Fans of Edgard "n0ne" L. Sheleby are no doubt familiar with the Captain Falcon main's iconic moment, "the n0neback."
What's been great to see in 2022, is that we're having another great comeback story — on a much larger scale. After taking a break and focusing less on the game over the past several months, n0ne came back strong to take an impressive fourth-place finish at GENESIS 8, a ninth-place finish at Pound 2022, and a seventh-place finish at Smash Summit 13.
Inven Global had the opportunity to speak to n0ne, and discuss his thoughts on Summit, the future of Captain Falcon, and his plans for Golden Guardians.
We just finished with Smash Summit 13 — how do you reflect on the event?
It was a good event. Summits are always great — they treat us like royalty. They just take care of us, feed us — they do everything. A lot of high-level melee going on. I think it's safe to say that all the other players were all cool with each other. So overall, it feels very close, if that makes sense. It just feels like a get-together of people that are close.
There was quite a lot of Captain Falcon representation. What were your thoughts on Mekk and Salt?
Yeah! We had three Falcons at the event. They're really good. They've been playing since before the pandemic, but I guess through netplay and being holed up entering online tournaments — they just got better. Of course, Salt is really good. Really fast, really crazy. He reminds me of a younger version of myself.
And Mekk also has his own thing going for him: a very strange playstyle, but I don't mean that in a bad way. Strange is good in Smash. You usually want to be a bit unpredictable, and it works out for him. So that's something he has going for himself.
If Salt is similar to yourself, where would you slot Mekk in as far as Falcon playstyles?
When we were at Mang0's 0.5, S2J, Mekk, and Salt were there with me — we were joking around. I called Salt the next Gahtzu and Mekk the next Wizzy. Comments were thrown around, but I'm not sure if that's totally accurate. But for now it's I guess a good way to say it — S2J agreed.
It feels reminiscent — it seems what they're looking for is similar to what the other players are looking for. I said it in jest, of course, but you can see some similarities here and there. And it's safe to say that you can see who their influences are. It's crazy to think this is the next generation. Time flies. Who would have thought that the top Falcons are now influences to these new people that are showing up and doing good? It's nice to see.
What is your perception of Captain Falcon in the meta currently? We have a top Sheik again, Hungrybox looks strong again — is it going to be a lot tougher you think?
I think so, because Sheik is just naturally a pain in the butt for Falcon. But Falcon is doing okay. S2J has been a bit absent, and Wizzy has been going through some medical stuff (which I hope he's doing better with). I've been holding it down how I can. We're halfway year into the year and Falcon's been in two top-eights. So there's good representation for the character right now.
Looking at your GENESIS win and now Summit — what has changed for you? Why do you think you’ve leveled up so much recently?
It's ironic, because, before GENESIS, I've not really been playing that much. I've been balancing family and pending things in life. It's ironic that I've been doing okay now that I haven't played much. Because sometimes you're just playing too much. And that's the curious thing: too much of something is bad.
Although I wasn't playing, I have the mental going in. I would take things very lightly if that makes sense. Like if I lost the stock or a game, I'm like, "Okay, whatever. Let's just go to the next one." Somehow not playing so much helped my mental. And it's carrying on now because now we're at the Summit and I'm playing more again. I'm getting back into the game. So yeah, I guess it's safe to say that breaks are good.
So going into GENESIS, you would say your mental game was far stronger than it would have been otherwise?
I think it was good. I think everyone was like, "This guy looks rusty." While true...I have decent execution, but I've always played on the more cerebral side. So somehow I was getting away with outsmarting people. Which only takes you so far. But for the most part, I was riding on that for a while. It helped a lot.
I do still maintain that Melee is 70% mental and 30% execution, but we live in times where you see all these newer players — they're cracked. When you see them executing, the things they do I'd never dreamed of doing. Look at Salt — Salt has been playing for, I think what he told me was eight years [according to SSBWiki, Salt's first competition was in mid-2016. At the time I was playing for eight years I couldn't do any of that. The bar of skill in Melee has just gone upwards in crazy fashion.
I was talking with iBDW a while back, and we discussed how because the meta is getting more and more optimized, players with lower-tier characters will have to start dual-maining to keep up. He was specifically referring to Pikachu and Yoshi, but do you see Falcon falling under this as well?
The problem with Captain Falcon is when he gets counter-picked to FD. Players like Wizzy do it — they just win on FD usually more often than not. I still think you can solo Falcon. But I'm also of the opinion that you could also just dual-main: find a little counterpick character just for that stage. You could do it both ways — you can still solo with him.
It'll be hard, but I don't think Falcon is as limited as a Pikachu in a best-of-five that he needs to get a counter-pick. I don't know too much about Yoshi, but it's safe to say that Falcon can hold his own still in this meta.
Overall, though, it's most likely advantageous to prepare a pocket-pick for FD?
