Tag Archives: injustice 2

First to Ten venoms up with Canada’s own Biohazard

December is already flying by!

Right now, is a good time to be an Injustice player. There is still a lot going on weekly to do.  If you’re not in the War of the Gods tournament you can now also compete in the Winter Clash online as well.  We also have NEC coming up on the 15th and I hope to see many of you there.  Unfortunately for us (but fortunate for them) we will be missing some of our favorite Canadian players at NEC due to a big tournament in Canada the same weekend.  One of those players competing for the grand prize at Northern Arena is this week’s guest on First to Ten.

Biohazard takes time to snap a pic while on his vacation to Viennality. 

Matthew Commandeur aka Biohazard, was one of my first friends I made in the FGC.  His kindness is unforgettable.  At the MKX Pro League Season 2 finals he was one of the people who were instantly nice that I met.  It was nice to get to chit chat and I’ll never forget the moment during that tournament where he brutalitied Sonic with Ferra/Torr. Bio was kind enough to reach out to me about a tournament called WinterBrawl that happened maybe a month after the pro league finals.  When I mapped it, I realized it was only a 25-min drive away.  I had been living in Delaware at the time.  I was down to come out, but this was my first like actual tournament, so I had no idea what to expect.  I brought my cosplay though because I realized on the website they had a contest.  When I got there, I met up with Bio and instantly saw other familiar faces from pro league like Sonic and Honeybee.  After that I just kept going to more and more tournaments and becoming more involved.  I would’ve never known about WinterBrawl if it wasn’t for Bio because I was a brand-new baby to the FGC.  He’s also never been “too cool” to play against someone.  He was always down to sit down at casual stations to help me practice.

One of the big reasons I wanted Bio on F2T is because he’s truly someone with a good heart and determination to keep leveling up in the game.  He was also for a long time not sponsored despite making many Top 8’s in Injustice 2 and placing additionally well in MKX.

Without further ado, let’s get to it:

1. Thanks for joining us today Matt.  Please for the first question tell everyone about where you’re from and how you got started playing fighting games.

Hey Amanda, thanks for having me on F2T! I’m from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I’ve lived here my entire life so naturally I enjoy representing my roots whenever and wherever I am. My first memory of playing a fighting game is probably when I was 6 or 7 and I saw a Marvel vs Capcom 2 cabinet at a Chinese Buffet. I grew up playing video games so whatever the game was I was always eager to play. After that I got into playing Street Fighter 4 in high school because I had a lot of friends who also enjoyed fighting games and we were rather competitive within our small circle. Since then I casually dabbled in many fighting game titles such as Ultimate/Marvel vs Capcom 3, Persona 4 Arena, Blazblue: Calamity Trigger, and Tekken 6 which would eventually lead me to try another fighting game, Injustice: Gods Among Us.

2. Now you’ve told me before Injustice: Gods Among Us was your first competitive fighting game.  What was it like competing for your first time and did you always main Bane?

Competing for my first time was an interesting experience. I’d played so many other fighters, but not once had I thought about playing them competitively. It wasn’t until I introduced my brother Tim (HoneyBee) to Injustice and to try it out that he wanted to see how we’d do at a local, so we found one downtown, and got totally mopped. I’m pretty sure I went 0-2 at my first local and I just thought, wow, these guys are so much better than me, but I had fun! I met a lot of new people from the Toronto scene, the TO (NeoRussell) was very welcoming and we both wanted to go back, try again, and get better.

Competing for the first time in the US was a different story entirely. I was so used to seeing top Injustice players on streams from locals like GGA in Chicago and the Break in New Jersey. The first time I was in a room with guys like Darth Arma, Zyphox and Jupiter at ECT I remember being star struck, it was such a strange feeling, but eventually I just became one of the guys after attending multiple tournaments.

I didn’t always main Bane in IGAU, I started off with Bane, but he was really bad in the beginning, so I had to use another character while I was competing at my locals. I decided to use Harley because she was a bit better than Bane, I loved her character and I had fun using her. By the time I was travelling to the states for the second year of Injustice, Bane had received the Bane treatment and I was basically all Bane in tournament except for a few sprinkles of Harley, Doomsday and Nightwing here and there towards the end of the game’s life.

3. You and your brother are always going to tournaments together.  What is it like having a brother who also is known for playing the game so extremely well?  Has there ever been any insane matches in tournament where you had to play each other to eliminate that you recall?

During Injustice and MKX it was fantastic, I was living with my training partner who also happened to be a top player in both games. We would spend hours just grinding games and while I would be playing a few different characters to give him MU exp, I only got Flash in return. I’m pretty sure I’ve had one or two nightmares about the Flash haha. Nevertheless, even though I mainly got Flash experience from him, it helped immensely to sharpen my fundamentals and I was able to get a decent amount of MU experience from my locals as well as online, when it ran smoothly. It’s difficult to remember a lot of insane matches that happened involving my brother, we rarely ever if at all played each other in US tournaments. I remember winning a local one time and popping off though since he dominated our Injustice local scene. We also had a great set at Toryuken for Injustice 2 days after the game released.

Whether Bio or Honeybee are playing they’re always supporting eachother.

Regardless of what CMNDR brother is playing, they always have each-others backs.

4. What was it like not having a sponsor while still doing very well? Did it affect what tournaments you were able to go to? How has it been since becoming sponsored by Eanix?

After Combo Breaker, after I got 5th place in Injustice 2, I decided that I wanted to see what other opportunities there were for sponsorship for a guy in my position. Critical Reaction had been a great sponsor for the time that I was with them but with the expenses that travelling, and tournaments come with I was wondering if I could find an org that could help me out with covering more of that. I decided to go solo for a while as I searched for another sponsor. As I was doing well, I would get offers here and there, some good, some not so good and sometimes things just wouldn’t work out during the contract phase, but I stayed patient. I knew that eventually I would find a good sponsor and that things would work out so I didn’t sweat it too much, for the time being.

Not having a sponsor didn’t really affect what tournaments I was able to go to or not go to, I made some good decision making and saved a lot from my previous job which allowed me to go to places like Vienna/England and Australia. It was a huge risk but I felt like the odds of me doing well were high and that I’d be able to make a good profit.

Currently I am no longer sponsored by Eanix but my time with them was great. I was able to go to a lot of tournaments that rounded out the end of the Injustice Pro Series and now I’m back to searching and patiently waiting until I find another org that gels with me.

Biohazard vs. Slayer at Viennality.

