Smash Bros. pro player Leonardo “MkLeo” Lopez Perez came out of nowhere in 2015 when he beat one of the best players, Ramin “Mr. R” Delshad, at Smash Factor. At the time, MkLeo was only 14 and was touted as one of the future stars of the Super Smash Bros. scene.
Those people weren’t wrong. MkLeo would go on to win major tournaments in the years to come until he became one of the best players in the world. After a string of great wins, he obtained a visa in October 2016 to come to the United States to take his game to the next level.
Now with the Wii U scene wrapping up and the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the horizon, MkLeo has his sights on becoming the best player in Ultimate as well.
Before Ultimate releases on Dec. 7, however, MkLeo sat down with us to look back at his time playing Smash Wii U and what he thinks of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
From your limited time playing Ultimate, how does the game feel and how different does it play to Smash Wii U?
MkLeo: I only played Ultimate in the E3 Invitational and I didn’t get much of a chance to play that game— but it feels much faster actually. It doesn’t feel like Smash Wii U.
Ultimate feels like a little bit of Melee— like a combination of Smash Wii U and Melee— and it feels better for me. It is like a better game for me and I think that it is a better game then Smash Bros. Wii U.
Obviously you have played a bit of the game so far, including your second place finish at E3. How well did you transition from playing Smash Wii U to Ultimate?
Like, I’m number one in Smash Bros. Wii U right now and it was really hard for me to play Ultimate at the E3 Invitational.
I lost to ZeRO. It was a little harder as I never played Sonic in my life. I know what Sonic mains do but I don’t know what to do in this game. So it was a little hard for me— but I think the game is similar but very different at the same time.
Who do you feel is the best character or characters in the game so far and why?
Playing a lot of characters… I don’t know, like, Donkey Kong is the best character in the game and I don’t really play Donkey Kong as I don’t like the character. I’m one of the only players that plays a character that I like.
I’m very lucky, actually, that my character is really broken in Ultimate and like, really broken in any other game. I just like to play Meta Knight, Marth, and I think they are different [in Ultimate] but they are still very good.
Those characters were made to be broken. Those characters—it doesn’t matter in what game— what Sakurai gave to them. They are going to be very broken.
From your experience in Smash, is there anything organizers or Nintendo could be doing for the scene as a whole heading into the new year?
Obviously I like my Smash scene. I actually have a lot of friends there. Actually. I’m friends with the tournament organizers, but I think that Nintendo could do like a— I don’t know—I’m not going to tell what Nintendo needs to do but I think it should be an OK thing if they do like a big tournament— like a World Cup— something like that.
That would be very good for a competitive game. I know that Nintendo is not that interested in competitive games but I think that would mean a lot for every player.
What do you feel competitive Ultimate needs that might have been missing from the Smash Wii U scene?
I think that Smash Wii U was pretty OK but characters like Bayonetta, Cloud, Diddy Kong were just super broken. When I first played the game (Ultimate) it felt like every character was good in the game cause of balancing—I think everyone is good in that game.
I think that is pretty good so even if you are playing against a Bayo main you are no longer like “oh, OK, i’m going to lose because he plays Bayo” “He is just winning because he plays Bayo” I think that is what is really important to do— to balance every character in the game.
I think we should just continue playing tournaments like we were in Smash Wii U just with the better characters.
Looking back at Smash Wii U now that it is inevitably about to be pushed aside for Ultimate at major events, what would you say was your best moment in the Smash Wii U scene?
Highlights… one of my favorite moments was when I beat ZeRO at Zero Saga. It was actually my second biggest tournament in the United States before getting my visa. It was like… i remember when i was 11-12 years old and I watched the tournaments. It was like a dream.
To be honest, when I saw ZeRO in real life, I saw him as an idol, like an artist. I met ZeRO in 2006 when I was like, seven years old, and I think that was one of my favorite moments if not THE favorite moment.
I just think every-time I beat ZeRO, it was my favorite moment to be honest.
Coming back to Ultimate now. Which newcomer, original or echo fighter, was your favourite this time around?
I think my favorite was the Belmont Brothers. I think they are brothers, right? Something like that. The Castlevania characters. I think they are pretty good.
I am not a big fan of Castlevania but I know the game because my brother and sister used to play it. I used to play it too but I’m not a big fan. I know a lot of people wanted them in Smash so i’m happy for them. I’m happy for the people that are happy right now for the characters.
What sort of characters do you want to see appear as DLC in Ultimate.
Actually, my favorite characters are in the game right now such as the Fire Emblem characters, Meta Knight, Mewtwo, so I don’t really want another character.
If you ask me what type of characters I want in the game I will say “No one” because I got everyone that I wanted, but I know that the people want certain characters, so I will say, I don’t know, another Fire Emblem character or another Pokémon character.
My favorite characters, however, are in the game already.
Lastly, Piranha Plant— love it or hate it?
I think I love it.
I don’t get why some people hate the plant as it is actually a character, like, a Mario character. I don’t think he was better than Waluigi or another Pokémon character, but still it is like an enemy from the Mario series.
I think it is a character for people that want to just troll in the game. A lot of people like the plant actually. A lot of people have a weird taste in characters. so I think it is pretty OK.
I’m not going to play the plant. Maybe I will play if she is broken— nah, I don’t think I would play the plant.
But I don’t care. I love it.