Hello everyone! Welcome to my 4th Pro Player interview. I am here with Nicole, known for being the best Peach in North America.
ZeRo: Nicole, how are you feeling today?
Nicole: Pretty good, I'm listening to epic rap battles on youtube. How are you?
ZeRo:So you're into the rap genre? That's quite nice. Who do you like, and listen to? I'm doing fine here, thank you very much for asking me.
Nicole: Well my favorite rappers are Eminem, Lil wayne, Kid Cudi, Kanye West, and I guess the Transplants even though they're not traditional rap. I also enjoy 50 Cent and Tablo, a Korean rapper who everyone should check out if they don't mind different languages. MF Doom is good too if underground stuff is your bag.
ZeRo:That's a wide variety right here. I like that. Why do you like the rap genre to begin with?
Nicole: Rappers are the new generation of poets, and while alot of people complain about it being about killing people, sex, drugs, and being ghetto, the metaphors the great rappers create are amazing and inspiring. Eminem came from poverty and 50 Cent is the son of a lesbian, Lil Wayne has been in prison, Kid Cudi refers to his family life and his father dying...they all relate their past to their rap and let their audience in on their personal lives. It's much more meaningful than generic rock songs that just talk about love. Plus rapping along is fun and makes me feel like a badass that shoots people up (Just kidding). Also snoop dogg is another of my favorites, I can't believe I almost forgot him. Basically they all had hardships in their lives, but they had the strength and confidence and purpose to turn their lives around and live the dream. That's why I like rap.
ZeRo:Very deep answer. I can tell from that answer that you're a very interesting person regarding your emotions and opinions. Any song in particular that you feel something special about it?
Nicole: Some would say that's sugarcoating it. I probably overanalyze things way too much. I have an opinion on just about everything.
As for that question...Kid Cudi's "Soundtrack 2 My Life" and "Erase Me". Eminem's "Still Don't Give a Fk" and "The Way I am". Kanye's "So Appalled" and "Homecoming." Lil Wayne's "Mirror," "Blunt Blowin'" and "Don't Get it". The Transplants "Tall Cans in the Air." I could go on for awhile, haha. I won't go into all the reasons. It would take too long!
ZeRo:Haha, very awesome stuff. And that's fine. I love hearing other people opinions and thoughts. Moving out of the music side of things, tell us Nicole, how did you start to play Smash? Where do your roots come from?
Nicole: I started playing Smash64 with one of my friends from grade school. We used to have epic battles of Link and Kirby on Hyrule Temple...you know. Items and all. In college I played Melee pretty much every night with my friends, but I didn't realize competitive scenes and tournaments ever existed, so I never got very good at Melee (I didn't know wavedashing existed, we were n00bs haha).
Anyway, when Brawl came out, my college friends that had played melee were still interested in smash, and we all wanted to try Brawl out. A couple guys named Kit and Jordan, who no longer play, introduced me to tournaments. I didn't win a single match in a tournament until the 3rd one I attended. I used to play Game & Watch for about a year, but my VERYYYY first main was Sonic, because I liked that his jump made the same sound as the old Sonic games.
ZeRo:That's a pretty awesome story. Did you finish college, I assume? if so what did you study? What was the motive for the switch to Peach?
Nicole: Oh yes I finished, I have a very useless Bachelor's in Psychology.
And I played Peach in melee. I remember first picking up Brawl and being so excited to use her.But her DOWNSMASH was gone.And she couldnt' kill hardly at all. I decided I couldn't use her and that the programmers made her horrible. But as it turned out, the only character I've ever truly enjoyed playing was Peach, and I improved exponentially from picking her up in Brawl again. I would beat people I never was able to beat before with her.
Her, Sheik, and Samus seemed to get the extra hard nerf. I'm not quite sure why. Sheik perhaps was too good, but Peach and Samus I really don't see the problem with.
ZeRo:I’m sure that my good friend Neko (He mains GW) has smiled somewhere right now.I also SO know that feeling, Sheik got way too overnerfed. Why is bachelor on phsycology useless?
