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Category: Interview

SCR Player Interview with M8trix Matt

Sergjiev just released the first interview in a series of interviews conducted at So Cal Regionals 2017. The first interview is with M8trix Matt:

Interview with Kris “Fromo” Powell from fighter101.net

We love player interviews and fighter101.net has just posted an interview with Kris “Fromo” Powell. Most ST players know of Fromo and his deadly Blanka but you can learn more about him in this fantastic interview.

Interview with Zero1

A few days ago, we announced that the Interview Section of the STR site is back up. Last year, we did an interview with Michael Power aka Zero1 from the UK, who is the face of Grand Master Challenge and runs all types of tournaments and events there. This is a great look into the European and UK scene so check it out!

Check out the Interview with Zero1 here.

Interview section is back up!

The ST Revival interview section is back up on the site.  These interviews feature many old school American greats such as Shirts, Zass, Jumpsuit Jesse.  Some “newer” players such as AfroLegends, Damdai, DGV, eltrouble, Riz0ne, and Shotosallday.  Also Wolmar from Europe, and Japanese legends such as Kusumondo, Otochun, and Aniken.

https://www.strevival.com/interviews/

Interview with eltrouble

One of the key figures in ST Revival, El Trouble, took the time to interview with us recently and answers a variety of questions from how he got started with ST, his thoughts on the Japanese players and EVO and more.  His recent work as an organizer has gotten ST as a main game at the upcoming West Coast Warzone tournament on September 6th.

Click here for the full interview.

EVO 2014 Pre-Tournament Interview With Mattsun, MAO, TMF

Special thank you to NKI and Zhi for translation and Papasi and Hanasu for arranging the interview.  Please note that due to significant background noise in the original recording, some answers were inaudible and thus have been omitted from this transcript.

Interviewer: What is your hometown?

TMF: Utsunomiya, in the Tochigi prefecture.
Mattsun: Takadanobaba, in Tokyo.
MAO: Aichi prefecture.

Interviewer: What type of work do you do?

TMF: I do maintenance.
Mattsun: My job is killing Claw.
[all laugh]
MAO: My job is being number one.
[all laugh]

Interviewer: How long have you been playing Street Fighter?

Mattsun: I’ve been playing since SF2 first came out.
TMF: Same here.
MAO: I’ve been playing for eight years.

Interviewer: What is your best character in ST?

TMF: Zangief.
Mattsun: Ken.
MAO: Surely everyone already knows, right? [laughs]

Interviewer: Do you play any other characters at high-level?

Mattsun: Cammy.
TMF: Ryu, but only as a sub-character.
MAO: None. I only play Claw.
Mattsun: Yeah, MAO is married to Claw.

Interviewer: What are some of your major tournament accomplishments?

TMF: Mmm, none, really. I haven’t won anything major because I’m just a mysterious fighter from the countryside. [laughs] Or maybe I haven’t won anything major because I play Zangief? [more laughs] Being that I’m out in the countryside, I actually don’t attend many tournaments, but apparently some Western players know my name from GGPO.
Mattsun: I’ve gotten top 4 in SBO, and also three years ago I was on the winning team of X-MANIA’s three-on-three.
MAO: I won ToL 2012, the 11th Star Cup, and I was on the winning team for SBO 2010.

Interviewer: Is this your first time in the US?

Mattsun: [Points at each player as he says] It’s TMF’s first time, my first time, and MAO’s second time.

Interviewer: Do you have any hopes or expectations for this tournament?

Mattsun: I want to kill Claw.
[all laugh]
Mattsun: After all, that’s my listed occupation.
MAO: I thought we were teammates! [laughs]
Mattsun: Yeah. Yeah…but I just want to fucking destroy Claw.
[all laugh]
MAO: Well I just want to cheap out everyone.

Interviewer: How much time did you spend playing SF2 each during your peak, and how much time do you spend playing SF2 currently?

