Catching up with Falco

Another week to BAM9 with only 9 days remaining to train up and prepare for one of the biggest events on the Australian fighting game calendar, we take a moment to catch up with Adric 'Falco' Middleton.

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Steve: Hey Falco, what have you been up to? Been hitting the esports gym?

Falco: Hey there Steve, No I haven't been going to ESG that much its a fair distance to go to on a weekly basis so instead I've been analysing the latest matches, seeing what other top competitors are doing wrong that I could use to my advantage, shifting paradigms to get the edge, maintaining a healthy lifestyle to keep my mind AND body prepared for whatever challenges await me. The next DotA2 patch is mine.

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Steve: Wow! What a reply, I dare say that your ZQ Racing Alien XL chair is doing wonders for your posture then. How are your preparations for Battle Arena Melbourne 9 going? Have you had much time to check out the Season 2.5 changes for Street Fighter V? I heard you've been playing some Ibuki, have you given up on Chun-Li?

Falco: You know I've never actually done any special training for when an event comes up. Last night I decided to try out Lisa and some random ass co-op game called Bloody Trap Land and before that it was going to a wedding and playing Nier:Automata. I've also been playing Garou again recently because that game is great.

The 2.5 change list does nothing for either of the characters I play so nothing will change for me there. As for the rest of the changes it will just reinforce how offensive based the game is with the removal of jump back tech and tiers will remain roughly the same with Guile and Urien getting a slap but not hit too hard. Other characters like Vega got buffed but the buff is just making him better at what he is already good at not buffing the part of his game that he struggles with.

At the moment I still feel more comfortable with Chun-Li and I also think Chun-Li is better in a few match ups than Ibuki is so she will stick around for now.

Steve: Interesting observation about improving characters strong points rather than their weaknesses. Creates a bit of a requirement to have a pocket character. Recently you were on the I Dont Even Podcast with Youssef and Gamrah and there was a lot of discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of Street Fighter V as a game and a bunch of other interesting stuff about how to give yourself a kickstart in learning a new fighting game. With what you know now, if you could go back in time 5 years, what advice would you give yourself about becoming a better player?

Falco: If I could go back in time I would either have bought a stick when I first started fighters OR just got a hitbox but they werent invented yet as I had started as a keyboard player then switched and I couldve saved a lot of time with just execution things to this day if I had started with one or the other and stuck with it. But if I had done either of those things I then would have just used training room time with more purpose and focus.

Steve: Having a purpose or focus for each lab session is definitely better than mindless grinding. Switching gears here, have you been playing much Guilty Gear Revelator? Being the current OHN champion, do you feel any pressure to win going into BAM9?

Falco: I've been playing it more recently during my trip up to Brisbane as well as when I got back. As cool as winning Guilty gear was getting second at BAM8 and reseting the bracket was more of an achievement to me than OHN due to the competition at the event. A great pleasure I get out of playing Guilty Gear is entertaining people in Adelaide as they either watch me in Blazblue be complete shit at it and try and win with Hakuman counters alone or in Guilty Gear's case having them have fun watching me do shotgun pressure or unblockables to people that is not them.

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Steve: Hakuman... I remember playing Blazblue: Calamity Trigger back when I was starting fighting games and getting obliterated by the AI doing "psychic" parries hahaha. I heard you were up in Brisbane recently and ended up playing a FT10 with a local player, Ando, tell me more about this.

Falco:

So on the subject of going up to Brisbane I went up there for a wedding and was then INFORMED when I got there that on the Sunday I would have to play a whole bunch of the QLD players in sets. I got told that this was for room and board and I couldnt tell if they were serious or not so on the Saturday night after the wedding I hit the Dustloop Wiki , I checked the tapes, I made sure all combos were working to specifications and I made sure to have a light snack so my tummy wasn't upset. Then the big day came and yes I felt nervous but at the same time I was excited at the prospect of a new challenge on a brand new day. I remember as I sat down to face my first opponent there was a cold sweat running down my back but as I got into the rhythm of things that cold sweat turned into the sweat of a working man; a man who takes pride in his work, a man with a smile on his face because he knows win or lose at least he tried his hardest. Oh right the FT10... Well after I played several of the qld players I then was told that I would be doing a FT10 with Ando who is currently BAM champion and runner up of SXC, both great achievements. A funny thing during the match was there was this move that I kept trying to burst but I didnt know the timing of it so I kept screwing it up and after doing it about 6 times I said screw it I'll just get hit by it. The match boiled down to who got their offense going because both of us were terrible at dealing with the other person's offense. I remember thinking in the last round to just backdash and pull out the shotgun and run at him. It worked.

Steve: Sounds like this would make a pretty good runback at BAM should you guys meet each other during the tournament. I also heard that down in Melbourne, a few of the guys have nominated a player to learn Elphelt to train against in order to slay the mightly Falco. Thoughts?

Falco: This amuses me.

Steve: What an answer! Hahaha alright, KOFXIV, recently SNK have released the 2.0 patch, mostly to blow up my boy K' (not really but really), have you had a chance to play much? How do you feel about the changes to far standing b into MAX mode combos?

Falco: I am very much enjoying KOF again. I dont think it is KOFXIII level but every patch SNK has done has been in the right direction. The max mode changes are noticable but doesn't change how the game is played. The buffing of lower tiers has made character selection more interesting thus making the game also more enjoyable to watch because of the variety.

Steve: Would you rather take on 50 hot wings or a 20 foot hotdog?

Falco: The wings.

Steve: Lets talk about BAM9. RZR|Xian recently announced his attendance along with a tonne of other international players. Last year you placed a very respectable 5th (and I believe were the highest placing Australian player) losing to Rzr|Xian and Mago. Do you have your hopes set on some revenge against Xian? Is there anyone you've got your eye on that you want to play against?

Falco: Equal 5th with Furyblitz from Sydney. In fact I got 5th at every Australian tournament in 2016, internationals or not... I'm crazy like that. I dont really want revenge against Xian just a general desire to play international competition.

Steve: Do you have a particular strategy or mindset during tournament pool play? Do you try to save your energy early on in pools or is tournament stamina not something that bothers you?

Falco: My mindset going into pool play is to play as safe as possible and let the opponents make mistakes. This is just my playstyle in general with Chun-Li at least and just use her fireball and range to harrass people into doing dumb things. Every now and then it backfires because it's a style of play that gives people more chances to come back and in Street Fighter V that is a very scary thing. Tournament stamina has never bothered me in fact warming up makes me play better and I dont mean hopping on a casual set up before it starts. The tournament matches warm me up a lot.

Steve: That's interesting, you seem to get stronger as the tournament progresses like some kind of fighting game Saiyan. Final question! Who do you think will win BAM9?

Falco: If Haitani is coming. Him.

Be sure to catch Falco on Twitter and you can also come down and cheer for Falco at Battle Arena Melbourne 9! 13-14th of May at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.