The vVv Fighting Team Prepares for EVO 2012!
This is it fighting game fans. It’s that time when the Mortal Kombat, Soul Calibur V, and King of Fighters communities come out to support some of the fastest fingers in the world, for the biggest fighting game tournament of the year, EVO 2012. The Evolution Championship Series, or EVO for short, began with several smaller road to EVO tournaments, and will subsequently end with one winner from each fighting game in attendance.
With all of our current fighters attending, vVv CDjr, vVv RTD, and vVv Romance, we thought it best to capture the hype surrounding this event, and put it in a bottle to show the vVv community what exactly EVO means to our players and fans, and how they plan on preparing for this massive event, in the form of an interview with each player respectively. EVO has been a long journey for all parties involved, and to put that in perspective, without further pause, I give you RTD.
vVv Killzmane: Let's start off with the normal introduction. Tell everyone about RTD's life.
vVv RTD: My name is RTD and I'm a professional Soul Calibur player. I've been playing the series for over 10 years. My days usually involve dropping the kids off at school in the morning and then going to work. After that, I get relief by hanging out with the family and by playing video games competitively. I am a software engineer during the day and a gamer by night. I joined vVv about 2 months ago.
Killzmane: vVv is obviously your team, but let's talk about your tournament experience before vVv, and how since joining vVv, your tournament experience and overall level of play has changed?
RTD: Before vVv, my tournament experience was just about meeting new friends, having fun, chilling with the community, and trying to be the best. Since joining vVv, I still do the same things, but now I focus a little more on performance and representing the brand the best that I can.
Killzmane: Before vVv, most recently, you placed 2nd at the MLG Winter Championship after losing to Keev in the Grand Finals. It was a nice run, how do you think you did, and what went wrong?
RTD: At MLG's Winter Championship, I was actually surprised that I placed that high in such a competitive event. My wife and I discovered then that I still "had it", after that, vVv asked me to join the team and then I picked up the game professionally. What went wrong was, in part, that the French players had a head start playing SCV. They had the game earlier to test the game and to write the strategy guide. Since then, the U.S. players are believed to have leveled the playing field. At least we will find out at EVO 2012.
Killzmane: At MLG Anaheim, you had a rematch with Kayane, who this time took the best of you and sent you to the Losers Bracket, where, after a few rounds, you met Lostprovidence, the same player who sent you to the Losers Bracket at the MLG Winter Championship, only this time he beat you in the Losers Bracket, eliminating you from the tournament. Why was Lostprovidence seemingly able to beat you at will?
RTD: Lostprovidence has been a tough opponent for me in the past due to his aggressive style and over-powered character, but our matches are closer and closer every time we play. The last time we met, it came down to the last round, and now, I've learned how to fight against his character.
Killzmane: Now, your next stop would be CEO, where you would, for the third time, go up against Kayane. At the two recent MLGs this year, you beat her once, and she beat you once. This time, you would play her in what would be the Championship match, and you would take the lead in recent head-to-head scores between you two, 2-1. What is up with Kayane? You two seem to meet everywhere, is it some sort of rivalry?
RTD: Kayane and I do not have a rivalry. It’s just a long history of playing one another. She is a good player, and I usually do well in tournaments also, so we always meet in tournaments, barring any kind of upset, or if stronger players show up.
Killzmane: What do you expect from Kayane going into EVO? Do you think you might meet her again?
RTD: I feel like she will do well. Every tournament, she gets stronger and stronger with her new character, Viola.
Killzmane: What are your expectations going into EVO?
RTD: I saw the brackets and they look tough. It's not going to be an easy ride for anyone because you only get seeded for the first pool. After that, you are thrown in the fire with other players like sleepers who aren't seeded at all. I still think that I should get top 8, depending on how the brackets play out.
Killzmane: What worries you most about the upcoming EVO?
RTD: This is the first time in SCV that international players have come together like this. I won't say that I'm worried, but I'm curious to see how strong other countries are besides France. Oh, the 8am Friday pools worries me actually.
