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Catching up with Melee pro Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson

Catching up with Melee pro Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson

Few Super Smash Bros. Melee players command the near-universal respect and affection afforded Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson. Even Mango has his haters. Axe, who brought Pikachu from low-tier joke of a character to championship contender, is a hero of the people and a dazzling player to watch. Will his hypersonic playspeed finally earn him his first major tournament win this year? We sat down, armed with community-submitted questions, to get the latest from the Melee master of Arizona’s sunblasted sands.

This interview has been lightly edited for readability.


Justin: Alright, you’ll have to prepare yourself for this first question, because it’s a real doozy. How was your day?

Axe: My day was pretty interesting! I have a new computer that was sent to me by [my sponsor] Tempo, and I’m trying to set up the stream, but I had to go to this electronics store, buy a bunch of stuff, just a lot of errands today—short answer, it was pretty good!

Man, I’m psyched that you’re going to stream! How often are you planning on doing that?

I’m going to do it as often as possible. There’s a lot of stuff to set up first—mainly i need the right capture card, because the one I got isn’t compatible with my computer—but I do want to stream as much as possible.

Are you still working, or do you play full-time?

Yeah, Melee is my full-time job. I do stream from time to time, but my setup is kind of iffy. I make money from Twitch, I make money through Tempo Storm, and through tournament winnings.

When were you able to make that transition?

It started last year. I think it was when I moved into my new place, in April. I was working at Walgreens, and it got to a point where I saw that I could probably live off just Melee. It was kind of a close call, but I decided to go ahead and move to the Phoenix area, where there’s way more Melee. I was living with my sister, and working at Walgreens—you know the Walgreens Drake story—so yeah, I moved closer to where all the Melee action was, tried to do it full time, and it worked out!  

I don’t think you’re alone in making that transition, either. Seems like this last year has been explosive for Melee.

Yeah, since a couple years ago, I’d say 2013, every year has been an explosive year for Melee!

Where do you see it going next?

I didn’t expect it to get as big as it is now, and it’s still growing, so I have no idea. I don’t have a clue. I thought Melee was going to be dead a handful of years ago, and now it’s in, like, arenas—EVO was crazy, we got that, and Genesis in crazy theaters—there’s more and more people coming.

I would guess that eventually we’re going to have a lot more events that are EVO-style, where we’re in a stadium, and there’s arranged seating, and concession stands and stuff like that—that’s crazy, and I think that’s probably going to happen a lot more, where Melee is treated more like sports are treated.

That’s a great picture you’re painting. I’m on board. Moving on to a personal question—what’s your proudest win?

Ooh, umm. It’s kind of hard. There’s three specific ones that come to mind, and it’s hard to choose one of the three. Obviously there’s when I beat SilentWolf at EVO, that was just awesome—not necessarily because I beat SilentWolf, but because of what happened on the largest stage. It was just amazing, and definitely one of the best moments of my life. Another was when I beat Mew2King the first time, that was at Zenith 2011—it was a huge stepping stone for me, and proved that I could hang with what they now call The Gods.

Other one was when I beat Hungrybox, at—oh, gosh, what tournament was that—at MLG Anaheim 2014. That was, ah, how do I explain it. Hungrybox gave the kind of impression that I wasn’t a threat to him—I remember him saying, “oh, the only people I have to worry about are Mango and Armada, and if I get past them everyone is so free!” That day, I also beat Mew2King and a whole bunch of other top players, and then I got to Hungrybox, and I FINALLY beat him for the first time. I was ecstatic, I was so excited, and because of that I proved that he needs to take me seriously, that I’m a serious threat. I got a thousand dollars, which was the most I ever won at a tournament. I was super excited, I went to DisneyLand, and everything was just great.

It’s good that you bring up the Gods, because I wanted to ask about that. Do you think it’s always going to be that way, or is the scene going to flatten even more than it has so far?

