Dark Wizzy on making the Smash community inclusive: "I just want to help other people feel accepted."


Since tournaments have continued to ramp up, Rasheen "Dark Wizzy" Rose has been constantly on the move. Both at regionals and majors, the iconic Mario player can be found almost anywhere. Inven Global had the chance to sit down with Dark Wizzy to discuss his thoughts on his play, doubles, and what can be done to make the community better.

Dark Wizzy and the state of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Mario

This is your third major back now and you've had pretty decent results. How have you been feeling with things? What have been some of the challenges would you say?


So far I've been steadily doing better and better in bracket, which is good because it's what I wanted. The hardest thing to readjust to is just readjusting to a tournament environment in general. Because it's very stressful, so many nerves come back, and pressure and everything.


So the main thing I'm working on isn't really in-game, it's outside of game. Trying to maintain my nerves and stuff better. And I think I'm slowly, slowly getting better as time has passed. My estimate is around December/January — I should be fully okay and fully comfortable again. 


But I'm pretty happy that even when coming back, both majors I went to at minimum I got top 32. So that's pretty good to me. Honestly, I didn't expect top eight right away just because I hadn't adapted to tournament environment stuff again. And I think I'm doing pretty well so far. Every tournament I've been to back outside of Summit I've done well at. And I've been steadily doing better. And I have a lot of chances the rest of this year anyway, and I have a lot of tournaments coming up too.


You've mentioned on social media plenty of times that you still feel shaky playing sometimes. Is that mostly from playing in front of a crowd, or where do you think that comes from?


It's a combination of that it had been a while since I've been in the environment of really big tournaments with a lot of people. And a lot of my friends and supporters want me to do well obviously, so I get kind of scared if I do poorly. I don't want to make them sad or let them down. Even though I shouldn't think about that when playing, that's what I'm trying to get better at is just playing for myself. Just keeping myself relaxed and playing the game. Drinking lots of water when I play. 


But yeah, mostly it's just the fact that a lot of people expect me to do really well, of course. Because I'm a bigger name in the community people expect to get far. So I've been scared to lose recently, which is a really bad thing. I'm trying to get better at not getting scared to lose. Because I've always been a player that is really good at handling my losses, but I'm just scared to lose. And I shouldn't be that.


I should be more relaxed and say, "Okay, I'm just playing to win and playing for myself. Not for anyone else." And I'm trying to get better at just keeping my focus and not worrying about outside factors and stuff like that.


Source: Frost Bite


Since the "post-quarantine era," you've been one of the most active tournament participants. You're at a big event almost every week. What has that been like for you? Has it been exhausting?


I love it. I actually really, really enjoy traveling and I love what I do. I like traveling and I like competing a lot. I get a little bit of downtime at home a couple days and fly out again. I won't always be doing seven tournaments in a row. The reason why I'm doing a lot right now is because offline is just now coming back for me, so I want to go to as many tournaments as possible.


Obviously, I'll calm down a little bit once the next year after January. But I usually don't do seven weeks in a row—that's usually super uncommon for me actually. But because I was really happy that offline's back for me, I was excited to go back and get adjusted to the environment. That's why I decided to go to a lot as soon as I was able to.


I heard you recently talk about feeling a lot stronger with Mario. Walk me through what your thoughts on Mario and what you've been doing to get to a place where you feel really good about him.


My thoughts on the character himself haven't changed— he's still really good. He's easily a top-tier character that you can go very far with, as I have proven that plenty of times in Smash.


And for execution practice, the way I do it is, at minimum, I spend one hour in the Training Room just doing combos over and over again. Because I don't want to drop important things, and sometimes drop combos just because my hands are shaky—I'm nervous and stuff—so I'm trying to be a lot more relaxed while going for long combos and kill confirms.


And so far I think, after Summit, every tournament I've at least gotten one or two really, really important combos that had me win the game. Which is good, because that goes to show me that the practice I've been doing is paying off—so I don't drop stuff.


And I've been playing friendlies today as well, and I saw myself landing more stuff that I usually will sometimes mess up. So I feel like my hands are starting to calm down—not fully, sometimes they'll still shake a little bit in bracket—but it's a lot less shaky than it was at Summit and Glitch. I think as time passes, I'm readjusting at a really good pace.



Your goal is to for the most part solo-main Mario, but you've also talked about how you have secondaries to avoid the Mario-ditto. Why is that? Why do you not enjoy playing dittos with Mario?


I am just not good at that matchup. My record against Mario as Mario is actually really bad. Because I've actually never beaten another Mario in bracket in this game. I'm 0-3 against Mario. And I think something I've always struggled with in this game in dittos is... I'm not gonna lie, my pride gets in the way. When it comes to Mario dittos, I'm just like, "Okay, I need to try a different character against this character. Because I'm fighting myself and my opponent at the same time." And that's really bad. 


I haven't attempted the Mario ditto in bracket again since 2019. I could probably do a lot better nowadays. But I don't even want to risk it. I just want to see if another character of mine can do it.