5. Have you ever struggled during your time in the FGC? How did you overcome that?

I think anyone that has followed me since I came into the scene knows all about my ups and downs, MKX probably contributing to most of them. In MKX I had a good amount of decent results, a couple of top 8’s here and there, but also a lot of bubble boy moments, meaning I would get eliminated right before the money. I think a lot of those struggles stemmed from being a character loyalist to a character that wasn’t top tier and couldn’t handle a vast majority of bad match ups on their own. This is something I decided to change with Injustice 2, clearly, as I’m using upwards of 5 characters now. I knew that my issue in MKX wasn’t a problem with me not being skilled enough, it was one of poor decision making, and it was a lesson well learned. In the end you have to believe in yourself, it helped a lot also having people like my brother and my friends in the FGC who believed in me.

6. A lot of people would probably say you love big bodies but then you also play Harley.  What makes you love a character enough to play them?

I’m a DC fan at heart, I love reading the Suicide Squad, Injustice and Gotham City Sirens comics so already I’m interested in characters before I know what they play like in the game. I do love the big body archetype but it’s also the tools and playstyle that a character possesses that really draws me to them and gets me attached. I’ve found that I enjoy multiple playstyles, Grappling, Zoning and everything in between so I play characters that allow me to enjoy all of those playstyles and add my own style to them.

Bio’s custom stick he uses for Injustice 2.

7. When you made the MKX Pro League, was this your first time getting to do something that big? How did it feel getting to do that?

When I made it to Season 2 of the MKX Pro League it was my first time doing anything as big as that. That has a lot to do with the whole Chasing the Cup series that also documented a select group of players, (me, HoneyBee, SonicFox, Pig of the Hut and Perfect Legend) and had us doing filming in our hometowns, Vegas and California. I also made a really deep run in the tournament and even though I didn’t place as well as I wanted at the finals, It was a fantastic experience and one that I will never forget.

Screen cap of Matt during his bit on Chasing the Cup.

8. What’s it been like competing in Northern Arena?  What has been your favorite major to date and why?

The Northern Arena online qualifiers started off a little shaky, but they were able to smooth everything out after the first week. It’s great seeing who is able to come out on top each week in Canada, there’s a lot of talented guys here and some that I didn’t know about until this tournament. I can’t wait for next weekend where the finals will be held in Montreal!

There’s been so many great tournaments that I’ve been to over the years, it’s hard to pick just one. Viennality had an amazing venue and all the guys involved really worked so hard to pull off a memorable tournament. CEO is another tournament that I enjoy going to so much each year. The location, weather and wrestling themed tournament is a fantastic production that is just eye candy to a wrestling fan. I have to say that this year’s Combo Breaker was probably my favourite tournament though. I really dug the venue and stage that they had for us, getting interviewed with the top 8 after we finished on Sunday was really awesome and Chicago Deep Dish is just sublime!

9. What are you currently studying to do as a career?  Do you think it’s important for professional players to have a career outside playing?

Currently I am studying to work in IT, I have a diploma in early childhood education, but it wasn’t a field that I could see myself working in, so I decided to go back to school. I think it’s super important for professional players to have a career outside of playing. With competitive gaming you never know how you’ll do at a tournament, it’s a huge gamble to try to make a living off that and attempt to support yourself, let alone a family. That’s why I respect SonicFox so much, even though he has won a huge amount of money from winning tournaments, he still has his priorities straight and wants to have a stable career after he finishes college.

10. What tournaments can we see you at in 2018? Will we see more characters in your arsenal for 2018?

You’ll definitely see me at Combo Breaker, CEO and EVO in 2018. Since I am in school, I want to focus on that and being currently unsponsored I’ll have to pick my tournaments wisely. Although if an IPS season 2 is announced, I may throw those plans out the door and just go ham. We’ll see.

Right now, I’m currently using Bane, Harley, Manta, Swampy and Starfire, oh and Deadshot just for fun, RIP Floyd. I’d definitely see myself expanding my roster in 2018 and I have my eye on trying out Enchantress when she drops.

If you’d like to keep up with Bio you can follow him on social media:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/biohazardcmndr

Twitch: http://twitch.tv/biohazardcmndr

 

Thanks again everyone and to Matt for taking the time out to do this for us all. This weekend I will be traveling to NEC in PA so I hope to see as many of you there as possible. I will be catching up with Meryluna the fierce Kahnum herself for a special interview on her time in the FGC. Sadly it will no longer be in person but I’m so excited to have her on here. Hope to see you all tuning in again then!

First to Ten Creative: Artist Richard Suwono creates “tasty” art influenced by Mortal Kombat and other fighting games

First to Ten fans, I have a very special creative feature for you this week!

I reached out on twitter not too long ago about wanting fan art to do a collective on the blog of.  That idea later evolved in featuring aspiring or professional artists in our scene whether it’s 2D with drawings or costumes bringing the characters to life.  Our first was a First to Five with an amazing Australian cosplayer.  However, I felt after him even thinking it was short, 5 questions is not enough. I decided I want to do a whole First to Ten with our art features from this point forward.

When I tweeted about looking for fan art I was responded to by a few artists, one specifically was referred to me.  His name is Richard Suwono.  I absolutely fell in love with his artwork (and I think you may too).  Richard manages to bring the personalities of the characters he illustrates to life.  He also has run into Ed Boon himself giving him a Mileena art piece he created.  I hope you all enjoy learning about Mr. Suwono.

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Photo of artist Richard Suwono.

1.  Richard thank you so much for joining us on this First to Ten creative special.  Please take this question to tell our audience about where you are from and how long you’ve been doing art for?

I’m an Illustrator from Indonesia, and I have been doing art professionally around 5 years. I’m doing some other projects too (Yu-Gi-Oh (Dark Abyss), KOF Card game, Megaman Card , Dungeon and Dragons concept art, artwork for Street Fighter statues, and many more). I’ve loved drawing since I was little, but I still love fighting games themes a lot! That’s why my favorite theme is fighting game stuff.

2.  How did you learn to do artwork like this?  What is a favorite technique of yours?

Some is from self taught and some of them is watching some tutorials on the internet, because sometimes when I see some great or unique style. That’s why until now, I love to try some new style, while also honing my style too.

So far my favorite technique is Street Fighter style with the Sumi-e Brush because It’s look more expressive also looks strong and have the classic caligraphic essence.