TMF: At the time when I was playing the most, I would go to the arcade around 6PM, play until they closed [usually midnight], then just loiter around until they opened again in the morning.
Mattsun: Well, SF2 came out in 1991, so we’ve been playing for 23 years now. But back in the day when I didn’t have to work or anything, I would just wake up, play SF2 all day, then go to sleep. Then wake up, play SF2 all day, go to sleep, over and over. That’s just the way it was back then.
TMF: Yeah, that’s how it was back then. Regardless of skill level, both beginners and top players just played all day long.
Mattsun: These days fighting games have declined in popularity, but back then, there were entire arcades with nothing but SF2. I mean, I was playing SF2 twenty-seven hours per day.
[all laugh]
MAO: I only started playing ST after I’d already started working full time, so I’m only able to play about a thousand matches per week.
Mattsun: A thousand? Surely that’s an over-exaggeration.
MAO: No, I’m serious – it’s possible because Claw matches are over so quick.
Mattsun: Hrm. Well, these days, I only get to play once or twice a week for two hours or so.

Interviewer: Do you ever practice on console?

Mattsun: I own the console version, but I don’t actually play it.
TMF: I have the arcade version at my place, but I actually still go to the arcade to play.

Interviewer: How many years does it take to compete at high level?

Mattsun: Well, it depends on the person, and on their level of motivation. For example, there’s the well-known case of Taira [Japanese Dictator player], who was a KoF player and got into ST quite late. He stayed on that hardcore grind, hitting the arcade for three-hundred and sixty-three days out of the year [implying every day, because Japanese arcades are usually only closed two days out of the year, for x-mas and New Year’s Day]. In just that one year, he leveled up super quick.

Interviewer: Can you talk about some advanced techniques that players can use to level up?

MAO: More so than advanced techniques, it’s really about having fundamentals, and being able to consistently execute the basics.
Mattsun: And it’s about dedication. You have to keep playing. Usually once people graduate from college and start working full time, they have to either spend less time on their hobbies, or they have to just quit altogether. But high-level SF2 players have the dedication to keep playing. I mean, most people just don’t have that level of hardcore commitment to any hobby, except perhaps masturbation. But even with masturbation, you would get tired of only looking at one porn star for twenty-something years, right? Yet with SF2, I’ve played only Ken for twenty-something years, and it’s still fun.
[all laugh]

Interviewer: Do you have any recommendations on porn stars?

Mattsun: We’ll have to ask MAO about that one. [laughs]
MAO: [laughs] I have no idea.
Mattsun: You know what…edit out this whole section. [laughs]

Interviewer: Should O.Sagat or Claw be banned because of how powerful they are?

MAO: Well, [as a Claw player] of course I can’t say, “YES! Claw should be banned!”
TMF: I don’t think they should be banned. I mean, I wouldn’t start winning all of a sudden and beating everyone just by picking Claw.
Mattsun: Akuma is unbeatable and should be banned, but Claw and O.Sagat are merely annoying, so no – I don’t think they should be banned. But I dunno…maybe there should be a tiered-pricing system: if a game of ST costs $0.25, then maybe playing Claw should cost $0.50. [laughs]

Interviewer: Did you do any special training in preparation for this tournament?

TMF: Well, in the small town where I live, there isn’t a lot of competition, but I did manage to practice for about two hours a day with a local player.
Mattsun: Mmm, not especially. I practiced a bit against the few O.Sagats that we have in Japan, but that’s about it.
MAO: [Didn’t answer.]

Interviewer: Are there any foreign players who you want to avoid playing in the tournament?

Mattsun: No, I’m looking forward to playing everyone, regardless, since it’s a rare opportunity to play against high-level competition from outside of Japan.
TMF: Same here. Especially because I don’t have much competition in my home town, I’m really looking forward to playing everyone. Even if I’m consistently losing matches, I enjoy just playing new people.
Mattsun: So yeah, there aren’t any foreigners who I want to avoid, but there are certain Japanese players [points at MAO] who I want to avoid. [laughs]

Interviewer: What are some common mistakes or bad habits that players should get rid of in order to level up?