I was testing out Yoshi and Joker at this regional last week, and I was playing against a Mario and I lost his Yoshi. And I was like, "Okay, I'll probably try Joker next time. And if my Joker loses then I'm just going to have to tough it out with Mario most likely."


But I just strongly dislike the matchup. I don't even like how the matchup plays out. I don't like the trades—it's really stressful. And like I said, outside factors like my pride get in the way, and stupid things in my head like, "I should be winning this thing. I should be winning this. I know I'm better." And that stuff just messes with me a lot. 


I think nowadays if I tried it I probably wouldn't be that hard on myself in the middle of the match because I feel like I've matured a lot in terms of mentality. But I still do want to try out and see if I can win with another character before I really have to do Mario dittos.


Are you set on Joker and Yoshi?


Yes, but my Joker has recently become better than my Yoshi. Which is good, because I want to play more Joker than Yoshi since Joker's significantly better. And I've been finding Joker more fun, honestly. And there's more room to grow and be a lot more creative with him. So I've been leaning more towards Joker. I'll probably only be using Yoshi on Squad Strike.

Dark Wizzy and the state of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Doubles

You're someone that really loves doubles—but unfortunately, I don't think the general community enjoys it as much. Why do you think doubles hasn't resonated with people the same way it has in, say, Melee?


Doubles is really hard for Ultimate. They're really hard. They got a lot harder from Smash 4 to Ultimate, so they can get frustrating pretty fast. And overall doubles has never been nearly as big as singles. But there are a lot of good players out there that really do enjoy doubles. I love doubles, Elegant loves doubles, I know Light enjoys them—there's a lot of players that I know that really do enjoy doubles. 


And the reason why doubles has always been my favorite format in Smash because I love two-player teamwork. And I just find doubles so cool—team compositions are so fun, I love having my partner, I love the fact that you're have to be on point, and I just seem like I enjoy myself a lot more. Well...not a lot more, but doubles is my favorite format in Smash because that's where I have the most fun even though I still really love singles. 


And I've been like a player...most people consider me a top 1-4 doubles player, which I guess my results kind of do back that up. I've won a couple of doubles majors with different people—I've actually won four doubles majors with four different people. And I'm actually trying to work on the fifth right now because I want my static partner to be Ned, so we recently just started teaming and we've been getting better. So hopefully we can win a doubles major soon. Because I love doubles, but some people don't like doubles because it's really hard and it's a completely different ballpark.


Source: Port Priority


And it's hard to be really good at Ultimate doubles—doubles in this game are definitely much harder than they were in Smash 4. Especially because we don't have like the broken Clouds to just carry you, because that character pretty much ruined the doubles meta in Smash 4, because he was that good and that easy.


But overall, it's more so usually for people it's hard for them, so they don't play it, or they straight up don't like it because it's too hard, or they just don't like the format. But there's a good chunk of people out there that really do enjoy doubles. I'm definitely a doubles enthusiast. I love doubles. 


In Smash 4 you consistently used to team up with WaDi. With him being at a lot of events, why don't you team up with him in Ultimate?


I actually don't know. We ended up just not teaming in this game. I think it's just because when Ultimate came out I was with MVG, and Salem and I were on MVG. So just by kind of correlation, we're like, "Oh, we should probably team with these tournaments."


But we were—it's funny you say that—because me and WaDi were going to team last week at Pinnacle, but we DQ'd out of it because it was in Canada and it's really hard to get there. But we actually do plan on teaming at one point in this game. We just won't be static.


But there's no reason why stopped teaming, it just kind of happened. We were just like, "Oh, we just haven't teamed in a while." But we were really good in Smash 4. We pretty much top eighted everything in terms of majors, and we won a few regionals. We could probably do pretty good in this game, if we teamed. Probably not win, but we can do pretty good.


You could probably have nearly any top player team with you for doubles. What stands out to you about Ned?


Ned's a really close friend of mine. Ned is also never teamed with a super, super good doubles player in this game. So the first time we teamed ever at Glitch, he said that was the first time he ever top eighted a doubles major in this game.


And the combination of—me and Ned make a really good static team because we go to a lot of the same tournaments, and the team comp that we do is really good. Mario and Sephiroth is a really good team. And we did a little bit of labbing at Low Tide before going to bracket, and we landed like almost everything that we labbed in bracket on day one. And we got fourth.


So the first tournament was Glitch, where we got fifth. Next was Low Tide where we got fourth. So I think if we keep this up, we'll win a doubles major pretty soon. I'm super confident.



The consensus is that Marss and Light are the best for statics team. You think you can contend with them?


Yeah, I think we can at least be in the top three. The best static teams will probably end up being, Light-Mars, Luis-BestNess (Scend), and me and Ned. As long as me and Ned continue. Because like I said, me and Ned are super early as a team right now. So I think by the time January rolls around, we'll be super-polished.


