Tag Archives: esl

First to Ten comes back for story time with PxP | AF0xyGrampa

Greetings!  I hope everyone has had a great 2018 so far.

I apologize that I haven’t been as active with blog writing as I’d like.  Despite the incident that happened to my home in January, I have also been working on a podcast for Dragon Ball FighterZ that has consumed a lot of my free time getting up and running.  I appreciate the patience my loyal readers have had. And if you’re a new reader, hello there. This is a blog where we interview personalities and players in the NetherRealm competitive fighting scene in a series of 10 questions to show you a little bit more about who they are and what they bring to the table. This week I wanted to go back to the UK for this special edition back.  

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PxP | AF0xyGrampa himself. Photo by Robert Paul.

Denom Jones is one of the top players we have seen come from across yonder, but you probably know him by the name, AF0xyGrampa.  Denom has always been a calm and collected guy when I’ve interacted with him. He’s always prepping as much as he can for tournaments and has traveled an insane amount in the last couple years.  Going back to even MK9 when he played Rain, F0xy has always shown he is a determined player. I’ll never forget seeing him take ComboBreaker in 2016 with his Mileena, it was a big victory for the UK as well.  

Even in Injustice 2, we have seen this man do work with characters like Deadshot on TBS’ ELeague. I think it’s important for the community to learn more about players like F0xy who have done a lot in the game and still continue to put work in while dealing with everything else life has to throw their way.  So let’s get started:

1. F0xy, thank you for joining us today, could you please start off by telling us a little about who you are, where you’re from, and how you started competing for fighting games?

Hi mate no worries👌🏾. My name’s Denom Jones from the UK and I first started competing when I was 15.  Originally it was in Halo, and eventually when I turned 19 (when MK9 came out) I ventured into the FGC.

2.  Why Mortal Kombat?  What got you into the series and what was a changing moment for you in your competitive career with this game?

Mortal Kombat is a part of my holy trinity of series (MK, DBZ, MGS). So before I knew I wanted to compete in it, I knew I was gonna be hooked on it anyway. I’d been playing MK games since I was 4, or as early as I can remember on the Sega mega drive. I’m just drawn to the darkness of MK in game and in its lore.

3. What kind of stuff do you do in your spare time when you aren’t traveling for tournaments?

When I’m not travelling to tournaments, if it’s the off season, I’m trying to do as minimal as possible. I’m mostly a hermit. At least this season, it’s a good break from traveling globally multiple times a month.  I’m just chilled mostly, tournaments and travel have got me into a nocturnal sleeping pattern so I’ll keep up to date with a lot of the events from other scenes since I’m usually up so late, just as a spectator.  Other than that I’ll either be on the turntables, at the studio or just taking out my girlfriend, Vonnie. I’ve become a simple man.

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Denom and his beautiful girlfriend, Vonnie.

4. How does it feel always traveling?  Has there ever been a time where it has caused an issue you had to overcome in order to keep chasing success?

The consistent travelling is something you can get used to, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve flown back and forth from America in the last 3 years. I’ve come to accept that a plane is a mental prison for whatever duration you have to sit there. It’s cool and it was always a childhood dream of mine to be a pro gamer at some point. I am grateful.

The time I questioned it most was before I went to the Eleague last chance qualifier. I’d placed throughout the year and knew I could possibly win the LCQ. But I had to decide if I wanted to spend the money and potentially come back completely at loss and completely empty handed. I had a chat with Vonnie, I basically said ‘I’ll be emo if I go and lose, but I’ll be more emo if I stay and don’t give myself the chance’ – to which she said, “Yeah just go.”  She had given me some good guidance.

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F0xy in the center on a promo for ELeague along with players: ForeverKing, Dragon, and TekkenMaster.

5. What is the fighting game scene like where you are from?

The fighting game scene in the UK is a good community, obviously not as big as the USA, but everybody seems to get along, and we’re all supportive of one another on our successes, regardless of which game they play, we seem to be tuned in to support our players.

There are scenes all across the UK, the main ones I can think of would be Scotland, the north Manchester, the midlands Birmingham and the southern Londoner scene. Each with their own quirks.

6. What is your favorite tournament to date and why?

My favorite tournament to date was probably EVO 2015, it was the biggest NRS event ever, year one of MKX, seemed like an electric atmosphere, the outcome was unknown, the hype, the game sounded crazy on EVO main stage too.

It was just one of those tournaments where any player you met that weekend, you’d probably end up in some funny situation with them that would be memorable, such as cheap Eddie getting lost in America with Madzin, or Ketchup rage quitting the hotel over Kotal Kahn, eating out at all the weird and wild places in Vegas.

Although typically EVO isn’t my top tournament of the year, 2015 was particularly memorable, despite how well Ketchup and I did that year, even if we hadn’t, I still think it’d be my favorite.

