Swiss Smash in the COVID-Era #8: mYi Destany

“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.

mYi Destany at Saint Smash

Destany (@mYiDestany) is a Terry player from Neuenhof (Aargau), playing for mYinsanity. He’s been ranked 1st on the Swiss Smash PR for the entirety of Ultimate and was generally considered the best player in Switzerland even before that. After struggling a bit results wise with adapting to his new main he came back after the first lockdown of 2020 and won all 8 tournaments he attended.

You started your bachelor’s in psychology at University of Zurich last autumn. How did you experience your start at university?
University is awesome, I think my passion for Smash might have switched over to psychology. I guess one of the reasons why is that nothing is really happening or at least appealing to me in Smash right now with no offline events. Another reason is that I’ve been playing with a broken controller for quite a while now, I think since January. I haven’t bothered getting a new one until recently. And finally, university is keeping me quite busy, with the exams coming up soon. (This is being released 1 day after Destany finished his last exam) I’ve created a decent amount of pressure on myself. I heard stories about how many people have to repeat their assessment year exams in psychology and I absolutely don’t want to be one of those people. Your exams are after 1 year of studying and you have 2 blocks of exam, all in one day and one week apart from each other. It’s a lot of work. I’ve been studying a lot since last November, 6 out of 7 days per week. Tomorrow, for example, I get up at 9, go to university at 10 and then get back home at around 10 in the evening. Usually, I go to bed soon after and only play games every second to third day, for about an hour maybe. My life was turned upside down. Before university I was dancing, going to gym, participating in Smash tournaments on the weekends and didn’t care much about school, it was easy after all. But now I’m basically only working on university related things and neglect everything else. I don’t watch my nutrition, I don’t go to the gym as much anymore and the same goes for Smash. I hope all these things come back this summer. At first, I was sceptical that I would manage to change my life this drastically, but it felt almost mandatory considering the circumstances with the exams and the high number of people not passing them. Psychology had a lot of freshmen this year, probably also due to COVID so I was extra worried. (Fields like psychology that always have more entrants than the university can afford to educate filter around half of their students out with strict exams in the first year) You know, a classic saying is that you shouldn’t compare yourself to others, but in this case it doesn’t really apply. You have to compare yourself to others, because only if you are better than a majority you are guaranteed to pass and move on. It’s obviously an unhealthy way of thinking, called extrinsic motivation in psychology, if you’re motivated through comparison with others… But that’s basically why I’ve fully devoted myself to university for a year.

Despite being fully committed to university you participated in the Red Bull uneverse on May 29. How did you experience the event?
When I got the offer, I was seriously questioning whether I should participate or not. I thought that I would really need that time to study, in the beginning of May when we practiced and in the end of May for the actual event. But in the end, I didn’t really need those 3 days. The event was a lot of fun, especially hanging out with everybody. We were invited to hotels by Red Bull and had dinner together, where we chatted a lot and I got to know a bunch of amazing people. One of them was Mimiks, the Swiss rapper, who’s really interested in Smash. He was playing Fox at the event, and he did really well. He’s still texting me about Fox and Smash in general. It’s really cool to see him interested in competitive Smash. I would love to see him attend a Smash tournament and I think he has the motivation for it. I definitely don’t regret going to the Red Bull uneverse. It was a great break from all the studying.

Talking about Smash, your team won that event. How was it to coach your team in Smash?
I’m really proud of my boys. We had a few people that already liked Smash, so it wasn’t difficult to teach them a few things. We didn’t have a lot of time to practice, but enough time for me to explain Remo about Corrin’s Side-B mechanics, how to use them and that you can pin into the ledge, for example. He managed to do it first try and then also used it at the event when playing. It was really nice for me to see them implementing the things I taught them. Mimiks performed really well too. I told Pistolenhenry to play a character that would be able to go under the stage, because that was one of the challenges that gave us bonus points. So he played Kirby and did it right at the start, because that’s obviously the easiest position to do it in. And then he also managed to complete another one, where you had to do an IRL taunt before you take a stock. You love to see it.