Killzmane: I can see that as being an issue, things like that, the 8am pools that is, are those the kinds of things that separates tournaments like MLG and CEO from EVO? What makes EVO so different from MLG and CEO?
RTD: EVO is the best of the best around the world. MLG is about money, and CEO tournaments are community driven, fun and hype driven.
Killzmane: So basically, EVO is a lot more serious. It's more of the, who is truly the best, instead of just winning some money, and getting all hyped up?
RTD: Yes, EVO is a true world tournament. It's the super bowl for fighting games.
Killzmane: Thanks for your time man, any finals word or shout outs for your fans or team?
RTD: Shout out to my lovely wife. Without her love and support, I wouldn't have a chance to do any of this. Shout out to the family too, and all of the people who support me. I love you all, and thank you for having me. See you at EVO! Also a major shout out to my team vVv. Let's take EVO by storm!
Killzmane: Thanks RTD, and I wish you the best of luck at EVO. I'll be cheering you on from my seat at home, and so will the rest of vVv and your fans!
vVv CD Jr
vVv Killzmane: Let’s learn about the life of CDJr. Who are you? What you do? What sports do you play? Anything else you'd like to share?
vVv CD Jr: My name is Emmanuel Brito, and I play fighting games professionally. I’ve been playing video games since I was 6. I also like to play basketball, and I work out at the gym. I joined vVv last year in august, I believe. I started playing Mortal Kombat at the age of 7. I also attend college for electrical engineering.
Killzmane: When did you start playing Mortal Kombat, and how long have you played Mortal Kombat professionally?
CD Jr: I started playing Mortal Kombat as a kid because of my brothers, they are the ones who got me into it. I only started playing Mortal Kombat professionally with MK9 since it came out in April of 2011.
Killzmane: Now, you joined vVv in August of last year, and started playing Mortal Kombat professionally in April, how was your time playing professional Mortal Kombat before vVv? How has your tournament experience differed since you've joined vVv?
CD Jr: Before I was sponsored by vVv, I was just going to local major tournaments, and I was winning most of them. After I joined vVv, I had the ability to travel to more tournaments like MLG Columbus, and MLG Anaheim.
Killzmane: Speaking of MLG Columbus, let's talk about the Winter Championship. You had an amazing run during the Winter Championship where you finished off by beating friend and ex-fellow teammate REO in the finals, how was that experience for you, winning a championship by beating someone like REO?
CD Jr: It felt great to win the tournament because there was a lot of money on the line and there were a lot of great players there. It could have gone either way though because REO and I go back to back all the time, and are on the same skill level.
Killzmane: Being on the same skill level is right, a similar scenario occurred at your most recent major tournament, CEO, where you once again played REO. At the MLG match against REO, it came down a final, decided round. At the CEO match, it was close, all the same, why was REO able to beat you in the CEO finals, after you had beaten him in such a clutch game previously?
CD Jr: He switched characters and it took me longer than usual to download into my mind what he was doing. This being because I was hung over from a party the night before. I will never drink before a tournament again haha.
Killzmane: So you had some fun the night before CEO?
CD Jr: Some? I had a lot of fun! There was a pool party Saturday night. There were some other players there drinking, swimming, and having fun, so I joined in.
Killzmane: Back on track, talking about your recent tournament results, MLG Anaheim was a dip compared to CEO and MLG Columbus where you played second and first respectively. At MLG Anaheim, the player Perfectlegend knocked you down to the Losers Bracket from the Winners Bracket and then beat you later on in the Losers Finals to eliminate you from the tournament. What gave him the ability to beat you in both the first series and the extended series?
CD Jr: He was clearly practicing specifically to beat me the most, which he did, but I also wasnt playing like I know I can because I went to the match overconfident because I beat him the last time and that really hurt me. I never underestimate anyone but for some reason I underestimated him, and he took the game over me. That definitely will not ever happen again though. He was also a lot more skilled overall than before.
