Swiss Smash in the COVID-Era #6: BG Crash

“Swiss Smash in the COVID-Era” is a series of interviews with some of the best players in Switzerland, figuring out how they are dealing with the “COVID-Era” (from March 2020 until the present days of 2021) and its absence of offline tournaments and how they are preparing for the return of offline events in the foreseeable future.

BG Crash

Crash (@CrashSSB) is a Wii Fit Trainer and Bowser dual-main from Brittnau (Aargau), playing for Babos Gaming. He was ranked 3rd on the 2019 Swiss Smash PR. Towards the end of the year he became a father and maybe one day his son will pick up Bowser Jr. to continue the legacy of his father. Since then he started to attend fewer events but is still performing well.

A large part of the Smash Community is still going to school or studying at university. You’re on the other side of this as a teacher. How did you experience COVID and the lockdowns?
It definitely changed things up. I work as a primary school teacher, and we didn’t have strict lockdowns like universities or colleges. We only taught from home for about 1 to 2 months in spring 2020. That was very annoying. But after that we were able to teach normally again with everyone wearing masks of course. My private life changed a lot though. I couldn’t play handball anymore and my team also wasn’t able to practice anymore. So, we turned into a badminton team (laughs). We started playing badminton because unlike handball you can keep your distance playing that. But we didn’t take it super serious, we just met up, had some beers and played for fun. I didn’t participate that often though, usually once per week. Instead, I started doing a lot of fitness training at home, three times a week for about half an hour, and I go jogging once per week. I tried to keep in shape. I actually might be in better shape than before the lockdown. There was also a period where we couldn’t practice at all, towards the end of 2020. It was a bit unfortunate overall, my handball team was leading the league after the few games we played in the beginning of the season, before the second lockdown. During that time, we also couldn’t go out anymore, which severely limited the ways in which I was able to spend the days with my son. Zoos were closed for example, so we just went for walks mostly. I also tried some new things in my free time, like playing a bit of chess. I generally like things where I have to use my brain. Other than that, I just watched a lot of Netflix and played some games.

Talking about games, COVID affected how we play Smash. I noticed that you’re actually playing in a decent number of online tournaments.
Yeah, I think aside from Jaka I’m one of the biggest “wifi-warriors” of Switzerland. But there’s quite a gap to Jaka, I think he plays a lot more than I do (laughs). I tried to play in one tournament per week, mainly those in the evening, like the French FCW Series on Saturdays. During that time my son is already asleep so I can focus on playing. And if there was a bigger tournament I was interested in I usually was able to arrange things so I could participate.

I saw that you’re participating in HIVE’s DATEV tournament series, where, if you place in the Top16 after the series is done, you’re invited to participate in their bootcamp in Germany. Would you actually be able to go, considering work etc.?
Yeah, it’s basically like a Smash Summit event. I really hope it’s during school break, but I’m not sure if they take that into consideration. It might just be a random week. That’s the issue of being a teacher, I have a lot of holidays, but I can’t choose them. If I wanted to go during school weeks, I’d have to take unpaid leave, which is probably not doable, I have a family to feed after all. I would like to go though.

How often do you play online outside of these tournaments?
I play a lot of Quickplay. It’s not like I would advocate for playing Quickplay, but I don’t think it’s as bad as others make it sound like. There’s a large variety of players and matchups so your ability to adapt is really important. I don’t play that many grinding sessions though. I’ve been watching some of the German streamers lately and I play some viewer games with them, mostly for fun. Having fun is the most important thing for me and I basically play every character in the game at a somewhat decent level, because that’s just one of the things I like to do.

If you’re not really playing grinding sessions, have you even tried Yuzu*?
*Yuzu is a PC-emulated version of the game that, together with Parsec allows you to play online with less of the known issues, like lag. You can learn more here.
Nope. I was thinking about it, but I’m just simply too lazy to set it up, even though it probably wouldn’t even take that long. I’m happy with what I have… not with the online experience Nintendo provides overall, but most connections are alright. And if somebody is lagging you just block them, and you won’t face them anymore on Quickplay. There are cases where it’s not even the other person’s fault but just simply the connection between you that is bad. It happened to me once in a tournament where we did a lagtest and both of us had a good connection to the guy testing, but not between ourselves. And there’s nothing you can do about it which sucks.

And what about offline?
Since the last offline tournament, I played offline about 7 times at a friend’s house (FORxTODAY). He hasn’t been playing competitively for a while now, but he’s still a really good player. I’ve known him for a long time so every now and then we meet up and play some Smash in the evening. Nothing super serious though, we drink some beer and just have fun. So, in regard to serious offline play, I have zero hours of serious offline grinding since my last offline tournament, outside of a bit of training mode every now and then.

The Romandie already started again with smaller tournaments. What’s your opinion on those? Do you think they have an advantage through them?
I’ve watched some of them, good stuff. Personally, I don’t feel like I’m going to be at a disadvantage. Maybe I’ll get surprised and rolled over, but I think I’ll be able to keep up with the guys who played a bit more offline already again. But it would be nice to see some new faces at the top of the Swiss Smash scene.

