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Even as the Smash World Tour online qualifiers near their end, they continue to produce shocking results. At the Southeast qualifier, the 17th seed won the main bracket, while the first seed was eliminated early and had to advance through the Last Chance Qualifier.

Here are three takeaways from the Smash World Tour’s penultimate online event, the SWT NA Southeast Ultimate Online Qualifier.

Vendetta earns many upsets en route to first place at the SWT NA Southeast Ultimate Online Qualifier

Cameron “Vendetta” Garrett established himself as a national level online threat last June when he won Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma’s premiere Juice Box weekly tournament. However, Vendetta found only moderate success afterward, failing to make another major top eight … until now.

The Georgian Ken and Ryu player upset numerous higher ranked players to win the SWT NA Southeast Ultimate Online Qualifier as the 17th seed. Vendetta kicked off top 32 with a dominant 3-0 win against No. 1 seed Gabriel “Epic_Gabriel” Romero. He secured his spot in the Regional Finals by winning a five-game set over Aaron “Aaron” Wilhite, then won another five-game set against Yezre’el “Yez” Askew.

In both winners finals and grand finals, Vendetta faced Eric “ESAM” Lew, a top 15 offline player. ESAM struggled to contend with Vendetta’s oppressive punish game with the Shotos, trying to counter him with Pikachu, Samus, Min Min and even Mii Brawler. But, ultimately, Vendetta won 3-2 in winners finals and 3-0 in grand finals to secure his biggest online tournament win to date.

Kola shows he’s still got it at his second online tournament of the year

Toward the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Kolawole “Kola” Aideyan established himself as the greatest online threat, ranking at No. 1 on the Wi-Fi Warrior Rank v5. But his online activity dwindled over time, especially once local tournaments resumed in Georgia. The SWT NA Southeast Ultimate Online Qualifier was Kola’s first online event since February, and only his second all year.

Even so, Kola placed third, proving that he’s still one of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s best online players. He used many characters in the process as well, including Roy, Snake, Cloud and an unexpected Captain Falcon pick in losers semis.

Kola got off to a shaky start in top 32. He narrowly defeated King K. Rool main Luke “KirbyKid” Richmond, then lost 3-2 to Yez. But Kola qualified for the Regional Finals through the losers bracket by beating Bryan “Uncivil ninja” Blodgett 3-1 and Aaron 3-1.

In top six, Kola earned a convincing 3-0 victory over another Georgian player, Carrington “Wrath” Osborne. He also won his runback against Yez 3-1 before suffering a 3-0 loss to ESAM in losers finals.

Epic_Gabriel qualifies after a hard-fought SWT NA Southeast Last Chance Qualifier run

Epic_Gabriel was rewarded with the No. 1 seed at the SWT NA Southeast Ultimate Online Qualifier for his frequent online attendance and his consistently good performances. Despite this, it initially looked as though he wouldn’t qualify for the offline Regional Finals.

Epic_Gabriel fell out of the main bracket extremely early, losing 3-0 to Vendetta’s Ryu and 3-1 to Nazir “Naz” Williams’ Terry. As a result, he had to play out an entire other bracket, the Last Chance Qualifier, to advance to the next stage of the Smash World Tour.

Still, as the highest seed for the entire tournament, Epic_Gabriel was the favorite to win the secondary bracket. He made it into grand finals by beating “Jake” 2-1, Brett “8BitMan” Esposito 2-0, James “Rivers” Wade 3-0 and Robert “Myran” Herrin 3-0.

Rivers came back with a vengeance in grand finals, winning the first set 3-2. In a second set that also went the distance, Epic_Gabriel finished Rivers off by punishing his tech option with R.O.B.’s powerful Arm Rotor to win the SWT NA Southeast Last Chance Qualifier.

Looking ahead

The following players will compete at the NA East Ultimate Regional Finals from Nov. 6 – 7:

  • Vendetta
  • ESAM
  • Kola
  • Yez
  • KirbyKid
  • Wrath
  • Epic_Gabriel
  • Rivers

The Smash World Tour online qualifiers will conclude with the NA Northeast Ultimate Online Qualifier on May 23.


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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