TMF: I think it’s important to play safe, and only take calculated risks. Sometimes I’m surprised to see players take big risks that they’ve already been punished for in the past.
MAO: I think that in situations where people aren’t sure what to do, a lot of players will just throw out moves. [Implying that when unsure, doing nothing is your better option].
TMF: People also get flustered, which is a weakness. If there’s a technique or move that your opponent doesn’t like, or if he’s stubbornly using the same move repeatedly, you can use that against him to win more easily.

Interviewer: With so many arcades closing, what is your opinion of SF2’s outlook in Japan?

Mattsun: [sarcasm] No, no – arcades are doing great! There’s a big boom right now, and it’s very profitable!
TMF: [laughs] That’s just Mikado!
Mattsun: No, no – we’re in the midst of an arcade boom! [laughs]
TMF: In all seriousness, yeah, they’re dying out. And actually my hometown game center will be closing next month. If we want to keep arcades around, we just need to keep playing, having tournaments, etc. It wouldn’t do much good to just stand around our arcades like cheerleaders, saying “Yeah! We support you!” We have to actually play to keep the arcades alive.

Interviewer: If console/online were the only option left, would you continue to play?

TMF: Mmm, no – I think I could only play at arcades.
MAO: Same here. The game itself is important, of course, but a huge part of the fun is having a common ground to hang out with other players and talk face-to-face.

Interviewer, to Mattsun: There are many people around the world who want to watch X-Mania but cannot. Will you release this footage for them sometime?

Mattsun: Oh, if there is a misunderstanding that I am intentionally keeping the footage from foreign players, please let me clear that up. The X-Mania DVD’s are available for sale to anyone, foreign players included, and I’d be happy to ship internationally. Actually, I prepared a bunch of past X-Mania DVD’s to bring with me for distribution at Evo, but unfortunately in my rush to get to the airport, it wasn’t until halfway there that I realized I’d forgotten to pack the DVD’s.

(Note: You can contact Mattsun through Twitter: @Mattun_Ken)

Interviewer, to TMF: What are some tips to play the neutral game with Zangief?

TMF: Because Zangief’s walking speed is so slow, you can’t just rush down an opponent. The key is to threaten the opponent, punish his limbs, or punish any attempt to move forward. Once you instill some fear in them – fear of attacking, or fear of walking forward – then you can go in for the grab.

Interviewer, to MAO: Your games vs Kusumondo in ToL1 were really intense. This year there’ll be five other Japanese ST grand masters joining, and we’re anticipating even more intense matches. Which of the Japanese players to you think poses the biggest threat?

MAO: Hrm…I dunno. I think they’re all equally threatening. I mean, in ToL1, it was only me and Kusumondo, so I could focus on watching him, learning his habits and play style, etc. This year, because there are many top-level Japanese players, I can’t focus on any one person. Their collective threat is greater than any one individual.

Interviewer, to MAO: Do you ever get bored of hyoubal?

Mattsun: He has no choice – it’s his profession! [laughs]
MAO: To be honest, sure, it gets boring sometimes, but that’s how Claw wins. Hyoubal itself might not be fun, but it’s fun to win, and that’s the point of the game, right? To win? So as a Claw player, it’s just something that I have to do.
[TMF laughs; Mattsun rolls his eyes]

AfroLegends: A Short Interview

 

As EVO is coming up rapidly, I decided to field a few questions to our most well-known top ST players: Damdai and AfroLegends. Hope you guys enjoy!
 1796087_601860239891180_386165562_o
Jason Nguyen A.K.A. AfroLegends
 

MuffinMan: First off, congrats on winning SoCal Regionals! We all appreciate the show of skill that both you and Damdai provided in the finals!

