One year ago, we crowned the first-ever RCS champion. Since then, we’ve seen new sponsors join the Rivals scene, new stars rise to challenge the old guard, and more Kragg forward-airs than any man could count. This weekend, the next chapter of Rivals of Aether’s competitive history will be written as every top player heads to Genesis 5 to battle for the title of “best in the world”. We caught up with several of the biggest contenders for the throne to hear about how they’ve been preparing for the RCS championship.
What are your goals for the tournament at Genesis 5?
FullStream: My goal for G5 is to win, but I think that’s obvious. There’s not much more to explain there.
AZCards: I think it is everyone’s goal, but to get first place. I don’t want to settle for anything less because I know I am capable of getting the gold.
Windows: My main goal is to get top 8, that was my mindset going into RCS October and I won that so clearly I’m going to win Genesis. In all seriousness, I want to remain composed, as long as I don’t let my nerves get to me and I play my best I’ll be happy with whatever placing I get.
LBO: To perform well. I don’t care about placements as much as I care about performing to the best of my ability. If I play like a god and lose to a better god, I’ll be fine. My biggest disappointment comes when I don’t play to my potential.
Kaos: I want to have fun and show some good plays. I realized I play my best and enjoy playing more when I don’t care about winning or losing, so that’s my goal.
Dolphinbrick: I want to play better than I was before. I want to be able to watch my replays from G4, compare them to G5 and notice a substantial difference.
Penguin: My goal is to show just how good I can be at a local. I don’t think my previous tournament placings have shown my full skill and I want to use this as an opportunity to beat a few of the people I’ve never beaten offline.
What have you been doing to prepare for the event?
AZCards: To prepare, I have been playing friendlies with the guys from ICE. Our skill levels are really close so it’s easy to push each other to get better. I also make sure and give myself breaks so that I can have time to digest what I have been learning.
Windows: Not for Genesis in particular, but for my overall well being I’ve been working out and taking breaks from RoA when I need them. Improving my physical and mental health will be key factors going into G5, I’m confident in my skills as a player enough to not need to grind out tech.
LBO: Practicing a ton. I debated switching characters but I think I’ll be going all Zetter once again. My Zetter is better than ever and I have some new tricks up my sleeve that I’ve labbed out.
Dbrick: Playing whenever I can. I try to get games in with the best players that are available. I also watch replays to catch my bad habits and nail down bad habits from other players.
Who are you most excited to see at G5?
FullStream: I don’t think there’s one person in particular that I’m the most excited to see. I enjoy seeing everyone in the Rivals community for each event, and then there’s going to be an Ace house so I’ll be spending more time with them as well. On top of that I get to see the same, and some more, Panda Global people at G5, so I’m excited for that as well!
AZCards: I am always most excited to see my friends from ICE. They are a great group of people to be around and we always have fun. They’re the reason why I’m still playing this game and if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be at the level I am today. I owe a lot to them.
Windows: I honestly can’t answer this with one person, this will my first chance at hanging out with so many friends I’ve made online, I look forward to seeing everyone.
Kaos: SNC and Windows because it’s always cool to meet people that you only knew online before. But overall I’m also excited just to be there and meet everyone again.
DolphinBrick: All of the ICE boys!
Penguin: I’m most excited to meet some of the other ACE members IRL and hang out with them the whole weekend at our Airbnb. I’m also extremely excited to potentially meet Turtlebox’s dog, “Waffles”.
Outside of the singles bracket, what are you most looking forward to?
FullStream: Basically everything! Doubles, seeing everyone again, watching Melee/Smash 4 top 8, etc. The whole event is something I greatly look forward to.
Windows: Even including the singles bracket, I’m looking forward to doubles the most. I feel like the RoA Doubles meta is vastly unexplored, and Slime Mage is someone who’s shares the same drive for 2v2 that I do. Aside from that, this will be my first local event that I know I’m going to commentate in advance, and I can’t wait to have fun on the mic at such a prestigious tournament.
Kaos: Doubles bracket of course! LBO and I realized that it would be too easy for us if we teamed again, so I’m teaming with AZCards this time.
What does it mean to you that Rivals has been a part of Genesis for back-to-back years?
