SXC2k15 Interviews with top 3 Project M
Maribro: First of all, I'd like to congratulate you on your win in Project M at SXC 2015. It must feel good to win a national, what was going through your head after you sealed that last win?
Jamwa: By the end of the day I was mentally exhausted and didn’t really process the win at all. I heard Atticus and Billy and others congratulating me and that made me smile, but I really can\t remember much after the win other than that. I was also really appreciative of Muscat’s sportsmanship during all of our sets and remembered how he had wanted me to enter. He was really chill about everything and it made me feel comfortable because I was worried my negative mood was affecting him.
M: Yeah I remember from chatting to Muscat earlier it was very late by the end of the tournament and everyone was overheating, did it affect you too much?
J: It takes energy for me to ignore the heat; its very uncomfortable being in a venue like that for so long. Trying to focus on smash at the same time as ignoring the heat divides my attention more and more as I tire. I'm lucky that I was able to consciously force myself to think during my sets with Muscat and also be too tired to actually fixate on the frustration that normally arises when my tech skill isn't on point.
M: How nervous were you after the bracket was reset?
J: not nervous at all, I was expecting the reset.
M: Why was that?
J: In the first set my aim was to get comfortable since muscat had just played a set and was probably warmed up. Also condition him and learn his habits by playing slower characters like Ivy/Olimar. When he picked Zelda I chose Squirtle mostly just for MU practice but my Squirtle wasn't good enough to make it worth anything. When I was playing Olimar though, I tried to see how much I could slow the game down. My strategy was to avoid interaction and just try to be annoying so that when the reset came around, I’d switch to ness and be ready for the impatience and fatigue from playing such slow games. I mean, I don’t know if any of that was impressed unto Muscat, but that was my aim. The difference of how fast Ness and Olimar can pressure horizontal space and shields was also taken into consideration. I wanted to use a character as different as possible when compared to ness that I was also proficient with so Olimar made sense to me.
M: Sounds like you had a real tough strategy in mind going into the grand final. Is this something you employ often?
J: I haven’t been in many GFs before this tournament and I usually haven’t considered this nature of metagame. My focus is usually around improving my characters; like when I picked Squirtle against Zelda, just because I feel that MU makes you learn how to use Squirtle's strengths and avoid his weaknesses intuitively.
M: It's great that you're constantly trying to learn more and more about the game even in a grand final set with everything to play for! How helpful do you think this mindset is?
J: It’s definitely geared towards long-term improvement and it’s obvious to me that becoming the best isn't the greatest challenge, but remaining the best is. Not that I want to be the best relative to other people, I just aim to have the highest quality matches I can and I feel that if I employ such strategies like long-term conditioning, it'd be so much fun if people started recognizing that sort of metagame and I had to come up with new strategies. Of course, that’s just one GF set, and I'm nowhere near optimisation in terms of character control, mindset, recognising adaptations, conditioning, and recognising rate of adaptation and all that. That’s why I feel the need to be experimental, so that I can reach the metagame as optimally as possible.
M: Do you think it's important to main a lot of characters then so you can employ these kinds of long term conditioning strategies?
J: In project m, the high variance of matchups kind of forces that I feel but I feel that having more than one character does facilitate conditioning even though it can be achieved with just one character. That's just what works best for me though.
M: How has your year been in terms of smash?
J: Uh kind of slow. I haven’t entered as many tournaments as I'd have liked to, but I've made up for that by just getting to know the community and my friends better. Our scene is growing so fast and so is the average skill level and it's quite motivating.
M: Anything next year that you're excited for?
J: Yeah I'm really keen to pick up Pikachu in melee actually. I've realised that I can’t just be relevant as a solo Ness main, and I've got Doc and Pika in the works now. I hope to really force everyone in our Melee scene to pick up the pace because I definitely am going to. I mean, a lot of people are currently grinding it out and improving a lot but I really, really wanna force that even more so that our scene grows into something great.
M: I think we can probably wrap things up there, thanks so much for your time, Jamwa! Any final words?
J: No worries, cheers for the interview, always happy to talk about smash. Last words? Thanks to Kai for GIMRing me because I didn’t want to be on stream after all.
Maribro: First of all, congratulations on 2nd place in Project M. It must feel good to place so well in a major, tell me a little bit about that.
Muscat: Thank you. I'm a bit disappointed I didn't place 1st, still I'm quite happy to have gotten 2nd in a tournament with a decent amount of quality pm players, as well as some lesser known players who really stepped up and showed that they are tournament threats.
