Let’s Make Big Moves was the first S tier tournament of the year for Smash Bros Ultimate, and it was a thrilling event! With players such as Tweek, Nairo, Dabuz, Cosmos, Kameme, LeoN, Light, and many more coming out to New York to compete it was guaranteed to be a good time. Analyzing the top 8 of a tournament as stacked as this could lead to some great insight, and also give us some ideas on the storylines to pay attention to leading into 2020. Before we talk about the top 8, let’s discuss the many upsets that this tournament had.
One of the breakout performances of the tournament was by none other than Toast, an up and coming Young Link main who finally showed that he has what it takes to win big things by placing 13th (66th seed). Toast when asked about his results said “It had been eating at me lately that I would place well but not get pgr wins, so someone told me to always play like me at all times and to never forget who I was when playing, so I held it close to heart this tournament and felt more confident than I had ever been, and thus played like me.”
Another insane placement in this tournament was by Zomba, who mains ROB/Link/Roy, placed 17th (88th seed), and I almost forgot to mention is 14 years old! Taking out big names such as Uncivil Ninja and Raito, its impossible to imagine how good this kid will be a year from now.
On the other side of things, we have the heartbreakers. Samsora who was seeded to take 1st at this tournament went up against not just one, but two bracket demons. Pac-Man and Game and Watch are notoriously hard matchups for Peach and we saw Samsora trying all sorts of different characters to try and even up the odds. It was all for naught, however, and if you want to see the moment that Samsora’s soul left his body look no further. @Samsora_
One of the poorest performances of the tournament unfortunately goes to Tweek. Tweek had the seed for second but after facing MVD and Riddles, two extremely competent players, Tweek got knocked out. Even with the home state advantage he couldn’t clutch it out. This is the worst placing that Tweek has had since Smash ‘N’ Splash and hopefully it is only a temporary slump. @TweekSsb
This brings us to our Top 8! From here on out I’ll be analyzing the individual matches in the order that they happened and discussing what things the players did that I find interesting, and what we can maybe learn from it.
Nairo Vs Maister
Head to Head: No previous results
This was the first time that Maister (6th seed) and Nairo (4th seed) met in bracket, and Maister showed Nairo that he is an opponent that needs to be respected. Right out the gate in the first two games Nairo quickly lost his first two stocks. Observing Maisters gameplay, I noticed that he does an incredible job of keeping center stage and throwing out a million projectiles. It was very difficult to Nairo to land, and if he were to get clipped by anything Maister would turn it into a devastating juggle.
By game 3 it was looking dangerous for Nairo and as if he would have to pack his bags for the tournament. But he dug deep inside himself and clutched it out, giving Nairo much needed momentum. Going into game 4, Nairo earned a lot from edge trapping Maister over and over and not letting him get out of disadvantage. Much like Maister bullied Nairo for being in the air, Nairo learned to punish Maister for grabbing the ledge so much.
By game 5 it was anybody’s to take home. Maister brought back the heat by taking Nairo’s first stock but the pressure got to him and he SDd. After an absolute nailbiter, Nairo chants rocking the crowd, Nairo was able to clutch it out due to a mistimed dash attack from Maister. A very exhilirating set to watch and a great way to start the top 8.
Marss Vs Dark Wizzy
From the head to head Marss (3rd seed) has some really solid results against Dark Wizzy (10th seed). Wizzy has put up a good fight in all of his sets against Marss, but has never been able to clutch it out. Maybe LMBM will be different?
Starting out we see Marss playing incredibly safe. He keeps his distance from Dark Wizzy and zones him out with lasers and nairs. Dark Wizzy gets very few chances to land any meaningful combos against Marss and he is able to run away with the game.
Counterpicking to a Smashville, a smaller stage, in game two did a lot to help Dark Wizzy’s gameplan. It was harder for Marss to keep his space and Wizzy was able to get in and rack up some damage. In a last hit last stock situation, however, Marss was able to clutch it out for game 2. Marss with the momentum was able to seal it up in game 3 with an outstanding roll read.
