Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada has spent most of his time in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate placing in the top eight at Major tournaments. But he finally beat several of his bracket demons yesterday at Mainstage to claim an event title.
On top of beating the best player in the world, Leonardo “MKLeo” Lopez, Nairo also had to take down Tyler “Marss” Martins, Paris “Light” Ramirez, and James “VoiD” Makekau-Tyson, who are all top-10 players. This was only his second first-place finish in the newest Smash game, with the other win coming at Suplex City Smash in April.
After narrowly defeating both Light and Marss to make it into the grand finals, Nairo didn’t get off to a great start against MKLeo.
He started off by playing Zero Suit Samus, his Smash Wii U main, just to try to shake Leo a little bit since the matchup was different than his normal Palutena pick. But that proved to be ineffective, even though the game was close.
Nairo swapped back to Palutena in game two, but Leo just appeared to have his number, especially when it came to edge-guards. Even with his elite reaction time, Nairo wasn’t fast enough to tech and survive some of the moves that Leo threw out to poke at his recovery.
The first series ended up being a convincing sweep to reset the bracket, putting more pressure on Nairo to come back and take at least one game off of Leo.
Game four once again went to the top player in the world, but it wasn’t nearly as clean as any of MKLeo’s wins in the first set. Nairo looked a lot more comfortable and was finding the openings he needed to convert on Palutena’s bread-and-butter combos.
Nairo finally got on the board in game five before he absolutely crushed Leo in the next match. Quick kills off the top and playing a very aerial-focused game off the stage proved to be perfect for Palutena.
Neutral air after neutral air connected, spinning Joker into higher percentages that let Nairo take a two-stock lead with just one kill left before he claimed his win. The full exchange saw both players desperately trying to get some sort of stage advantage while being tossed off the edge.
It all came down to one key mixup where Nairo feigned a dash out before quickly pivoting and hitting Leo with a dash attack to seal the game.
With this win, Nairo took his first S-tier victory over one of his biggest hurdles since the Wii U days. Over the last several events, Ultimate has had a few different winners and a lot of interesting players in the top eight, which is a testament to how diverse and deep the scene is.
The top-six players (other than Leo) also qualified for the next Beyond the Summit event, Ultimate Summit 2, which will begin on Oct. 24. That roster will continue to fill out at upcoming Majors, like The Big House 9, and voting will open up for the final slots soon after.