Zackray

Sota Okada (born March 12, 2002), also known as Zackray (Japanese: ザクレイ), is a Japanese professional Super Smash Bros. player. As of the end of 2019, he was ranked the seventh best Super Smash Bros. Ultimate player in the world and the highest ranked player from Japan.[1][2] In October 2019 he won The Big House 9, becoming the first Japanese player to win a premier-tier tournament held outside of Japan.[2]

Zackray
Sota Okada
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Zackray at Frostbite 2020
Personal information
Born (2002-03-12) March 12, 2002 (age 18)
NationalityJapanese
Nickname(s)Zackray (ザクレイ)
Career information
StatusActive
Current teamGameWith
GamesSuper Smash Bros. for Wii U
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Career history
2018–presentGameWith
Career highlights and awards

CareerEdit

Early careerEdit

Zackray began competing in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U at the beginning of 2017, several years after the game's release. He also competed in a Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament in July 2018.[3]

Although he was not a well-known player in Smash Bros. for Wii U,[4] in the Panda Global Rankings 100 – a ranking of the 100 best Super Smash Bros. for Wii U players of all time – Zackray was ranked 88th.[5]

Super Smash Bros. UltimateEdit

Zackray found immediate success with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which launched in December 2018. At the beginning of December, he announced on Twitter that he had signed with esports organization GameWith.[6] He won seven minor tournaments in Japan in the months after the game's release. In February 2019 he traveled to Oakland, California for one of the first major Ultimate tournaments, GENESIS 6. Zackray was a minor at the time and it was the first time he had traveled to the United States for a tournament. After a series of strong performances throughout most of the event, he met his first defeat in the winners' semi-finals, and went on to tie for 5th place.[7][8]

His performance at GENESIS qualified him for an invitation to Smash Ultimate Summit, a 16-player invitational tournament held in March, where he once again fell in the winners' semi-finals and tied for 5th.[9][10] In April, Zackray came in second at 2GG: Prime Saga in an all-Japanese final against Shuto "Shuton" Moriya.[11] Months later it became public that Elliot "Ally" Carroza-Oyarce, another elite Ultimate player, had intentionally lost his match against Zackray at the event at the behest of a third player.[12] In addition to these results, over the first half of 2019 Zackray also tied for 33rd at Frostbite 2019 and tied for 7th at the Umebura Japan Major.[13] In the inaugural Panda Global Rankings Ultimate, Zackray was ranked 12th in the world.[13]

In August, Zackray tied for 7th at EVO 2019.[14] He was eliminated by Leonardo "MkLeo" López Pérez, who praised Zackray after the event, saying he considered him "a top-five player" and that defeating him gave MkLeo confidence that he could win the tournament.[15] A week later, he tied for 9th at Super Smash Con 2019.[2] In October, Zackray won The Big House 9, considered a "premier"[16] or "supermajor"[17] tournament, which Dot Esports called "arguably the deepest event for Smash Ultimate so far with nearly every top player in attendance".[18] In the double-elimination tournament, Zackray fell to Enrique "Maister" Hernández Solís in the winner's semi-finals, then defeated Gavin "Tweek" Dempsey, Nairoby "Nairo" Quezada, and Maister in a rematch to make it into the final, where he defeated Samuel "Dabuz" Buzby to win the tournament.[19] His victory at The Big House 9 made Zackray the first Japanese player to win a premier-tier tournament held outside of Japan,[2] and it was also Zackray's first tournament win of any tier outside of Japan.[19]

His victory at the event qualified him for an invitation to Smash Ultimate Summit 2, held at the end of the month.[18] He tied for 7th at that event.[20] Owing to these and other results, Zackray moved up to 7th in the Panda Global Rankings Ultimate when the rankings for the latter half of 2019 were released.[1] Additionally, a separate ranking of Japanese players named him the best Japanese Ultimate player for the second half of 2019.[2]

In January 2020, Zackray tied for 5th at EVO Japan 2020.[21] He tied for 7th at Frostbite 2020 the following month after being eliminated in a close match with eventual tournament winner MkLeo.[22]