You also played League of Legends and CS:GO for your team, how did you practice there?
Before I played at the event, I legitimately only played League of Legends for about 30 minutes. CS:GO on the other hand I played a bit last year, but then stopped again. I really like the game. I played another shooter in the past called “Brickforce”, a mix between Minecraft and CS and in that game they also recreated all the maps from CS:GO.

Something I’ve heard from KiraKira at the Red Bull uneverse made me a bit curious. He said that Pyra&Mythra was your new main. Is that true?
Did he really say that? I don’t know, I just play them since they came out. Actually, I haven’t played anything but Pyra&Mythra ever since they came out. But I’m not sure yet if they’re going to be my new main. I know it doesn’t mean much but I have about the same GSP with both Terry and Pyra&Mythra. I feel like I’m decent with them, but I haven’t really looked into the character, which is something that I would’ve immediately done with Terry. But I consider them as an option for sure, they’re hype.

You told me that you didn’t play a lot of Smash. What did you play whenever you had some spare time?
I only played Elitesmash. I didn’t even make use of any practice Discords, because I thought that would take too much time. So I only played Elitesmash and only used Pyra&Mythra even on days I technically would’ve had time to look for games on a grinding discord. Nothing else (laughs).

In January you participated in your only online tournament since the second lockdown, the tournament. Why did you participate in that one specifically?
Smuff got me into the tournament. I think I could’ve also participated in other, similarly stacked online tournaments. But my controller was already damaged in January which annoyed me quite a bit, so I didn’t want to play in tournaments like that. My control stick wasn’t properly taking directional inputs anymore and you notice that in your gameplay. So Terry only performed Powerdunks instead of everything else. Not like Terry does anything but that (laughs).

Did you play offline with anybody?
I’ve played some offline with Mistic, Fr0zen and Mirio. We’re hanging out a lot and so we also played some Smash, maybe like 5 to 6 times this year. Outside of that, not really.

You’re going to play against Zudenka in Geneva in the near future…
Benooou approached me, and we talked about my history with Zudenka and I remember it vividly. I think our rivalry lasted for about 2 years. I had so many last hit situations with him… I’m looking forward to talking to him and getting to know his perspective on some of those. When I started to become confident in beating him, he started picking fun characters so I’m curious to hear how he felt about that time. It’s going to be fun to play him again. I think a skill like playing Smash is something that stays with you for quite a long time, so even if you take a break or you don’t take the game as serious anymore, you still keep your “fundies” and your muscle memory. I think Zudenka who got his “fundies” in the Brawl days will still be decent at the games in 10 years from now.

Soon you’re going to be done with your exams and tournaments are coming back. You haven’t really been active in the last few months, where do you see yourself in the coming months?
I don’t expect too much (laughs). I just want to make Top8 at the first few tournaments and that’s about it. I think I need some time to get back into the game. I also want to try Pyra&Mythra, especially in the earlier rounds of tournaments. Currently I have more fun playing them than Terry. I think I’ll just let myself get surprised by whatever happens. I’ve also heard about the various character swaps that have happened. I think especially Jaka is going to perform really well. He already did in 2020, but I think he’s going to perform even better now. And obviously the Romandie seems to have improved overall.

