Just like with my interview with Tap, I got the wonderful opportunity to chat with a formidable up and coming MI Melee player Liam_Butler (That’s Liam underscore Butler) and he had a few interesting things to say. For an Ice Climbers main from a small town, he sure is on the rise. With goals in his reach and a burning/freezing passion, he promises to take Michigan by force in coming year.
As always I (The Main Course, Coleslaw) will be shown in BOLD.
Coleslaw: First things first why don’t you introduce yourself?
Liam: Hello, I am Jadon Maloney, but better known by my tag Liam_Butler. I play Ice Climbers and have been playing competitive melee for about a year and a half.
Could you tell us the story of how you got into competitive Smash?
So, summer of 2014, I was playing Ultra Street Fighter IV competitively and it was pretty much my life. I played it all the time, studied frame data like a monster, I loved it all. But there was something about the high level play I didn’t understand. What I was lacking, I later found out, was fundamentals and that hindered my enjoyment of the game. But, that didn’t stop me from going and entering the Ultra tournament at Youmacon 2014. Now, around this time, my friend Shaq Jacob showed me the Smash Documentary and I was like, “Oh my gosh, I want to be good at this game too.” So I entered Melee at Youmacon. I actually entered that tournament with Ice Climbers, but didn’t play them much before or after that. After Youmacon, I performed poorly in both games, and eventually quit USFIV for Melee and them Melee for PM and then I ended up back to Melee after meeting Zack Maitland.
The Documentary sure was amazing. What about it do you think caused so many new players to enter the scene?
I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, it made me feel connected to the players. I wanted to be Ken, and now looking back, I can relate to Chu, it really showed the human side of the scene, which is something that I never saw in the street fighter community.
Was Chudat your inspiration for picking Ice Climbers?
Chu inspired a lot of things in my life, but he wasn’t why I played them.
If you don’t mind me asking, what DID inspire you to pick up such an odd character(s)?
I’m gonna put myself on blast, but it is a good story. So, I knew this guy who thought he was amazing at smash. And I was super mad, so I offered to money match him, first to 5. And he had been bodying my Falco, so I was trying to think of counterpicks to his Marth and Link. Now, Smash 4 hadn’t come out yet, and an article came out where Sakurai explained why ICs weren’t coming back. So, to honor the fallen characters, I played them for a bit to practice and I was like “Hey, these guys are fun.” Then I found out about wobbling and said to myself, “I can’t lose if I do this.” So I learned how to wobble and 5-0’d my friend. After Youmacon, when I came back to Melee, I played Falcon, and lost a lot. One day at a Clinton-Macomb Public Library tournament, I randomly picked ICs after losing with Falcon and started winning and was like, “Alright, these two are my spirit animals, I’ll stick with them and get good with them.”
Haha every smasher has a fun story like that. Ice Climbers players are known to be some of the most unique in the community. Why do you think that is?
I’m not sure actually. I feel like that people who are drawn to weird characters can relate, in some way. Not to promote stereotypes, but a lot about what kind of person you are is reflected in your play and who you play. Everyone is drawn to characters because, in one way or another, they represent them. At least, that’s how I see it.
I can definitely see that, especially at the top level. Hungrybox being so patient plays a walling Puff or Mango a rush down Fox/Falco because he loves to style and show off. How would you describe your play style? How does it differ from say, Wobbles or Fly Amanita?
Can I describe my playstyle as unpopular? Jokes aside, my tournament and friendlies styles are different. In general, I like optimal options and solutions to problems. When it comes to ICs, I think I started as a Nintendude-esque IC, with a lot of desyncs and defensive play and I’ve recently moved more towards patiently aggressive plays. Though, with certain characters, I have to play defensive regardless, ala Peach and Falco. Oh, and I love getting wobbles off of tech chases. If there was ever a technique I wish to be known for, it’s a hard read tech chase into wobble.
We actually played a set at the first Oddball in January and I believe you hit a couple of those haha. I noticed at the same tourny you went Falcon in doubles. Why is that?
So, I have a pocket Falcon that I use in friendlies and occasionally for Peach (though I am godlike at the ICs-Peach matchup). I think Falcon is strong in teams and I think ICs are terrible in teams. I’ve talked to a top Falcon main about Falcon in teams and ICs in teams and he inadvertently convinced me to use Falcon for teams. My partner Rose is a Peach main and I think Falcon-Peach is an excellent team, so that also is part of why I use him in teams too.
Could you go into a little detail as to why you think ICs are bad in teams? GMAN would beg to differ haha
A lot of why ICs are good in singles don’t carry over to doubles, desyncs, wobbling, chain grabs, those don’t carry over well. Sure, they have good smash attacks and are fast, but those traits alone don’t make them good in teams. Almost every character in the top 12 or so is better than ICs in teams.
I have to ask, I believe you recently made a Facebook post calling out Peach mains across the land. And you did mention how you were godlike at the matchup. Could you take us into the mindset of an ICs when facing Peach?
