Dath is a Smash 4 Player and Robin main based out of South Florida. He’s recently claimed the spotlight after an amazing 3rd place finish at Shine 2016, as well as some great placings at CEO, EVO, earning him the title of best Robin.
I recently had the chance to interview Dath, and ask him some questions about his experience with recent fame, his thoughts on larger and smaller Smash 4 tournaments, and his character’s place in the current metagame.
The following interview has been lightly edited for clarity
Michael: Hey Dath, thanks again for giving me the chance to have this interview.
Dath: Yeah it's fine, no big deal.
M: Alright, let’s jump right into it. You've seen a lot of success recently in bigger Smash tournaments, namely SHINE. How does it feel to be, arguably, the best Robin Main in the Smash 4 Competitive scene?
D: Being the best Robin is a great feeling, but it's not enough until I'm also considered a top 30 player. I feel there is a ton of pressure associated with it though, it's almost as if my results are directly correlated to Robin's placement on tier lists and how good everyone perceives the character. Anytime someone ranks Robin low, it feels like I haven't done enough yet.
M: Seeing as you’re THE Robin, there’s probably a certain amount of truth to that as well. You attend Locals at Versus pretty regularly, and I’m sure some of your bigger fans might be surprised to learn those aren’t just slam dunks for you. Why, in your opinion, do you thrive in larger tournaments, while still struggling against players like Nick Riddle, Xaltis, and DJ Jack during the locals?
D: Well, my struggle at weeklies is a little complicated. I wake up for work around 7am, with 6 hours of sleep maximum usually. If I'm playing at the weekly, my tougher matches don't come until 11pm, most people can do the math. There’s just not much rest going on. Sometimes I have time for a nap, but it's not always possible. Aside from the sleep situation, I also approach majors with a more focused mindset, as opposed to how relaxed I am at weeklies. Sometimes, you'll notice, I won’t do so well at tournaments with a doubles event. Playing doubles with Robin is so different that I have to re-warm up for singles if I want to perform well. Also, I don’t want to undermine the fact that the players in my region do well against me because they know my habits and Robin. Overall though, I think with my wins and good placings at some weeklies and monthly events show that my lower placings aren’t the entire story.
M: I can definitely understand that, and I think fans of the sport understand that mindset has a lot to do with gameplay as well. As far as the character is concerned, how do you feel about Robin in Smash 4’s current meta-game? Do you think a lot of players underestimate the character?
D: Yeah, pretty much everyone underestimates the character, even a few Robin mains themselves. To add on to that, I don't think anybody plays the character correctly at the moment. For example, I'm considered the "aggressive Robin" and I am too aggressive during points in the match. I also don't use most of the more advanced tech and follow-ups that Robin has. Another example I can give is Mr. ii. I consider his Robin "The trickster", he uses a lot more advanced tech, but ends up taking too many risks and doesn't play safe enough in my opinion. I think Robin is best played adaptively, constantly changing play styles based on the MU as well as the other person's style, and not just a single form.
M: So would you say that a major goal for you as a Robin main is to work towards optimizing that adaptive playstyle?
D: Yeah, working towards finding the balance between all the optimal play styles and actually being able to play them is something I've been working on. My weakest point as a player is my terrible technical skill, I'll flub a lot of the advanced techniques consistently unless I really practice them.
M: That's a really good point that I wanted to touch on actually. Robin isn't a character who's known for having a ton of advanced tech. His fox-trot is rather irrelevant due to its short distance, and for the most part many place him as a defensive playstyle character, finding very few uses for common techniques like perfect pivots etc. What are some examples of the advanced tech that many players are overlooking in their Robin gameplay?
D: Uses of b-reverses, especially with arcfire, elwind canceling, abusing the combined knock back properties of arcthunder and other moves, a good example would be combining Arcthunder and Dair, thunder dropping, single blade-wind, sour-spot aerials, and of course the complexity of Robin's item system. There's so much that I'm probably forgetting to mention.
M: Even so, thats a pretty tall order, and I feel like it's something that is commonly overlooked by a lot of would-be Robin players. So let's start wrapping this up: If you could give some advice to aspiring Robin mains out there, what would you say?
D: Play safe, don't overextend yourself for reads or take any risks. Robin is built for spacing and playing patient, and has plenty of kill power and damage on his/her safe neutral tools, for example: f-air, arcthunder, u-air, and jab. Getting comfortable with using those moves should be your #1 priority.
M: That seems like solid advice, and I’m sure your fans appreciate it. Thanks for letting me have this moment of your time to poke and prod at your brain. I really appreciate it. Before I go, is there anything else you want to say to our readers?
D: I did want to touch on the idea of "maining" a character. In any competitive game, choosing your “main” is not a choice of how good that character is. You need to enjoy playing him or her in order to improve. You can't perform well forcing yourself into a play style/game plan that doesn't fit you. You need to have an attachment to fuel your own drive to make that character the best.
Big shout outs to EVB and Dath for letting me interview him. You can keep up with him by following his twitter @Dath_ly, or by watching the man stream on Twitch at https://www.twitch.tv/dathx
Interviewing Dath was actually a really exciting prospect for me. I live in South Florida, so I get to watch him play on a semi-regular basis at Versus Gaming Center. When I first picked up Smash 4, Robin was my go-to character. Over the past year, I’ve drifted apart from the character, opting to play characters I feel more comfortable with, due to prior experience in Brawl. When I talked to Dath about the character, it was obvious there was a real drive and passion there. It’s something that really touched me, and motivated me to get more focused about the characters I feel strongly about. I hope you all get that same feeling. Thanks for reading.