Killzmane: Yes, Perfectlegend was the one who eliminated you from MLG Anaheim, but the real talk from Anaheim was the player Detroitballn, who was literally unbeatable, what made him so dominate at Anaheim?
CD Jr: Detroit, REO and I are considered the 3 best MK9 players in America, so that really wasn’t a surprise. I had a hunch he was going to win judging by how he was playing during e3. I kept telling him that he was going to win and that it was his time to shine, but he didn’t believe it. He kept saying that I was going to win, and at the end I was right, he won. I was coaching him during some of the matches too, and I think that helped a little haha.
Killzmane: Continuing to talk about Detroitballn, with EVO coming up, where players will be coming from all around the world, how do you expect him to place in the tournament?
CD Jr: I expect him to get top 8, but I’m not sure about winning it. I’m really hungry this time, and no one wants to win EVO more than me, no one. That being said, he better be ready.
Killzmane: You said that you, and Detroitnballn are two of the best from America, do players coming from around the world worry you? What players do you know about coming to the tournament from other countries that are considered top of the line?
CD Jr: Actually the best European player is A FOXY GRAMPA. He is in my pool and he is a big threat because his character counter picks mine, but I am ready for him. It’s like I said, no one wants evo more than me, and I will do anything I can to win.
Killzmane: You seem pretty confident about this tournament, is it safe to assume you're expecting a top finish?
CD Jr: Yes, and it’s not me being cocky. I just strongly believe in myself, and in my skills. I won’t make the same mistake I made at Anaheim of underestimating a player, every match is a Championship match this time around.
Killzmane: What are you doing different to prepare for EVO than you have done to prepare for previous tournaments?
CD Jr: I’m playing 10 hours a day with and without my brothers. I also picked up a new character that I will be using at the tournament.
Killzmane: Would you mine giving us a little hint about the character you've been practicing and how it's been going?
CD Jr: I can’t say who it is, but i can say that I’m already beating my brothers with this new character and that means a lot since my brothers are considered 2 of the best players as well.
Killzmane: Well, I would like to wish you lots of luck at the upcoming EVO. I will definitely be cheering you on; as I'm sure the rest of vVv and your fans will be doing also. Do you have any concluding words or shout outs for your fans and team?
CD Jr: I want to give a big shout out to vVv and NOS for being my sponsors. Also, a shout out to all my fans and my haters. Shout outs to everyone at VSM, and to my brothers, the FGC and eSports. I also want to say that everyone attending EVO for MK better look out for my brothers because they are coming to kick some ass, too.
vVv Killzmane: Hello Romance, why don't you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?
vVv Romance: Hello everyone, my name is Raymond Navarrete. I’m from Mexico, and I’m 25 years old. I play King of Fighters XIII competitively. I'm studying English as a second language. Aside from playing KoF13, I also like to play chess and volleyball. I started playing KoF13 in 1997, but after XIII came out was when I began to put more time in.I also picked up a few friends and training partners in AS|Reynald, elive|Mr. KoF, and IGL Bala. I joined vVv after final round, ny first tournament with vVv being MLG Ohio.
Killzmane: Let’s start off talking about who you play in King of Fighters, and why?
Romance: I can play good amount of characters but sometimes you just need strong and safe characters to make it a good fight. I’ve loved King ever since older versions. Benimaru has good options as a fighter and good style. Yuri is my main character, and I love her mix-ups. All the time she is able to get in your opponents head, and destroy them. That's my main team right now, but I also like to play Hwa, and lately Mr Karate due to being strong and safe for tournaments.
Killzmane: Now, I don't know much about King of Fighters, what assets must a strong and safe character have in order to be considered strong and safe?
Romance: Mr. Karate is so strong due to having many options like good damage, good anti-airs, and doesn’t risk too much when he is attempting to pressure the opponent. Hwa has really good normals and easy combos giving you the ability to win with 3meters hd. He also has good cross-ups. King is one of the best “safe batteries”, no extremely high damage but can be annoying and gets meters. Then there is Yuri, where you have to do some mix-ups to get a decent amount of damage.