AfroLegends: Thanks, man! That was truly a grueling set. Damdai is a tremendous player and I take my hat off to him. He’s really grown as a player since our money match years ago and it showed. He used to be a very wreckless player but now he’s become very safe and well-rounded. He’s definitely earned my respect after playing him more

MuffinMan: Now we have EVO coming up, and some of the OG players have talked about making an appearance.

Which player would you most like to see make a comeback from retirement in ST? Why?

AfroLegends: To be honest, there isn’t one certain OG that I want to come back more than others. I want ALL of them to come back, period. Tomo Ohira, Jeff Schaeffer, Thomas Osaki, Mike Watson, John Choi, Alex and Graham Wolfe, Norm Ho, Apoc, Joe Zazza, Jason Nelson, David Spence, Jesse Howard, Wes Truelson, Jumpsuit, Jason WIlson, Shirts, etc…the more the merrier. We will be hosting some of the greatest Japanese ST players this year at EVO and it would be nice if we had all of our greatest players from past to present on deck to represent.

MuffinMan: Many of the famous players we know now either learned from players of the early days or are players who never really retired from those days.

If you were playing seriously in the early 90s (WW/CE/HF), at the same skill level you’re exhibiting now, do you think you would’ve been able to compete with the top OGs?

AfroLegends: That’s hard to say. I consider myself a student and I have such an appreciation for the history of the game. I do believe players of the new age, myself included, are given an unfair advantage over players from the first generation due to all the information and data out there right now. Now we have frame data, YouTube to study matches, and the ability to play online against pretty much anyone you want. The first generation of players didn’t have that luxury.  They did things because it felt like it worked but they didn’t know why it worked.  There was no information on safe jumps(which is an integral part of today’s game), nor information on hitboxes/hurtboxes, kara-canceling, renda-canceling, throw ranges, proximity blocking, and the like.  That’s why I put players of the older days in higher regard because they had it so much rougher. With all that being said, I think I would have been able to hold my own due to my intelligence and intuition. I’m a very safe player that relies on reactions and I believe that would have translated well to any generation of Street Fighter.

MuffinMan: Which currently active ST player would you like to see rise and possibly surpass the level that you and Damdai have set for ST in America?

AfroLegends: I think the player with the most potential out of everyone is definitely Shotosallday. That dude is a natural for the game and can pretty much play the whole cast. I’ve been in tournaments with him where I’ve seen him use like 6 or 7 characters, which is pretty incredible. I think that actually holds him back to a certain extent, though, because he doesn’t really have a main or a character to fall back on.  He should instead focus on 2 characters and concentrate on leveling them up. It probably wouldn’t be as fun but he would be stronger in the end if he did that.

MuffinMan: You moved up the ranks in ST and HDR pretty quickly, but at what point did you feel like you earned yourself title of “top player” in ST?

AfroLegends: It would have to be my performance at EVO West 2K7 where I basically had to go through a black bracket of death fighting top players like Graham Wolfe(twice), Buktooth, Valle, Watson, Choi(twice), Sirlin, BlueTallCans, Jason Cole, and Alex Wolfe. I ended up losing to John Choi in the grand finals and placing 2nd. Even though I didn’t win, I felt like I had made a mark and I was now a name to be reckoned with. That tournament was very memorable for me beause it was the year it was held at the Comic-Con and the final 8 was played in a boxing ring in front of thousands of spectators. I will never forget that feeling of being in the ring and seeing all the lights and cameras on you. All we needed was Michael Buffer, man..haha. Definitely a wonderful experience and I wish we could do something like that every year!

MuffinMan: Piggybacking on the topic of skill level and improvement:

You’ve played and watched many of the top Japanese players in both ST and HDR (Classic Mode). What do you differs between the American style of play and the Japanese style of play?