3.  Have you always been a fan of NetherRealm games?  What do you love most about Mortal Kombat and Injustice?

Yes, I still remember first time I know Mortal Kombat when I play Sega Genesis at my cousin house. It’s so real and also the fatality is so epic! That’s why when I met Ed Boon I was so hyped and super excited. Because of him, I have very awesome childhood with Mortal Kombat having grown alongside me too.

And for Injustice, it’s also one of entertaining and exciting for me too. to see DC superhero fighting games in very competitive way of E-Sport. And also the player who win the tournament with underused character, or crazy comeback too!

 

mkx_sub_zero_vs_scorpion_by_r_chie-dbq7ktr

Mortal Kombat X Sub-Zero vs. Scorpion concept.

 

4.  Do you travel for tournaments or conventions?  Where can we see you at in 2018 for those in the United States and elsewhere?

Yes, I want to travel to meet all of the FGC members, becauseall of you also make my weekend is so HYPED! That’s why I would love to hang out with the players too instead just selling my stuff. Because When the first time I go to SEAM, I’m so HYPED and can watch all the Epic matches from my booth. That’s is Super Awesome experience for me too.

for 2018, I still must have planned first, because I have plan my budget for the flight and the hotel too. But I really wanted to meet US FGC peoples again. And also I must go to EVO Las Vegas, to get Hyped together with the FGC!

5.  Where did you meet Ed Boon and what was his reaction when you gave him the Mileena drawing?

I met him at Combo Breaker.  I still remember when he saw the Mileena while eating he thought she looks so cute, and I love drawing her so much. That’s why I want to show Mileena’s cuteness and also her love of food. Because I love food too, that’s why I’m having so much fun draw her while eating . And I’m so Happy I able to meet him,one of my childhood Hero who made amazing childhood for me!

 

mileena_on_diet__by_r_chie-d8sp903

Mileena art piece Richard gave to Ed at CB2017.

 

Tasty

Additional concept of a hungry Mileena again.

 

6.  What other games do you really enjoy drawing fan art of?

Fighting Games mostly, (SF, Tekken, Soul Calibur, KOF, GG, etc.) because I love fighting game so much. But sometimes I also draw some of anime characters I follow. But one of most favorite If I must choose one is Street Fighter.

7.  I noticed that (even though its not MK) you have a big love for Sakura! What do you love most about the character and what do you think about your first drawings of her compared to those you do now?

Yes, Sakura is my favorite character. I love her passion, cheerful, and also Her Spirited Up attitude to pursue her Dream. And I’m also kinda related to her with her Spirit up attitude and passion, especially for Fighting Game. That’s why I’m also want to pursue my Dream to have doing Official artwork for my beloved Fighting Games (SF,MK,Tekken,Soul Calibur, Darkstalkers,GG,KOF,etc)

What I’m thinking when I draw her is “What I want to people to see from Her, (Her Cheerful attitude, or Pursue her Dream to be stronger or meet with “Ryu”, or sometimes What side I want to show from her like her kindness, or Cute, or maybe clumsy too. I Just Have so much fun while drawing her.

8.  Do you have any original creations that are your own design that you are proud of?

So far one of my favorite original character I made is Cat Girl with cheerful attitude , food lover, and also funny. Her name is “Nekona” , I draw her to have fun and also sometimes when I want to try something new, I try draw Nekona with some new or exciting style I want to try.

nekona_says_hi_by_r_chie-d45upus.jpg

“Nekona” – Original character created by Richard.

 

9.  Who is an artist you look up to that you’d recommend others check out?

There are a lot Artist who I look up for, But One I love most is “Edayan” from Street Fighter Alpha,  “Laurel D Austin” from Blizzard Entertaiment. I love the SFA series style so much, and also the Storytelling with some jokes from Laurel artwork too.

10.  What advice do you have for other artists starting out or looking to get better?

My advice for starting is you search first which artist you want to look for, so you know from step by step the artist you look up too. And then also be honest to yourself about what style or what work you want to do most. That’s why building portfolio so important too. Also, don’t afraid to do what you love for the artwork you done. Because If you don’t love your work, its hard for other people to love it too.

If you would like to see more of Richard’s artwork or keep in touch you can follow his twitter and also check out his deviant art website for more:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/richardsuwono
Deviant Art: https://r-chie.deviantart.com/

 

Thank you yet again for tuning in everyone.  And a big thank you to Richard for taking the time to do this for us.  This is only more of a way for our community to connect with everyone.  We are so much all in one. From players, artists, to TO’s – so I hope with this blog that is even more clear to everyone with each F2T.

Remember to tune in this Sunday for our interview with Biohazard!  I’m very excited for him to tell us all more we might not already know about himself. Also with NEC coming up I have a very special video project I am going to be working on and aiming to go live on the 31st.  If you are attending NEC make sure we connect so I can include you.  I would like to include as many people in the NRS community as possible!

A look at the Galloping Ghost Arcade and the Chicago NRS scene with GGA Wafflez

Happy Sunday to those in the NRS community and FGC.

I wanted to take this week to go back and interview another T.O. in the scene. If you recall, First to Ten’s first interview was with Chyna who helps run a weekly in her town in Tampa, Florida. This week I decided to show you all a man who’s involved in the Chicago local scene who’s’ been around for a long time, GGA Wafflez.

As you all know, many names in NRS’ past have been associated with the Galloping Ghost Arcade. Some who were even associated with the name currently work at NRS such as 16 Bit, Dizzy, PPJ, and SaucyJack. I reached out to Mr. Tommy Wafflez for him to give you all the scoop on the Chicago NRS scene.

I had the pleasure of officially meeting Tom about 2 months ago when I went to my first GGA weekly. I had wanted to go for a while, but schedule had restricted me a lot. But honestly, I am glad I went. Tommy and the other GGA gents like Jeremiah, Max, and Fillpops are all very kind and excitable individuals. They continue to run this weekly in the suburbs and it has a pretty decent turn out as well. It also peaked my interest to interview Tom because I still haven’t gotten to learn much about him even with spending some time down at GGA. First to Ten gives myself and all of you in the scene a chance to learn more about everyone though, so let’s get to it.

1. Tom, thanks for joining us this week. Please start out by telling everyone a little bit about who you are, where you come from, and what you do.

Glad to be here! My name is Tom, but most know me as Wafflez. I’m an original member of Team GGA from Brookfield, IL (Western suburb of Chicago), was actively competing and traveling from 2011-2014, and now run Ghost Battle Series at Galloping Ghost Arcade every Thursday evening.

