It’s been a big year already for Jonathan “Jdizzle” Douglas, having signed for esports organisation Kanga Esports in March as well as solidifying a top spot in the Aussie Smash Bros. Wii U rankings.

Signing for Kanga, Jdizzle says, was a great moment — not only for him, but also for the competitive Smash Bros. Wii U scene in Australia.

“It felt special and weird! It’s like, I’m just playing Super Smash Bros. and then all of a sudden I’m really good at it, and then I’m signing with esports organisations,” he said. “The best part of it all is telling my family and friends that I’m sponsored as they think it’s amazing — they think it’s the biggest thing in the world!”

“So it’s pretty special to me as a player as I’ve worked really hard for it, and I’ve ended up being rewarded for that. But now I’ve also got that extra purpose to play well — I’ve got to play for an organisation now and represent the jersey, so there’s a little bit of specialness added to the game, as well as being another motivator. It’s the reason why I keep working hard.”

“I also think it’s a really good sign that Smash Wii U is still doing well, and it’s still good enough to catch the eye of esports organisations in Australia,” he continued. “Within a couple of months we’ve got three players sponsored, when we’ve never really had any Smash Wii U players sponsored by orgs. Obviously we’re doing something well!”

After beginning his competitive venture into Smash Bros. on Wii U in May 2015, the Toon Link main has seen himself catapult up the local leaderboards. At the time of writing, Jdizzle is currently ranked as the second best player in Australia — right behind #1 in the country, Dark Sided’s Nick “Extra” McKenzie.

And much like Extra, who uses Mr. Game&Watch as his main, Jdizzle goes against the grain of selecting a high-tier character to use for competitive play. Instead, he uses Toon Link — a character that has taken a lot of time to refine and prepare for competitive play.

“It took me a couple of years to get used to him, and I’ve been playing him since 2008 or 2009 in Brawl, so I’ve played him for a long while! Obviously he changed a bit over Smash Wii U, and I found it very hard because I got nervous in tournaments a lot,” he said. “I’d just end up throwing his projectiles and not putting any thought into it and just trying not to lose.”

“So I was just playing defensive and wasn’t really getting anything out of it, so I ended up playing terribly because I was really scared to lose.”

“In the end I actually dropped him for a couple of months, though I realised [later on] that he was my best character by far, so I brought him back in and started playing him again. He’s worked out for me a lot now, but in saying that he’s a very hard character to get used to because he’s so open — he can do anything with his projectiles,” he explained. “Once you kind of master him he does feel like a very satisfying character but because of how open he is, he’s really hard to play at a high level — he does have a few really bad matchups with some characters.”

As all eyes turn to BAM10, Jdizzle is setting his sights on winning the tournament. Obviously there are quite a few obstacles in his way, but he believes he can really challenge for the top placings. And with a bit of extra motivation from signing for an esports org, he’s been practicing in a multitude of different ways in order to refine his play.

“I just went out to an event a week or two ago and asked a lot of people about my weaknesses — at the moment, what do people think they’re capitalising on in my gameplay and so on,” he said. “So I’ve gathered a lot of information based on that, and I’ve also downloaded a training mod pack for the game which can help you practice certain things you usually can’t in the normal game.”

“I’ve been working on the things I feel like I’ve not been doing too well, and I’ve been refining them and working on them a lot — which I’ve never done in the past! I’ve always just kind of kept playing, doing the same thing, and hoping I’d get better results. And I did get better results, but it’s also not going to keep getting me to the top, and so I’ve just kind of tried to gather all of my weaknesses, compile them into a list, and work on them as much as I can.”

With Smash Bros. Switch on the horizon, BAM10 is likely to be one of the final major tournaments for Smash Wii U in the country. As such, Jdizzle’s really looking forward to sending the game off with a bang.

“[BAM’s] always the event where we get the most numbers — the last couple of years we’ve got around 250 entrants each, so it’s always our biggest event by far!” he said. “It’s also the event where all the top players come down, and so it’s the strongest competition in Australia with the most people. It’s really good to have everyone down and in one big venue.”

While competitors attending BAM are gunning for top spots in the placings, Jdizzle says that his favourite part about the tournament is being able to socialise with the majority of the Smash Wii U scene — something that only comes around once or twice a year.

“Having everyone from the other state scenes come down is great, as you get to spend time with people you usually don’t see but usually interact with online,” he said. “So that’s probably my favourite part — having everyone come down and spending time together as a community.”

With a chance of shooting up the Australian rankings and with Kanga Esports backing him, Jdizzle will be looking to make a big statement at BAM10 this year.