Behind The Stick: An Interview with Redblade

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).

You can follow Redblade on Twitter @redblade454

And as always you can follow me on Twitter
@itsfrail


Thoughts on the Street Fighter League

As always this is just my opinion. You’re free to disagree with me and I’m sure many of you will. You can go yell at me about it over on twitter @itsfrail

As many of you are probably aware a Street Fighter league was announced which is the Street Fighter Pro League – USA. Which sounds all well and good, I mean I love me some Street Fighter. However, the League is set up to be a three versus three tournament series outside of the Capcom Pro Tour. I’m not super thrilled about that to begin with but it could be cool if people make their own teams. Maybe strong players team up with each other, maybe people will just play with their friends, or maybe organizations will put their players together or sign new players to fill 3v3 rosters. I could get behind that.

But that’s not how it works. The first person on each team (also known as the captain) will be chosen from top ranked players on the Capcom Pro Tour 2018 North American Leaderboards. They don’t really seem to specify that it’s the top six given that there are six teams but that’s what I assume is going to happen. Perhaps it’s the top six that are willing to participate? Who knows really. If this is the case I have no real issues with this but let’s continue on. The second person will be picked by an online qualifier and the third slot will be voted in by the community.

This is where I begin to get a little hesitant on the idea. So there is an open qualifier. Obviously open meaning that anyone can participate. From my experience with open qualifiers they are extremely boring to watch. The one benefit to it is that very rarely you’ll find a diamond in the rough and some unknown player will shine and make a name for himself. But usually the best players in the world are the best players in the world for a reason. It’s because they beat everyone else. I’m not saying that it’s a total waste of time but I have a strong feeling the faces you are used to seeing at big tournaments now are the same ones you are going to see at the end of the qualifier. It’s not an awful idea but I think in practice it is going to be a little lackluster.

EDIT: Seems like the results of the first qualifier have a lot of players who either aren’t ranked or are far down on the CPT list. But to my point earlier maybe one of them will be a diamond in the rough. Also there is three qualifiers on both coasts of the United States.

Now the third player for each team is picked via community vote. Again, how the hell does that even work? Are they just saying here are teams 1-6 and here are people (who I assume made it out of the qualifier?) vote for which team you want them on? This is just goofy. This is a fun idea and would be good for a one and done tournament setting but for a TWO season league?

EDIT: In an article posted today they said the third person was decided by an online vote that you can opt into.

I come from the world of competitive CS:GO and they do fun things like this at tournaments where they’ll take current pros, analysts/ex pros, and well-regarded people from the scene and put them on teams to play against each other as a show match, but for a TWO season league?

I think the novelty of it will wear off and you’re left with these teams of people that maybe don’t even like each other whose tournament life is at the mercy of other players. One of the reasons I like fighting games is the one vs. one aspect where it’s just you vs. your opponent and the better player wins.

On top of all this they are also introducing a character ban feature? As if this two season format didn’t already remind me of MOBAs like League of Legends and DOTA, they do this. I’m pretty indifferent to this. I feel like they are doing this to force character diversity and make things “more interesting” when someone gets target banned. This forces players to have pocket picks and be diverse with their character pools. On the other hand I want to see players at their best playing other players at their best. If you can just ban away someone’s best character I feel like I’m just getting a watered down match.

I suppose the point of this article is to say that I am skeptical, but optimistic. I think the idea of a 3v3 tournament in and of itself isn’t bad. I don’t know if I agree with the way players are put on teams, the length of the seasons, or character bans though. At the very least it will give some exposure to some of these players coming out of the qualifier.

The first season begins April 2019 so I guess we will see how it turns out.

As always you can follow me on twitter @itsfrail

Behind The Stick: An Interview with ShinKensou

I had the opportunity to talk to ShinKensou, a popular Guilty Gear (and other games) player, streamer and content creator. He often uses his platforms to give players an in-depth look at games by breaking down high level matches and providing analysis for them. In this interview we discuss his background with fighting games, why he got into teaching and doing analysis, his advice to new players trying to get into fighting games, as well as what he plans do in the future.

Q: Kensou, I appreciate you taking time out of your day to do an interview. I’m a huge fan of your content. How are you doing?

Kensou: Doing great my man just out here trying to make a dollar lol. You know how it goes! Appreciate the kind words on the content! I try my best to bring as much quality as possible!

Q: Of course! You’re great at what you do. I’m sure some people already know but for those that don’t can you take a second to explain the sort of content you create in the world of fighting games?

