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Exclusive Ebi interview! (I do zis 4 ze people my earthlings!)

Today I had the pleasure of meeting the Japanese Hakan superstar, Ebi. In this exclusive interview with the humorous chap, he had some very interesting things to say regarding Street Fighter V, how he got into games, the community around him and of course the character Hakan. Read on and delve into the mind of the world’s best Hakan! 
RH: What was your first fighting game and who was your character of choice?
EBI: My first fighting game was Street Fighter 2 and my character was Ken.

RH: What do you think of Stunfest 2015?
EBI: It’s great! At first, communication was tough here but Poongko has been helping me out loads. I’m very happy to be here.

RH: Where is Hakan in your ranking honestly speaking.
EBI: I think Hakan is ranked at the very bottom or just above, so maybe second to worst character in Ultra Street Fighter IV.

RH: Why did you decide to use Hakan despite the knowledge of his low ranking?
EBI: Well, there is a story to this and it goes back to a session at my friends house some years ago. While we were all playing together using various characters, at some point we all realised that no one was ever using Hakan. Then my friend suggested me to pick him up, adding that he thinks I could be the best at the game if I learned him as no one would know my tricks. I agreed and was confident I could be the very best if I learned Hakan, 

I thought that the character’s unknown areas would aid me in victory and get me to the top. I also really wanted to have something unique, that would be my own so Hakan was a perfect fit there too. We then spent time in training mode and found many tricks and but despite all finding things together, I was the only one that could do the tricks consistently. This gave me more confidence as well as character familiarity and that’s where it all began.

RH: Haha, that’s epic! Thanks for sharing that story. Ok moving away from the lower half of the cast, who in your opinion are the top 5 characters in Ultra Street Fighter?
EBI: In no order I think Evil Ryu, Seth, Rolento, Elena and Ken.

RH: It is globally known that Hakan doesn’t get the best results when compared with the rest of the cast, and many people feel Hakan is ranked low, maybe even the lowest in the Street Fighter IV series. After having used Hakan in every iteration since Super, how in your opinion should Capcom improve Hakan?
EBI:  Capcom needs to introduce a fake oiling up that can be used a feint move to stop characters who have full screen punishes from getting free damage and disabling Hakan from oiling up. 

RH: Interesting, please go on. 
EBI: How Capcom design this move is up to them but it needs to be something that makes his oiling up move more usable. Currently Hakan is completely defenceless once he starts oiling and due to the long animation is totally vulnerable even at full screen, and even to ultra combos. This will stop characters from getting free damage as soon as Hakan starts oiling up. 

RH: Perhaps it could be that he starts the oil animation but it’s a fake and no oil is given it is a mere bait that can be cancelled into blocking or something else to entice players to attack with a risky move. Oh actually forget that, I know someone will say that’s broken or something. However, yes this is interesting, a feint of some kind will introduce another layer of psychology to Hakan’s game too. Brilliant.

Both: (laugh)

EBI: I also feel Hakan needs improvements when oiled up and when not oiled. What Capcom have done with the omega mode Hakan is a lot closer to how I feel Hakan should be. There are also many bugs with Hakan that go unnoticed due to his unpopularity. For example there is one bug where for an unknown reason you cannot rise from the oil cancel once you lay down, it’s intermittent and can happen at any time. Another example is one bug where you cannot grab Elena after her dp is blocked. Despite her appearing to be in a crouched position, when you attempt to grab her it just goes right through her body, there are some others too but you get the picture.

RH: Wow, I had no idea about these things, sounds very frustrating indeed, would be so annoying to lose like that. Speaking of playing vs. is the arcade scene still popular in Japan or are you noticing more people leave the arcades for online now?
EBI: While online is popular everywhere, in the big cities they still meet up and play at arcades, but I’m from the countryside and there aren’t many players in the Mieken prefecture.

In my area as some players aren’t that strong I just have fun with sub characters for the most part. I’ve tried playing main characters at sessions and eventually one by one everyone leaves as they get bored of losing, I’ve been left on my own many times. As a result I decided that using subs with them was more fun for everyone. 

RH: Do you have your sights set on Capcom Cup Finals 2015?
EBI: I just like playing, I enjoy playing. I wouldn’t say I just play for tournaments. The fact that there are tournaments changes nothing for me. 

RH: What do you think about Street Fighter V?
EBI: At the moment it seems as though they want to make it similar to Ultra SF4, but I don’t think making it a totally different game is a bad thing at all. In the same way that Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo attracted one crowd of people and Street Fighter 3 Third Strike attracted another, the more types of people that can join in and enjoy Street Fighter, the better it is for everyone.