Nicole: In order to make any money, or even be hired for anything related to Psychology, you have to have at least a Masters. It's a useful degree in the sense that it leads to really great jobs if you're willing to stay in school another 3 to 6 years. And of course you can get hired at jobs that simply require a Bachelor's. I make about 40k a year delivering pizzas though, and I find that much more enjoyable than being in school. I'll probably go back to school someday though, in a couple years.
ZeRo:Just do what you love! That's my motto. So we can say, that Peach was, and is, your "one char", right?
Nicole: Yes definitely. People tell me to learn other characters, but I just don't have fun with them. I can play for hours as Peach. Other characters only take a few matches before I am bored with using them. I'm not sure why this is the case, and honestly I wish it wasn't because Peach is certainly a character that requires extra practice and extra work to win with. But I have too much fun playing her to quit her.
Awesome. I love people that do what their emotions tell them to do. I am similar to you, I can only have fun by playing with MK. What factors attract you to enjoy Peach so much?
She plays unlike any other character because of the mechanics of float. I also enjoy her item game in the sense that you can force airdodges, shielding, and just limit people's options in general by controlling certain areas with turnips. Of course turnips are mediocre projectiles, but they have their uses. Z dropping turnips is one of my favorite things to do ever, it's got a certain flashiness to it and it's useful as well. I actually like the fact that she can't kill that well, because I enjoy seeing how many times I can get people to get hit by tricks, however, my enjoyment of her lack of killpower instantly goes away when I die at 120% and my opponent is living until 180%. She is also one of the only characters with actual combos, which is nice.
ZeRo:In a sense, you like to toy around with your opponent?
Nicole: Oh certainly. Brawl is a game of minds I think, far more than any other fighting game I've ever encountered, and baits are great fun. Also Peach is kind of a joke character in the sense that no one should be winning TOO often with her, and it's fun to beat people with her.
ZeRo:You also like to humilliate your opponents?
Nicole: And people dodging turnips only to get hit with a fair? Hilarious. Oh I woudln't say that. It's not about humiliating others. It's much more about myself and coming up with new tricks, and it's rewarding when they work out. But turnips are funny.
ZeRo:So in a sense, you enjoy to see your strategies work in the battlefield. And your opponents reactions towards them?
Nicole: Definitely. Playing Peach is a challenge for sure, and while I'm sure I do have alot of bad habits and patterns, I do try always to keep things fresh. And that goes for not just fighting, but recovering too.
ZeRo:Awesome to hear. What are some of your favorite tricks to pull off?
Nicole: You know, I almost typed those out. Then I realized. What a horrible idea! I'm not sharing my tricks haha. However I will say that I do enjoy juggling and airdodging shenanigans, and that I don't think people are ever too safe when they're trying to get off the ledge. Okay I will say one. Peach floats above people, and they shield, expecting a dair.
Well. Sometimes I can land and grab their shield before they can react. It's a very easy trick. But it works well because Peach generally doesn't grab much because her grab has no range.
ZeRo:Great stuff to hear. And we appreciate that you're sharing one of your tricks with us. And that trick can be so good if used properly!
Nicole: Not all my tricks are interesting. That is certainly not one of them. But it is effective, although I can't get away with it too many times a match. Sometimes the best trick is to do nothing. With high tiers like MK, who has an option in every situation, I think doing nothing is really a powerful mindgame. Peach usually has to be doing something, but even with her, sometimes it's tricky to just empty airdodge, empty hop, float, or just hang onto a turnip. This game is very deep, and even tiny things like this can give you the edge
ZeRo:I agree with that. Drifting a bit away from the gameplay area, Nicole, tell us why did you got interested in becoming better in the competitive scene. Playing at tournaments with college friends, then competing at nationals 3 years after is quite a big change. What happened?
Nicole: I have always done competitive things, but in college I stopped playing sports and started, you know, being a college kid and doing nothing. I enjoy competition and I am usually good enough to play whatever I choose well enough for it to be enjoyable to me and not frustrating.
