It’s what Super Smash Bros. lovers of all kinds had been waiting for: Nintendo’s now-named Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Invitational, featuring top players from both the Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U scenes from across the globe. Fans were finally able to see the new Smash game’s mechanics tested by some special, casual player guests along with Smash legends Adam “Armada” Lindgren, Joey “Lucky” Aldama, Joseph “Mang0” Marquez, Justin “Plup” McGrath, Yuta “Abadango” Kawamura, Leonardo “MkLeo” Lopez Perez, Ramin “Mr.R” Delshad and last but certainly not least, Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios.
Each player participating in the main tournament was instructed to draft a team of three fighters. The official ruleset was as follows:
- Players had a team of three fighters to use throughout the tournament
- In every game, participants must have used one of the fighters on their team
- Once a player had used a fighter, that fighter became ineligible until the other two fighters on their team had been played
- Once all three fighters had been used, the player could use any one of their fighters for the remaining matches of the tournament
Abadango | Corrin, Pac-Man, Mewtwo
Armada | Samus, Pokemon Trainer, Kirby
Lucky | Marth, Bowser, Fox
Mang0 | Ganondorf, Inkling, Link
MkLeo | Bayonetta, Snake, Sonic
Mr.R | Cloud, Ryu, Little Mac
Plup | Ridley, Villager, Pit
ZeRo | Mario, Ike, Sheik
The double-elimination tournament followed a unique format, which is listed below along with the results.
Winners Round 1, seven minutes, three stocks, Smash Ball on, items off, best of one: ZeRo as Mario teaming with Armada as Samus versus Abadango as Corrin and Plup testing out Ridley was first up, with ZeRo and Armada proving victorious and sending Abadango and Plup to the elimination round. They were followed by Mr.R as Cloud and Lucky as Marth versus Mang0 as Ganondorf and MkLeo as Bayonetta, with Mang0 and MkLeo knocking Mr.R and Lucky to the elimination round.
Elimination Round 1, six minutes, four stocks, Smash Ball on, items on, best of one: Abadango as Pac-Man and Plup as Villager eliminated Mr.R as Mr. Ryu and Lucky as Bowser, advancing themselves to the next elimination round.
Winners Round 2, six minutes, three stocks, Smash Ball on, items off, best of one: First, we saw ZeRo as Ike versus Armada as Pokemon Trainer (read: Ivysaur and Squirtle) followed by MkLeo as Sonic versus Mang0 attempting to play the newcomer, Inkling. Both ZeRo and MkLeo advanced to the next winners round, while Armada and Mang0 were given one last chance to redeem themselves in the next elimination round.
Elimination Round 2, six minutes, four stocks, Smash Ball and items on, best of one: This round was different from the previous, as it was a free-for-all battle between Plup as Pit, Armada as Kirby, Abadango as Mewtwo and Mang0 as Link. After a nail-biter finish, Plup barely clutched it out over Armada and was allowed one last chance to redeem himself in the final elimination round while Armada, Abadango and Mang0 were eliminated.
Winners Round 3, six minutes, three stocks, Smash Ball on, items off, best of one: Surely a familiar sight for Smash Wii U fans, this round proved to be another nail-biter in which ZeRo managed to claw his way to victory with Sheik, defeating MkLeo’s Snake and guaranteeing himself a spot in grand finals.
Elimination Round 3, six minutes, four stocks, Smash Ball and items on, best of one: Plup gave us another taste of Ridley, but was ultimately overwhelmed by MkLeo’s aerial combos with Bayonetta, which once again left us with a familiar standoff between ZeRo and MkLeo in grands.
Grand Finals, six minutes, three stocks, Smash Ball and items off, best two out of three: In the first game of the first grand finals set, ZeRo decided to go with Mario and MkLeo, unsurprisingly, with Bayonetta. Although ZeRo was able to escape MkLeo’s typically unforgiving aerial combos and keep the game close, MkLeo managed to clutch out a victory. In game two, ZeRo opted for Sheik and MkLeo for Sonic. MkLeo’s Sonic dominated the aerial game, defeating ZeRo and subsequently causing a bracket reset.
To begin the ultimate set of the invitational, ZeRo selected Mario while MkLeo once again chose Sonic. ZeRo played in a more grounded fashion to avoid Sonic’s brutal aerial combos, which proved to be a successful strategy and secured him the win. The second game was much of the same, with ZeRo as Mario--with the purple skin nonetheless, perhaps an homage to Waluigi?--and MkLeo as Sonic. This time, however, MkLeo took advantage of platforms and forced a game three.
Again, it was ZeRo's Mario versus MkLeo's Sonic. Each player approached much more cautiously, trying to dash and space just outside of the other’s range. Ending with two stocks over MkLeo, ZeRo became the E3 Smash Invitational champion for the second year in a row, performing remarkably well for someone who claims to be in retirement!
There were a few special guest free-for-all matches sprinkled throughout the exhibition, all of which had the Smash Ball and items on. First was a cosplayer match that showcased a bit of the new Pac-Man, Link, Mario and Ness, with each player dressed as their respective character. The next match featured invited guests Devin Graham playing as Villager, Alanah Pearce playing as Kirby, Andre Meadows playing as Pac-Man and Zelda Wiliiams appropriately playing as Sheik. Finally, it was Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada, one of the invitational's designated alternate players, as Snake versus WWE Superstar Ember Moon™ endearingly playing as Luchadora Pikachu, American football player Mike Daniels as Kirby and actress Olivia Holt as Donkey Kong. That 3v1 ended as you might expect.
You can watch the action for yourself on Nintendo’s official YouTube channel. Tell us in the comments what you think of the game play and mechanics so far and share some of your favorite moments!