Dabuz had a pretty underwhelming finish at Smash Ultimate Summit 4, placing in 9th after facing MkLeo and ProtoBanham. It was definitely an unlucky run but Dabuz remained the fan-favorite throughout, with the Smash community spamming Dabuz copypasta on Twitch, hyping up the matches on YouTube, and sharing Dabuz memes on Twitter. So what makes Dabuz so damn likable?
Dabuz isn't trying to be likable — that's most likely it. He just is. Dabuz isn't as outgoing and flashy as other players but he is still one of the most entertaining players to watch, whether it's following him on Twitter or viewing a set. Dabuz thinks differently. He plays differently. There is a reason he is the King of New York.
Inven Global reached out to Dabuz after he returned to the East Coast, finding out more about his experience at Smash Ultimate Summit 4 from the casting to the food.
The Smash Ultimate Summit 4 experience
You were making an impact on the casting couch at Summit. Are you trying to get more into casting?
I've casted at Summit before. Some nationals. I don't cast regularly because I also stream. With multiple people I'm not used to, I have to adjust to it.
I saw you were looking for feedback. What did you think about the Smash community's response to your casting at Summit?
I knew something was off with my casting. I didn't mess something up but could have done better. I was trying to figure that out but I don't listen because I'd be so critical of myself. I have to be more assertive and speak up more, which makes sense. I can do that.
Are you planning to do more casting?
It's something I like doing casually on the side but not something I'm really focused on doing. Maybe I'll consistently cast top 32 at nationals. But it's really hard to cast higher parts of bracket while also being in it.
I'll be honest, I'm not interested in casting pools and super blow-outs... It's just a lot while competing. In quarantine, I did do nationals but I did stop after that.
You had a super tough run at Summit, going against MkLeo and then Proto. You said you had super bad luck!
I had the worst luck of any human being. My bracket luck in other stuff is hilariously bad.
It was close, a few mistakes... But once I lost to Leo, I put so much energy into that one that it burned me out for my next set. Against Proto, I wasn't in it. During the set, I looked visibly distraught. I also couldn't find proper prep for Min Min at Summit. Nobody plays the character really besides me. I had to go in basically blind. We played friendlies off-stream and I was having trouble with friendlies off-stream too.
How does his Min Min compare to yours?
I don't play Min MIn anymore but his Min MIn is a lot faster. The movement is cleaner. Now that they nerfed the character's neutral air really hard, you can't space neutral air so he became much more defensive. He just throws arm attacks out, playing a zoning condition game with very little aggro.
People were surprised by MkLeo's performance. What do you think happened?
He felt off. When I played him, I felt his play was off. Watching him, he did see off. He wasn't playing his best, very noticeably so. He wasn't making the hard reads. He plays a hard read kind of Byleth. He wasn't making those stock-taking moves. It was just one of those days where nothing panned out for him, so maybe he lacked confidence in his plays as a result.
Were there any sets that stood out to you?
Tweek using Wario versus Light was very surprising. When Tweek loses in bracket and isn't feeling it, he does kind of pick random shit. He saw Gluto beat Light and was like "I can do that." HIs Wario is very unpracticed. That was the only surprising character pick. People weren't taking big risks with so much money on the line.
Your playstyle is notoriously slow-paced compared to the average Smash player. How do you remain so patient and methodical?
I don't know. It's how I view the game. As Olimar, I play patient until I see the right opening and make the damage happen.
But the matchups that weekend, I can't really push advantage state too much. I'm willing to play to the win condition. If I play a matchup that forces me to get more aggressive and in their face with Olimar. Same with Rosa. But I can't chase Aegis. Palutena? I have no reason to approach her. Her weakness is approaching people but her back air stops aggression.
Tweek, I went aggressive versus Diddy but he switched to Wolf and jumped around. I know I can't beat him if I fight him too much. My characters tend to have to play that way. I have no qualms playing that way I need to play to win.
I think some people were joking about you popping off after winning due to a time out.
That was a 45-min set it felt like. So I was thinking, "Yes, I won! I did it!" I didn't care if it was a time out or not. I won a 45 minute set and I had to time someone out... I was at the ledge, in the corner, a potential kill for the last minute three times... Three different times I could have lost the game off a read going his way.
A win is a win!
It was 3-0 as well!
Why is Summit such an important event for Smash?
The players, myself included, know there's so much you can do there. Some people just stream there. Gluto streamed every day. He got a lot of viewership. People like me, it's the practice. I don't get a chance to practice with those quality of players consistently at all. Being able to sit down and play with good players for four-five days straight. It's a ridiculous opportunity every single time. Light focused on being on the couch, commentating... You can hang out with casters, getting your voice out there in a new perspective — find a new audience.
As long as you're doing something... Even just a fun, casual hang-out to socialize with people. You usually don't get that in a tournament environment — hanging out with all the top players and chill like you're at someone's home. It's a very unique opportunity. There's a lot of different ways to benefit. It's what you're going for.
Was there anyone you hung out with at Summit?
I'm one of the least social top players, period. I go to an event and talk... But this weekend, I wanted to focus on everything — I sat down and practiced with EVERYONE. Everyone except Tea I played a decent amount with. I streamed quite a bit. I was on the couch quite a bit.
Not the most efficient way to spend time, sitting down and chilling with people. I never do that. I'm a very anti-social and introverted person. I'm not outgoing in the slightest. For those two days, I'm ignoring people.