Adding to that, it was actually because I wasn't that good at Brawl that I kept playing. I kept trying to get better and of course switching characters really helped. After that, I remember losing to an MK and thinking how impossible that matchup is, and how unfair MK is in general and that he should be banned. What a scrub I used to be! Instead of continuing to think that way, I tried to learn the matchup and there was a time when I could actually hold my ground against good MKs and I did beat some of them. It was at the time that Peach's best strategy against MK was thought to be a dtilt turnip slide, and a very defensive gameplay. Foolish! It was an aggressive style that overwhelmed and challenged MK that won me whatever little success I had against him. After figuring that matchup out, I just kind of enjoyed my fringe success as a "pretty good" player and the fact that I was rather famous for being a girl, I won't deny that.
However, the metagame has evolved quite a bit since then and I do not think MK is winnable for Peach anymore. I really still enjoy playing the game alot, however, it takes SO much dedication of one's time to remain at the top of the ladder.
ZeRo:What a great story! Everyone evolves with the time. I used to be a Lucas/Ness main at tournaments, haha. What makes you to think that the match up is currently unwinnable on a tournament environment?
Nicole: MK has really evolved as a character so much more so than the others. When I thought the matchup was winnable, even the best players didn't know all of the small nuances of MK, and they still had to deal with his weaknesses to a certain extent, which could still be exploited.
MK used to have poor airspeed, which I could take advantage of. But we have players like Nairo who evolved the character, and MK can glide anywhere safely now, and so quickly. Peach take advantage of his poor airspeed? She is lucky to land back on the ground before he can glide over to her now. MK's tornado, also, used to be pretty breakable because MK players didn't QUITE know the secret of how to make it inescapable, even with DI. I used to be very good at breaking out of it (which is one of the reasons I thought Peach wasn't bad against MK - breaking out with a nair damages him and takes away one of his most powerful tools), but there is no doing so now. MKs have gotten a bit better with items these days too, and they just generally take advantage of their character's amazing options better than before. It isn't so much that Peach got any worse, but MK players have gotten better, and the character has been developed even further.
ZeRo:I see. MK is definitely stronger than what he used to be in the past. How much did you used to practiced, and how did you practiced, on your prime?
Nicole: A couple hours a day, generally. I think I did play nearly everyday. Before SIIS, where I placed 2nd, I remember playing whole days at a time for the most part, with Legan. In comparison, before SKTAR, I played one day before the tournament for 4 hours. They say practice makes perfect, haha, and for Brawl it's 100% true.
ZeRo:Couldn't agree more. Any upcoming tournaments that you're preparing for?
Nicole: I have quit the game for the most part. I am going to a tournament in the Midwest in October to visit my friends there. However I think I will make some sort of grand comeback or something at Apex 2013. It's just hard to be practiced enough these days because I work alot of hours, and I try to keep up with my other hobbies as well - art, writing, cooking, and of course other video games as well. My free time is seriously limited, so it's hard for me to dedicate enough time to Brawl to be as good as I used to be. Or rather, let's say not "as good as I used to be" but "as good as I could be", since I am as good as I used to be, but others have gotten better because they've put much more time in.
ZeRo:Maybe you haven't quitted, maybe you're just taking a break.Those sometimes help to step up your game.
Nicole: Alrighty, we'll go with that. I have quit practicing we'll say. For now. I have too many friends in the community to actually quit the game.
ZeRo:Friends are always a big factor in everything. Nicole, what do you think about Mk's legality in singles and doubles?
Nicole: I think MK should absolutely be legal in singles. Without him being legal there, we have an extremely boring game full of camping. More importantly, we have a game that's horribly dependant on double-blinds and counterpicks, and we force our top players to learn many different characters instead of allowing character purists to have the same chance of winning as anyone else. Why is it better for someone like DEHF to learn Ice Climbers when all he wants to do is play Falco? And why is he punished by having to work 3 times as hard as the player who does choose to learn Ice Climbers?
The problem with alot of people who have a say in this sort of thing (many BBR members), is that they feel that they can't beat MK, but rather than reveal that they have this scrub mentality, would rather make up alot of reasons to ban him and then say that our spectators and whether our game is "exciting" and "fun" is not important. It is such a bad mentality. Our game is a GAME, games are supposed to be fun. Watching Nairo's or Anti's MK is really amazing. Watching Vinnie pick Ice Climbers against Shugo because it's an easy win...not so much.
