SQSS Rewind: January
Nicholas "hermes" Devantier
Jan 15, 2018
In this first edition of Squidboards Splat Series Rewind wrap up interviews, I sat down with NineWholeGrains, Walkman, and Failboat to discuss their insights from the tournament, hoping to learn a bit more about what they were seeing while behind the mic while all the hype was happening!
Hermes: Thank you all for being here! So, first things first, can we get some introductions?
Nine: OK, I’ll fire first. My name is Charles Whitehead or NineWholeGrains is the tag, sometimes shortened to Nine. I got into Splatoon commentary by accident. And then as I started to commentate a little bit more, people started to give me positive feedback, and I realized it was my way to contribute to a community that it is not always easy to find ways to contribute to. To use my voice to welcome people into the community, to break things down for newcomers as well as offer new perspectives for players who are a little bit better at the game. And as time has gone along it has taken me to a bunch of wonderful places, helped meet a lot of great people, and no reason to get off the train when its still running this smooth.
Walkman: Alright, so I’m Walkman, or Walky, everybody knows that. Mostly, if you remember from Splatoon 1, I was a player, but in Splatoon 2, I didn’t really have an opportunity to join a team I wanted, so I kind of moved on from that. Just focused on being a commentator and now writer for InkTV. I guess the real reason I want to be a commentator more is just because, and no offense, but a lot of the commentators are hype men...
Walkman: Yeah, and I just kinda wanted to be more analytical with it, since with Splatoon 1, I had a lot of experience and am still close with a bunch of top players, I always get their insights and stuff like that. So I just wanted to incorporate that more so that people could get a more analytical point to it.
Failboat: Hi, I’m Daniel, and I’m a hype man! I have a YouTube channel which I primarily go off of primarily which is called Failboat, where I do Splatoon and Nintendo content. And recently I’ve been jumping over to Splatoon for some E-Sports commentary. I commentate some Smash Bros locals in my state, and after playing Splatoon a lot and getting addicted to it, and wanting to hop into the competitive scene, I felt it would be best to get going on the commentary side. And it just worked out like that. And here I am, growing on it.
Hermes: Fantastic, thank you guys. So of course, the Squidboards Splat Series Monthly for January. The first question I want to ask you guys about is what game stood out to each of you while commentating?
Nine: I’m going to go ahead and NOT pick the Kraken Paradise vs Olive set because that would be cheating. I want to talk a little bit more about Vitamin Sea vs Eclipse. Vitamin Sea, one of the newer teams that just got started in Splatoon 2, came up through Young Ink, a series of beginner tournaments, and Eclipse has had a lot of pedigree, they came from great wins and Neptune, which was another team that got a lot of big wins as well. So to see Vitamin Sea put up a great fight against a top tier team really spoke bounds about how you can still get into Splatoon 2 and can still put up great performances, even if it is late. One of the narratives that gets spun around is because every top team in Splatoon 2 is made up of top players from Splatoon 1, that there’s no chance to make headway in that. And I think Vitamin Sea showed that, even though they didn’t win, they put up an encouraging enough performance against Eclipse, that that is no longer really a narrative that people can hold on to.
Walkman: Piggy backing off of Nine, I think that was the set with the player named Ebz who was a really good blaster, and she really impressed me. You could tell they are improving a lot in their play, and that was something that proves that Young Ink is working. If I had to pick a set that stood out to me, it’d have to be the grand finals set. Even though everybody knew Ethereal already beat Team Olive in the same day (they had their LUTI Playoff match earlier before the tournament), Olive started off the day a little weaker and they kept building it up and you could tell they were getting stronger as the day went on, because they all pretty much just came back from vacation. They expected that they would warm into it. But Ethereal still stood strong and dominated that set.
Failboat: OK, I know Nine said it was cheating, but good gosh, the Kraken Paradise vs Team Olive, that one. In a tournament where we had in some cases a lot of one sided matches on stream, it was a nice break up to have a really close to the wire, game 5. Kraken Paradise was being rooted on by so many people in the chat. It was a very close set overall, down to the wire… Oh, and that was the set that had the insane rainmaker push! There were just moments when it kept getting stuck at 23 and 21! IT was just a really fun set to watch!
