Weston "Westballz" Dennis is pushing against an opinion that's slowly taking over competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee. His main, Falco, is starting to lose its luster among the top players as many pros are saying that Falco just doesn't cut it in the top-tiers anymore — he's too fragile, his offence is among the best in the game, but his defense isn't up to par.
Some might also say that Westballz has a similar problem himself. He's a dangerous, high-tempo player, but he fluctuates within the Top 8 quite a bit when it comes to playing other top-tier players. But Westballz doesn't think Falco's the problem, and he's working on changing his own issue, inside the game and out. theScore esports sat down with Westballz at EGLX to talk about Falco's place in the current meta, his pre-tournament regimen, and how he stays off tilt.
A lot of people have been down on Falco recently, how do you feel about him these days?
He definitely is a top two character but he has his weaknesses, and characters like 'Puff and Peach are hard to deal with when you don't have the speed to overcome their disjointed hitboxes. So in a way he has his weaknesses but then he has his strong matchups which are like — I haven't lost to a Falcon in over a year. I really don't lose to Foxes outside the top five and even then I go toe-to-toe with Mang0. And actually I'm up in sets against Leffen recently.
So, I don't know, basically, he has his strengths and he has his weaknesses. So I'd still put him up there in the top two, but definitely maybe fourth or fifth.
Where would you put him on your own tier list?
I've always actually thought he was three-to-five. I always thought it was either like Fox, Marth and Jigglypuff in that order. And then Falco. But my opinion of the tiers has never really changed. I've always thought Fox is the best and then it's like a tie between Marth and Puff. 'Puff's good against Marth, so maybe put Puff above Marth. And then Falco maybe at fourth. But characters like Sheik, they have their really bad weaknesses, like Fox, I guess. I don't know. She — like Falco, is pretty decent.
Do you think you're the best Falco out there right now?
I guess I could be the best active Falco. But, I don't know, I guess Mang0 still has a Falco. So it's hard to tell, he hasn't played Falco against me in quite some time. So, I don't know, it's just a toss-up. But I heard Mang0's not really playing Falco as much anymore, so I guess maybe me, I don't know.
What are the matchups you don't like for Falco?
I think Falco's two biggest weaknesses are Peach and 'Puff in my opinion. I think it's just easier if I played Fox and since I've already played him before, maybe I can get him good enough to beat Armada and Hungrybox. But, I don't know, it's going to take some time and some work. And I'm definitely getting better with him. But we'll see what happens.
What's your routine like before a tournament? How do you practice?
Honestly, recently, I've been focusing more outside the game than inside the game. Like eating right, exercising a little bit and basically being more disciplined, trying to sleep at a decent hour. Making sure you get sleep is really important for tournaments because you're going to be playing all day. So, you're gonna have to keep your energies up throughout the day. So, I don't know, I've been recently focusing on that and I think I've seen results but, I still am trying to improve on that.
Has all that had an impact on your mental state going into a tournament as well?
It helps me. Honestly, it's about energy level. To play this game at a high level you actually need a lot of energy. Basically, you can't just be playing this game at the top level for longer than three hours without your hands hurting or your eyes hurting or even your brain feeling like it's worn out. Kinda like feeling like you've been up for a long time, that happens easily with Melee and people actually get tired easily playing Melee just cause they're using a lot of energy — a lot of mental energy too. So, I don't know, probably just focusing on hand exercises and just eating right. Sleeping is probably my important thing right now.
Do you find that you need to think about whether or not you're going into a match in the right headspace? Do you find yourself thinking about how not to tilt during a match?
Sometimes I used to do that. But now I'm more focused on... basically focusing on the moment. And not caring about what's happened before or what's going to happen next. I'm just focusing on the moment. And I think that's helped my play because I don't focus on... when I'm in the lead maybe I play in a different way than I have been. Or let's say I've been playing aggressive and then all of a sudden I have a lead. Sometimes people will go "oh I have a lead maybe I can play defensive now." And sometimes people don't know how to play defensive and that's just their mindset because they're like 'oh I have a lead.' So, basically, you have to work around your strengths. So if you're good at being aggressive, stay aggressive. So basically playing in the moment kinda helps me with that.
What's your competitive goal for 2016?
I just want to win one tournament where there's the five best players plus Leffen and I at least beat three of them and I win the grand finals. That's my goal. By the end of the year, I want to win a super major.
Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.