I don’t know—there’s the Gods, who can all kind of beat each other, and then there’s the players right under the Gods who can pretty much beat everybody else, and beat the Gods sometimes, but most of the time they don’t, and that’s where I fall in. The gap has gotten smaller and smaller, and I’m getting closer, but the problem is that it’s been this way for a long time, TOO long, years, and nobody’s really broken that barrier except for Leffen. It looks like Plup’s getting there, but Plup’s also been in that position for a long time, and I don’t know what the problem is, to close that gap.

What’s your best guess about how to close that gap? It’s not tech skill, right?

I don’t know what it is! I can’t even tell you, because I do think I’m faster than a lot of the Gods, but it’s not about speed. Like, if you look at Hungrybox—or PPMD, before he kinda dropped out—they have slower playstyles. They don’t play anywhere near as fast. Instead they’re very smart, and they have their own way of winning, and even if they’re not as fast they still beat everybody. I can’t even tell you what it is, but it’s not speed.

Is it psychological, you think? Is it a nerves thing, where they don’t have nerves but everybody else does?

I’m sure that they get nervous. Pretty much everybody gets nervous. But I can’t even—I can’t pinpoint it. If I knew, then I would be winning. (Laughs)

You look so close, though! When you play them, it always seems like a close set.

There is a certain aura that they have. When you play against a God, they do certain things that other players just don’t, and whether it’s faster or slower, it’s always different. They have such a deep understanding of the game.  And they understand how to get in somebody’s head, and how to condition people—a lot of conditioning going on, in Melee, to make people react certain ways to certain things that you do. That happens a lot, and they’re extremely good at it. I do feel like I’m close, and I do beat them from time to time. I don’t know what it is that separates them, but I’m going to change that.

Is adding a secondary part of that process? Do you think you would achieve better results if you were as good with another character as you are with Pikachu?

Hmm. (Pause)

Honestly—no, I don’t think so. I think my results would be the same, more or less. And that’s because, when you get to top level, it’s all about being able to hit your opponent and condition them to do what you want them to do, and you should be able to win regardless of the character you’re using. There’s not a character in Melee that’s broken enough to where you pick them and just plain win. Even Fox, who’s regarded as the best character in the game, it’s not easy to win with him.

It’s about being able to pick your opponent apart, being able to predict what they’re going to do and make them do certain things. Attack when you’re supposed to attack and defend when you’re supposed to defend. If I was a Fox main, and my Fox was as good as my Pikachu, I would probably get the same results. Not only that, but there’s a problem where—I wouldn’t say it’s a problem, probably a gift—Pikachu is just plain my best, even though I play other characters a lot—like, even more than Pikachu—I kind of just have a feel for Pikachu, and he carries me pretty far. I don’t think he’s a bad character at all, honestly.    

So why are you the only prominent Pikachu, then? It seems like it’s a completely Pikachu-less metagame, and then there’s just you.

A part of it might be difficulty, because Pikachu is a very difficult character to get the hang of. And not only that, there’s not very many examples. There’s kind of just me. The closest are PikaChad and Anther, probably. But there’s none that are, you know, top-top. I think the character himself is just difficult. As hard as he is to play, I love that. I love the style that he has, so I kinda just naturally do well with the character. But I kinda wish I knew why others don’t—why other top players aren’t playing Pikachu. I kind of think it’s just a difficulty thing.

So if played correctly, it’s a strong character, but playing it to its potential is very hard.

Oh yeah. Big time. Most characters that are played at top level have a smooth playstyle, where you do like smooth wavedashes and wavelands to move around the stage, and quick shuffles and L-cancels to move, whereas Pikachu is more of a sharp character, you have really lightning-quick movements, and you have to be extremely precise. That’s kind of the best I can describe it. In that way he’s very different, and top players don’t prefer that. I think it’s more difficult.

What makes it so much sharper? Fewer wavedashes, more dash dances and aerial movement?

