Leo, a consolidated Byleth main much to the dismay of Joker fans everywhere, hasn't skipped a beat since offlines returned earlier this year, making it to grands of every single one, with Mainstage, undoubtedly the most-stacked in 2021, being no different.
The major held in California not only played host to some of North America's finest but was the first open-bracket event to feature top players from abroad -- French Wario main William "Glutonny" Belaïd and Japanese Pac-Man specialist Takuma "Tea" Hirooka.
Rising above the rest, perhaps the two most consistent players in the world earned their spot in the grand finals. MkLeo did so from winners, earning wins against Matt "Elegant" Fitzpatrick, Tea, Luis "Lui$" Oceguera, and Brian "Cosmos" Kalu.
For Sparg0, an early defeat against fellow Mexican Santiago "Chag" Pérez in Top 64 served as a catalyst for the young 15-year-old prodigy, who then proceeded to knock out Eric "ESAM" Lew, Kolawole "Kola" Aideyan, Paris "Light" Ramirez, Tea, Elegant, and even getting his runback against Chag in Top 8.
Sparg0, who placed no lower than third at every offline in 2021 he's attended, has been on the cusp of earning his first major win, falling short on both Smash Con: Fall Fest and Port Priority 6, failing to win a set during each of those grand finals.
Being warmed up coming into his match with Leo and playing at his peak, the former solo Cloud main managed to take the first set against a sluggish looking Byleth from the T1 rep, with the Fire Emblem character getting outpaced by Aegis' combination of speed and great neutral tools.
Taking a set against Leo is a great feat, but coming from losers, Sparg0 had to do it twice, which looks certainly impossible due to Leo's incredible adaptability, a staple of his dominance of the scene for the past four years -- and yet, it seemed Sparg0 was sitting on the brink of history.
Every interaction was a back and forth, a showcase of patience and optimal punishes, not giving a single opening for the opponent to capitalise breaking away with a lead at any moment.
Then, it happened. Game 5, MkLeo against the ropes, 91% on his last stock, Sparg0 comfortably working with two looking to close it out. A nice fair levelled the playing field in terms of stocks and like a shark smelling blood following a failed down-air spike that shook Sparg0, Leo simply did what he does best.
It seems that the inevitable win for Sparg0 might be coming sooner than later, but for now, the king of Ultimate remains on top.
If you have time to spare, we highly recommend you relax, grab a snack, and watch one, if not, the most exciting grand finals in the history of Ultimate down below.
Mainstage 2021 Top 8 results
Mainstage 2021 had six spots open for the upcoming Ultimate Summit 4 in March, here are the final results:
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Featured image courtesy of BeyondTheSummit.