Slingshot Readers,

We NEED your support. More specifically, the author of this article needs your support. If you've been enjoying our content, you know that a lot of work goes into our stories and although it may be a work of passion, writers gotta eat. If just half our readers gave 1 DOLLAR a month, one measly dollar, we could fund all the work from StuChiu, DeKay, Emily, Andrew (and even Vince). If you contribute 5 DOLLARS a month, we invite you to join our Discord and hang with the team. We wouldn't bother you like this if we didn't need your help and you can feel good knowing that 100% of your donation goes to the writers. We'd really appreciate your support. After all, you're what makes all this happen. Learn more

Axe on The Big House 6 and why being able to play full time matters

Slingshot’s Connor Smith caught up with Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson at The Big House 6 to talk about his play, Melee’s growth and goals for the tournament.

Connor Smith: There’s a bunch of big storylines heading into this tournament. What are you most excited for?

Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson: The Big House. This tournament has a really big history, between a lot of players. One thing for sure is the comeback of Lovage, that’s a big one. It’s gonna be cool to see how far he can go. I know he’s teaming with S2J, who, I think, they took first place at the first Big House. So that’s a cool thing to see, to see Lovage come back. I’m excited to see how well he’s gonna do.

Another thing is that Taj is back! Taj is entering this tournament. It’s his first major tournament in a long time, so I’m super hyped to see how well Taj is gonna do. And it’s Big House! There’s always something crazy that happens here, so I’m just excited to see what happens.

CS: Do you have any goals, as far as your play is concerned?

JW: My goal is to play well and to have fun. I haven’t looked at my bracket or anything, for who I’m gonna play against. I’d rather just straight up play to play my best and not have to worry about who I’m playing against. I feel that, if I’m playing my best, then I can beat whoever comes my way. So that’s what I’d rather focus on, instead of focusing on, ‘Oh, I have to play Westballz next’ so I focus on Falco and playing against him, specifically, and even if I win, then I don’t make it past the next stage. I’d rather play my best and I feel that if I do play my best, then I can beat someone of Westballz’s caliber, or anything similar to that.

Above all else, just have fun. The worst thing you can do is lose and be super hard on yourself and be super disappointed and not enjoy the rest of the tournament because you lost. Things like that, just try to relax and enjoy yourself. If I don’t win, not a big deal. If I do win, sweet, that’s awesome, too.

CS: Obviously, the last time Leffen made his return, you were the one that put out the fire. Do have any plans of doing that again?

JW: Leffen said that he’s not going to be serious at this tournament. I don’t think he’s going to take it very seriously, like he said. And if he does? Then, yeah. I’ll beat him.

CS: So you think his reasoning is fair?

JW: I’m not sure. It makes sense that he didn’t really prepare for this tournament, so I don’t blame him for not trying his best. Because if he tries his best and loses because he didn’t prepare properly, then people are just gonna give him a lot of shit. I don’t blame him for not wanting to try when he’s not actually prepared.

If he does try, though, then I’m not gonna take him lightly. I’ll do everything I can to take him down, of course.

CS: Maybe Pikachu Mewtwo comes into play?

JW: (Laughs) Yeah, yeah. Of course. You know, I practice a lot with Taj, so I’m familiar against Mewtwo.

CS: As far as sponsorships and teams are concerned, you have Tempo Storm. But Swedish just got his sponsor, and there’s a bunch of VC-backed teams entering the space. How do you think that’s gonna impact the ecosystem and for you as a player?

JW: It makes it a lot harder at top-level. Because —  it’s a good thing — players can now focus more on straight-up practicing Melee, instead of having to worry about having another job, on the side, and doing that full-time, on top of having to practice Melee. That doesn’t bring out their full potential.

With more players being able to play Melee full time, it lets them bring out their potential more and do better in tournaments. That’s how sponsors help them. I think it’s a great thing, so we can see what players can actually bring to the table, in doing this full-time, as opposed to part of the time, as a side-part of what they have to do full-time, like their job and stuff.

CS: There was a video going around of a new Pikachu tech with the Up-B. Was that a new tech that you didn’t know about?

JW: Kind of. The video is about how Pikachu’s Up-B is a momentum canceller, and that you can use it after doing an Amsah tech, what they call it, except missing the tech, but Up-B-ing immediately afterwards. It lets you live to very high percents.

I never thought of using it that way, so yes, it’s new to me. So, it could be very useful. I haven’t been able to practice it, really, because it’s hard to be in that situation, just practicing on my own. I can imagine using it, and I think it could be very useful.

CS: Any final thoughts?

JW: I’m hype for The Big House. If people are reading or watching, wherever this is going, you guys gotta come here next time. And shoutouts to Tempo Storm for just being awesome.

Cover photo: Corey Shin/Tempo Storm