Recently, we got a chance to catch up with the one and only, Reynald. Having placed top 8 at EVO2012, Reynald is known to be one of the most dominant players in North America. In the interview below, read about his history, experiences at EVO, and opinions on the tier list. You may find some answers surprising! Photo courtesy of Karaface.
Hello, and thank you Reynald! We really appreciate the chance to speak with you. You’re currently known as one of the best KoFXIII players in the world, but we’re curious about how you got to this point. Please tell us about your history in the fighting game community. How did you begin playing fighting games competitively? What games have you played seriously? How did you get so good at KoFXIII?
Reynald -I started playing competitively about 5 years ago (2007) with 3rd Strike. But before that, I was only playing casually a year before. The one thing I remember that really got me into the mind set of playing competitively was from watching a video of Daigo parrying Chun’s super. That was so hype (and still is)! The other games that I have played competitively are KoF 12 and 13. I would like to say that I got good playing KoF 13 from practicing, but that would not be the case. I don’t have enough time to practice as much as I would like to so when I do practice, I try to remember as much as I can about the system each time I do play/practice. Just doing that helped with analytic skills and I am now able to translate which moves/normals are fast enough to punish certain things (I wish I could give an example but nothing comes to mind). Also having a large variety of play styles in the area I play is a huge factor as well.
You placed 7th this year at EVO2012, losing only to Mad KoF and BALA, who got 1st and 2nd respectively. Please tell us about your experiences at the biggest KoF tournament in history! How did you feel about the level of competition? Who were some of your toughest opponents? How do you feel about your performance and results?
Reynald – The level of competition was good enough I suppose. No disrespect to the ones I did play, but I have a really bad habit of trolling/styling my opponents no matter who they are. I like to have fun while playing, so I may end up doing the most risky reversal/read that a person can do. To most people it may look clumsy or stupid (sometimes it is :p) but most of the time there is a strategy behind what I’m doing. Hands down, the toughest opponent I played was Karou. My information may be incorrect, but I heard he came into the tournament very arrogant and that may have been his downfall. As for my performance, it wasn’t the greatest and I was disappointed. I know you can’t play your best everyday, but that’s just how high my standards are. EVO 2012 was the best experience I’ve had at a tournament. I enjoyed being a part of top 8 even with my early loss and after all of it, I again found the conviction to play. All I have to say is that the community is awesome.
Most of the people who have played against you know you for an extremely unique, relentless play style. How would you describe your mentality towards playing KoFXIII? What are some of the strategic aspects of your game plan which you feel are the most significant? What is your training regimen like?
Reynald – I really enjoy getting into my opponents head. Performing different mixups along with connecting various unsafe moves can really do a number on a person. Also, being able to use the game mechanics to its fullest is something I love doing (Some easier than others when applying during a match). A big part of my game is learning to adapt to different styles and knowing/understanding what the opponent is and isn’t capable of. Knowing is realizing what and understanding is realizing why. I realize that may be too vague for most but oh well. As I stated before in answering the previous question, I rarely practice. Since summer hit I have been able to add 1 or 2 extra days a week for practice, but I still felt wasn’t enough. My practice sessions are between 4-8 hours. During that time, I learn more about the system and apply them accordingly per situation.
Please comment on the balance of KoFXIII. Who do you feel are the top 5 and bottom 5 characters in the game? Why do you feel this way?
Reynald – Let me start off by saying this is a stupid topic to have. I’ve known for a while that the tier list is indefinite for plenty of reasons, but I believe it’s largely due to the fact that the game system is very intricate in design, so in that sense the game isn’t being played to its fullest yet.
Top 5: King, Iori, Shen, Ex Iori, Benimaru (No particular order)
Bottom 5: Kensou, Mai, Mature, Ralph, Ash
Although you play almost every character in the game, you have become well known for a few of them (Mr. Karate, Kim, and Hwa Jai, among others). Please tell us about your favorite characters. Why did you choose to play them? How do you feel about their tier rankings?
Reynald – Initially, I started using Mr. Karate and Hwa Jai because I enjoyed playing them. Hwa Jai is my favorite character mainly because of how stupid he looks. I’ve given my thoughts on tiers.
As we all know, you are sponsored by Arcade Shock. Please tell us about your sponsor. How do they treat you? What tournaments will they be sending you to in the future? Do you have plans to attend any international tournaments?
Reynald – Well there isn’t much I can say about my sponsor other than Arcade Shock is pretty awesome. Just know that I’m being taken care of well. The tournaments I will be attending are still undecided. Not only do I need to consult my sponsor, but I have to look at my own schedule. I do plan on attending at least 1 international tournament, but again that’s something I will have to talk over with my sponsor.
If/when SNKP releases a new KoF title, what would you hope to see? Would you prefer a brand new KoF, or an update to KoFXIII? What changes would you want implemented?
Reynald – I hope if the title releases a new version, that it’s an updated version with new characters. There isn’t anything I can think of that would need changing.
Do you have any advice for newer KoF players looking to pick up KoFXIII? Any words to your many fans? Where can we follow you?
Reynald – I know KoF can be a tough game to play and it isn’t for everyone. But if you’ve got enough people playing KoF around you, I say try the game out. You may end up playing better at your main game because of KoF. For the people that enjoy watching me play, stay tuned because there will be more to come this coming year. Anyone can follow me on twitter @l2eynald.
Thanks a ton Reynald! Good luck in your upcoming competitions!