On Day 1 of Collision 2019, Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey took the time to speak with Michael Kelly. The two spoke about the tournament itself, Tweek’s experimentation with a plethora of different characters in Ultimate, and his long-term goals down the road. Their conversation can be found below.
Michael Kelly: So you’re fresh off a pretty big win at Frostbite. Coming into another major, what kind of momentum do you try bring into an event like this?
Tweek: I try my best to treat every event the same. I just try to stay focused and play my best while staying calm. I’m trying to play some new characters and seeing what I’m comfortable with. This tournament isn’t as big as something like Frostbite so I’m really just going with the flow.
Michael Kelly: That’s a really humble approach for someone who’s arguably the best player in the world. How do take that kind of hype surrounding you and weigh your options in regards to who’s out there that can possibly beat you not only at this event but down the road as well?
Tweek: The weird thing about me is that I don’t actually pay attention to many players. I just take things one match at a time instead of looking too far into the bracket. I don’t like looking at potential matchups with other players further into the bracket. Instead I just take things one step at a time and treat everyone the same. Basically, my main goal against certain players is just trying to pick the right character against them, especially because I play so many.
Michael Kelly: It’s funny how you mention other players because one that comes to mind for me is definitely Mkleo. He’s probably the only player in the world who comes close to your level. Every major finishes with either you or Leo taking it home. With a big win at Summit last week, he took first at a tournament you were pretty notably absent from. Do you take a snub like that and turn it into motivation?
Tweek: I try not to think about it too much. There’s always another tournament. As for Leo, him and I have had a pretty big rivalry for years now. We’ve always gone back and forth with matches and tournament placements and it’s really nice to have competition and be in contention when it comes to being the best in the world. Honestly though, I just try not to get too ahead of myself and think of myself as the best player. It’s definitely nice, though, that people think that I am the best, but I’d rather just focus on getting better.
Michael Kelly: How much better do you think you can get? What kind of goals do you set for yourself?
Tweek: Something that really peaks my interest is being the best with a lot of characters. Playing a lot of characters is something I’ve been known for doing for a while now. This tournament I want to try and play some characters I’m not usually known for bringing out. I want to play a lot of Ridley, I might bring out the Young Link. I just want to try new things.
Michael Kelly: When you think about picking up a new character is it more about finding one that fits your playstyle or do you focus more on playing top tiers? What’s your decision making process like when you’re looking for a new character?
Tweek: At the end of the day, top tiers are the most important thing. Every character I play is viable in tournaments. Especially Wolf and Young Link. Wario is pretty good, too. He’s not top tier but he’s definitely up there. The weird thing about me is that I don’t really have a playstyle. I can kinda figure out how a character is supposed to play, myself. Rather than trying to make the character fit the way I would play it, I just play every character the way they’re supposed to be played. So really the good thing about me is that I never have a specific goal when I pick up a character, it’s really about just whoever’s fun, and then I see where and how they would work.
Michael Kelly: So with all of that in mind, you can come to a tournament like this – one that’s not as huge as a supermajor – so you have a little bit of wiggle room to experiment. What does a “practice” tournament like this mean in the long run?
Tweek: It’s the best time to try new things, honestly. It’s a nice mix of a tournament that’s not too big but it also has some great talent, so I can push myself while at the same time being comfortable with trying new things.
Michael Kelly: So when you look down the road further into the year, how much further do you think you can go? What are your long term goals?
Tweek: My goal is – and has always been – to be the best player in the world by far. No doubt. No question. No argument. I want to be the best player to have ever played. So I’m just gonna keep playing until that happens.