7.  We’ve seen you notably have the U.K. flag on your back when competing?  Is this a must for every time you compete like a good luck charm? What made you start doing this?

I started wearing the flag at the Kombat Kup finals in Sweden 2015, 16 countries had 16 qualifiers, I lost the UK qualifier to Aixy but qualified in Sweden at the last chance event.  When it came to the finals the bracket said UK had to play Sweden (Aixy vs I) so I got a flag, put it on the table and said, the winner plays for the right to continue in the bracket as the UK.

I won and I kept the flag, it just reminds me of what I was saying earlier, all the people in the UK who I know support me, you can’t hear them across the ocean, so that’s my reminder of them.

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F0xy sporting the flag and throwing up his signature “cheeky” on stage.

8. Now we’ve all seen the cheeky.  For those looking in on this, I’m sure they have also seen you do this in photos.  Can you explain the origins of this and how it became a thing since it seems to be one of your signature poses in photos?

The cheeky symbol 👌🏾, I can’t honestly remember what it came up in, I think it was something along the lines of OmegaK talking about going for a Cheeky Nando’s, (Nando’s is a food chain in the UK) then he threw up the sign next to a Nando’s sign or something.

At least I think that’s where it came from (lol), kinda out of context whenever you use it I guess really. Ultimately it’s just PND banter.

9. What is one thing you’d like to see the community do more to grow?

I don’t think there’s just one thing the community can do to help make itself grow, it depends on the region and the attitudes of the players in that region, geographical location too. Growth in America for example could be easier because everything’s all in the same country. But let’s say you try to develop EU, African, Arabian and Russian scenes for example, traveling isn’t always so simple.

I think a lot of a games growth now is dependent on the developers. Genuine hype for a game will help a community grow, so if the community shows genuine love and passion for the game as well as the game being accessible to viewers and new players alike, the community would grow naturally. I guess my answer is, I think it just has to happen naturally and can’t be forced.

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F0xy at ComboBreaker 2016 Photo courtesy of PVP Live’s Chris Bahn

10. What tournaments do you plan to go to in 2018? What can we expect to see from you?

In 2018 you’ll see me when or where ever they announce Pro Series 2 (fingers crossed). Any premier event on the hypothetical tour I should attend, also hoping to play some DBFZ at these events this year too.

Until then I’ll just be waiting patiently for it to start, like a hermit 👌🏾

You can follow Denom and keep up to date with him on social media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AF0xyGrampa
Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/af0xyg

It was a pleasure to have F0xy join us for First to Ten’s comeback.

I plan on having a new story now by every Friday (instead of previously Sunday since I have my podcast now that day)!  I hope to see you all next week again and I am always looking for feedback on how we can appeal more or grow as a page for you all in the future.  The NRS community means so much to me and I want to continue to help you all as much as I can get stories out there and grow.

Thank you all so much, as always.
And again, thank you Denom for joining us for this F2T.

 

Posted and edited by Romanova.

First to Ten has you now, Beyond Toxin

Good day to everyone tuning in on this Sunday.
You have made it to another week of First to Ten!

I hope everyone enjoyed when we went to the UK with Ketchup last week.  I know that I had even learned a few things about him that I didn’t already know.  He is such a talented person in our community and outside of it too!  I would like to thank him again for his time he took to do the interview.

This week we are going back to Florida, again.  There happen to be a decent amount of our scene in Florida.  If you look at the sunshine state and our community many players come to mind.  Some of these players include but are not limited at all to Noble Semijj, DR Gross, RNG Whiteboi, and PG Kitana Prime.  The talent runs deep there. We are nothing shy of that talent when it comes to Juan Jing Contreras, or as many know him as, Beyond Toxin.

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Toxin during a match at Combo Breaker 2017 and his father, “Papa Toxin” close by supporting.

A small backstory before the set…

I met Toxin at ESL’s MKX Pro League Season 3 Finals.  He and his father were instantly heartwarming and kind.  Toxin was nice enough to play some casuals with me after I offered to play my Mileena against him for some match-up practice. I feel like I got to even know them both more as we all got to grill together the day after finals thanks to a genius idea from Mr. Joshua Gray.  A friendship had been made and only got better after meeting such sweet and genuine people.

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Myself, Papa Toxin, and the crowd reacting to Toxin’s comeback on Sonicfox during ESL MKX Season 3 Finals.

After ESL, I had seen Toxin at EVO 2016 and I believe maybe one more major that year. It wasn’t until this year at Combo Breaker that I had learned some of Toxin’s background as to how he got into eSports through something bad happening to him.  However, he turned that unfortunate event into something that has, and will keep giving him memories to last a lifetime: the competitive gaming community.

