OAKLAND, California -- A dynasty was formed on Sunday. Leonardo "MKLeo" Perez became only the second person and the youngest ever to win three consecutive Genesis Super Smash Bros. titles by winning Ultimate last weekend.
Much like the only other player to hold that title in his respective game, Super Smash Bros. Melee legend Adam "Armada" Lindgren, MKLeo leads the top of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's elite. In the now-prolonged absence of Gonzalo "ZeRo" Barrios, the 18-year-old from Mexico topped more than 2,100 entrants and became the first champion of an Ultimate super-major.
Prior to his Genesis 4 win three years ago in San Jose, California, MKLeo had competed in only five tournaments in the United States. One month before that, in December 2016, he bested ZeRo in Las Vegas. Then came Genesis.
"I was not a good player then, to be honest," MKLeo said. "I wasn't expecting to win my first Genesis. I remember ZeRo saying he was going to beat me, and he also translated for me because I didn't know English. Now, I feel like Genesis is for me."
A lot has changed since. Then, MKLeo was 16 and timid, and he battled his nerves as he competed.
"When I was younger, I used to watch [Saleem "Salem" Akiel Young] and [Jason "Mew2King" Zimmerman], and I thought, 'Someday I'll be there,'" MKLeo said. "I say that because, you know, kids have dreams. I'm probably the best player right now. My dream came true."
After losing an early set to rising star Ezra "Samsora" Morris in the event's top eight on Sunday, MKLeo kept his composure as he fought through the losers bracket. That included close matches with Paris "Light" Ramirez and Samuel "Dabuz" Buzby, who sat just one rank below MKLeo in the all-time Super Smash Bros. for Wii U rankings in December.
"I beat Samsora at Smash Conference, so I felt confident," MKLeo said. "I made some mistakes, and I lost. It's not the same game. I beat Samsora a lot in Smash for Wii U. My biggest fear was not being that good. It's a different game. I didn't know if I was going to win Genesis. I know everyone was trying to win this tournament, and everyone did their best."
The final match, a faceoff with James "VoiD" Makekau-Tyson, who many predicted would be a contender for the Ultimate title, proved to be a difficult late-night gauntlet. After scheduling delays, the event went past 12 a.m. local time. With some players backstage tired and others anxious, MKLeo kept himself composed.
"If I win next year, it'll be Genesis and MKLeo. MKGenesis," he said with a laugh.