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This past weekend, June 5-6, numerous top players gathered in Tallahassee, Florida, for InfinityCON 2021; Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s first offline major since CEO Dreamland in March of 2020. The poetic grand finals saw Kolawole “Kola” Aideyan’s Cloud face off against Nicholas “Ned” Dovel’s Sephiroth (if only for a single game).

Here are four major takeaways from Smash Ultimate’s return to in-person competition.

Kola shows he’s a winner both online and offline

Kola was on an upward trend in early 2020, winning Clash of the Carolinas III and placing second at CEO Dreamland. His skillset seemingly transferred well to the online format, as he won the Soaked Series Invitational; the first major online tournament of 2020. Fittingly, Kola also won the first major offline tournament of 2021, proving that he’s still capable of the results he’d achieved just before the pandemic began.

Prior to top eight, Kola ran through the likes of “Jake,” “sebayee” and Antony “MuteAce” Hoo with little opposition. In winners semis, he went back and forth against Aaron “Aaron” Wilhite. Kola went up 2-1 after three games of his Roy against Aaron’s R.O.B. However, Aaron switched to Diddy Kong to even up the set count. Kola ultimately counterpicked Snake to win a close Game 5 and advance to winners finals.

There, he fought Robert “Myran” Herrin. One round prior, Myran had dismantled Griffin “Fatality” Miller in a 3-0 sweep. Myran only lost two stocks the whole set. But winners finals brought a different outcome, as Kola used Cloud to beat Myran 3-2.

Kola’s Cloud comfortably won Game 1 against Ned’s Sephiroth in grand finals. Both players switched characters afterward, with Kola’s Roy fighting Ned’s Pokémon Trainer in the last two games. Ned seemed poised to make a comeback with Charizard at the end of Game 3. However, he made an incorrect read on Kola’s recovery option and lost his stock in the process. This gave Kola an anticlimactic 3-0 win and the title of InfinityCON 2021 champion.

Ned pilots Sephiroth to second place at InfinityCON 2021

Four Smash Ultimate DLC characters have been released since the COVID-19 pandemic began. As a result, fans have speculated how these characters would perform offline. While many have feared the potential of Min Min and Steve, Sephiroth has been comparatively overlooked. However, Ned showed off how powerful Sephiroth can be through his second-place finish at InfinityCON 2021.

While Ned initially beat Anthony “ChocoTaco” Riley 3-1 and Kobe “Kobe” Murray 3-0, he suffered a 3-0 loss against Aaron in winners quarters. Nevertheless, he solidly defeated Jake 3-0 to earn a spot in top eight on losers side.

From there, he used the one-winged angel to fly through a number of opponents. He defeated MuteAce 3-1, Fatality 3-1, Kobe 3-2 and Myran 3-1. Though he fell short of first place, Ned used Sephiroth’s long range, ledgetrapping capablities and terrifying comeback mechanic to plow through a number of strong competitors.

Kobe sweeps numerous higher-seeded players at InfinityCON 2021

While Kobe had impressive performances in Florida throughout the first half of Ultimate’s lifespan, he rarely traveled to major tournaments outside the state, giving him relatively few results compared to other players. For this reason, he was modestly seeded 13th going into InfinityCON 2021. However, Kobe greatly exceeded expectations by placing fourth.

Before top 16, he beat Luke “KirbyKid” Richmond 3-1, lost 3-0 to Ned and beat Tavares “ChillyChili” Morton 3-1. Though the competition only grew more difficult from there, Kobe’s gameplay only became better. Kobe swept through his next four sets without dropping any games.

This perfect losers run began with wins over May “Mystearica” Peterson and Joshua “JMafia” Rodriguez, who had used Mii Brawler to upset Alexis “Goblin” Stennett earlier in the bracket. Kobe then showed off Young Link’s strengths in the R.O.B. match-up by conquering Gabriel “Epic_Gabriel” Romero. In losers quarters, Kobe left Aaron helplessly searching for answers as he defeated Aaron’s Joker, R.O.B. and Alex.

Finally, Kobe rematched Ned; the player who sent him to the losers bracket in the first place. After losing the first two games, Kobe switched to his secondary Lucina, enabling him to win the next two games. This led to a last-stock situation in Game 5, where both players fearlessly challenged one another offstage. However, Ned ultimately won and ended Kobe’s Cinderella run.

Jake shows Steve’s potential at his debut in-person tournament

Though he was formerly a little-known Mario main, Jake notoriously gained better results at online tournaments following the release of Steve. But, at InfinityCON 2021, his first in-person tournament to date, Jake showed that Steve (or, in his case, Enderman) is an offline threat as well.

After losing to Kola in top 32, Jake earned a 3-0 victory over fellow wi-fi warrior Rylan “ChunkyKong” Silva. From there, he swept Goblin and Khalil “Mugen” Malik, both of whom are best-known for their offline performances. Ultimately, Jake was eliminated by Ned, finishing in ninth place after losing to the eventual top two finishers.


Dylan Tate is a student in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a gaming journalist with a love for Nintendo esports, particularly Super Smash Bros. and Pokémon.


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