It was after discovering Toxin had this history that got him into our scene that contributed to why I wanted to do this blog.  I knew our community needed an outlet to get his story as well as many others out.  But I am so excited for you all to finally hear it from him himself.  I won’t make you wait any longer.

  1. Juan Jing, thank you for taking the time out to be a part of this week’s F2T. As tradition, please answer us the simple questions of who you are, where your name came from, and tell us about your local scene.

Hi Amanda, thank you for having me on your first to ten segments! My name is Juan Jing Contreras also known as Beyond Toxin. My gamer tag originated from a clan I was in back during gears of war 3. And ever since then I never changed my name and BeyondToxin just got hooked onto me. The “Beyond” part came from the clan and Toxin is named from a symbiote in the marvel universe. Now my local scene in my opinion one of the strongest scenes! Down south they used to run the weeklies and versus gaming center but for some reason after a couple of months people stopped going. Then Jebailey started doing these monthlies and the first month Injustice 2 was feature we had over 60 players and unfortunately the last meeting we only had 16. I already told myself now matter if 7,6,5, or even if 4 people showed up I will continue to support my local scene and try to grow the community here in Florida.

  1. How did you get into the FGC? How did you overcome what happened to you?

It was around December 15, 2014 I was headed to the gym from school when I got into my first car accident. Lady wasn’t paying attention and ended up rear ending my car causing my car to be totaled and leaving me with a herniated disc. Ever since I kind of fell into this dark abyss, everything around me wasn’t going the way I had planned. Mind you this was my senior year of high school this is the year where you have fun and enjoy! But thankfully I finished my football season but was heartbroken that I could not continue weightlifting and run track to pursue that scholarship to run or play football in college at a D1 or D2 level. But thankfully my friend Elliott was kind enough to buy me Mortal Kombat X and after watching the ESL season pro finals I decided that I wanted to grind and become one of the pros or top players in the scene. Mortal Kombat made me forget everything that happened back in high school and I just saw this as a blessing in disguise.

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Toxin in his football uniform when he still played.

  1. I know you are a very family oriented person, I’d like our audience to see that as well. Your dad comes with you to almost every tournament.  When and why did that start? How does the rest of your family feel about your gaming path and how do they support you?

My family and especially my dad have always been supportive with anything we do. Whether it was track, basketball, or football my family was always there for me. My dad made so many sacrifices just to make sure he was every sporting event we attended. My dad turned down jobs that would pay 80k or more a year just because he knew if he took the job he wouldn’t have time with his kids and would never ever make it to any our events. And for a father to make sacrifices like that goes to show how much love has for my brother, and sister and me. And for that I thank him and by doing well at tournaments and hearing the excitement in his voice after I did well at a tourney is one of the best feelings ever. Especially when my mom calls me because she doesn’t even know what is going on but she’s supportive also. But at first, I wasn’t comfortable traveling on my own, so I made sure my dad always came with me. Now that I am more experienced with traveling and what not he’s staying home and just being a stream monster while I go and travel by myself. Main tournaments I am going to bring him to are definitely CEO and Combo Breaker. Chicago is after all, my dad’s hometown.

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Toxin and his dad at a Cubs game pre Combo Breaker.

  1. Again, about your love for family and their importance to you: You did a GoFundMe for your grandfather in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Irma. I know the community we have was able to come together and support you during this. I was hoping you could tell everyone how he is doing now that you succeeded in your goal and what you were able to do for him with the goal you hit.

My grandfather from when we last spoke to him he was doing good! We were able to use all of the money to purchase the food for him.  Unfortunately the generators in our budget with the leftover money are currently sold out in Florida where we are.  So we are in talks with FEMA to see what my dad can do. But as of right now we have no communication with my grandfather still. Everyday my dad goes to work around 8am and he gives him a call in hopes to answer him because we need to know how are things and what not. But as of now we are waiting to see if he would love to fly here to Orlando and stay with us until things are back to normal in Puerto Rico. But from the bottom of my heart I just wanted to say thank you to all who donated it means a lot to my dad and I ad without you guys things would have been tougher.

  1. Back to gaming – what got you into Mortal Kombat? How did you end up choosing Ermac as your main? What was your favorite variation and why?

I always thought Mortal Kombat was cool, but I just never got around to playing the old ones. The only old one I played was UMK3 and it was a PS3 purchase! Now for choosing my soul mate Ermac, this how it happened. Upon release of Mortal Kombat X my brother and I were so eager to just start playing. But while the game was downloading the rest of the characters the only characters we could use were Scorpion, Sub zero, Reptile, Kotal Kahn, and Ermac. I just saw this cool looking floating dude and said yep that’s my main! And ever since release I was an Ermac main and never dropped him.

 

  1. What was the hardest moment for you in your competitive history of MKX? What did you decide to do after to overcome that?