I talked with Marss about it and he says partly the reason is because of Squad Strike. What's your opinion of Squad Strike?


I think it's very fun. I actually love Squad Strike. But I wouldn't say that's the reason why people don't really enter doubles. Because more tournaments have doubles than Squad Strike. So when a tournament actually has like Singles, Squad Strike, Doubles—it's actually not super common just because a lot of tournaments don't do it. But I definitely wouldn't say Squad Strike is the reason why people aren't entering doubles, it's just that not a lot of people are interested in doubles. 


Squad Strike is really cool though. I really like when Singles, Squad Strike, and Doubles—all three are at an event. Because it gets people like, "Okay, which event do I like more. I'm gonna sign up for this one." And if they don't like doubles, and a tournament only has Singles or Doubles, they only do Singles. But if there's another option to do with Singles, then they can do both. So it's more options for people, and more fun.

Dark Wizzy and the state of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Community

You're someone that has a pretty active Discord and Twitch community. What has been the most memorable interaction or moment you've had with your fanbase?


Dude, there's been so many. We have so many laughs on my stream.


I would say my favorite streams are probably when we're doing random-only doubles, because we're always just cracking up laughing. Or when we're playing Super Mario 3D World, because we're always cracking up laughing. I've had so many moments with my community that I don't have an all-time favorite moment.


But I have a plethora of memories of like, "Wow, this was really funny." And it usually comes from messing around in Smash or doing something random in doubles. Or doing Mario Kart or 3D World—so I get to laugh at them all the time just because of all the silliness that happens in those games. Especially Mario Maker. Mario Maker is really funny to stream. 


But yeah, I spend time with my community quite literally every day. Even when I'm at tournaments in the hotel room, I check on them, I see how they're doing, I just hang with them for a little bit. They're kind of like a second family to me honestly.


Something you've always received a lot of respect for your support of trans rights. That's something I think most young people say they support, but you're someone that actually takes a lot of action and tries to help in the position you're in. Why is it such an important issue to you?


The trans community is a community that I felt has been treated disrespectfully from a lot of people for a really long time. So growing up and learning more about trans people, I started feeling really bad. And I was like, "No, I wish these people were treated right like everyone. Because they deserve it."



And when I started getting big on my platform, I was like, "Okay, I can finally use my voice to voice things that are super important and be as helpful as I can."


Basically what I try to do my platform is... My word can't really go past the Smash community, because the community I'm from is the Smash community. So I use my voice in the Smash community to help trans people know as best as possible that at the very least, they are welcomed here in the Smash community. 


I wish I could do it worldwide, but obviously I'm not a world-famous star or anything like that. So I try my best to have my voice be heard in the Smash community for trans people. To just be like, "You are accepted here. Come out to tournaments. We love you guys."


And if issues ever occur—and especially that involves them, then make sure they report that and we'll get that handled, or we'll report that to the TOs. Or I'll try to report that to the TOs and stuff like that. But my goal is basically just to make them feel more accepted. And at least this community. Smash community is pretty big. And that's where my voice is so that's where I try my best to do that.


I myself am not trans. I get that question a lot for obvious reasons. But I myself am not trans. I do have a lot of trans friends. I just want them to feel as accepted as possible at any given time, just because I know how much shit they go through from a lot of horrible people.


And I have gotten a lot of good feedback before. I've had people DM me saying like, "Thank you so much for doing this. I actually went back to tournaments because of you." That kind of stuff makes my heart melt. When people message me like, "Dude I feel so much more welcome," and like I just said, that they went back to the tournament scene because of me—that makes me almost tear up. 


Because that means... if I can help even at least one person, then I feel like I'm doing... that's what I want. Even if I can help just one. But the fact that I've had multiple people come to me and given me so much positive feedback, they seem really happy and it makes me want to keep doing what I'm doing.


Because it's not like I'm doing anything crazy. I'm not donating thousands of dollars to charity or anything. I'm just trying to use my voice to make it so that they know that they are accepted in the Smash community, and that there's at least one top player out there that really cares about them, and I want to be as helpful for them as possible. Not to be like an icon for them or anything. I just want to be helpful. I just want to help other people feel accepted, at least in the Smash community.


If anything, what do you think the general Smash community could do to be more inclusive?


I guess they could do similar things to what I do. Just be vocal about like, "Make sure you guys are treating everyone right. Trans people are people just like us."


And there should be no discriminating among your own personal communities—your Twitch communities, your Discord communities, and just in general at tournaments. And when it comes to TOs,  maybe they can advertise on their page like, "No discriminatory stuff allowed. No transphobia. No homophobia."


I think stuff like that can maybe help. There's definitely not one set-in-stone answer for that. But there are definitely a plethora of things that they could do, and honestly that we all could do as a community just to make it so people can feel a lot safer. 


Ideally, where do you hope to be in five years?


I want to still be a competitor. I want to be a top 10 competitor by then. I want to be a really, really popular Twitch streamer. And I won't be living in Seattle.

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