Hello everybody! I'm here to present you guys a good-length interview
with a well-known friend of mine. After all these months, it’s time for
one of Brawl’s most hyped players to have a turn in the spotlight.
Everyone, I present to you everyone’s favorite player to watch on stream
this year. The guy who took 1st place last year on this site’s very own
Ladder. The man whose offline appearance was the subject of talk
everywhere when he finally showed up. The man that placed highest with
ZSS at Apex 2012 and is single-handedly making ZSS one of the most fun
characters in Brawl to watch on Youtube. Ladies and gentleman, I present
to you… Salem!
Diska: Salem, thanks for joining me for this interview! I'm excited to be the first person to officially interview you.
Oh hey! I've kinda been waiting to be interviewed for a while, though I
have been also sort of trying to avoid it till I won a tournament or
something. But whatever, it's either now or never, lol. I’ve already
done enough amazing things as-is anyway, even without winning a
tournament, so this is fine enough.
You sure have, Salem. I'm sure many people have been just waiting to
hear from you, and it's finally the time. I'm pretty psyched myself!
Considering everything, I think it's safe to say you're one of the most
hyped players right now for Brawl. Though you haven't won a tournament
yet, I'm sure you will in the near future, and as you say, most people
are quite aware of your skill level in Brawl due to the number of high
level players you've been beating lately.
on that note, I have a question for you. Back in '10, you were a wifi
player who was relatively unknown, but more recently, your popularity
has just skyrocketed! What do you think is the major reason for your
improvement and success?
Hmm... well, I'm not sure of that myself really, since at that time
(2010) I was more or less multitasking, doing many things. One of them
actually was playing other games (ex. M.U.G.E.N. Killer Instinct Gold,
Fraxy and etc.)- though I played Brawl more than anything else, I still
had put time into those games and that adds up, so I'm guessing those
little small things combined were a lot more than average and combining
that with my Brawl knowledge helped me become better.
You feel like playing multiple games helped you to get better at Brawl?
Wow... that's not something I hear very often, since many high level
players make a point to stress focusing mainly on Brawl. Are there any
specific concepts you can remember from those games that you think had
significant influence on your Brawl playstyle?
Oh, well let’s see. Killer Instinct was more or less a
rock-paper-scissors game; that helped me learn when to mixup and switch
my playstyle mid-match. M.U.G.E.N. too- what I usually fought against
were AI who people coded to be extremely hard to beat. This game helped
tons when I was seriously getting into Brawl by helping me practice
reacting faster than them and knowing when they were going to throw out
an attack. Fraxy- that game taught me that I don't have to get hit if I
don't want to. I could just move away (which is probably where I got the
idea to start planking with ZSS). There's just soooo much stuff from
those games, I could probably still learn from them now. Lol.
That's some pretty crazy stuff, Salem, no lie. I honestly feel like
every game has something to be learned from it - and the more you can
learn from anything you do, the more you can apply it to the next thing
and it does indeed build up exponentially. A lot of Brawl players
probably miss that simple fact: it's not just character vs character,
it's their mind against the mind of the next guy. And all those little
tricks learned from every experience in every single thing they do make
the difference between winning and losing, in Smash just like in any
Along the lines of little tricks, I was
wondering about your opinion on Brawl's WiFi. One of your first
accomplishments was winning an AiB ladder, and many consider you to be
one of the very best players when it comes to winning online in the
infamous laggy WiFi connection speed, which forces players to change
their playstyle a bit. Many find that reads, mindgames and basically
thinking ahead can help them adapt to lag. What do you think about WiFi
and its effect on gameplay, and how do you adapt to its shenanigans so
I kinda think of WiFi the same as offline really, just slightly slower
and forcing people to play differently like you said. It's amazing
practice to learn MUs and learn many different things. Whether you're
able to go to tourneys or not, it helps. Now how I've adapted to WiFi is
kinda simple really: I literally just went into training mode,
practicing all the basic things, getting the feel of everything and
completely memorizing it. When I go online, there isn't much I have to
change except for my speed and buffering, since if you're not careful
you can SD so fast on WiFi it's not even funny.
Those are good words of advice, Salem. I know a lot of people really
struggle with making that crucial adjustment to the lag - it's one of
the reasons that WiFi has been getting less and less activity compared
to the past. Hopefully this will help people who just need some new
ideas on handling lag!