RH: Will you be attending any more events this year so we can see your Hakan in action again?
EBI: I’ll be going to Frankfurt Rumble so that’s next, after that I’m not sure. I’ve really enjoyed this trip to Stunfest and I’d like the opportunity to attend more events. If I have the opportunity again in a similar fashion to how R/Kappa got me here this time I’d definitely like to attend more events.

RH: Thank you for your time Ebi, it was a pleasure to speak with you.
EBI: Thank you very much.

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I really feel Decapre's U2 (Anti-Air DCM) and Psycho Sting charge times have been increased in the new patch, but here is how you can still do those combos in the new patch.

I'm sure this a mistake that Capcom will amend soon, but in case they take a while here is a way you can still do your combos.

For her Target Combo 1 into Anti-Air DCM, this is still possible by just doing the target combo and charging down back immediately after the ST MP input with no delay but the timing is tighter now. You literally do the ultra when the character is about to touch the floor. lol 

There is another way to do it which although gives you more time to charge is a bit tricky to nail down. Stand next to the opponent and press MP for the target combo. As you press the ST MP immediately move the joystick into a crouch position then press the HK at a delayed timing. 

You basically have to charge down back directly after pressing ST MP and delay the HK for a few frames to give yourself more time to charge the ultra but still keeping the Target Combo a true combo. If you  press the HK too fast you probably won’t charge the ultra in time, press it too late and the HK won’t come out at all. Practice the timing until you get it down.

EX Scramble > Psycho Sting > Anti Air DCM

For this combo I used a different method, I tried it many times the old way and it didn’t work so what I did is do the Psycho Sting command but press the button a few frames later than the direction, so Im already charging when I actually press the punch button. So basically you do the EX scramble as normal then charge, then when you are ready to do the Psycho Sting go to up or up-forward or up-back and then to down-back extremely fast press the punch button when the stick touches down-back. Then you do the Anti Air DCM when you’re charged. Here’s how I do it in the video, you can see the inputs of execution so you can see the charge timing too. 
When you look at the inputs, you'll notice that the punch is pressed at the same time I hold down-back on the joystick.

I threw some counter hit goodies in there as well. 

Hi Guys

I’ve decided to answer some community questions here on my blog rather than individually on social media so here goes:

1) How was your visit to the US this time and do you feel you had improved since your last trip for final round XVII?

My trip was really fun, I enjoyed seeing everyone again and it was great to be able to take part in more than one tournament in one trip out this time too. I feel that I definitely had more knowledge than before on how to deal with certain matchups and this helped me a lot. I also feel that the world is still getting used to the Ultra transition and this is changing everything on a daily basis.

2) At Final Round XVII, you became the first player to qualify for this year’s Capcom Cup, what are your thoughts on this upcoming event?

Well it’s going to run a different course to the AE 2012 events leading up to it that’s for sure. I mean Ultra Street Fighter is probably the biggest change we’ve seen in any of the iterations up until now. 5 new characters, system alterations and multiple character modifications, it’s a totally different game for sure and we’ll see more of this unfolding as the knowledge deepens worldwide. I feel that combos are slightly too easy now with the red focus addition. It’s like anyone can land an ultra-combo in a combo now. Loool Then again it usually takes three bars and in some cases four.

3)  So after ten years of absence, how was New York this time?

Hmm, people are busy, rushing here and there, typical thing in any big city I guess.  I think I’d like to live there for like a year or something, would be great. I really enjoyed all the stuff I got to do there. The taco stand and pool bar evening I had with Yipes and the guys was sick, thanks for hooking that up. Being there again was great and I was happy to win my first ever Battle Circuit too :o) All the people I met at Battle Circuit were cool as well, really cool.

4)  After this trip what are your honest thoughts, which continent is better NORTH AMERICA or EUROPE?

Honestly speaking, when you look at everything, they are both the same. I mean people go overboard when they say that USA is waaaay better than Europe etc, etc. EMP.Dieminion who is arguably top 3 in USA came to Europe for three whole months and was only able to win one singles tournament in that time despite numerous tournament efforts, so that shows we are no pushovers here. With that said no one in Europe can beat everyone in USA although I haven’t heard of anyone that could beat Alioune in a long set. Has any American every beaten Alioune in a long set on Super SSF4, Regular AE or AE 2012 ever? No one in USA can beat everyone in Europe either and that includes all of EG and EMP. The Alioune factor could tip the scales slightly towards Europe but who knows? I think we are all strong and it doesn’t matter who is stronger, trying to topple Japan should really remain the goal since they win mostly everything they care about.

