Having been involved in the competitive community for the past 11 years, it’s safe to say David “Dekar” Moore is one of the veterans of the Australian Super Smash Bros. Melee scene. He’s played against some of the best in the world, and could well do the same again this weekend at BAM10.

“Winning BAM when Armada is in attendance would be a dream come true, but I’m keeping it realistic with a top 8 finish,” he said, in regards to his goals for the tournament. 

“I actually matched up against Armada at a previous tournament in Melbourne in 2014, and I was fairly happy to get him to last stock in Game 1, hitting him with some classic Dekar mind games before he fairly easily won the rest of the set.”

The Marth main explained that he’s fairly comfortable taking on Armada’s Peach, though the Swedish international is on another level compared to other players in the scene.

“Thanks to the former Melbourne TO and Smash documentary inclusive CAOTIC, I’m quite comfortable with the Marth vs Peach matchup, so in my mind no further preparations are needed. I think I’d need to train in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber with other top players in order to stand a real chance against someone as formidable as Armada, though.”

While he’s been competing since 2007 (with some breaks), Dekar was first exposed to competitive Melee in 2004.

“I remember renting Super Smash Bros. 64 as a kid and loving it — the idea of Nintendo characters fighting each other was super cool to me, and it felt fun and easy to play,” he explained, when asked how he got into the Smash series. “Melee on the GameCube was an easy buy, and it blew my mind how much polished content it contained.

“I didn’t know there was a competitive scene until [I attended] a tournament series run by Nintendo at Village Cinemas in 2004 called the Nintendo Super Challenge. The tournament involved 4 games: Melee, Mario Kart Double Dash, 1080 Avalanche, and F-Zero GX, and I was sure I would breeze through the Melee part of the tournament. I was wrong.

“I sat down next to a player who went by the alias of ‘CATS’. He mained Peach, and I thought Peach was a terrible, weak character (unlike Roy). Again, I was wrong. Next thing I knew I was googling Smash Bros. tournaments in Australia and I ended up travelling to Lower Plenty for my first tournament, which was at a Smasher’s house. After that experience, we started monthly tournaments with Couch Warriors in Bundoora and off I went!”

A JRPG game on the SNES was the humble beginning for the tag Dekar, too.

“I got the tag ‘Dekar’ from an old JRPG game on the SNES, called Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals. Dekar was a funny, cocky, strong, and stupid character that I enjoyed playing as and listening to — it’s a cool talking point for anyone who recognises the name.”

March was a big month for Dekar, with Kanga Esports announcing they’d picked him up as their competitive Smash Bros. Melee player.

“Getting picked up by Kanga has been great, I’m enjoying being part of their foray into the FGC scene, and their exposure has been positive for the FGC/Melee scene itself,” he said. “Because of Kanga I can travel to more tournaments and represent the brand. More play against more opponents from a range of locations only strengthens you as a Melee player, because everyone plays differently and you need to be able to handle a wide range of play styles.”

With BAM10 around the corner — which is widely regarded as the biggest tournament in Australia for Melee — Dekar is really looking forward to testing himself against some of the best in the country and the world.

“I’m very excited to be going, competing, and meeting players this year — whether it be old friends, new friends or previously online-only friends.”

And rather than honing in on refining skills and techs prior to BAM kicking off, Dekar has instead said he’s been distancing himself from Melee. An intriguing method of practice no doubt, but it’s one that’s worked for him in the past.

“I prepare for tournaments a little differently to most players. Whereas it’s common for players to be grinding out tech skills and friendly sessions long into the night, I distance myself from Melee somewhat and partake in other games, like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, DOTA 2, and Final Fantasy XV.

“Not practicing the game solo has always been a sticking point of mine, as I want my game to stay revolved around mind games and outthinking my opponent, rather than blasting someone away with a show of finger speed. It’s what I’m known for, it’s what I enjoy, and it’s given me a lot of success in the past so it’s not changing.”

Something competitive Melee is missing in Australia right now, according to Dekar, is growth. He hopes that with the release of a new Super Smash Bros. game this year, alongside a new Smash Bros. Melee documentary, more players will begin to enter the scene.

He also believes BAM plays an important role in growing interest in competitive Melee, especially for newcomers.

“I think the atmosphere of BAM is unmatched in Australian fighting game tournaments. Taking that first step in attending your first tournament is always the hardest, and then suddenly you’re hooked — you’re a part of the community,” he said.

“In that way I think BAM is a fantastic avenue for not only celebrating the FGC/Smash scenes and their top players, but also welcoming new ones.”

It’ll be fascinating to see how Dekar goes at BAM this year, though one thing’s for certain: the Kanga Esports man is in for a cracking tournament.