Leffen at The Big House 6: 'I cannot play Fox right now'

William "Leffen" Hjelte took down the four gods of Smash to win Get On My Level 2016. He defended that title in 2017 by taking down Hungrybox in the finals. Provided by Robert Paul

William "Leffen" Hjelte kept to his self-imposed rules on Day 2 of The Big House 6 in Dearborn, Michigan, and withheld his signature Fox on Saturday. Instead, he rotated between Falco and Marth to make it into the final bracket on the winners' side as the Melee singles field was trimmed from over 1,500 players to just 64.

Things were shaky as he dropped a game against Vinodh Muthiah's Jigglypuff in the Round 2 pool, but Leffen wouldn't budge from his plan.

"I cannot play Fox right now for The Big House 6. Many people are expecting me to switch characters midway through finals day, but it's a hard rule for me to not play Fox at this event," Leffen said. "I'm going to stick with most of the top tiers -- mainly Falco and Marth. Basically, whoever feels the most fun to play."

Still, he couldn't be happier to visit the United States for the first time in nearly a year. As he passed through customs, he said he saw the same officer that detained him a year before, but said he felt relieved when he made it through security clearance. He says he's still adjusting to life in the Dearborn, Michigan, area.

"It was surreal to be in America and it's so different from Sweden that I went into culture shock. It has been such a long time since I was in America. Things are smaller and modest back home, but the Big House hotel and the nearby mall were so big. I came early and didn't see anyone I knew, but I felt comfortable as time went on. It feels good to be back," Leffen said.

For nearly a year, things looked uncertain for Leffen as he waited for his visa to be approved. After delays in the visa process prevented him from traveling to Las Vegas to compete in Evolution last June, he was ready to give up.

"It's tough to always be on call and be uncertain on whether I can enter events. I stopped practicing and it was stressful. I would have rather known a firm date [for] when I could come back rather than be hopeful and then denied each time," Leffen said.

With the lack of practice, Leffen knows he will need time to return to form. While Leffen says his mental game is still solid, he admits his execution was "5 out of 10" so far in Big House 6.

Regardless of what happens on bracket day, Leffen says he's hopeful for Eclipse and Smash Summit 3 later in the fall. For fans who want to see Fox, Leffen smiled and said that he plans to return to that character for Smash Summit 3 in November.