Wavedash 2022 took place during August 6th-7th featuring singles and doubles in SSBU and SSBM, which was held in Oceanside, California. As SSBM is the main highlight for us, the singles tournament had 350 entrants, while doubles had 56 teams and Azel obtained some serious results! Also, check out the interview in this post to find out more about Azel’s experience!
Azel teamed up with his partner Umarth for the doubles series and clobbered up the competition as they steamrolled through to the top 8 and kept the momentum going as they beat Salami & Cell in winners semi-final, Nut & Vavez in the winners final and lastly Nickemwit and SFAT in the grand finals, all while maintaining a 3-0 victory across all matches and grabbing the #1 spot.
In Azel’s pool in the singles format, he 2-0’s across the board resulting him in arriving at the top 48 where he was invited by Jmook, who sent Azel to the losers round 3. The next couple matches were 3-1 in Azel’s favor, first against Squid and next, his rival, Spark, which allowed him to advance just before the top 8 in losers round 5 where he ended his run against Fiction, placing himself at 9th!
To add on, Azel made a significant improvement in his MPGR ranking from 100 in 2018 to 51 also known as Area 51, just missing the top 50.
Despite my brief description of Azel’s run, there’s a lot more that you can find out in the interview below about the reasons of his performance in certain matchups, his new MPGR ranking, while also describing his experience in the doubles vs singles format!
1) Although just under the top 50, your MPGR ranking has significantly increased from 100 in 2018 to 51 today. How do you feel about this improvement and what's attributed to this improvement?
Azel: In all honesty, I'm kind of in the middle of surprised yet somewhat disappointed. While I think that my results have improved from my previous years of playing, I feel as if I could have done so much better. This is because I've gained higher expectations of myself within the last few years, so while it's nice to be recognized for the results that I've gotten this period, I also just think that I could've been so much higher. I would say that I've definitely improved a lot as a player recently as I've been working on restructuring the way that I play and think about the game. I've been doing a lot more VOD analysis and labbing, which admittedly in the past, I didn't do as much of because I didn't enjoy the process of it. However, the more that I do these things, the more I've learned to really love it because of how much information I've been able to gather from doing these things. So, while I feel like I've improved, I know that there's so much more that I need to be working on as I don't feel like I'm remotely close to who I wanna be as a player quite yet. If anything, I'm extremely excited to go through this process and I look forward to what the future holds.
2) You steamrolled the entire doubles tournament this time. Is it the growing synergy that you have between you and your partner that keeps you going?
Azel: So, I definitely did not expect us to perform THIS well at this event. I believed that we could certainly win if we were playing well enough, but didn't think that it would be this insane at all. Umarth and I have teamed in the past, but only for a brief period of time. So while we have experience teaming together, we actually haven't teamed in quite a long time, since around maybe 2017ish? I kind of asked him last minute if he wanted to team, and the week before Wavedash we played a bit to work on some things and prepare for the event. I actually think that if we didn't do that, we would not have performed as well as we did. I remember our first session being pretty rough as our synergy and decision making wasn't there, so we talked about it and made the necessary adjustments.
At the event itself, we started off pretty strong, making it into top 8 only dropping one game. I was a bit saddened by the amount of DQs in our pool, but sometimes you just have to take those. Though, it was really in top 8 where we started to get it going. I think what helped us the most was our mentality throughout the bracket. We were just having a really good time and focusing on playing our absolute best as a team. I remember there being a point where we were talking with some people. (This might've been after we had won winners finals and were waiting in grands.) Someone had mentioned to us that we had like, one more set left, and I said something along the lines of "It doesn't matter if we have one or an infinite amount of sets left, let's just always look to play our best and want to play more no matter what." I think that mindset helped both of us as we played really well together in grands, focusing primarily on working well together as a team. Umarth, in particular, played incredibly well and teaming with him was an amazing experience!
3) There's a noticeable consistency in your doubles placements across the year. What leads you to be this consistent in that tournament format and how does it differ with singles?
Azel: I think what helps me the most in teams is just my immense amount of experience in the format. When I first started out, I played doubles pretty much the same amount that I did for singles. I would also say that doubles is a very hard format to learn when you're just starting out because there are rules in singles that doesn't necessarily apply to doubles, so for many first-timers or inexperienced players, it can be overwhelming at first, but the more you learn about it, the enjoyable it becomes. At times, it also feels easier because in doubles, you're not alone. You're sharing the same experiences with someone else and they're there with you, win or lose. Recently, I've honestly lost a bit of passion for the format for several reasons, such as the way it gets treated at events and lack of a static partner, but the moments that I team with someone and we perform well together, really make up for all of that. If my teammate's happy and having a good time, then that's all that really matters to me.
4) Your rivalry with Spark only continues to grow even larger through these tournaments, how did it feel playing against him this time?
Azel: Yeah, so, what I will say is that I know he's been entering tournaments with a new controller and working on getting used to a new button layout. He recently switched to Z jump, which does have a bit of a learning curve, so I understood that he wasn't fully at his best. Not to say that our most recent set has no value, but I'm mostly just looking forward to a much better set in the future, when we're both hopefully playing much better. In terms of the way that I felt, I wouldn't say that it was much different from the other times. Obviously, having to play a close friend at a large event is kind of rough, but that is a part of competition, so it's just important to focus on yourself and play as best as you can.
5) You previously mentioned that Peach and Falco we're your hardest matchups and you finally faced that matchup against Fiction. How was that experience?
Azel: It was a great experience! It's a MU that I've been working a bit on as of recent times so I feel like I've made some improvements. Getting to play him was great because it showed me a lot more things that I need to improve upon, but I'm feeling a lot better about the MU for sure. Just excited to work throughout my weaknesses and grow as a player, so I'll be working a lot on that leading up to future events.
That’s all from us, see you all later!