AfroLegends: The Japanese have really set the bar in terms of skill level and I have the utmost respect for them. I have played many of their top players online and offline like Mao, Sasori, Kusumondo, Daigo, Aniken, Otochun, YuuVega, AFO, Shogatsu, Opemai, Adachi, and Hazi among others. The one thing that pops up in my mind when I play them is their execution.  Insane would be the one word to describe it.  You know it’s not your day when you get nailed by standing fierce x super by Aniken, haha. In general, they are very agressive and fast but at the same time, they play very safe. It’s hard to explain.

The American players, on the other hand, have similar mind games but, overall, weaker execution, spacing, and knowledge of the game. We are closing the gap day by day in those aspects but I would say there is still a significant gap right now between the typical American player and the typical Japanese player.

MuffinMan: The significance of matchups is a heavily debated topic in ST. What is your opinion on whether or not matchups can be the determining factor between two near-skilled players?

AfroLegends: It would be ignorant for me to say matchups don’t play any role at all because they definitely do. Of course, knowledge is important and a match is never unwinnable(that’s why I love ST!) but at the end of the day, you can not ignore matchups. You can only hope to gain as much knowledge as you can of that character to make the matchup closer.

MuffinMan: Do you feel that your dominance in ST is more attributed to the characters that you play, or do you feel you are simply outplaying your opponents in every aspect?

AfroLegends: I think it’s a little bit of both. Of course, Boxer and DeeJay are incredibly strong characters but they also take skill to play like any other character. You still need to know the correct counters, have the spacing down, the mind games, and the execution to win so it’s definitely not luck!

MuffinMan: Do you think you’d have different levels of success if you played characters like Ryu or Guile?

AfroLegends: I think I would be a top player but not the most dominant.  It takes a lot of discipline to consistently win with Ryu. He is the most popular character and everyone and their mom knows how to fight him. You would have to really know each match and the little nuances that will give you the edge. DeeJay, on the other hand, is a way less popular character and was rarely seen or used for years in the US.  It wasn’t till 2005, when I came on the tournament scene and put him on the map, that people started to realize he was a solid character. Nobody knew how to fight him back then and I used their lack of experience to my advantage.  I was playing solid players and winning simply because they didn’t know the match. I believe it would have been different if I used Ryu.  I definitely would have worked harder for my wins.

I actually use Ryu and Guile for fun but I’ve never really studied them in depth like I have with Boxer and DeeJay where I have spent over a decade and countless hours honing my skills with them.

MuffinMan: After the first Tournament of Legends, things seemed to simmer down in the ST scene a little bit, and life seemed to catch up with a lot of the players in the scene.

Were you one of those players?

AfroLegends: I was definitely one of those players.  The first Tournament of Legends was mentally and phsycially draining. As soon as it ended, I knew I needed some time off to recuperate.  The WNF weeklies were great but just exhausting for me due to the drive and just having to go after long days of work. But not even that, I was playing pretty much everyday on GGPO to prepare for TOL and I was burnt out.

MuffinMan: You had an amazing performance at the ST Games (EVO 2013), but you also mentioned possible retirement prior to the event. What was it that made you want to continue?

AfroLegends: I was going through a dark time in my life prior to the ST games and didn’t care about playing anymore. I was drinking and partying everyday and just being unresponsible. I knew it was getting outta hand when my friends started giving me interventions and told me I needed to change up.  I didn’t really care though and continued about my ways..haha. Street Fighter was the last thing on my mind and I didn’t practice for months or go to Super Arcade.  I was MIA and I seriously contemplated retirement. My crazy partying lasted for months and it was now a week or two away from EVO. I knew I wasn’t in practice and was on the fence with going or not. My friends finally convinced me to go and I signed up at the last minute thinking this would be my final EVO. Performance wise, I don’t think I did too hot and my rust showed but I was able to make some good reads and pull through.

MuffinMan: What was it that kept you playing ST?

AfroLegends: What kept me playing ST was because I rediscovered the hunger and the drive after winning ST Games. I felt I could still improve as a player and I wanted to work on my weaknesses and do just that. Also, the game was still fun and I live for the next challenge!