Kensou: Well first and foremost I am a streamer on Twitch with a focus on fighting game content. I do play throughs and speed runs (I’m the world record holder for Ninja Gaiden 3 Razors Edge haha) as well but fighting games are my favorite to do. I tend to do a lot of lab work or training mode if you will and I educate my viewers in this regard. From combos to situational awareness I’m the guy you can turn to if you have questions about the game. On top of that, I also do analysis on fighting games and break down the things people don’t understand or don’t see when watching a match. I’m very very meticulous in this regard, but I feel it’s necessary to help the viewer digest things that are happening on the screen easier so when they’re watching without my guidance they have a strong foundation of understanding.

Q: So obviously, you’re very passionate about fighting games, but where did that all start for you? Was there a specific event that set it in motion such as an event you attended or a game you used to play with friends? From there how did it evolve? What games did you play over the years from then till now?

Kensou:
Well it truly started with Street Fighter 2. I grew up in the arcade era so just seeing the crowds as a 10 year old kid for SF2 I knew I wanted a piece of the action, right? I was taught by various older players how to do fireballs with the shotos and was just in awe of going head to head with an opponent. I always wanted to be the best among my group of friends at that time lol. From there I knew I loved fighting games and over the years I’ve played anything and everything! From Fatal Fury to World Heroes to Street Fighter Alpha, Dark Stalkers, BATTLE ARENA TOSHINDEN, BLOODY ROAR, GUILTY GEAR: THE MISSING LINK (GG1 lol)! You name it I’ve probably spent some time on it growing up! From there it evolved into me going competitive with Capcom Vs Snk 2 and Guilty Gear XX Midnight Carnival. Eventually I was playing Guilty Gear as a Chipp player almost exclusively from 2002 – 2009 and put down CvS2. I did pick up MvC2 along the way and Tekken 5 but was never really good at it lol. I picked up Blazblue (Bang) and SF4 (C.Viper) Kof13 (Nests Kyo, Mai, Mature) from 2009 onward until Xrd Sign dropped.

Q: And obviously that leads us to where we are now. Most people I interview are players and just players but you’ve taken on a teaching role as well. What was it that drew you to that role? Did you think that there was just a lack of that in the scene? Is it just part of your nature to want to teach people things? Or was it something else entirely?

Kensou: To be honest, I feel like a relic in terms of knowledge. I know at some point I will have to stop playing, or rather competing. I felt the need to share the knowledge I’ve learned over the years as a vast amount of that in which I know STILL pertains to playing today. It is actually in my nature to teach as well lol. I’ve been teaching among my local scene for years so yeah, why not do it on a larger scale? I wanted to help grow the player base because to be honest Guilty Gear needed this. I wanted to dismantle the misconception that it was too hard to learn Guilty Gear. My logic has always been, if you’re willing to put in the time into learning ANYTHING in life, you can be great at it. Everyone learns differently but with enough effort you can be as great as the players in which you admire I feel.

Q: Even someone like my can one day be good at Guilty Gear haha. That’s great though! A lot of people are better for it. Speaking of the Guilty Gear scene how do you think the scene is doing? It seems like most people I’ve read are pretty indifferent to it not being at EVO. DEB said that, “With things like Tension Pulse, locals having players playing the game, and the recent influx of people streaming the game, Guilty Gear shows no sign of going away! This scene definitely has a dedicated fan base that will continue to support the game.” Would you agree?

Kensou: I don’t think Guilty Gear is dying per se, but I’d say its stagnant at this point. I think its fair to say that there has been a player drop off you know? I feel that there isn’t going to be any major influx of players dropping in any time soon unfortunately but that doesn’t mean what we have now is bad. The things like Tension Pulse are great but I also feel that is rather stagnant as well. Local events and the like I feel will always be around but again, not much in the way of newcomers. As for streaming I feel its taken a dip again to be honest. Tournament views are always solid, but general viewership is what I’m speaking on specifically. I think its due to the longing for a new game at this point for some perhaps is why I think its the way it is. I do agree however that the dedicated are always going to be around. That’s for sure!

Q: I certainly agree with a good portion of that. Namely that the scene is getting kind of stagnant and that some new content would bring some fresh eyes and hopefully some of them will stay. On the topic of new players a topic I see a lot is that Guilty Gear is often “too hard” to learn. As you stated earlier if you put your mind to it and grind you’ll get there eventually. But for people that are discouraged but the massive amount of work in front of them what type of advice would you give in terms of how to improve as players, how to approach matches, and how to get into the right mindset to improve?

