Welcome to the High Score Esports College Players Interview Series!
Today, we’re talking to Grayson “Lunges” Harding, who plays on the Super Smash Brothers Ultimate team for Aquinas Esports. See how he got started, how he leads his team to victory, and what tips he has for players who want to join college teams!
Thanks to Aquinas Esports Head Coach Adam Antor for giving us access to his players!
What first got you into games?
I have vivid memories growing up with Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64. I used to play a lot with my dad and twin brother, Isaac. I’m a competitive person by nature, so it didn’t me long to find online forums and communities of people who wanted to take the game to a higher level.
What drew you to Smash?
I’ve played other games, like League of Legends, somewhat seriously, but they lacked an aspect of self-expression. In Smash, although there are over 70 characters, they all feel unique and require different styles of play from the user. In addition, no two players of the same character play the same either – everyone prefers a different style to neutral, advantage, movement, etc that makes talented players of the same character easily distinguishable.
Which character do you play? What is it about them that you like?
I play Young Link and Samus. I like Young Link because, when everything is going right, he can execute flashy combos that use aspects of his entire kit. He is a difficult character to play, but I believe his top-end potential is high due to his speed and versatile kit.
I like Samus because her kit is designed around trapping your opponent and punishing them hard if they start to panic. Samus’ kit, based around her neutral special, charge shot, is all about paying attention to your opponent’s habits and then forcing them into high-pressured situations. If they resort to a habit I’ve picked up on, whether in a tech situation, off-stage or even in advantage, I can deal a lot of damage. That style of play is rewarding to me.
Do you prefer to play a more defensive style or an aggressive style? Why?
I prefer an aggressive style of play, although lately, I’ve been trying to learn to play more defensively. Picking up Samus has helped with that tremendously.
What do you see as your team’s main advantage?
We are all walk-ons that play other sports at Aquinas College. That being said, we are all super competitive and willing to grind. Most of our team is new to the competitive scene, and we are making great improvements, often outplacing those who have been attending tournaments for multiple years.
What advice do you have for younger players who are hoping to join a college team?
Go to tournaments. Tournament play will make you a much better player and will give you visibility within your region for talent scouts. Dedicate time to the game! Worthwhile things never arrive overnight, so keep at it and stay persistent!
When you’re not practicing Smash or studying, what games do you play?
I run cross country and track for Aquinas College, so that takes up a lot of time time. Other than that, I enjoy playing games like Town of Salem, Realm of the Mad God, and Minecraft.
If you want to get to know Grayson better, follow him on Twitter!
Find out more about the Aquinas College Esports teams here!
To read our other interviews, click here!