Your first offline tournament
was Concentrate II. I’m sure everyone remembers how hype it was - I
remember watching the stream, and you seemed entirely in your element.
What did it feel like to finally break the ice and play offline for a
Now that was a brand new experience. Like, as soon as I went through
the door, I felt so hyper, as if I could do anything. It was almost like
going to your first party and just getting wasted and dancing to the
music, just partying. It was fun, and of course other people were there
to help that boost in hyperness of mine too. If I remember correctly,
those people were Alex and Waldo, who I didn't exactly expect to be
That was seriously one of the best times
of my life and I was surprised I did well that tourney too, since I
didn't practice for some time before that tourney.
Despite you not practicing, you definitely more than lived up to the
popular expectation of how well you'd do that day. Teaming with Anti,
you made it all the way to an amazing 2nd place in doubles, and on your
own you made it up to 5th place in singles! I can definitely agree with
you that having friends there who support you can make all the
difference - I remember times like that from tournaments I've been to.
And the crowd supported you too, along with the livestream. Good times.
Another thing I remember about that tournament was that it was MK
banned, so your addition to its character diversity really made that
tournament shine. Which leads me to ask, why ZSS? What made you choose
her instead of a popular character like Meta Knight or Olimar?
Oh yes, this is one of my favorite questions. Now the reason I picked
ZSS is because she reminds me of a girl that I was secretly in love with
when I use to go to school. I believe she was my only friend there at
that school too, and she had a pony tail exactly like ZSS's last I
remember. But anyway, eventually I guess I just wasn't motivated enough
to continue school so I stopped going. I sort of regret it... but eh,
it's alright, I still have her with me in memory as ZSS and I still have 2 future careers so I can legitimately skip school and not be a bum. LOL.
A reminder of someone you care about... what a great reason to pick a
main, and it's even cooler that you've gotten so far with that
character. Someday, maybe, you can tell your friend about this? It'd be
pretty cool to just walk up and be like "Hey, I used to sort of have a
crush on you, so I picked a character in my favorite game that looked a
bit like you and I became one of the best with that character." I bet
that'd be such an awkward but cool experience, especially seeing her
Well, we're off topic a little bit,
but since you brought it up, would you like to tell us a little bit
about your future career plans? It sounds interesting that you have two
options. That's more than I have right now, lol. Also I'd be interested
to know about what your future plans for Brawl are, if you have any.
Hmm, well, the first one is me being co-manager of my dad’s company.
What they do is host little festivals and stuff and rebuild things that
were once here in this city, like clubs, music stores and etc. Currently
they're just basically a water bottle selling company, though I believe
we had a festival this year already. The other career is me running a
restaurant, since my dad apparently is too busy to do that himself. The
only thing is he has yet to name the restaurant and pick a building for
it to be at.
Now my future plans for Brawl... hmm,
well, I kinda want to quit, but it's so fun when I keep doing amazing
things. I really don't know what plans I have for this game, not yet
anyway. I'll figure it out eventually though, at least before Smash 4.
Sounds exciting, Salem- you've got a lot of possibilities lined up for
you right now! Make sure to keep your friends informed; with the success
you've pulled off in Brawl, I'm sure you've got what it takes to
succeed elsewhere. We'll be around to support you there too, just like
While we're still not too far from
the topic of ZSS: which ZSS matchups do you find the most crippling, and
which ones do you find more easy or enjoyable to play?
Good question. I don't really know since I haven't exactly encountered a
real problem with ZSS yet. A lot of the matchups are pretty close to
even, at least when I play them. The matchups that I usually enjoy
playing are vs MK or Snake, those are really fun and funny matchups to
Don't even get me started on how annoying the ZSS:Snake matchup is, I
hate that matchup so much! Feels like no matter what I do I get juggled
like I do against Peach, but I die as early as I would in a Snake ditto,
So many of us struggle with dittos, but I
noticed you seem pretty good at them- you beat Nick Riddle in the
bracket of Apex 2012. For the past few years many people have considered
him to be the best ZSS, but your recent wins are at the worst on his
level. Do you think you've surpassed him?
