If you follow competitive Melee at all, then you probably know exactly who William “Leffen” Hjelte is. Widely considered to be a “heel” player, Leffen has a reputation for being the bad guy.
There’s a reason for that. Leffen likes to shit talk and make fun of his opponents. It’s a stark contrast to other top players of the Smash Bros. scene, who tend to be more beloved.
So why do it; why play up the infamy? In this fantastic interview with the team that sponsors him, Solomid, Leffen says that he does it because it fulfils a very necessary function for the community.
“I was branded pretty early as a villain,” Leffen says. “In the beginning, I didn’t really care about it, but as time went on, I started realising that if I am to have a role in the Smash scene, I actually do like the villain role. It’s very stagnant sometimes. Since everyone is friends, nobody is really pushing each other — you’re not going to try that hard to beat someone you’re close with.”
Thinking about it like that, I kind of appreciate what Leffen is trying to do here. Yes, he’s not always the most likeable guy. But damn if his rough edges don’t turn up the drama, and make matches all the more interesting for spectators. I may not always root for him, but I appreciate that he’s around. If nothing else, he actually has the skills to back all his talk up — and that’s refreshing to see.