Interview with Rudolph: Melee's Samurai
Thu 1st Feb 2018 - 7:00pm
I sat down with Daiki "Rudolph" Ideoka at Genesis 5, who has been a mainstay in Japan's top echelon of Melee players. He also has several wins and close sets with some of the world's best. We discussed how his tournament went, what he thinks about when he is getting outplayed, and some of the things that he does to stay competitive at the top level.
Well, let’s start off with a little bit of a self-introduction. Where are you from?
Rudolph: I’m from Hiroshima, Japan. And I’m the number 1 player from Japan.
When did you start playing Melee?
Rudolph: My first tournament was May 4th, 2012 in Kansai, Japan. Sumabato Deluxe Melee #4. That was the first time I went to a Smash tournament. I was really at a loss for words. It was so cool. I had so much fun.
Who would you say is your favorite player?
Rudolph: Hmm… My favorite player… Well before I would have said Mew2King (@MVG_Mew2King). Even now I still love to watch him play, but huh, I’m not sure who my favorite player would be.
Well, maybe not your favorite player, who is a player that you like to reference a lot? A player who inspires you?
Rudolph: That would definitely be Mew2King. He was the reason I started to play Marth in the first place. When I started I felt that his Marth was definitely the Marth to learn from. I watched any and all videos of his Marth. All of them.
That’s awesome. So it has been a little bit since you last got to compete here in America. Actually, I’m pretty sure it was Genesis 4 last year that we last saw you here. How did you like it? How was it as a tournament? What place did you end up getting?
Rudolph: I ended up getting 33rd this time. I’m not too happy about it. I really felt like I had the potential to make it a lot further in the bracket. To even make it to 33rd I had two really, really close sets against Boyd’s Ice Climbers (@boydboyddyob), and Kalvar’s Marth (@SsbmKalvar). Those two matches were too close. I don’t feel good about them at all. I guess I did get the win, but I’m not that happy with those results. After those matches I ended up SDing against Shroomed too. I really think that I could have beaten him. Yeah, I don’t know, I have a lot of regrets with this tournament.
Well, you were also able to play Hungrybox (@LiquidHbox) this tournament, right? I’m curious as to why you decided to go with Marth? Do you think you’ll continue to use Marth against Hungrybox?
Rudolph: I’ve been thinking about it a lot during this month or so long stay in America, well, I’m not so sure my Fox has much of a future. Even before coming to America. Coming to all these tournaments, and Genesis just kind of confirmed it for me. And on the other hand I have a lot more confidence in my Marth right now. I really think that I can become the best player in the world with just Marth.
So after playing Hungrybox, who was your next opponent? Was it Frenzy?
Rudolph: Yeah, I think it was.
And you beat him. And then you had your match with Kalvar. And that was quite the match! I’m glad that I was actually the one in charge of recording that match. So, you start off the set by losing the first two games. That had to put a lot of pressure on you. But right after that, you pull off the reverse 3-0 to win the set. What was going through your head during all of this? As a spectator, and your friend, I can say that I was freaking out! How did you do it?
Rudolph: This is something that I’ve been thinking about since before I came to America. When I was still in Japan, I could win purely on what I had prepared for that tournament. I was really bad at being able to adapt during a set. But after being able to play in so many tournaments down in SoCal, I’ve been able to change my movements, and strategies to better suit my opponent and win. So that’s what I was thinking the whole time. I mean, after he took the first game, I had a pretty good idea of what he wanted. Then he took the second game, and my first thought was, “I know I can win. I will win.” And so I did.
It was so awesome to watch that happen! I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest! You were telling me, I think on day one of Genesis, that you actually have a lot of notes on matchups on your phone, could you go into a little more detail on what kind of notes you have?
Rudolph: I have stuff on specific matchups, like Marth vs Fox, Fox vs Fox, Marth vs Sheik, stuff on mentality, just a ton of different stuff. Especially since I’ve put a lot of time into a lot of different characters I’ve been able to learn about different aspects of the game.
How specific do these notes get? Like do you have percents for certain combos, kill setups?
Rudolph: Stuff like that I actually just keep in my mind. For example, against Fox and Falco’s recovery, I keep in mind what kind of angles they can do to make it back, what has the player been doing to make it back, etc. One other thing I have written out for a few matchups, like Marth vs Samus or Jigglypuff, is what percent will forward-smash or up-tilt kill no matter where they are on the stage. I feel like for Marth specifically it is important to know how and when you can kill. Since it is pretty hard for him to kill sometimes. So I try to think about those percents during the game as much as I can.
That makes a lot of sense. Especially since unlike other fighting games where you can just chip health away a little bit at a time, you actually have to kill the opponent by smashing them outside of the box.
Rudolph: Yeah, you really have to think about the percents and what you can tools you have to kill at those percents. Not just attacking or hitting them because you can.
I am definitely guilty of doing just that! Just a few more questions then we should probably wrap up so we can get some food and head to the venue so we can watch Top 8. You’ve been in America for about one month right? When did you arrive?
Rudolph: I actually got here on December 25th, so Christmas.
So are you Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer?
Rudolph: [Laughing] Everyone says that!
That’s not too surprising! So you got here on Christmas, and when are you leaving?
Rudolph: I have a couple more weeks. Next I’ll be going to Denver to go to Battery Basement 9. I think it’s next weekend. (https://smash.gg/tournament/battery-basement-9)
So just about a month and a half total. That’s quite a long time! If I remember correctly, you actually did a donation drive to raise the money to come over right? How did that go?
Rudolph: Yeah, we started the donation drive I think in November, or maybe early December, and we raised over $5,000. I was really surprised! Some of the donations were several hundred dollars too. That was the most surprising. I figured it would be a lot of people donating maybe $5 or $10 each. I’m really grateful for everyone who donated. I promised Japan that I would learn everything I can and bring it back to show and teach everyone. I’m not sure how I’ll show everyone yet. Maybe I’ll write some guides or make some videos. But I really want to pay back everybody’s kindness by giving them something.
That’s so amazing! $5,000 is really impressive. I’m really glad that it worked out for you, and that you were able to come to Genesis. It has been a blast getting to know you a little better this weekend! So just a few silly questions and let’s wrap this up. Don’t think too hard, just answer the first thing that comes to your head. Will we see more of you streaming at home this year?
Are you the strongest player in Japan?
Who is the weakest character in Melee?
Who do you think is the best player in the world?
What is the best anime?
Rudolph: Dog and Scissors.
Rudolph: The song from the hard level of Choro Q2.
Rudolph: Salmon Roe.
Best Melee set of all time?
Rudolph: Hax vs Nintendude where he 4-stocked him game one.
Favorite tournament of all time?
Rudolph: Big House 6 where I beat Druggedfox.
If you could have a pet sphinx, would you?
Rudolph: [Laughing] Maybe if I was the Pharaoh.
Last question, do you have anything to say to your fans?
Rudolph: I know that I can’t really speak English but thank you to everyone that comes up to me and says “hi”. I really appreciate it. It makes me want to study even more. Thank you all for supporting me. Especially those who were able to donate any amount to my donation drive. I’ve learned so much during my stay here in America. I can’t wait to show off everything that I’ve learned!
Thank you to Rudolph for taking the time to do this interview. We all hope to see you at more tournaments this year!
You can follow him on Twitter: @rudolph_ssbm
On Twitch: Twitch.tv/RudolphSSBM
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