Matt "Elegant" Fitzpatrick is one of the top Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players in the world right now — but he still has a lot to go if you ask him. And this doesn't only mean climbing up the PGRU power rankings with Luigi (and maybe a secondary). He has other plans for this season, like making friends and staying positive.
Elegant grew up in Nevada and moved to California when he was 15. He started playing Super Smash Bros. 4 competitively while growing up in SoCal, falling in love with the fun game and really competitive community.
"I learned that I had nerves when I was playing. I was so nervous about everything. But the people were really friendly. I was really shy growing up. I wasn’t outgoing or saying hi. But people came up to me and said hello. I actually got fourth out of 70 people and realized I was really good at the game. I just like the whole atmosphere of it," Elegant said of the start of his Smash career.
Years later, Elegant is still focused not only on the game itself but the community that has been so welcoming. Here's a closer look at Elegant's journey as the world's best Luigi and where he wants to go from here.
Okay, why Luigi? What made you pick him?
He’s one of my favorite characters of all time. He’s just so sick. His personality. He’s very shy, kind of scared of stuff, but he can become the bravest person alive when he’s confident. That fits my personality. He’s very goofy too. Green shirt, blue overalls, big nose, sick mustache. He’s just so sick.
My whole playstyle is being aggressive and I love combos. He fits that category for me. I started with Mario and Luigi in Smash 4 but as time went on, I was playing way more Luigi. I just stuck with him. I never really switch off characters. He was the most fun to me.
You are known for basically sticking to Luigi. Do you think it's better for competitive players to focus on one fighter and learn them inside and out or focus on multiple characters?
There will be people that will have trouble if they don’t know how to play the game inside and out. Some matchups have made me consider a second character. Simon and Richter and Zero Suit Samus are two really, really bad matchups. I was thinking about a secondary.
When Sora came out I thought, “Yep, this is the one.” I love Sora. I love Kingdom Hearts. I love the games, the story, the soundtrack. He’s my most-wanted character in Smash.
But it’s doable to solo Luigi. I think it helps me to be one character. If I lose, I grind it out to see if I just need to play differently. You just have to find other characters’ weak points. It helps me know when to play aggressively, if I need to practice my edgeguarding...
Mew2King recently said it's not really that these mid-tier characters are viable. It's that the players winning with them are so good. Do you think that's true for you and Luigi?
I think it’s a bit of both. A good example is Byleth. She is not considered the greatest. Some might even say low tier because she’s slow. But we have MKLeo winning majors with this character. Byleth isn’t that great so it’s more of a player thing in that case.
So do you think there are some things people look over when it comes to Luigi? Does he deserve to be a higher tier or have you made him look good?
People think it’s easy to camp him because he’s really slow. People think he sucks at landing. But this is not entirely the case. If someone plays a projectile-based character, they think it's hard for Luigi. But it’s really not. Just keep them at the ledge and use your zair and fireball. It’s really not that bad. People think Luigi desperately loses to swordies but he does better in those matchups than Mario. He doesn’t struggle.
Luigi is a really, really solid character. But I just know the game so well that I know what to do in certain situations and how to counteract that. Luigi has the tools for me to do that which makes it a lot easier.
How are you feeling about the roster now that it's complete?
I think it’s a really, really good roster. There are almost 90 characters. My dream character got in. So I’m hyped, I’m excited. It’s a good and versatile game. Everyone in this game can do really, really well in a tournament — even Little Mac in the right hands can be dangerous. It’s a great cast of characters and I’m happy with everyone who has got in. Even if I don’t agree with one character I’m just glad they got in for other people.
Is there one DLC fighter you were personally disappointed to see?
Definitely Min Min. I don’t really like ARMS that much. It’s a cool game to watch now and then, but I wasn’t a fan. But I can say the same thing about Byleth. I don’t play Fire Emblem but at the end of the day, it’s cool that they’re in. They’re popular. They’re in for a reason. I was surprised about Steve. I was like, “What the heck?” I was so surprised.
I like Steve. I think he’s a dope character. It’s just weird because you have Mario, Sephiroth, Ryu, Sonic... And then you have Steve from Minecraft.
Which DLC fighter is the worst?
For me, personally, I can’t play Min Min for the life of me. She's too defensive. The movement is just weird. It’s really bizarre to me. As a whole, though, the worst is probably Piranha Plant.
Aw, I love the plant.
He’s sick but of all the DLC he has to work a lot harder than the rest… It’s actually the plant or… No, it’s him I’m pretty sure.
Sakurai has reiterated over and over that there are no more DLC characters after Sora. But some people are unsure. Do you want the DLC to end or are you wanting more?
I wouldn’t mind a few more characters. I’m always down for more characters and more matchups. The more the merrier, I always say. Crash would be dope. Rayman. Anyone. I wouldn’t be mad.
Do you feel that the continuous addition of DLC makes the game more or less competitive?
