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Player Profile Interview: I-19

Nov 27th, 2015
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  1. Moomoo Mumosa here. Did you know that I recorded a *third* interview last Thursday to share with you all? I know, I know, I just posted an interview yesterday, oversaturation, no one will care, blah blah. But listen: you eat all these Thanksgiving delights on Thursday, then you go for goodies on Black Friday, which is like, a double whammy of goodness. Why can't there be double whammies like that for my interviews? Don't you have any capitalist holiday spirit? On second thought, this analogy seems pretty flimsy...
  2.  
  3. Well, anyways, I've got something marvelous for you all today, and I hope you take the time to listen. Project M has been, uh, on the decline in Cincinnati. Of course, many of its top players were already playing Melee, so this was no loss to them. This wasn't the case for I-19 AKA Tomosumi Sato, who was forced to make a choice: get good at Melee, get good at Smash 4 or let Smash disappear from your life. He went with the former, and what a choice it was: despite the short while he's been dedicated to Melee, Mr. Homo-Tsunami will debut in S-tier next week. How did he do it?
  4.  
  5. --
  6. This is Moomoo Mumosa here, with a Black Friday interview special. I’m joined today by Tomosumi Sato, AKA I-19, AKA Tomo. Tomo, how are you doing today?
  7.  
  8. — Really good.
  9.  
  10. Fantastic. How’d you do today in A tier?
  11.  
  12. — I finally got S rank. Pretty happy about myself.
  13.  
  14. Yeah really, congratulations! You’ve been improving for quite some time, so (indistinguishable). Introduce yourself and why you like Melee, love Melee.
  15.  
  16. — Well I first started off in the Brawl scene, Chi showing me the ways of how to play Smash, then started to realize that Brawl is an inferior game compared to Melee. But before that I picked up Projet M because it was an easier version of Melee, and I just wanted to start off with that. But yeah, I progressed and once PM died in Cincinnati, I moved on to Melee.
  17.  
  18. That’s right. You started off as a Falcon player, but then you became a Fox player?
  19.  
  20. — Yes.
  21.  
  22. Maybe some short form questions, you can answer these as long as you want, of course. What is your best stage, do you think?
  23.  
  24. — Best stage? Since I play Fox, Yoshi’s and Battlefield.
  25.  
  26. What do you think your worst stage is?
  27.  
  28. — Worst stage is probably FD and Fountain of Dreams, just because platform unfamiliarity. I’m not sure about the platforms yet…and FD, no platforms, I get chaingrabbed, it’s not fun.
  29.  
  30. What is your most comfortable matchup? You play Falco all the time, so I think it’s Falco?
  31.  
  32. — It’s Falco, and probably Puff. Falco, Puff is probably my most comfortable matchups.
  33.  
  34. Least comfortable?
  35.  
  36. — Least comfortable is Marth and Peach probably.
  37.  
  38. Big range, grab combos…
  39.  
  40. — And crouch cancel. I abuse it in PM, and if you crouch cancel on Peach, you die, so…
  41.  
  42. That makes sense. So briefly describe how you think you play and what you’ve been working on recently.
  43.  
  44. — So I’ve been recently working on reaction-based, as opposed to read-based tech chase options. In Project M, most of my options in neutral were get a grab, and then get a read-based tech chase. But now since I play Fox McCloud, I just do reaction-based tech chases, or just reaction-based anything, and that’s what I’ve been working on.
  45.  
  46. How would you describe your playstyle?
  47.  
  48. — I’ve been playing pretty good, I mean —
  49.  
  50. No, I mean your style. Like, aggressive, defensive…
  51.  
  52. — I play very passively. If I don’t — if I get a punish, if I know that I can’t move on, I immediately send it back to neutral. And I think that’s a bad habit as Fox — he’s supposed to be aggressive, I play passively…
  53.  
  54. Sure. So which player within Cincinnati do you enjoy playing against the most?
  55.  
  56. —I love playing against Sean [Moo note: FriendlyFire] and probably Dr. X, even though I don’t get to play with Dr. X that often, but…Sean because he’s my partner at UC, and….
  57.  
  58. And why do you enjoy playing with Dr. X?
  59.  
  60. —Dr. X because he’s teaching me — he’s basically the one who taught me about PM and Melee. How to get good at the game, and I admire him, and I just wanna, like, learn off him as much as I can.
  61.  
