William "Leffen" Hjelte is no stranger to Canadian tournaments. Part of his 2016 comeback to competitive Smash Bros. Melee after his visa issues included a successful trip to Get On My Level in Toronto.
theScore esports caught up with Leffen before his Top 8 matches in cold and snowy Montreal for the 15th annual LAN ETS, a convention which hosts many tournaments, including Melee. Adding another notch on his Canadian tournament belt, Leffen took out David "KirbyKaze" MacDonald in the Grand Finals.
I want to ask about Armada. He recently told viewers on his stream that one of his sub goals to move to the USA. Is this something you want to do?
I think Armada's sub goal is a little mislabeled. He's not really moving, he's just boot-camping in my opinion. He is going for three months. Usually what he and I do is we stay for a month or so. I definitely think it's a sound idea.
Just to stay out there and having to travel less and to have a base in the USA. Having less jetlag is good too, so it's a good idea. For me, moving permanently is not an option right now, but definitely staying there for more extended periods of time is a good thing.
The perceived staleness of the melee scene has drawn a lot of community criticism, to the point where even EVO has dropped the game from its Sunday spot. Is this something that concerns you as a player?
I don't really think that most people in the community actually think it's a problem. You know, most people actually do watch the smash events, they actually enjoy it, whether you have Mang0 vs. Armada; everyone gets so hyped up for Mang0 and Armada grand finals and that wouldn't be the case if Melee was in a stale place.
I don't know if EVO's decision has to do with that, i think it's also to do with maybe Nintendo giving them money for smash 4, and smash 4 having a really bad tournament last time so they want to make it up to them. I don't really think it's a problem honestly, I much prefer a game where you consistently place high if you're good, rather than it being coin-flippy.
Street fighter 5 has many issues where top players go out in early pools, and it just feels weird when the winners or top 8 is full of names you've never heard of. It's really hard to make a storyline or a narrative and honestly I would prefer just as a competitor, I like games where you consistently win if you're a better player. That way, so when the upsets do happen, that gets to mean so much more.
What do you think of Canada's smash scene and what can it do to improve?
I'm not really sure what they can do to improve. To improve on a national level usually comes down to the locals and constant practicing. The big tournaments are really good, and I'm hoping more American players come out to Canadian tournaments.
Keep hosting good tournaments, and for the people that really want to make it big right now, I think traveling to the US and maybe, you know, staying there for a week or traveling around and competing in a bunch of tournaments.
Smash Summit is coming up pretty soon. What talent do you hope to see voted into that tournament?
Ice is obviously number one, because I want to team with him, and I want to win teams with him. I did well with Mafia last year, but I like teaming with Ice the most. I feel like we were one of the absolute best teams, and we were really close to winning doubles a couple of times, so I really want to be champions at that event.
Secondly, I would probably like Android, just so I could beat Armada and Android [Laughs]. I just want teams to have a bigger spotlight this year. I also want the motivated people, and the good people, but i'm not fully sure who that is though.
This is a sentiment Armada shared with us before, that melee doubles is underrated.
Yeah, I agree with it as well, but I think it's getting up there. There's more and more viewers and there are consistent teams: Me and Ice, Armada and Android, PewFat, that all really helps establish a storyline. There's definitely a lot to be developed for sure.
Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a News Editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.