Yeah, his wavedash doesn’t move him very far, compared to most other top characters. It’s more for a very precise movement backwards—Pikachu is extremely precise. His recovery, for example, it goes in straight lines and it’s extremely quick, so in order to get to the stage or grab the ledge, you have to be extremely quick and accurate. That’s like Pikachu’s whole thing. It’s kind of like—ah, how do I describe this. There are certain points that you need to get to, specific spots, instead of covering an area like other characters do.

I’m thinking like the “Firefox forward, drift back”—Mango-style—instead of that it’s more like, you’re choosing a specific spot you want to Quick Attack to.

Yeah, that’s exactly what it is!  

So to backtrack a little bit—if you don’t think a secondary would improve results, why are you adding them to your arsenal?

Oh, uh—because they’re fun! When I play friendlies, I play a lot of Falco and Marth, Captain Falcon and Ice Climbers, and really I just do it because it’s fun. Because I’ve played them so long in friendlies, they’re good enough that I can use them in tournament, so if I’m having an off day with Pikachu, or if I want to throw in a secondary to throw someone off—a lot of people get ready to face me, and they’re like okay, time to get ready for Pikachu, and they warm up for Pikachu, they look up all these Pikachu videos, and then I’m like oh, you know, MARTH. And it completely throws them off.

My secondaries are—close enough to my Pikachu to where they can perform almost as well. Mainly I play secondaries because they’re fun. I like Melee, it’s a very fun game.  

How fast do you burn through controllers?

Not that fast, actually. Well, kind of. I’ve had the controller I’m using currently for almost a year. Some controllers, I’ll use them for two months and they just die. Some controllers I’ve used for two or three years, and then they give out. On average I’d say between half a year and a year.

How much do you think the controller has to do with how players perform? Like, if a controller goes out mid-tournament and you have to switch to a new one, does that hurt a lot?

Yeah, big time. What really sucks about Melee—this is the only thing, I feel like, sucks—is the fact that controllers matter so much. You can get a fresh one, but all controllers are slightly different. Some are just better at dashing backwards than others, some are better at shield drops, some are better at pivots—some controllers are better at certain things than others. It’s rare to find a controller that does it all.

Like, my current controller does everything but pivot very well. I don’t really put pivots too much into my game, so it’s fine. But if I get another controller—it makes a difference in competitive play.

There’s a lot of talk in the community about RSI right now, with people like Hax having these awful hand issues. Is that something you worry about?

You can be very fast without having to strain your hands a lot—like, you really just need to take care of your hands. What helps a lot is the way that you hold your controller, and the way that you move your fingers around the controller, the way that you play. Myself, my hands are actually pretty relaxed when I play. You can still move them quickly without having to strain a lot.

If you watch Hax play, or Mew2King, or pretty much most of the players that have hand problems, you’ll notice that they tense up a lot, and I think if you play like that for too long you’re gonna have problems. I think I lucked out because I wasn’t thinking about that, it’s just the way that I naturally play. My fingers are pretty relaxed, they’re loose, and I’ve never had any hand problems. And most of the people who have a relaxed grip, they don’t have hand problems.

I think people don’t notice how tense they’re being, and they’re wondering why all these hand problems are coming up—but I’ve definitely noticed that the ones having hand problems are the ones who are too tense when they play.

Shine 2016, in your match against Hungrybox, before Game Two, you picked Kirby and went to stage select— were you actually going to pick Kirby?

No! (Laughs) Definitely not! Okay, I just wanted to go to the stage select screen, so I could see the stages. I just wanted to look at them. Sometimes that helps me, to just look at my options. I didn’t want to, like, pick Marth or something, and then go to stage select, because then everybody’s going to say “oh he’s going to play Marth now,” so I picked a character that I was hoping people would know I was NOT going to pick—

A-ha! And then everybody got so excited, because they were like: “AXE KIRBY!”

Yeah (Laughs) I just pick Kirby to go look at the stages, and everybody’s like AHH GO KIRBY—no I’m not going to go Kirby, I just want to look at the stages!

But you just told me a second ago that any character can work at a high level! What’s wrong with Kirby?

