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The Smash World Tour landed a little closer to VGBootCamp’s area from Oct. 9-10, as the first of four North America Regional Finals took place in Laurel, Maryland. The offline event saw a mix of established veterans and up-and-coming online stars try to secure coveted spots at the global finals.

Here are three takeaways from the SWT NA West Ultimate Regional Finals.

MVD gets his biggest tournament win since 2019 at the SWT NA West Ultimate Regional Finals

Jestise “MVD” Negron was one of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s first successful top players. He won the game’s very first national tournament in December of 2018, Don’t Park on the Grass, and was ranked 17th on the Spring 2019 PGRU. But, the Snake main’s results slowed down over time and he fell out of the top 50 by the end of 2019.

Though he had a disappointing return to offline competition in 2021, placing 33rd at Riptide, MVD could feel his gameplay improving from there. After barely missing top eight at Low Tide City, his improvements culminated with a first-place finish at the SWT NA West Ultimate Regional Finals. It marked his most significant tournament victory since Come to Papa 3 in April of 2019.

MVD won his round robin pool by defeating Sierra “moxi” Lund (formerly known as “Pandarian”) 3-2, Reyhan “Ludo” Ticehurst 3-0 and Ronnie “Ronnichu” Knighten 3-0. With a 3-1 win over Dominic “T3 DOM” Carone in winners quarters, MVD locked down his berth in the global finals. However, his run was far from over.

After suffering a 3-1 loss against Spencer “Scend” Garner, MVD made a commendable run through the losers bracket. He eliminated Kiyarash “Kiyarash” Younessi 3-1, Tanner “SKITTLES!!” Jordan 3-1 and moxi 3-0. This led to a grand finals rematch against Scend. MVD managed to win both sets 3-2 after a grueling 10-game slog. He finished the tournament with a bang, blowing up his C4 to obliterate Scend’s final stock in a close Game 10.

Moxi fought hard for qualification at the SWT NA West Ultimate Regional Finals

Moxi was one of only two actively-ranked top 50 offline players at the SWT NA West Ultimate Regional Finals, along with Scend. As a result, she was a fairly safe pick to reach top six and qualify for the SWT Championships. However, her unranked opponents undoubtedly made her work for it; every single set moxi won went to game five.

In pools, moxi barely won her sets over Ludo and Ronnichu. In both instances, her opponents went up 2-1 to start the set, only for her Pokémon Trainer to clutch out the final two games. This trend reversed against MVD, where moxi went up 2-1 but ultimately lost the set.

Unsurprisingly, the competition didn’t get any easier once top 16 began. Moxi narrowly overcame Kiyarash to secure her spot in top six. Then, she faced Troy “BassMage” Waters. Despite being three-stocked in game four, moxi bounced back in game five to win the set. Winners finals saw her face her top 50 compatriot, Scend. However, moxi was ultimately outclassed by both Scend and MVD. She lost 3-0 to both of them in order to finish in third place.

Kiyarash is more than a wi-fi warrior

17-year-old Luigi main Kiyarash has become one of the best-known online Smash Ultimate players. While he was ranked 35th on the Wi-Fi Warrior Rank v7, he failed to immediately secure impressive results at the locals he attended post-quarantine. Despite this, Kiyarash undoubtedly made a splash at his first in-person major, the SWT NA West Ultimate Regional Finals.

Online, Kiyarash could consistently make his opponents’ stocks evaporate using Luigi’s zero-to-death grab combo. Offline, players often have an easier time executing the correct SDI, making it harder for the zero-to-death to connect. Even so, Kiyarash showed off his ability to follow his opponents’ DI in order to mix up his follow-up options off of grab.

Kiyarash swept Erik “Erik” Haugen and Dom “Domnique” Williams 3-0 in pools. While it looked like he might be swept himself by T3 DOM, Kiyarash managed to pull off a reverse 3-0 instead. He even finished the set with a three-stock, clearly showing his ability to adapt over the course of a set.

After losing a close set to moxi, Kiyarash still had a tough road ahead of him in order to qualify for the global finals. Even so, he was up to the challenge. Kiyarash earned a pair of 3-2 wins over “Justice” and Ludo to reach top six. Even though he faltered against MVD, the former wi-fi warrior made it far enough to compete at the SWT Championships later this year.

Looking ahead

The following six players have qualified for the SWT Championships at the end of the year:

  • MVD
  • Scend
  • moxi
  • SKITTLES!!
  • BassMage
  • Kiyarash

After a weekend break, the circuit will resume on Oct. 23 with both the Europe Melee Regional Finals and the NA West Melee Regional Finals.

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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