After a disappointing 2020, the Smash World Tour is back.
Last year, VGBootCamp and several other prominent event organizers came together to create a worldwide tourney circuit with a $250,000 prize pool — the largest in Smash history. It was exciting news for the Smash community, who felt it was finally their chance to be taken seriously as an esport and see some major exposure and cash.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 put a stop to that dream when all in-person events were canceled. But this year, the Smash World Tour is prepared with a new "hybrid format" that will allow players to compete in both Super Smash Bros. Melee and Ultimate.
"I was surprised to hear it was coming back. I figured they gave up because they can't make money in Smash," William "Leffen" Hjelte said. "This is literally the biggest thing that could possibly ever be announced."
Smash World Tour schedule and format
The Smash World Tour's hybrid format consists of region-locked Online Qualifiers and in-person regional finals held across the world.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate competitors will take part in the region-locked Online Qualifiers. The 16 winners will advance to the Regional Finals. For Melee, the Smash World Tour will be relying on a "panel of community leaders" across all regions to select 16 Regional Finalists based on tournament results in 2020 and 2021.
In Phase 2, players from each region will compete at in-person events to determine who qualifies for the Smash World Tour Finals. These events will have a combined $60,000 in prizes. In total, 32 players in each game will qualify for Phase 3.
Phase 3 is, of course, the Finals. The top Melee and Ultimate players in the entire world will compete for $150,000 (at least). The Smash World Tour page didn't specify if this will also be in-person, but it most likely will unless COVID-19 doesn't allow for a safe way to do so, just like Phase 2.
"While we can’t assume large-scale community events will be back by a certain point in 2021, we of course are excited about their eventual return! Even though we have to wait until 2022 to revert back to the original tour format, we’ll be spotlighting community events at each stop of the Tour this year!" the Smash World Tour's official page stated.
There are already three events right around the corner. The Mexico Online Qualifier is beginning March 13. Next is the Oceania Online Qualifier on March 20. Central America South's top Ultimate players will fight it out on March 27, also an Online Qualifier.
Nintendo is currently not involved with the Smash World Tour (shocker).