Pro Smasher Jestise Negron or more commonly known as MVD has been a regular face at Sooner Smash Dojo here in Norman, especially since the arrival of the newest iteration in the franchise, Smash Ultimate. For those who don’t know, MVD is a transplant from Florida. He moved with another prominent Smasher and frequent doubles partner, ESAM, to be in closer contact with Oklahoma video game Youtuber, Alpharad.
He and ESAM have been living in Norman since about April of last year. He finds it to be a lot more “chill” than Miami, Florida and the Smash scene to be comparably smaller, but not without its merits. And for those early months in Oklahoma, he had been competing regularly in Smash 4.
But since Smash Ultimate’s release back in December, MVD has ridden a rollercoaster of events.
First off, MVD agrees with most opinions on the game being well-made and polished, which is as to be expected from Nintendo.
“I love the game. It’s so much fun,” he said eagerly, because with the new iteration of Smash Ultimate also came the return of Snake, his main from Brawl.
And when the inaugural tournament, Don’t Park on the Grass in Seattle came around MVD took 1st place. It was not just a major win but also one of the first he had ever won.
“It was an amazing feeling. I’ve always gotten close,” he said. “But I’ve never been able to capture that moment.”
At Sooner Smash Dojo, you can always find people approaching MVD to ask him questions or to just chat. Despite his oppressive play (such as his Snake’s option coverage at ledge which gives me nightmares) MVD is incredibly friendly and open.
The advice he would give to those wanting to approve is to just play more.
“Just like getting good at anything in life,” said MVD. “Be a student. People focus on trying to win so bad or so hard that they lose sight of learning the game.”
This is his key piece of advice and what probably makes him such a pioneer in interesting Snake play for Smash Ultimate.
“Because that’s the difference between top players and lower level players. Top players understand the game at a deeper level.”
But what is this deeper level?
“Instead of saying ‘Wow! That’s ridiculous,'” explained MVD, when he’s faced with adversity. “It’s more like ‘Okay. Well, there has to be an answer to this. Let me figure this out.'”
This is what separates top players from lower level players in his mind. And even for him, this advice was difficult to apply.
“In the beginning, it was really hard,” he said, recalling his start in 2009. “But if you get better than there’s less to complain about. If you accept the responsibility of not being good to yourself, as opposed to ‘this is stupid about the game’ then that helps a lot.”
And it obviously has.
But while he won Don’t Park on the Grass, he knew that the next year was going to be a change for him, because in early January it was announced that he and his longtime team, Panda Global, were separating.
Today marks the end of my tenure with @PandaGlobal
This may come as a shocker to a lot of you and will probably make you sad, as it does to me as well
With Smash Ultimate bringing so many eyes and attention to our community as a whole, I see this as a minor bump in the road
— MVD (World Best Gaming) (@MVD731) January 4, 2019
Despite speculations that it was MVD’s decision, Panda Global had been the ones to let him go, a choice that had been made back in November. Which makes his victory at the first Ultimate tournament a month later seem just a bit more bittersweet.
“It is something I knew going into Don’t Park on the Grass and going into Ultimate,” said MVD. “But it is what it is. I appreciate what they did for me for basically all of Smash 4. They were very good to me, and I don’t hold any ill will.”
And while Don’t Park on the Grass was the last tournament he would be wearing the PG jersey, his victory just marks the closing of one door and the opening of another.
His plans are to essentially follow the advice he gives to new players: Keep playing.
Fans can expect MVD to continue playing and hanging out with Smash folks in Oklahoma like ESAM and Alpharad for the foreseeable future. And on occasion, you will find him on a Friday night at Sooner Smash Dojo.
“Without everyone showing up to our locals at OU, we wouldn’t have a local scene. A lot of people get intimidated when they have top players at any scene, and they don’t show up,” MVD said. “But people here have a genuine desire to get better. And to befriend you and to get to know you.”
MVD has since been picked up by World Best Gaming and took 13th at Genesis 6.
-Matthew Viriyapah @matthewViri