I got the chance to sit down and talk with one of the premier Under Night In-Birth players: Redblade. Redblade is a Wagner main who has placed highly at many top tournaments since the game has come out and shared with us history of fighting games, his thoughts on the scene, his goals for the next year, how to be a better player, and a bit about himself outside the game.
Q: Really glad to get the chance to talk to you man. This is going to be one of my first Under Night interviews and I’m excited. How are you doing?
Redblade: I’m doing good. Happy to be interviewed.
Q: Happy to do one! So for those that might not know who you are do you mind giving a sort of a brief synopsis of you are in relation to the fighting game scene as well as your history with fighting games?
Redblade: I’ve been playing fighting games most of my life, starting with my brothers copies of Street Fighter 2 Championship Edition and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 on the Genesis. I was just a little kid back then, but I had a fun time mashing in it, lol. However, what really sparked my love for fighting games was when I got a little bit older and discovered Marvel vs. Capcom 2, I always played it in the arcades and begged my parents endlessly for a copy of it for the PS2 and got it for my birthday. Though MvC2 made me fall in love with fighting games and I played a bunch of them, it wouldn’t be until Marvel vs. Capcom 3 that I would want to take it to the next level. From there I wanted to really get good, and tried out other fighting games as well. I discovered a local anime scene in Connecticut, which ultimately led me to Under Night. Now, I am one of the strongest UNI players in America!
Q: Always great to see another New Englander competing at a high level. So what was it about UNI that really drew you to the game? Was it the look of the game? The characters? The game play? What was it that sparked your interest in it?
Redblade: The gameplay, mostly. UNI is a game heavily about conditioning, player vs player interaction, and good decision making, which are the things I value the most in fighting games. I liked how good defense is handsomely rewarded, and for the most part there isn’t a lot of things like unreactable mixups and oppressive setplay that reduces the interaction between the two players to just “guess the mixup”. UNIs characters and setting are also really enjoyable to me, as I am a big fan of urban fantasy.
Q: For sure! I’ve only been messing around with the game on and off the last few months myself but I’ve enjoyed a lot of the mechanics and and interactions while playing with my friends and it’s also a very fun watch. So let’s take a look at the scene of UNIST. Obviously there was the EVO announcement that got a lot of people to check out the game. Most games won’t be able to sustain that kind of thing long term but do you think that UNIST will be able retain a decent percentage of those players in the long term? (Think 4-6 months after EVO) Why or why not?
Redblade: I believe it will. The thing about UNIST is, the community is very focused and dedicated, and generally always show up and show out to events that are willing to host our game. There have been a lot of new players that came in 2018 alone and stuck with the game, and I have no reason to believe the same won’t happen after EVO.
Q: Speaking of EVO, with the increase in player base there are no doubt going to be quite a few entrants including great players from other games. Obviously, you’ll have an experience edge over them but how are you feeling heading into that event in as well as any others along the way? Are there any other UNI players currently that you’ve got your eye on that might give you trouble or are you confident that you’ll be able to make your way to the top of these tournaments?
Redblade: I’m feeling pretty confident going into the next couple of events, but anything can happen in a tournament, so I’ll definitely have to stay on my toes. Players that could give me trouble are Squish, Infinity, Clim, JJ, Trill, Psykotik, and Tari. However, I’m still confident in myself and my character that I’ll be able to rise to the occasion and make my way to the top.
Q: You’ve got to believe you’re the best to be the best. Keeping on with you for a bit what were the factors that made you want to play Wagner? Was she a character you always wanted to play the moment you started playing or were there other characters you were floating at the time?
Redblade: I had a huge character crisis and then decided on playing Orie in EL (the previous version), but wasn’t good at all back then, lol. I saw Wagner’s concept art and she looked really cool, and I told myself “if this character ever gets in, I’m at least going to try her out”. Lo and behold they announced her a few months before console version came out, and I decided right then and there that was my main, and everything about her kit just clicked with me.
Q: Character crises are something that occurs very often and I am speaking from experience on that one haha. But that leads me to my next question. For newer players who are new to UNI or maybe new to fighting games in general what sort of advice would you give them in terms of how to improve as players, how to approach matches, and how to get into the right mindset to improve? Or anything else you can think of.
Redblade: Always be open and receptive to learning, and don’t worry about results as they will come on their own as you learn and get better. I’ve learned over the years that fighting games are just as much about the journey as they are the destination. Be willing to use all your resources, including other people as many people, including myself are very ready and willing to help new players.
Q: I’ve often found that communities that aren’t willing to teach the new players things eventually die out. I think that it is super important to welcome all sorts of players into your scene and do what you can to keep it thriving. So it’s great to see that people like you are willing to take up that mantle. Speaking of you, can you tell us a bit about Redblade the person? What sort of things are you into outside of the game? Do you have any hobbies? Things you like to do on the weekend? Anything that you’d like to share about you as a person?
Redblade: Outside of UNI, I like to work out, I do a bit of sculpting, and like to do a bit of bar hopping around the city with friends, when I have the chance.
Q: Sculpting is a unique one. How did you get into that?
Redblade: I needed a generic filler credit to finish college, and a pottery class was the only thing that fit into my schedule as I was both working full time at a warehouse and a full time student. I actually hated it at first, because I was never good at art and was convinced I was going to stay garbage. However I opened up to it more and actually started to really enjoy it! The feeling of creating something unique to you is amazing, and its also a very relaxing time when its just you, a workshop, the clay, and some music.
Q: Very interesting. You’re a very dynamic person. I’ve quite a few friends into the arts but you might be the only one I know of that is into sculpting. In a similar vein a lot of people I know as well as lot of people I see use fight sticks over pads. But I’m fairly certain you use a controller over stick but why is that? Is that just all you had when you started and you got used to using it or did you trying use a fight stick and just weren’t feeling it? What’s the reasoning?
Redblade: Just preference. I bought a stick and it’s still awkward to use for me compared to pad. I think I’ll probably use pad for the rest of my time in fighting games.
Q: What are some of your plans for the future? Do you plan on going to as many tournaments as possible? Streaming more? What does the future hold for you?
Redblade: I plan on doing both of those. I’ve been streaming a lot more recently, and I’ll continue to show up to tournaments. The next one I’ll be at is Combo Breaker!
Q: I look forward to seeing you both on stream and at competitions more in the future! Before I let you go is there anyone you would like to mention or give a shout out to and where can people find you on social media?
Redblade: Just would like to tell all the people that have supported me on the come up that I love and appreciate them, thanks to all my friends that have stood beside me! You can find me on my Twitter (@redblade454) Or Twitch (notredblade35).