Esports Pros with Chutzpah: iBDW

Cody “iBDW” Schwab is one of the best Super Smash Bros. Melee players of the current era. And that’s saying a lot when you realize who he has gone toe-to-toe with to become one of North America’s top players: Hungrybox, Mango, Zain, Wizzrobe…

iBDW recently took first place at one of the biggest Majors of the year, Smash Summit 13. Despite some personal stressors during that time, iBDW blew everyone away with his intensely focused, one-of-a-kind Fox. Winning back-to-back Summit titles is a H.U.G.E. deal in the Super Smash Bros. Melee world — it not only solidified iBDW’s spot as the current top player but showed his ability to grind and improve in such a short amount of time.

“I’m dedicating this one to my dad,” iBDW said in an emotional post-win speech. “I love you, dad. I hope you are able enough to watch this.”

iBDW went on to say he was worried about the Grand Finals versus Plup. But he tackled it head-on and was ultimately proud of himself for taking on the challenge.

iBDW began competing in 2015 and quickly became the number one Melee player in New York. He beat Hungrybox and Plup to become the winner at Riptide 2021, his first major victory. In December of 2021, iBDW won his first supermajor, Smash Summit 12, after defeating Hungrybox, Leffen, aMSa, Zain, and Mango. He didn’t drop a single set.

iBDW is a Fox main who is currently known for his innovative playstyle and honest Smash scene takes on social media. Over my years as an esports journalist and content creator, iBDW has been the standout interview for me due to his candid answers and insightful ponderings and rants.

At Mainstage in 2021, I ran into iBDW and ended up discussing his frustrations with how tournaments are run. The scheduling was a big problem for him for personal health reasons and public reasons alike, including being just plain old exhausted from the competitive schedule going late into the night and then starting early the next day.

“Now we’re trying to get it to change,” iBDW told me in that interview. “That’s unfortunately how it works. We need some way to make this more sustainable. I have a stomach condition. I can’t be up all day competing under high stress and not being able to eat. It’s genuinely unhealthy and way harder than it has to be.”

The interview got him a lot of flack. Many saw it as “complaining” and felt iBDW wasn’t cut out for the competitive scene. But that didn’t scare iBDW. He didn’t back down. Not only did he go on to win a huge tournament soon after, he continued to rant on social media about various issues he’s run into at events, including rules about controller button remapping and more.

This is probably because iBDW is no stranger to obstacles. For iBDW, social media — and Twitter in particular — is just his way to express himself and let off steam. It’s just his way of letting out some of his nerves. He’s dealt with bigger problems than some scheduling controversy including anti-semitism.

But iBDW attempts to be a positive light in the Smash community. He recently used his platform to speak out against anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination and racism in the scene. In the past, he has made some blunders of his own, but took accountability for it in the same Twitter thread.

His passion for the Smash scene has continued to shine through not only on social media but in his matches. iBDW even played through a bloody nose at Mainstage, changing tissues on stage while the cameras blasted it all over Twitch. He is a focused player who is always looking at how he can improve himself.

“My goal at Genesis 8 was to control that foggy state I get in and try to be genuinely happy for my opponent [when I lose]. My mental goal is to make it so that I’m not scared to lose anymore,” iBDW said in a recent stream.

Despite losing at Genesis 8 this year, iBDW continued to say that he was proud of his match against Zain, calling it one of the best sets in Melee due to the skills involved with the match, adaptation, reading, etc.

Added iBDW: “Melee is a journey.”

Whether Smash players agree with iBDW’s opinions or not, there is no denying that he’s a real one. iBDW is one of the most honest pro players in the Smash scene, not afraid to show his feelings over wins and losses alike. iBDW is just not afraid to be himself. While a bit shy in real life, iBDW is a passionate Smash player that isn’t afraid to share his thoughts online. He has quickly risen to be one of the biggest threats in Melee, defining a new era of Smash along with rival Zain.