If you train enough with them, yes. And you know one day, I might just whip out the Kirby. (Laughs)

Let’s do a little thought experiment here, though. If you were going to try to do with Kirby what you did with Pikachu, what do you think the promising avenues would be?

Okay. Well, Kirby does not fit my playstyle at all. But he actually has some pretty good moves. His uptilt is incredible, one of the best uptilts in the game—it’s very fast and very disjointed, and it stops pretty much everything. His back-air is kind of like a Jigglypuff back-air, where it has a lot of disjoint, it reaches really far—in some ways it’s better, because it stays out longer.

And he’s floaty, like Jigglypuff?

Umm. Yes, but—the problem is that he’s so slow, so he can’t use his aerial mobility like Puff. That’s why he’s way worse. If he just had better aerial mobility, he would be so much better, because his moves honestly aren’t—a lot of them aren’t that bad. Some of them are bad, I don’t know why they’re like that. He has all the tools he needs to win, besides the aerial mobility. That’s what kills him.

Yeah. Yeah, makes sense to me. Kinda makes me sad, though, because I do like Kirby.

Yeah, me too. Not only that, but he has Kirbycides. And that’s something no other character, except for maybe Bowser can do.

Right, because he can suck you up as he’s falling by—

Which, if he had more mobility, that would be insane. If you get to 100-plus percent, you just Kirbycide them, even if they’re at zero! It gives you a free stock. So it could be pretty crazy.  

That is kind of the crazy thing about Melee too, right? There’s no regulation of the metagame, you can do whatever bullshit you want—wobbling, insta-kill moves like Rest—but the game is balanced—how did that happen? Every other competitive game has all these patches. Was it an accident, or is Melee just so hard that the imbalances don’t matter?

Not even the creators know what happened. I’m sure they didn’t expect it to be like this. Melee’s just a beautiful accident. It’s just balanced really well—on accident. If you look at the top eight characters, there’s not a super-strong strength that just completely outclasses the other characters. It’s pretty good, and it was kind of on accident, I feel like.

How do you feel about Sakurai’s design philosophy in the later games? Would you be happy to be playing Smash 4 if it were just a little bit more competitive?  

It’s hard to say that I would play anything other than Melee.  All I want him to make is Melee with more stages and more characters. It makes me really sad that he went away from the competitive scene. He did make Smash 4 a bit more competitive, which is great, as opposed to Brawl, which he intentionally made a lot more casual—I don’t know, it’s kind of weird! He made Melee very competitive, and very balanced, and extremely advanced, all on accident. And then he’s like, dang it, I don’t want people to be playing this game like this!

He messed up, big time, this is the biggest mistake of his life, and it’s amazing.

If you could design your own Melee character or add a character, what would you do?  

I’ve always wanted Geno from Super Mario RPG to be in Smash. I think he’d be a perfect character. He would have some projectiles, he would be a bit like Young Link, on the small side, with mobility—and I think a lot of his attacks could just be awesome. I don’t necessarily know what I’d give him, besides for sure that he’d be on the projectile side, but—Melee is so fun to play with projectiles, that’s why I love Young Link. I wish there was a better version of Young Link, who could hang with the top tiers, and use projectiles to do combos, and combo continuers and strings and stuff like that, because it’s so fun. If you look at top level play, you see projectiles here and there, but you don’t see comboing with them very often.  

What about Samus?

Oh, Samus is great, but she doesn’t really combo with her projectiles, she kind of just throws them out. Her projectiles are kill moves, and damage—she can shoot a lot of missiles and use charge shot to finish them off. But if you look at Young Link, those players use their projectiles to start and continue combos, and I think that style is just so cool.  

Let’s talk about Smash 4. Not trying to solicit any controversial opinions here, but would love to get your thoughts.

I thought Brawl was terrible as a competitive game, to be honest, even though I liked it as a casual game. Smash 4 is much better as a competitive game than Brawl was, like a thousand percent. I tried it out for a while, and it’s just not for me, competitively.

