moxi on becoming a top Ultimate player: "After top three in the world, everyone feels so beatable. On a good day, I could just be fourth"

 

Sierra "moxi" Lund recently switched to Wolf but you wouldn't know it — it seems as though she has been playing Wolf for years. But there's a reason moxi is considered the 33rd best Super Smash Bros. Ultimate player in the world. 

 

Practice. 

 

Practice. 

 

Practice. 

 

moxi had a great run at the Smash World Tour Championships at the end of 2021. But that's just the beginning for moxi. She is looking to become the best player in the world. Inven Global spoke with moxi about her goals and how she will reach them after SWT. 


moxi takes on the Smash World Tour Championships...

How do you feel about your performance at Smash World Tour? 

 

I’m definitely happy overall. Going into this tournament I had extremely low expectations for myself. Well, just no expectations. This is my first major tournament since switching to Wolf. I’ve been maining the character for a month which isn’t a lot of time. Granted, I’ve been putting a lot more effort into practice since then because I know how hard it is to switch characters and know how much work needs to be done.

 

But locally, I haven’t even been doing the best. Just before I left, I had a disappointing local performance. But after I got there, I spent as much time playing as possible, even Thursday before setups were there… I was practicing all day. I’m incredibly happy with my performance. I wasn’t expecting that much at all. Getting the wins, the amount of composure, the clutch factor I had. I’m very impressed with myself. 

 

 

Were there any matchups you were surprised about?

 

I'm surprised about how it went was Kola. He’s generally considered a top 10 player in at least NA — if not the world. He has the highest peaks of any player. He's an extremely strong player.

 

When I got into the game, I was so surprised by how well I was doing. No brash decisions. A lot of really tense scenarios where I would have made the wrong decision nine out of 10 times but I steeled myself. I was so much more confident. I was paying so much more attention. Probably due to the high-level practice I was getting. I made really proper decisions in tense situations. I pulled out a win. I’m so happy with how I did. I got a win after playing with Wolf for a month… It’s pretty ridiculous. 

 

On the other side, my set with Sintro on Saturday. It was the first set of the day. It was very early. I hadn’t practiced Wolf against R.O.B. yet. It's one of Wolf's more tedious matchups. The matchup is hard to win consistently. Everyone told me I was fine. But I go into it, I was playing the worst Super Smash Bros. Ultimate of my life. This is horrendous.

 

It was an important moment because, after that set, I was so mad at myself. I’m playing early morning. Just yesterday layed Kola. And I had another set. If I don’t win, I wouldn’t make it out. I need to get in the right headspace. I was freaking out. Why am I doing this? I had my hands in my hair, thinking, “What the heck is going on? Why am I making the worst decisions ever?” 

 

Do you think mental game is the most important thing for performance at big tournaments?

 

It's extremely important. Being in the right headspace and enjoying the game you’re playing... It makes you play completely different. The difference is huge. When you get to the top level, it feels like more than half the battle. One of MKLeo’s best traits is how resilient he is. 

 

How do you think you would do against top players like MKLeo, Sparg0...

 

I have played Sparg0 before. It went decently. It went a lot better than I expected it to. I’ve played top players in friendlies. I have a long way to go. I played Shuton and Ken in friendlies. I was getting kind of destroyed. I don't think I” ve ever lost a friendly session that hard.

 

But playing in bracket is different for me. The amount of focus I have is super different. And focus is a very big thing for me. I can’t get in that same mindset during friendlies. In actual bracket, even though I’ve gotten 3-0d by top players, I’ve never had a set that’s really that bad. Even playing Shuton when he is playing Pyra & Mythra. I took him to last hit multiple games. It was super doable. I always feel it’s possible against these top players if I’m just on.

 

Source: SWT

...with an entirely new main in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Who were you maining before Wolf?

 

I played Pokemon Trainer for three years in big brackets. I just decided to make the switch. 

 

PT is a pretty flawed character. There’s also a difference between the amount of fun. But it’s just not fun to lose, which is one factor. PT holds me back in some regards at a top-level. They are good at beating people at lower levels. The barrier of entry to play properly is pretty high. But once you are good enough to do proper counterplay, the character becomes a lot weaker. 

 

A similar sentiment is shared by a lot of top PT players. Everyone has dropped the character at this point. My goal, at the end of teh day, is to be the best player in the world. I don’t think I can accomplish that with PT. 

 

What made you decide to switch to Wolf?

 

Wolf is a character I casually enjoyed throughout Ultimate. The biggest thing that draws me to Wolf is the freedom the character brings you. Wolf is not flawed in any area. At worse, he’s just okay at certain things. I’m a very theoretical person. I envision scenarios… With Wolf, if you think of something you can do, you can do it. Wolf is fast enough. He has enough range in every situation. Any time I have an idea of something I want to do, I can execute it. That’s more freeing than matchups where I can’t execute.