5) So, any thoughts on Ultra Street Fighter IV?

Well I can’t say too much yet, Japan have been playing lots and we just got it and we’re all learning together, fun times really. : ) Let’s enjoy this time of questions and intrigue!

6) After your successful run in USA, what do you think about another USA vs Europe?

The idea is great, but I think it’s a bad time to do any kind of continental exhibitions because the game (Ultra) is brand new and we are all learning the game again, it’s hardly a time where we should all come together to express who is better. Unless the question is “Who are the better beginners”? haha, I think if anything EVO needn’t have been on Ultra until 2015 and let regular AE 2012 rock for this year so the level would have been super high from everyone all over the world. Also the arcade advantage that Japan have would have been fused out if we waited a year, now it won’t even be exciting if a Japanese player wins, or if top 8 consists of 5 Japanese players. Japan usually win EVO anyway so it’s not like they really need an advantage.

7) So how was UFGT 10?

Well I have to say they are super organised at this event, it was so great to experience that. I had real downtime; I could actually go and nap between pools to recharge my batteries after late nights. I was able to spend time with some people, go eat, money match, and play some Ultra as well. It’s a shame it was the last one but I guess that made it all the more special. I held a live panel while I was there too and was able to share some of my experiences coming up in the fighting game world. This was the second time to do something like this and I’m getting used to and really enjoy. Shoutouts to Keits and crew!

I learned a lot playing against Justin's Elena, it's a very different feeling when you know that TU-FADC is punishable, of course this opens up other options on wakeup as now your opponent will be happier to block on wakeup allowing you to do whatever you want. It's a new dynamic, let's see how it develops. I like that the new characters are actually viable as well, I look forward to seeing them more in tournaments.

I was of course very happy to grab my second major in the US this year. Additionally to winning I wanted to entertain the audience as well so I'm quite also pleased as I felt I was able to achieve that in every match win or lose. :)

8) Ok, so everyone has their demon, who is yours?


9) Why Dieminion? What do you find difficult about playing him?

Dieminion is a resource monster, he knows how to use every element to his advantage, whether it be an EX meter, an ultra, an extra ten seconds on the clock, he’ll know how to make it count. Beating Dieminion in many cases comes down to using these elements better than him. He is also very good at knowing when to covertly switch from attack to defence and vice versa which is crucial for a charge character – especially Guile, as giving the opponent’s the heads up would be basically wearing a sign saying “Hey, I won’t be using any special moves for the next ten seconds”. This is a nice cue for any opponent to start imposing themselves. With that said our last encounter in what many now say is match of the year shows that I’m more than catching on. ;)

10) How about Next Level Battle Circuit?

Oh how great it is to have a weekly! I hope those guys know how good they have it. It’s nicely run and the stream is top notch courtesy of none other than Team Spooky of course. I enjoyed being able to mingle with everyone there and they have a different set of high level characters there which is nice to experience.

11) Who was the most impressive player that you saw or played in USA?

Smug. When I first saw heard about him I thought he would be a pompous twat really. I mean his name is Smug and he’s super young, he’s got to be arrogant and cocky for sure right?  But no, he was nothing like that at all. This guy is definitely going places, despite being very young, he is very humble, respectful and knowledgeable. The first thing he did when I entered Next Level, was sit me down and start going into deep discussion about the game, I liked that inquisitive nature very much. It was a pleasure to meet and play him, what a talent! He’s positively my favourite US player for the moment. The Boondocks bead chain was OP as well! :D


12) Will you be at EVO 2014?

It's an amazing event and of course I'd love to be there but unfortunately as I don’t have a sponsor I don’t think I’ll be going this year. It’s quite expensive this year, I remember checking flights when EVO 2014 was announced and prices were already sky high. Haha, as much as I would love to be there I have to just accept that I can’t afford it this time around. :D



Stunfest 2014 Interview with EG Justin WOng - 04/05/2014

PictureJustin puts on a show with Sho at Stunfest
So after the event I got to have a little chat with EG’s very own Justin Wong about his experience at Stunfest 2014 where he entered almost everything lool Here’s how the interview went down:

1.      RH: So first off, what was your most fun moment of the tournament?

JW: The most fun moment of the tournament for me was definitely playing Breakers, it was super fun just learning the game on the fly and I really had a blast playing it.

