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.

 Dark Sided Fighting Game Player Adric 'Falco' Middleton Interview

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.

 Dark Sided Falco's ZQRacing Gaming Chair

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.

 Dark Sided - Street Fighter V Chun Li vs Guile

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.

Hakumen.png

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.

 Dark Sided Falco - Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator - Elphelt

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.

 Dark Sided Falco - The King of Fighters XIII (KOF XIII)

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.

Catching up with Somniac

As we draw closer and closer to BAM9, the Dark Sided players are still working hard to prepare for one of the biggest events on the Australian fighting game calendar. This time we're taking a moment to catch up with Xavier 'Somniac' Nardella.

Steve: Hey Som, what have you been up to? How are your preparations for Battle Arena Melbourne 9 going?

Somniac: Why hello there, lately I have been focusing a lot of my time in to fighting games as Battle Arena Melbourne is around the corner. Playing Street Fighter V and KOFXIV on a nightly basis with some Ultra Street Fighter 4 on the side every now and then.

 Dark Sided - Somniac - Ultra Street Fighter IV (USFIV)

Steve: Ultra SF4?! Hahaha no way, I saw some of the guys playing it at the last CouchWarriors ranbat. Tell me about what happened at the Street Fighter V CouchWarriors April Ranbat, I saw you win a really close set versus Reepuplzorg and then take a tough loss in the Grand Final versus Zed. Some changes to be made there to deal with Zed's Necalli or maybe just trying something new in terms of strategy?

Somniac: I wasn't really happy with my performance in general [at the ranbat] and wasn't able to adapt very quickly to the strategies of my opponents, I had a similar experience online against some other opponents too. I've had a think about it and in general I was being too rigid with my gameplan. Often I would be dominating a round but be unable to close it out and put myself at risk trying to do so, losing quite frequently in really strong positions. As Street Fighter V does not have chip damage, my opponents can choose to take their time to make a comeback even on zero life. I've made a conscious decision to save critical art meter for super more often to prevent this tactic in the future. As super will close the round out if they activate V-Trigger and there's not much they can do about it I think it's a more solid play going forward.

Steve: That sounds like good plan, it sounds like it will also allow you to be in a good spot to change your mind should you want to just EX Devil's Reverse or commit to another strategy. Speaking of strategy and self reflection/improvement, I know you're quite the lab monster, spending lots of time practicing in front of that ViewSonic monitor no doubt! What are your thoughts on the Season 2.5 changes for Street Fighter V? Better for the game or worse?

Somniac: Been spending a lot of time playing and labbing lately, just reached Master rank on the Street Fighter V leaderboards after getting my ViewSonic so I'm thinking there's a correlation there! In regards to the Street Fighter V patch I really wish they wouldn't have made any major changes mid-season, the fact that the patch is coming a week before Battle Arena Melbourne (which has since been delayed) is a huge worry to me because I can't effectively know what they might change so practicing may or may not be relevant. I'm not too happy with the overall direction of the game but it seems like quite a few American players are so it's who they're choosing to listen to. I'll ride it out regardless because I'm a fan of the franchise.

 Dark Sided Somniac - Viewsonic monitor - Street Fighter V

Steve: How about this new King of Fighters XIV 2.0 patch? Game seems almost new again (it's not even that old!) in terms of balance.

Somniac: I'm loving the KOFXIV patch changes because it feels like more characters are viable now, seeing a lot of different characters show up in tournaments around the world which is great to see. With the KOFXIV balance it's mostly changed some of the easier and abusive strategies, characters are still good but require a different harder path to use them. I think K' is still strong and I'll use him but I'm also trying out Shun'ei as a potential team member. I'm also having a lot of fun with Yamazaki as of late despite him being quite clumsy. I'm overall quite happy with the balance patch and it's also added in additional training mode options which I'm finding really helpful to figure out common situations.

