By: Zachary Lange

At one point on Sunday night, Erza “Samsora” Morris felt he was going to claim gold at Genesis 6.

The Paramount Theatre in Oakland, Calif. was abuzz as Samsora managed to move to the finals of the winners bracket, defeating a heavy contender in MKLeo of Echo Fox. Of the 2,105 entrants into the Super Smash Bros: Ultimate singles tournament, only three remained.

The Peach main lost a contested, winners finals matchup to VoiD of Counter Logic Gaming (3-1) in a best-of-five series. It was the first defeat that Samsora had experienced in the singles bracket all weekend.

From there, his momentum was halted. In a rematch, it was MKLeo who had the last laugh in the final round of the losers bracket, sending Samsora home with a bronze medal instead.

Still, the 20-year-old rising star in the scene had a lot of lessons to take away.

“I’ve never been in that type of environment,” Samsora said. “With me placing top-3 at a humongous tournament like Genesis, it gave me a lot of confidence that I can compete at the top level consistently.”

Genesis 6 is a crown jewel to competitors in Smash. And with the release of Smash: Ultimate just a couple months ago, the hype around a community that has been around for over two decades has now transcended to international mainstream popularity. Nearly 150,000 people watched the trophy presentation on the English broadcast, which took place at 3 a.m. Monday morning Eastern time.

In a more relaxed setting, Samsora’s finish at Genesis 6 automatically qualified him into the Smash Ultimate Summit held on March 8-10 in Los Angeles. The invitational will feature roughly 16 of the top competitors in the Smash community competing in various formats in front of an audience that will get to participate in daily meet and greets.

It is a short hangover period before another major approaches. Frostbite 2019, which is held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Detroit, has over 1,200 entrants in the singles event scheduled for Feb. 23-24. Samsora expects to place at least in the top-5, an improvement from his ninth place finish a year ago.

“Ultimately I want to win,” said Samsora, who will also be participating in the doubles bracket with MuteAce. “So I’ve been training really hard.”