MuffinMan: If you were to retire, would you prefer to be taken down by an up-and-coming player, or would your rather retire as the undisputed champion of ST in the United States?

AfroLegends: If I was taken down by an up-and-coming player, I would never retire..haha. I’m very competitive by nature and I would keep on playing and grinding to find a way to beat that person consistently.

MuffinMan: Thankfully, we know that you will not be retiring prior to the X-Mania/Tournament of Legends 2 event at EVO this year.

MuffinMan: Lastly, with EVO around the corner, how are you preparing for the high-level comp expected to attend?

AfroLegends: I’ve been watching videos of the Japanese players expected to attend and seeing what they like to do in certain matchups and situations. I’ve also started going into training mode to polish up my execution and timing. Lastly, a bunch of us have been getting together every Thursday night at Digital Infamy’s place to practice and that’s been good.

MuffinMan: How do you prepare for big tournaments in general?

AfroLegends: I prepare for big tournaments by just working on my execution, spacing, and timing in training mode. The knowledge is already there from years of playing so it’s just a matter of executing for me.

MuffinMan: What are your plans after EVO? Will you continue practicing for and competing in Super Turbo tournaments?

AfroLegends: I love the game unconditionally and will be playing for the forseeable future. There’s no reason to stop when the game is still fun and there are still people playing it.  I also enjoy hanging out with all the ST heads. Everyone’s cool and that’s what makes our scene so great. I just wish Zoolander had a mute button though, haha, j/k man.

MuffinMan: That’s it! Is there anything you’d like to add?

AfroLegends: Yeah, thanks to everyone who continues to play and support this 20 year old game. The “revival” wouldn’t be happening without you!  Big shout outs to OG Kuroppi and the rest of the STR staff for doing their thing and making TOL2 and X-Mania USA a reality. I am super stoked and can’t wait to see everyone in Vegas!  Drinks on me!

 

Special thanks to Darrin, Fudd, and Darkness for providing questions and inspiring ideas. 

Damdai: A Short Interview

 

As EVO is coming up rapidly, I decided to field a few questions to our most well-known top ST players: Damdai and AfroLegends. Hope you guys enjoy!
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Damien Dailidenas A.K.A. Damdai
MuffinMan: First off, thanks for coming down to SoCal and giving us a hell of a show at SCR! You really showed that you and AfroLegends are on a level that we can all respect and aspire to.

Damdai: Thanks. I had a great time. Haven’t been that close to the edge in a while! We can only go so far, so unless you guys are standing still, the gap will inevitably close.

MuffinMan: With EVO right around the corner, many players have formed strong teams for X-Mania USA, and some of the OG players have even mentioned coming out of retirement to compete in ST’s flagship EVO tournament.

Are there any players you would like to see make a return to the ST scene? Why?

Damdai: A bunch. The Wolfe brothers, GigaMSX, John Choi, Valle. Pretty much anyone who thought they were hot shit back in the day! We play this game to challenge ourselves, and to lose great competitors like those is a damn shame.

MuffinMan: A lot of the current famous players either learned from players of the early days or are players who never retired from the days.

Do you think you’d have a similar level of success if you were playing at your current level in the early 90s (WW/CE/HF) days? Would you be able to compete with the top OGs back then?

Damdai: I don’t see why not, especially considering I main S Ryu.

MuffinMan: You’ve come a long way since your 3rd place finish at EVO in HD Remix. How do you think your playstyle has evolved since your early appearances in competitive Super Turbo?

Damdai: I was pretty reckless back then, but that comes with the territory of using Ken. I think I have evolved a lot since, transitioning through several main characters and play styles, from zoning, to rush down, finally settling on a combination of the two. Several trips to Japan helped pull back the veil, and consistent sessions with the EC crew (Mars, Riz, Tecmo, Techmonkey, Mikeidge, JoshC, Zoolander, Howard, and once upon a time John Rambo, DSP, and Nohoho) helped me hone my skills and build confidence.