  62. Who do you find the most frustrating?
  63.  
  64. — Umm…probably any Marth or Sheik and Peach player. So almost everyone.
  65.  
  66. You were in A-tier recently, so let me ask you the A-tier level player question: who are you most interested in playing against within the S-tier?
  67.  
  68. — I’m most interested in playing Chi, Ragu…
  69.  
  70. Sheik. You want the Sheik experience?
  71.  
  72. — The Sheik experience; Snap, I think everyone. Team Nick…I just wanna play against everyone because no one knows me playing Melee. Everyone knows me as a PM player, so I just wanna enjoy and have fun and play against everyone in S rank.
  73.  
  74. So who do you think we should be looking out for in B tier, actually?
  75.  
  76. —Modem and EC Moo. I hope that Modem and EC Moo, those two reach A rank, A tier soon. EC Moo, he’s been struggling but I trust him.
  77.  
  78. 5th place monster.
  79.  
  80. — (laughs) 5th place monster! But Modem is the one who basically taught me all these combos, these very hard tech skills with Marth, and how you abuse it, so…
  81.  
  82. Yeah, I actually think Modem is very skilled, but just chokes in tournament.
  83.  
  84. — Very skilled, yeah…I appreciate Modem’s help.
  85.  
  86. Okay, so some long-form questions and answers, maybe. You’ve made your name largely by improving at PM, and now you’ve carried that improvemnt over to Melee. How do you think you’ve made that transition so seamlessly between the games? Actually…so start with that first. How did you move between the games so easily; did you practice a bunch of Melee?
  87.  
  88. — I didn’t practice a lot of Melee. Maybe PM transitioned really well with my playstyle because I’m not aggressive; I’m pretty passive, and read-based, and usually waiting. That’s how I based it off my Melee style, and I guess that’s how I got pretty good in Melee pretty quickly.
  89.  
  90. So that means you think waiting is strong in Melee.
  91.  
  92. — Yeah, waiting is strong in Melee.
  93.  
  94. Was there anything in particular that you feel made it easier or harder to improve in Melee? For example, some people say that PM forces you to really learn matchups.
  95.  
  96. — That’s right. There’s so many matchups because almost every character is viable and you just gotta learn to adapt to what characters…you look at Peach and you think, “Oh, she’s gonna down smash, or she’s gonna nair.” You just gotta think of options — three most used options for each character, and that’s how I based off all my matchups on in PM.
  97.  
  98. I see. So you learned kind of how to build gameplans in PM.
  99.  
  100. — Yeah.
  101.  
  102. Okay. So in PM you played Zero Suit and Game and Watch, two great but not best characters. I think Game and Watch is much better than Zero Suit — y’know, he won the best, the biggest PM major of all time. And in Melee, you started with Captain Falcon but you moved on to play Fox. What motivated your character choices in PM and Melee, and what made you switch?
  103.  
  104. — So when I first started playing Melee, it felt like my movement was really sticky compared to PM. And I used to play Falcon in high school — I played Falcon in PM, and I don’t wanna transition over to Falcon; Melee Falcon and PM Falcon, so I just choose characters that are completely different. In PM I play Game and Watch and ZSS, and I play Fox in Melee. All three of those are completely different.
  105.  
  106. Sure, sure sure. You don’t forsee yourself switching characters again, right? You really enjoy Fox.
  107.  
  108. — Yeah, i really enjoy Fox. I have to find all these other tech skills I need to do.
  109.  
  110. The technical aspect of Fox really appeals to you, but is there anything else about the character you like?
  111.  
  112. — Um…just because all the, all the memes in Cincinnati. Fox McCloud, best character in the game, (both laugh) I didn’t even play Melee at the time, and I just followed the trend and stuff, and now hey, I’m picking up Fox.
  113.  
  114. That’s good, that’s good that you’re enjoying things outside the game too. Okay, as someone who’s relatively new to the scene and who’s steadily rose his way through the ranks, you might be one of the most qualified people to judge S/A/B and its relationship to your improvement. Maybe talk about it some: has the format motivated you to improve? If not, what’s really been driving your improvement?
  115.  
  116. — Definitely. When it was pro and amateur bracket, I rarely came to the Melee weeklies. Well, because I wanted to get better in PM and just focus on PM. But ever since they switched over to S/A/B, they give everyone a chance. They don’t get stuck in challenge brackets, they actually get to move up to be in A and S. I think that’s a really good format; it really did motivate me to play.