When it comes to some people, since there’s a lot of characters in the game, they tend to get stressed about learning all the matchups. That’s a lot of matchup knowledge to understand.
But I think more people will play the game and be more interested if more characters are in. A lot of people picked up the game because of Steve.
What are your thoughts on Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl?
That game is so much fun. I play that game every day. I’m even considering entering tournaments.
Who do you main?
I'm a Spongebob and Lincoln Loud main.
Do you think they have any similarities to Luigi? Like Nigel Thornberry having a "rest" similar to Jigglypuff?
The game as a whole is very combo-based. Any character works well for me. But Spongebob is just a dope character. I want to play Lincoln because he’s just fun to me. He reminds me of Ness with his yo-yo. I was not disappointed.
Do you think All-Star Brawl is good for the Smash scene or do you see it causing a rift in the community?
The playstyle for Nick is entirely different from Smash. But I don't think it will ruin anything for both games. There will be separate scenes for both. I don’t see any rift or anything.
You're planning on going to Smash Con. What are your plans for the event?
Just hanging out with friends. Just have fun and play my best. If I don’t get top eight I'm not too worried. I just want to play with everyone in the world and see my skills. As long as I’m having fun that’s all I care about.
Are you happy about in-person tournaments coming back?
Oh yeah, definitely. If the tournament is running nicely and being safe, I’m 100% down to go and always happy.
Were you a fan of online play or were you one of the pros who didn't really count it?
Oh, no. I do not like WiFi at all. I tried to give it a shot and entered WiFi tournaments but I’d get too frustrated and angry because my inputs weren’t correct. The whole online thing… I was just playing for fun during that time.
A lot of pros in the Smash scene aren't making salaries like in League of Legends or getting a lot of prize money compared to other esports. Do you think there's enough support in Smash?
I think with the right people yes. But it would be nice if Nintendo actually cared for the scene and actually helped with everything. We have people who help with pot bonuses and run locals and majors. But it’d be nicer if the company who made Smash would support it.
People can put in the time to create those tournaments with more prize money. But generally, it’s hard to do that in Smash... Games like Brawhalla and League have developers and creators helping. There’s a tournament where Brawlhalla had a $1 million pot bonus. I was like, “What the, I’m playing the wrong game!” Fortnite too. There was a $3 million prize pool for that.
It sucks because Smash is so popular. But Nintendo doesn’t care for it. For players, it’s really important to get sponsored. You can go to every tournament, have a salary…
Despite the lack of financial support, the competitive scene is very passionate about Smash and continues to take part in the esports side. Why do you think that is?
We just love the game. Even if we don’t get all the support, we just love the game. I love Smash. I’ll keep playing even if we don’t have bonuses like League. It’s gaining more numbers every tournament. Everyone is watching Smash now. Everyone just loves the Smash scene. All the people I grew up with are still my friends. I made best friends. I even met my lover from Smash. It’s just nice. I feel I actually fit in.
What's your goal for this season?
I definitely want to get top 10 after COVID. I definitely want to be a top 10 player. I think I am but I need to get the results for it. I want to get more content on my YouTube. I’ve been really lazy. And grow Twitch more too. I need a stream schedule. I want to make more friends in the scene. I’m well known because of my playstyle but it’s nice to just talk to people and be more outgoing. I want to try and do that more.
Who is your biggest rival right now?
Everyone. I think everyone is my rival. I just want to beat everyone so bad. I don’t have a strict person I’m considering my rival. Everyone is the same to me right now.
People often say SoCal is one of the top regions in Smash. Are there any other regions you have your eye on?
Definitely Tri-State for sure. It’s really insane. Japan is really insane too.
Do you watch Tea?
Oh yeah, definitely. Midwest isn’t that bad either. But a threat for SoCal would be Tri-State or Japan. The average players in Japan are way, way better than our average playerbase here.
What's been the biggest challenge in your Smash career?
My emotions when I played the game back in the day. When I would lose, I was really, really hard on myself. A lot of people can vogue for me. I would talk down on myself, saying I’m not good, I’m trash. I’m not worthy to pick up a GameCube controller. I would always be like that. It was kind of bad. It affected my playstyle and gameplay. It affected my focus.
Over quarantine, I realized it’s time. I needed to accept that I lost and got outplayed and I need to get better from it. I sometimes feel I should have won. But at the end of the day, I lost. I have to hold that L and learn why I lost and come back stronger. Quarantine 100% made me more aware of it. It made me realize that. I could have been having more fun at a tournament instead of moping about my loss.
Well, it really does seem you have a positive attitude now, saying you just want to have fun and see people at Smash Con. Inven Global will be at Smash Con as well! Looking forward to seeing you and everyone else there! It's been a while since we've been to an in-person tournament.
All photos courtesy of Elegant.
Esports writer and editor with a passion for creating unique content for the gaming community.