Yeah. For example, Johnny has a pocket Falco. If he has to fight a Fox on FD, he could just go Falco. I think the matchup is still in Fox's favor on that stage, but with the element of surprise and all that — he could make it work.
At Summit, the big winner was iBDW. When he won Summit 12, it was a big deal, but a lot of people still put Mango and Zain above him. With this run, where do you put him in the conversation for Melee's current best players?
He's up there. We're kind of in a strange time. Mango's kind of being Mango. The thing about Mango, is that all of a sudden he's just back and you don't see it coming. That's just how he operates. But for iBDW — yeah, for sure. I would like to see him a bit more versus Zain. I do know at GENESIS they had a tight set. But the man is consistent — he's doing good everywhere. I do know he was worrying about a couple of tournaments where he didn't get top eight or something, but clearly, the man is really good.
Sometimes outside opinions hit us mentally, but we have to not pay attention to all the noise. You have to just know how good you are, what your peaks are, and how far you can get. That's all you need to keep on going in my opinion.
When he's in the zone, he seems unstoppable. What was it like playing against his Fox at this tournament?
Yeah, he's in the top echelon of players. He's really good — you get reversed really easily if you don't watch your footing. From what I remember, I think I was getting reversed a lot. The ability to recognize the situation is of a top player, and he's really good at that. He's on it and he's got it. And I think he's gonna be there for a while.
How would you compare his Fox to others in the top echelon?
I think iBDW's style is just very optimal. He just hits everything, and he gets everything. He's got the execution, and he doesn't miss — it's very rare for him to miss something. He reminds me of Leffen, as well. Whereas Mango would be more freestyle. It would be more, "I'll do whatever I want, and I'll see how you deal with it." And iBDW is more like, "I'll just do this, because this will work. And this is going to beat whatever you got." That's the two ideologies I think they have going.
Surprisingly, this was one of the lowest Summit prize pools in a while — the third lowest in either game that they’ve had. We've seen a lot of the bigger names in the scene refuse to campaign. Do you see that continuing to be the case?
I know there's gonna be a mixup for the next Summit. I had a word with Ken and he wanted some of my input — nothing is revealed just yet, but there's going to be some changes, and I think these changes are going to make people want to campaign. Because it's a big shake-up, and it's worth it. It's a really nice idea.
Personally for me, what I remember from the times I've campaigned — sometimes I make it, and sometimes I don't. But I think what was happening was there were way too many VIPs. When you're estimating how many VIP votes your competition has, you usually damage control and see what you can do to fight that. But I think at one point it changed to like thirty or forty. And it's way too big of numbers to be able to be strategizing in any way.
It became a strategy of just collecting VIP votes, and I think that's mostly the reason why everyone got burnt out. I got knocked out of the last Summit, and then I just kind of didn't want to do it anymore because it's a different strategy now. And yeah, I've done it enough. But anyways, there's gonna be a shake up, and people are gonna like it. So I think a lot of people are gonna opt in for the next one.
You believe it will return to the hype we were seeing for Summit previously?
It's an experiment that's gonna be done. So I don't know, we'd have to wait and see. It could be less, it could be more, but eyes will definitely be on the event. Because change is weird, but exciting at the same time.
Could you elaborate on what made the VIP situation so frustrating?
Every VIP gets access to 3,000 votes, I think it is. So it became a task of recollecting those VIP votes. Everything's done through Discord, and there are secret channels and servers. I can't do it. I couldn't personally monitor the activity or the movement of votes. So out of left field, you would just lose in the count. Because it's too many VIP votes.
Of course, that's my opinion — there are other players. I don't know what they're thinking. But for me, it was just a bit stressful in that regard.
It’s been a while now since you initially began work with Golden Guardians. How do you reflect on your time with the organization?
Golden Guardians has been great. What we got going on right now with Toph, Zain, PPMD, and myself — it's great. We have great chemistry with each other, we get along, and we come up with ideas. We're like a family at this point. The community seems to really like it too.
Do you have any future ambitions with the org?
We're always listening to feedback from the community — when the community has good ideas and they want to see something, we kind of put that into fruition. We do have some plans going into the year. We've had them, it's just that with the whole COVID thing, it comes and goes and comes and goes. But we do have some things planned out, which I'm pretty sure are going to happen because it seems like things are getting better. It's just a matter of timing. That's going to be a surprise for everyone — you'll have to wait to see.
To conclude: If you had to pick one set, which one would you most want to be remembered by?
I'm a content creator, but everyone seems to remember me for the M2K match. "Oh, that's the guy that beat M2!" That's my identity. That is the only thing I've been known to do in life, apparently. But it's curious because that wouldn't be my match.
My match would probably be either...the Grand Finals set against HugS in Mexico at Smash Factor 5. Because I just love Ganon and I feel like I don't play him enough when I should. And of course, "the n0neback" where I made a four-stock comeback here in Toronto. My career kind of swung after those matches.
I write. I rap. I run. That’s pretty much it.