  117.  
  118. Because you wanted to move on to A, and then you wanted to move on to S, and then…it’s like a progression thing. So you definitely like this way better than —
  119.  
  120. — It’s way better. It’s amazing.
  121.  
  122. And do you think the skill tiers match pretty well to the players in there? Do you think that people are supposed to be in B, supposed to be in A are in A, supposed to be in S are in S? Comment on that some.
  123.  
  124. — I agree with that. The only one point I want to make is that S rank is so different compared to A rank in my opinion. A rank and the top 4 of probably B rank is probably equal except for…when you reach S rank, everyone else — Chi, Ragu, PAS — everyone else is so different that it feels like that gap between S and A is signfiicantly bigger than A to B.
  125.  
  126. Do you think there’s anything — as far as you can tell, you don’t think there’s anything we can do to the format to decrease that gap. Do you think it’s just a matter of people getting good, “git gud”?
  127.  
  128. — People need to git gud and get to S rank. The one format, the one thing I would want to change, if they can, is we have so many people in A, and no one shows up. So maybe have a decay system? Maybe 2, 3 weeks if they don’t show up? That’s the only comment I have.
  129.  
  130. You’re going to CSC IV, right?
  131.  
  132. — Yes.
  133.  
  134. Okay, so do you have any goals in mind, anyone you want to play in particular?
  135.  
  136. — For PM and Melee, I just want to make it out of pools first. That’s my first goal. I hope to take big names in Cinci, then try to compete with Columbus Dayton people.
  137.  
  138. Sure. Is there anybody else whose performance you’re interested in, anyone who you wanna see do well? Anybody who…maybe like, Dr. X, or…who do you wanna see play against outside people, because you think they’d do well, or you think it’d be interesting?
  139.  
  140. — Um, I think Sean. Sean is probably the most interesting just ‘cause I know him a lot. He chokes a lot, and a really emotional based player, but when he plays well, he’s really really good. So I want to see him play really well against all those other people in those other cities. I’m really interested in that. Other than that, I hope everyone in Cinci gets better because Dayton and Columbus trash talk a lot to Cinci, and I just wanna…I just wanna win against them.
  141.  
  142. That’s right, because you’re probably going to be in the crew battle, and you’re interested in doing well there.
  143.  
  144. — Yeah, yeah. (chuckles)
  145.  
  146. Let’s wrap up this interview. Do you have any advice to newer players, maybe in particular your scene at UC. Any advice to them in particular, any advice to people in general…comment about that.
  147.  
  148. — People in general, just pick up the game and practice at home. Maybe 30 minutes a day, just learn…how I learned is mental-based matchups. So when you pressure someone into the corner, they’re forced to roll, and situations like that…put them in bad situations, and learn when you’re put in a bad situations on what to do to adapt. You gotta learn, stop doing stupid things. That’s how I learned against Marth players. Against people at UC, people in any college, they should travel a lot more. From UC, the people who travel are me and — Sean and I are the main ones who travel here and other tournaments. But other than that, I recommend — uh, I wanna give shoutouts to UC and say “git gud, travel a lot more”. We have a huge club, so we should really start using to our advantage and should travel a lot.
  149.  
  150. Last but not least, do you have any shoutouts to anybody or anything like that, or?
  151.  
  152. — I have a shoutout to Indel — Kurt Wolfer — and Pip — Philip Nguyen: hey, I made S rank, get rekt guys.
  153.  
  154. Good stuff. It’s been a pleasure to speak to you Tomo. You’ve offered valuable insight, since you’ve been improving so quickly, and I hope your improvement continues, and I hope you find a cozy spot in S-tier, because everything gets really hard from here. This is Moomoo Mumosa signing out, and that’s the end of the interview with Tomo. Thanks!
  155.  
  156.  
  157. Hi guys, Moomoo Mumosa here. I'm the beat reporter for Arcade Legacy, bringing scintillating content such as the Cincinnati Smash Newsletter and Player Profile Interviews to the content-hungry masses here in the Queen City. I only recently realized that despite being a member of the UC Super Smash Bros group, I've not shared any of the content here. To fix that, I have links to transcripts and newsletters below, and in the future I will share these here, too. Please take a look, and let me know what you think! I've even interviewed two of your top players, and they had many a wonderful insight to share.
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