FullStream: Genesis seems to be the event for rivals since it is the Season Finale two years in a row. That alone makes Genesis very important to me and brings a lot of hype to the event.
AZCards: It means that the game is doing well and you can see that it has been growing in popularity since last year. I’m really happy for Dan, and the rest of the crew, that the game is doing so well and has exceeded expectations.
LBO: I think it’s awesome. It shows that the growth has been going well for the game and we didn’t just fall off.
Kaos: Back when I played Brawl I remember watching the stream of the first Genesis and Armada’s run on Melee. Streaming was still in its infancy back then and it was a really cool moment, watching some high quality Smash with other friends and players at the same time. Having around 300 entrants was also impressive back then, Smash tournaments were a lot more niche with a small community of passionate players. Genesis always reminds me of these good memories, and I’m glad that RCS finals are held there and that I have the opportunity to participate. It’s also nice that this time top 6 is played on Sunday in the theatre, just like Melee and Sm4sh, which shows that RoA established itself as a major game too.
Who are you looking forward to facing in bracket?
AZCards: I look forward to playing MSB at every tournament. Our matches are always tense but somehow he can still make it fun. I’m also hoping that I can beat some of the other top players like Fullstream, MrLZ, and LBO. It’s definitely a confidence booster if I manage to get a win from one of these guys.
Windows: I hope I get a runback with MSB at some point, our set at Dreamland was very close, and win or lose I feel like we’d put on a good show.
LBO: We only have a couple of truly top tier players. I want to be counted amongst them. I think if I can beat Ralph, Lz or Cake in locals then that will show that my double elimination of FullStream wasn’t a fluke and that I should be counted amongst the very best. That’s my goal.
Kaos: I’d like to face FullStream because I’ve been to the US twice already and never got the chance.
CakeAssault: Fullstream, MrLz, Arcanine, LBO. I want to finally not buster out against Fullstream. MrLz and Arcanine took me out at G4. LBO is fun to play against.
Penguin: I’m most looking forward to facing MSB, as I’ve played offline in tourney three times and I’ve yet to beat him. I’ve been close every time however.
This will be the first major tournament to feature Ranno and Clairen. How will the new characters affect the tournament meta?
FullStream: I’m pretty sure Ranno and Clairen are going to make big appearances at this tournament. If not both, then at least one of them, but they’re both just really good and aren’t too hard to pick up in my opinion. Having them appear in a local tournament for the first time will be very interesting to see.
LBO: They both absolutely trash Zetterburn so it will be an uphill battle for me. Expect to see them do exceptionally well overall especially in the middle rankings.
Kaos: I don’t think any player will rise or fall because of the new characters. That being said Ranno and Ori specifically are really strong and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of them in the higher rankings
DolphinBrick: Ranno is going to force people to tighten up their punish game, his fast aerials are good at breaking combos. Clairen is less developed, I’m not sure we’ll get to see a top-level Clairen yet.
We’ve gotten some hints, but what are your predictions for the new DLC characters coming this year?
Windows: I predict Bradshaw in a mech and anyone who suggests otherwise is a harlot. I’m also hoping for a sand snake, it’s anyone’s guess at this point until they’re revealed, Dan loves to troll us.
AZCards: It’s hard to say who the Earth Rival is. A lot of people think it’s metal- or sand-related but I’m not even sure. Even with beta insight, I still have no idea. The Air Rival is definitely a snake of some sort that pilots a mech. Dan held that Twitter poll and the snake won, plus the art on Elranno’s Twitter page looks just like a snake. Here’s hoping that the Earth Rival is a penguin who wields the power of sand.
Kaos: A snek in a mech, with an overheating mechanic like Rumble in LoL. Some kind of rabbit. And for the guest character, car from Rocket League.
CakeAssault: We’re definitely getting a snake in a mech suit. Then we’re gonna get a DLC skin that turns the mech suit into Car from Rocket League, sorta like Mario and Doc in PM.
DolphinBrick: They’re gonna be broken af.
Huge thanks to all our players for participating in our Road to Genesis interviews. You’ll find all their Twitter info below, make sure you support them as they prepare for the RCS finals. Genesis 5 kicks off on January 19th, so make sure to follow Rivals of Aether for all news and stream info. You can also see where and when to watch with the full Genesis 5 stream schedule.