RH: Now I understand it was your first time playing the game, you hadn’t actually played it before is that right?
JW: The first time I ever played it was this past Friday.
RH: So you’d only had one day practice?
JW: One day practice.
RH: And you came second???
JW: Well, that’s how good top tiers are.
(Ryan laughs)

2.      RH: Alright, so what was your worst moment of the tournament?

JW: I think my worst moment of the tournament is that I was too busy at the tournament and I couldn’t enjoy the festival.
RH: Right.
JW: Outside of the tournament there was so much stuff going on that I wished I could actually explore
RH: Yeah I see, so would you say that this is something the organisation could improve on?
JW: I think the tournament organisation could be better like USA standards in terms of how they run their pools so that they don’t conflict with other games cos obviously multiple people play multiple games.
RH: Right, right.
JW: Yea, it loses so much time cos it’s like “Wait, we can’t run this match cos we are waiting for this guy in the other tournament and things like that”. So I think definitely they should look into how USA run tournaments, cos now all USA tournaments really good and on time.

PictureLuffy defeats Justin Wong to win Stunfest 2014 making it three years in a row to win the major for Luffy.
3.      RH: So, the grand final between you and Luffy was epic, everyone was on the edge of their seats. Especially as you beat him so convincingly in the Winners finals and in the team tournament, it looked like you were gonna steamroll him. But then Luffy started to pull it back and it made an amazing match. What do you think of this particular matchup; Rufus vs Rose?

JW: I still think Rufus beats Rose but I think Luffy as a player is very smart.  So it came down to player vs player, not character vs character. He pretty much…no, he really definitely managed to annoy the crap out of me with Rose, and that’s what I think France is really good at, like Luffy, Gagapa, yourself (laughs), Valmaster very good at playing that type of level of street fighter, which is trying to crack the mentality of players.

PictureEurope have indeed levelled up since last year. Europe vs USA at EVO 2014!!!! Someone make it happen!
4.      RH: I know the fans want to hear it from you so here we go, right now who do you think is better honestly,
USA or Europe?

JW: I think in a 10 vs 10 scenario Europe is better than USA but in a 5 vs 5 scenario it’s a tossup.

5.      RH: So you think we have more strong players here in Europe?

JW: Yes

6.      RH: What would be your team of ten for Europe and your team of ten for USA if that match were to happen?

JW: For Team Europe I would have:
Valmaster, Tupac, Vryu, Luffy, Omh, Alioune Sensei, Andreas, Ryan Hart, Problem X, Gagapa 

For Team USA I would have:
Filipino champ, Ricky Ortiz, Jayce The Ace, Kbrad, Snake Eyez, Justin Wong, Pr Rog, Dieminion, Marq Teddy, Sanford Kelly

7.      RH: What’s your top 10 ranking of Europe?

JW: My European ranking is:
1.      Ryan Hart
2.      Luffy
3.      Alioune Sensei
4.      Problem X
5.      Gagapa
6.      Andreas
7.      Valmaster
8.      Over Most Heads
9.      Tupac
10.   V-Ryu

8.      RH: What’s your top 10 ranking of USA?
JW: My USA ranking is:
1.      Pr Rog
2.      Dieminion
3.      Justin Wong
4.      Snake Eyes
5.      Ricky Ortiz
6.      K Brad
7.      Sanford Kelly
8.      Jayce The Ace
9.      Chris G
10.   Mike Ross

Honourable mention:

FILIPINO CHAMP, NUCKLEDU, Integra, XSK Samurai, MLSwear, Zeus, Smug, TTC Chris, Keno, Veloc1raptor, IPeru, 801 Strider, Happy Medicine, Rico Suave, Floe, Filipino Man

RH: Well as you did one for the US and as I know a little more about the European players I’d like to give an honourable mention to: F-WORD, AFFI, Perplex, Skatan Milla, Yagami, Necromina, Ixion, 4K, Joker Jokes, Miligano, Jester Power, ISDD, Kusanagi, Starnab, TAAHA, MBR, Emersion, Sheva, YouGenius, MOMI, SchiacchiSempre, YOTA, POPI, Doom Domain. There could be some I’ve forgotten, quite a few good players.

9.      RH: So during your stay, has there been anything that surprised you about France or Europe?

JW: I think the most surprising thing about France is that parking is horrible here, but other than that the community is really friendly, very nice, makes me wish I could speak a little French just to talk to them because they are very hospitable and friendly you know.  They’re mad cool dude, so I wish you know I could communicate with more people more.