Haha, oh gosh. Alright, so basically, there is a flowchart of options ICs have in any option. There are dead ends that lead to ICs being put in unwinnable situations. I basically do everything in my power to avoid being in unwinnable situations against Peach. I’m always moving, always ready to call out a mistake, always trying to stay close to Peach, but not close enough where any of her options will work. A lot of her things I know how to counter, and the things I can’t counter I try to not to be put in a situation where Peach gets to do those things. Peach also has weakness that can be exploited, so I just try my best to exploit them. Personally, I think it’s 65-35 at worst
While on the flipside, I feel confident with my Sheik against ICs. I did almost beat you haha. Generally, are we seeing matchups becoming more and more even with the advancement of the meta?
Haha, I admit that I am not amazing against Sheik. And yeah, I think that we are seeing matchups change. Some matchups are definitely changing for the better, some for the worse. I think ICs have so much untapped potential that, in a few years, ICs are gonna be seen much differently. Hopefully I can help push them to those heights! I definitely want to be the IC who shows off how overrated the Peach-ICs match up is.
I’ll ask him if he wants a free dollar or two in exchange for a 2 out of 3 set, if he isn’t too busy. I’ve seen him play Wobbles and it’s hard to watch.
With the recent launch of meleemania.com (shameless plug) and the podcast to match it, what is something you think Smash sites such as MIOM are lacking? What kinds of content would you like to see?
I think that open ended discussion posts could be more prominent. By that, I mean posts that are an opinion piece that discuss a certain topic that leaves room for discussion. Like doubles or streaming or something. I think Meleemania will be a good place to promote the local scene and help that get nationwide recognition
So for example, an opinion piece on Mii Legality in Smash 4?
Yeah. Smashboards have pieces like that, and I think other websites should borrow that idea from them
I’m glad you brought up Smashboards. It seems like a lot of players don’t even use it nowadays. Often Facebook, Reddit, or even Twitter give them all the info on local tournaments and discussion that they need. Is Smashboards lacking something? Or is Social Media just taking over Smash?
I think social media is just superior when it comes to organizing and hosting tournaments and things like that. Smashboards is nice for finding information about characters and matchups and serves as almost a time capsule.
With new tournaments popping up everywhere it seems, what tournies are you excited for in MI this year?
I wanna see more variety for weekend tournaments with PR (Power Ranked) players in attendance. I also want to see weeklies grow too, like the CMPL (Latest VODS HERE) tournaments and Toledo tournaments.
Its a shame that Toledo hasn’t garnered a bigger spotlight. They have a few VERY strong players. Could you speak a little on the CMPL tournies? What’s been happening over there lately?
Hellsing keeps winning! Haha, the other higher seeds are itching to win, i4n recently took a set off of him and I’ve had some close sets with him recently as well. Nexic and Ryejew are also grinding hard. Hellsing, Ryejew, i4n, Nexic, and myself have all been trying to beat each other and it’s been really competitive. Plus, we get about 40 entrants a week for both games with no cross entry, so I am pretty proud of how much we’ve grown.
Wow that is certainly impressive for a MI town not named Ann Arbor. Any tips for TOs around looking to garner more attention to their tournies? [Melee Mania got 11 entrants on Sunday 😦 ]
Stick with it. Be friendly. Be consistent. For months, CMPL had 8-11 people each week and it was a glorified smashfest. But we kept running it and people kept coming. Just stick with it, advertise, make sure the local players are coming too. And have fun.
Will do commander. I wanted to thank you once again for your time and I’d like to ask you one last question. Funniest tournament story?
No problem! And I was hanging with Scar at TBH5 and we were going to the coffee shop in the hotel and Mang0 tags along and is just being Mang0 and then Mang0 says, “Hey Scar, buy me something, I’m gonna go to the bathroom.” And Scar says in a mom tone of voice, “What do you want?” And Mang0 goes, “Anything, I’ll be right back.” Then Mang0 left and Scar bought him food. And Mang0 never came back, he never went to the bathroom, and Scar was just standing there with food for Mang0 that I assume Mang0 forgot about.
You can follow The Ice Man on Twitter HERE and check out the Clinton Macomb Library tournament series on Youtube (Link in interview)
Recently I got a wonderful opportunity to get an exclusive interview with Tap, otherwise known as eyeheartlovetap. Michigan’s best Project M Yoshi and one of the best PM players overall. Ranked 9th in the state, Tap is clearly a force to be reckoned with.
As with most text interviews, I will be represented in BOLD. If you like this and want to see more interviews, make sure to bookmark this site and tell your friends because Melee Mania is THE site for exclusive MI Smash content. Enjoy 🙂
COLESLAW: Being a top PM player in Michigan, what went through your head reading the statement recently made by the PM development team?
