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Q&A: Dabuz on Apex 2016, the competitive landscape and his career going forward.

Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby is considered the best Rosalina in Smash 4. He’s currently ranked No. 3 in Panda Global’s SSB4 rankings and is coming off a first place finish at APEX 2016. Following his win, ESPN reported he, along with Jason “ANTi” Bates, agreed to sponsorship terms with Dream Team. Slingshot’s Connor “Conito” Smith had the chance to speak with Dabuz about Apex 2016, the competitive landscape and his career going forward.

Connor “Conito” Smith: We’re here at APEX 2016. Obviously it’s not what it used to be, but how has the experience been for you as a player?

Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby: We had two days for an event for only 300 people. Nowadays, you can run that in one day. KTAR, last week, had 30 more entrants and was run in one day. I didn’t really like the scheduling of how we had pools at 10 a.m. We would’ve all loved two hours later to get some time to sleep. I came in from Cali over the week, so I was kind of exhausted.

Otherwise, it was actually run smoothly. We finished up to Top 8 at 5 p.m., so that was nice. Eight hours for something like 300 people was good. I don’t like how there was no setups out for (Day 3). Apparently they only had a deal for two days. No setups except for four for Top 8 to practice kind of stinks. You pay venue fees for this.


It was an alright event. Obviously they’re trying to fix its own name because last year was pretty bad for a lot of reasons — some of which were preventable and some which were “WTF, why does snow have to happen?” I would like to see some issues fixed next year like scheduling and available setups. For what they had to work with, they did a pretty good job.

CS: How has it been, as far as the level of play is concerned?

SB: I was actually surprised. We have California here with VoiD. We have Nietono and Rain representing Japan. Mew2King representing the world, basically (laughs). There was a lot of surprising competition for this. Obviously we live in a region where Tweek and Marss and myself are only a few hours away. There’s good competition regardless.

CS: You’re ranked No. 3 in Panda Global’s SSB4 rankings, but don’t have a sponsor. Are you waiting for the right one to come along?

On Tuesday, Dabuz agreed to terms with Dream Team. 

SB: I’m waiting for the right one to come around. If I get a good offer from a team that I feel can grow, then I’ll take it.

CS: How do you think you match up with the other top pros?

SB: I can beat all of them. I’m positive vs VoiD. M2K, I’m positive one over because of Genesis a half-year ago. ZeRo, I’m negative against, but the Sheik nerfs definitely helped me a bit. I don’t go to the events unless I’m sure I can win. Not that I will win. Not that I have a high chance, but that I have a chance to win. That’s good enough for me.

CS: There’s talk about an over-saturation of tournaments.

SB: Yes (laughs).

How does this affect you as a top professional?

SB: I have to sit down for this one because thinking about it exhausts me. This is my Summer, so far:

KTAR last week and immediately going to Cali for E3. It’s not a tournament, but still. Come to Apex for a tournament. I’m leaving on Wednesday for CEO in Florida. Then I come back for four days and going to WTFox in the midwest. Coming back and going to some smaller region in the midwest. Then I come back and go to Vegas for EVO. Then I go to Nexus. The week after that I’m gonna be gone for a week in Mexico. Then I think I have Clutch City Clash in Texas and then there’s Smash Con, something else and then Shine.

Every week except one week so far, I have a plan for tournaments. I love it because it’s practice for me and I enjoy going to events. It does give me good money, but it is exhausting. I have more time in the school semester when I’m busy writing essays and studying for my senior-level classes than I do during the summer because of Smash.

CS: People joked about you studying your notes on stage. What exactly were you studying?.

I can’t tell you my secrets, but I do have notes on every single player. Regardless of who it is, between Marss and VoiD, I have notes on them ready. I have notes on the matchups ready. I have notes on Super Girl Kels. I have notes on Sonic. I have notes on all these players and specific things that are secret so I can go to a match ready to know what I have to do.

It’s hard to play this game with this many matchups and this many good players if you’re just going off your memory. It is for me, at least. I’m not the best at memorizing things. That’s what I do to help.

CS: Obviously Super Girl Kels made waves in this tournament against Mew2King. How would you describe her play style?

You ever see those comic books or the movies where fast characters like the Flash or Quicksilver just run around and make you feel like you can’t see them cause it’s all a blurry? You try hitting at spots that it’s not actually at. That’s what she is. Obviously, it’s Sonic, but hers especially is a super hero. Just run around, be annoying, be obnoxious and be hard to hit, and then hit you when you’re not expecting it.

CS: If you were to pick the best player in the world, who would you take?

SB: No one. Right now, you can say ZeRo is the best in the world. Obviously, his results lately — they’re still really good but they aren’t what we expected. In the coming months, if ZeRo keeps getting second and losing to different people, maybe he’ll start placing third. Assuming he keeps dropping slowly, it could be debatable. Would it still be him, or would it be someone who can be explosive and get firsts like Nairo, or sometimes bust around and get ninth. Will it be someone like Ally who’s just been consistent, like beating ZeRo and pretty much beating everyone that isn’t Nairo. I haven’t fought him in a while, so I can’t even say myself.

It’s hard to say. That’s what’s exciting. I think at the end of this summer, we’ll have a good idea of who is first.

When asked for a closing remark, Dabuz joked that he needs his notes to adapt to the situation.

SB: “Just up-air, according to the meme.”

Cover photo by Connor Smith