Interviewed by: Jon Scarr
Without a doubt, Splatoon 2 is one of the most unique and exciting titles in the realm of eSports. It wasn’t until late in 2016 that Nintendo started to take interest and invest in the original Splatoon in the competitive scene. With the announcement of Splatoon 2, many people such as myself speculated that Nintendo was developing it with the eSports crowd in mind.
Fast forward to E3 2017 and Nintendo’s interest and commitments to the competitive scene were heard loud and clear with the Splatoon 2 World Inkling Invitational competition. With fierce competition, a team known as DeadBeat made it into the finals against the favoured team from Japan, Dynameu. Pulling out an upset, DeadBeat went on to become the Splatoon 2 World Champions at E3.
Just a few short months later, the CEO of SetToDestroyX signed DeadBeat to the organization. DeadBeat is composed of Gregory “Hexen” Papi, Austin “Penguitt” Whitt, Andhy “Power” Alvarez and Kivicious “Kiver”. I recently had a chance to talk with DeadBeat and find out a little bit more about each of the team members and what it takes to make it in the competitive scene.
WorldGaming: How did you know each other before you became a team?
StDxPower: I knew the others as competitors, we played against each other in tournaments. Eventually HXN approached me and wanted to form a team together for Japanese tournaments.
StDxHXN: I had played quite a bit of Mario Kart with Kiver before we ever decided to team up on Splatoon. For Penguitt and Power I saw them doing very well with their respective teams so I asked them to join my pickup.
StDxPenguitt: Power was a very talented up-and-coming charger at the time, Kiver was on a successful French team called Koopa Clan, and HXN had been forming pickups for Nintendo tournaments.
StDxKiver: HXN and I know each other for some years already. At the beginning, I was part of an European team named Crème Fresh where I learned many useful things, which increased my will to reach the top but at the same time, cF became inactive so I decided to move forward and left this team in order to pursue my goals. Therefore, DeadBeat asked me to join them and I accepted after doing some scrims along them since their mindset and teamplay amazed me.
WorldGaming: How long have you been a team and how did you come up with your original team name of DeadBeat?
DeadBeat: We have been a team for about a year now. Regarding the team name, we had been bouncing around names because Penguitt wanted to make a logo for the team. He threw out the idea of “DeadBeat” because it wasn’t corny, and it also had a nice solidity to it.
WorldGaming: What is the key to your success as a team?
StDxPower: The key to our success is that we are willing to receive constructive criticism and are reliable in terms of correcting our weaknesses in time for a tournament.
StDxHXN: I lead the team with straight up, to the point constructive criticism, and my teammates all follow with great mechanical skill.
StDxPenguitt: Being open to criticism and accepting your own mistakes even if it is brutal honesty. You can’t become better as a player if you’re constantly told that you played great with no problems whatsoever.
StDxKiver: Watch your past broadcasts, look at your mistakes, work on them before they become a habit and always keep a good mindset. Believe in yourself, everyone can do amazing things but it comes from learning his own mistakes and accepting “good” and “structured” criticisms from your teammates and other people.
WorldGaming: Did you play any other games competitively before Splatoon?
StDxPower: I haven’t played any other games competitively, but other games that I have played I always challenged myself to beat it faster, or making self imposed challenges to make the game harder.
StDxHXN: Counter Strike and Call of Duty
StDxKiver: Before competitively playing Splatoon, I have been playing: Mario Kart Wii (2010-2014), Mario Kart 8 (2015-2016), and Smash 4 (2016).
WorldGaming: What did winning the 2017 Splatoon 2 World Inkling Invitational against Japan’s Dynameu mean to you as a team and individuals?
StDxPower: Winning the World Inkling Invitational was pretty exciting since Japan is known as the dominant region in Splatoon. Our original goal in forming the team was to compete in Japanese tournaments and several months later we ended up beating some of the best Japanese players at a LAN event, so its nice how it ended up working out that way.
StDxHXN: It was great to see that we can come up on top over the best individual players and team in the world, and set a solid precedence and confidence into our team for the future.
StDxPenguitt: As a team, it meant that we can adapt quickly under new circumstances and work together regardless. As individuals, it set the tone for Splatoon 2 in the sense that Japan is not seen as much as this dominating force anymore. They are beatable, and with practice, it can be accomplished.
StDxKiver: Although I didn’t join the team official until August 2017, I was pretty happy to see them winning.
WorldGaming: What other games do you play for fun when not playing Splatoon 2?
StDxPower: I don’t really play other games often, but as of right now I occasionally play NBA 2k18.
StDxHXN: I don’t really have the time for many other games but if anything I’ll usually be playing League of Legends.
StDxPenguitt: Pokémon, Team Fortress 2.