2. When did you start going to GGA and what made you want to stick around most?

I found out about Galloping Ghost in late 2010, shortly after they had opened. I fell in love with their Street Fighter IV cab, and played it as much as I could when I was there with one of my best friends Fil Pops. This inspired us both to pick up the game on Xbox, buy our first fight sticks, etc. We later transitioned to Marvel vs. Capcom 3, which they had a cabinet for as well. Finally, in April 2011, Mortal Kombat 9 was released. The owner, Doc Mack, decided to put a team of strong local players together for one of his favorite game franchises. The game took off (within the FGC, being at EVO and all…), and our team of sponsored players started grinding it out, as our first tournament was Seasons Beatings later that year in October. I had always been a competitive person when it came to video games. Like many others, I was always dominant or at least strong among my group of friends. I was immersed into a scene where I was nowhere near the top. It was new to me, but I was determined to play everyday, travel where I could, gain as much exposure to the game, to become the best I could possibly be.

3. I know you really loved Mortal Kombat 9. Who did you main and what did you love most about that character?

Yeah, it’s easily one of my favorite games of all time. There is a ton of nostalgia attached to it for me, which is probably why. I mained Smoke. I won’t lie, I started off because he had MASSIVE damage when the game first came out (and even after they patched it 🙂 ). I thought he was a cool ninja. His color, his HAIR, his schtick, his name is Thomas. He was just really cool, had great tools, and I just clicked with him. Not many people played him either, which I like. I definitely used people’s lack of character knowledge against them in tournament often.

For some video of Tom’s Smoke:

GGA Wafflez vs. DR Gross

4. When did GGA begin to change and what caused that change? What do you miss most about those days?

Our scene had a lot of really good players back in the day. At the tail end of MK 9 and into Injustice, everyone on our team (Jeremiah, Dizzy, Fil Pops, Hahn, Saucy Jack, PPJ, MAX, SOONK, MOE, myself) was able to play at a high level, and that helped draw twitch viewers, as well as out of town guests, especially during Chicago based tournaments. One player in particular played a big role in creating the monster scene GGA was, and that was 16 Bit. He is a hype man, and with a strong team to back him up, he was able to create tension between other local scenes, and in the end, create really strong rivalries between regions. People wanted to be where he was, he always had something spicy to say. We would easily get hundreds of viewers for GBS (which started during Injustice: Gods Among Us).

I miss the camaraderie we had built in grinding the game almost every single day in preparation for tournaments. This was in a time where playing online was not optimal, and we would all meet up at the arcade to train. Offline/local scenes were valuable, and we had arguably the best. 2 AM trips to Tony’s, the all day breakfast place across the street from the arcade. Going on road trips to Ohio, Indiana, and all the way to Georgia for tournaments. Talking matchups, the blowups, researching opponents, looking at brackets and figuring out every possible scenario on who we could play. It was all really fun.

team pic 2

Group photo of Team GGA

5. Who would you say was your biggest rival as a player during the peak of the weekly tournaments at GGA? What is your opinion on rivalries?

I am a very competitive person, and generally don’t take losing lightly. I’d say 16 Bit and Fil Pops were some of my biggest rivals locally. Fil, because he is one of my best friends. There’s always pressure when playing him for some reason. He plays weird characters usually, that for some reason always do monster damage. He also likes command grab characters which is a style that is hard for me to play against. When he puts time into a game, he gets really good. He has a win over a Glass Sword I remember. He had come in from Atlanta, and Fil played out of his mind and won (it’s on YouTube go check it out). 16 Bit, because we had always gone toe to toe for the most part. He had more major tournament success than me, but I was able to keep up with him because I knew his play style, and vice-versa. Our matches were usually very close. These rivalries never ended with shit talk though. They were friendly, and after 5 – 10 minutes of salt, everyone is cool and we’re back to just playing the game. Rivalries in general are great though. They are what the fighting game scene was essentially built on. It’s head to head competition. The person on the other side is not your friend for those 10 minutes you’re playing in tournament. They make things interesting, they stir up hype. Everyone wants to see the pop off, the blowups.

6. What are some of the struggles you face with running a weekly tournament?

Attendance is probably the biggest issue with our weekly. We lost a lot of our big players, who had really good pull for the tournament. With a larger average attendance, we’d be able to put more resources into our tournament. Pot bonuses would be a nice thing, though it’s not what this tournament was ever built for. The idea of this tournament is to encourage more nearby players to make it to offline events, support their local scene, and meet other people who have similar interests. I highlight people, because what we try to do is provide a social aspect to video gaming. It’s not just playing faceless players on the internet in ranked sets. We try to bring people together who would have never met each other otherwise. I think we have done that part well, as we have created a small, but strong group of players who come out every week after work or school, to hang out and play the game. It also serves as a means to improve the level of local Injustice 2 competition.

GBS tournament

Photo with Tom playing with others at GGA weekly.

7. What advice do you have for those looking to start a local scene/tournament in their town?

Patience is virtue. Make sure to greet those who are new, and try to be as a friendly as possible (give yourself 10 minutes after losing a match haha). You need to put time into these things, and I’ve been slowly learning, season after season, what I can do to improve. This means things such as match videos, streaming on twitch, promoting it through Facebook, Twitter (something I’ll be working on for next season), Testyourmight.com, etc. I was lucky to take over something which had already started. Going out to your local GameStop fighting game tournaments, or your local monthlies and promoting. Talk to people, gauge interest. Also… CONSISTENCY IS KEY!

8. Do you play any other games in your spare time? Any that you are looking forward to?

I play a gross amount of League of Legends and like to pretend I’m good. I’m looking forward to Vanilla World of Warcraft.

9. What would you say is the best part about being at GGA?

I have been given insane opportunities through GGA. They have been able to provide me with things I would have never dreamed of when I was a sponsored/active player for them. I’ve met a lot of really cool people who are now my friends, traveled to places I wouldn’t have, and have accomplished some great goals I set for myself as a player.

tonys

Tom and a bunch of NRS familiar faces such as Kitana Prime, Noobe, DR Gross eating at GGA local diner, Tony’s.

10. Do you have any plans in the future for your weekly? Also, are there anything you’d like to see specifically?

I want to buy more setups and promote more through Injustice centric websites like Testyoumight. I’d like a little more professional commentary for our viewers. It’s tough being a small, local, casual scene though. I want to see more players come out. I think people think we can’t provide the level of competition they’re looking for. I think we provide pretty good competition for those looking to get involved in the tournament scene. We’re a great stepping stone for that, but provide more than just tournament experience.

Shout out to Doc Mack and the Galloping Ghost Arcade group for all that they do.