What’s your motivation to play online, what do you hope to gain from it?
I play to have fun, but I also want to win. Even if I’m playing Pac-Man, which I’m not very good at, I still try to win. My motivation is of course to get better, but I can only do so if I have fun. I can’t just simply continue to play the same character over and over again, that’s not fun to me. But of course, my main goal is to perform well. I also owe that to my sponsor.

Talking about playing the same character all the time: I think you’re the only top player in Switzerland that is dual-maining (not counting character swaps). How are you balancing your practice time etc.?
I play whoever I’m in the mood for (laughs). There is no elaborate strategy to it. Of course, I’m playing the character that I think does better in the matchup in tournaments. But when I’m losing or struggling, I do consider switching in most circumstances, unless I think one character is doing really bad in a matchup. I would probably never play WiiFit against Game&Watch for example. Of course, I can play as WiiFit versus Game&Watch, but why would I do that if I have Bowser as an option. In some scenarios I might even go for a secondary, I have some characters I’m quite confident in that I haven’t used in tournaments yet.

Your situation is a bit different from most players. You have to reconcile Smash and your family. How are you keeping up with both?
I generally avoid playing in a tournament every weekend. So I always have to make a decision in which tournaments I want to participate and which ones I’m going to skip. Family has to be my number one priority. It would be nice if my family could come and watch, my son’s about to be old enough as to where that’s doable. (Wife in the background: He’s at least old enough to unplug everything!) Well, that wouldn’t be ideal, but doable I guess (laughs). My wife isn’t that big into Smash, so I know that won’t happen frequently, but I hope we can do it sometimes. That would really make me happy. But yeah, spending time with my family is important, so I won’t be playing in tournaments every week. I want my focus to be on my family, but if I’m at a tournament I’m focusing on playing my sets, grinding some games and watching the tournament.

You’re playing for Babos Gaming, how did you experience the last year with them?
I’ve never really asked for much from my sponsor, so nothing really changed. I’ve been a part of Babos Gaming since before I started playing Smash. I was playing Dota for them and then transitioned to Smash. Right now, the organisation is growing and becoming more ambitious, so we will renegotiate my contract in the future, from which I can benefit hopefully, and which obviously motivates me a lot too. Once offline tournaments are back our Smash team might grow, so I’m looking forward to that too. I think COVID in general was good for the organisation as a whole, because other Esports continued to grow, and we probably also got more viewers due to people being at home. For Smashers who can’t follow the slogan “Online = Offline”, unlike me, shoutout to Pattiwins by the way (laughs), it wasn’t a great time but everything else thrived. The only thing where COVID actually interfered with my plans for Smash was Tech Republic V in April 2020. I was just about to book my flight and hotel when COVID hit. It would’ve been my first European Major; I was at EVO 2019 before that. I was really looking forward to it.

So, when offline tournaments are coming back are you planning to attend other European Majors?
Whenever possible I would definitely want to go. But as I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of factors deciding whether I’m able to or not.

Where would you place yourself on an upcoming PR?
That’s pretty difficult for me to judge, because I haven’t played offline yet, especially against all the people that have been grinding and improving. I don’t know how good other players have gotten but my goal is to be able to compete at the highest level. Getting at least Top5 is my goal, but I hope I manage to get Top3. But yeah, I don’t know whether it’s possible or not. What makes it a bit more uncertain is, that while I know it’s online, I’ve been a bit inconsistent lately. But yeah, it’s definitely going to be interesting.

Now, if you had to give me 3 players you would keep an eye on with the return of offline events, who would that be?
I had hoped I wouldn’t get that question (laughs). My first pick is Jaka (@Jaka_SSB) for sure. He’s played a lot of online, and he played against really good players. If you can make a trash character like Isabelle, sorry but she’s 100% a trash character… if you can make her work against players of that level, then I’m sure he’s also going to perform really well offline, as he did already in 2020. I hope people start to figure out how to play against Isabelle. I feel like I’m slowly getting the hang of it. In my opinion he’s definitely a contender for rank 1, at least in the beginning.
I don’t know how much Destany (@mYiDestany) has played. If he’s been playing, then he’s obviously another contender. If not then he might have a few bad placings at the start until he’s back into the game, as he did when he started playing Terry, where he also placed worse than usual, for a while.
I would like to be a bit cocky and name myself, but I guess you want me to name 3 other players… Well, I could jump on the hype train and also pick Neo (@NeoSSB_). He’s also been a bit inconsistent with some really good results and them some worse ones. But I guess those are the players I would name. It’s generally hard to tell though. The only one I’m convinced about is Jaka.

To close it out, do you have any hot takes or banter for the Swiss Smash community?
I would love to see Hareta perform really well at offline events, he had some really good online results. He’s an American player living in Switzerland right now and studying at the EPFL. There also might be a second Animal Crossing character in the PR area: Zeno has been grinding a lot. I don’t see him in the Top15, but I could see him around Top20.

If you want to see more of Crash, you can follow him on Twitter or try catching one of his very rare streams on Twitch.

Updated at: 14.02.22 (16:46)
Created at: 07.06.21 (11:59)
Created by: Yomi