Guard Cancel: Mikel

Guard Cancel is an interview series profiling KOF community members. The goal is to get to know the people behind the tags. Guard Cancel will be published every Monday. If you’d like to be featured, email or PM me in the forum.

1. How long have you played KOF? Which KOF was your first? Which is your favorite?
I have played KOF for eight and a half years. My first KOF game was The King of Fighters R-2 for the NGPC, and my favorite KOF games are KOF 98 (Vanilla, R-2 [if it counts], and UM), KOF 2002 (Vanilla and UM), KOF XI, and KOF XIII.

2. Why KOF over all of the other fighters?
KOF is an easy-to-learn fighting game for beginners, intermediates, and experts alike. I like the series because of its easy to learn gameplay system, the characters, and the many play styles each character has, such as Kyo’s “twitch,” and Ash’s “charge” styles.

3. Are you a tournament player? If so, list your tournament rankings.
I haven’t played in any tournaments yet, but after high school I will do my best to get into EVO. If I don’t, I will wait till the SoCal Regionals.

4. Do you have a local scene or do you rely on online play?
I rely on online play more often as the scene over here in Tulsa mainly relies on all kinds of Capcom fans, but I do have some friends and acquaintances that like KOF and SNK overall. There is even a site for all kinds of gaming tournaments called, where you can find out about what tournaments are available all across Oklahoma.

5. Do you prefer pad or stick? Why is that your preference?
I mainly play with a pad because that is all I have (lol). I would love to get an arcade stick, but I couldn’t afford to get one because of how much they cost, and that I can’t find them standalone.

6. What advice do you have for new players?
If you are new to KOF, I would suggest watching DandyJ’s tutorial on the basic concepts of KOF; it will get you started on the basics and help you understand how the gameplay systems of the series. I will also suggest using “twitch” characters for an easy start, as charge characters should be saved for amateurs or intermediates. The characters you should start out with are Kyo, Athena, and Ash; as Kyo and Athena have easy-to-learn movesets to help you understand how “twitch” characters work, and Ash’s unique moveset will teach you how charge characters work.

And don’t be shy on losing a match because the other player is stronger than you, remember that practice makes perfect.

7. How do you choose a character and team? How do you choose the order?
I pick characters in the context of who I find interesting, such as Ash, Athena, and Kyo. In terms of order; I go for the order I selected my characters in character select, or from favorite (Let’s say Ash in this case) first, to my best character saved for last.

8. Which type of character do you prefer?
I prefer charge characters because they can give you more time to perform a specific move, whether its anti-air or projectile; you can also have more time to react with a guard before your opponent attacks you.

9. From a purely gameplay perspective, who is you favorite character?
Athena is my favorite character to play with because of her moveset being simple and easy to execute; I also like her Psychic Reflector because it is a good tool to use for reflecting projectiles.

10. How often do you practice or train in KOF alone?
I practice every now and then before fighting online in two ways: Offline whenever I am disconnected from the internet, and online thanks to KOF XIII’s online training mode; it gives me more time to practice combos, movesets, and game mechanics before an online match.

11. How do you gain new techniques, strategies, setups and combos? Do you watch match videos?
I mainly learn several techniques and combos from combo videos, match videos, and online guides on specific KOF characters. They are a great way to help new and returning players understand how combos of certain characters can be performed. For returning players, how well players learn to remember that character depends on how much his/her play style has changed within each installment of the series.

12. What do you think of KOFXIII?
When I first saw gameplay videos of KOF XIII, I was visually stunned. The stages are awesome, the gameplay is much faster than it was in KOF XII, and it plays a lot like the classic KOF games.

One thing that got me excited for the game is the Hyper Drive system; I can perform an insane amount of combos while in Hyper Drive mode. EX moves really help when you are going to execute a good combo; most of them add follow up attacks, which are really great when you are performing a combo, or filming a combo movie. The added invincibility also helps me perform most of these combos whenever my HP is low.

Another thing that gets me pumped for the game are the Neo Max moves; I really love the usage of Max Cancels because they remind me of KOF XI, which is a good thing because it makes me want to play that game again. The best thing about them, is that whenever you are using an EX desperation move followed by a Neo Max during HD mode, you get twice the damage than whenever you execute a normal desperation move followed by a Neo Max.

Overall, KOF XIII strives to be the best game in the KOF series, the new gameplay systems add an unique feel to the game, and a healthy roster of 33 characters makes this one of the best games the KOF series has to offer.

13. Will you continue to play older KOF games while playing KOFXIII?
Why, yes. I will continue to play KOF 98 UM and KOF XI casually as one way aside from KOF XIII to practice for EVO or any other fighting game tournament that will happen in the future.

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