Road to Genesis 5: Komodo
Nicholas "hermes" Devantier
Jan 08, 2018
Continuing our series of teams to watch for at Genesis 5, runner up at Squidstorm 2017 Komodo looks to repeat another top finish. I sat down with Pixel, Vespher, Mullin, and Lux on December 15th to go over what their mindset going into the event is, what they are hoping to get from their experience, and what makes them one of the top contenders at G5.
Hermes: First things first, just a little introduction of everybody who is here, who’s who, and where you guys are going to be coming from headed into Genesis 5.
Vespher: Hello, I am Vespher, I am coming from Canada Land, Alberta, Canada, been here my entire life. That is all.
Pixel: I’m Pixel, coming all the way over from Tennessee to Genesis 5.
Pixel: high pitched voice Lux and Mullin?
Vespher: Someone go!
Mullin: I’m Mullin, representing Houston, Texas. That’s where I will be coming from.
Lux: I’m Lux, from Dallas, Texas.
Hermes: Perfect, thank you. I guess the first question is: what are you guys most pumped about for the LAN? I know you guys are all LAN veterans, but what about G5 are you guys most excited about?
All speak over one another Clam Blitz! Lagless Splatoon!
Vespher: I’m pumped for the competition. I think playing Splatoon on LAN is phenomenal. The game plays so well on LAN, I can’t wait just for the LAN, but to compete with other really good teams on LAN. It’s gonna be so much fun.
Pixel: Stole what I was about to say. Just two words: lagless. Splatoon.
Mullin: Yeah, other than that, it’s gonna be cool to see some of the European guys since they are flying out to this one. We had some at Squidstorm but there is going to be more at G5 like Olive coming out. So it’s gonna be pretty legit.
Lux: I mean, I’m in the same boat as everybody else. Playing the game on LAN mode, it’s fantastic. I’m just excited to do it again.
Pixel: It’s like, imagine riding a really really bad bike, playing online, having four wheels and one of them is really rusty about to fall off. Then you go offline, its like a nice motorcycle, smooth ride, no crashes.
Vespher: Its like a Harley.
Pixel: Yeah, its like a Harley.
Mullin: Yeah, there’s also a lot of, I don’t know how to put this… There’s a lot of difference that goes into the weight and stress and excitement that goes into being at an in-person tournament vs an online tournament. Like, an online tournament, you’re just sitting at your desk, at your computer, you’re in comms, but there is not an environment of it being a tournament. When you’re in a LAN, you hear all the other teams playing, all the other callouts, all the other hype, and you are literally right next to your teammates, and you could actually pop off. Its WAY different. Its a completely different experience.
Vespher: There’s so much energy into it.
Lux: The environment of a LAN is one of the best experiences I have had in my life.
Pixel: Popping off is probably my favorite thing to do.
Vespher: Same. I had my fair share of pop offs during Squidstorm.
Mullin: Man, I was getting antsy for y’all’s matches Ves. I was watching some of them and I was like “Oh..”
Lux: There’s a lot of stress at LANs, especially when you get higher and higher in bracket. But it also gets more and more exciting when you win, and you pop off, its just the best feeling in the world.
Vespher: Oh man! So, at Squidstorm, the TOMO set, Komodo and TOMO, I was so stressed out. I was commentating it, and I was stressed out. (For reference, Rila played with Komodo’s main team at Squidstorm, Vespher played for a pick up) Obviously I had to be an unbiased commentator…
Vespher: But of course I’m gonna be rooting for my team! I definitely tried my hardest to be unbiased, but holy, I was stressing.
Lux: And you mispronounced both teams’ names: KUH-modo and Blackberry Sor-BET!
Vespher: OK, but like, Blackberry Sor-BETT is one off the best memes in Splatoon now.
Hermes: Yeah, that was a great set! Onto the next topic, I know you guys mentioned the European folks, but who are you all interested in meeting at G5 this time around?
Lux: I know Yami is gonna be there. I haven’t met Silver at all. I’m interested to meet Silver and Nikey, because I’ve known Silver for a bit, he was on the old Komodo, and Nikey, you know, when he played chargers, he was a huge inspiration for me as a charger user.
Vespher: I think for me, its meeting all the same people again. For me, Squidstorm was my first Splatoon LAN, so it was my first time meeting people from the community in person, and just getting to meet everybody again is going to be exciting for me.