 

I’ve realized now that, I’ve been tweeting about it, I love this character. I’m not enjoying any other characters anymore. I adore playing this character. Some difficult matchups but I’m going to tough it out because I enjoy playing the character that much. Creativity in his combo game. I go into training mode and look for new combos. No character fits me as well as Wolf. 

 

 

With PT, you can be playing really well and just lose if they are good at counterplay. But simultaneously, you can be playing not that good and still win. Their advantage state is super aggressive sometimes and good at abusing matchup inexperience. You have to learn against playing against three characters. I could win against players that are better than me.

 

But with Wolf, there is no cheese. It’s so much easier on my mental. I love feeling that way. If I lose, that’s just because they played better than me. I’m fine with feeling that way. I could have just played better. I really appreciate that side of Wolf. 


moxi and being accepted in the Smash community

All of quarantine, I was trying to go pro in VALORANT, maybe Dota. I've been in a lot of competitive communities. I’m still part of League of Legends. I can say, with pretty high certainty, Smash is the most welcoming. In person, I’ve never had any issues. I feel everyone is super welcoming and super nice.

 

Every online community will be pretty annoying. Being trans, there is a lot of hateful shit being thrown around. But I’ve grown up in competitive communities and I’m pretty used to having shit flung at me and I am able to deal with it pretty well. There will be comments that are really nasty. But it doesn’t feel like a part of the community. The community is who I see and interact with.

 

There’s room to grow. If I want to be honest, there are still issues. A lot of top players and notable figures come off as randomly misogynistic. They talk about women in a very demoralizing and dehumanizing way. That’s just unfortunately what it is.

 

I am trying my best to tell people that they are being bad. I’m not afraid... When someone around me is doing something like that, I tell them not to do that. I’m trying my best. It’s something that has to be worked on. But overall, I'm treated really well. Washington, where I’m from, is a beautifully accepting scene. I’ve traveled to a lot of places and Washington is the most accepting I’ve ever been to. It’s unbelievably welcoming.

 

It shows. There are way more women and trans people in these communities also. It just feels a lot safer and nicer at these tournaments where people aren’t being weird. 

 

 

Did you hear about the UR2SLOW situation in Florida?

 

There’s a ton of people like that. UR2SLOW in particular — he has a history of being weird and I’m not surprised at all. He fits into that. That guy is annoying. As long as that person gets banned and everyone marks fun of him on Twitter for being a weirdo, that’s fine. Get this guy out of here. 

 

If your region stands up for people like that, says they’re so chill and funny, that's fucked. That’s horrible. I don't care if they are funny. Just ban them. Smash is not a right. The Smash community is not something you have to be a part of. It’s a privilege. If you’re an asshole and make people feel uncomfortable, don’t be there.

 

There are a lot of people growing up in this community — vulnerable people that show up. I for one showed up young with no social skills, developing entirely in the scene. My youth was spent in Smash. It's where all my friends came from. Having people like [UR2SLOW] around me… That makes me grow poorly. Those people need to just not be there. They are a detriment to everyone. 

Ultimate players embrace practice, practice, practice

What are your goals going into 2022?

 

I’m going to keep on doing my new practice routine. I have a much more thorough practice regiment. Several hours a day doing solo practice. Play more games more often. Watch VODs more religiously. I don’t have a specific goal. Results will come with effort. I've been able to get a lot better quickly with how I’ve been going about it. There is no reason to change my routine. 

 

A soft goal, I want to be top 20 in the world by the end of 2022. That’s pretty high but super attainable. I’m on the PGR ballot. I was making a ranking. After top three in the world, everyone feels so beatable. On a good day, I could just be fourth. That’s crazy. It would have to be a really good day where I'm playing like that consistently. But these people are super beatable. It’s crazy. 

 

There is nothing I’m missing. I just need to piece it all together and get a lot better at the way I execute and I’ll be able to do amazing things. 

 

I’m excited to keep playing Wolf. I’m having a lot of fun. Let’s make Big Moves and Genesis. Those are going to be super fun. I’m excited to keep playing. 

 

 

A lot of Melee players have said that they practice a lot more than Ultimate players. But you practice a lot. Do you think that sentiment is true for the rest of the community?

 

I think that was true. In 2019, pre-COVID, I was so dogshit. I was so bad and I was 33rd in the world. That amount I understood was so bad. I never practiced. I was on autopilot. And I was still better than almost everyone. I can use that as a good point of reference. I was putting in no effort. That’s embarrassing. 

 

Now, a lot of the top players are practicing all the time. Tweek plays eight hours a day. MKLeo plays a lot and grinds a lot. He doesn’t show it but he’s a ridiculously hard worker. Kola, you can always find him playing. He’s always playing. Backstage at SWT, there were always people playing. The setups were full all the time. 

 

Ultimate players were less hard workers but at this point, but people are realizing the importance of putting in effort. Ultimate isn’t a game that has as many exceptionable barriers as Melee but there’s always stuff to practice. Playing a lot just helps. Ultimate players are realizing that.

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