Hardest moments in my MKX career was definitely being stuck in that 9th and 13th place vortex. It was the toughest thing to swallow after a loss at a major knowing that you were either 1 or 2 games away from that top 8. All I would tell myself is to get over it, level up, and just keep on grinding until you get that top 8. Once I get that top 8 its time to start aiming for consistency and trying to win a major.

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A meme from Toxin’s twitter… Sorry Toxin.

  1. How did it feel going into Injustice 2 after the success you had in MKX? Who are your mains and why do you play them?

To be honest, I was a little nervous since I never played injustice on a competitive level.  I was super nervous to see how well I would transition over to a new game. I went into Combo Breaker 2017 telling myself that I only played this game for like 2 or 3 weeks if I drown in pools then I drown. Turns out I actually got 17th and felt really good after that and just continued to grind and level up for the upcoming IPS tourneys. My mains are Scarecrow and Supergirl. Scarecrow was just one of those characters that once I saw him on the “it’s good to be bad” trailer, I told myself that I was maining that character. His command grab and chain moves attracted me to him so that’s why he’s my main. And Supergirl, well, there’s not much to say. But she’s better than superman character wise and during the Injustice 2 announcement trailer at ESL S3 MKX pro finals she looked cool.  I find her a lot of fun to use.

  1. With you currently being in College now, how do you find time for gaming and balance it with your studies?

It’s tough! Since now that I am almost done with my A.A. and will be transferring to UCF next fall.  It is only going to get difficult and more stressful. Time management is key when going to school full time and trying to stream and play games with fellow players. I go to class around 8am and I don’t get back till around 12:30. As soon as I get home I start doing my homework and get all that stuff out of the way. So, by around 3pm once I pick up my sister I can do my daily stream and then around 7pm my dad gets home, and my brother and I go ahead and go to LA Fitness and get our workout in, and that’s basically what I do everyday school, homework/study, workout, sleep, rinse and repeat!

  1. You were recently at the last chance qualifier and did exceptionally well. How did it feel to go that far there?

Last chance qualifier for me was mainly to get back to my competitive level and see where I was in my game plan and what I needed to fix. Mind, I had to stop traveling after EVO because I ended up starting school the following month and could not afford missing any classes to attend tournaments. Overall, my main goal was to get top 2 and make ELeague.  But for me being out of the loop for so long and making top 8 there, I just had a big smile on my face and knew that I still had it. That’s why people asked after I lost to StarCharger they noticed I wasn’t upset at all. And I told them “no, why would I be upset? I haven’t traveled since Evo and just wanted to shake off the rust!” I was really happy with my play and that’s all that mattered at that tournament! Not to mention my pool was STACKED! You had me, Foxy, Sylverye, Iluusions.  Also some names I also recognized were Tsunami who beat Slayer at ECT. Additionally Xenomorph and Smarrgasm who were Injustice 1 players. I knew that if I wanted to make that top 8 I had to play my best!

 

  1. I know you’re a HUGE Dragon Ball Z fan. Who is your team going to be when Dragon Ball FighterZ comes out? What other games are you looking forward to coming out next year?

Honestly Injustice 2 and Dragon ball Fighterz will be my main games going into 2018. Dragon ball has been in my life since I was little I remember my first episode my dad sat me down next to him and all I remember was the scene when Goku took out most of the Ginyu force single handedly and ever since then I got hooked onto and I just fell in love, my team as of now will consist of Android 18, Cell, and Vegeta. January 26th can’t come any faster because I am super excited for this game! This is the dragon ball game all dragon ball fans have been waiting for.

I know we had our 10 questions but this week I’d like to throw in a new thing that I’m calling a tie-breaker.

Since the idea is a first to ten set we will pretend we went 5/5 in this set since I still have another question I’d like to finish our talk with before we end this.

Tie-Breaker Round:

What are you biggest plans for next year and where do you see yourself?

My plans next year are to go to every major possible and stay consistent and aim for those top 8’s. Other than that, we will just see what the road has in store for me!

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Toxin and community reacting at Final Round during a match.

Thank you so much Juan Jing for every bit of your personality we got to see shine today.

Toxin is clearly somebody in our scene with a lot of compassion and talent.  He’s been able to rise against things like his car accident and make something spectacular out of the situation.  He’s somebody who whether sponsored or not will not quit and keeps going.  I look forward to seeing what he does in our scene in 2018!

I hope everyone tuning in enjoyed this week’s First to Ten.

Next week make sure you tune in.  I’ll be taking it to Tennessee with a Player many of us know or maybe don’t know, ITS Oakiess.  I don’t know much about this player myself but his performance at IPS really caught my eye thinking we need to get him on First to Ten so we can learn what he has in store for us with Grodd and upcoming tournaments.

As always, thank you all.  This community is a wonderful thing.

Article written and published by Romanova.