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The Grand Balancing Act: Swedish Delight Interview

FistoFreak

FistoFreak

Sat 6th Oct 2018 - 1:49pm

James “Swedish Delight” Liu is ranked number 16 on the Summer Melee Panda Global Rankings, is a graduate of Rutgers University and is sponsored by OG. Swedish has had a great year so far, so I figured it would be fitting to catch up with him on his recent endeavors.  

How long have you been playing Melee?

Swedish Delight: Other than the occasional birthday parties around the time Melee came out, I started playing Melee around 2008 when I was in 8th grade.

What’s it like being among the best in Tri State?

Swedish Delight: At first it was depressing. I only became #1 in NJ by default because Mew2King left and Eggm retired. I continued to play most of my college years mainly because I could earn money to go party on weekends. It took me until fall 2015 to really see Smash was a huge part of my life and then I started caring more about my position as a top player in Tri-State.

As of 2018, I'm very proud to be a part of the NYC and NJ communities as they have grown and improved so much over the years. I really took it upon myself this NJ ranking season to be active based on their requirements even with all my tournament travels and work schedule because I wanted to show I care about being part of this new NJ community.  

How did it feel to beat Armada?

Swedish Delight: I didn't plan at all to beat Armada. When it was over, of course I was glad I won, but all I was thinking about was my next match and that I would probably lose to both SFAT and Mang0 because both were playing well. I lost to Mang0 but it was the first time I took a game off his Falco, so that was nice. Now that EVO is over, I’ve been riding the wave of beating Armada and making Top 8 Sunday. I'll take all the praise I can get and more.
(Footage curtesy of EVO www.twitch.tv/evo2)

How cool does it feel to see your team win a Dota International?

Swedish Delight: I went to TI midweek to support OG and watched the Winners and Grand Finals during my Shine matches. I couldn't believe any of the days of TI were actually happening. We came with a ragtag team formed after arguably our two best members left. We had to go through open qualifiers instead of through Circuit Points like the other top teams. Pre TI rankings OG were thought of as 18 out of 18. Day 1 of groups Round Robin came and we had the worst record 1-5...

Then each day kept coming. We kept playing our best and winning. We barely made it to Upper Bracket as 4th seed of Group A. 1st bracket match, we beat the best performing team in groups 2-0. Semis, it's a matchup that seemed scripted and we came out 3-1 over our former teammates. For Winners Finals we won 3-1 over the Chinese team who were supposed to win TI. It's an even year TI and so that last Chinese team standing was going to win like every other Chinese team before them.

Grand Finals was a rematch of Winners Finals and we were down 2-1. Game 4 looked so hopeless. I didn't even want to watch the match because we were down so far, and I was exhausted after playing Army. Ryan Ford persuaded me to keep watching and said we would win, and we made the most miraculous comeback I've ever seen. That comeback was short lived, as we still had a Game 5 and it was a rough start. I didn't catch most of Game 5 because I was playing my Loser Bracket matches but I still had the match playing on my phone in the corner against the CRT. I sort of wish I just forfeited in Losers because while playing SFAT. I saw in the corner of my eye that OG is somehow rushing mid when they lost the rest of the game, the camera pulling back, sparks flying and the OG logo appearing on the screen. I popped off on stage while having a broken foot, exhausted and while getting 3 stocked by SFAT.

So all in all, yeah OG winning was great. Our captain N0tail and 7ckingmad have shown in interviews of what I think are the best mentalities in esports and I have been trying to bring their philosophies to my Smash play. The team also been so supportive of me as a player and that made the win feel so much more to me.
 

(Footage curtesy of Beyond The Summit-Smash https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eov378TrN9Y&t=481s)


What is your advice for up and coming Sheik mains?

Swedish Delight: My biggest advice is realize Sheik is an insanely fast character. I was getting hand pain in 2014 only a couple years after I switched to Sheik from spacies and of course people would be like, "Oh don't you just forward tilt and chain grab all day?"

Take a glance at her frame data, dash speed and I swear you'll be able to fit in more moves than you thought and even overcome what people commonly think is Sheik's biggest enemy, crouch canceling.

Also, needles are the best projectile in the game and they autocancel after landing, so you should use them.

 

What do you consider your biggest accomplishment?

Swedish Delight: In Smash, I felt most proud of winning Bust 3 in Boston with a reverse 6-0 in Grand Finals. It was my first regional win. In terms of historical achievement in Smash, it's definitely winning The Mango.

In general so far, my greatest accomplishment was graduating college from Rutgers. I got a lot of department awards related to my involvement with chemistry, but I definitely could've just failed most of my junior and senior classes if it weren't for some good classmates. 

 

What was it like juggling college at Rutgers with Melee?

Swedish Delight: I didn't spend much effort in Melee most of college other than the occasional local if I wanted some quick cash. I spent most of my time in research, my fraternity and starting our Smash club (and making sure it could succeed), Scarlet Smash. I was lucky to attend Rutgers because Apex and Zenith were so close to me and brought me to national attention.

I took my next step in competitive Melee by traveling the first time during the school semester which was senior year fall 2015 with The Big House 5. I did well, gave Duck an amazing pic for ESPN for 2 years and really ignited my drive to try out for the first Smash Summit. Summit was an amazing experience in so many ways and I probably wouldn't be playing now without attending that event.

My GPA was really bad in senior year compared to previous semesters though.

What drove you to drop your medicine career for Melee?

Swedish Delight: So now I actually want to go back to medicine. In fall 2017, I wanted to try to establish a living with Smash. I moved back home, created an office to start streaming and started traveling to more regions like how I went to Europe for Dreamhack Winter.

That was all insanely harder than I thought, and I developed sleep issues and I really missed doing science things in my life. So in the winter, I decided I wanted to apply to medical school again, retook the MCAT, and now I'm doing research as a volunteer at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. And I feel more fulfilled than ever.

I've realized I won't want to ever stop playing Smash, so I’ll try to be involved in the community as much as I can even if I get into medical school.


What events are you looking forward to the most?

Swedish Delight: The Mango 2. The champ is coming back.

And BlizzCon to cheer for Mangachu in Overwatch

What do you think of Smash Ultimate?

Swedish Delight: I had the chance at EVO to sit down and play a few hours before the show exhibition as the Red Bull coach for team Tempo Storm, (Axe and Alex Myers). The game feels so much smoother and looks nicer than Smash 4 even with the pro controller. But I got this feeling an hour in of playing that I really missed Melee. That night, I warmed up in Melee for my day 2 matches and after moving around the screen I said to myself, “What was I thinking?!”

I will still buy Ultimate and I will definitely like many other melee players enter Ultimate events. I’m actually really excited for Sonicfox wanting to play and because of him, I know I could definitely spend at least some time with Ultimate.


Do you think that you have the chance to hit the Top 10 by the end of this year?

Swedish Delight: Yeah why not. I’m good at this game.

Where can people hear more of you?

Swedish Delight: My twitter is @SSB_Swedish

I also stream during the evenings playing Melee, watching vids to improve, and talking a lot about how to improve long term in smash and life in general. (twitch.tv/Swedish_D) 

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