The Ultimate community has diverged on several different paths since offline tournaments paused. Many tried their best playing in the online era, focused on different games, or retired altogether. One of the most interesting cases is that of Brian “Cosmos” Kalu.
Since the pandemic, Cosmos has been extremely busy. He’s grown his YouTube channel to become a video game skit creator and has also been practicing his passion for art. Inven Global had the privilege to sit down with Cosmos and discuss his aspirations, his current place as a player, and his opinions on the state of the Smash scene.
Recently, just in the last month, you competed in your first offline tournament in more than a year. You were one of the big Ultimate players that kind of took a step back from the game once COVID hit. What was it like for you to not only return to offline competition but return to the game completely?
When COVID started and wifi tournaments started to take over the scene, I was very active in them and was entering them very frequently. I placed pretty well in them, and even in one of the really big major online Ultimate tournaments: Pound Online 2020.
I never really enjoyed entering online tournaments though, so at some point, I got tired of it and just decided to take a break from Smash because of it. When the new Smash character Pyra and Mythra came out, I began practicing offline again. The only reason I entered an online tournament again was for Smash World Tour, but since I haven't entered online tournaments in months, I didn't expect much. The character I started playing was too hard to play online, so it only made it worse for me honestly, which is also why I feel like I couldn't do well.
Something interesting to me about you as a competitor is that you recently said you’re not a Smash player who does art, you’re an artist who plays Smash. How long do you think you’ve had this mindset? Has it always been that way?
Haha, that was kind of somewhat a joke tweet, but I have been focusing a lot of my time on becoming an artist. I'm taking art pretty much just as seriously as smash, if not more.
I still really love competing and playing Smash, but I don't want it to be the only thing I do anymore, since for a few years I was only focused on Smash and nothing else.
Now I've been balancing playing Smash, practicing art, and creating content on YouTube, which all, I feel, have been going pretty well. It gives me a healthier mindset since now that I know Smash isn't everything, I can practice Smash and play in tournaments with less stress about my performance, knowing that I have other things I'm working on too.
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Will we be seeing some of your art soon?
I'm hoping to start posting art consistently on Twitter around the end of the year, probably in December. I've been having my really good friend Kuno help me, and he's done so much for me to help me get better!
He's helping me learn how to draw in an Anime-esque style and take after my favorite artist Ohisashiburi as well. I would love to be able to draw in a style similar to theirs someday!
I wanted your perspective on a few things in the meta. Although you were the best Inkling player in the world, you gave up on that character because it’s too stressful to play her in brackets. Do you think other players of styles different from yours could potentially see success with Inkling?
I still think Inkling is a very good character, but I feel like she takes way more consistency and meticulous play that other good characters don't have to worry about, making it very hard to be consistent and win with her in a best-of-5 format. I feel like another player could do well with her, but I feel like they would probably face similar problems I ran into in brackets against other top players.
You originally were intending to use Pikachu — what made you opt for Pyra and Mythra instead?
I've been waiting for an anime character to get into smash as DLC, and I really like the design of their character model and they're very fun to play!
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It’s interesting because compared to other characters, Mythra and Pyra have a lot of other top representations. We’ve seen MkLeo use them, there’s obviously Sparg0. What do you think is unique about these three styles of using the characters?
Well honestly, I couldn't really tell you because I haven't really watched other people play Pyra and Mythra. I kind of just focus on myself and have fun learning different ways to play the character and what I can do with them.
To my knowledge, neither of them are maining the character and they're just playing them as a secondary, although I could be wrong.
I'd be especially excited to see MKLeo play Pyra and Mythra at an offline tournament because his Joker is my favorite thing to watch in Smash Ultimate, so I feel like it would be really fun to watch him play them too against top players!
You stated you needed to practice Mythra. Do you find Mythra to be the more challenging of the two?
Not really more challenging, but she has so much depth to her, it's not a character that anyone can just figure out in a few months, it'll take a lot of time in my opinion.
You’ve had tremendous success in your skits. What was that process like for you to want to make that type of content? It’s always difficult for content creators to make something different, was it a challenge for you to put that out there?
Well, I was lucky to be able to live with a big skit creator, Cilvanis. He was pretty much able to teach me how to come up with ideas and edit videos similar to how he does, so I have him to thank for that.
Every top Smash player and YouTuber kind of just recycles stream highlights or makes analytical content or react content; which is fine and all but I find that pretty boring. For me, I'm looking for someone further with my content beyond just Smash, so I want to make skits about many different things and hopefully have more success with that! My skits about VTubers were already more successful than my Smash skits, so that's a start, which I'm very happy for because I love VTubers. [laughs]
What is your opinion of VTubing in general? I used to think it was a fad, but from what I’ve observed from interviewing Vtubers, it offers so much to streamers to be themselves 100%. What do you think the future of VTubing looks like?
I think VTubers will continue to grow and grow as time goes on, even with COVID slowing down. It kind of makes the anxiety of being in front of people much more bearable, which is why I understand why so many people became VTubers. I think the community will keep growing and I hope they keep growing very fast!
You’ve been Doubles partners with many of the best players in the world. Compare and contrast the styles of MkLeo, Void, and Samsora. Who is your favorite to play with?
MkLeo was probably my favorite to team with, he just makes everything feel very natural.
Who do you think has the best chance in Ultimate of overtaking him as #1?
At the moment, probably Tweek. He’s very creative with his play, so I feel like he'll always come up with something new and unique people may not be ready for. But [regarding MkLeo], I don't think anyone will.
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I wanted to briefly talk about Nairo. You were someone that was very vocal and really put your credibility on the line when you defended him. Do you think the community has properly welcomed him back?
I think the community overall has welcomed him back, but similar to me, I think he wants to just stream and focus on his own brand. Nairo has always been one of my close friends and helped me a lot, so I always want to be there for him too when I can.
Where do we see Cosmos in five years?
I think I see myself doing the same thing, but maybe focusing a little bit more on art when I'm even better. I would like to compete in Smash for as long as I can, so maybe I can have an art booth at tournaments I end up going to in the future! In five years, I'd like to be at least at 1 million subscribers on YouTube, but we'll have to see!
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I write. I rap. I run. That’s pretty much it.