Major Upset preview: Sparg0 aims to return to top of NA with major win - Upcomer
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Just one week after Beyond the Summit’s swan song at Smash Ultimate Summit 6, the Super Smash Bros. community is returning for an open-bracket major tournament in Portland from April 1-2. With a strong mix of top-level Ultimate and Melee players, it will be the biggest Smash event Oregon has ever hosted.

As the first quarter of 2023 approaches its end, several Smash players are cementing their status at the top, while others are looking to climb higher up the rankings. Here’s an overview of the biggest storylines to watch out for at Major Upset this weekend.

Sparg0 is hunting for a major win

After taking a few-month hiatus from Ultimate competition in the middle of 2022, Edgar “Sparg0” Valdez returned in full force at the end of last year. He ended the year with back-to-back major wins at Mainstage 2022 and the Scuffed World Tour. While he had not been active enough to climb to the top of the rankings, he finished as No. 3 in the world and had a great deal of momentum coming into this year.

However, 2023 has been a mixed bag for Sparg0 so far. While he has beaten the likes of Mashita “acola” Hayato, Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey and Carlos “Sonix” Pérez this year, he has also yet to win a major. Sparg0 also recently placed 13th at Ultimate Summit 6, marking his first time missing top eight at a post-quarantine tournament.

As it stands, Sparg0 risks falling behind fellow North American titans Tweek and Leonardo “MkLeo” López Pérez, both of whom have won majors and have not placed as low as 13th this year. He even faces competition from Sonix, who has not won a major but has consistently placed in the top six of every tournament he has attended. A victory at Major Upset would put Sparg0 back on track if he wants to prove he has what it takes to be one of the best Ultimate players.

Melee storylines at Major Upset

Jake “Jmook” DiRado, who has won the only two Melee majors so far this year, will not be at Major Upset. As a result, someone is guaranteed to win their first major of the year this weekend. The most likely candidate is No. 2 seed Cody Schwab.

Cody Schwab is undefeated so far this year against the two hardest opponents in his projected bracket path: Zain “Zain” Naghmi and Justin “Plup” McGrath. That said, he seems most prone to upsets in the Fox ditto, meaning his projected top 32 match against Miles “Soonsay” Foster could be a scary one.

If Cody Schwab does take an early trip to the losers bracket, Zain will be in a solid position to go for the gold. After finishing last year as the least-dominant No. 1 player in Melee’s history, Zain will undoubtedly aim for a statement performance early in the year, especially since he has recently become a free agent.

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.