Major League Gaming’s Pro Circuit heads to Raleigh August 27th-29th ; hundreds of Smashers will descend on the city, including the best of the best—the very first batch of MLG Pro Players for Super Smash Brothers: Brawl. We interviewed one of these Pro Players, Tyrant, after he placed 3rd and 9th in the first two Live Competitions of the Season. Tyrant, a Meta Knight main from Southern California, has been playing Brawl at tournaments for over two years and attends over 45 underground tournaments each year. Here are his thoughts on the Smash scene, the previous Events, and the Raleigh competition—where he will enter as the 3rd overall seed.
MLG: Tyrant, since this is your first interview with MLG, could you give us some background on how long you have been playing Smash competitively?
Tyrant: Well, I have been playing Smash competitively since 2008, when Brawl first came out. I ran my own tournaments and big names like DSF came by and got me really into the scene.
MLG: When did you realize you were good at the game? What was the first tournament you won?
Tyrant: Well, I always thought I was good! I always improved at every tournament I went to, and I constantly learned what I needed to do to win. I won my first tournament in November, 2008. It wasn’t a big one but it was amazing.
MLG: California has some of the best Smashers and is one of the largest scenes. Was it a lot of work to become the best in the West?
Tyrant: Oh man, yes! I trained every day; I could never stop playing and I had to learn many matchups because so many good players played different characters. I have to give a lot of credit to DSF for training me so well!
MLG: How many tournaments do you typically attend in a month, and where do you place? Who is your biggest threat at these tournaments?
Tyrant: I usually go to a tourney once or twice a week. Typically I place 1st, and sometimes randomly 2nd or 3rd. I would say my biggest threat would be DEHF; he is a really amazing player.
MLG: Lets shift our focus to the MLG Pro Circuit. How excited were you when it was announced that MLG was picking up Brawl?
Tyrant: I was pretty hyped that Brawl was finally getting some good attention out there!
MLG: Did you expect the level of hype and pressure that has been at the Events so far?
Tyrant: Yes, I did. MLG has a weird energy around it and the pressure sort of affects everyone around.
MLG: Looking at your match performance at the first event in Orlando, when you lost to DSF in the Winners Bracket, were you concerned you may not place in the Top 3? How did you respond and what corrections did you make because of the loss?
Tyrant: Well, DSF and I go back and forth all the time, so it didn’t faze me too much. It just made me realize that there are no more games, and if I want that Top 3, I’ll need to put everything I have into from now on.
MLG: You ran into Ally eventually in the Loser’s Finals; how do you approach fighting such a highly respected player?
Tyrant: Ally is one of my favorite players to watch, so I play him with a lot of respect. I got to try out a couple of my other characters on him as well, just to experiment on a good player in Losers Finals.
MLG: Let’s fast forward to the Columbus Event, where you placed 9th via losses to ESAM and NickRiddle. What happened?
Tyrant: Columbus was an interesting Event—not as much hype but just a lot of fun. My head wasn’t 100% in the game that weekend, but come the next MLG Event I will be ready for them.
MLG: What did you think of NickRiddle’s Zero Suit Samus?
Tyrant: It is something I have never seen before. He is definitely the best with his character and did a lot of new things I wasn’t aware of. He doing extremely well against Ally as well—another thing I did not see coming from him.
MLG: If you face these players again in Raleigh, do you have anything new up your sleeve? Have you been working on these matchups (Snake, Pikachu, Zero Suit Samus)?
Tyrant: Yes, I have actually. I have been getting advice from a couple other players on their approaches on these matchups, so I am just going to mix in my style and see how it works.
MLG: Can you give us a prediction on your performance at Raleigh?
Tyrant: Probably around Top 8, but I am aiming for 1st Place!
MLG: Who do you think will be Top 3?
Tyrant: I do not know. There are too many good players going. Mew2King will surely be up there, definitely.
MLG: Let’s shift a bit to teams. You got 2nd in Orlando and 5th in Columbus, both times teaming with DEHF. Will you be teaming again in Raleigh?
Tyrant: No. Even though our performances were very good for the first 2 Events, I usually switch through teammates to learn more about different team strategies.
MLG: Who will you team with?
Tyrant: I will be teaming with Lee Martin this time. Shout out to him—I love that guy!
MLG: Will you be hoping to use the Anubis strategy, where Meta Knight stock tanks so that Lucario gains more power later?
Tyrant: Yes, I will be! I have known about this strategy for a while now, and who better to do it with than the best Lucario, Lee Martin.
MLG: Do you feel you and Lee Martin have a shot at beating Ally and Mew2King?
Tyrant: I can’t be 100% on it, but Lee and I have faith that we can do it all, so I think we’ve definitely got a shot at it.
MLG: At Events you have typically pulled out Meta Knight. Will you be using any other characters at Raleigh or will you stick with your main?
Tyrant: I have a couple other tricks up my sleeve for Raleigh, but I will keep those a secret for now.
MLG: Which players do you worry the most about?
Tyrant: M2K, Ally, Gnes, Dojo, Anti, and practically any top player. At Major League Gaming Events, it is best to never underestimate, because everyone is putting their all into it.
MLG: At Orlando we saw the likes of ESAM taking 4th Place and Big Lou taking 8th Place. At Columbus Nick Riddle took 3rd Place. If you had to pick a sleeper to place in the Top 8, someone who is not on the radar, who would it be?
Tyrant: I would go with my boy San. He has been doing incredibly lately, like beating Razor and Gnes with Ike at Apex 2010.
MLG: Before we wrap up, do you have any final thoughts you would like to add?
Tyrant: Just have to thank you and JV for stepping it up and doing a lot for the Brawl community. You guys are definitely legit in my highest opinion!
MLG: Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for the fans out there. See you in Raleigh and best of luck!
Tyrant: Thank you as well for giving me the time! See you soon.