You’re in a unique position, you’ve generally been considered the best player in Switzerland for quite a while now. Being in that position means there is also the pressure to keep that spot or at least get it back as fast as possible. For example, your results were a bit worse when you switched to Terry, but then in 2020 you started winning everything again. How do you approach this situation now, considering that once again you have a bit of catch-up to do?
I think I’ve been number one since Summer 2017 and that also affected my ego a bit for sure. I notice it inside the community too, some people seem really nervous when they talk to me, but I’m just a regular guy. What I want to say is that I guess I’ll just have to deal with it. I will definitely suffer a bit from not being number one for a while. But I also don’t see myself as forced to defend my title compared to my past self. I think I would be fine with being Top3… Honestly, to really judge how I would feel I need enough time to play the game again first. I think as soon as you’re not number one anymore you’ll definitely notice it. It’s not even about the actual placing but about the relative placing, you’re not where you used to be anymore and that always stings. Second and third are still really good, but you’ve dropped.
I’ve always felt that pressure. In the beginning I wasn’t great at dealing with it. Nowadays I’ve gotten used to it but it’s still there. Whenever I have to focus hard, I notice my hands getting really cold and I think that is also related to me having this thought in the back of my head: “You’re the best, you have to defend your title.” And because of that you go into the match with a different approach when you have to defend your title, compared to just wanting to win. It’s psychological. Striving for positive experiences is ideal for your wellbeing whereas trying to avoid negative experiences, like not wanting to lose your title, are worse because they don’t give you a clear direction.
I feel like going to tournaments every week definitely has affected my reward system over time. Back in high school I was mainly thinking about how to prepare for my next tournament every week, even in class. You get tournament results every week and every week could be the one where you get upset by somebody. I think I’ve gotten used to it, but I do think it changed my reward system. And there’s no way to “win” anymore, unless I travel abroad. My placings can only stagnate. You end up feeling super bad about losing your rank, but you don’t feel great about keeping your title. It’s been like that for a while, and I think that’s something that all humans experience. If you stagnate, if you don’t get better anymore, it feels bad. But I guess it’s also a luxury problem to have and I’m sure being number 2 or 3 feels similarly bad in that regard. It’s just really frustrating for me, because I can’t “win” anymore, only lose. Winning a tournament now is just nowhere near compared to winning your first tournament. Others would really love to win their first tournament or with another one, but I’m sitting here feeling bad if I didn’t. That’s another thing I’ve noticed about myself: I’m rarely happy about my performance. On one hand that pushes me further, but on the other I should also just appreciate my situation. The procedure of fixing mistakes you saw in your gameplay and then improving them is something that makes me happy, but seeing mistakes themselves obviously doesn’t.
I think this entire situation is also something that got me into psychology. I’m interested in a lot of the technical things of our mind, for example, how you can autopilot and how brain activity differs from you focusing. And I’m also interested in self-esteem too.

A number of Swiss players have talked about how they’re willing to travel more in Europe with the return of offline tournaments. What about you? It would be a nice way to solve the dilemma you described.
Yeah, I haven’t traveled much in Europe during Ultimate. I think that’s definitely something I want to do and I think mYinsanity can enable me and Kepler to do that this year. Having Kepler also makes it a lot more convenient to travel as we can travel together or in a group. So, I plan to travel more together with him. He’s been the one traveling the most and I think it will stay this way.

If you had to give me 3 players that you would keep an eye on with the return of offline events, who would that be and why?
Before I start, I want to make clear that I’ve been quite isolated from the community in the last few months so take what I say with a grain of salt.
I think my first pick is Jaka (@Jaka_SSB). He has improved a lot and could even be better than me, because of the difference of our practice. I’m not sure how good Karpador64’s (@Karpador64) Wario is already, but he definitely has a lot of potential. And finally, DeepFreeze (@DeepFreezeIV) is finally playing a good character, so if he’s motivated to improve then I’m sure he can improve quickly. I also want to mention the Romandie, especially the three best players from Geneva: Neo (@NeoSSB_), rohan doge (@RohanDoge) and Yannwatts (@yannwatts). It’s hard for me to judge how good they’ve become but I’m curious to see how they perform in the future.

And last but not least: Do you have any hot takes or some banter for the Swiss Smash community?
If I’m coming back and still manage to consistently get Top3 at tournaments, despite several months of studying for my exams and barely playing Smash, then the Swiss Smash community hasn’t put in enough effort since 2020.

If you want to see more of Destany, you can follow him on Twitter or try catching his stream on Twitch whenever those are happening again.
He’s also participating in Benooou’s “Swiss Series – Couch Edition” where he will be playing against Zudenka in the near future (give @BenooouSSB a follow to keep up to date with the schedule). The entire series will be streamed live on Twitch.

Updated at: 14.02.22 (16:46)
Created at: 17.06.21 (11:42)
Created by: Yomi