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First Official Super Smash Bros. North American Circuit, 'Panda Cup,' Begins June 2022

Panda has announced its inaugural Panda Cup, the first officially licensed North American circuit for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Melee.
Panda has announced its inaugural Panda Cup, the first officially licensed North American circuit for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Melee. / Image courtesy of Panda

Panda Cup, the first officially licensed North American circuit for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Melee, will begin in June 2022, Panda announced Thursday.

Following Panda initially announcing in November 2021 that it had partnered with Nintendo of America to create the first official North American Super Smash Bros. circuit for Ultimate and Melee, the Panda Cup has now been revealed in its entirety.

Panda Cup Format and Schedule

From June to November, the Panda Cup will provide four types of opportunities for players to qualify and fill up the 32 spots (per game) for its $100,000 Prize Pool, December finale in Los Angeles, California.

Panda Cup official schedule
Panda Cup official schedule / Image courtesy of Panda

The first is by way of Featured Community Stops, in which the Panda Cup will partner with community-run events to put a number of its finale spots up for grabs:

  • Community Effort Orlando (CEO) 2022, June 24-26: three qualifying players for Melee and Ultimate
  • Get On My Level (GOML) 2022, July 1-3: two qualifying players for Melee and Ultimate
  • Smash Factor 9, July 29-31: two qualifying players for Melee and Ultimate
  • Lost Tech City, Sept. 30-Oct. 2: three qualifying players for Melee and Ultimate
  • The Big House 10, Oct. 7-9: three qualifying players for Melee and Ultimate
  • Let’s Make Moves: Miami, Oct. 28-30: one qualifying player for Ultimate
  • Saving Mr. Lombardi 3, Nov. 12-13: one qualifying player for Melee
  • DreamHack Atlanta 2022, Nov. 18-20: two qualifying players for Melee and Ultimate
  • Last Chance Qualifier, Dec. 15: two qualifying players for Melee and Ultimate

Considering that three of these events (GOML, Smash Factor and Let’s Make Moves: Miami) are also Smash World Tour events, it is confirmed that the two circuits are not mutually exclusive.

The second opportunity revolves around a series of Panda Cup Online Qualifiers taking place from July to October, in which eight online Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players will qualify for the finale. There will not be online qualifiers for Melee.

For the third method, an Expert Community Panel will be consulted. Between November and December, a panel assembled from "trusted members of the Super Smash Bros. competitive community" will vote for six players to join the Ultimate finale bracket, and 14 players for the Melee finale bracket.

Lastly, on Dec. 15, the open-entry bracket Last Chance Qualifier will have two spots on the line for each title.

The very next day, the Panda Cup Finale will begin, running from Dec. 16 to Dec. 18.

Although the circuit is officially licensed, Panda did note in its announcement that Nintendo is not a sponsor, co-sponsor, or administrator of the Panda Cup.

More information on the Panda Cup can be found on Panda's website.