Behind The Stick: An Interview With Magnets

I had the chance to sit down with Magnets, one of the premier Eltnum players in the UNIST scene. In this interview we discuss: His history with fighting games, his thoughts on UNIST’s future, why he plays Eltnum, his future, and more.

Q: Magnets I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me. I’ve only known you for a brief time but I’ve had fun watching your streams and watching you play UNIST so it’s great that we get a chance to talk. But before we get into that, how are you doing today?

Magnets: I’m doing pretty well, thanks for taking the time to interview me!

Q: Of course! So for those who are unfamiliar with you can you give us a bit of history about yourself in relation to fighting games?

Magnets: The first fighting game I played was Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 back in early 2013. I got introduced to it when I was hanging out with some friends and one of them wanted to show us this game he had been playing a lot recently. I watched him play some people online and instantly fell in love with how flashy and chaotic the game looked. I went out and bought a copy of it the next day. After being an online warrior for some time, I steadily became more invested in the community and attended UFGT9, which was my first tournament. A few months before the release of UNIEL on PS3 in Japan, one of my friends I had met through locals showed me the trailer for the game. I thought the game’s cast looked really cool, and I really enjoyed the aesthetic that the game had. When the game came out in Japan, I imported a copy and thought the game was amazing, and was my first breakout into other fighting games besides UMvC3. Slowly over time I found myself playing it more and more over UMvC3, and eventually it became my main game.

Q: Seems like everyone was either a big UMvC3 or SF4 person back in the day haha. That’s awesome though. So it’s no surprise to anyone who knows you that you are big fan of Eltnum haha. What was it that attracted you to her? Was there anyone else you played or considered playing?

Magnets: When I was waiting for my copy to come in, I was looking up a bunch of match footage and watching streams to see what the game was like. The second I saw someone playing Eltnum, I thought to myself “That’s her. That’s my main.” I thought the combination of a wire and a handgun that makes up her moves was really cool, and I liked the combination of rush down game play with longer range space control options as well. As soon as I got my hands on the game, I instantly took her into training mode and haven’t looked back.

Q: I wish I had your level of commitment in my life haha. So earlier you mentioned a friend who showed you the game, when you look back on your career so far who would you say are the people that had the biggest impact on you as a player and why?

Magnets: Of course there’s my friends from high school that I would play with all the time and really got me into the FGC. Once I started going to locals for UMvC3, Frankie G was the one who approached me as a new player and really taught me how fighting games play outside of a basic level (neutral, mind games, reads, etc.), and would host house sessions with the whole Chicago Marvel scene. A lot of my initial growth as a fighting game player is indebted to him. More recently, I give a ton of the credit in my growth as a UNIST player to Juushichi. He hosted a get together in Columbus for all of the Midwest players that wanted to grow in the game. He helped me fix my mentality towards the game, and showed me what makes a great player stand out from a good player. Shortly after that I managed to get my first top 8 at a major, which was Combo Breaker 2018. Without him, I don’t think that would’ve happened.

Q: So you brought up Combo Breaker 2018 and I wanted to ask when you look back on your first time competing vs. now, how do you think you’ve improved? Do you remember how you felt playing then vs. now?

Magnets: For the first few majors I went to, I really didn’t have any goals for myself in mind. I would just think that it would be cool to not go 0-2, and just have fun with it. I wouldn’t really “prepare” for tournaments or anything like that. Nowadays, I find myself grinding whenever there’s a tournament coming up. I look at my pool, see who I may have to play, see if there’s footage of them online, see if I can practice the matchup, see if I can find new stuff in the lab, etc. I definitely take tournaments a lot more seriously now, and I want to see how far I can push myself as a player at every tournament I go to. That first big breakout at CB2018 really left me wanting more.

Q: It’s so interesting to see how seriously certain players take the game vs. other players. Some players, like yourself, prepare so much and practice while others just show up and play. So, as I am sure you’re aware, UNIST has been experiencing a massive boost in the player base lately. How optimistic are you about the future of the game? Do you think it will continue to grow months after EVO or do you think we are currently living in the golden age of the game?