MVD Vs Kameme
MVD (31st seed) completely shattered the expectations for his seed by top 8ing an event this big. Kameme (11) was another surprise to grace the top 8. These two have very little history against each other, with Kameme barely squeaking ahead with his win at SwitchFest 2019. With Kameme switching to his trusty Megaman, the set between these two would be very methodical and calculated.
Kameme starts off game one with a massive string that nearly ends MVD’s life. He’s then able to capitalize off of this for the rest of the game and keep MVD at bay. In game 2 MVD started to keep center stage on Kalos and was able to wall the Japanese player out.
By game 3, both players knew to treat each other with respect and played very patiently. Over the course of a very long game, Kameme was able to eke out more edges and took the victory. This had a large part to do with the stage choice, Town and City, which greatly benefited Mega Man over Snake. Game 4 MVD was feeling the pressure and started off behind, but in the final stock he was able to pull off an awesome string that catapulted him into the lead. But, Kameme kept his cool and was able to turn the game back around into his favor with a decisive Metal Blade -> Shoryuken.
Dabuz Vs Tea
Looking at their previous results with each other Tea (9th seed) has proved to be a huge bracket demon for Dabuz (5th seed). Dabuz, however, is renowned for how much time he spends analyzing and studying other players sets to try and get the best of them and after losing back to back 3-0’s to Tea there is no doubt that Dabuz took some time to download Tea.
Within the first game its immediately clear that Dabuz has done his research. Tea, previously used to crushing Dabuz, looked completely lost in this matchup. All of his usual tricks with Fire Hydrant and Bonus Fruit were nullified by Rosalina’s Gravity Pull and Tea had to come up with a new way to fight Rosalina on the fly. In game two this is especially prevalent as Dabuz can just put a stop to anything Tea tries to start with down b. I’m incredibly impressed with how decisively Dabuz was able to turn the matchup around making this seem like one of the worst matchups in the game for Pac-Man. And you can see all of that work culminate in this well earned popoff.
Nairo Vs MVD
Right out of the gates of this set, it’s immediately clear that the momentum Nairo got from his set against Maister has carried through against his unfortunate opponent MVD. With an extremely decisive first game things were not looking good for Nairo’s opponent. I would like to point out that after this game, the loud speakers were used for the only time during top 8, to shout “J-J-JV 3 Stock” rubbing in MVD’s loss. This was extremely unprofessional and showed unfair bias towards Nairo.
In game 2 MVD starts off behind, but is does an excellent job of bringing back the game. Nairo was one Up-Tilt away from being sent to the blast zone, but in the end Nairo was able to maintain his momentum and clutched it out with a back air. Game 3, the unstoppable beast that is NRG Nairo with momentum was too much for MVD to handle. MVD was knocked out of the tournament, but did a phenomenal job to get this far.
Marss Vs Tea
The history between Marss and Tea is a lot of 3-1s and with Tea edging out in the head to head. The mentality of each player is vital to this matchup. Whoever is in the right state of mind is the one to usually come ahead, and with Let’s Make Big Moves both players brought their A-game.
Tea starts off the game poorly with an SD but is able to shake it off, and bring the heat to Marss. Near the end of the game, Tea begins a deep recovery and Marss betting all on black, goes for a back air to steal the victory. Game two is extremely tight as well, with both players posturing as best as they can but Marss clutches it out with a perfectly timed Up-B.
Moving into game 3, Tea is in a tight spot. They go to a last stock last hit situation again and Marss accidentally jabs three times against Tea’s shield giving him the UpSmash and game. This visibily frustrates Marss and we start to see that play out in the other two games. The composure that he had turns into impatience and he begins to struggle to take stocks. By game 5 Tea is completely in Marss’ head and is able to secure the reverse 3-0.
Kameme Vs Dabuz
Head to Head: No Previous Results
After watching Dabuz take down his fellow Japanese player, Kameme was coming to Dabuz to extract revenge. Dabuz still on his high from defeating his bracket demon, wasn’t ready to make another one. Seeing Dabuz pull out Rosalina, I assumed that the set would more or less be the same as it was against Tea but Kameme quickly showed that Gravity Pull wasn’t going to carry him in this set.