Mullin: I’m interested to see how the European players perform. Like Olive, Sorin and them, I’m interested to see how they perform against predominantly NA players. Obviously its going to be cool to see the SetToDestroyX guys again. Kiver was a blast, and maybe I’ll get Power to say something.
Lux: I wanna talk to the STDx people more, because I didn’t get to talk to them as much, and they’re some of the coolest people in the community. Penguitt is one of my former teammates and good friends, excited to see him again.
Mullin: Yeah, Hexen has this complex where he sounds like a super dick in text and even in comms, but when you meet him in person, you can see the visual smirk on his face, and you’re like “OK, he’s not being 100% serious.” He’s a good guy. Penguitt is cool, and Kiver was hype, he seemed excited to be there. And seriously, I didn’t hear Power say a word. So I want to have a conversation with him at the very least.
Lux: Yeah, I wanna talk to Power.
Mullin: Like, I’m sure he has a lot of emotion when he’s crapping on people, but he just doesn’t show it.
Lux: Yeah, I’ve heard Power is a genuinely really cool guy. Something I really like about LANs is a lot of people don’t understand where others are coming from fully online, but when you meet them on LAN, a lot of what they say and do makes a lot of sense and you grow to like them a lot more as people.
Pixel: Probably the same as everybody else. I’m also gonna try to open up more, each LAN I’ve been trying to talk to more and more people outside of the people I know and I’ve known, I didn’t really do as much of it at Squidstorm as I would have liked to. Like, I was all in the hype! But hopefully this time I open up more and also people come talk to me because I like meeting and talking with new people. Like, I love interacting with people, and I’m always down to chat about whatever. So, hopefully, I break out of that box more and talk to more people.
Lux: Yeah, a lot of people that I didn’t know too well came up to me and said hi, or I said hi to them. But mostly they came up to me and said hi.It was really cool meeting a bunch of faces that I hadn’t really known too much just in person. And even some faces I had known a fair bit before, but sort of lost communication with. At Squidstorm, there was a lot of people, and I felt like I genuinely talked to a fair amount of people at the event, so I’m hoping to do the same at G5.
Hermes: Awesome. I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy meeting you guys as well. Now, going into the big tournament stuff. You guys are Komodo. Lux and Pixel specifically have lots of experience placing high at LANs and you guys were second at Squidstorm. What edge does this give you guys over the competition?
Pixel: Honestly, its is our ability in the LAN environment, we just play better. Every event I’ve gone to and every team I’ve been on has placed top 3, and its because when you take above average players, and take away the factor they cannot control (lag and latency), you get something good. In this game, there’s a LAN mode, so the things you can do and the things you can do as a team change. Like, yes, we got bodied by STDx, but my personal goal is to keep getting top 3 at these events. Doesn’t matter the LAN, I want a top three finish and I won’t settle for anything less.
Mullin: I think what gives me an advantage is that I have been a parinial LAN tournament player in other games and have a lot of experience in that environment. I’ve played Halo at MLG and Starcraft at MLG a lot of other big Texas tournaments and playing for my University team at LANs. I don’t get nervous at a LAN environment, and I’m comfortable in that. And I know for a lot of other teams, especially if its their first or second event, there’s gonna be that nervousness that’s going to affect their play. They may be jittery, excited. They don’t know how to cement themselves in the moment. And because they are used to the online experience, they are not exploiting the things you can do in the LAN environment. On LAN, its like a fighting game; you can go by frames. Like, you wouldn’t play a fighting game with significant latency and expect to perform the same kinds of combos you would without the latency. You can just do things that you couldn’t do before. And the more experience you have playing on that, the more you can leverage those advantages. Not to mention we have just been to a lot of LANs and are experienced in it.
Vespher: To add on to what Mullin is saying, Komodo practices LAN gameplay. If you look at online tournaments, we normally don’t place too too well, and it’s because online and LAN are such a different ballpark. We don’t practice the strats that would work better online, we practice the strats that work best on LAN. Because of this, I feel we will just have better experience handling things. If anybody could add something onto that…
Pixel: Yeah, I definitely agree. Our online performance isn’t as good as it could be, but the way we practice, we try to avoid situations with high latency. For us, it’s not good practice for a LAN. People teleporting around and stuff because the room is too latent. It isn’t gonna help us in G5, there won’t be people teleporting around or becoming Harry Potter wizard, it’s just not gonna happen. Being able to practice against good players or in general against a low latency environment, and with compositions that generally would benefit us in a non-latent environment, these are all crucial in why we are going to get a top spot at G5.