And also people can tune into the GGA stream: http://twitch.tv/gallopingghostarcade
Don’t forget Thursdays around 8PM Central time is when the weekly begins there!

You can also stay up to date with GGA and Tommy at the following:
GGA Wafflez Twitter
Galloping Ghost Arcade Twitter

It’s always really interesting to hear the perspective of others in this scene and what they do.  No two players are identical and I think that’s a beautiful part of our scene. This guy started awhile back loving the NRS scene and is still around to date making it so players young and older have a place out here to play each other and have fun.

I hope you all enjoyed this segment.

As always I’m very interested in feedback.  I don’t know what content to keep providing other than what I think wants to be scene without it. If there are certain players you really want to see get the spotlight for this let me know. Next week we will have an artist interview mid week as well as Canada’s own, Biohazard. Please remember as always to tune in next Sunday for that.

F2T goes down under with Injustice 2 Superman, Badge3d.

Hey everyone.

Thanks for tuning in for a fun mid-week special.  I realized there’s a whole creative side of our community and it’s casual and competitive players.  I wanted to start sharing that through cosplay and fan-art in our community each week to keep you excited while waiting for Sunday’s weekly interviews.

I feel the creative side is under looked a lot because some aren’t always the ones you see on stream competing.  But unknowingly they are doing us all a service.  The creative people doing fan art or costumes for example, are putting our game out there.  They’re servicing to all other audiences our competitive streams may not reach.  It’s a beautiful thing that only has the potential to allow our community grow. I would like to introduce my first guest on this feature, Badge3d.

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Badge3d’s Injustice 2 Superman by Snappy Happy Ian

So Badge3d, I would like you to welcome you as a guest to our first creative feature.

Here at First to Ten we typically interview the players and various persona in the NetherRealm Studios fighting game community.  I saw your Superman cosplay in a post on Derek’s twitter and really thought it would be awesome to feature you as a mid-week mini session First to Five.  We will keep it to 5 questions but they all should be able to explain about who you are and your work you’ve done on this cosplay as well as any others you may have done related to the games.

  1. Tell us about yourself first.  Who are you?  Where are you from?  What was the first NetherRealm game you fell in love with? What do you love most about Injustice 2?

Woah hello wow-wee !!! So many questions !!! I am the badge aka Lucas Pearson and I’m a cosplayer, gamer, movie/comic buff gym junkie from Melbourne, Australia. To be honest I’ve known Mortal Kombat for as long as I can remember, although, to answer your question ‘Injustice: Gods Among Us’. The game just had such an awesome take on a story from the DC universe that was separate to the main continuity whilst having the classic 1v1 gameplay style from Mortal Kombat. To be straight up with you, the graphics and AMAZING costumes and character skins is what I love most about Injustice 2. A massive upgrade from the first injustice game, it really gave many cosplayers a challenge to meet the mark on bringing their best to the table with injustice 2 cosplay builds.

  1. How long have you been cosplaying for? What was the first cosplay you created?

I’ve been cosplaying now for about 18 months now and the first cosplay I did was a Deathstroke hybrid across a few different universes. The first I ACTUALLY created myself was an Arkham Origins Deathstroke which was entirely 3d printed and finished in 3 months. I still to this day have no idea how I accomplished this !

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Deathstroke cosplay mentioned above.

  1. I see that you do 3D printing which is becoming popular very quickly as a medium in cosplay.

Absolutely, I could talk all day about this. I build my first 3d printer from a kickstarter kit (not recommended) about a year ago and started from their, I’ve now got 4 printers and honestly it’s so exciting to see the community begin to dabble in the magic of it for making prop weapons and armor. As time goes on it’s much easier for people to get into 3d printing as technology advances and becomes more affordable with the Chinese cloning top end printers. The future is definitely bright for the cosplay industry with 3d printing as a tool.

  1. How long do prints normally take for you and how long did it take to make the pieces for your Superman?  Did you use a program to 3D model them yourself?  Where / how was the suit you wore under created?

So the printing part is quite easy for me. Their is some expertise that is required to run a 3D printer in both the software and hardware, although, I feel I’m quite adept after 12 months. To have all the pieces printed it took me around 2 weeks allowing margin for error with failed prints (it happens). On top of the print time, a lot of body work i.e sanding is required to perfectly smooth out and prep a 3d printed part for painting which took a good month to get to a level I was happy with. The 3D model itself was commissioned by a 3D CAD service as I’m still in the early stages of learning 3d modeling programs such as Zbrush. The undersuit was a screen printed spandex suit on top of a latex muscle suit which was glued together in order to show the muscle definition as such.

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The under suit with some armor for the Superman cosplay.

  1. What was PAX Aus like for you?  Did you have fun seeing the tournament there? What future cosplays will you be doing and are any of them Mortal Kombat or Injustice related?

PAX Aus is by far my favorite convention to date as it’s so different to what other conventions have to offer. To be able to go in play your favorite games as well as new releases and meet game designers like my new friend Derek, is just wayyy to cool. We also met Tom Taylor who writes the Injustice 2 comics which overwhelmed me as I just love the story. The tournament was absolutely surreal to see one of my favorite games being battled out by the pros on a massive screen ! We didn’t enter it but we played Derek and he absolutely smashed us with Cheetah and Poison Ivy whilst having a general chat with us about life !

I’ve had friends tell me I’d be a great Kotal Khan so perhaps I should go for it ? Otherwise I was thinking either a Green Lantern, Jay Garrick Flash, Deadshot or even my own version of a Cyborg Superman using parts from both Cyborg and Superman respectively!!!

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Yellow Lantern edit of Badge3d’s epic Kal-El.

You can stay up to date with Lucas at the following:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/badge3d/
Twitter – http://twitter.com/badge3d
Instagram – http://instagram.com/badge3d_

Thank you so much Lucas for your time! Your Superman is absolutely amazing!

I hope you all enjoyed this new mid-week feature.  I’d like to keep doing this for fan art etc. as well.  I’ve been collecting some from artists in the community for future features.

This Sunday tune in for the story of Decay! You won’t wanna miss it!

Article written and published by Romanova.

 

First to Ten goes bananas for Oakiess

Greetings loyal and new F2T fans!

Put your hands together, if you want to clap
As we take you through this… First to Ten.

A few weeks back I was sitting on my couch watching the E-League: Last Chance Qualifier on my television.  I saw that Perfect Legend was about to play a man who picked Gorilla Grodd.  This was interesting to me for a few reasons.  First, PL has a pretty intense Brainiac that is interesting to watch. Secondly, I can probably count the amount of tournament Grodd players I’ve seen on one hand.  The man playing this Gorilla Grodd was none other than Oakiess.  