I get this feeling where I can’t do what I want to do, and—I get way too frustrated playing, because I can’t move how I want to. I really like Melee for its mobility, how you can move around stages, and also the crazy combos—and Smash 4, you’re a bit more limited with how you can move. I do respect it as a competitive game, it’s got a lot of great stuff. I think it’s good, although, not as good as Melee, in my opinion.

What about Project M? We talked about Smash 4, but what do you think about PM?  

Yeah. I think PM is SO good, and also like, messes up in ways that make me not go to it. It’s basically like Melee, except it’s missing the smoothness that Melee has. It feels a little clunky at times. How do I describe it? PM is basically an easier version of Melee that doesn’t feel quite as good. It doesn’t feel quite as good to move around the stage, or to do the combos. Some things just feel very—not as rewarding and hard-hitting as Melee is. Melee has these powerful sounds when you hit people, and certain animations that happen whenever you move certain ways that just feel right, like super good, and PM almost does it, but not quite, it’s just missing certain things. But the idea, and what they almost did, is spectacular to me.

Mango’s said that if someone’s not one of the best in the first few years, they never will be. Clearly you disagree; who else is going to be breaking that bubble with you, and why is Mango wrong?

Yeah, I do not agree with Mango, but I understand where he’s coming from, because nobody’s ever done it. I think he’s just going off of what’s already been done, and it’s true that a lot of the players who have been playing for a really long time have not gotten there. And I think a lot of them have given up, or at least gave up at some point. You see players who have been in the scene for a long time, and are kind of at the top—Chudat, Hugs, Chillin—those are still top players, right, although they’re not Gods or Demigods—but I feel like they could have been, if they put in the time and the work, because there’s periods of time where they quit, and they’re gone for a long time, not playing any more. Even myself, I did stop for a little while. And I think it’s all about: work hard, keep at it. And I can definitely see how it’s possible for me, and a lot of other players, like SFAT, for example, who has been around for a long time, and has been my level for a long time, but now it feels like he’s finally getting into that upper echelon. He got second place at Shine, which is just insane. He beat Mango and Hungrybox, and he has beaten Mew2King before. So he’s kind of my evidence that it’s possible. And I know I can do the same thing, if I change a couple things and lab and work hard at it.

What’s your daily routine look like?

Well, lately it’s been pretty sporadic. I spent the last two weeks out of town—just got back to Phoenix a couple days ago. I went to Shine, and then I went to Georgia to visit family—Oh, yeah, I was in Atlanta. I went to DragonCon.

How was that? Did you dress up?  

I … just went as Axe. I dressed up the way I would at a tournament. And I had a handful of people recognize me each day, which was cool.

Are you aware that there’s a Dota 2 character named “Axe?”

No. I did not know that. But that’s sick.

He’s a very aggressive hero, so if you ever play Dota 2—

Sweet, I definitely have to try that out. (Laughs) You know Rivals of Aether? It’s a game that’s inspired by Smash, a 2D game you can get off of Steam. The creator of the game said that if I win a big tournament, he’s going to make a character called Axe and base it off of me.

To answer your question—on an average day—I live with my girlfriend, Kelly, who is awesome. She works at Whole Foods, so I kind of hang out with her at the start of the day and then when she goes to work I like to stream sometimes, or straight-up practice Melee. My day is very Melee-filled. If I have someone to play with—we have a roommate, his name’s Tim, but he goes by Vectorman, he’s the best Yoshi main in America—so I practice with him a lot, but if he’s gone or whatever, then sometimes I just play for an hour. If I have other people to play with I’ll play for like eight hours. I do like to play other games too. I’ve been getting into Hearthstone—sadly—that game is so frustrating.

Sounds like you play mostly face to face. Any other practice partners, or do you do any netplay?  

I normally practice with Medz, too—he’s ranked second in Arizona—but he recently moved out of the Phoenix area, so now, not really. (Laughs) I just play with Vectorman—sometimes I go out, and play with random people, like there’s—oh, there’s a bunch of aliases here that I know you wouldn’t know, they’re local players that I happen to live nearby. The AZ guys. But for people I actually just straight up train with—it would normally be Medz and Vectorman, but you know, Medz moved. I play with my girlfriend sometimes, too. She’s pretty good.  