Kensou: Be patient. Guilty Gear rewards you for mastery so be patient and learn as much as you can. The right mindset to have to improve I feel is that “I’m not good right now. But I will be later on.” Many new players get caught up in this rat race to be good and burn themselves out quickly then revert to saying this is too hard. On the contrary to that, of course learn at your own pace. You don’t have to be as good as any of the players you admire immediately. Or your friend who is already better than you at the game. Understand it took them just as much time to improve, everyone starts out not that great. Like anything, starting out you’re not an expert. But as you progress you will become more in tune with everything. DON’T RUSH YOUR PROGRESS! Ask questions to your peers, do your research and study the great players! Again, DO NOT RUSH PROGRESS! Focus on being the best player you can be. Do drills when you play, for the next 5 games I’m going to focus on my ground game. For the next 5 games I’m going to focus on anti air 6p (fwd+P). For the next 10 games I’m going to focus on improving my evasive movement. For the next 10 games I’m going to focus on FD stopping outside of X character’s range to whiff punish. The list goes on and on, if you can force yourself to do these things along side the ideal of the improvement mindset you can find the success you’re looking for.

Q: I could use a lot of that advice myself as I struggle getting out of the corner a lot haha. But like all good things it comes with time and hard work. Of which, you do a lot to teach players the nuances and finer details they might miss. But what about Shin Kensou outside the game? Tell us about yourself. What are some of your other hobbies or things you enjoy doing or maybe just something people don’t know about you that you would like to share?

Kensou: To be honest lol I think most of that is already well known by now! But I’d probably have to say of the other things I enjoy is definitely speed running games. It’s kinda like, executing a longggggg combo pending on how long the run is of course lol. Actually to add to that, I’ve become a full time hitbox player over the last 2 years as well. It was quite the switch but I’m definitely happy for it as there’s quite a few nifty things I can do in game that have had an impact for me!

Q: How have you been enjoying speed running? I’ve got a few friends in the scene and they love it. I know you mentioned a few games you like to run earlier like Ninja Gaiden but is there anything you plan to run in the future? Any plans on going to any speed running events?

Kensou:
I think its a fun deviation from fighting games for me honestly. It can definitely be frustrating but I enjoy it as much as fighting games. I’m looking forward to DMC5 though!! I don’t think I’ll make any events in the near future but I have attended GDQ before and definitely enjoyed myself there.

Q: DMC5 looks great! I know a lot of people have been looking forward to it (myself included). On the topic of things to come what are your plans for the future? Are you trying to stream more? Create more Youtube content? Maybe something outside the internet? What does the future hold for you?

Kensou: I intend to keep streaming and upping my youtube content more. I feel like I’m lacking there. Right now I’m enjoying Dead or Alive 6! Also trying to figure out what games I’m going to play for Evo and the rest of the tournament season as well. So many options! Hopefully what ever I choose I can do well in! The competition these days are really tough!

Q: I’m fairly certain (and I could be wrong) when I used to watch your older videos you said you don’t compete in tourneys much? Has this changed? If so, why?

Kensou: Oh no, you’re fine haha. I haven’t been as fortunate to have the ability to travel to out of state events as much as I used to. But I do attend the monthlies here in Houston. The last few years have been rough in this regard but I still make it to my local major Texas Showdown every year. (Haven’t missed one since 2003!) I did attend Evo 2016 and on top of that, with the help of my awesome, amazing, fantastic, super duper viewer base on Twitch, they blessed me with the aid to attend Evo 2018! I am still so grateful for them helping make that trip possible. But outside of Showdown as I said it’s been hard, I wanted to ensure my career goals were in line before I decided to embark on the journey of events. The stars have aligned for me and a great deal of these goals have been met. So I’m looking forward to stepping back into the arena to challenge myself again!

Q: Well I for one hope to see you and your Chipp at more events and more online. It’s been a pleasure talking to you man and I appreciate you taking time out of your day to speak to me. Before I let you go is there anyone you would like to give a shout out to and can you let people know where they can find you on social media?

Kensou: Any time! Thanks for having me its been a pleasure likewise! I’d like to give a shout out to my stream fam! They’ve been holding it down on the support front like no other and I’m eternally grateful for them! Catch my streams at http://www.twitch.tv/shinkensou  and the youtube at http://www.youtube.com/shinkensou  and OF COURSE TWITTER @shinkensou !