Kameme did a fantastic job of killing Luma throughout this set. With Crash Bomber and chip damage through the lemons, Luma struggled to stay alive. Anytime Luma died, Dabuz did a good job keeping his distance and only interacting with Kameme when he felt like he had the advantage. After losing game 1, Kameme switched to a much more passive style of gameplay and walled Dabuz out for forever. When Dabuz had no Luma and was looking at his worst, he was able to flip the script and put Kameme in a bad position and was able to steal game 2.
Game 3 nearly looked like a repeat of game 2, with Kameme keeping the lead for the entire game and then Dabuz suddenly racking up a huge percent lead in the last stock and tying things up. Kameme got an opportunity for a back air, however, and we are onto game 4. The common theme of this set reemerges and we see Kameme take a huge early lead, but Dabuz is able to chip and claw his way back to even, and then victory.
Tea Vs Nairo
Out of all the people that Tea could have faced in this top 8, Nairo was probably the one that Tea was dreading the most. With loser’s bracket Nairo, and two 3-0’s against him in the past, things were not looking good for the Pac-Man main. However, despite the odds being stacked against him, Tea was not going without a fight.
In game 1 Tea pulls out all the stops and pushes Pac-Man to the absolute limits. There are so many weird and janky things happening during this set that showed how hard he was trying to catch Nairo off guard. Throwing Key against the wall to change it’s trajectory, launching hydrant at weird angles, and pulling off crazy combos out of nothing.
After the first round of attacks Nairo was no longer phased and was able to make the games much closer, with the decision point being decided by Palutena dash attack coming out faster than throwing the Bell. Game 3 Tea is doing a great job keeping the lead, but after a poorly executed Up-B, he accidentally evens it up letting Nairo seize momentum again.
Tea knows this, and in game 4 he brings out the crazy Pac-Man tricks again and Nairo has nowhere to run. By game 5 Tea has exhausted his repertoire of techniques, and Nairo is able to turn the game into a prolonged slug-fest with a simple back throw sealing the end of Tea’s incredible run.
Nairo Vs Kameme
Head to Head: No previous results
The last time these two players faced each other was all the way back in Smash 4. With a new game, different skill sets will be tested and the winner will come down to who has more heart. Kameme, the last surviving representative of Japan, wouldn’t go down easily to losers bracket Nairo.
Nairo bursts out of the gate with a new character and tons of aggression. Zero Suit Samus starts off the set incredibly strong for Nairo and lets him land early combos. Much like Marss against Dark Wizzy, ZSS is able to keep Wario’s stubby arms at bay and Nairo is able to capitalize on this with stylish combos and a convincing game 1.
Game 2 Kameme starts off with an incredibly strong lead, getting 0-76 within seconds of the match starting. But Nairo shows that leads mean nothing against Zero Suit Samus and answers back by taking Kameme’s stock. By stock 3 things are even, and Kameme lands a combo which leads to Uptilt which could have combod into Waft, but Kameme wasn’t confident enough and went for an UpAir instead. However, Nairo wasn’t able to land the one touch he needed and Kameme was able to bait Nairo into a kick-flip and finally landed the Waft a minute later.
Zero Suit was more than capable of taking on Kameme’s Wario but Nairo decided a switch to Palutena was in order. Being able to challenge Wario’s crossups with nair became an important part of the matchup and made it much more difficult for Wario to land safely on shield. Nairo started off really strong, but with a 30% Waft combo taking Nairo out, Kameme was able to equalize the set and take the advantage.
All of the momentum that Nairo had going into this set was gone at this point. Down two games Nairo needed to dig deep. With a misinput causing him to jab instead of grab, the frustration is visible on Nairo’s face, and its looking Nairo might choke. Nairo regains his composure mid game, however, and is able to bring us to game 5. Immediately we see Nairo take two stocks off of Kameme, even though he switched to Mega Man. Before Kameme has time to reset himself, Nairo has finished the set.