Do you feel like it’s a handicap not having a larger set of people to play with? Like, with certain matchups—if you don’t have a good Jigglypuff, how are you supposed to prepare for Hungrybox?  

That’s the problem! It’s difficult. You have to do a lot of thinking and a lot of studying, as opposed to actually playing the matchup. So it becomes a mental thing. And it’s definitely possible to straight-up win that way. If you know PPMD’s story—he’s kind of similar to me, where he doesn’t have a ton of top players to play with. And he wins off of studying people and thinking about it and labbing by himself in training mode and stuff, and he became one of the Five Gods. So I feel like it’s more difficult but doable, which is basically how I’ve come so far. I don’t really train with a ton of top players, I just think a lot, watch a ton of videos, and that’s how I’ve gotten better.

I watch these Mango streams, and you have Westballz, Lucky, S2J, Alex19—obviously you’ve gotten this to work, but do you kind of wish you had a community like that?  

(Laughs) SoCal has it nice. Probably all of California. They have a ton of top players there who play each other, and they all get better, and it’s so hard to compete with them, and I feel like I need to practice so much more. But to be honest I like the challenge. And I wouldn’t feel as proud of myself for getting so far if I did have it good like that. I’m very content with how I’ve trained all these years. I do think it would definitely help, though.

Ok, so, that’s basically all my questions. I could ask you some little ones—maybe kind of a “Lightning Round—”

Yeah, sure!

I did that in the Mr. Lz interview, so maybe that’ll become kind of a The Meta AMA staple. (Laughs) So here’s the Lightning Round. What is your favorite class in Hearthstone?  

I love Priest, even though he’s terrible.  

What is Pikachu’s worst matchup?  

At lower levels—Sheik, undoubtedly. But at top level, in my opinion: Peach. 

Sheik’s grab is so hard to get around at low level, because you can’t move as accurately and sharply, so you get grabbed, you get chain-grabbed, and you die. At top level you learn more how to avoid grabs with more accurate movement.

Peach plain has better hitboxes and moves than you, and she ends up just trading moves with you. Pikachu does not do a lot of damage, so you trade with her the whole time and slowly lose, at top level. Because it’s hard to hit them with Up Smash, and unless you hit them with Up Smash you’re not going to win, and top level Peaches know how to avoid  Up Smash, so you end up trading the whole time, and slowly losing, and it’s terrible. (Laughs) Lower level Peaches are more prone to getting hit by Up Smash, so it’s a little easier than Sheik.  

That sounds actually just god-awful. What are other super miserable matchups like that?

Well, Peach has it kind of bad vs Puff, where she kind of loses too. She’s so good at trading, but Puff has that one move, the back air, that kind of outspaces all of the stuff that Peach normally trades with, and it makes it very tough for her. So there’s that, where she slowly loses the Puff matchup.

Okay, but you didn’t list Puff as one of Pikachu’s bad matchups, so does Pikachu do something better against Puff, or how’s that matchup?  

Oh, it’s also terrible. (Laughs) I feel like Peach is the worst, and Puff is almost the worst, but not quite. But at the end of the day, it’s about—I can find when my opponent’s going to attack, and I can find how to condition him and hit him. And that’s how I can win, just by getting in people’s heads. But if you’re just looking at the characters—oh, it sucks.  

So it sure is unfortunate that those two characters happen to be the characters played by the two most consistent Gods—

(Laughs) Yes! Oh, man. It’s very hard, but I love challenges, and I think it’s doable. Honestly. It’s just very hard.

What is your favorite song or artist?

Oh, that’s hard. I’m not that expanded into music. I kinda just find certain songs, and I’m just like—this sounds good, that’s pretty cool. There’s a recent artist I like a lot, he goes by Savant. I’m a big fan of electronic music. 

If you’re not into music, what about movies, TV shows, books—what’s your media of choice?  

