ZeRo: My goal with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in general is to win one EVO or one super major... I have no care for rankings or things like that

Part one of the EventHubs interview with ZeRo

Posted by Justin 'AdaptiveTrigger' Gordon • January 24, 2019 at 2:56 p.m. PST

If you've been following the Super Smash Bros. 4 scene during its lifespan, then you likely don't need much of an introduction to Gonzalo "Tempo|ZeRo" Barrios. He was well-regarded as the best overall Smash 4 player in the world.

During the early days of the game, ZeRo was virtually unstoppable. Many of his feats were simply unheard of. The man is noted in the Guinness World Records for achieving first place in 56 tournaments in a row.

ZeRo is also the two-time champion of Nintendo's Invitational events. While there wasn't anything technically on the line and the rules were "interesting," this meant that ZeRo won the first ever tournaments for Super Smash Bros. 4 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Now that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has had some time for the meta to develop, I decided to reach out to ZeRo about an interview. Keep in mind that these questions were asked shortly after Smash Conference United.

Questions asked of ZeRo include his thoughts about his Nintendo Invitational victories, his 56 game win streak, what he likes about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, his decision to main Cloud in the new game, and what learning experiences did he take from his 9th place finish at Smash Conference.

During the interview, ZeRo also revealed that his goal for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is to just win a super major like EVO. He's apparently not putting a lot of focus on securing rankings this time around.

AdaptiveTrigger: Considering that you won the Nintendo 2014 and Nintendo 2018 Invitational events, how does it feel being the two-time winner of Nintendo’s Invitationals?

ZeRo: Feels great because it means I’ll be able to go to the third one too! I really enjoy the Nintendo invitationals, so this is super hype to me.

AdaptiveTrigger: After Super Smash Bros. 4 was released, you went on a 56 tournament win streak. Do you think it’d be possible to ever match — by you or anyone else — this accomplishment for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and beyond?

ZeRo: I think in today's age and competitive environment, it's gonna be almost impossible to top, even for me.

Players all study each other and there’s just way more to fight for. But I think it’s a really cool mark to strive for.

AdaptiveTrigger: What kind of training regiment did you have back then and how does it compare to your training for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate events? Would you say that was a healthy experience maintaining that insane streak?

ZeRo: For Smash 4, I would play 8 hours a day usually, and just grind with top players. For Ultimate, I'm kinda just streaming and just entertaining people. Sometimes I have "seriouslies" but it's nothing like the old days.

AdaptiveTrigger: How are you liking Super Smash Bros. Ultimate so far? What are your favorite changes from Super Smash Bros. 4?

ZeRo: I just really enjoy how you can actually edge guard now. I hated the recoveries in Smash 4. Now you can jump off the level and mess them up!

AdaptiveTrigger: Got any early predictions on which character will end up being the strongest in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate?

ZeRo: Right now it’s kind of a mess. You have Peach, you have Olimar, Inklings and a whole bunch of characters in general. We need some time.

AdaptiveTrigger: You appear to be maining Cloud for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. What inspired this choice?

ZeRo: I just really enjoy Final Fantasy 7, one of my greatest video game experiences ever. Plus, his play style is familiar and he’s sick to play with. But I’m adding Pichu as a secondary.

AdaptiveTrigger: Cloud’s recovery in Super Smash Bros. 4 often had top players citing the character as being "inconsistent" or "risky" to solo main for tournament play. How does this description hold up for Cloud in your eyes for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate?

ZeRo: Sounds about right. He needs a secondary.

Hence I’m playing Pichu. Good recovery, small, and hard to combo.

AdaptiveTrigger: At the Smash Conference, your first Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament, you came at a respectable 9th place. What experience did you take away from that event and how are you using that to improve?

ZeRo: Oof, "we needa git gud."

In general, just need polish things more and work on my secondary. I wish I could've played more people in my run. Really wanted to go as far as possible just to get those sets in.

AdaptiveTrigger: You ended up getting sent to the losers bracket by MuteAce then eliminated by eU|Samsora — both Peach players. How have you been training for your next encounter with Peach / Daisy and these players?

ZeRo: I think Peach isn’t necessarily the problem. Peach is one of the best characters right now, so it’s kind of normal to lose to two of the best players using her.

A lot of people have lost to Peach, but that doesn’t mean they are bad at the match up. It’s hard in general. What I’m trying to do, outside of always practicing against her, it's also just getting better in general.

AdaptiveTrigger: What are your goals for 2019? Assuming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is present at EVO 2019, do you think you’d be able to take first place?

ZeRo: My goal with Ultimate in general is to win one EVO or one super major. Just one throughout the span of the game. Preferably an EVO. I have no care for rankings or things like that.

Be sure to follow ZeRo on Twitter, Twitch, and YouTube.

Come back later for the second part of the interview where we talk about his former main Diddy Kong, his retirement towards the end of Smash 4's lifespan, the type of support that Nintendo should provide for the community, his focus on content creation, and more.

Photo source: Stephanie Lindgren.

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