3-2 in a stunning reverse 3-0, he dropped the first set of Grands to Tweek 0-3 but cleaned him up 3-0 in the second set.
The competition between MkLeo and Sparg0 tightened in April, starting with Delfino Maza RETA 2022. There, Sparg0 defeated Larry Lurr and Andrik to make top 8, where he lost 2-3 to Glutonny. In losers, he swept through Goblin and Skyjay, then 3-0’d Glutonny in the runback before falling 1-3 to MkLeo. At Genesis 8, Sparg0 defeated Sonido, Skyjay, skittles, Marss, and Zomba to make Winners Finals, but he fell in a narrow game 5 set to MkLeo, and was eliminated at 3rd by Glutonny 1-3. At Low Tide City, Sparg0 picked up yet another major victory. After defeating ApolloKage in top 24, he lost game 5 to MuteAce, but won 7 sets in losers over Ned, Maister, Lui$, Zomba, and Dabuz to make Grand Finals, where he double eliminated Kola with little resistance.
After a quiet May, June would see the throne finally slip away from Sparg0. At Relax & Smash at GeekFest Cancún, Sparg0 double eliminated Chag but lost two sets to MkLeo using Byleth against Leo’s Corrin, making their head to head record decisively in Leo’s favor. At The Gimvitational, Sparg0 won his pool over Gackt, Cosmos, and Jin, though he surprisingly dropped two games to the latter. In main bracket however, he dropped a set to Riddles, and after defeating Ferps in losers, was defeated in a reverse 3-0 by Kola, ending his run at 7th, his only placement outside of the top 3 the entire season.
Sparg0’s numerically and proportionally worse records against the top 5, top 10, and top 20 meant he ultimately failed to overtake MkLeo in their respective bids for the crown this season, but Sparg0 still came closer than anyone has in Ultimate’s lifespan. Though currently on indefinite hiatus, Sparg0 has already left an indelible mark on Smash Ultimate’s competitive scene, and if and when he returns to competition, he is one of the few players in the world who has a shot at unseating MkLeo from the seat he has held since Ultimate’s release.
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Though he retains it in somewhat bloodier fashion than usual, Leonardo “T1 | MkLeo” Lopez Perez still sits atop the throne he has held ever since Smash Ultimate first arrived in the hands of competitors. Leo might not have had the same level of dominance as he has at times displayed in the past, but his results still show beyond question that he is the best player in the world, consistently beating out the competition at major events throughout the season.
MkLeo started the season off in an unfortunate way: losing his three year grand finals streak at Smash Ultimate Summit 4, a streak he had kept since MomoCon 2019, nearly three years prior. Dropping two sets to Light 0-3 and Glutonny 2-3 in pools, Leo still defeated Fatality and Tea in gauntlet, then took a game 5 set over Dabuz in main bracket. Dropping a set to Sparg0 1-3, he eliminated Glutonny at 5th place 3-1 before falling 1-3 to ProtoBanham, placing below 2nd for the first time since Get on My Level 2019. He’d build a short new streak of not reaching grand finals, taking 3rd at the G4 Smash Invitational with wins over Maister, BigBoss, and Glutonny but devastating 1-2 and 1-3 losses to Larry Lurr. At Collision 2022, MkLeo defeated PkChris, Quandale Dinglelingleton, Stocktaker69, and Quidd, but lost Winners Final 2-3 to Sparg0 and 1-3 to Tweek for yet another 3rd. For the first time in Ultimate history, MkLeo was on the back foot, poised to lose the throne if he didn’t turn things around. And turn things around he did.
At Delfino Maza RETA 2022, Leo defeated Larry Lurr 3-0 in a runback from the G4 Invitational, and then brought down Chag, Glutonny, and Sparg0, only dropping a single game. At Genesis 8, Leo came startlingly close to dropping a set to varun in top 96 but carried the day 2-1, and also defeated players like MoDzai, Uncivil ninja, Lui$, and Glutonny on his way to Top 8 Winners. Once there, he defeated Light 3-1 and Sparg0 3-2, then 3-0’d Glutonny in Grands to win the largest event of the season. At Pound 2022, Leo defeated Ned, Atelier, and Cosmos to make Top 8 Winners, but dropped a set to Glutonny. In losers, he defeated Sonix, Riddles, and Light, then reset the bracket against Glutonny 3-1 before losing the second set of Grands 2-3.
After using a new R.O.B. secondary to go 1-2 with Chag at Cuban regional Ultimate Tropical Arena, Leo achieved a positive head to head against his greatest rival by defeating Sparg0 3-1 and 3-0 in Corrin vs Byleth at Relax & Smash at GeekFest Cancún. Leo then took a jaunt over to Europe. At the 32 person e-Caribana invitational, he defeated Ogey, Oryon, and Tilde to make Winners Finals, where he defeated quiK in a startlingly close game 5 set of Corrin vs Samus. After dropping the first game of Grands to quiK, Leo answered back in dominant fashion using Byleth. At 95 Kings of Fields 2, Leo defeated eMass, Mr. E, Leon, Maister, and Raflow to win the French major. He followed this up with his second S-tier win of the season at COLOSSEL 2022, where he defeated Ramses, Tarik, Leon, and Sisqui to make Winners Finals against Maister. Dropping his first set out of over a dozen to Maister game 5, he swiftly turned things around, 3-0’ing Chag in Losers Finals then 6-0’ing Maister in Grands.
In a possible omen for the Fall 2022 season, MkLeo dropped his final tournament of the season to a potential new storied rivalry in ProtoBanham. Making top 8 by defeating Yoda Cage, BassMage, Gackt, and ApolloKage, Leo then defeated Tea in a grueling Game 5 set to make Winners Finals. Despite three stocking Proto game 1 in Corrin vs Lucina, he could do little against Proto’s Min-Min, losing three straight games and falling to losers. After 3-0’ing Tea in a rematch from winners, he employed his R.O.B. secondary for the second event of the season against ProtoBanham in grands, narrowly taking set one but ultimately losing the reset 1-3.
MkLeo’s dominant 12-6 record against the top 5 is the best any player achieved this season with more than a single set played, and numerically the only player who cames close to that number of top 5 wins is Glutonny’s 8-8 record. Additionally, he has no losses to players outside the top 50, and an incredibly dominant 49-15 record against the top 100. For yet another season of Smash Ultimate, Leonardo “T1 | MkLeo” Lopez Perez sits on his throne as the best player in the world.