Magnets: While the EVO announcement obviously caused a huge amount of growth to the scene, I personally believe that even after EVO UNIST will continue to grow. Over the course of 2018 and the first few months of 2019, the game had already been naturally growing at an honestly unexpected rate. Some tournaments were even breaking previous year records by double the amount of entrants. I think that this natural growth will continue well after EVO, and I’m confident that the future of the UNIST community will be bright.

Q: So as we have been discussing there has been an influx of new players. What sort of advice would you give to new players that like the game but are maybe struggling with picking a character, trouble getting better, or just any advice you would like to give.

Magnets:I guess there’s a few things I’d like to go over. First off, when you’re picking a character, I’d advise people not to just pick a top tier and stick with it. UNIST’s cast is very well balanced, and I think its better in the long run if you’re playing a character that you think is cool and genuinely enjoy playing. Even the character that is considered the worst in the game, Enkidu, has had very good tournament placings here in North America. Second, I would advise people to learn the ins and outs of Vorpal and the GRD mechanic. It’s the biggest thing that sets apart UNIST from other fighters, and understanding it and using it to your advantage is key to becoming good at the game. Lastly, look into the multiple throw OS options that exist in the game and learn how to both utilize them with your character, and how to beat them as well to improve your defense and offense. There are some great resources out there that will help with the last two points.

Q: I’ll be sure to share some of those when I put this up. So a big reason that I do these interviews is because I like getting to know people and I think the FGC has a lack of player focused content that allows you to get more intimate with them. As such, these next few questions pertain to you as a person rather than a player. First, why did you decide to go with the name Magnets?

Magnets: I get asked this a lot, and unfortunately there isn’t really an interesting story behind it. Back in middle school, a bunch of my friends wanted to have matching Xbox Live gamertags for when we played Call of Duty because we thought it would make us cool, and I was struggling to come up with one. My friend threw out the suggestion of “What about Magnets?”, and I honestly just thought it sounded cool and was a simple tag to go by. Whether or not his suggestion was in reference to the ICP “Magnets, how do they work?” meme is something I will refrain from disclosing, though haha.

Q: You can take some solace in knowing that at least 25% of the people I talk to had their names come from XBOX gamertags. So what sort of things do you do outside of fighting games? Do you play other games? Work? Anything you’d like to share.

Magnets: Right now I’m a university student studying computer science, so that takes up a majority of my time. Outside of fighting games, I also love to play rhythm games, watch anime, and I used to dabble in playing the guitar (although I haven’t much the past few years). The past 2 years or so I’ve also been studying Japanese, and that’s been a lot of fun.

Q: Only so much time in a day. So what are your plans for the future? I know you recently started streaming. But what else is in store for you?

Magnets: I’ve been having a ton of fun streaming, so definitely expect more of that in the future. Besides that, I want to make it out to a bunch of events this year. My list right now is Michigan Masters, Combo Breaker, EVO, CEOtaku, and if it happens, Climax of Night 2. Once I finish school, I’m not quite sure what my plans are just yet, but for now I’ll be focusing on supporting UNIST at events and create more content to help newer players learn and enjoy the game!

Q: Awesome! Well that’s all I have for you today my man. Before I let you go is there anyone you want to give a shout out to and where can people find you on social media?

Magnets: First off, shout outs to all of my great friends in the UNIST community that have helped me become the player I am today. Definitely want to give a big shout out to Juushichi (@EnginoJuushichi) for being a great community leader and making the Midwest UNIST scene into what it is, and shout outs to all of my boys in the PFGC for supporting me all this time and for being amazing friends. You can find me on Twitter @MagnetsFGC, and you can catch my stream at https://www.twitch.tv/magnetsfgc .

You can follow Magnets on Twitter @MagnetsFGC

And as always you can follow me on Twitter @itsfrail

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