Interview with Lucky on his past and future in Melee
Thu 3rd May 2018 - 8:05pm
Joey 'Lucky' Aldama has been a force in competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee ever since his early days of teaming with Mang0. Since signing with DIG at the beginning of this year and achieving an impressive 5th place finish at Genesis 5, Lucky has continued to prove his place as one of the world's best Fox players. We spoke with Lucky about his previous Melee career, his current success, and his plans for the future.
Who were your early Melee inspirations? Do you think your current playstyle still reflects them in any way?
Lucky: Early on when I started going to tournaments there was no one else who inspired me as much as PC Chris did. I'm sure that any Fox main who played back when he did would easily say the same thing. I think my playstyle became a mix of a bunch of things, but he was a primary starting point for me.
What do you feel was your breakout moment in competitive Melee? When in your career did you start considering yourself one of the best?
Lucky: I have a lot of favorite moments from when I was younger and getting better but nothing will ever compare to The Big House 4. It was definitely a breakout performance for me at that time and a life-changing one at that for a lot of reasons. I can't really say when I considered myself one of the best but this tournament proved that on a good day, I could hold my own against anyone.
As someone who has been in the competitive scene for over 10 years now, how have you seen things develop and change over time besides the obvious? Is there anything that’s stayed the same for you?
Lucky: That's a hard question. The obvious things like eSports and tournaments being bigger and better each year is really something to be thankful for. If anything has stayed the same about this amazing competitive community though, it's that we absolutely love this game.
In the current meta, there seems to be a push with top Fox mains between playing optimally and retaining an individual style where you play the way you want to. How do you try to balance these factors in your play?
Lucky: I honestly think I bounce between the two pretty constantly. I'm at my best when I am playing my game and add a nice touch of optimal on top. So I try my best to stick to that and not let the Sweden-style influence me too much.
What players currently give you the biggest challenge in bracket? Is there anything you think you need to do in order to overcome them?
Lucky: I hate to steal this from one of the CS girls from Team Dignitas but I can't help it. Recently at our 76ers bootcamp, I overheard one of the girls get asked this same question and she replied, "I think I am my toughest opponent." This really hit home with me for a number of reasons. Beating myself is going to come down to discipline and mentality stuff more than anything.
Let’s talk about your run at Genesis 5. You beat Reeve, Zain, n0ne, SFAT, HugS, and most notably Mew2King in order to finish 5th. Can you talk about how you were feeling going into each of these sets? Were you feeling hot going into the tournament or did your run wind up surprising you in some way?
Lucky: Going into the tournament was interesting, to say the least. Before signing with DIG, I was really going into this tournament like it was going to be my last. I wanted to prove to myself and the world that I was capable of much more than people realized. I think that mentality stuck throughout the tournament even after signing and it really helped me stay more focused than I can say I've ever been at a tournament.
How do you practice outside of tournaments? What’s your standard training routine and do you make use of tools like Netplay and 20XX?
Lucky: I have no idea how I use to practice without 20XX for solo practice or netplay for easy PvP training. They're pretty much essential to my routine at this point and I usually practice a bit every weekday on my stream.
Let’s talk about doubles. Recently you’ve been teaming with La Luna a lot. Do you see yourselves a static team? What are your current goals for doubles?
Lucky: I really do enjoy teaming with La Luna and I think I could easily see us becoming a static team in the near future. However, for the next few majors, I'm going to be teaming with Reno, who is a great teams player and close friend. Back when we were a static team I really felt we had a lot of potential, but I would fall short handling my part in team matches. After playing more teams in general, I think I've gotten much better at it and I'm excited to apply what I've learned with Reno.
SoCal’s place as the best region in the world has seemed to be in question lately with the rise of more top players in regions like NorCal, MDVA, Europe, and Florida. As a longtime SoCal top player, do you still think your region is on top? What do you think has allowed SoCal to retain its dominance in regional crews, and how do you think things will play out the next time you get a chance to face off against other top regions?
Lucky: SoCal may not exactly be considered the best region in the world anymore, but with 5 of the top 20 players I really think we can beat anyone. Unique play styles, skill, and heart are easily how we have won every time, and I know we can do it again. I will say that I believe we are still the best region in the world for improvement with so much talent circling around LA. Not to mention we have amazing local tournaments like Nimbus being run by The Meta Shift and Thunder Gaming.
Last year you were one of only a handful of players to take a set off Hungrybox. Why do you think he has seemed so dominant in the current meta and what do you think you and other players need to work on in order to beat him?
Lucky: I've been talking a lot about discipline and composure being essential at the top level lately. It's pretty safe to say that he has stepped this aspect in his gameplay up more than anyone. I'm working on them myself constantly though and I'm looking forward to playing him again.
When can we expect to see more of The Batman (your Captain Falcon secondary)?
Lucky: Probably sooner than later, haha. I've been putting in a bit of work in the character lately, so he might come out a bit more in a couple match-ups this year.