Inven Global Smash Awards: Best Ultimate Matches of 2021 (Nominees)


As the year 2021 draws to a close, we at Inven Global are looking back at the players, casters, events, and games that made this year of competitive Super Smash Bros. Ultimate so special. In a year of turmoil, the Smash community continued to thrive and bring some incredible competition. 


We're excited to present the second year of the Inven Global Awards (IGA). Voted by the editorial crew of Inven Global, along with some of the game’s most well-respected players, casters, and community figures, the IGAs celebrate the many strong facets of Ultimate in 2021 — the best players, casters, content creators, etc.


With the return to offline events, Ultimate fans were blessed with some of the best games in recent memory. Several players rose to the forefront, wowing the crowd with crazy IQ plays or entertaining with unexpected characters. Through it all, the best players in the world have made themselves known. 


Vote for your favorite match — the one that had you at the edge of your seat. The one that changed up the game. 

Light vs Sparg0: Super Smash Con: Fall Fest Grand Finals


To explain how amazing this set was, we must remember how insane Paris "Light" Ramirez’s run to get there was. Going into the tournament, Light had some solid competitive success but wasn’t in the conversation much for winning majors. He was forever frustrated with the limitations of Ultimate Fox — but vowed to make it work.


Throughout the event, he looked strong but wasn’t dominating in any sense. Seeded into the Losers side of top eight, he was the underdog (or underfox…sorry) in almost every set. 


Almost every match was a coin flip. But each time — against Tyler "Marss" Martins, Kola, estise "MVD" Negron and Enrique "Maister" Hernández Solís — Light clutched it out and won the set. He looked strong…but Edgar "Sparg0" Valdez looked stronger. Before the event, Sparg0 was placing third at every event. Gavin "Tweek" Dempsey and Leonardo "MkLeo" Lopez Perez always got in his way. This was the first time neither of them was there — the perfect opportunity for Sparg0 to finally get a major win. His run to the Grand Finals was very impressive, as he slashed relatively easily through Winners side — switching characters without a hitch.


That’s what made Light versus Sparg0 so amazing. Although some of the games were close, Light made a statement in the first set. He quickly swept the series to reset the bracket, before joining Sparg0 in creating one of the most exciting sets the game has seen. At first, Sparg0 had seemed to have taken back control — showing off his own clutch gene by winning the first two games by a thin margin. Light would not relent though. What more poetic of a finish than to make a 3-2 comeback to win the tournament? Nothing comes to mind. 

MkLeo vs Sparg0: Mainstage 2021 Grand Finals

This set isn’t yet considered as historic as it is. But it will be. Sparg0 throughout the year was considered a top-three player. He had the talent, and he had the results. But he didn’t have a win yet. He sometimes didn’t seem to play as well as others when in the presence of large crowds. Mainstage 2021 was another opportunity to try for the top.


He didn’t have a good start though. Going into the bracket, he lost a set to Santiago "Chag" Perez, meaning he had to climb through the Losers side going into the top 16. With most of the best players in the world in his way — it was a tall order to expect to make it to the finals. Sparg0 was on another level that day, though. He wasn’t just winning his sets, he was demolishing them. From Losers Round 2 to Grand Finals, he went 15-2 in games. 


MkLeo, though, is MkLeo. The Winners side advantage was too much for Sparg0 to overcome. But what a way to finish for him. Despite MkLeo having just played a top Pyra and Mythra, Sparg0’s use of the character took him off guard. He won the first set, and narrowly lost the second. When Sparg0 goes on to win many championships — which he will — this will be an important set in his history. The best example this year of Sparg0 holding his own against the best. 

Glutonny vs Kola: CEO 2021 Grand Finals

There were some unfortunate hurdles at CEO 2021. Due to many reasons, CEO 2021 had more dropouts than an aerospace engineering program. What at first looked to be a hyper-stacked top eight turned into an inevitable collision between William "Glutonny" Belaid and Kolawole "Kola" Aideyan. 


In a way, it was for the best. These were the two players most starving of recognition. Glutonny was seen as one of the best players in the world but hadn’t yet had the chance to prove himself that much internationally. Kola was becoming one of the best players in the world as well but needed more top placings to demonstrate that.


Though Kola had a few hiccups getting there — losing to Antony "MuteAce" Hoo early in the Winners Bracket — he climbed his way to face Gluttony in the Grand Finals. It didn’t disappoint. Both players gave the perfect showcase of how good they actually were. Gluttony produced some of the most impressive Wario combos seen, and the aggression of Kola’s Roy was terrifying. It was a two-set whammy that saw Kola grab another big win — crazy to think what would’ve happened if everyone was there. 

Tweek vs MkLeo: Smash Ultimate Summit 3 Grand Finals

From a gameplay perspective, this set wasn’t that dramatic. It was a standard sweep with no last-hit situations. The opponents — the two best players in the world — aren't surprising either. This one’s again about the journey. 


Tweek and MkLeo came into the set in very different circumstances. MkLeo’s group stage was a classic charnel house — only losing one game through. Tweek had a much rougher go at it, as some upset losses caused him to scrape into Winners only on condition of a tiebreaker. 


Then…Tweek manages to beat MkLeo in the Quarter Finals. He wrecks him — his Diddy Kong capable of taking on every one of MkLeo’s counterpicks. As Tweek makes it to the Grand Finals, no doubt he’s aware of the looming beast coming for him. MkLeo never gives up — the only difficulty in climbing back up after an upset is from slipping on the blood he’s drawn to get up there. MkLeo makes it back to the Grand Finals, no doubt ready to prove their first encounter was a fluke. 


But it wasn’t. Tweek was just too good that day. His Diddy Kong was so slippery you can probably count the amount of times MkLeo hits him with Pyra and Mythra with your fingers. Beating MkLeo in this era puts almost any set in contention for one of the best of the year — Tweek just did it the best.  

Tweek vs MkLeo: Riptide 2021 Winner's Finals

This match is one of the best examples of why MkLeo is so special. This set came shortly after MkLeo’s loss at Ultimate Summit 3. Tweek had proven how threatening he was as a Diddy Kong-main — sweeping the best player in the world.


MkLeo was playing more Byleth, a character not at all considered a top tier, and one with a rough matchup against Diddy Kong (especially one controlled by Tweek). Fans had seen MkLeo demolish before, but it was no doubt going to be a challenge. As the set progressed, the set looked to be another version of their Ultimate Summit 3 encounters. Though the matches were close, Tweek was simply too clutch, and MkLeo’s understanding of the matchup wasn’t good enough.


However, MkLeo learns.


In Game 3, MkLeo appeared to have a much stronger sense of the matchup, and was able to get a two-stock game on Tweek. From there he just kept pulling magic with Byleth — his movement on the ledge and spacing both excellent — as Game 4 MkLeo is known to do. By then he had the game completely locked down. It was as if he was just warming up to a matchup he understood very well, with the last game going to a three-stock for him.


In many ways, this set legitimized Byleth’s viability and was a perfect example of MkLeo’s talent. 

The Inven Global Smash Awards panel for Ultimate

  • Arbiter
  • Eric Bartlett
  • Austin Watts
  • Coney
  • ESAM
  • John "Oddball" Popko
  • Michale Lalor
  • Olivia Richman
  • Tim Masters

*Note: Nobody can vote for themselves in the Inven Global Smash Awards

What has your vote for best match in Ultimate?

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