When the debates were really heated and the URC was a big thing, I wrote about a 4 page document citing all the reasons why MK shoudln't be banned and I'm not sure it was ever shown to anyone. I could give you sooo many reasons why MK should be legal. But it turns out that I must have been onto something, because the URC disbanded and MK is starting to come back again, and I'm very pleased. Playing MK takes skill, and beating MK takes skill, and it's an enjoyable thing to watch, and I find it extremely enjoyable to play against MK because it's challenging and rewarding if you can win.
As for doubles, I think only one MK per team should be allowed. Double MK simply invalidates too many teams. Peach/DK for example. What a great team, and what a fun team to play as well. COMPLETELY shut down by two MKs. Same for Peach/Dedede. One MK is manageable, but two MKs can abuse his ability to keep the opponent in the air, and unless you have an MK of your own, no character can really challenge two MKs in the air and save their teammate. Oh and of course I think an LGL is extremely necessary, and not just for MK either, but for everyone. Again, this game is supposed to test one's skill and be fun. Ledgecamping takes away both of those elements. I think a 25 LGL limit is quite reasonable.
ZeRo:This is an extremely interesting opinion and story. I would love to see that document. I didn't think you would defend MK this much, coming from a character who gets beat by MK currently, like you said. Why would this be?
Nicole: Just because my character gets dominated doesn't mean that he should be banned. However players who do often lose to MK do tend to think he should be banned. I can't imagine why. It must be because he has no bad stages and no bad matchups and needs specific rules. It couldn't be because they are salty babies.Brawl is kind of a stupid game in the sense that the person that deserves to win, and has played better...doesn't always win. However, when one high tier character faces another high tier character, the better player will usually win. I do not mind losing to MK. I play Peach. I know the matchup is horrible. That is my choice. I have learned the ins and outs of Peach/MK and if everyone did the same with their own character, they would do much better, and they would only lose to MK players who are actually better players than they themselves are.
ZeRo:Very mature attitude right here. If you had to give an advice, for an up and coming Peach player, to succeed at the tournament scene, like how you do, what would you tell him/her?
Nicole: It's only a game. People take it too seriously and lose sight of reality in the search for their own contentment and their own chances of winning. Most people that wanted MK banned have a secret personal agenda. I can't totally blame them, because they just want to win, as does everyone. Oh gosh...don't expect to win too much, cause you've seriously hindered your chances playing Peach. Other than that...practice alot. Messing up with Peach is hardly ever beneficial. Your tech skill needs to be perfect. And you have to use grab too, even though her grab is awful. Or everyone is going to hide in their shield. Peach's greatest enemy is your shield.
VZeRo:ery good advice. Any chance of you giving out private lessons?
Nicole: Only if they come to my house! Wifi is horrible.
ZeRo:I would love to train with you! That'd be sweet. Where can your fans contact you?
Nicole: Facebook is easiest. Even though I don't appear to be online ever, you can message me anytime and I'm sure I'd get back to you. Although messages of "HI NICOLE" or other stupid things that I wouldn't care about will probably be ignored. No offense. But I don't have alot of time to talk with everyone. And I would love to train with anyone really, I hardly get to play this game these days because no one lives that close. I do miss it.
ZeRo:Gotcha. Now, to wrap up this awesome interview, any shoutouts you wanna give?
Nicole: Um, shout outs...to my "new" friends from NE - Darc, Fats, Sphere, Dazwa, Boxman, BC, Sails, Almo, Pelca, Kirch, Riot, Peachkid...idk everyone that's ever been to one of my parties haha. Also Shugo, Tyrant, TKO, Doom, Tojo, Keitaro, EE, Coontail, Logic...everyone else that I like to hang out with and get drunk with after tournaments too!
ZeRo:And to close this interview, Nicole told me this video highlights her skills in a very good way “I know it’s not singles, but doubles is my best. And it’s against Ally, like c’mon”.
Click HERE to watch the video!