 Dark Sided Somniac - The King of Fighters XIV (KOF XIV)

Steve: SNK are really giving it their all when it comes to KOFXIV. It's really good to see them doing what's best for the game. On another topic, recently BornFree did an interview with Bon-chan who said that there was too much disparity in V-Skill between characters in Street Fighter V. As a crazy kinda of question, if you could change M.Bison's V-Skill in any way (big or small) what would you change? For those playing at home, currently he can absorb an attack and (optionally) shoot back a fireball at the enemy.

Somniac: I think Bonchans interview was really accurate and I've bought it up myself a few times that V-Skill's aren't balanced well. Some characters can naturally combo their V-Skill or use it quite frequently and others can barely if ever use it. I like M.Bisons V-Skill change in Season 2 with his ability to store it but I can't help but think it's totally useless in most non-fireball match ups outside of some risky fringe situations. Compare this to Balrog or Ibuki V-Skill which they can use in any match up. Personally I like the fireball reflect V-Skill and I don't want to see it gone, but I'd like the ability to change my V-Skill, maybe give me something else to use against non-fireball characters to allow me to build V-Trigger during combos.

Steve: That would be pretty cool, a V-Skill/V-Trigger select like in other Street Fighter games where you could choose a different Super (SF3) or Ultra (SF4). Lets talk more about BAM9, one of the big draw cards this year is being a Capcom Pro Tour Premier event which naturally draws international talent. Daigo and Infiltration have already been announced but I've heard rumours about all kinds of players coming out. Who would you like to see or even play against at BAM9?

Somniac: With so many international players coming to BAM9 I am excited to play any of them, last time I played Infiltration he was able to close it out 2-1 so I'd like to get a runback of that match to see if I can take him out.

 Dark Sided Fighting Game Player Somniac

Steve: I really hope Infiltration does make it down to BAM9, I know he registred but he did pull out of Northern California Regionals (NCR) just the other week saying that "I'm not ready to compete on the Capcom Pro Tour". Either way, the show will go on... Historically, local players have learnt a lot when international players come out to compete, do you think history will repeat itself this year?

Somniac: I'm looking forward to our local players causing upsets, I think there are very strong players in our scene and I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't so easy for the international players this time around.

Steve: Earlier you mentioned that you attained Master rank the CFN leaderboards in Street Fighter V, during your climb you must have come across a lot of strong local players, do you think any of these notorious online names will make a big splash at BAM9 or will it be the same names we've been seeing from OHN14 and previous tournaments?

Somniac: A few the names to look out for... I think that Nooblet will be a contender with his Akuma and there are several strong contenders from Sydney. I expect my Dark Sided team mates ZG and Falco topple some big names as well.

Steve: Make some predictions for BAM9? Highest placing Aussie? Who will win Street Fighter V at BAM9?

Somniac: As long as the highest placing Aussie is the winner if BAM9 I'll be happy either way, ideally one of our Dark Sided boys being the #1 spot. I'm going to do my prediction from BAM 2012 which was I am going to win, which worked for me that time so let's see if it works this time haha

 Dark Sided FIghting Game Player Somniac with Fighting Game Manager Pyro

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

Catching up with Wazminator

With #BAM9 on the horizon, the Dark Sided players have been working hard to prepare for one of the biggest events on the Australian fighting game calendar. We took the time to catch up with Mortal Kombat X juggernaut and streamer Tasman 'Wazminator' Stephenson.

 Dark Sided Fighting Game Player Wazminator

Steve: Hey Waz, what have you been up to? how are your preparations for Battle Arena Melbourne 9 going?

Wazminator: I've been focusing a lot on building my stream audience and preparing for BAM 9 mostly just by playing at YSB every month and online throughout the week.

 Dark Sided at Battle Arena Melbourne 9

Steve: As a player, which do you feel you benefit the most from offline training mode grinding combos/setups/tech or playing online and fighting a live opponent?

Wazminator: I feel that you will benefit from playing offline more than anything, training mode for execution, setups, tech etc will only take you so far. From my experience a good balance of both is one of the most practical ways to become a better player.

Steve: So playing online is like a necessary evil! If you were to describe your playstyle what would it be?

