Sparg0’s historic Kagaribi 10 win puts him closer to Smash Ultimate’s Olympus
Kagaribi 10 was the most stacked Smash Ultimate event in Japan’s history and showcased exactly why Edgar ‘Sparg0’ Valdez is on pace to become the next GOAT.
Kagaribi 10 itself was a special event. The highlight of Japan’s golden week featured numerous tournaments and the arrival of numerous North American invaders to take on the elite talent from the most powerful region.
The tournament highlighted what we already know: Japan is the most stacked Smash region in the world, but that only puts an even bigger exclamation mark on the results.
Too often at these tournaments, we don’t get to see the projected dream matches, but Kagaribi was a gift. It gave us dozens of NA vs JP bouts that we might never get to witness again.
It was also just perfect how of the final eight, three competitors were from North America, each representing a different country (Sparg0 via Mexico, Michael ‘Riddles‘ Kim from Canada and Samuel ‘Dabuz’ Buzby from the United States).
Return of the King (of New York)
Of the four Team Liquid stars in Kagaribi 10, many expected the Canadian Kazuya menace Riddles to go the furthest, but it was the King of New York who had what could be his best Ultimate tournament in a very long time.
Dabuz had to win five consecutive five-game sets in a row, including a Liquid victory against Riddles en route to a fourth-place finish. This was Dabuz at his best. The Olimar and Rosalina were played masterfully and things looked like a true return to form for someone who had fallen off the radar a bit recently. Dabuz is back, baby.
Japan hits differently
Speaking of the top 8, the Japanese meta continues to hit differently, with fighters you wouldn’t expect to see in NA or EU. Zackray continues to pilot Pit to the limit while Hero showed that Bowser is the best of the heavies and Yoshidora needs no introduction at this point.
We also finally got to see the fabled Sota ‘Zackray’ Okada vs Mashita ‘acola’ Hayato matchup in the Winners’ Finals, and it didn’t disappoint. Zackray was able to hold his own against the most OP fighter in Smash and competed through the whole tournament with the biggest grin I’ve ever seen. This type of mentality can take an individual far.
It’s only a matter of time until Zackray can take a major with his Pit and add yet another title to his impressive résumé. After that, will he pick up someone else? Personally, I’d like to see him continue to push Pit quite a bit before we get one of those patented Zackray main changes – his Pit is just that fun to watch.
The scriptwriters weren’t striking in Japan
Going into Kagaribi 10, all eyes were on the top two seeds: acola, the world’s top player and Steve superstar, and Sparg0, the Cloud forged in the fires of Smash’s wifi era.
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While Hollywood’s writers are striking, this script played out perfectly. Just like Kagaribi’s trailer had hyped up, we got our finals with the two young upstarts.
For a moment, it looked like it wasn’t meant to be. Sparg0 had to rally back after being upset by Yaura 3-0, sending the FaZe star into the losers’ bracket with a Mount Fuji-sized hole to dig himself out of.
In total, Sparg0 had to win nine sets just to get to acola, including two extremely hype matchups against Yoshidora and Zackray.
By the time he got to the Grand Finals, he showed why he’s the top contender for the world’s No.1 title, and it wasn’t even close. Sparg0 destroyed acola in both matches, 3-1 and then 3-0, forcing the Japanese off of Steve and onto Kazuya and Ageis, both of which fared even worse.
Despite Kagaribi not having a prize pool, this was the biggest open tournament win of Sparg0’s career without a doubt, going through a pool of 1,024 players to claim the top spot. In doing so, he became the first foreigner to win a Japanese major.
This two-match decimation of Acola means Sparg0 is undefeated against the Steve main this year, having won 3-0 at Genesis 9 back in January, which is quite an impressive feat.
Given the P-tier classification of Kagaribi 10, if Sparg0 ends up winning Battle of BC 5 next week, there’s a strong case to be made that he is the best player in the world.