Congratulations on winning VSB Underdogs! Before we get started, please give an introduction to yourself; your name, the character(s) you main, and one thing interesting about you.
My tag is Haru, I play fox and my first tournament was in May of 2015. I think that one thing that players will not know about me is that I’m extremely confident in my abilities, even though I won’t always express that.
What did you think of the tournament in general? What are your thoughts on having a tournament where top players are banned?
The tournament was great as usual. The staff at VSB are extremely welcoming and polite, and the friends I brought enjoyed it very much. I’d also like to give a shout out to Long for running a very high quality stream—the replays, layout, headset option and professionalism I saw watching the videos afterwards sets a very high standard for other events. I will always show my support for VSB events and show when I can.
I think that Arcadians are a great way for players to be able to improve, and gives a lot of incentive for attending. Sometimes playing against players much above your level does little to help out, so having many matches and being surrounded by players close to you in level is a nice opportunity.
Can you walk through your tournament path, from your first match to grand finals? Among these, which match was the most memorable for you?
Before the tournament, I thought to myself that it would have been funny to sign up as “JStyleZ” because my friends and I thought it would have been funny to have someone with that tag win the tournament and have people wondering “Who’s JStyleZ?” I chose against it because I didn’t want to mess with the bracket seeding, but the funny thing is that Clinton forgot to seed me, so I regret not doing it.
My first round was against “Grey” who kind of surprised me. I won but was quite impressed. He actually went on to win amateurs too. Afterwards I played Metroxe, a shiek player but I am very confident that I would beat any shiek in BC if I play well. Next, I played Bor, a Luigi player from Chilliwack that I lost to at the last underdogs! He beat me again, and it woke me up to try and reflect on the things that I had learned over our last few sets. I knew I had some right ideas, but it was difficult to implement them in a matchup right away without any practice in it.
I then had to make a losers run, my first set being against Gomer. Honestly I am also very comfortable playing against Falco because my brother Zilo is one of the best falco players in the region. The same was for my next match with Shokugeki.I then had to play against Elfman, my friend who has made strides in his results recently so I was on guard, but I felt like he underperformed that day. I feel like all of the players I had played have a lot of potential.
My next match was against BWMatt who was the first seed of the tournament. As it was my first time being on stream for the day I was very nervous, and it really showed in my play. I wasn’t able to move well, combo well, or edgeguard well at all but fortunately he seemed nervous as well. On the last stock of the last game he had me at a high %, but he made some moves that confirmed my suspicions of him being nervous so I told myself to imagine that it was just a friendly against my brother so I could calm down. I managed to chip away at his percent until I got him off stage and secured a backair because he was recovering with a fair the entire set. I think after this set I looked up at the screen and saw a lot of my friends in the chat, which made me relax and laugh to calm myself down.
I then got a runback against Bor, and before the set my friend Vugzi was giving me a lot of encouragement which I am very thankful for. Honestly, it felt like many players had written me off in this set and I am very appreciative of someone telling me that they believed in me. He was able to give me the confidence to play smarter, and I had a very good start and executed my game plan well. I also was able to implement some things that I had learned was effective against Luigi, but Bor is much more experienced in the matchup so it was difficult. Luckily I was able to pull it off and it felt great to win against someone who gave me trouble in the past.
After I played my friend Naztoise in Losers Semis, and I was very happy to see him do well. We always have a lot of fun in our sets, and I managed to beat him. It was very nice to see his improvement and I hope he continues to grow as a player.
In Losers Finals I played against Bee Wesley. I had a feeling that he would do well at the tournament, but once again I am very confident that I would beat any shiek in the region if I played well. He did change characters in our set, but I felt like I had momentum and won quite solidly after that.
I then played against my friend Vugzi in controversial grand finals. I knew that he didn’t want to win, but I was still surprised when he actually did it. Neither of us played seriously because of this, but I still felt kind of bad for winning for free.
Tell us about your character choice; what is it about this character that you like, and what you feel your character can use more of?
I play fox as he is fast and has a lot of strong options in every scenario. I think the beautiful thing about melee is that how you can show what kind of person you are in your play. Personally, I enjoy playing an aggressive style that puts pressure on opponents and fox allows me to do that well.
As a character it seems that fox has almost everything, but in my own play I am really trying to learn to discipline myself to play more patiently at times. It’s very fun playing an aggro style but it can be a double edged sword as if you do it unwisely any good player will punish you heavily for it.
Which match up do you hate facing the most? Why?
I think that I enjoy every matchup in the game to an extent honestly. I have some days where I enjoy playing against some characters like Puff, but I will have days where I absolutely hate it. It really depends how I feel that day, as I feel like my character and playstyle lets me dictate the pace of any game.
How do you feel about the Smash scene here in Vancouver?
It’s great. I made so many good friends from this game, and we’re all able to share a bond in the game that we love. Everybody at tournaments who say hi or talk to me after a set have been so kind. I’d like to shout of some friends: Zilo, for being an amazing brother and training partner who always helps me when I’m in need and gives great advice. I think that you’re the best player in BC, and I know that you will show it one day; Sion, for being an amazing friend who’s really nice and supportive; YRex, for being a great host and friend who has to put up with our noise and memes; Will and WindGodDude, despite everything they’re true homies, and I apologize for coming off as arrogant at times, I understand that you guys really want to see me succeed and I will do my best to listen and make you guys proud; TKO for being a very smart melee player who I can expect to win the next Underdogs; and the rest of Richmond crew, there’s too many people to name but you have all been special to me.
I’m going to give you a list of words, and I want you to give me an order in what’s the most important in improving to what’s least important. Please also share why your top pick was why you chose it to be the most important.
I think this is a great question, and you will get many different answers from different people.
To me, I place it in this order: Passion, Self-Reflection, Game Knowledge, Mind Games, Patience.
Without passion, there will be no drive to win or improve. There are so many “semi-retired” players in the game that have all the skill, talent, and game knowledge in the world but no passion and they do not care for winning at all such as Santiago and KirbyKaze. Even if you know what you’re doing wrong, if you make no strides to improve on these mistakes due to a lack of passion then you will not improve.
I’m not a competitive Smash player, but I want to improve. What advice would you give to players like me?
Believe in yourself. There are so many players who come in a tournament unconfident and it will show in their play. Have trust in the hard work you have put in the game.