Hermes: Going to the bracket, which team surprised you the most? Who really stood out to you guys?
Nine: The two teams that I’ll go ahead and say are El Firmament has always been a really really good team in Splatoon 2, and to see them, I think they lost the bronze match, but to see them take top four at a tournament this stacked, I think that’s one of their better finishes, and I have to give them credit where it’s due, and then Konton Knights taking a game from Olive, that was, kinda like how Walky was saying, Olive was building strength and getting better as the day went on. But that was in bracket. To take a game off of a top team like Olive speaks volumes for how well Konton Knights was playing and you can’t help but be impressed when a team puts on that kind of performance.
Walkman: I kinda feel like I’m cheating, but the same two from Nine, because El Firmament, they are very underrated. I guess people have the mindset that if they get these wins in the French community, and then people don’t think that translates over to the international scene, but it really does and it's showing. Not many teams could beat Saikai 3-1, I believe? It was very impressive. And then Konton Knights of course, they beat Extermination, even though its a newer roster, it’s still very impressive overall. And they lost 1-3 to Olive, but every game was pretty dang close. You could tell, even the chat was excited, that’s how close those games were. I would have to give overall, Konton Knights, they are on the come up.
Failboat: Hey, so Konton Knights is my pick. They had a lot of great plays, of course the 3-0 on Extermination. They have a guy named Vega on blaster and Alex on roller, played a very, very hyper aggressive roller, especially in some of the earlier sets we saw on stream. The roller would just run at the enemy’s spawn and try to just keep them back, probably taking out two at a time. I think that over-aggressive play can sometimes really spur up the audience and get people going, which is why they quickly became the crowd’s favorite as we have heard from our commentator’s too.
Hermes: Alright, so staying in brackets, but looking at the groups, which was the most stacked group for each of you guys?
Nine: The pool that had Scrivener, orKs, and Element R (Pool J) I had to keep my eyes on. Scrivener just formed, and we all kinda figured orkS E-Sport would take that one, but Element R is a name that people are more familiar with, and it looks like that one went 5-0 for orKs E-Sport, 4-1 for Scrivener, and then 3-2 for Element R. So that was one I was really interested to see who would get out, because all three of those teams have the potential to beat each other, or at the very least, lose to each other. So that was one that I was keeping my eye on, because Scrivener is new but has some familiar names on it, so to see them get out of that pool in their first REAL major tournament as a team, I thought was pretty cool, so that was my pool that was most enjoyable to keep track of.
Failboat: I don’t have that much input on it, but I like seeing the Young Ink teams and what they can do, because I like them and follow those tournaments a little bit more recently. And there was Downtown Marina, Sons of Fishes, and Vitamin Sea. Unfortunately, we didn’t see too much of a pop off from these Young Ink veterans, I would have liked to see them get a little bit more there. Downtown Marina got out of their pool, Sons of Fishes was not able to get out of it, and Vitamin Sea did get out of it. I don’t know, I just want to see more teams that could get a little bit further in bracket, but congratulations to them to get out of pools in those situations.
Walkman: Looking at the bracket now, the one that impresses me is Group N. It has Extermination, VectorQry, and ;Dachi. ;Dachi is a very new team I believe, like Latin American team, I believe they won a tournament recently? They beat Saikai, and they came second to TOMO in another. So, going into this, you would expect them to at least make it out of groups, but they couldn’t beat VectorQry or Extermination, especially since both of them went out pretty early in the bracket. I would have expected to see more out of ;Dachi there. I guess I would have expected to see more out of them in that group.
Hermes: So, the end result with Ethereal taking the whole tournament, what is your reaction to them taking the tournament, especially over Team Olive?