(Tentatively) I like anime a lot.  

What are your favorite shows?  

Hard to say, but I guess I’ll say Death Note. That’s what introduced me to the more extended anime world. Love Death Note. I gotta say Dragonball Z, because it molded my entire childhood. (Laughs) And I love Attack on Titan. So I’ll just say those three.

That’s great, because I’ve heard of all three of those. Helps me out a lot, because I don’t have to figure out how to spell them. So I really appreciate that. Thanks, dude.  

Oh, that’s good. There’s also Kuroko no Basuke, though.

Oh, no, dude! No! (Laughs)

That anime is so much like Melee, it’s ridiculous.

For real? So is that, like, K-o-r, k-o-r-o?  

It’s a basketball anime. Oh, man, it’s so Melee-like. They have the five Gods of basketball. You have the one who never misses a shot, always gets it in the basket, even from across the court. He’s frame perfect, so we call him Mew2King. There’s a guy who wins by styling on his opponent, like doing cross-ups and shots behind the backboard and stuff, so he’s Mango. We have the guy who can just copy people perfectly—we say he’s PPMD. We have all these names for characters who are so much like Melee players—it kind of blows my mind, it’s fantastic.

There’s the guy with the perfect defense—he’s Hungrybox.

So who are you, in this anime?  

So there’s this class of players who are right under the Gods, who would be Gods if they weren’t there, and there’s a guy with lightning-style dribbles—

Oh my God—  

There’s even a guy who challenges the Gods who’s just a straight-up asshole, and he’s straight-up Leffen.  

Yo, so more thoughts on Leffen, by the way. One of these questions is just “expand on Leffen comments.”

(Laughs) Leffen historically has been very rude to a lot of players and personally attacked them, and taken it way too far, and really messed with people. I think it’s just plain wrong, and I wish he could—granted, I think he’s gotten a lot better over the years. He’s still pretty rude. That’s just what I think of him as a person. Although I think he’s a fantastic player; he’s in the top echelon. But as a person I think he’s straight-up rude.

I kinda wonder about the age of people in this scene—like, Leffen’s peak assholery was probably when he was 17, 18? Anyway, but sorry, not to go on a huge Leffen-related tangent here—  

—oh, no worries, I’m up for talking about anything. I’m pretty open.  

In that case, what about politics, man? Gimme some politics thoughts!

(Laughs) I haven’t gotten deep into politics, and to be honest I don’t care. Whenever someone talks about politics, I’m just like—what? And then I start thinking about Melee.  

Are you gonna vote?  

I don’t know! I’ve never voted before. I might for the first time, but I don’t know who I’d vote for.  

How about Pokémon? Are you a Pokémon fan, or just a Pikachu fan?

Yeah I love Pokémon! I actually don’t love Pikachu as much as people think. I think he’s cool. There’s other Pokémon I like better, but I do like Pokémon.  

I mean, you put him on your hat, dude, that’s kind of—you don’t have a Charmander hat.

Oh, I have to, man! That’s my character in Melee! I don’t have a choice!

Favorite Gen One starter? All-time favorite starter? Which game is your favorite?  

Charmander, Charmander, and I actually love X and Y. They’re fantastic. I was a big fan of Diamond/Pearl/Platinum—that’s where I kind of started playing more competitively—but I’ve gotta give it to X and Y, those games were just fantastic.  

Okay, I had another really great question, but I can’t remember it. It was going to be the last question.  

(Laughs) Well if you think of it, you can send me a message or something.

Alright, that’s what we’ll do. Thanks so much for taking the time! I really appreciate it!

No problem! Thanks for the interview!


Thanks to /r/smashbros users Kevinar, ExtremeMagneticPower, Legit-Yite, phil8392, Smoking_Hot_BBQ, BanjoStory, Muxedo20XX, LuccaJolyne, LudwigAhgren, TheFriendlyFire, duckhunttoptier, Krispy_Chicken, junkmail22, Sludge53, and others for submitting the questions that formed the basis of the interview above.

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