Killzmane: Alright, so at the beginning of this year, you attended the MLG Winter Championship where Bala knocked you out in the Winners Bracket Finals, and YSJKOF knocked you out in the Losers Bracket Final, how was that experience, and what lessons were learned from those matches?
Romance: It was an amazing experience. I got into the Winners Finals where I had to play Bala, and then the Losers Bracket finals where I had to play Mr. KoF, these two players are two of the best US players. The trouble was, I had to play with someone else’s controller. Of course, I learned a lot and was so sad with myself because I had to play those matches with someone elses controllers. The worst game was playing Mr. KoF where I missed a lot of combos. Though I didn’t win, it was a great experience due to vVv being behind me, supporting me the whole way through. It’s an event I’ll never forget.
Killzmane: Later in the year, you attended another MLG, MLG Anaheim, where you placed third after losing to ArcadeShockIReynold, what lessons did you take from that experience?
Romance: He’s another good player called one of the big 4. I was winning 2 sets to 1, but he counter picked me, and I was playing all the way from the Losers Bracket because mcz|Tokido sent me there early with his new style for USA players. At the point when I played Reynold, I was kind of tired because I had to play many good players. It’s not really an excuse, he simply outplayed me. I didn’t change characters after he counter picked me because I believed in my play as them. Though, I lost 3-2, and placed third, I got my revenge against Mr. KoF who eliminated me at MLG Ohio, and also I got revenge against tokido, who was the one who sent me to the Losers Bracket in one of the most hype matches there. Imagine the kind of upset it was. In the end, it’s a lesson I’ll never forget.
Killzmane: Your next stop would be CEO where you were the runner up, this time making it all the way to the Grand Finals must have felt good. Before the Grand Finals match, what were your feelings? Were you glad to be in the finals? Were you nervous?
Romance: I had to play mcz|Mago, who is the teacher of tokido. He sent me to losers in another long tournament for me, but I got my revenge and had to play Bala to the Grand Finals. I was nervous before I played Mago again, but when I played finals I was so happy to get there having come all the way from the Losers Bracket in one of the hardest and best road to EVO tournaments.
Killzmane: Unfortunately, you did lose to Bala in the Finals of CEO, what is it with Bala? What makes him so good? It seems like every tournament he goes to he wins, can he be beat?
Romance: He is such a good and smart player. I was actually his training partner before EVO 2011 when we placed in the top 2, as well. We learned much from each other. He also has a lot of experience in big tournaments in Mexico. For me, I only started playing KoF as a professional player when KoF13 came out. I know I need to work a little bit more in a few things and believe I’ll beat him soon.
Killzmane: Now, some would say you have a "2nd place curse", what is causing you to have that curse, how do you feel about it, and how do you believe you'll finally be able to break that curse?
Romance: No. It’s not really a second place curse. Reynald, Mr. KoF, and many other really good players can’t beat Bala in big tournaments. He is just a really good player, and everyone of us will have to train harder to beat him. Aside from Bala though, we will have to train for all the international players coming in also.
Killzmane: Recently, you've had lots of top 5 finishes, but never able to break that prestigious Champion spot that everyone shoots for. Are you doing anything different to prepare for this EVO, maybe looking at specific matchups?
Romance: I might be looking at training as some new characters, and train with more than just players in Mexico, but also players from Southern California who have different styles than us in Mexico.
Killzmane: Thanks a lot for your time Romance, would you like to give any final shoutouts, or simply say some words to your fans before we finish up?
Romance: I would like to give a shout out to Team Chaos, who have been my friends and training partners for a long time. Also to Reynald, Bala, Mr. KoF. And to all the people who support me in the USA and those who support me here in Mexico. Of course, thanks to vVv for all their help and friendship. Let's go vVv!
Killzmane: Thanks again Romance, and I wish you the best of luck at EVO! vVv will be cheering you on!