You can follow ShinkKensou on twitter at: https://twitter.com/ShinKensou
And as always you can follow me on twitter at: https://twitter.com/itsfrail

Behind The Stick: An Interview With Vevion

I got the chance to speak to Vevion, a well known Elphelt player in the Guilty Gear scene. Some of the topics we discussed include his history with fighting games, why he loves Elphelt, his thoughts on other fighting games, and what he wants to do in the future.

Q: First, I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time out of your day to answer some questions. How are you doing?

Vevion: Thank YOU for picking me! I am doing well! How about yourself?

Q: Ha, no worries man! I’m doing great thanks for asking! So, I’m sure a lot of people know you already from seeing you on streams and such but why don’t you tell us about your history of fighting games starting from when you first got into them and your adventure to where you are today with them.

Vevion: What got me into the realm of fighting games was Dead or Alive 2 and Soul Calibur 2 funny enough lol. Back then, I was a button mashing scrub who didn’t know any better, but I had fun with the games regardless! Even though I started off playing 3D fighters, I never truly got into them to learn them properly. I very casually played those games, but that all changed when Street Fighter 4 came out.
It was the first fighting game I wanted to truly learn and understand the game. And I played this (and MvC3) for many years. Then I saw the E3 trailer for Guilty Gear XRD SIGN, and I immediately fell in love with the game.
The presentation of the trailer, the graphics, the characters, the music, it all got me very interested in the game, so I was looking forward to that game coming out. Bought and played it when it first came out (shout outs to @Lemstar for helping the anime fgc getting the JP versions of the games back in the day lol) and continued playing it to this day!

Q: That’s really cool! I also come from a Street Fighter 4 background. Seems like a game that got a lot of people into fighting games. So, as you stated, after playing Street Fighter for a few years you got into Guilty Gear. How was the transition from Street Fighter to Guilty Gear? Was it smooth for you or did you struggle a lot? Did you have anyone that you played with at the time to help you learn the game?

Vevion: Yeah, Street Fighter 4 definitely brought many players into fighting games! I played Marvel vs Capcom 3 along side Street Fighter 4, which was my first “anime” experience (lol), so going into Guilty Gear for the first time, I had somewhat of an experience on the concept of air dashes and all the things that most anime fgs bring! It was a very rocky start for me though since most of the mechanics for Guilty Gear was completely new, but that didn’t stop me from grinding the game! I was a nobody in Guilty Gear (and in FGs in general) so I didn’t really have anyone to help me learn the game when I first started, and at the time, I didn’t know the DustLoop wiki existed either! Later on, there were videos that I found on YouTube called Guilty Gear Crash Course that definitely helped me a lot during my early days of the game! They are pretty informative videos, and I encourage any new players to give them a watch if you are interested in the game!

Q: I’ve given those a watch (and still refer to them from time to time myself) and they are very helpful. As you stated you weren’t a well known Guilty Gear player at the start but you seem to be fairly well known now, what do you think are the biggest reasons for that? Your gameplay? Your personality? Or something else?

Vevion: I got fairly reputable for the wrong reasons, LOL I get memed on a lot and people tend to joke around with me. I also like to say things that are STRAIGHT FACTS, but I guess not many people see eye to eye with what I have to say! But it’s all love, and I don’t mind people saying shit to me haha.

Q: As they say, “You can’t win them all”. Perhaps almost equaling your notoriety is your love for Elphelt. What was it about the character that drew you to wanting to play her? Was it her design? Her playstyle? Or something else? Were there other characters you played before and if so why did you swap?

Vevion: The moment I saw her design and the fact that she was voiced by Aya Suzaki, who did Mako (I was really into Kill la Kill back in the day haha), I was set on wanting to main her! I was using her and Millia for most of SIGN’s life! When Revelator came out though,I ended up dropping Millia because I lost interest in her; I got bored of using her, so I ended up having a character crisis for a long time and tried different characters like Slayer, Dizzy, etc, but I later on stuck with Elphelt, the character I always used as a sub for all of SIGN, and honestly, I am happy I stuck with her. She is the most fun I’ve had in a character for a long time, and I just love her aesthetic, as well as her tool set. She’s got everything I ever wanted in a character. I plan on using her, no matter what! Even if she gets nerfed badly. The only way I can see myself not using her is if she is completely removed from the next game (KNOCK ON WOOD!) haha

Q: I admire your dedication! I wanted to get your opinion on the recent EVO announcement on Guilty Gear as well as your thoughts about the future of the scene. Do you think with the recent announcement that the player base will slowly dwindle away until the next major update/game or do you think that the scene has a dedicated fan base that will stick with the series no matter what?

