by Trent Murray
In Rivals of Aether, most of the competitive conversation revolves around the United States. This is where all the major tournaments take place and where, most believe, all the best players in the world currently reside. However, thanks to the generosity of the Rivals community, two players will be traveling across the world to challenge that claim. Shine 2017 offered a Rivals of Aether compendium with ambitious goals to fly out the best player in Europe, and the best in Australia. Surpassing all expectations, the Rivals community stepped up in a big way, funding every compendium goal, including our two world warriors.
Today, we’re talking to Europe’s premier player, Kaos. At Genesis 4, Kaos blew through the home crowd, taking 5th place at his first-ever U.S. tournament. He shares the lessons he learned from that event, his unique history with competitive gaming, and how he plans to dethrone the best player in the world.
Trent: Tell us a little about your competitive history before Rivals?
Kaos: I played a little bit of Brawl back when it came out in 2009, until my last tournament in 2011. I remember drowning in pools at my first local. I quickly improved after that and was one of the best, if not the best, player in EU for some time. I was mostly known for my strong fundamentals and that carried over in Rivals.
I slowly got better at League of Legends and moved on to playing competitively in season 1 & 2. I’m relatively unknown to the general public but my team and I always managed to reach the #1 spot in the 5v5 ladder and I was consistently somewhere in the top 10 in solo Q.
We joined the organization Na’Vi at the time, but the scene was getting more and more competitive, every serious team started training every day in gaming houses, and we were losing to teams that we used to beat consistently. At that point we had to make a choice between going pro and leaving the competitive scene. I wanted to focus on my career and I wasn’t interested in playing LoL casually so I simply quit.
There are a few others games that I played “seriously” at least for some time but these are the two main ones.
Kaos defeating Mr. R at TSL4
Trent: What made you want to be a serious competitor in Rivals?
Kaos: Just like any other game I played competitively, it’s not something that I planned. I just really like the game, and I enjoy getting better at it, so I just play and do what I can to improve.
Trent: You mention that you competed a lot in Brawl, did you have any Melee experience before moving to Rivals? What aspects of Rivals specifically drew you in rather than another platform fighter?
Kaos: The only Melee experience I have is participating in tournaments at events with both Brawl & Melee, so not that much.
I tried [Smash 4] when it came out, I even thought about playing it seriously, but in the end I didn’t like the game and didn’t feel like grinding it at all so I quickly quit.
Rivals really spoils you with how fluid and natural the controls feel compared to other smash titles. It makes the game a little easier, but after you get used to horizontal wavedashes or platform drops out of dash for example, anything else feels stiff in comparison. I also like how every character has unique mechanics and can influence the stage in some way.
Trent: What other hobbies do you have outside the game?
Kaos: I mostly play games, program stuff and watch series. Hyped for the 7th season of Game of Thrones! I also enjoy traveling and seeing new places. It’s crazy how thanks to Brawl, LoL, and now RoA, I ended up having so many opportunities to travel around the world to play games.
Trent: Is there anything aside from the tournament you’re excited about during your visit to the US?
Kaos: I had to adapt to the prices of the plane tickets but I’ll have one day to visit Boston/Cambridge so that’s already quite nice. Being kind of a science/tech nerd I mostly just want to see the MIT. I’m also really happy that I’ll get to meet the #1 player in Australia, Gabe. I honestly thought this would never happen.
Gabe being #1
Trent: What were your biggest takeaways from the event at Genesis 4?
Kaos: My biggest takeaway is definitely that I really needed to train for specific match-ups if I wanted to stand a chance against certain NA players. The scene is much smaller in EU so my method so far has been to play every character, but that has proven not to be enough because I mostly just scratch the surface of each character’s specifics and just win with good fundamentals. I have to study them much more extensively if I want to compensate for the lack of an available top player with some characters.
Also, because the pool of top players is considerably bigger in NA, you mustn’t lower your guard against anyone. Even players who aren’t in the top 15 can take games off the very best ones, so everyone is a potential threat.
Trent: Which players are you most excited to face in bracket?
Kaos: FullStream obviously, as he has proven to be the #1 player to beat. [He] and I actually played some friendlies at G4. Him being the best player and me not having any experience against Wrastor, let’s say it didn’t go too well for me. I might have taken games off him if we met in bracket but it was very unlikely that I would win a set.
— GENESIS 4 @ #G4 (@Genesis_Smash) January 22, 2017
However I really improved since G4 and I labbed Wrastor a lot, especially his combo options, so I have a much better feeling of what to expect against him. I definitely have more chances than at G4, I guess the biggest factor will be how much he has improved as well.
If I end up winning it would definitely add more legitimacy to the EU scene, and I hope it would motivate more people here to grow their own local scene.
Trent: Which players are you hoping to avoid in bracket?
Kaos: Since [Grand Finals] will obviously be Gabe vs me I just want us to be on opposite sides of the bracket.
Trent: What does it mean to you that your compendium goal got funded?
Kaos: Before it started, I really hoped that Gabe would get funded, that alone would have been crazy, even though to be honest I was a little pessimistic. So obviously, I didn’t even imagine that I had a single chance. I couldn’t be more wrong, the compendium was absolutely insane. In just a few days he got funded, then Lord Bagel got funded in a few days too, and then same thing for me! Huge wtf moment. I find it really cool that a community sponsors its players through the equivalent of crowdfunding. I am extremely grateful to the community for giving me this chance, and I’ll do my best to win.
Trent: What are your expectations for your performance at the tournament at Shine?
Kaos: I think I’m expected to be somewhere in the top 5, but that won’t hold me back. I aim for the gold, and I won’t be satisfied with anything else. And LBO and I will win doubles. I was always better in doubles than in singles in Smash games in general and I think that still holds true in Rivals.
Trent: Tell us a little bit about the EU scene. Are there any other players that you think would compete with the top of the US if they got to travel?
Kaos: Because the community is small and scattered, the scene is mostly online, with generally two tournaments a week. We have gathered players in the Paris region a few times but it’s not something that we consistently do yet. In EU we have a strong core of [about] 10 players, with a clear top 3 who pretty much only loses to other players in the top 3.
After playing in NA I’m confident that Transco & Neylax are somewhere in the global top 15, just not sure where exactly. They would definitely be scary opponents for top NA players.
Trent: Is there anything else you’d like to say to the community?
Kaos: A huge thank you to everyone who bought stuff just to support the compendium, and to the RoA dev team who didn’t even get any money from it. Best business model?!
I know my EU brothers won’t go to bed at a reasonable hour so they can watch the stream so shoutouts to them in advance.
One last thing. Mark my words, I’m going to win Shine.
A huge thank you to Kaos for sharing his time with us. Give him a follow @KaosSmash and be sure to cheer him on at Shine 2017, August 25th-27th. Be sure to keep your eyes right here on rivalsofaether.com for more interviews leading up to Shine 2017.
Editor’s note: Tune into Rivals at Shine on twitch.tv/BigBlueGG on August 26th at 6PM EDT / 4PM CDT / 3PM PDT. We’ll be streaming all the way from pools until the conclusion of the tournament that night.