Three takeaways from CEO 2021 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Singles
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Five of the top eight Super Smash Bros. Ultimate seeds at CEO 2021 dropped out shortly before the event began, leaving many of the remaining players to vie for their first ever major win. In the end, that honor went to Georgia’s Kolawole “Kola” Aideyan.

Here’s a breakdown of Kola’s victory and other important takeaways from CEO 2021.

Kola earns his biggest tournament win to date

Kola became the de facto top seed at CEO 2021 after every higher-seeded player dropped out. As expected, he made it into the top eight on winners side, defeating Derek “D2da” Jackson 2-0, Ricky “LingLing” Gorritz 2-1 and Chris “WaDi” Boston 2-0.

Kola also had a favorable match-up against his winners semis opponent, Antony “MuteAce” Hoo; he had beaten MuteAce 3-0 the last time they played at InfinityCON Tally 2021. But, at CEO, MuteAce’s Peach punished Kola’s aggressive approach options with Cloud, allowing MuteAce to win the first two games. While Kola switched to Roy as a last-ditch effort in game three, MuteAce ultimately closed out the set 3-0, sending Kola to the losers bracket.

In losers, Kola cruised through his first opponents, eliminating Salvatore “Zomba” DeSena 3-1 and Griffin “Fatality” Miller 3-0. This led him to losers finals, where he rematched MuteAce. In contrast to their winners semis set, Kola played exclusively Roy and was more measured with his approaches. As a result, he was able to defeat MuteAce 3-2 and advance into grand finals.

Kola’s final opponent at CEO 2021 was the de facto second seed: France’s William “Glutonny” Belaïd. Though Kola got off to a strong start, winning game one and taking a huge lead in game two, Glutonny forced him offstage and killed him with a footstool into Wario Waft to barely clutch out game two. Still, Kola came out on top of a back-and-forth, five-game set to reset the bracket.

Throughout the second set, Kola shined thanks to his superior punish game. Glutonny was poised to make another comeback in game four of the second set, but he missed his Waft. Kola’s new lease of life gave him the chance to land a strong back-air, to finish off the set 3-1.

MuteAce represents Florida with a deep winners run

Florida is one of the strongest regions for Ultimate in the United States, meaning several hometown heroes had a strong shot at making top eight at CEO 2021 in Orlando, Florida. However, Florida’s highest-placing representative wasn’t a current resident, but instead a Florida native turned Texas resident: MuteAce. MuteAce put on a show for his return to Florida, making it all the way to winners finals.

En route to top 16, MuteAce defeated Rayed “ArmyOli” Mohammed 2-1, Joshua “JMafia” Rodriguez 2-0 and Luke “KirbyKid” Richmond 2-1. Despite his close calls against lower-ranked opponents, MuteAce seemed to perform better against higher-level opponents. In fact, he did not drop a single game in his next two sets against some of the most fearsome competitors in North America.

In winners quarters, MuteAce added another win over Eric “ESAM” Lew to his resume. He now boasts a lifetime 4-2 record against the Pikachu main. Additionally, MuteAce swept Kola, even though Kola had swept him the last time they played.

MuteAce even put up a fight against Glutonny in winners finals. He excelled in the neutral, but struggled to find kills until extremely high percent levels. MuteAce used his down special to pull two powerful stitchfaces in game four, which may have been his saving grace had he hit Glutonny with either of them. Ultimately, MuteAce lost to Glutonny 3-1 and to Kola 3-2, ending his run in a respectable third place.

Fatality pushes Captain Falcon to his limits

Going into CEO 2021, Fatality’s primary goal was to make top eight. It was a simple enough task on paper. Thanks to the top seed dropouts, Fatality would have an easier bracket, meaning he could make top eight without having to perform an upset against a higher-seeded player. But, after losing 2-0 to Toriano “Toast” Warren in top 32, Fatality was faced with a more difficult path.

And yet, he achieved his goal of reaching top eight. In top 24, Fatality eliminated Bryan “Uncivil ninja” Blodgett, “Jake” and WaDi without dropping any games. From there, Fatality had to face a pair of his bracket demons. Once again, he was up to the task.

Fatality beat ESAM for the first time, winning their top eight set 3-1. Then, he defeated Jestise “MVD” Negron 3-1, despite having lost his previous four sets with MVD. Against both of them, Fatality mixed up his recoveries, faking his opponents out with aerial drift and holding on to his double jump until absolutely necessary, enabling him to repeatedly recover despite Captain Falcon’s mediocre recovery options.

Additionally, Fatality’s devastating punish game and edgeguarding capabilities were on full display against MVD. He two-stocked MVD in game three and three-stocked him in game four. By the end of the final game, MVD could see the writing on the wall and opted to blow himself up using Snake’s C4 instead of giving Fatality the chance to finish him off. Ultimately, Fatality finished in fourth place after suffering a 3-0 loss against Kola.

Dylan Tate is an alumnus of 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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