Vevion: With things like Tension Pulse, locals having players playing the game, and the recent influx of people streaming the game, Guilty Gear shows no sign of going away! This scene definitely has a dedicated fan base that will continue to support the game. Most of the people I’ve talked to don’t mind that Guilty Gear is not a main title at EVO, and are honestly happy that UNIST has it’s time to shine. They definitely deserve it!

Q: UNIST has been gaining quite a bit of praise from people around the scene. Is it something you have considered getting into yourself or are you a Guilty Gear man through and through? Are there other fighting games you’ve been dabbling in recently?

Vevion: Guilty Gear will always be my main game. I have much to prove to people and goals I want to reach, so it definitely has my priority! Recently, I have been trying out UNIST since people are getting into it because of EVO! I don’t think I see myself trying to get good at the game. I am looking forward to Granblue Fantasy VS! That is a game I might play along side Guilty Gear depending on how the game plays out!

Q: Seems like you are pretty dedicated to Guilty! Speaking of new games if a new Guilty Gear game was announced what sort of features would you like to see carried over into a new entry? What features would you like to see tossed?
Vevion: Things I would like to see being gone in the next game would mainly be:
– RISC gauge
– Tech buttons (remove the invul you get when teching out
– Jump Install
– PRC
I’m indifferent about danger time, but I wouldn’t mind it being removed haha.
As for what I would like to see added they’re mainly things outside vs like being able to rewind replays, actions on wake up for training mode, etc I am hoping they give us things to help the players improve!

Q: I definitely agree with a lot of that. Especially in regards to the training options. So part of why I wanted to do this series was to have a more intimate look at some of the players in not just the Guilty Gear scene but the fighting game scene as a whole. As such, can you tell me more about Vevion the person outside of the game? Do you have any hobbies, things you do for fun, or anything you’d like to share about yourself as a person?

Vevion: Outside of playing games and working full time, I definitely enjoy watching anime and collecting things like figures and charms of characters I like! I also like talking to people (twitter and discord)! There isn’t a whole lot going with me with life so I unfortunately don’t lead an interesting life haha but I enjoy how things are for me so I can’t really complain!

Q: So what does the future hold in store for you? Are you trying to play more guilty gear for fun? Perhaps stream? Competing at tournaments? What about outside of the game? Do you have any goals there? Where do you see yourself in the future?

Vevion: I will continue playing Guilty Gear for as long as people play it! I love this game and the community. It has a special place in my heart, so I will continue to support this game by going to tournaments whenever possible and help promote the game! I’ve recently started streaming my matches! I find it fun to do, so expect lots of streams of me playing Elphelt in matches! You can find my channel on http://www.twitch.tv/vevion_fgc ! As for goals outside of gaming, I definitely want to improve on my Japanese as it’s a language that would benefit me a lot by learning it haha I have a lot of mutuals that are from Japan that I wish I could talk to more but I can’t casually talk to them because of the language barrier, so I definitely want to change that!

Q: Awesome man! I’m glad to hear it! Hopefully I’ll see you at an event some day. 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?

Vevion: Next event I’ll be going to will be Combo Breaker, so if you happen to go to it, don’t be afraid to say hi and that goes to anyone reading this! I just want to give a shout out to everyone who continues to support this amazing game! You can find me on Twitter at @Vevion and I also stream at http://twitch.tv/vevion_fgc ! I don’t have a set schedule for streaming but I definitely try to stream at least twice a week!

You can find Vevion on twitter @Vevion

And as always you can find me on twitter @itsfrail


Behind The Stick: An Interview with DEB

I had a chance to sit down and talk to one of the premier Sol players in the Guilty Gear scene, DEB. Some of the topics we discussed include what got him into fighting games, his history with them, discussing his career so far, and his thoughts on the future of the scene.

Q: First of all I just want to say thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. How are you doing?

DEB: I’m good! I appreciate the interest in discussing things with me! I can’t promise I’m the most interesting person though lol.