MuffinMan: At what point do you feel that you earned the title “Top Player” in ST?

Damdai: Thanks to a strong rookie year and being credited with the HDR Akuma ban, my name spread quickly. But it’s difficult to pinpoint a precise moment where I felt I was deserving of the title. “Top” is relative in this case. Whenever I defeat an established Japanese player in tournament, I feel a little closer. When I can win a stacked tournament in Japan, I’ll be satisfied.

MuffinMan: You’ve played against top players from all over the world. What do you think differs between the American style of play and the Japanese style of play?

Damdai: In one word, precision. In many words, they just seem to be better at learning and improving. Our ranks are pretty static, barely shifting. A top player here means never losing. There, it means something else. We have players that love the game, but they don’t make a serious effort to improve, missing key components of matchups for years. All the answers are out there, in YouTube videos of the top Japanese players (NOT in American forums and wikis). If more people took the time to incorporate them into their game, our tournaments would be a lot more exciting.

MuffinMan: The significance of matchups is a heavily debated topic in ST. What is your opinion on whether or not matchups can be the determining factor between two near-skilled players?

Damdai: It definitely plays a role. There’s no doubt a Honda player will have to try harder than a Ryu player when they fight each other.

MuffinMan: You’ve been known to play a multitude of characters in tournaments. Do you feel that your dominance in ST is attributed to the characters you’ve used in certain matchups, or do you feel that you’ve been outplaying your opponents in every aspect?

Damdai: Unless you’re winning every tournament with Cammy, I think you have to give some credit to your character choices. I’ve been guilty of counter-picking (choosing a non-main character known to have an advantage in a particular matchup), but I think I’ve only ever done that against Marsgattai when I felt my back was up against a wall (his Guile is serious business), and only because Guile vs. Dhalsim is such a lopsided matchup that it would be stupid not to if it meant the difference between winning and losing the tournament. But I have also played him so many times without counter-picking that I’ve proven I don’t need that to win. Against everyone else, I always stick to my mains, neither of which are top tier, overcoming many disadvantageous matchups along the way. Sometimes my characters will have the advantage, sometimes they won’t. Ryu is also a very interesting character in that his greatest strength is also his greatest weakness. There is a real art to throwing fireballs, as every single one puts him at risk of taking huge damage from a jump in. It’s certainly not as easy as “spamming” as YouTube commenters would have you believe. Because of that, I always have great respect for Ryus’ who can win at a high level, as I feel the majority of that character’s strength comes from the player himself.

MuffinMan: We’ve seen you perform well at pretty much every ST tournament you’ve entered. However, when it comes to competing against AfroLegends, it seems like you struggle to overcome his playstyle.

What is it that makes it difficult for you to win consistently against SoCal’s strongest player, and do you feel that there’s a definite skill gap between you and AfroLegends?

Damdai: Afro presents a real challenge with his mastery of a character I have traditionally struggled against. DeeJay’s ability to neutralize my strengths is something I have been unable to find a consistent answer for, and with no way to effectively practice that matchup outside of the 1 or 2 times a year that we fight, I’m always walking into the ring knowingly unprepared, which isn’t a good mental state to be in. It’s interesting because more often than not I am able to shutdown his Boxer, which is considered a worse matchup, forcing him to switch to DeeJay. Because of that, I don’t think there is a skill gap. I’m just missing a key understanding of the DeeJay matchup. Something that I WILL find.

That was the competitor in me talking. The other truth is, before damdai even existed, Afro was part of the first video I would ever watch over and over that motivated me to start competing. Evo West 2007. Looking back, having now played many of those guys in tournament, and to now be considered Afro’s main rival, and worthy to team up with him at this year’s EVO for XMANIA USA, well, I am extremely proud and grateful. If you are a newcomer reading this and think it’s too late to start, or that you will never catch up, kill that shit right now. With enough desire and passion, it’s never too late. Maybe you’ll be our new rival next year.

