Alright, this is it. This is the final category in our first annual Inven Global Smash Awards. We've spent the last month or so looking back at the best players, casters, events, and games in competitive Melee and Ultimate. The people and places and moments that made 2021 special despite the setbacks, turmoil, and drama.
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.
2021 gave players a glimpse of the normalcy they craved, bringing back rankings and in-person matches. It allowed some of the top Ultimate players to prove themselves at top-notch events, with a handful of players standing out amongst the rest.
Fans can also vote for the player they think deserves it the most, and the player with the most votes will receive the IGA Community Award.
It's no surprise to see MkLeo on the list of nominees. He is often considered a one-of-a-kind player you're lucky to see in your lifetime, an unstoppable force that transforms the way the game is played. MkLeo is almost singlehandedly responsible for putting Byleth on the map, able to take down the most formidable of opponents with this underwhelming fighter.
The Mexican player had an eventful 2021 as he looked to prove himself after the WiFi Era. In early 2021, MkLeo even stated that he was no longer going to compete in online tournaments. He took Aegis and Byleth to SWT: Central America Ultimate Regionals Finals, winning without dropping a set. He then got revenge on Tweek at Riptide. MkLeo dominated Glitch 8.5, Low Tide City 2021, Port Priority 6, and Mainstage 2021. He then won the Smash World Tour 2021 Championships, solidifying his title of "world's best Ultimate player."
Sparg0 had a very rough 2021. While seen as a Smash prodigy, the 16-year-old struggled to finally win a major thanks to the return of some heavy hitters and the rise of new talent. Still, Sparg0 is considered the second-best player in the world and the best Cloud player to ever live. At 13, Sparg0 was already taking sets off of top Ultimate players. Now, Sparg0 is looking to be the champion.
Super Smash Con looked to be Sparg0's chance to win a major thanks to the absence of MkLeo but underdog Light wound up taking the victory. Sparg0 previously placed third at Ultimate Summit 3 and third at Riptide. At Mainstage he got second. At Smash World Tour, Sparg0 got third place.
While this is all incredible for a 16-year-old, Sparg0 and the rest of the Smash community know that it's only a matter of time before the Smash prodigy starts winning majors. Until then, Sparg0 remains visibly frustrated.
Tweek has long been the best Diddy Kong player in the world. But Tweek made it clear in 2021 that he's looking to be more than the best Diddy — he wants to be the best. Period. His shining moment was Smash Ultimate Summit 3, when he beat MkLeo to become the victor.
While MkLeo got revenge on him at Riptide, Tweek was already a fan-favorite thanks to his skill and incredible playstyle. The 23-year-old New Jersey native has been seen as a positive force in the Ultimate community and it feels as though 2021 was just the beginning of his incredible run for the top.
Kola had an incredible 2021, starting with a ton of first and second-place finishes in online tournaments. His in-person performances have been a lot more varied, although he proved he was a top North American player at the Smash World Tour: NA East Ultimate Regional Finals and then CEO.
Kola has wins over almost every top Ultimate player, including Maister, Shuton, Dabuz, Elegant, ESAM, and Cosmos. He has taken sets off of Light, Mew2King, and Fatality. This has put him high up in rankings. But what had Kola standing out even more in 2021 was his attitude, unique playstyle, and signing to Moist Esports.
Even Smash players who hate Mr. Game & Watch can't deny that Maister is one of the best players in the world. While he has experienced a fair share of toxicity for his main, Maister has continued to stay dedicated to Mr. Game & Watch, using the 2D fighter to dominate the Ultimate scene in a scary manner.
Maister is the best Mr. Game & Watch player, yes. But he is also third in Mexico (after MkLeo and Sparg0) and considered the third-best WiFi player. 2021 gave Maister an opportunity to prove himself at a bunch of majors as well. He came second at the SWT Central America Regional Finals, fifth at Riptide, and third at Smash Con.
Even if you root for Maister to fail, the talented player just continues to work even harder to beat all your favorites. Kind and positive, Maister is a wholesome individual who shows no mercy in-game.
The Inven Global Smash Awards panel for Ultimate
- Eric Bartlett
- Austin Watts
- John "Oddball" Popko
- Michale Lalor
- Olivia Richman
- Tim Masters
*Note: Nobody can vote for themselves in the Inven Global Smash Awards
Who has your vote for best player in Ultimate?
Esports writer and editor with a passion for creating unique content for the gaming community.