With Low Tier City rolling in hot this weekend for the world of Brawlhalla I wanted to sit down and chat with one of the greatest minds in the game: Sandstorm. I had tons of questions for him! How could I not? With an impressive 5 LAN win streak and a 4 LAN win streak in duos with partner boomie… The dude is basically a terrifying and unstoppable force that doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
While I had a lot of questions on my own for our Wildcard Pro I also turned to Twitter to see what YOU guys wanted to know! After going through a lot of questions and comments I compiled a handful of them for this interview. Keep reading to see if your question made the cut!
Let's start off with the question I think everyone wants an answer to: How? How do you prepare for tournaments? Any crazy practice routines? How Do you get yourself into the right headspace?
A while back I would just play the game with other pros who I thought were most likely to beat me like boomie, wrenchd and noeL. So I would try playing them or watching VODs of them. Otherwise I don't really have crazy practice routines! Now I only play friendly 2s to prepare for Tournaments. Not much ranked, believe it or not.
In duos we just have a strange strategy that seems to be working: No scrims or ranked 2v2. It's really weird, but we feel the most comfortable with that being our strategy! Its worked since dallas and onwards, and we haven't lost a LAN since. In fact, the tourney we practiced the most for was our worst placement of the year, which was MTN DEW amp gamefuel tournament, in 4th place.
As for headspace, for instance, boomie and I don't treat duo tournament sets seriously sometimes and it works! We perform better because we're having fun and we’re not pressured to win. There’s no specific mindset going into a tournament or set, I just play. I dont think im going to win, lose, etc.
I feel like... just knowing that would tilt people.
Oh trust me it does! You can see us laugh in player cams and stuff and the opponents are poker faced at their monitor.
You said not much ranked. So are you ranked right now?
Yes. Whenever the season restarts I always get my ELO into Diamond or Top 10 in ranked then stop playing for a while. I only play ranked if I see I’m really low on the leaderboard, otherwise I don’t care much.
Who is your favorite person to scrim against?
Honestly, I rarely scim. But if I do it’s most definitely against boomie or Ethan. Boomie and I do a lot for each other! We get better in Singles off each other and we are Duo partners.
Anyone in the Brawl community that you looked up to before your pro status?
Before I became pro? I'm not sure I looked up to anyone in particular. I wasn't into the scene at all until after my first tourney win last year! I didn't know many people at all in the scene, I was more like a bystander that played on the side.
Now that you know the scene is there anyone you admire?
I was impressed by Ephi's and Dobrein's runs at BCX in 2017, as they both played scythe like I did. I also admire Dobrein for the work he puts into the game for others, like studying frame data and making good tutorials!
Who is your least favorite legend to play against? Why?
Probably Lord Vraxx. He counters my best legend, Mordex, very hard. The lance and blasters with his Stats and signatures are very hard to deal with in particular. You can only throw out moves if you think it's going to hit for most of the match- You have to be really slow and I don't like playing slow or cautious.
I have noticed that you seem to thrive off fast pace.
Yeah, sometimes it doesn't work though. Lately I’ve had to play very slow vs some weapons, mainly Katars. They got buffed and gauntlets don't do well against them. Scythe does pretty well but I have to play super floaty and patient. Most matches go to 4 minutes if I’m really trying in a tourney setting.
Who is your favorite legend to play at the moment?
Hmmm, I like Xull. A string weapon like cannon on a character with 9 force is very satisfying and he's my main pick in 2s right now!
Who are you trying to get better with?
No one, really. I have my picks, and they're working. I haven't considered branching out in a serious setting much… I have side characters I play in tournaments for fun though! like Kor (new jake the dog skin lol) or Sentinel, but i never practice them. Especially Sentinel, I don't touch that character! I took some games at Dreamhack Summer though when I busted him out.
Yeah I was going to say- You played him recently! I recall the announcers making a big deal about it and chat went nuts!
Yeah! I like doing dumb stuff for twitch chat. My Sentinel is like level 15 but I promised I’d play him and I did!
Alright- Who or what needs a nerf? A buff?
I think the game would be fine if the Katar buffs got reverted. Otherwise that’s it… Everything seems good right now! Most weapons can fight each other without struggle and signatures have been addressed recently- So, no opinion on a buff.
If you could remove anything from the game what would it be? Why?
I wouldn't remove it, but I would fix ledge canceling. It is extremely inconsistent and finicky on platform maps when you're trying to punish someone on the ground while in the air. It leads to a lot of mis inputs and frustration.
If you could add anything to the game what would it be? Why?
I want a scythe cannon legend so badly. I would feel mentally unstoppable with that pick! My two best weapons!
If you read wrenchd’s interview you may know that I decided to download Brawlhalla for myself and give it a shot. Any tips for someone just starting out?
Watch Dobrein's beginner tutorial- Yes, another dobrein plug. I would say play a lot of experimental and training mode to figure out the buttons for yourself, and then play ranked to understand the competitive setting. You can play both- A lot of the ways I got better was through muscle memory and experimentation, really like knowing the combos on all weapons.
Otherwise, just learn from the people you lose to. If they're doing things you've never seen before keep track of that! Replays exist and are handy.