Q: I’m sure a lot of people will be interested in getting to know both you and your thoughts. So let’s start with sort of your history with fighting games. Obviously, now you are pretty well known for your Guilty Gear play but what originally got you into the fighting game scene? Was it an event you attended? A game you played with a friend? Where did it all start?

DEB: The first time I ever played a fighting game was in about 2009. One of my best friends, who goes by MoltyBleed, tried to get me into Melty Blood Act Cadenza. I wasn’t particularly good at it since I had no previous understanding of fighting games – I didn’t know holding 4 would make you block, even! I didn’t play for very long, but fighting games really interested me despite that. I tried again with BlazBlue CP and GG +R in about 2013, and that’s when it really clicked for me and I started playing quite often. I’ve played consistently since then!

Q: Awesome! So when you really started to get into Blazblue and Guilty Gear what was it that drove you to keep playing. Were you just playing because it was fun? Were you playing because your friend circle was into it? Were you trying to get good enough to compete? A combination of multiple factors?

DEB: I for one just found it really fun, so I wanted to keep playing off that alone. I’m really stubborn, so if I ever got beat up in game too much, I’d just watch a lot of match videos and keep trying to improve so I wouldn’t lose. I never really thought about competing beyond that, I just wanted to do well on netplay really lol. With time though that kinda shifted and I started focusing more on the idea of competing in tournaments and things like that.

Q: Obviously, you’ve competed numerous times between your first tournament and your most recent one. Do you still remember your first tournament? Do you remember how you felt? Was it something you really enjoyed and looked forward to doing again or were you just doing it as something to do? How does that compare to now when you look back at your most recent tournament? Do you still feel the same as you did back then or do you view the game and competing differently?

DEB: My first tournament was CEOtaku 2016, and it was a fun experience. I was playing Potemkin at the time, and I remember going in with the goal to just make it out of pools. I ended up making 17th, which was something I ended up not being particularly proud of because I felt I ended up playing bad despite getting beyond what I wanted initially lol. I went because I never went to an offline thing prior to that, so CEOtaku was my first offline GG experience. I wanted to meet some of my friends in person too. I remember being extremely nervous and worried about what people thought of my play, but nowadays, I don’t really care too much about other people’s opinions of how I play, and I’m not really nervous about much anymore.

Q: So we’ll use that to sort of transition to more modern times. You mentioned part of the reason you wanted to go was to meet some of your friends. Is there anyone you played or maybe still currently play with that you helped think develop you as a player? Someone that brought you to the next level?

DEB: Most of the people I’ve played with a lot then I still frequently room with to this day! I’d definitely owe it to Daymendou, Bears, Kid Viper, and Zidane have helped me improve a lot recently, but I remember Kizzercrate, ProblemSkater, and Lost Soul helping me learn a lot when I went to my first major. I still like playing all of them because I still tend to learn things from each set we play.

Q: That’s great to hear! Hopefully one day I’ll be able to talk to them as well and I’m sure they’ve got nothing but praise for you as well. Now, you mentioned earlier that you used to play Potemkin and I know currently you play a lot of Sol. What was the sort of evolution of your character selection? Why originally Potemkin? Why did you end up going to Sol? Was there any other characters you were considering in between?

DEB: I actually played Johnny in +R, and since he wasn’t in SIGN, I went and tried Slayer and Potemkin. I thought 6k loops looked pretty cool so I wanted to try playing him, although temporarily since I couldn’t see myself playing him forever. Johnny came out and I wasn’t as fond of playing him in Revelator due to his playstyle changes. It ended up being beneficial for me to learn how to defend better, and in general playing Potemkin gave me more appreciation for really good movement. As a result, when I decided I wanted to play someone else, I was thinking of either playing Millia or Sol. I ended up deciding on Sol since I liked his combo variety and just thought a majority of his routes looked cool. I don’t really see myself swapping off Sol from here on out, but I do intend to try Bridget when he’s released and see if he’s fun for me.

Q: Speaking on things to come, how do you feel about the Guilty Gear scene as a whole at the moment. With the recent EVO announcement do you feel the scene might be in a downward trend? That is, do you think that more players will leave to play other games or do you think the player base is going to stagnate until a big announcement is made such as a new game?

DEB: I think the GG community is pretty consistent about playing, and I think almost every major inspires people to keep grinding and playing. I’m pretty sure the numbers will be pretty consistent regardless of the EVO announcement – I think most GG players didn’t particularly expect it to be a main game this year. I’m sure there will be new players who continue to pick up the game, but I’m sure it won’t be comparable to if a new version was released.