The people I hung out with a lot and practiced with and hung out with for hours were Lui$ Money, Glutonny, and Aaron the most. They helped me a lot to prep for brackets because they played characters I'm fighting against or were at least similar. All three of them are willing to sit down and play for hours. So that works out naturally that those are the people I'm really going to hang out with.
In Europe, the players are just not as strong as the ones at Summit so I can see why he wants to grind. He says, in nicer terms, that they suck all the time.
Oh, wow. Yeah, it must be nice to finally play against top players in an environment like Summit. I think a lot of players in Europe have had similar complaints.
The new players in Europe have gotten a lot better, he's said. Gluto will train up-and-coming players with talent. Coach and train them at events. Lost the two of the people he trained at tournaments. He's working on building his own competition. It's a smart way to get better.
It's like fighting Amiibos but better.
The Los Angeles food experience
Okay, I saw something very controversial after Summit. People were debating how to eat a bagel. But I know you are the one who would know. What is the weirdest way you've seen someone eat a bagel?
I've seen people cut up a bagel into tiny little pieces.
You can't even hold your disgust back... Cutting up a bagel with a knife and dipping it into cream cheese...
Oh my god...
Right? RIGHT? [Sigh of disgust] I've only seen that once... It was a weird thing someone did. But oh my god, that was cursed.
Does anywhere have bagels as good as New York City?
Those Cali bagels were not hitting right! They weren't bad. I had a nice breakfast for three days. The cream cheese was amazing of course. But nah, NY food, in general, is just really good. When it comes to food in America, there are very few places with food as good as NY.
Yeah, I feel New York City and Los Angeles are the best. I usually miss the sushi when I leave Los Angeles.
Mexican food in LA is very solid, generally. Ramen, sushi... I'll give them that. Italian food, breakfast food, sandwiches... Nah, they don't got it in LA.
When you travel for Smash, what do you like to do when you're not practicing and competing?
If I get the chance, I just like exploring the city and just getting new food. That's what I love about traveling — constantly trying new food places and specialities. When I go to Europe for events, I'll definitely do what I did before — spend a day sightseeing, going to see things unique to a place. Go see a play or go to a park. I really like to try a bit of everything and experience things I don't normally get to try.
I think it was Florida or California back in the Smash 4 days... There was a museum of Soda. I checked it out. It was pretty interesting. I got to try a lot of different sodas, regional variances of soda. A lot of them taste like garbage. These sodas that were exclusive to Africa — I hated all of them.
Things taste so different in each culture. In Europe, food is not as sweet as American food. Japan, their level of spicy is mild compared to Mexican food or American food.
The competitive Super Smash Bros. Ultimate experience
How do you feel about Nintendo shutting down Smash at Evo?
Honestly, this is gonna sound bad but I kind of popped off... Smash at Evo is a nice opportunity... Buuuuut as someone who hates going to Vegas... It's gross. It feels like something my parents like. Blech. As someone who hates going to Vegas, when they announced Smash won't be there, I was like, "Okay, this is objectively bad but I'm glad I have no reason to go to Vegas." I was excited to not have to go there.
How do you feel about Nintendo getting more involved, having the circuit?
I view it as them not being involved but them saying, "We're going to let you do your thing and support it instead of trying to shut it down." I don't think we will get huge sponsors or money. But it will be nice for TOs for Nintendo to not get in the way or screw things over. Maybe they will add a golden controller as a prize. Maybe we'll get some small things from them.
Players like me, we can make a living off of this game if we do a bit of everything. The best thing is just not having to worry about it being taken away out of nowhere. When Nintendo tried to take Melee out of Evo, we were like, "Hey Nintendo, we hate you already. Don't do this." Hate is an exaggeration but you know what I mean.
You're considered a bit "older" for a Smash pro. How does it feel that the scene is so young?
I expect it at some point. I've seen this happen three times now. Brawl, Smash 4... Older Brawl heads moved on. Smash 4, older Smash 4 heads moved on... During quarantine, a lot of them drifted away. It's expected. At some point, Ultimate players will move on when the next game comes out or they get older.
I will say that quarantine caused a ;ot of older players to move on and a lot of spots got filled by young and upcoming talent. It's interesting to see. The average age of really good players in Ultimate is getting to a point where it's like younger than the average age of Smash 4 players was.
When I go to events, since I'm so much older, I feel like an elder to them. I'm not part of their generation. It's a different social dynamic but it doesn't bother me. It's interesting to see them jump up and see their potential. I was scouting who would be good in the future and now I can see I was right on the mark with it.
What are your goals in Ultimate right now?
Practice, get better, get better at everything. Not just be the best in the world. Not just content creation. Not just commentary. I want to dip my toes into everything. That's what I've been doing since quarantine.
Eventually — EVENTUALLY — I'll have to move on to work in esports or do something else entirely. But I don't know when that will be. Right now, Smash is still a good place for me to invest most of my time in.
It'd be cool to be kicking zoomers butts 10 years from now with my old man reaction times and dad jokes. Being the Daigo of the game seems sorta cool. I think he's 40 years old and he's still a top Street Fighters player. That's pretty cool. It's unrealistic, unlikely but that'd be really funny to win a big event over the best players. I have people in bracket who were just born just when Brawl became a thing. Dang, that's funny.
Esports writer and editor with a passion for creating unique content for the gaming community.