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Oakiess repping his team, In The Skies.

Oakiess ended up beating PL 3-0.  It was insane.  Seeing a hype Grodd match is always fun.  There was a time at CEO this year where Coach Steve used Grodd to win a match and everyone was beating their chests like a Gorilla.  I’m pretty sure I remember doing that at home in honor of the Grodd use.

This was when Oakiess first caught my attention because I had not known him prior.  Sometimes it is hard when you’re passionate about the community to admit you didn’t know about a talented player.  Maybe it was because MKX was my time when I became a part of the FGC.  I say that because getting to know a lot of people in the community when you’re new makes it harder to learn details on those who aren’t at every major you’re attending.  Also, if they’re not people who are loud online, unfortunately you may not get to hear their voice as soon as you’d like.

I knew Oakiess had to be on First to Ten after his performance at LCQ.  Regardless of the reach of this blog, I believe he should have a platform of any kind to get his name out there.  I may have missed him doing work in MKX, but I want others to know his name now if they already didn’t.  Players like Oakiess who master these less played characters are important to our community.  They show us just how much time they put into the game by demonstrating live.  

I won’t waste any more time, I hope you all enjoy.

1. Oakiess!  Thank you so much for joining us today.  Could you give us a little bit of introduction to yourself for everyone tuning in.  Who are you? Where are you from? Etc. Any little bit to get an idea of yourself.

Hey Amanda! Thanks for the kind words and thanks for having me! My real name is Brandon Pham. Although, people just call me Oaks or Oakiess. Originally, I was born in Los Angeles, CA. Somehow I ended up in Nashville, TN. But I’m currently living in Knoxville right now because college. I lived half my life in Cali and the other half in Tennessee. So I rep the best of both worlds, West coast and East coast. I really miss Cali and I plan on moving back after college.

2. What is your local scene like in Tennessee? Do you go to any locals?

There is no local scene. RIP. At least, none that I know of. I’ve been looking around for some lately. One time, I remember going to a local for MKX in Knoxville ran by STB. That’s where I met Echo and Emp Murk actually. I haven’t seen them since and it’s been a couple years now. The local place got overran by a Magic, the Gathering scene. Long live FGC!

3. I recall you talking to Joshua Gray about being in College.  What are you hoping to do with your degree and how is it balancing college with competitive gaming?

I’m currently majoring in electronic engineering and I’m like in my super senior year right now. Hopefully, when I get my degree I can start working immediately. Honestly, engineering is not my passion and I still don’t know exactly what to do. I just know I want to make money to support my love for gaming, streaming, and my dog. I guess my real passion is anything to do with gaming. I would love to work for NRS, Twitch or etc. I just want to be around it 24/7.  How do I balance college with competitive gaming? It’s pretty much hell. I go to class in the morning until noon. Then at night, I’m either streaming or working. I have so much respect for people who can balance these things and still go to tourneys. The time, hard work, dedication and money it takes to follow through a competitive gaming lifestyle takes a lot of strength.

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Oakiess during his interview at ELeague with @MrJoshuaGray

4. Let’s go back to talking about gaming – When did you first get into NRS titles?  How did you get into the competitive scene?

Oh man, where do I start? I feel like I remember playing MK2 back in the arcades and being scared shitless from the pixelated blood when I was little. It’s vague and a blur but I remember that’s when I first played an NRS game. I guess when I first invested my time into NRS games was when I played Midway Arcade Treasures 2 on PS2. It had MKII and MK3 on there. Alongside, with MANY other gems like Primal Rage, Rampage World Tour and NARC. Anyways, from then on, I became an MK fanatic. I collected the movies and every game MK game you can think of. I played casually though. I first got serious about fighting games when I continuously got my ass kicked by my older bro in MK9. I couldn’t take it anymore so I hit the lab with Sub-Zero and did work on him the next day! I played serious in MK9 but it wasn’t until MKX when I played competitively. I got into the competitive scene from streaming on Twitch. From there, I met many friends and supporters who pushed me to go to tourneys and it all started from there. Shout outs to all of them and shout outs to DevilMaySpy. He was the first to help me and is always making me feel welcome at every tourney I see him at. Final Round was my first tourney for MKX. My first tourney for Inj2 was Combo Breaker. Last Chance Qualifiers was my recent one.

5. I have seen videos of you playing Sub Zero in MKX.  Did you have any notable tournament memories in MKX for yourself? What was one of your favorite moments during that game?

Nah, not really. I drowned in pools against my buddy, StD 2ez, at Final Round. Given, it was my only tournament for MKX. I gotta get my run-back with him at a tourney so I can give him dat fat L ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Ya hear me, I’m coming for that booty. My favorite moments during that game? I’d say every moment from when I started streaming it, to every moment I played it offline or online. I made so many friends and built a whole community on Twitch with MKX. I was brought into the FGC because of it. I can’t thank NRS and the community enough for such an amazing experience.

6. Now in Injustice 2 you play Gorilla Grodd currently, but did you always play him?  What made you end up at Grodd?

Ah yes my baby Grodd. I didn’t always play him when I first picked up Injustice 2. Since I was a Sub-Zero main in MKX, I figured I might as well main an ice character in Inj2. So, I decided to pick up Captain Cold. In my opinion, Cap Cold is a character that I feel is very strong in counter picking for certain match-ups. But as a main? I’m good. A secondary main? Yeah, sure. Most importantly, his play-style didn’t really match mine. It is very important for you to feel comfortable with the play-style of your main character. I sound hypocritical right now because a lot of people say Grodd’s not strong enough to be carried alone as a main but I don’t know why, I feel like I can do it. That’s why I say it’s important for you to feel comfortable with the character you love.

Hell, your character might lose 17+ match-ups but your own dedication and unique play-style can bring that character to life. I think it’s very significant to have character loyalists in games. It brings the hype. Winning with top tier characters is cool. I know it’s important to win. It is to me also. BUT winning with mid/low tier characters that barely anyone ever sees? RESPEK.

What made me end up with Grodd? The reason I wanted to try Grodd was because the character looked funny jumping around and putting people into re-stands. It literally didn’t even look like combos. I first saw this when I was watching Coach Steve on Pig’s Red Hot Sundays. So it’s funny that you mention Coach because he inspired me to try Grodd. So I went into the lab with Grodd. Somehow, I was doing well and his play-style matched mine. Now Grodd and I have an everlasting relationship.