Q: In regards to a new version of the game, what are some things you would like to see brought over, something things you would like to see scrapped, and anything new you might want? It could be characters, mechanics, anything you can think of.

DEB: I’m actually pretty content with how most things are now. I personally don’t mind this version too much now, but I think making the game more approachable is one thing they should probably do. Guilty Gear is pretty notorious for being difficult after all. I’d like it if they maybe normalized wake up times and implemented a better training mode with more options for things like wake up reversals, etc. Maybe add hold to tech as well – things like that. Nothing to really mess with the core of Guilty Gear, but change things to make learning the game more approachable to beginners. As I mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t mind playing Bridget, so seeing him in the next version would make me happy. I also have some friends who want to play Robo Ky and HOS, so seeing them would be great too.

Q: And speaking of things to come what does the future hold for you? I know you’ve been doing a bit of streaming and you do some work for discotekmedia but what are your plans for 2019 and beyond? Do you play on entering as many tournaments as you can? Focusing on streaming? Doing more outside of the game?

DEB: I’ve been wanting to focus on streaming more. In fact, I’ve just met the requirements for partner and sent in an application only a few days ago, so hopefully me getting partner comes soon! I’ll continue my work with Discotek Media, be streaming frequently, as well as enter more tournaments than I did last year. I already did Frosty Faustings, but I also intend to do Michigan Masters, Super TSB, Combo Breaker, UMAD, and CEOtaku at the bare minimum.

Q: That’s great to hear! Well DEB, I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to talk to me. 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?

DEB: Thanks a lot for taking an interest in me! Shout outs to Team CATPION and Box Empire. You can find me on Twitter at @DaEvaBeato and you can find me on Twitch under the same name. Thanks again!

You can follow DEB on Twitter @DaEvaBeato and on Twitch at: https://www.twitch.tv/daevabeato

And as always you can follow me on Twitter @itsfrail



Guilty Gear and EVO 2019

Well fellas, it’s that time of year again. Time for the announcement of the main games at the crème de la crème of fighting game tournaments: EVO. EVO has always been a great time for me. Even before I was really into fighting games I loved watching the brackets/top 8s with my friends. They were more into the scene and would tell me about the players on stream and when one of them did something sick. Over the years I’ve made fond memories of the event by watching them with my friends.

But sentimentality aside, I loved EVO for another reason. The event always had a stacked list of games that I really enjoyed watching. Street Fighter, Tekken, Blazblue, and Melee to name a few. But this year one game that I love more than any other was left off the list. As the title suggests that game is Guilty Gear Rev 2. I’m quite confused by this decision. I know that Dragonball Fighterz is out and that is the top dog at the moment in terms of anime fighters, but I can’t help but scratch my head at Guilty Gear being left out.

Let’s take a look at the games list for this year

We won’t touch the Melee vs. Ultimate debate nor will we discuss games like Tekken, Street Fighter, Soul Calibur, or Mortal Kombat. Mainly because they scratch different itches than anime fighters, but let’s take a look at the rest. Under Night is a great game. I’ve played it with my friends and I’m glad to see it get some love, but I can’t understand the reason to have it over Guilty Gear. I’d love to see it alongside Guilty, but instead of Guilty? Not so sure about that one. I could also totally understand Blazblue. Hell, if they were only going to have Blazblue or Guilty Gear and they chose Blazblue, I would disagree, but I would understand it. But that would be if they were playing Central Fiction. Instead, they are playing Cross Tag Battle. I get it. It’s the new game, but with the people I’ve spoken to and what I’ve read people don’t seem to care much for it so putting it in just seems silly to me from a fan perspective.

I don’t really even know what to say about Samurai Showdown? I really don’t even know anything about it so it would be a bit hypocritical for me to say another game deserves to be in over it. However, most people I’ve spoken to about it seem to be in the same boat. Maybe it’s great, but I’m skeptical.

Before any of you say it, I’m sure a lot of this has to do with money changing hands, but it still makes me a bit sad to see a game that I have loved watching at EVO these last few years fade off the map. I’m sure they’ll be a side stream for it and I’ll check that out for sure, but it’s just not the same to me.

About Me/The Site

Hi, I’m Sean. This is my site where I plan on writing about things related to fighting games. Although I’m new to the scene in the grand scheme of things I’m no stranger to competitive games and E-sports. Here I hope to able to compile my thoughts, write articles, and hopefully conduct interviews with players.