Character poolEdit

In the Super Smash Bros. franchise, players control one of a large cast of characters drawn from other games. Zackray is known for the number of characters he is able to play at a high level, which Panda Global Rankings' Colton Costopoulos called "one of the deepest character pools in the entire competitive scene".[1] At GENESIS 6, he used Wolf O'Donnell.[8] Two months later, he used Wolf, Lucina, and Wario in his second place finish at 2GG: Prime Saga.[11] He also used R.O.B. and Pokémon Trainer in tournaments in the first half of 2019.[13] By the time he won The Big House 9, he had picked up Joker. He also briefly used Sonic and Corrin at the event, though did not win games with either.[18] At Smash Ultimate Summit 2 he played seven different characters, including Mr. Game & Watch and Ridley.[20] By the end of 2019, he had also added Mario to his repertoire.[1]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Costopoulos, Colton. "Fall 2019 #PGRU: 10-1". Red Bull. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e Hakuri. "スマブラSP』:2019年<下半期>国内プレイヤーランキング トップ30". Red Bull (in Japanese). Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  3. ^ Hale, Jacob (October 7, 2019). "Japanese Smash player Zackray breaks down in tears after tournament win". Dexerto.com. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  4. ^ Reyes, Dio (February 13, 2019). "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Top Players So Far". The Game Haus. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  5. ^ PGstats [@PGstats] (December 3, 2018). "Congratulations to these twenty-five Smash Wii U competitors who made it onto the #PGR100 All Time!" (Tweet). Retrieved May 2, 2020 – via Twitter.
  6. ^ Okada, Sota [@Ssb4_Zackray] (December 6, 2018). "報告です!この度株式会社GameWith(gamewith.co.jp/about )と契約をし" (Tweet) (in Japanese). Retrieved May 5, 2020 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ Lee, Alexander (February 4, 2019). "MkLeo, Hungrybox triumph at Genesis 6". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  8. ^ a b Reyes, Dio (February 6, 2019). "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Genesis 6 Recap". The Game Haus. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  9. ^ Lee, Alex (March 5, 2019). "The stage is set for the Smash Ultimate Summit". GameTyrant. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  10. ^ Lee, Alexander (March 11, 2019). "MkLeo claims Smash Summit 8 title in Smash Ultimate". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  11. ^ a b O'Neal, EmaLeigh (April 15, 2019). "Japan Conquers 2GG: Prime Saga". Hotspawn.com. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  12. ^ Michael, Cale (August 4, 2019). "Smash pro CaptainZack admits to fixing matches amid controversy". Dot Esports. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  13. ^ a b c Banusing, Justin (July 30, 2019). "Spring 2019 #PGRU: 20-11". www.redbull.com. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  14. ^ Taylor, Nicholas (August 2, 2019). "EVO 2019 results". EventHubs. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  15. ^ Michael, Cale (August 7, 2019). "MKLeo: "I just won the tournament, it just happened"". Dot Esports. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  16. ^ Hale, Jacob (October 7, 2019). "Japanese Smash player Zackray breaks down in tears after tournament win". Dexerto.com. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  17. ^ Skopp, Sam (October 7, 2019). "Zackray's Big House 9 Smash Bros. Win Completes His Hero's Journey". TheGamer. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  18. ^ a b c Michael, Cale (October 7, 2019). "Zackray finally wins his first North American Smash Ultimate Major at The Big House 9". Dot Esports. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  19. ^ a b Tate, Dylan (October 7, 2019). "Zackray wins Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Singles at The Big House 9". Daily Esports. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  20. ^ a b Taylor, Nicholas (October 24, 2019). "Smash Ultimate Summit 2 results". EventHubs. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  21. ^ Carignan, Kevin (January 28, 2020). "EVO Japan 2020 results and recap: A big upset and the Leroy apocalypse". Daily Esports. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  22. ^ Younger, Warren (February 29, 2020). "Frostbite 2020: Three Biggest Takeaways from the Event". The Game Haus. Retrieved May 6, 2020.

External linksEdit