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In his own words, this was Brandon taking a break after drowning in pools at Combo Breaker to lift the bean.

7. If I recall correctly, you said in your interview with Josh that you don’t want people to just think you’re some online player.  What makes you think people would feel that way?  How do you think you are perceived by players now after LCQ?  

I guess some people feel that way because I stream and I don’t go to tournaments often. Also, I hear things from people. A lot of people think that there’s no competition online and sometimes it can be true. But it’s not 100%. There’s hidden killers out there that can’t find the money or time to make it to tournaments. I play a lot of friends online that are crazy good but they just don’t end up going to tournaments. Although, I understand where people are coming from when they call online players casuals. I believe it is very important to go to tournaments to truly test your skills against some of the best players out there. Placings are absolutely important. They are your credentials. Basically, like requiring a degree to get a job. If you want your name out there and to be recognized as a pro player, you got to put in the work and show it. I want people to see me as more than a streamer. I want them to see me as both, a streamer and a professional player. That’s why I went out there, to prove myself. Although, it’s perfectly fine to play this game casual! As long as you’re having fun, you’re winning. How do I think I’m perceived after LCQ? I’m very happy with all the support and love from everyone. It makes me really happy to hear that I’ve inspired people to pick up Grodd. After LCQ, I just hope I made an impact and proved my worth that I can be a challenge to some of the best player out there.

8. Do you have any other video games you’re playing right now besides IJ2?  

Not really. I usually play horror games if I’m not playing Inj2. I love me a good horror. I want to pick up CoD WWII though. Just because of zombies though. Well, actually I just downloaded Fortnite the other day so I might play some of that.

9. Are there any people in your life that inspire you or that you look up to?  (In gaming or outside of gaming) How do those people affect you when in competition?

My parents. They work so hard to raise my siblings and I. And I just always want to do something to make them proud. My parents aren’t actually fond of my gaming at all tbh lmao. As stereotypical as it sounds, they always tell me to stop gaming so much and study. “Brandon, game don’t get you degree or job” That’s usually how it goes.. As a matter of act, they don’t know anything of what I’m doing with gaming like traveling to tourneys, streaming, etc. I don’t inform them much since they’re not fond of it. It’s okay though. It doesn’t bother me much. That’s why I think it’s so dope to see other player’s parents being supportive of it.

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Fun fact: Oakiess plays guitar in his spare time also as a hobby.

10. Thank you so much for your time.  I’m glad myself and the community will hopefully know even more about you after this.  Will we see more of you in 2018?  What tournaments do you plan on attending?

Noooo, thank you for having me on this! It’s an honor really. You will DEFINITELY see more of me in 2018. Season 2 for Injustice 2 will be stacked but I’ll be ready. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make it to NEC this year 2017. I’ll for sure be at KIT in January cause I literally live like 40 min from the event. I’m gonna try to make it to all of them: Combo Breaker, EVO, CEO, Frosty Faustings, etc. I hope to see you there at the next event Amanda! Thank you all for your time.

You can keep up to date with Oakiess on social media at the following:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/OakiessTwitch
Twitch: https://twitch.tv/Oakiess

I’m so thankful for another interesting interview with someone in our scene.

I didn’t know much about Oakiess and from doing this I feel like I actually know the guy.  It’s refreshing to see somebody come to offline tournaments that has grown their own online fan-base such as him with his twitch.  I hope we see more of Oakiess in the future.

Next weekend we will not have a F2T since I will be attending Red Bull Battlegrounds as a guest cosplayer.  BUT, I will have a mid-week mini feature for First to Ten creative.  I wanted to start showing off fan art or cosplayers who love our community games and the first will be Thursday, stay tuned!

 

Article written and published 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.

One of the UK’s Finest Condiments: PND Ketchup

Greetings everyone! Welcome back!

This week I would like to start off with a big thank you to everyone who read, shared, or commented on my previous article.  The first goal was for everyone reading to learn facts about a community member that you maybe didn’t know prior.  The second goal was for everyone to experience good feelings while reading the article.  After reading everyone’s feedback, I believe those two goals were met.  I can only hope to keep that momentum going.

(This week’s guest Ketchup in his signature red tie!)

This week I wanted to include another member of our community who is not just someone who plays our games, but a top comentator in the scene.  Ryan Neal, also known as PND Ketchup, is a long time NRS fan all the way from the UK.  Ryan and his twin brother Jake Neal, or Mustard (who we also love and adore), can almost always be seen together working at tournaments. The energy they both give when commentating together is inspiring and entertainment at its finest.

Though both condiment twins are extremely talented, I would like to give each of them individual time to shine on who they are as themselves as well.

I first met Ryan at the ESL Mortal Kombat X Season 2 finals in January of 2016.  His brother and him were doing vlog interviews for their YouTube and were kind enough to ask me about myself.  I had told them I was new to all of this but had always been an MK fan since the klassics.  When asking them about who they are I was told how they are big Sektor and Cyrax fans.   I didn’t realize what fantastic friends I had just made then, or did I?  Either way, the two of them are absolute joys to be around and each interaction is pleasant regardless of talking tech or life. That’s enough backstory from me though.  Let us dive into our ten questions with Ryan!

 

1. Ryan! You know I’ve looked forward to this so thank you for taking the time to do a First to Ten with me!  The first question I would just like to answer some basics in one.  Who are you, what are your handles, where are you from?

Thanks for having me!

My name is Ryan Neal. I’m known in the competitive gaming world as PND Ketchup and I come from the United Kingdom.

 

2. Now that we’ve established the basics. What got you into gaming? Specifically, what got you into the competitive NRS scene?

I owe my entire passion that I have for gaming to Mortal Kombat. The franchise started it all for Mustard and myself back in our younger days. Our first ever MK game was Mortal Kombat 3 on Snes and it stayed with us forever, not even 5 minutes in. We knew it was going to be something special.

On a competitive side, we started playing Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 online at a decent level back in the Xbox Live arcade days. Didn’t really compete as such, but played every day for a couple of years. Once Mortal Kombat 9 came out however, we both went in very very hard and played non stop. Got involved in UK tournaments after some promotional events from Warner Brothers and the rest is history.

 

3. When did you start commentating and what period did you decide you enjoyed this more than just being a competitive player?

The commentary side of things came into play before MKX came out. We were approached to work with the Pro League for season 1 but obviously were unaware of any future plans after that. We’ve always been a lot more career minded over competitive minded, as working in the games industry was a dream of ours since childhood. The choice to commentate over compete was an easy one.