MuffinMan: We’ve recently seen you make some serious progress in Street Fighter 4. Do you plan on making SF4 a serious commitment (if not already) in the same way that you’ve committed yourself to ST?

Damdai: I’m looking forward to Ultra. I still feel too much is built into the engine and characters themselves, minimizing the amount of skill required from the players, but it looks like Capcom is trying to address that, if even just a little bit. Unfortunately, without a solid offline scene in my area, I’m not sure how serious I can take it, but I’ll try my best.

MuffinMan: Have you ever considered retirement from Super Turbo? Why?

Damdai: Never. I love it too much.

MuffinMan: If you were to retire from ST, would you prefer to retire as a champion, or would you rather retire after being taken down by an up-and-coming ST powerhouse?

Damdai: It’s difficult to say because I don’t think I would ever feel like retiring from ST, but I’m pretty sure any thoughts of retiring would be extinguished once I lost, so I’d have to go with “champion.” But what defines a champion? It would have to be winning a singles tournament like the one Otochun recently won with 99% of the JP grandmasters in attendance.

MuffinMan: What is it about ST that keeps you playing, supporting, and competing in tournaments whenever you can?

Damdai: ST captured that timeless magic. The parameters tuned just right. Most importantly, when I lose, it feels like I’m losing to the player, not the character, which I think is a huge problem in many of today’s popular games. The people it attracts helps as well. I really like nearly everyone in the community, all in their own unique way.

MuffinMan: Lastly, with EVO only a few months away, how are you preparing for the high-level comp expected to attend?

Damdai: Unfortunately, I’m not doing anything. I cannot practice where I am, so I just look forward to tournaments, but I don’t think I will be attending any other tournaments before EVO. Fortunately, so much is cemented in muscle memory that I think I won’t deteriorate much, if at all. I’ll watch matches whenever good ones are uploaded, and maybe power-up the UD-CPS2 for some single-player action. Best case scenario, if I have to go to NY for whatever reason, I’ll have a session with those guys. That’s what I miss the most.

MuffinMan: That’s it! Thanks so much for taking time out for this interview! Is there anything you’d like to add?

Damdai: Thanks for everything you guys have done, are doing, and will do for the ST community! I’m forever grateful!

 

Special thanks to Darrin, Fudd, and Darkness for providing questions and inspiring ideas. 

Interview with Japanese Chun-Li master, Otochun


Japanese Chun-Li master, Otochun, took the time to answer some questions from Philcito.  Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
 
“What is your personal tier list for ST, and where do you feel Chun-Li fits? Do you have any thoughts on people who choose high tier characters?”

“Vega, Dhalsim, Chun Li, Dee Jay, Balrog, Ryu, Guile, E Honda, Bison, Fei Long, Ken, Blanka, T Hawk, Zangief, Cammy, Sagat”

“Most of the lower tier characters don’t differ much in strengths.”

“It’s a world where you’re constantly engaged with someone else, I think it’s anyone’s choice to pick any character they wish, but I can’t respect people who pick strong characters just because they can’t win otherwise. What’s important is picking a guy who suits you best.”
 
Click here to read the interview in it’s entirety.

Interview with Wolmar

 
With X-MANIA Europe just around the corner, we conducted an interview with Wolmar, the French ST Dhalsim and Honda guru and ToL European qualifier and got his thoughts on the upcoming X-MANIA tournament, ToL, the French and European scene and more. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
 
“How about TOURNAMENT OF LEGENDS? How was your experience here?”
 
“It was very impressive to walk into that huge ballroom, and to see all those faces I only saw in videos. Like, meeting Jason cole, Choi, Shirts and so on; I know the old school US scene a little bit, and it was just great. About playing, well it was just as amazing to play with such names, on dat CigarBob’s cab ! Nerdgasm lol. Even just watching games was so nice.”
 
Click here to read the interview in it’s entirety.
 

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