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Axe: “Leffen is another one. He’s just an asshole. I just really want to try to put him in his place.”

Slingshot’s Blake Bottrill had a chance to sit down with Tempo Storm’s Super Smash Bros Melee player Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson ahead of his play Sunday at EGLX in Toronto. He has since the time of the interview moved on to the top six in the winner’s bracket after defeating Team SoloMid’s William “Leffen” Hjelte.

Blake Bottrill: You’re at the point where it is really weird to see you not make a top eight. How did pools go for you yesterday? I heard a lot of the pros complaining about being behind schedule?

Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson: It went fine. It was a little bit behind schedule but that is expected at most Melee tournaments, to be honest. It wasn’t super far behind, maybe 30 minutes to an hour, which is kinda standard. Obviously, ideally, we do want to (be) on time like Juggleguy’s tournaments but I kind of expect it to be late a lot of times. That’s fine to me. I’d rather have more time to warm up anyway. Pools went well. I did really well in my pools and I played a tournament match just now vs. None and I did really well against him. I actually feel really tired and physically not that great today but I’m playing really well so it makes no sense.

BB: You’ve had a pretty successful past six months or so stretching back to MLG Finals in October. Do you feel like you’re peaking right now, or do you still notice you’re improving?

JW: Right now, I don’t feel like I’m really getting anywhere these last couple months, and I think a big reason for that is because I don’t have the time to sit at home and practice new things. A big reason why I do well is because I always come up with new things to do and new things to add to my game. If I’m just playing tournament matches all the time where I just have to play my best the whole time, I don’t really learn that much because I don’t have the time to experiment. I’d rather just be able to sit at home and experiment for a while and learn new things and then try it out in tournament and stuff. After next week, I’m gonna take a break from traveling and just focus at home and practice my own stuff.

BB: Are you going to DreamHack next weekend then? The competitors list doesn’t have you listed?

JW: Yeah I’ll be there! I know they reseeded the bracket I think.

BB: If there was one set that you want back in those last six months, which one is it?

JW: Let’s see. At Pound I lost to Gravy and Chudat. I would love to have another chance because it sucks when you lose to someone you feel that you should beat. Maybe they are really prepared for you and you’re not as prepared or something. It’s such a bad feeling when they win and then make you hold that L, and you can’t have a rematch for a very long time. Like I know Chudat right now is doing his Chudat pose every single day for beating me. I’m not going to be able to have a rematch for a very long time probably, so I would love to have a rematch vs. both of them. Another one is Armada because Armada is just so good and I feel like that is my truest test of skill, even though it’s very frustrating. I actually love playing him, even in tournaments. I just love the challenge of playing someone who is better than me. I feel like I could get on his level but there is a gap right now. I just love the challenge and I want to try it again.

BB: I think a lot of people see you as this really easy to get along with guy, rightfully so you’ve always got a smile on your face. If you had one guy you could call your rival, someone you just can’t stand losing to, who is it?

JW: Oh I hate everyone, man! I don’t necessarily have like a rival. I guess the closest would be Westballz even though we are on the same team. It’s like we’re on the same team but we are also right next to each other in the rankings and we are always having similar results. He’s the guy I have to rise up against. I’ve lost against him for the last two times we’ve played. I have got to change that. It’s like even though we are on the same team we still have that internal I really wanna beat you thing still, both of us. That’s why it weird being on the same team.

Besides him Leffen is another one. He’s just an asshole. I just really want to try to put him in his place. But he’s also insanely good, so it’s easier said than done.

BB: You had Summit last weekend and took an unfortunate exit to Armada and Plup. How do you feel about the Summit atmosphere compared to most other Smash events?

JW: The Summit was very nice actually. It’s super laid back. It’s different from any other tournament. This type of tournament is what I’m used to; there are crowds of people and a bunch of Melee setups, everybody just playing. I like being around people although I like my alone time too. I like tournaments like this so I think it’s great.

BB: We haven’t seen anyone except for Hungrybox or Armada win a major tournament since Leffen won HTC last year, and he’s not allowed back in the USA right now. What do you think it is going to take for someone to knock off those two?

JW: They’re going to have to play very well. I feel like there is a handful of people who can do it, who can actually get first place, those being like Mang0, Mew2King, PPMD. I feel like those guys could do it, I feel like even I could do it or even Westballz if he’s playing insane that day.

Those guys are winning everything and are the best because they are super consistent and they somehow have a way to stay warm the entire tournament, and it seems like the further they go, the better they play. I’m not entirely sure how they do it. I get tired. If I’m playing really well, I get eventually tired and somehow they are able to stay on it and they’re able to do well the whole day and be able to enter beast mode when it matters. Other people are going to have to do that. Mang0 is definitely a great one for how he can just take momentum and just ride the entire tournament, but it seems like even when he is on fire he still has trouble vs. those guys.

I think Mew2King could do it if he is determined enough he just has mindset issues. He did fantastic at The Summit I have faith in him, I think Mew2King could do it he just has mindset issues, he struggles with that. Also PPMD, I still have faith in the guy even though he did bad at Battle of the Five Gods, well kind of. He did great until he reached the round 2 pool and then it all went down hill. I still faith in him, nobody has faith in him anymore because he did so bad but it’s one tournament you have to give him a break, I think he is still a fantastic player.

BB: Any shoutouts?

JW: I just wanna give a shoutout to Tempo Storm for being the best sponsor ever. Everyone in Arizona, my Arizona homies! Shoutout to the staff here at EGLX and you guys too for interviewing me!

Cover photo by Thomas Tischio | @tischphotos |