Hermes: Nice! Now, you guys got second last time, which is awesome! But, what will be the difference maker that will change that second place finish to a first place finish?
Pixel: We have to practice WAY more. While I’m pretty sure we can guarantee a top 3 finish, it’s going to be an uphill battle to get that first, as we have seen from our lackluster performance against the number one seed in Squidstorm. We have been working on and off to try and lock down that first place, but we still have a ways to go.
Vespher: I think another thing might be composition. It kinda depends on what SetToDestroyX is running. Assuming that they are the people we are contending with for first, I think one of the reasons things didn’t go so well was player composition. Me on the roster instead of Rila, I will be painting a lot more. Depending on how/if the meta changes, we might be running a lot more Ink Armor. And SetToDestroyX really struggles with Ink Armor. Whereas at Squidstorm, I don’t think a single Ink Armor was popped in both matches between Komodo and SetToDestroyX on the side of Komodo.
Lux: I don’t think we ran a single armor weapon throughout the entire tourney.
Mullin: Also I can go back and watch the vods, but I think my play was not as good as it could have been. It wasn’t like I was playing my best at Squidstorm, like, I had some clutch moments, but the rest of the games I was playing not so well. But, that said, the games weren't walkovers. We put up a fight against them. We were one good play away from winning a lot of those games. The score does not showcase just how close the matches were. I do think that we can beat them, I do think we can take games off of them, we just have to play at our best. We aren’t allowed to make mistakes. I am not gonna say anything like “We are gonna win,” or “We aren’t gonna win,” but they are the favorites.
Lux: There have been upsets, just look at Overdrive from Squidstorm! SKR (Spicy Kraken Rolls, now OnSight Gaming’s Splatoon team) did take two games off of them, so anything is possible.
Mullin: They aren’t invincible. But, if we don’t beat them, I don’t think we win the tournament. I don’t think there is an outcome where we can win the tournament without meeting STDx. It’s just too far from reality.
Lux: I think the other thing though, is looking over the matches at squidstorm to understand what we did right and what we did wrong. Especially against STDx. I remember watching vods a lot and it helping me a lot improving myself as a player and on the team.
Hermes: Since we are on the topic of STDx, the next question would be what team do you fear most going into G5, but I have a feeling we all know the answer. So, if it is STDx, what specifically about them makes them the team to look out for?
Pixel: Its because they are all really good players and their consistency as a team.
Lux:* I was gonna say Penguitt. Then I was gonna say Kiver. Then I was gonna say Power. No, wait, Hexen. No wait, Penguitt. No wait Power. Wait, Kiver! Its, like, all of them are really good.
Mullin: To me, its that they are all absurdly good players. I mean people who say “I don’t choose meta weapons,” I just tell them to pick up a Splattershot and go up against Kiver. They will lose. 100% of the time. Like, it’s not the weapon. They are just absurdly good players. Like, I get annoyed when people say the weapon makes the player, when in fact, it does not. But, absolutely, he’s doing things with that weapon that make it really obnoxious.
Lux: He’s doing things with that weapon that should not be legal.
Mullin: Yeah, yeah. And like obviously Power is an insanely consistent charger. And again, its just him being a good player, whether he is on charger or n-zap, like he still understands the game at a fundamental level and that’s going to allow them to succeed. And obviously Penguitt is a highly skilled player with machine or with blasters.
Lux: He’s a really good shot caller too.
Mullin: And he’s going to make those shots and get those directs that are going to be the game-changers and are going to allow them to win. And then Hexen is, like, there, so…
Lux: Well, Hexen played really well with brella.
Mullin: Yeah yeah. I just like giving him crap.
Lux: I honestly think he is one of the best brellas right now in the west. Assuming he still uses it.
Mullin: He knew how to use the weapon to maximize the efforts of his teammates. And that’s really important as a brella.
Vespher: Yeah, and this is a good point to bring up, that a lot of people were hyping up Mullin’s brella, although that may have been my fault, but Hexen then comes out of nowhere and starts challenging Mullin. Although, Hexen plays a different brella than Mullin, a much more supportive brella.