10.   RH: Alright, well thanks for that. Umm, so what’s gonna be the next event for Justin Wong?

JW: Well today is technically Monday, I fly and get back Monday night, and I literally have 6 hours and I go back on a plane to New York for ECT
RH: Wow, so you literally get off the plane into a bracket.
JW: haha, Yes!
RH: Right out of passport control into button check. Haha Alright cool, it’s been good having you here and thank you.
JW: Thank You

Juicy 2 Interview series (十質インタビュー)

Fighting Decapre at Final Round XVII- 28/3/2014

So how was it playing Decapre Ryan? I’ve been asked this by many people and honestly in many ways I think it’s too early to tell what the complete experience of facing off against her will feel like. I will say though that Decapre as a character is not simply a Cammy clone and definitely adds new elements and possibilities to Street Fighter.

When I was playing I was trying to be on guard for anything and everything, I couldn’t believe it when she teleported! That was a real FML moment, lol I was happy to have the opportunity to play Ultra and to play against her. I wanted to see all her moves and combos and Combofiend demonstrated fiercely. Just when I thought I’d seen everything, Combofiend would bring out something new. Lol It was a fun experience.

Poor Retsu in that intro, he got no love at all. Lol

I’d still love to see Eagle in this game but that’s just my wishful thinking. : ) I'd main him in a second if he was even half decent. I really enjoyed his poking game in CVS 2 even though I wasn't that good at that game. I think his move set would work really well in SSF4 and he would be so fun to use. He'd be kind of like Dudley but with more range. He wouldn't suffer from strong crouching medium kicks because his standing hard punch range would be able to keep opponents outside of that range. Hmm, I wonder if this would make him too strong? Ah well, I'm not getting him anyway so no point dwelling on it.

So yeah, about what Decapre adds, as well as being the only character to combo her air throw, her Psycho Stream; an ultra that gradually covers ground almost like Dormammu’s stalking flare (“I SUMMON THE POWER” Sorry, had to get that out, lol) combined with a mid-air teleport almost felt marvel-like the way she could just be on top of you then still have the Psycho Stream (ultra-fireball) chasing me down.

I'm sure the Marvel players will have a better example of this but I don't play Marvel so I don't know. :o) It will be interesting to see how people use this for setups, tricks and chip setups at a later stage.

I know that DCM is not three frames anymore but I’m interested to see what the final properties will be for this ultra. It certainly felt like he could punish almost anything I did on block. But looking at how it’s used later will determine a lot for this character I feel. It appeared her ground pound could land in front or behind, it would be interesting to test this out a bit more. I’m hoping it doesn’t become another rinse and repeat move similar to Viper’s flame kick now. I’m guessing the normal one may not be safe on block however so in that case the risk reward would be in the defender’s favour if blocked correctly.

I think it's good that she has enough invincibility on the EX version of this move in order to bait DP’s if she wants to. This is often an area that charge characters suffer in so it will add a new dynamic to her gameplay in close quarters.

I know that there is currently some community dithering regarding Decapre due to her Cammy resemblance in appearance and move set. But when I played Combofiend I saw at least four completely original special moves unrelated to Cammy, not to mention the super and ultra combos too. I mean if given the choice I’d much rather have two characters that look similar and play totally different (Ryu/Ken, King/Armor King) than have two characters that look different but play exactly the same or almost identically, don’t even get me started on Tekken 2/Tekken Tag 2 lol.

So finally, sure Decapre could have looked completely different but she doesn’t so instead of letting that blind us from the positive things lets just focus on what goodness she has. She has unique special moves, unique ultras and specials, she is a charge character which is also different. Only the second ever directional female charge character in SSF4 since Chun Li, so again very fresh.  For all we know she could be super fun to use so let’s see what’s up first before giving up hope without even trying out the finished product. Bare people making noise about Decapre like they're even gonna go in that hard when the game actually comes out. lool

But yeah although there are moves that reflect Cammy’s arsenal I do believe that Decapre will and already does play totally different to Cammy. I'm interested in testing her out and seeing what she has to offer. I’m just going to wait until the final version is out before deciding anything. Casting doubt or judgement before the game is even out is just pointless really.

Right now Capcom are balancing her to fit into the roster correctly and ultimately make her a fun character to use I'm sure. I’m looking forward to her and the game in general. ROLL ON ULTRA STREET FIGHTER IV and thank you Capcom for giving us something new to look forward to.