KillaOR and a few other Smash Melee pros were in the MLG Offices recently to play Smash Brawl. He took a few minutes of his day to sit down and discuss the new game with us.
MLG: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
KillaOR: My name is Chris, KillaOR, I’ve been been playing Smash Brothers professionally for about three years now with MLG. Right now I like Marth.
MLG: How are you feeling about Smash Brawl from a competitive standpoint?
KillaOR: Right now I can see Brawl becoming pretty competitive. It’s really different from Melee, it’s just a different game and everyone needs to get used to it. There are a lot of people right now that are kind of “iffy” about the game, but the game is fine, they just need to learn different strategies from Melee.
MLG: Do you think it will have as much depth as Melee?
KillaOR: Right now it seems pretty shallow… it just seems like more of a strategy/chess kind of game where you anticipate what your opponent’s going to do versus a “techy” game like melee; melee was very tech heavy and this is very “thinking” heavy.
MLG: Who are your favorite characters so far?
KillaOR: Marth right now is my favorite character because he’s almost identical to Melee. Because I’m so used to Melee I’d rather just play with someone I’m used to instead of getting my behind kicked, because I don’t like losing. If I was to pick another character it would probably be Pit or probably Ike because they have a lot of power and their moves aren’t easily countered. PC Chris has been messing around with Toon Link – he has a lot of recovery moves and has a lot of combos – but right now Marth is just exactly where it’s at for me.
MLG: Are there any characters that you anticipate being effective at a competitive level that may come as a surprise to some people?
KillaOR: Most of the new characters, I’d say, are the good characters. All the veteran characters play almost identically to Melee but some of them have been nerfed to the point where they’re almost unplayable. Ganondorf, Cpt Falcon, [for example], they didn’t seem to put much time in to them. But new characters, Toon Link, Ike, Dedede is another big one that everyone’s been talking about; you’re going to hear a lot about Dedede; Snake – all the new characters.
MLG: What controller will you be using? The rest of the pros?
KillaOR: I see a lot of people starting out with the Game Cube controller because everyone is still stuck on Melee. After playing it for seven years or so you’re kind of muscle-memoried into using it. I can see everyone evolving into the classic controller.
MLG: What are some key differences you see between Smash Brawl and Smash Melee?
KillaOR: The main things are L-canceling and wave-dashing, but those two are “tech-game” technique that you don’t really need at all, especially because in this game there are a lot of moves that don’t lag. So if you pick your moves correctly you won’t have to L-cancel; it will almost be like you’re L-canceling.
MLG: Let’s get down to specifics. I’ll bring up an idea or technique and you comment on how it has evolved in Smash Brawl. Edge Guarding
KillaOR: The edge guarding seems a lot more in depth than in Melee because this game feels a lot more floaty. Everyone spends much more time in the air and is allowed to spend much more time in the air without being scared of dying. So there’s going to be a lot of mid-air, Dragonball Z-type fights going on.
MLG: (laughter) Juggling/Combos?
KillaOR: The juggling and combos in Brawl are nothing like Melee at all. Melee’s were zero to death. In this game it’s more of an “I’m gonna watch what you’re going to do and I’m going to counter it with this.” So it’s more of a parry-and-counter kind of game versus an I’m-going-all-guns-out and blowing you up.
KillaOR: It’s identical to Melee as far as killing someone. It’s basically like I said, you have to watch your opponent’s patterns and hit them with a strong move.
MLG: Stage selection?
KillaOR: Stage selection is going to be very big, especially for characters such as Dedede who can carry you across the map and kill you with his infinite chain throw. It’s frustrating. Stage selection is always going to be important, especially in this kind of game where it’s designed around stages and certain characters have advantages on certain stages. [For example] Marth has an advantage on platform stages because his sword goes through platforms.
MLG: Are there enough competitive stages at this point?
KillaOR: Not nearly enough. It looks like the people who created the game were too focused on having fun – obviously that is the point, the game is meant to be fun – but from a competitive standpoint there are really like only five stages that are 100% solid, no hazard and you can just enjoy your match.
MLG: This brings up stage building. Do you think that will have an impact on the competitive aspect of the game?
KillaOR: Depending on what they set, but from everything I’ve been hearing the stage builder is really shallow. I mean, we already have maps like Final Destination and Smallville that are really basic. You don’t need anything more basic than that.
MLG: Directional Influence (DI)?
KillaOR: Oh man, directional influence is so much better in this game. DI is when, let’s say, you are at 120% and Marth hits you with a forward smash non-tipper to the right. If you hold the same direction in which you are being hit (to the right), you would fly out to the right of the map extremely quickly. If you held to the left – going against the swords blow – you’ll actually go up slightly and push against the power of his attack and live a little longer.
So, DI’ing in this game is way, way, way easier because the game is slower and it’s easier to predict where someone is going to hit you.
MLG: Is that a good or bad thing?
KillaOR: I think it kind of takes away from the “twitchy teching,” like it was in Melee because in Melee DI’ing required more skill. In Brawl you’re expected to DI while in Melee you weren’t expected to.
MLG: Mind games?
KillaOR: I mean mind games are in everything, mind games are in Halo, any competitive anything. It’s going to be the same thing.
MLG: The “sweet spot” (on the edges).
KillaOR: Ohhh man. It’s kind of broken. Characters such as Marth can go under the stage and then instantly grab the ledge. It’s unskillful and I don’t know why they put that in the game, but whatever, we’ll just get used to it.
MLG: Online play?
KillaOR: I haven’t done it myself but everyone’s telling me that it’s garbage!
MLG: (laughter) Have you attended any competitive events yet?
KillaOR: I went to a local Gamestop and tore it up. So I got first and I’m going to the second round this weekend. It’s a national tournament held by Gamestop.
MLG: And you used Marth?
KillaOR: Actually I’m not Marth because their rule settings are so awkward. It’s three minutes as opposed to three stock, which is stupid, and there are items – and pros don’t play with items – and its nunchuk [the wii controller] so… yeah! I ended up playing with Ike and I smashed my smash moves over and over and over because I don’t know how to play with a bleeping directional pad. (laughter)
MLG: Are there any players you’ve heard about or expect to be at the top of the pack in competitive Brawl?
KillaOR: Hmmm… I’m hearing a lot from different states. DSF from Cali. Dire from New York. PC Chris, a lot of the pro Melee characters you’re going to see again in Brawl because they just generally have good techy skills and thinking skills that allow them to play well.
MLG: Any advice for the up-and-coming player looking to get involved in the competitive scene?
KillaOR: Play. Play, do not be scared to play, don’t be scared to lose. Drop your ego, understand that you’re not the best. You may be a little neighborhood hero or whatever the case is and beat everyone on your block or in your neighborhood, but you need to step out there and play against the best players. Understand that you’re going to get beat and in order to get better you need to get the experience. The only way to get better is experience. Definitely come to tournaments, I would love to beat you in Super Smash Bros. Brawl – you heard me say it, so come correct me if you think you can. (laughter)