Lux: Hexen got like, 22 k/a…
Mullin: Yeah, Hexen posted some good stats. It was always similar circumstances, like we always had myself and Pixel push in with the brella spalttershot combo, and they always had Hexen and Kiver doing the same thing. I’m kind of curious to see this, because a lot of their success came from the meta. If they have fall off, it will be because the meta has shifted away from what they are running or shifts towards more armors, which is going to make it difficult for chargers to get picks. Like, Power is the kind of player that will always find a pick, whether hiss team has map or not. And it will help his team. And that’s the reason you run a charger in the first place: to get those picks and to punish free pushes on objective. But, if it is a heavier armor comp that is trying to contest pain, the charger becomes a liability. Like, people thought charger was a liability long before he was still winning tournaments with it.
Lux: He did only play charger for zones, he played n-zap for tower and rainmaker.
Mullin: And Clam Blitz, there’s going to be an entirely new mode!
Vespher: We are very excited for Clam Blitz.
Mullin: I’m pretty hyped for it honestly, I love Clam Blitz.
Vespher: Yeah, since it has come out, our team has been super ecstatic about it.
Pixel: Yeah, outside of solo, solo clams is trash. That mode is really good with team play.
Mullin: I love it in solo because its like a workout. You have to lift the team.
Pixel: You’re off the team.
Lux: I play a lot of solo, and even Clam Blitz solo is too much for me.
Mullin: Its the same thing: nobody wants to do 20 reps of like, squats, and then you feel bad and terrible afterwards.
Lux: Clam Blitz solo is like doing 1,000 miles in one hour.
Mullin: It’s definitely not to be taken lightly. It is important that Clam Blitz solo exists, because a lot of people think that if they play really well, they are going to win. But, Clam Blitz solo is there, so that even if you play your butt off, you’re still likely going to lose.
Hermes: Cool. So, on the flip side of the initial question about STDx, which of the top echelon teams like the Yamis and the Legacys and the Eclipses do you guys feel confident against going into G5?
Vespher: Why is it that all those names you said, we feel confident against them on LAN?
Pixel: Yeah, I was gonna say, like, up in the clouds in my own head, but…
Lux: I think we were all thinking the same thing.
Pixel: Its the experience. Now, outright online, we do not perform as good as we could against those teams. Period. They usually wash the floor with us. But, we have more LAN experience.
Vespher: Like I said earlier, we just practice for the LAN Splatoon. We don’t practice online Splatoon, at least right now we don’t.
Mullin: Yeah, we have switched some stuff up for online and it has been getting us better results recently. But definitely, I think those teams, honestly, I think there is STDx, and then there’s everybody else. So, if we want to win the tournament, we have to feel confident against those teams. There is also the issue of stamina.
Lux: Yeah the stamina was huge. Like, oh man, the set between Unsung Heroes and No Fear was so hype! But getting overly hype wears on your stamina. But, getting so involved in that hype might actually go against you in tournament. Because it really wears on your stamina. I was into the hype, I was WAY into it.
Mullin: It makes the experience worthwhile, but it could definitely negatively impact your play. Like, you don’t see chess grandmasters flipping out when they win every match in their tournament and get to the final. They know how to meter their energy.
Lux: I didn’t see STDx do much, like going muh with the hype, which is probably why they had a fair bit of stamina.
Mullin: Yeah, they didn’t seem too invested in the other matches, they were there to win. They had a lot of pressure on them to win as well. They will also be under a lot of pressure to win G5. They will always be under a lot of pressure to win as the top dog. People expect them to win. Like, they (the STDx organization) are flying out Kiver (from France) and paying for the jerseys and the exposure. They expect results.
Hermes: What are you guys looking to prove at G5?
Vespher: We are looking to prove, I don’t know… There has always been this mentality of Komodo not being that good because we enter online tournaments and we get dumped on, even though we proved what we had at Squidstorm. And I’m looking to prove that wrong, because we are a good team.
Mullin: Definitely. I want to cement it that we are really freaking solid. I want the rhetoric to be that we are in an echelon above a lot of these other teams. Like, in Squidstorm, everybody looked at the bracket and saw STDx, and that was it. Then, after Squidstorm, they look at the bracket as “Oh, that’s STDx, then there’s Komodo, then there’s everybody else,” because we didn’t lose to anyone EXCEPT them. Most other teams lost to two distinct teams to exit the tournament. If anything, we want to keep it to just one team that causes us to exit. And we don’t want to lose to STDx, but we really don’t want to lose to anybody but them. But, in general, it’s have fun, because these events are fun, and its a hobby, and cement ourselves as a top team. We want to leave the tournament with people saying that Komodo is one of the best teams. And I got a bone to pick with anybody who says “Yeah, there are sticks players, but they aren’t winning tournaments.”