Maribro: Well you had a strong run through winners so you shouldn't be too disheartened. Obviously there was also a bracket reset. What was going through your head at that point?
Muscat: To be honest at that point it was around 11:45pm, I had been at the event for around 13 hours the temperature of the room was also far too hot. Because of that there was very little going through my head. All of Grand Finals just felt like one big blur of events. I actually remember having to ask Kai at some point during set 2 what the set count was at that point. Mind you I think the heat affected Jamwa even more. He seemed quite out of it even before Grand Finals
Maribro: Wow that's amazing. Conditions in Australia can be pretty rough. Can you think of any other time that it's affected you like that?
Muscat: Not to that extent, no. There's been events before like StreetGeek X where I've had to play Grand Finals around similar times and lets face it one has to be able to deal with heat in Australia during the summer, even though the event organisers really should have taken better steps to keep the venue cooler.
Maribro: Yeah I don't think people from other climates would appreciate just how harsh it can be over here. Just to change it up a little bit, how has your year been in terms of smash?
Muscat: It’s quite hard to tell. From the Melee side of things I've placed consistently well throughout the whole year culminating in 2nd spot on the SA PR, but there's still a massive gap between myself and the #1 player, SA Nick. Plus everyone from 2nd to 6th on the PR is very close in terms of skill level so it feels like if I don't make concerted, continuous efforts to improve, I'll get overtaken very quickly, which honestly is definitely a good thing. From the PM side of things I know I’m the best player in SA currently, but it’s hard to tell how much that actually means considering how very small the PM scene is here. It’s why I very much value these chances to play interstate players.
Maribro: Nothing like hard work being rewarded, congratulations on your successes in both games over the year! Finally, have you got any goals for next year?
Muscat: I guess the two big Smash goals would be to get 1st at a PM major and to overtake Nick to become SA's #1 Melee player. I've still got quite a long way to go before I get to that though, especially the latter.
Maribro: Okay well I think we will wrap things up there. Congratulations again on your great placement and thanks so much for your time!
Muscat: No problem, it was fun.
Maribro: Well congratulations Atticus on placing 3rd in Project M. Must have felt good to do so well, how was it from your end?
Atticus: Not terribly satisfying to be honest, although it was a nice consolation prize to win the runback on Redact after playing like a total buster in our Melee set.
M: Ah yes, so Melee was a bit of a disappointment for you then?
A: I didn't really expect myself to place any higher having not really practiced lately, but I felt like I played particularly poorly in that particular set. I went and had an ice cream pity party for myself before doubles.
M: Ice cream is a great pick me up in my opinion. Obviously if you weren't too happy with your performance this time, you must have some idea with what to improve for next time?
A: Falcos around my level basically have my number recently, so I need to do a pretty thorough review of how I approach the matchup. My tech is also really sloppy as it's bound to become when you fall out of practice, so I just need to find more time to play leading up to tournaments if I can.
M: What do you think it was for you that clicked in PM that didn't in Melee?
A: I was physically feeling better as the venue had cooled down a bit after feeling like an oven all day, and I was feeling pretty confident after having won doubles in both games.
M: Surprising you said that because Muscat and Jamwa both talked about how exhausted they were playing in that grand finals set. Funny how the conditions affect everyone differently. Congrats on winning doubles btw! How developed do you think the doubles Meta is in this country?
A: Thanks. The doubles Meta is honestly super underdeveloped. There are pretty few regular teams and I think a lot of players don't take it more seriously than a warm-up for singles, which is a shame because it's a great form of play in its own right. Splice and I have basically had Melee doubles on lock for a while now, and as nice as it is to take everyone's money on a regular basis, I'm calling out other top Australians to step it up and give us a challenge :). Project M doubles was a real bracket reset nail biter though - was very satisfying to clutch that win with Redact. It's not an event that even gets run very often in Australia but it's fun when it does.
M: Thanks for the callout, hopefully it works and a few more Australian teams step up! Yeah it's a shame, it seems PM is in a bit of a decline nationally at the moment. Do you see anyway for us to revitalise the scene a bit
A: PM here, as far as I can tell, is basically this small handful of core players who are really dedicated to the game and most of the rest are Melee players who just enjoy having another tournament to enter they can do relatively well in without any extra effort. I unfortunately might be the wrong person to ask since I basically fall into the latter category, but for the PM scene to be revitalized I think those core players need to somehow demonstrate that the game has unique merit to Melee players and shake off the common perception that the differences in the game are mostly just jank.
M: Thanks for your time and congrats!
A: No problem, cheers
by Maribro 12/01/2015 00:00:00