This was made a lot easier to get into due to our content creation background as well. Streaming and making content for youtube was a huge part of us being naturally comfortable talking over gameplay once the pro league began.

Once the Pro League was in full swing, I think we both just realized that we’d truly found our niche in commentary. It’s something we happily do as a fulltime career now.

 

4. I know you commentate games other than MK and Injustice.  As a Quake fan I’ve been watching your commentary when I can for the different broadcasts such as Quake Con and Dreamhack Denver.  What do you love most about commentating for Quake and what other games do you commentate as well?

I’ve had a deep love for ID games for a very very long time. I’d just missed the prime of Quake competitive as a kid because I didn’t actually have a PC. My first Quake was on the N64 and my love of ID originated from Doom 64. I would always enjoy watching Quakecon and seeing players destroy the game in a way I never thought imaginable, the skill displayed between the two players was impossible to not notice straight away. I’d put hundreds of hours into Doom (2016)’s Multiplayer and got heavily involved in the PC community tournaments that community clans would host. Once Quake Champions was announced at E3, I knew it was finally my chance to learn Quake properly and get involved any way I could. The experience has been unforgettable and the ID community across the board is passionate, old school, respectful and very welcoming to new blood. We were terrified to enter the fray as we had big shoes to fill, but the feedback so far has been super positive. We just hope to keep moving forward!

The reason I love Quake is simple. Pure 1v1 and a fast pace. Not unlike Fighting Games in any way. The games lend a lot of basic 1v1 fundamentals to one another actually. There is also the massive grass roots feel that is the bread and butter of what made Quake such a landmark title in the world of competitive gaming to begin with. Another similarity that it shares with the world of Fighting Games. Community is everything.

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(K&M looking sleek in their red and golden suits commentating for Quake Champions)

 

5. Normally you are commentating with your brother, Jake.  I know you were by yourself with another commentator for Dreamhack.  How often do you commentate without Jake?  Does it affect the way you commentate when you both aren’t together?

Dreamhack Denver was certainly a new experience. I’d spent so long commentating with JUST Mustard specifically, that I feel it was almost a necessity that I had all of this experience refreshing my experience working with individual people again. It’s important as a commentator to make sure you have your own style, and that you’re able to work with whoever is with you at the time. being flexible for a show is vital and just makes everybody’s life a lot easier.

That said, I did thoroughly enjoy it. I’ve fanboyed over Zoot for a while before Quake Champions even got announced, so it’s kind of surreal to have worked with him so many times at this stage. Jehar and Makaveli are always class acts as well and are very easy to work with. Their experience and knowledge of the scene is legendary.

 

6. What has been one of your favorite moments in NRS game history while commentating? Please explain as much as possible for everyone tuning in!

During the Pro League days, Madzin and Sakron had some ridiculous matches. I think some of our absolute hypest moments have historically come from when those guys clash heads. It was a combination between how slow Sakron was prepared to play vs how explosive and off the wire Madzin would approach the game with Blood God.

That said, I feel like some of my fondest memories came from the ESL Season 3 finals. It truly was a collection of the world’s greatest players in one place. It was insane match one after the other. A blast from start to finish.

 

7. When you aren’t commentating what is everyday life like for you?  What is work like?

Work is a blast. Although our primary role is to work broadcasts/shows when they’re taking place, on a 9/5 basis we’re in the ESL UK studio working behind the scenes. I make a lot of content and videos due to my background in video making on a personal level. We’ve just been insanely busy during the second half of this year because it’s genuinely been an event almost every weekend for 6 months. Insanity!

 

8. Back to Mortal Kombat talk, why Sektor? What do you love most about him? Have you ever dressed up as him?

I just remember as a kid finding him very easy to pick up and play. Visually he was the coolest looking character and the rockets from the chest took to my liking instantly.

His special moves were all forward forward with the exception of the homing missile (that took me over a year to discover admittedly), so naturally I thought I was godlike because I could do all the moves without question. Even though in hindsight, I was terrible.

In the spirit of halloween coming up, yes, I have 100% dressed up as Sektor on multiple occasions for conventions. Both the MK3 version and the MK9 Human Variant. We actually used to make a lot of costumes for cons back in the day. Was a lot of fun and I still miss not having time to do it anymore. Before I’m an esports commentator, I’m still a massive dork. That will never change.

(Ryan and his brother Jake as Sektor and Cyrax. Photo by Event Horizon Photography)

 

9. Now we all know you are very busy person!  But are there any games coming out in the future you are looking forward to?

When working with games as much as I do, it’s important to make sure you’re not burning out or taking them too seriously all the time. Playing games casually is very very important.

Right now when it isn’t Injustice or Quake, it’s Destiny 2 where I’m just switching my brain off and grinding, whilst chatting to friends online. I enjoy classic games as well and have been getting muchos playtime out of my snes mini. Taking time to yourself and zoning out with something easy has been crucial with the busy workflow I have as of late.

 

10. Before we wrap up, I would like to thank you for your time answering these questions.  I hope you had as much fun telling these bits as everyone will have reading your responses to them.

As your final question, I would like this to be for the fans hoping to catch you at an event.  What other events are you going to (NRS related or not) in the next 6 months?

With Injustice finishing up in a couple of weeks along with the Tekken World Tour, our workload is looking kind of light going into the end of this year. Dreamhack Winter is around the Corner for Quake Champions, although the commentary lineup for that event is not confirmed just yet of course.

The year is set to end soon for Mustard and myself, and what a wild ride it’s been. This has easily been the most hectic year we have ever faced in our lives, and I can’t believe I’m even saying that over how insane last year was before it. Life is full of surprises and we are forever grateful to have this opportunity to do what we truly love for a living.

Thank you for having me!

(Joshua Gray, myself, Ketchup, and Mustard at Combo Breaker this year)

Thank you for letting us have you Ryan!

If you would like to keep up with Ketchup here are his social media links:
Twitch:  https://go.twitch.tv/pndketchup
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/pndketchup

This concludes this week’s #FirstToTen.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed. I know this was a little delayed but it was worth it for Ketchup’s epic responses.

I appreciate you all.

As always, feel free to comment any feedback or comments you have. Next week’s interview will be with Florida’s own BeyondToxin. I hope you’ll all join me in hearing his tales from the FGC and how he came to be a part of it. Feel free also to comment any questions you may want to see him answer on Sunday.

Article published by Rose Romanova