APEX 2015: An interview with Armada

Picture taken by ShadowLogic.

Armada needs no introduction. Having had one of the most dominant runs in the history of Melee, winning every major tournament over the course of almost two years (GENESIS 2 – APEX 2013), he took a break for roughly a year. After he came back to Smash things have not been as easy, although he got himself a sponsorship with Alliance and most would agree he is still top 2 in the world. With APEX 2015 starting tomorrow, we found a moment to get some final thoughts from one of the biggest contenders for the gold.

You got ill after B.E.A.S.T V, which kind of dampened the mood for your first week in the US. How is your health now?
My health is better, I really hope it stays okay until at least after APEX. All the top players should think that winning when your opponent plays at their best is the most fun.

Let’s get the negative out of the way first: What are your thoughts on the recent drama surrounding APEX 2015 (Project M dropped, Alex Strife removed from staff, CLASH Tournaments fired as streamer)?
I have always said that the Smash community would make a good reality show. Jokes aside, it’s sad to see. PM getting dropped is bad for the PM players, but IF Nintendo makes a serious attempt at helping us, I guess I have to say it’s worth it.

Leading up to a tournament such as this, do you take the time to prepare yourself for specific opponents? If so, what does this entail and does it result in specific guidelines you set for yourself in the actual matches, rather than going in with a more general approach?
I think all top players take some time to prepare like this, even if certain top players do it more. Just looking at a player’s style it’s usually kind of easy to tell how much they study opponents. Personally, I might look up some recent games from my opponents to give myself an edge, or actually, since it is such a common thing to do, it’s more to not fall behind.

Despite putting in a lot of effort over the past year, your results in the US are not as good as they used to be. Can you explain this trend and what you will do to claim first again? Is the Fox going to be back?
My peak compared to others is honestly one of the most dominant runs in smash of all time, so I can’t expect to just go undefeated for years again. The reasons that my results are not quite as good are many. People have improved a lot during the year I was away and the game is on a new level now. Fox is another problem overall. I don’t like to say it, but many characters are fighting with too much of a disadvantage against him. So even if he is not broken by any means, way too few characters have a sort of even matchup against him.

Armada vs Leffen at Paragon

The Fox will be the only character I play against Hbox from now on, so he will be back for sure. I will make up my mind after APEX about using him against Fox, but there is a large chance. Paragon was not too much of a surprise for me, to be honest. Very few people had faith in the Fox but that’s only because they didn’t know. The only thing that is depressing is that my Fox, with basically no time invested compared to my Peach, does so well. Fox is also a matchup of which you can’t say you don’t have experience against it, since so many people play him. If someone picks a character that is not common and does well against a few people you might question how good they actually are with the character and how much of their success is due to the opponent’s lack of experience. With Fox you can see way more easily how well you are playing the character, because everyone knows the matchup. Despite this, my Fox did super well, so we will see. I honestly feel that my Fox can beat anyone in the world already, even if I would not be the favorite going into sets with him.

After being insanely dominant in several tournaments, you and M2K only placed fourth in Melee teams at Paragon, which is a major upset. What went wrong?
Multiple things went wrong, I feel we did not live up to our standards. It might have been because we had not played in a long time and my synergy with M2K is very different from Android in many areas. I also think the way we played during many of those years is not as good as it once looked. I think Sheik has to play a bit more aggressive. You can also make an argument for me playing more laid back, we need to stay closer together at least. M2K and I have great synergy, but I still believe Android and I are unmatched in the world in terms of just synergy between two smash players.

Outside of the established top 6, are there any players you expect to do really well at APEX? Any you consider yourself to have a particularly tough time with?
Hax and Axe are both insanely good and I expect them both to do well. They are also two players I have huge respect for. Pikachu is a matchup I can’t practice and Hax’ Fox is by far the most aggressive Fox there is. I also believe in Plup more and more every time I see him play. He will most likely have to face me at APEX though, so since my goal is to win the event, I guess I have to send him to losers.

Actually, do you expect PPMD to be as dominant as he used to be? Last year, he took first at APEX, but he hasn’t been seen much since…
I think this APEX will be a real fight, I don’t think there will be a super dominant performance from anyone, to be honest. A lot of players have a decent chance of getting first.

Any Salty Suite matches you are looking forward to?
Not really, I think the idea is good but I prefer to prepare in my own way for tournaments. I hope the people taking part in it give the viewers a good show though.

In recent tournaments you 4-stocked Amsah and Leffentwice. Which notable player is going to be 4-stocked by you at APEX?
Everyone facing me in top 8 should be aware of the fact that it could happen. B.E.A.S.T and Paragon both showed that I can bring it, especially if I have my back against the wall.

You were the co-host for B.E.A.S.T V, the biggest European tournament to date. Congratulations on a job well done! Is there going to be a B.E.A.S.T VI and if so, what can we expect from it?
B.E.A.S.T VI will most likely happen. I haven’t talked with Lolex yet, since I went to America less than 48 hours after B.E.A.S.T V finished, but I would be surprised if we do not hold another one. People can expect a tournament to remember. I already have a lot of plans for stuff to improve on, but we will talk about that on a later occasion.

How do you feel about the frequent traveling, especially considering it will continue to be a major part of your life while you are on this path?
It is exhausting, I would lie if I said something else. Traveling like this, I can’t really have any free time for just myself because I’m always in the center of things basically. I do like to travel and see friends from all around the world though, so don’t think I’m not happy with this. I usually make sure to sleep on flights, because I see the time on the flight as a waste of time.

What are you looking forward to the most after APEX is over and done with, that isn’t related to Smash?
Well, I will start off by saying what I look forward to at APEX that people might not understand that well. People expect me to want to take singles, but I honestly want to win teams just as much. Melee teams is special to Android and me. I will really fight with all I have, just imagining winning teams at APEX makes me happy. Android and I got this!

Outside of smash I look forward to getting back home, I have people over in Sweden that I really want to see again. Until APEX is over though, I will focus on getting the results I want and then I can spend time with people I care about over in Sweden!

We want to thank Armada for taking the time to do this interview so close to the event and wish him the best of luck at APEX 2015!

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