Summer of Smash 2015: An interview with Mr-R

Mr-R has been on top of Smash 4 since the game came out, winning an early American invitational and placing 3rd at APEX 2015. He is absolutely dominant in Europe and only boasts first place victories, most recently at GGWP III and Avalon IX. As he is getting reading for an extended stay in the US, it is time to once again sit down with the most successful Dutch Smash player. This summer he will be attending both CEO and EVO, among other tournaments over the course of at least three months.

To start with a more general question, how are you doing?
Doing good! I’ve been livestreaming a lot lately and the channel is finally growing. My girlfriend from Mexico also stayed at my place for two weeks, so I’ve been pretty happy lately.

In our previous interview, you stated that you would be putting more time into Smash… have you? What has your practice looked like in the past couple of months?
I try to play against top players on Wi-Fi as often as I can. On my regular days I stream matches against viewers with customs on, so I can get decent practice against customs. I also try to enter as many tournaments as I can to prepare myself for EVO. The real practice will start once I’m in the States: after CEO I am going to California for two weeks, to practice with top players like Dabuz, Vinnie and ZeRo.

You recently were invited to a tournament in Kuwait. How was the experience and what was their scene like?
It was definitely one of best trips I’ve made so far! Demna, the number one ranked player in Kuwait, brought me to a lot of great restaurants, so I was enjoying myself outside of Smash as well. Everyone in Kuwait seemed to be really close and they reminded me of a big group of friends rather than just a Smash community. In terms of skill, Demna and Tyrant (not the Tyrant from the USA’s West Coast) showed a lot of potential. The only thing they were both lacking was top player practice.

The top 3 at the event in Kuwait, with Mr-R in first place.
The top 3 at the event in Kuwait, with Mr-R in first place.

How would you describe the current state of Smash 4 in Europe? Any players we should be looking out for?
I know that France, Holland, Spain and Germany all have very active scenes. I’d say the hidden killers from Europe are S1-14, Ixis, Marcbri, Cyve and J.Millah.

In the US, are there any players you hope to face (again)? I imagine a rematch with ZeRo and/or Dabuz is something you not only want, but is also likely to happen. Have your prepared for these players and their characters in particular?
I’ve prepared myself for Diddy and Sheik, ZeRo’s mains. As for Rosalina, I haven’t practiced against custom Rosalina as much as I would have liked to. Once I’m in the States I will have the chance to practice against top level Rosalina players offline, something I’m not able to do here in Holland.

I’d also love to play against Nairo again. The last time we played was at APEX and I barely managed to win 2-1. Judging by his recent tournament results, he’s improved a lot since then. He’s also my favorite player to watch and I’m sure playing against an aggressive player like him will be a blast!

When you went to the US before, the game was on an earlier build. Several top tier characters, including Sheik, have been nerfed and primarily Diddy Kong has been taken down a peg or two. Do you think the recent rebalancing affects your chances, for better or for worse?
Definitely for the better, they only nerfed Sheik’s bair whereas Diddy got multiple nerfs all around. I’m more worried about Sonic and Rosalina since I lack top level practice against those two characters.

You are arguably the best Sheik main in the world and rarely use other characters in tournament. If you do, it seems to be for fun rather than out of necessity… your Captain Falcon is mainly known for its flash. What is your take on Sheik’s matchup spread and position in the game?
I’d say Sheik is the undisputed best character in the game and believe the only matchups she might lose are Kirby with customs (editor’s note: he particularly has a good custom upB) and Pikachu in general. Small characters seem to do well against Sheik, because her nair out of shield and rising aerials won’t catch them.

Mr-R & kaak against Ayoub & Badr in the Smash 4 teams event at Avalon IX.
Mr-R & kaak against Ayoub & Badr in the Smash 4 teams event at Avalon IX.

Before we address the elephant in the room –customs at EVO-, let’s talk about the current state of Smash 4. How do you feel about the addition of Mewtwo, Lucas, Ryu and Roy? Do you think they impact the metagame at all?
From what I’ve seen so far, all the DLC characters minus Mewtwo are viable at top level play. Ryu has a strong and fast moveset and Roy has good frame data and great range on many of his moves. Lucas seems to be the weakest of the recent DLC characters, although last weekend NAKAT did take two games off of Ally with him in grand finals of E2C 15.

You have spoken out against customs before. Has your stance on them changed since? Do you feel there could be a place for both metagames or would you rather have the community pick one and stick with it?
I don’t mind there being tournaments with and without customs allowed, but for big events, such as EVO, CEO and APEX, I really hope they stick to one ruleset. I’m slightly leaning towards the anti-customs side myself, but I would go with the flow if the community decides to primarily have customs tournaments.

Going into EVO as a top level competitor, do you think customs will make your life harder or easier? Have you specifically prepared for them?
Customs make things tougher for me, because my experience with them is limited and I don’t use them. I’ve had multiple sessions against most viable customs characters (Donkey Kong, Villager, Shulk and Rosalina), but I still lack matchup knowledge against certain other characters. I hope to practice those matchups in the two weeks prior to EVO.

How do you feel about Brawl having pretty much died in many regions? Would you like to see it back, or does Smash 4 do a good job of filling its shoes?
It’s pretty sad. Brawl was a great game and I enjoy playing it just as much as Smash 4. I’d like to see its return and I would definitely enter all the Brawl events.

You recently tweeted that you are going to pick up Melee after EVO. You have flirted with the game in the past and are a great Project M player, so you making a statement like that suggests that you are quite serious about it. Why are you picking Melee up again? What are your goals? Will you make a full switch or play both Melee and Smash 4?
I love watching top level Melee and the hype surrounding it. I also love playing technical characters in Smash games and I feel like Melee is definitely my kind of game because of the sped up gameplay and tech skill… I will be playing Fox. My goal for now is to get top 16 in the world within a year after EVO. I won’t be dropping Smash 4 when I pick up Melee: I’ll do my best to play both games at a top level.

Are you going to claim the bounty on ZeRo?
It’s either gonna be me, Nairo, ESAM or Dabuz. I feel really confident, especially considering how Diddy Kong got nerfed again in the recent patch. ZeRo’s other main is Sheik and I’m quite experienced in the ditto.

Mr-R is ready to take out ZeRo.
Mr-R is ready to take out ZeRo.

SmashEurope wants to thank Mr-R for taking the time to answer these questions during his final preparations for a long Smash summer abroad. You can follow him on Twitter @Mr_RSmash and catch him competing at CEO as early as this weekend! Mr-R intends to stream during his stay in the US, so be sure to keep an eye on www.twitch.tv/sidestepsmash as well.

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