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Go for Pro – Canberra vs NorCAL

Go for Pro – Canberra vs NorCAL

King of Canberra – Round 1

It’s nice (and I mean REALLY nice) to sit back and marvel at best players in the world, but everyone needs to remember that they all started somewhere. Local comps help build the champions of tomorrow and give players of all levels an opportunity to simply jump in and give it a go!

Recently I attended round one of the King of Canberra event, where players good enough to qualify for the A League get together and see just who really is the best Street Fighter player in Canberra!

Many regulars were in attendance, Former winner PNS-Shogun was there, rocking his Fei-long as per usual. Another former winner, Mikey, was also competing but has made the switch from Decapre to Rolento. K-7 was back and competing after a small break from the scene using his Akuma to great success and dispatching many people on the day in dominating fashion.

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A standout of the day was none other than Vlad, a veteran of the scene, winning all of his matches on the day with his main, Ryu in a first to seven format. A stand out of the day was his match with K7, which had the vocal crowd breathless. Both players didn’t disappoint and were trading round for round, quite often matches came down to a slither of health either side. It was the kind of pressure that would crack most players and yet not a hint of emotion splashed across the faces of these hardend pros!

I managed to take time out and have a quite chat with Vlad about the state of the local scene and the fighting game community:

The Victorious Vlad
The Victorious Vlad

Adam – Firstly, congratulations on a successful first round of the King of Canberra event. It seems that over the year’s local events such as these are starting to sprout some pretty good talent; do you see Australians doing better in the coming years on the world stage for fighting games?

Vlad – Thank you Adam, the pressure was on to perform, it was a good first round. For Australia doing better on the world stage, I think we are doing rather good at the moment, as there are a few players that do travel over seas and we certainly can mix it with the best, and have done so, and there is always an “upset” here and there when there is a Major such as Shadowloo. But I think as a whole? Australia needs to have the numbers in order to stay on even ground even with the UK, USA, Canada even, let alone Asia/Japan.

We just don’t have either the numbers (amount of people who play) and a lot of us have those other commitments, it is a work life balance, or in this case “a work, life, game” balance, it can get pretty tricky as you get older. Maybe leave this to the younger generation. Things will improve in time, and they have improved significantly in the past 10 years, it is a slow process.

Adam – More than ever before, eSports, on an international scale, has really increased in popularity, the Capcom Cup alone is having a prize pool of $500,000! Did you always hope that the Fighting Game Community (FGC) and eSports in general would get this to this level? And do you think it has a lot further to go?

Vlad – Of course, I see things improving over time; perhaps SFV will be driving force? Fighting games are not easy to just pick up and  play by any means, appealing to the masses is not something fighting games have really done (maybe since Street Fighter 2), but times have certainly changed since the 80’s and 90’s. There is always hope, and nothing ceases to amaze me, if people find a way to put up the money? The sky is the limit.

Adam – You main Ryu in most of your games, a character not seen too often at the higher levels of Street Fighter 4, what makes you use him as your main over other more popular choices?

Vlad – Ryu has always been a favourite of mine, because when I was a boy I liked Karate and Samurai movies. I guess Ryu’s fighting style portrays the Samurai spirit, I like it. And in the right hands I feel any character is lethal. Ryu is balanced, well rounded character, with good offence and defence, he has all the tools. Recently I have been dabbling with Evil Ryu; he is very good too,

Adam – The King of Canberra events use the ‘first to 7’ format. Some matches can take quite a long time and it works out to be a lot of games by the end of the day. What is it about this format that you like / dislike?

Vlad – Well to be honest, I like the format a lot. At this stage there is nothing I do not like about the “first to 7 format”. It is not the standard conventional format “best out of 3 or 5”. Stamina, endurance, concentration is key here. Just like a 10km run rather than a 2km run, I guess it is more of a test so to speak. But for most serious players now “first to 7” isn’t all that stressful, you get use to it and for me and many of us it is normal. 

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NorCal Regionals – The beast unleashes once again!

We couldn’t just leave it there, especially when another big qualifier was just on! The NorCal Regionals were just on and attending were many of the best players in the world.

The hype was real. Too many close matches to name, but some surprises were to be had. Momochi, after looking invincible since the Capcom Cup, didn’t even make the top 8 with Gamerbee sending him packing. Striders Abel was on point until a complete brain snap allowed Bonchan to steal the win and make it to fourth place.

Pie Smug was using his predicted all out offensive Dudley to great effect until he ran into the man who would steal the competition away, Daigo, who dispatched Pie Smug in successive rounds.

At no point did Daigo ‘The Beast’ look like he was slowing down. Never dropping a combo, Daigo had an answer for every single opponent he came up again and his finals match with Gamerbee proved he was too much to handle and ran away with the show. This automatically qualifies him for the Capcom Cup (like there was any question he’d be there anyway) but it was great to see one of the biggest names in the FGC take out a big tournament! For the full results, check them out here:

The lead up to EVO and Capcom Cup 2015 could not be more exciting, the top 16 of the world are so dangerously close it will easily come down to clutch moves and a dash of luck to decide who will win!

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Adam Rorke