Samuel "Dabuz" Buzby had a great time at Super Smash Con, even competing in four different tournaments. But the fun isn't over now that he's gone home — Sora's finally here.
Known for his tier lists and insight into Ultimate, Dabuz sat down with Inven to talk all about his predictions for Sora and how the Kingdom Hearts protagonist will fit into the meta.
When Sora was initially announced, what did you think of him as the last Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC fighter?
I thought it made sense. It’s a fitting last character. I personally didn’t have much emotional response to it. I played numerous Kingdom Hearts games when I was younger but was never a big fan of the series. But I’m happy for the people that like it because I know so many people that are excited about it. Nobody wants the last character to be someone nobody cares about.
What were your thoughts when you first saw the gameplay?
When I saw his gameplay, I vibed with it. He’s like a floaty projectile fighter, kinda what I play. I play floaty characters. There's a lot of freedom to work with. His projectiles look good. Okay, I like projectiles but I don’t like projectile-heavy like Mega Man. But I like that mixing of projectiles and spacing. But I always hate the movement for them…
So a swordie with that too? And off-stage game? It reminded me a lot of Pit, in terms of how he was going to flow. Just the overall feel and mindset. And I love playing Pit.
What is your prediction for Sora as a competitive option?
Sora looked like a pretty good character but not absurd. I think he is going to take a lot of time for people to get good with. There's nothing blatantly broken but a lot of things that look good and useful. My prediction was, he's a very good character but not absurd.
For example, his Mewtwo style double jump… There’s a lot of uses. But slow double jump means he gets pressured and he’s also light. That's definitely a huge problem. Seems versatile. A wider range of useful tools. So give them a month or two and he might be a scary character. But most likely just good.
How did he feel when you played him?
He feels really awkward. His air movement is very uncomfortable, to be honest. He's too floaty. When you jump you’re in the air forever. You move so freely with attacks, the forward air, neutral air… It feels good but really weird. It’s really fun. But there are a lot of things you need to practice to get used to how to actually move with him.
The range was underwhelming when I first played him and still is. But the dash attack is really good. It honestly surprised me a lot. Side B after Up B is really nice, it's a very useful thing. Looking for Up Bs to kill. If you miss, use Side B to get out of there.
His projectiles… I’m not sure about them. They are awkward with air movement because they stall it but they seem useful. It's a mixed bag with him. A lot of things feel good but a lot of things feel weird. The combo game feels very awkward.
I have to sit down and practice. There's a lot of potential but I’m worried that, because of how his combos are so specific, he may not be too versatile… It’s a very WEIRD thing overall. But it feels very strong. But it will feel bad at first.
Do you think you'll see him at any majors?
Probably eventually. But it will take quite a bit of time. Elegant is super excited. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a pocket Sora for certain matchups.
You’ll end up seeing him in majors. Every DLC has been seen so far but will they dominate? I don’t think he will. Nobody will want to play him long-term because a lot of people don’t vibe with floaty characters.
How is Olimar's Sora matchup?
It will be fine. Sora doesn’t have that much range for a sword character, sort of like Metaknight — technically has a sword but doesn’t feel like it. Olimar out-ranges him. Sora will struggle against characters who force him to approach, like Diddy. Olimar will force him to approach and sus him out with big hit boxes. He's so light, super easy to kill… It’s just great. I'm not worried about that matchup.
What improvements need to be made to Sora for him to be more viable competitively?
He doesn't need buffs but it would have been nice if his attacks were slightly faster or slightly bigger. Or if he was faster overall. He is a little bit too slow. A little too floaty, lacking in range. Maybe combo execution is too tight.
What's his place in the tier list right now?
Sora is looking like a lower high tier? 20s-30s, even as low as 40s.
Are you happy or sad that there's not any more DLC allegedly?
More DLC is great for sick content. It's always sad to see a game you're playing not getting new stuff. But we got a great roster in the game. I don’t care about the DLC really.
There’s not much I could ask for in terms of characters. I'm satisfied regardless but more stuff is better. Devs will stop patching the game soon. This may be the last patch.
Do you think the game remaining the same going forward is good for the competitive scene?
I think the game could use one or two major balance patches. The game is in a healthy state overall but there's a clear gap. Some characters are much better than others. You're not gonna see Ganon do well at nationals or Kirby doing well… Then ROB and Wolf… They are clearly significantly better than most of the cast. It’s not even close.
Some adjustments would be nice. A lot of changes are pretty simple. Make a character's attack slightly slower or hitbox smaller. Combos should not kill at a certain percent. Just number adjustments. Pickachu exists… That’s a character that definitely can be fixed.
You got in 17th at Smash Con. How were you feeling about the competition?
I was juggling four games at once. Smash 4, Brawl, Nick All-Stars Brawl, and Ultimate.
Why did you want to compete in so many?
I don’t get a chance to play them ever. I thought, "Why not?" I used to play those games comp back in the day. Come on! Get a chance to play Brawl? Of course, I’m gonna answer. Third in Brawl, second in Smash 4, and 7th in Nick All-Star.
Congrats! Who do you main in All-Star?
Invader Zim. He’s just really fun. He has everything I want in a character. One big hit box with neutral air. GIR can be tossed… Make him jump… So many fun things to set up GIR as a minion to play offense or defense. He’s just a "Dabuz character." The exact type of character I would play.
Yeah, sounds quite similar to Olimar!
Cool setups, edge guards, ledge traps, setup-based cahracter and that’s what I look for. Most characters run around and combo you but that’s rarely what I do in games.
How do you think Nick will do in the FGC?
I think it will have a niche audience. I think that’s about it. The initial hype has died down a little bit. The gameplay foundation is pretty solid. It has a lot of things that need to be fixed in terms of gameplay, like the nair combos, poor character balance… It's very clear that some characters are good and some are atrocious.
Also, a lot of animations are really ugly, not polished enough. Music, aesthetics for the game, online play… People teleport on the screen a lot. It’s bad when you’re facing people further away.
A lot of people are mad about the lack of voices.
That's a quality of life thing… Aaaaah, yeah. There are no voices. It just makes the game feel awkward. That's a big issue for the game. The game doesn't feel it's worth $50. It feels like $20. It’s fun to play but I think that’s an issue.
What's the next major for you?
Smash World Tour, then Main Stage. Placing top 6 is my goal. That’s semi-qualifier spot right there. I just want to keep playing and trying to do well in tournaments. Not much difference there from before.
How are you feeling about the Smash community and the competitive scene now that in-person events are coming back?
Tourneys are doing good overall. There's a good amount of entrants. There's a lot of viewership. Overall, I think the game is doing great at a tourney level, especially as a fighting game. A lot of fighting games aren’t doing too well… Outside of Smash, I can’t think of ones having offline majors. It's the biggest fighting game right now — even without developer support. People are excited to keep playing.
Do you think Smash will be at EVO?
It's hard to say. Nintendo could always say, "No, no EVO for Smash." EVO itself would love to have Smash. Assuming we still have EVO in the first place. EVO Invitational was canceled. Eventually, we’ll have another EVO but not a lot of news for it right now.
Esports writer and editor with a passion for creating unique content for the gaming community.