Vespher: Wow, that’s totally different.
Lux: That’s getting into some Mario territory right there.
Vespher: I don’t know. I see a lot of people giving Mullin shit for using sticks, but like, he’s better than you.
Pixel: Yeah, a sticks player is better than your motion even though motion is supposed to be better than sticks, like, I don’t know how you let that one slide over your head. To me, it’s always been like, if a player is good, they are good, and Mullin isn’t the only sticks player in the scene, and nobody knew until Nine and Spoon commented our first stream and said “Oh wait, Mullin plays sticks!?!? What!?!?” He’s always played sticks, he’s never once turned on the motion.
Lux: I couldn’t notice through the spectator’s stream.
Pixel: Yeah, the spectator adds smoothing to it.
Lux: But when you watch Mullin’s stream, it is definitely clear that he plays sticks.
Mullin: I mean its not a secret.
Pixel: Yeah, you’re very open about it. I think the one thing for me to prove is that I want to stay consistent at LANs. Like, I want to prove I can get top three with a pick up, with a team, and I also want to help my team maintain a solid LAN consistency. And in Lux’s case, Lux has the better record. He’s gotten first (Squidstorm 2016), second (Don't Park on the Grass), second (Squidstorm 2017). Honestly, if I had to pick, I’d rather have the top two finish.
Lux: Yeah, I’m wanting to get top two. But yeah, I want to be the first, along with Pixel, to win two EGTV LANs. Because nobody has gotten two first places at an EGTV LAN.
Hermes: And the last one, just to kind of wrap things up. Even though you have already mentioned this before, but why are you guys going to win G5?
Pixel: Because we are the more experienced, better practiced, level-headed team. Plus, we play way better off of LAN hype. And when the crowd starts murmuring and getting hype, we play really well off of that.
Mullin: We are going to win… because of Clam Blitz. We have a distinct advantage. We got two members from Texas. As you know, people from Texas LOVE football. And Clam Blitz is basically football. Just saying. We are going to go 100 percent win rate on Clam Blitz.
Lux: And we have somebody from Canadian Texas too.
Mullin: Yeah, that’s a good point. Vespher has stated that where he is from in Canada is basically the Texas of Canada.
Vespher: Yeah, Alberta is basically Canadian Texas.
Mullin: So yeah, we got that going for us. I mean, I think Penguitt is from Alabama, and they are pretty good at football, and Kiver is French, and they play association football over there. It’s still football. And Hexen is in Florida.
Lux: And TicTac is from Florida too.
Mullin: Yeah, but TicTac is not playing.
Lux: I’m just saying, he’s in Florida.
Pixel: Yeah, and Power is from New York…
Vespher: There we go: we have the Clam Blitz advantage.
Mullin: Exactly, we have Clam Blitz advantage, and it’s a new mode that’s really fun, and I hope we see it a lot in the tournament.
Lux: Also, unlike SetToDestroyX, we do have a Twitch Global Emote.
Vespher: We have KomodoHype! It used to be OSKomodo and it got renamed to KomodoHype. Because they dropped the Old Spice sponsorship but people still wanted the emote.
Hermes: Any last minute things before we wrap this up?
Lux: Yeah, one thing I hope is that, like at Don’t Park on the Grass and Smash n Splash, I hope some of the Smash players kinda get interested in the Splatoon stuff.
Vespher: Yeah that’s actually another thing I’d like to talk about for a minute or two is that G5 is such a huge opportunity for exposure for the Splatoon scene. And, while I think every team here should be trying to win, I think its in the best interest of every single player at to also try and put on a good show for all the new people that are going to be watching. Because this is a chance… to get Splatoon out there into the world, and to let people know that competitive Splatoon exists, and its flipping awesome.
Lux: Yeah, that.
And that wraps up my conversation with the Komodo guys. An experience group of players who could not be more excited about the LAN environment. Will they pull off the upset and take G5? Be sure to tune in to https://www.twitch.tv/endgametv1 on Friday and Saturday, January 19th and 20th to see Komodo’s run!
Note: This interview was not quoted verbatim, however most of it was pulled directly from our conversation. Some parts were slightly altered to better convey the messages of the team.
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