Salem: I felt I surpassed him as soon as I called him out on stream at Concentrate II. Lmao.
you have indeed surpassed him, then you are the best ZSS right now. In
any case, if you keep up what you're doing, all doubt will be gone
before long. Though some top players aren't 100% certain about your
skill level because of how your gameplay looks- I even asked Nick Riddle
about his opinion on you while I was at WHOBO 4, and he said that your
playstyle seems like a gimmick- it's still one of the biggest reasons a
lot of people enjoy watching you play. Your playstyle is flashy, but it
brings the wins in. What do you think is the biggest reason for your
playstyle being the way it is?
Hmm... kinda hard to say since there's many things that could be why my
playstyle is this way. Most likely, if it's anything, it must be due to
my brother. His playstyle was based around defensive things while mine
is being offensive, so I had to learn to break his defenses down in
EVERY game I played him in. I had to always bring his defense down,
otherwise I'd basically be chipped out, considering he does more pokes
than anything else. I had to have the most powerful offense to beat his
defense, so I guess that could be why it's this way now.
All-out offense ftw! I've noticed lately that offensive-styled Brawl
play has been getting more common- players like Illmatic, Nairo and
yourself have been growing in number. Keep it up, Salem. It makes Brawl a
lot more fun to watch than the old timeout style does.
You mentioned that you have a brother - he must have served as a pretty
good rival until you started getting really good at Brawl. By now I'm
sure he can't even win a match here and there against you, so I guess
you get your practice from high level players online. What players do
you consider your rivals in Smash right now? Also, which players do you
consider to be your best offline wins?
Yeah, he kinda stopped playing Smash after I started getting really
good at the game. But anyway, not at all. I don't really play high level
players online a lot, I kinda just play anyone. The only player I
consider my rival currently is Meek, since our placings are kinda funny.
Now my best offline wins... hmm, I guess Atomsk, Will, Bizkit and
Kingtoon. Not much really. Lol.
Sounds like you need some new rivals, lol. Your wins are more than many
people could claim, but yeah, ever higher right? I'm looking forward to
hearing that you beat Ally or ESAM one of these days, you could
certainly do it. Actually, speaking of Ally, I have another question: do
you ever think you'll switch mains like he did? I know that he
switched to MK after making his name famous with Snake. While I've seen
you play Marth against ESAM in tournament (and you did pretty well too),
I'm wondering if you're planning to get serious with any character
other than ZSS.
Hmm... well, the only characters I might most likely seriously use
alongside ZSS are either Snake, Marth, TL or Sonic. Most likely Snake or
Sonic. Otherwise, I'm just sticking to ZSS, lol.
If you ask me, Marth is the only one of those who would appear to fit
your offensive style. I know from experience that the other ones need a
lot more camping and waiting. If I remember correctly, you did pretty
well using Snake in doubles, teaming with Bizkit's MK. Hoping to see
more of your secondaries in the future, I'm sure they'll perform just as
I have just two more questions before I let
you head off, Salem. First, are you ever planning to go out of country
for Brawl? And second, what's the next tournament we can expect to see
That's another something I'm not sure of. Just expect me to be wherever
Chibo is streaming. And most likely I'll go to Canada so I can try to
play Ally. That's as far as I'll probably go too- I don't think I'd ever
go far out to Japan or something, unless of course the Japanese win
Apex again. Then hell yeah, best believe I'll be going over there.
Haha, sounds good Salem. I'm looking forward to seeing you perform on
the livestreams, and good luck against Ally whenever that match comes
up! If there's anyone you'd like to leave a shoutout to, this is the
time for it.
Oh, shoutouts time. Shoutout to Chibo, just cause he's awesome and
drives me to tourneys. Shoutout to Waldo, forever funny as hell.
Shoutout to Alex, even though he needs to learn to stop making me mad,
not even that hard. Shoutout to Xzax: “FALCO IS BAD MAYNE”. Shoutout to
SlayerZ who some say is the WC Salem. And of course for my last
shoutout, a shoutout to you, Meek; should be obvious why.
for taking the time to get this done, Salem! I appreciate it and I know
everyone else will enjoy hearing from you. From all of us in the Smash
Community, good luck on your upcoming tournaments, and we look forward
to seeing you on the livestream.