Guard Cancel: The Blackrose | Wisconsin
Guard Cancel is an interview series profiling KOF community members and players. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or PM me in the forum.
1. How long have you played KOF? Which KOF was your first? Which is your favorite?
The first KOF I ever touched was KOF98, which is my favorite. However, I never really got too hands on with KOF while growing up. I had more exposure to Fatal Fury than I did KOF.
I didn’t start getting into KOF proper until I started playing fighting games seriously again 4 years ago, where the local scene was screwing around with KOF2K2UM and RBFF2. When I learned about KOF13 from IPW streaming the old Southtown Arcade weeklies, I ended up watching a lot of it. Announcement of a console release guaranteed that I would be playing it.
2. Why KOF over all of the other fighters?
What always stood out to me was the pace of the game. It’s very offensive in nature with the ways pressure can be applied, but at the same time that pressure is not completely absolute and one-sided. Mobility is another strong point that works hand in hand with the offensiveness of the game. The ability to pick three characters is also a plus when I consider that KOF is one of the few series that makes me want to touch on all of the cast at some point.
I think the biggest draw at the end though is the community. Before, during, and after a tournament, you will meet a lot of people who just want to sit down and play the game. They’ll talk with you, play with you, impart knowledge if you ask, and all of it is without any sort of strings attached.
3. Are you a tournament player? If so, list your tournament rankings.
Unfortunately, due to recent forays into stream production work and commentary, playing in tournaments has taken a backseat. That being said, my record wasn’t stellar, but I wasn’t going 0-2 either.
4. Do you have a local scene or do you rely on online play?
While a local scene in Milwaukee exists, it is very fickle when it comes to staying stable in a game that is not Street Fighter 4. This means having to travel to Chicago if I want to get some practice against players for KOF13. Although for some strange reason, people are starting to pick up KOF2K2UM again. No complaints here.
I prefer to play offline more than online because I really like to dive into the nuances of some matchups, and I feel as though online does not currently allow for that.
5. Do you prefer pad or stick? Why is that your preference?
For KOF, stick until the day I die. I went to my parents’ place for a Thanksgiving and brought my XB360 to get some training mode in, but left my stick in Milwaukee. The only option I had to play on was the normal XB360 pad. That’s a circle of hell I never want to experience again.
Although I guess a DS4 wouldn’t be that bad.
6. What advice do you have for new players?
One piece of advice would be to get a firm grasp of the system mechanics. Understand the importance of movement. When to pressure and when to sit back until you find an opening (and what to do when you find that opening). Explore the cast and figure out their strengths and weaknesses. Most important under this is to keep it simple in the beginning. You can build into the fancy stuff later.
The other piece of advice I would recommend is either finding a group of KOF players close to you, or playing with people via KOF13 Steam Edition. While I vastly prefer offline, the online for Steam Edition is good enough to at least pass off a good chunk of the match up knowledge. The real thing you should be aiming for is finding people who will talk to you about the game and help you improve, either through knowledge or practice.
Also, expect to lose a lot when you’re starting. It happens. Just be sure you’re asking questions and learning.
7. How do you choose a character and team? How do you choose the order?
One thing that will go with me to my grave is my team has to have Kim. I’ve been playing him since Fatal Fury 2 and he has just stuck with me. It’s a severe case of character loyalty. I was very fortunate to find that he was a solid character in KOF13, but that wouldn’t have mattered either way.
When I’m building the overall team, I look at the positions and what I need. For a point character, I’m looking for someone who is fundamentally sound and has a good meterless output. Ability to apply large amounts of pressure is a bonus here, but not necessary. For a mid, I look for someone with the ability to start rolling in some of those resources acquired from the point character, but can do without just fine without them. My final character should be someone that can get in on the opponent and have the ability to dump for big damage. However, this idea is not set in stone – I do like to be variable in order at times.
I’ve gone through three teams now in KOF13. My original was Kim/Robert/Terry, which was before I segmented my idea on team building. That team died out pretty quick when NESTS Kyo was released, where it became EX Kyo/Kim/Terry.
It wasn’t until I sat down with Ryo a few months before EVO 2013 and started exploring him that I saw everything that I wanted in a point character. Since then, my team has been Ryo/Kim/Kyo or EX Kyo, depending on whatever day of the week it is.
8. Which type of character do you prefer?
I lean towards characters that have solid fundamentals, or ones that have a wide variety of tools at their disposal. Characters like Ryo, Kyo, Iori, Terry and Kim.
I’d say the only character group that I never really got into were grapplers. However, I’ve had a bit of an itch to play Goro lately. There’s something oddly satisfying about picking up an opponent and chucking him.
9. From a purely gameplay perspective, who is your favorite character?
For the sake of this question, I’m not going to answer Kim. It’s a tossup between Kyo and Terry. For Kyo, I lean more towards his 13 incarnation. For Terry, his 98 EX style.
10. How often do you practice or train in KOF alone?
When I was going hard into the game, I practiced 3-4 days per week. That doesn’t include the local weeklies, which is every Tuesday, nor does it take into account the moments where I have an idea and just need to grind it out.
Now that people in WI don’t touch the game except for once in a blue moon, I still practice execution once a week to keep the rust off.
11. How do you gain new techniques, strategies, setups and combos? Do you watch match videos?
A lot of it comes down from either stray thoughts that I get throughout the day, or something I’ve observed from another player. The latter can come from all different venues – match footage, youtube videos of certain ideas, etc. From there, it’s a decent amount of time spent in training mode grinding down and refining the idea until I find what makes it tick. I’ve found that I learn better by actually performing as it relates to the idea, not just through random xcopy.
I also like to keep an ear to the ground on players in general, whether it’s news, match footage, etc. It’s actually a big help in the event that I have to jump on commentary.
12. What would you like to see in a new KOF game?
I’d definitely like to see an expanded roster. While I’d like to see characters from previous iterations make it in, I’d also like to see Mark of the Wolves characters make it in. When’s Hotaru Futaba (and not XI for PS2)?
In regards to mechanics changes… It’s a tough question. The only thing in 13 I don’t really care for is HD combos. Otherwise I do like 13’s system.
The Blackrose’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/RSBlackrose