CEO Dreamland will return to Orlando on March 13 after a three year hiatus. The competitive gaming event hosts tournament play for Super Smash Bros. (Ultimate, 4, Brawl, Melee and 64) and Rivals of Aether. The high-level players attending and the new panel-based ranking process for this season should make the Smash Ultimate singles event interesting to watch. Panda Global Rankings (PGR) is moving away from the algorithm-based process, so qualitative aspects of play will make a much bigger difference to players. There are 588 players competing in the event, and here are the 10 we’re most excited to see. Watch video coverage of their performance at Frostbite 2020 two weeks ago here, and view the full list of attendees here.
Fatality is a well-known Captain Falcon main, and he’s #5 in the Georgia Power rankings. His Captain Falcon is dangerous on and offstage. He establishes control in the neutral with jab-locks and down-throws, and if his opponent is not careful, they are likely to get carried offstage by a string of neutral-airs before the forward-air to finish. He picks stages that maximize the effectiveness of his wall jump, and has a tendency toward stages without platforms. He discussed his performance at Frostbite and his secondary gameplan on his YouTube channel earlier in the week.
Nairo, the designated loose cannon of the competitive scene, jumped from number eight to number four in the PGR rankings last season. His character pool is diverse: he mains Palutena (which he stuck to at Frostbite when faced Light in Winners Top 96), but has pulled some upsets with Robin and Lucina in the past. His playstyle is explosive, and his response to adversity is unreal. He can dominate the neutral trapping opponents in strings of Palutena’s neutral-air, or down-throws into up-air. His ledge-trapping with back-throws and back-airs is rock-solid. He applies just as much pressure offstage, he’ll dive as low as possible to counter the enemies inevitable up-B recovery back to the ledge, or chase them horizontally for a back-air.
Light is the highest-ranked Fox main in Ultimate (number ten in the PGR), and he makes the depreciated character look like Melee again. He attacks with a fiery disposition, racking up percentage with jab-locks before trying to get opponents in the air with an up-tilt. He’s fast and accurate enough to land between kicks in his up-air strings so that he can finish with an aerial offstage. If he doesn’t confirm offstage, he’s extremely adept with Fox’s up-smash. Wait to see when when he’s losing, he always rolls up his sleeves like popeye.
Ranked number three in PGR last season, Gavin “Tweek’’ Dempsey is already a standout among entrees in the tournament. He’s one of the few high-ranking players that can maintain an aggressive playstyle with an array of non-meta characters. At Frostbite, he showed his Wario in his match against Ravenking, but stuck to Pokemon trainer for the most part. His Roy and Wolf are also threats in the community. His playstyle is versatile, consistent and crowd-pleasing, so it’s unlikely that the change from algorithm-based ranking to panel-based ranking will affect his standing. Depending on his character, he can dominate the neutral game, edge-guard effectively or go deep offstage for some explosive spikes and aerials. There’s no way to know how Tweek will approach this weekend, but whatever he does will be exciting to watch.
Marss is number five in the PGR in the competitive scene, and is one of the best Zero Suit Samus mains in Ultimate. His aggressive disposition matches that of Nairo and MkLeo, and he’s precise with Zero Suit Samus’s acrobatic aerials (like the flip kick , Z-air and neutral-air.) His bread and butter finisher, though, is the legendary boost kick. His nimble and quick movements can be a nightmare for slower characters, as we witnessed at Frostbite in his match against LeoN.
At #28 in the PGR rankings, LeoN is the highest-ranked Bowser main in the competitive scene. He’s almost an underdog by nature, considering how Bowser’s huge body makes him so easy to combo, but he employs the heavy’s moves strategically. Bowser’s huge body also means it’s not uncommon for LeoN to survive beatings above 150% before dealing his opponent an early K.O. with a couple aerials and a Flying Slam. While the Flying Slam (side-B) is usually his go-to for confirms, he’s keen to use Bowser’s back-air and up-air to send opponents flying. He uses Bowser’s Fire Breath to keep opponents offstage, and if the stage is right, he’ll two-frame opponents as they try and get back to the ledge.
Maister is number six in the PGR rankings, and faced off against MkLeo in the Grand Finals at Frostbite. Nice. His Game and Watch is quick and energetic despite having such slow attacks. He’s inventive with his down-air, and primarily uses to get back to the ground/ledge quickly. His aerials are the source of his power. He employs Game and Watch’s up-B more efficiently than most. If he makes contact with it, he can usually manage to juggle opponents with an up air or two before he closes out with a forward-air or down-air spike.
Samsora is a Peach main ranked number two in the PGR, and he played like it in Frostbite. If he has space, he’ll use vegetables from his down-special, and understandably rely on short-hopping and floating to use Peach’s aerials for direct hits. After a few neutral-airs and down-airs to rack up the percentage, it’s usually the Peach Bomber that gets his enemy offstage for some edge-guarding. The vegetables become lethal if he can get his opponent offstage, especially if he pulls a Mr. Saturn or a Bob-omb.
Dabuz is number nine in the PGR and mains Olimar and Rosalina and Luma. He played with both at Frostbite, engaging in his controlled, zoning style with both characters. He uses Luma and Olimar’s Pikmin’s to keep opponents at medium range so he rack up percentage before rushing in with a dash or smash attack. His Youtube channel is full of instructional content, too.
Cosmos is an inkling main ranked #23 who takes proper advantage of her all-around moveset to gain control of his engagements, mainly onstage. He usually starts his matches by landing paint on his enemies with his jab-lock or Splat Bomb to increase his damage output. He uses Inkling’s aerials, that are significantly strong for how fast she is, and her up-smash to confirm. Overall, he’s a pretty strong player.
CEO Dreamland is now accepting donations for the event due to an overwhelming number of coronavirus related cancellations. Player rankings will remain frozen until travel is safe again. This is severely unfortunate considering their hiatus was caused by a massive loss of income.