StDxKiver: For fun, I currently play Super Mario Odyssey, Zelda and sometimes Smash 4 besides Overwatch.
WorldGaming: Since winning the 2017 Splatoon 2 World Inkling Invitational what other competitions have you competed in and how did you do?
DeadBeat: We’ve entered and won Inkstorm +, which is recognized as one of the most viewed NA/EU online tournament series. We also were invited to Platinum Cup, an online international tournament which required rigorous qualifiers to be a part of, and got 3rd place, the best of any non Japanese team. Most recently we played and won in a LAN hosted by EndgameTV called Squidstorm 2017 in Boston. It’s one of the largest non-Japanese LAN events to date.
WorldGaming: How does the competitive scene from Splatoon 2 differ from that of the original game?
StDxPower: The original game stopped growing very early on and we saw the same old players and teams getting top placements. However, with Splatoon 2, there are several newcomers and different teams winning tournaments. Also the addition of spectator mode has improved the viewing experience of tournaments; we are no longer reliant on players who stream to make it watchable. Also the introduction of LAN mode has made in person competitive events more desirable.
StDxHXN: The western scene in general is much larger and has a fair bit more involvement in tournaments from sponsors and sponsored teams. The Japanese scene is practically the same though right now.
StDxPenguitt: It relies more on your own skill and decision making. There are not as many crutches or invincibility specials as Splatoon 1, making most decisions throughout the course of a match important.
StDxKiver: Even though, it still lacks some important points. Splatoon 2 is being supported a lot and it has a ton of potential until updates end and we shall see the final stage of this one.
WorldGaming: Have you seen an increase in interest of the Splatoon 2 competitive scene from fans and the industry as a whole?
DeadBeat: There has definitely been an increase in interest in the Splatoon 2 competitive scene from organizations and fans. There are a couple of Japanese organizations that have signed teams, along with North American ones like SetToDestroyX. The fan base has also grown. Since LAN events are easier to run and manage, more people are attracted to the scene. Now that Nintendo has started lending more support towards the scene, many orgs are investing in teams.
WorldGaming: Can you tell us the story behind how you got signed with SetToDestroyX?
DeadBeat: We had just come off our win at the World Inkling Invitational and that was when we were contacted about a potential interest in the organization. We got offers from many organizations, and after speaking with StDx, we knew it was the best fit for us. It was a great chance to give our competitive scene more publicity and once we were informed about benefits of a sponsorship, including receiving customized Nintendo Switch controllers from Colorware.
WorldGaming: What do you do as a team and individuals to improve your competitive gameplay?
StDxPower: Since all of us can record gameplay we watch it and review our mistakes. Since it is challenging to align our schedules for team practice all of the time, individually we try and compete in pickup scrimmages against solid competition to keep our mechanics sharp.
StDxHXN: We play a fair bit individually to keep up our mechanical skill and then bring it into scrims and tournaments to practice our decision making, strategy, and teamwork.
StDxPenguitt: We regularly practice throughout the week, we do VOD review of our scrims and tournament matches, and we compete in smaller, online Japanese tournaments to see how well we do.
StDxKiver: I honestly do some aim practices which can be found on my Twitter page and my Twitch channel. Besides I watch my past broadcasts, pause/play after pointing out my mistakes and finding an alternative option in case it happens again so I pick up the best choice. About my reaction time, I use a specific software on PC and Android so I can practice it while I go to school or when I feel like practicing at home.
WorldGaming: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans or gamers who aspire to reach the level of play that you all have?
StDxPower: The best advice I could give is to not pressure yourself too hard about being a top player. As cliché as it sounds, enjoyment is pretty important and I’ve seen many players that aspire to be the best end up getting frustrated and decline since that is their only focus. With that being said, something I think players should actively do is to look at what the best players do, since most of them stream and consider how that applies to what they themselves do in their own play. This goes hand in hand with asking for feedback and reviewing for yourself the mistakes you make against strong competition.
StDxHXN: Just keep practicing, watch top players, and make sure to ask them questions as well. The community is pretty close knit and those higher level players will often be more than happy to answer your questions. Other than that, just remember this is a team game and there’s far more to a match than just individual performance or kills.
StDxPenguitt: Practice. Two years ago when I first started diving into Competitive Splatoon, I was terrible, but I didn’t know it. I learned to watch my mistakes through recording my gameplay, questioning all of my decision making and how it affected the match. As you keep doing this, it becomes second nature to where you can do it mid-match and adapt. Everyone starts somewhere.
StDxKiver: If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you won’t feel forced since your motivation, determination and mindset will make you fulfill your wishes. Never back down, be strong.
Based in Toronto, Jon is a proud Canadian who loves all things gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been in love with technology and gaming for over 20 years. Come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Twitter.