Nairo Vs Dabuz
Out of all the players at this tournament, none have quite as much history as Nairo and Dabuz. These two meeting each other in grand finals was almost destiny. Going into this set, Nairo has the momentum from his insane losers run and the backup of the crowd, while Dabuz had plenty of time to study and analyze Nairo as he played.
The set, at first, started off very evenly matched with both players trading combos and percent. Eventually, Nairo was able to pull ahead on his second stock because he did an excellent job of not dying to all of the tricks Dabuz pulled. With a 2-1 lead, Nairo was able to finish the game with a decisive dair.
Game 2 we see Dabuz pull out Rosalina and Luma. This character has done incredible work for Dabuz so far in the tournament, but the matchups he brought her in against were usually against zoner characters. Nairo’s Palutena is in your face and doesn’t let up. Initially, Dabuz starts off with a huge lead but Nairo calls out a jump and evens it out with an Upair. Dabuz wasn’t fazed, and was able to take a commanding lead of the game and due to poor DI from Nairo, an FSmash was able to take him out from across the stage.
For the third game, it is a much closer scrap. With tons of close quarter combat being decided by micro decisions in neutral, its a toss up who is going to win throughout the entire game. Dabuz manages to keep the lead up to the end, where after some very tight manuevering with Nairo, he is able to land an UpSmash and secure the victory.
For game 4, Nairo knows he needs to change things up. He slows down his gameplay and takes a more methodical approach to the matchup. This forces Dabuz to approach much more giving Nairo the openings he needs to land devastating combos. With momentum back on his side, and determination to not lose, its looking tough for Dabuz.
Dabuz, sensing that Nairo is close to victory turns up the heat and takes a commanding lead. As Nairo descends on the angel platform with his tournament stock, it seems like Dabuz will take the victory with his two stock lead. Nairo, pulls out all the stops and completely reverses the game. Dabuz, who 30 seconds ago was in the lead, barely scrapes by death 3 times in a row. These near misses for Dabuz were simply foretelling the future, however, and Nairo cleans him up with one final back air getting the bracket reset!
In the reset we get a chance to see both players performing at the absolute max of their capabilities. Learning from previous games, Nairo (and Dabuz later on) both learn to recover by drifting slightly away from the stage. The adaptation of both of these players is insane. Dabuz starts off with a strong lead, as he usually does, but Nairo does not take defeat easily. With a fantastic Dair callout Nairo seals up game one.
By now, Nairo has had enough of being behind for every game and he became an absolute beast in this game. Leading 3 stocks to 1, Nairo even started to pull off crazy teleportation tricks that showed how into the zone Nairo was for this game. The games were much closer when Nairo would start off on the backfoot, and he was still able to steal the victory. This time, when Dabuz was on the backfoot there wasn’t anything he could do.
Dabuz, feeling on the ropes, switches to Olimar as one final hail mary to regain the momentum. With the pacing of the match slowing down, Dabuz has a chance to gain the lead and win the game. But Nairo is able to adapt as well, and with a very tense last hit last stock situation, Nairo calls the neutral getup and becomes the Let’s Make Big Moves champion!
Let’s Make Big Moves was an electrifying way to start off the 2020 Smash season. With huge upsets knocking big names like Tweek and Samsora, many players who are usually not seen were able to make a huge performance at this tournament. The storylines of all the players, from MVD crushing his seed, to the Japanese players beautiful performance, and Nairo’s amazing losers run Let’s Make Big Moves was a tournament to remember.
Thank you all for reading this tournament report. This is my first time ever writing about Super Smash Bros and I had a wonderful time doing it. Writing about this many sets took a long time, so if I decide to write about future tournaments I will probably focus on grand finals only. Normally I write about Magic: the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons so this was a chance for me to expand what I usually write, and create content that I want to see. If you enjoyed this article, or have any critiques, please let me know in the comments below. I hope you all have a great week and an amazing Tuesday!