Tap: Well, when Dirtboy shared it with me in the chat he kept saying “This isn’t a joke”, but I still just didn’t believe it. It seemed so sudden. Then he shared a whole bunch of other things like the website being down and such. I think that was everyone’s reaction at first. It happened so fast. For a couple hours I was just thinking about what’s going to happen to my game. Did I just lose everything I worked so hard on? Am I going to lose all my best friends, even if it isn’t immediately? Do I move to Melee? I was really lost for a bit. I felt like the game was dead. Then I wasn’t so worried about that, and I was really focused on why it happened. I was really curious as to what happened. I think the way the PMDT [Project M Development Team] came out with it, it was rushed and too “secretive” and not collected, and that’s why everyone was freaking out the way they were. But then as more time passed, I started thinking, “Why does it have to die? I have my Wii, I have my SD card, Nintendo can’t stop me from playing it unless they literally take these things away.”
So I relaxed a bit. I was still going to play PM. And I think everyone kind of came to that conclusion as well. I don’t think we lost too many people, and Melee players are excited to play with no updates. So it didn’t end up hurting our community too badly, I think. The only thing that still kind of gets to me now is there are some characters that still need balancing, but, Melee is obviously a little unbalanced and it’s been fine, so again, I’m not too worried. The statement was just a bump in the road for our strong community.
Well said, I think the main thing that has kept the PM community together throughout this whole venture is the passion for the game. Like you said, Melee hasn’t had any updates since PAL’s release so I think PM will be fine.
I wanted to get your thoughts on how PM is being treated by TO’s. With Nintendo’s recent involvement in the scene, what do you think will happen to PM being featured at Nationals?
I think that so long as Nintendo and Juggleguy aren’t a part of it, PM has a good chance of appearing alongside Melee. PM has it’s own stuff though, or at least it feels that way to me. Like Smash and Splash felt very PM based, along with Show Me Your Moves 16, and I feel like it’s staying that way.
There are are definitely a lot of PM focused tournaments still thriving. What would you say makes the PM community different than Melee’s?
I think the PM community has a more open mind in general. And I think that we are a bit more patient and a bit more understanding. We have 40 matchups to learn. Melee only has a few that are necessary to learn, like the top 12 probably. So we just kind of accept that we have that challenge of learning our own characters, all the different stages, all the Brawl tech, and then all the matchups. And when I see a Melee player come to PM, the USUAL response I get is “that’s jank”. Which, sometimes they’re not really WRONG, but they act like there’s no answer to a lot of things. I also get a lot of “autocombo” and “free” and “there’s nothing I can do” which is very strange to me. But this must come from not caring about the game, otherwise they’d put some thought into what actually happened and think of a solution. However there are some fantastic Melee PM players, like Lucky, Kels, Hungrybox, Plup, etc. They’re all very open minded and kind to the community. I think they like the challenge of learning new matchups and such. So yeah, I think that PM is more open minded, and that’s what makes us the most different.
I know for a lot of them they just like the extra cash. And really I don’t blame them. They usually have to earn it, and at least learn something, adapt, whatever. So I love that. Some just enjoy both games, and that’s great. I think the main switch now is because of no updates.
Money is something that doesn’t come easy with Smash. Lately, Smash as an eSport has been growing exponentially as players and tournaments are getting sponsored. Do you feel that PM players could get sponsored more in the future as well?
Probably not, due to legal issues I guess. I’d love if I were wrong though. PM will always be grassroots, I believe.
When you first started out, did you cycle through Mains? What made you decide to stick with Yoshi?
Well in the beginning I was going to play Young Link in Melee. I always played him as a kid and I just really love his tools, even today. Then I watched aMSa play, and I just wanted to play Yoshi so bad. A friend of mine showed me Project M and I had no idea what it was. It felt kind of like, wrong to me. I felt bad that I liked it more than Melee, maybe because Yoshi is (or, was) better in PM, I’m not too sure. But once I saw aMSa do this crazy parry technique I just thought it was the coolest thing in all of Smash, so I picked him up, and never dropped him.
I’m glad you mention aMSa because he is my favorite player actually! Are there things he does to influence your play or do you have your own unique style?
When I played Melee I was obsessed with the parry, because I knew that’s what aMSa was using to win, mostly. But that wasn’t working out too well and the parry was different and is now nonexistent, so really I was forced to play differently just because of PM. So no he doesn’t influence my play too much
Where would you say Yoshi would fit on a 2016 hypothetical PM tier list?
Ehh it’s hard to say, maybe like right in the middle? He can compete with some of the high tiers but loses to low tiers, it’s weird. Weird matchups for a weird character. So yeah, like 25 probably.
Have you encountered any other good Yoshi’s in Michigan? How about Nationally?
I’ve played Tombo and Zubat on netplay, we go about even. The Yoshi ditto is super dumb. Right now I have the best results undisputed though. Really those two are the only other Yoshi’s I respect.
One thing that makes aMSa such a polarizing player is not only his success with such a historically overlooked character, but his personality. To a lot of fans, he IS Smash . His expressions, pop-offs, and smiley attitude make him a wonderful person that many look up to. Do you think there is anyone similar to him in the PM community?
Actually, no, not that I can think of. I don’t think I know a single person with that sort of attitude. He really is one of a kind.
I think this will be our last question, what is something you’d like to accomplish by the end of 2016?
I want to be #1 in Michigan, and a well respected player by everyone. I want to be Junebug level.