Ultimate Insight 16 : Ryan
1) You were the winner of the 2020 QLD Arcadian. What did you think the likelihood was of you achieving this feat?

> I’ve always liked to think I have at least a small chance of winning any tournament I enter and going into the Arcadian was no different. I thought I had a much better shot than usual at winning, but my realistic expectation was 4th, with the 3 players I had predicted to outplace me being Princess, Pillowtalk and Joz. The interstate player most of the Queenslanders were considering a threat was Princess, so I ended up flying under the radar on everyone’s predictions. Knowing that Princess was in my bracket path before top 8 was really scary, especially as he was my pick to win the tournament, but I ended up winning that set 3-1 and afterwards I was fairly confident I was going to win the tournament.

2) Your Grand Finals set against Joz was phenomenal and one of the loudest crowd reactions I've heard. What did it feel like having that type of energy in the room, what went through your head when you got the historic SD to create the reset and how did it feel winning the tournament?

> I’ve always enjoyed playing in front of a crowd and although this crowd in particular was all against me save for a handful of people it was still a good time and hyped me up. I reckon it was easily the largest and loudest crowd I’ve played in front of and the atmosphere in the venue was incredible. Even though the whole crowd was rooting for my opponent, it didn’t serve as a distraction, even when the whole crowd popped off on my SD.

The moment I SDed my first thought was something like “oh I’ve fucked up. I’m an idiot” I attempted to laugh it off but the longer I sat there before the start of the reset the more tilted I became. I had never won a tournament before and throwing away my last stock in game 5 when I felt I had all the momentum was frustrating to say the least. By the time the reset had started my mental was shot. I lost all the confidence I’d been playing with throughout top 8. If you look at me in the playercam the first stock of the reset you can see my body language is awful, I’m not focused at all and I look visibly tilted when a few of my moves whiff. I was able to get the first stock in that game off a stage spike though, which restored a lot of my confidence. I’m pretty sure that if Joz techs that stage spike and gets the first stock off me in that game he wins that set 3-0.

Winning the tournament felt so good. I felt so relieved that I’d finally got a win under my belt after falling short so many times before. I’m a player who is very reliant on confidence to play well so having the confidence instilled in me from the Arcadian win helped me play much better during the remainder of Sydney’s PR season and played a big role in helping me reach my goal of PR for the first time.

3) You've got a very prominent Twitter presence that's known all throughout Australian Smash. As you've gained recognition online do you feel like people have treated you differently?

> A couple years ago when I was a mid level player and didn’t have results that interstaters would’ve paid attention to my twitter presence was a big help at letting people know who I was. Instead of just being someone who no one knew I was fairly well known just because I posted dumb memes on twitter. This made it a lot easier to just strike up a conversation with anyone. I lost count of how many times I’d start a conversation with someone at a major where they’d go “oh you’re that diddy kong guy from twitter”. I have a ton of friends interstate I probably wouldn’t have without my twitter, though there’s also a few people who do not like me due to how outspoken I can be sometimes, which I guess is a negative of having a fairly prominent social media presence in the community. I try not to let that bother me or influence how I tweet though.

4) It seems like nothing is off limits with the subjects you tweet about. Have you had particular topics that were too controversial for you to comment on? And are there some that you wish you didn't comment on?

> I definitely try to keep my twitter fairly lighthearted and tend to avoid posting about very controversial issues. Most of the time when there’s discourse or drama in the smash community I’ll post my take or make a few jokes about it because it’s usually just something silly that I can laugh at. One topic that I avoided discussion about on twitter was when the abusers in the community were being outed in July last year. Any jokes about that situation would just be harmful to victims so most of my discussion around this topic was in private discord servers rather than publicly on twitter. As I feel I stay clear of tweeting about the most controversial issues in the scene I don’t regret any of my tweets.

5) What are some of the differences you've seen between the QLD and NSW Smash scenes?

> It’s actually crazy how different the 2 scenes feel but a majority of it is just the Queensland scene actually caring about the community. For as long as I can remember Sydney players would usually show up for a bracket, wait for them and their mates to get knocked out and then leave together. Queenslanders seem to stick around for longer at events and hang out with friends and support the people still in bracket. You can see the difference between the two scenes by comparing the Sydney and Queensland Arcadians. I played in grands at both of them at around 10pm local time. At the Queensland Arcadian almost the entire scene was in the crowd cheering for Joz and once grands ended they all walked to the other end of the room and watched Curtain and FC play in redemption grands. In Sydney on the other hand I reckon there were no more than 7 people watching Trojans and I play.

Something the two states do have in common is having 3 regions a few hours from each other that host tournaments. NSW has Sydney, Newcastle and Gong while QLD has Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. Queensland’s 3 regions feel more united and more like a single scene with several players from each attending the others regularly. On the other hand, barely anyone in NSW leaves their own region and as a result it feels like NSW is made up of 3 different scenes rather than 1. A couple years ago the TOs ran a circuit to incentivise players to travel and earn circuit points with the top 32 playing in a bracket where half the entry fee from every circuit event would be put into the prize pool. Interest ended up being very low however, with only Sydney’s mid level caring about travelling for the circuit. The circuit didn’t even end up having 32 people qualify for the final bracket due to not meeting the requirement of attending a circuit event in all 3 regions.

Queensland just seems to enjoy playing the game a lot more than New South Wales does. For so many years players in NSW have been super apathetic towards the game, mainly at the top level. It’s fairly common for players to reach top level Sydney and just quit or become inactive. Just 5 of the 20 players who were on the first PR we had for Ultimate still compete regularly in Sydney. Compare that to Queensland, where 8 of the 14 people on their first PR still regularly compete (9 of 15 if you count Negima). The current players at the top in Sydney do seem to all want to improve though and don’t look like quitting any time soon so I hope we can have several national threats again sooner rather than later.


Sydney doesn't have a stream at the moment but a number of VODs are being uploaded to Scarpian's YouTube channel. If you want to follow Ryan, Fez, Olag, Shmu, TWIRLY, Emansaur and many of the other NSW players then give it a sub. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr6BbUo_7c3cf5yKd9BMYEg?app=desktop

by Mittens 03/28/2021 00:00:00

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