Nine: That’s definitely their biggest win. They haven’t won a “Tier 1” event since they started. So this is Ethereal’s biggest win no question, and I feel like a win like this really does cement them in that next level. The October SQSS, they took second, and in September they took fifth, so they’ve kind of been making that steady climb right to the top. But to see them finally win one, and take it so convincingly over Olive, I know they didn’t get to play against Saikai, but hey, Saikai didn’t make it to them, so that should tell you how stacked the bracket was. I think this right here shows Ethereal is no longer in the conversation just outside that top four, top five team. I think that they are right there in it. I think that it’ good to see a team that just a few months ago, a lot of teams would have put around the top ten. I think now they are in the top five, and definitely in the discussion for top three after a couple more wins. It was good to see, I think that even among all the other stories, this was the most important story of the tournament.
Walkman: I agree with a lot of what Nine said, and I said it a lot during the casting, but I think that their another underrated team that people don’t really know. They don’t have that fanbase because they are quiet and keep to themselves and pretty much just scrim all day but they don’t really talk to anybody. I was happy to see that what they have been doing is working for them. You guys know that I’ve been a big fan of Grey (check out Walky’s piece where he interviews Grey), we have been friends since pretty much the beginning of Splatoon 2. And I think he is one of the most underrated players. And pretty much, I wanted Ethereal to win because what it really means is that you’re going to beat those top dogs, and as Nine mentioned, I think they are a top four team at least, I think they could be top three, I might even put them over Saikai.
Nine: To put things into perspective, now that they know they can beat the top dogs, I mentioned earlier that they took fifth place in that September SQSS, then in the LUTI Seeding they got second, then they got second place at the October SQSS, then they got third place in G7 Online 2. So to finally get that win after being so close, and those were all very prestigious tournaments. And for them to finally get that win was huge. And the teams they lost to were the teams like Kraken Paradise, Team Olive, and more, but now those wins are finally going the other way. I just think that’s awesome, to finally overcome, get that first win, because once you get that first one, there is no telling how many you can get.
Walkman: and to add to that, I think the reason we are going to see a lot of success right now is because, when the first thing anybody thinks of when they think of Fumiko is how good of a charger he was, but he’s switched off of that. I think that’s what’s going to take them to the next step. Like if he doesn’t hit every shot, it’s not worth it in the current state of the game. Him switching to Sloshing Machine and then they kept switching between Fumiko’s Machine on Tower Control and Rainmaker, or if they needed an N-Zap on Splat Zones, they kept switching it out for the team.
Hermes: I believe we got one more person…
Failboat: I think you guys said it best! Nothing I can really add right now. I mean, I will say, they are one of the first teams I started watching before I hopped on commentary, it’s nice to see them, it’s a little personal victory to see them pull it off and do real nice.
Hermes: And with that I am out of the standard questions. Is there anything else you guys want to add?
Walkman: 116 Teams. One of the biggest tournaments ever.
Failboat: Oh, and the viewer cap! We had so many viewers, so many active members of chat. This one, it was moving around nicely! I believe it got to just under 700 viewers ata most, but it was all ranged from people who are brand new to seasoned players, and it’s really nice to see that during our breaks, and we had a couple of long breaks, not really too many people left. There were some dips, but overall you could tell people were interested. If we can continue to see that growth over the next tournaments.
Hermes: I think one of the big things about this is that: this is just a monthly. Think about the majors! I can see the Genesis 5 stream blowing up!
Nine: The thing that was kinda interesting to me, it’s a bit more of a meta thing. I think that after this tournament it is safe to say that the vanilla blaster is the blaster of choice. We saw Ben (Ethereal) use that from day one, but we also saw Sendou (Olive) moving to that too. But it’s so interesting, and I talked about this with Walky on the cast, to see the cycle of blasters that has come around and gone, and that’s just really cool to me, to see how the patches can change the game. Blasters have been good since the beginning of time, there’s always going to be the presence of one in the meta, but it’s cool to see it shift to the vanilla blaster.
Walkman: And the thing I like about this blaster is that the other blasters are still seeing use on niche maps. And we also get to see poison mist for the first time ever. And I think it’s very underrated against armor weapons because you just throw the toxic mist and they can no longer come to you.
And with that, we wrap up our first commentator interview for the Squidboards Splat Series monthly. Next month, we will be back with the commentators to see what happened during the next exciting installment of the series!
Here is the bracket and full tournament playlist:
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