Wazminator: I would say my playstyle is a good mix of everything, for the most part I like to play a strong neutral but once I get a knockdown I'll play my frame trap/throw game, depending on the situation I feel like I'm able to play however I need to for that situation, defensive, offensive, patient, etc.

Steve: I guess that would make you something like a pretty good all-rounder in your eyes. Alright before we continue, something a little off topic but something the people absolutely need to know. If you had to choose, would you rather anchovies on a pizza or pineapple on a pizza?

Wazminator: To be honest, I hate both, give me a meatlovers pizza and I'm good.

Steve: You recently hit Platinum rank on CFN in Street Fighter V, how are you finding the game? Is there a big difference for you trying to play a Capcom style of fighter coming from a NRS background? Mentally different or executionally different?

Wazminator: I've been back and forth with Street Fighter V since the release, I've tried a few characters but never really felt at home until I started playing Balrog. Coming from NRS to Capcom has helped me tremendously in the learning process, they are completely different games but taking my fundamentals that I learnt from MKX to SFV definitely helped.

 Dark Sided - Street Fighter V

Steve: Lets talk some more about Mortal Kombat X, you've seen quite a bit of tournament success recently winning York Street Battle #49 in March and also winning the first ever Gamestah MKX online tournament. Is it easier winning at home in front of your ViewSonic VX2457 monitor or are you a player that thrives up on the big stage?

Wazminator: Okay so, at the moment in MKX I am super confident in my play so be it online or offline, it doesn't make much of a difference to me anymore. However I would like to mention that taking out the Gamestah MKX tournament on my Viewsonic Monitor this weekend was a blast!

Steve: No doubt you fought some familiar faces in both tournaments, do you have any rivals within the Aus MKX community? Are there players that help you improve your own game by training together, sharing tech or is there maybe a more sinister rival that you just can't let them get ahead of you?

Wazminator: I feel like I have no true rival throughout the MKX community, although I would say throughout most of MKX I trained with Castiel, one of the strongest players in our scene and we were always trying to better one another. As for the threats, recently I'd say Gilbagz is my biggest threat, he has taught me so much and knows my gameplan in and out so he is always a huge threat.

Steve: Gilbagz was the man that put you into losers for the Gamestah MKX tournament but ultimately you came back to beat him in the Grand Finals. Interesting... Lets talk Injustice 2, it's coming out pretty soon, Excited for this game? Any characters you have your eye on? Sticking to your original Injustice pick or playing something new?

Wazminator: YES! I am so excited for Injustice 2, so far I'm interested in Poison Ivy and Swamp Thing, I did play some Atrocitus in the beta so if he stays the same as he was I would definitely be keeping him in my pocket.

Steve: How does Mortal Kombat X perform when Injustice 2 comes out, is it like Capcom where you play the leading title and nothing else?

Wazminator: The way NRS works is similar to Capcom, everyone will go to Injustice 2 but the people who really enjoyed MKX and want to see it live will still continue to play it alongside Injustice 2.

Steve: I hope MKX continues well after Injustice 2 drops.

Moving on, I'd be surprised if people didn't know this but you're quite a keen streamer, I see you bonding with the rest of the Dark Sided team over some Player Unknown's Battlegrounds in your ZQRacing chair. Hows that been going? Is it something you enjoyed from the beginning or did you have to find your stride with it?

Wazminator: Streaming has been a really fun time since I began in August last year, I never thought it would give me some of the opportunities it has so far. I always have enjoyed it and still do just as much as I did from the beginning, seeing all the wazHype emotes in chat is definitely a highlight every stream, always makes me laugh seeing my own face as an emote.

Steve: I'm actually a fan of wazFail more than wazHype, one of my favourite emotes in our Dark Sided Discord.

Finally, be honest with me, who's going to win Mortal Kombat X at BAM 9?

Wazminator: I can personally guarantee you that I will be taking BAM 9 MKX, my past 5 tournaments that I have entered I have won and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon.

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