I would also turn gadgets off for ranked because they're in experimental.
How was climbing through ranked before you went pro?
I got addicted to ranked, honestly. Like towards the end of 2017 I always wanted to see if I could queue into pro players to beat them and when I did it would motivate me! I took a long break from the game though, then came back for the may 2018 tournament that I ended up winning.
Any advice for playing climbing through ranked?
Don’t take ranked so seriously. Scrim with other players of your skill level is better practice, in my opinion. You just won't enjoy the game if you take ranked seriously. Take breaks from the ladder once in a while if you keep losing or are getting mad then come back and try again. That's what I did!
Because I am intrigued with how being a professional Esports player affects your personal life- Let's chat about school. How does your pro career affect school? What do your friends and teachers think?
My school life didn't change so much. My friends treat me the same and think that's pretty cool. Most people just jokingly ask me for money though… That gets annoying sometimes. The teachers think it’s dumb that im making all this money from video games! Like not actually dumb, but dumb in a way because they don’t understand.
How does your family feel about your professional career?
They're 100% in support of it! They didn't believe any of this was real until I started winning. They knew about my competitive gaming before Brawlhalla, though. I played a lot of Smash 4 back in the day and would win locals and get good wins and always have some pocket cash.
What did they think about your first win?
They didn't think much of it, honestly. When I told them I won 1k at home from playing locally they were very happy. However- My mom surprise decorated my room after I won BCX! Had a cake and everything!
Who’s your biggest fan/supporter?
My mom, for sure. She watches everything I’m in and spreads news to the rest of my family. She definitely goes in!
What tournament are you most looking forward to after LTC?
Hmm… I didn't really think about that. Shine is a large event im looking forward to, but that's about it. I’m glad there's a long break between now and then because I’ve been traveling nonstop since Dallas!
What has been your favorite place you’ve traveled to so far? Where would you like to eventually travel to?
I really liked Jonkoping, Sweden for DHS- Nice city, good weather. I would have loved if Brawlhalla returned to Dreamhack Valencia, That is a beautiful city. Otherwise we're going to Rotterdam this year in October!
Rapid fire! We turned to Twitter: “If you could ask @GDSandstorm anything, what would it be?” And we certainly got some interesting questions. I’ve pulled some of the most asked, most liked, and most interesting ones for you to answer. So here they are...
@Mord3xBH - What's the map you hate the most?
Thundergard Stadium. There's more wall than stage and it’s very unfun. Small blackguard comes second.
@yoshixdBH - Go-to song when playing in tournaments?
I don't listen to music in tournaments, actually. Just in game audio because it’s important in Brawl. You need to hear if people use their recoveries on early frames and such.
@ArciOfficial - What is your advice to players who struggle with mental?
Never blame other people for your OWN loss. I used to struggle with this! You need to be neutral and look for how you can improve. Take the time to think about why you lost. Also, like said before, don't treat the game too seriously! Even if you're really into the game and DO treat it seriously, taking a step back from that is healthy.
@hermisen - What weapons are the three best right now in your opinion?
Hmm… Katars are 1st, Scythe 2, and Orb 3.
@AraXBH - Do you think friendly 2s is the best way to get better?
Yes! No reason as to why, you just have to play it for yourself! It's the only thing I do in Brawlhalla right now and for the past 1 1/2 months: Friendly 2s with friends.
@BainsJasjyot - What made you choose choose you username?
I lived in the Middle East and played mobile games inside during a real sandstorm.
@KNJ41557092 - The time will come when someone surpasses you level of skill. Who do you think it would be and when?
No clue! I don't really think about that. There could be a point in time where boomie gets better than me, but that's the only person I can think of.
@Insom_Lupus_ - What are the best tips for scythe and gauntlets?
You need to be good at microspacing, throwing out hitboxes like gaunt dlight and scythe dlight without being punished. Keep track of what way people dodge or wake up after certain attacks.
@HelpM_ePlease__ - What mouse and keyboard do you use?
My mouse is Logitech G502 and my keyboard is Razer Huntsman Elite.
@Fizitrine - How did you get into Brawlhalla?
My friend told me about it in like 2015. I played the game for about an hour, then stopped and came back to it in the summer of 2017.
@TaeHavin - If you got knocked out of tourney early who do you think would win it ?
Wrenchd! I’m the only person who beats him and most of the time he's the only person who beats me! So yeah… We’ve met in grand finals like 4 times now? 3? I don’t even know anymore!
And finally: We got a lot of questions about your shoes. How big is your Shoe collection? What's your favorite shoe?
I don't know why people ask about my shoes! I don't have a big shoe collection at all… Like 10 pairs? I have some Air Forces, Vans, Jordans… Nothing like super rare or expensive. I’m gonna get the red Yeezys for my jersey fit and other shoes but they weren't coming in time for LTC so… Yeah that’s all.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Obviously I thank everyone so much for their constant support!
Tune in this weekend to cheer Sandstorm on! You can watch it here https://wildcard.gg/brawlhalla/. We know he’ll kill it, yet again! But of course we wish him the best of luck. If you haven’t already, follow our influencers and grab yourself a #stackthedeck emote to show your pride while you watch! https://wildcard.gg/influencers/