MVD: "I play for the love of the game, the money is just extra"

MVD on departing from Panda Gaming, and the health of the Smash scene.

Super Smash Bros.'s Icon Amanda Stevens · 25 Jun 2019


Photo via World Best Gaming

At the start of the competitive Smash Ultimate scene, Jestise “MVD” Negron came out on top at Don’t Park on the Grass 2018 both in doubles and singles. A fan favorite, MVD parted ways with Panda Global shortly thereafter, spending some of early 2019 as a free agent. Now with World Best Gaming, MVD is showing people why you shouldn’t second guess his Snake with his consistent Top 8 finishes. We sat down with MVD and spoke about if Smash needs a pro circuit, the community’s perception of Snake players, and why he split from Panda Global. 

You had a pretty strong opener for competitive Smash U by winning Don’t Park on the Grass 2018. Were there any nerves going into a tournament for a game that was brand new at the time? 

There were a lot of nerves going into Dont Park 2018; without a doubt. I felt like I was the best player there so I had to prove it, so I admittedly put a lot of pressure on myself. I also knew that was my last tournament as a member of Panda Global, so it was a tough event personally for me. I really wanted to win for a lot of reasons and I’m glad I did.

I know it was a ways back but you were also a Snake main in Brawl. How much of playing him now in Ultimate is like riding a bike? 

Playing Snake is the definition of breathing for me at this point. Since I played him in Brawl for so many years it was a relatively easy pick up and play with Ultimate. I definitely feel fortunate to have the background with Snake in a prior game because he is such a deep character. 

People have had some strong feelings about Snake. What do you think about the Smash community compounding their feelings about a character on the players who play them? 

The community has had some choice feelings for Snake and his players, it's a pretty common thing to be honest. People "hate" what's good usually. And Snake is absolutely an amazing character, nobody can deny that at this point. I guess you can say it is similar to how people disliked Diddy Kong in Smash 4, not so much as hate them like Bayo but just some kind of dislike. It doesn't really phase me personally, I welcome those who talk nonsense. 

We’re on Patch 3.1.0 currently. How do you like the way Nintendo is balancing this game so far? 

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As a Snake main. I've been lucky to avoid crazy nerfs so I absolutely love the way Nintendo has been patching the game. I really do think they watch us closely and do things to help not only the casual scene, but the competitive scene as well. As long as they don’t turn the meta upside down, I think people will be happy with what they're doing.

I really think the game is in a good place and I can’t really think of anything drastic that needs to be done.

Speaking of changes, you’re now sponsored by World Best Gaming. Is it lonely being the sole Smasher for an organization? 

Technically I’m not the only Smasher on the team, we have Vikki Kitty so I’m not the loneliest. [Laughs] Being the only Smash player on the team for me just means I have a lot to carry on my shoulders, the reputation of the team and how far we can go Smash wise relies heavily on my results. It can be a little overwhelming but Worlds Best definitely has an amazing staff to help me be the best I can be. 

Even though you left Panda Global, your Doubles partner is still ESAM. What is it about him that makes him your ideal Doubles partner? 

Everyone always thinks I left Panda Global, allow me to fix that assumption and say I was let go, I didn't want to leave the team but business is business. ESAM being my team partner was never a Panda thing, we've been static teammates ever since December 2009, so naturally we are extremely comfortable with one another and trust one another fully. We click in all aspects of the game as a unit so it just makes sense that we would continue teaming even if we are now representing different organizations.

Smash remains one of the few fighting game titles to lack any semblance of a pro tour. Do you think the lack of a Nintendo sponsored tournament series affects the health of the scene? Especially for pro players like yourself? 

While it would be nice to have an official Pro Circuit, I don’t think it hurts the health of the scene or game that we don't. As somebody who has made a career out of Smash, I definitely would love to have one that has huge prize support for the pro players. However, I understand that simply is not in the cards for us at the moment. And that won't push me away from the game or the scene. I play for the love of the game, the money is just extra.

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