'The way I play KI is a little different; I go for optimized, guaranteed damage' - Justin Wong feels Sabrewulf is the best, talks KiT, and more

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • February 4, 2014 at 9:19 a.m. PST

Coming off of his 1st place Killer Instinct victory at Kumite in Tennessee, Justin Wong sat down with his sponsorship team, Evil Geniuses, to talk a bit about the game.

The top 8 of KiT had 5 Sabrewulf players place, and Justin feels this is no coincidence. He says that the rabid wolf is currently the best in the game's early life, and the only character that can actively beat him is Glacius.

Justin explains that Sabrewulf is the only character that has grounded target combos, which leads to quick, unbreakable combos. While most characters in the game play more in the Street Fighter style, the Evil Geniuses member says that Sabre is a "charge character that doesn't need to charge."

"Right now, I think he's the best character in the early game. He's very easy to play. What stands out with Sabrewulf is that he is the only character able to chain his normals. Other character play more like Street Fighter characters where you do a normal into a special, but not Sabrewulf," Justin said.

"He gets easy target combos that he can cancel into super. Him being so easy is the reason I picked him in the Microsoft Tournament. He's a charge character that doesn't need to charge."

Hit the jump to read more.

Justin goes on to say that his way of combo-ing in Killer Instinct is a bit different than other players at the moment. Instead of going for frequent manuals, trying to score a lock out and deal big damage, he focuses on optimizing guaranteed damage.

He notes that when the game first launched, everyone was trying to hit heavy Auto Doubles, but now, the combo method has evolved. Players now go for what Justin calls "cheap, easy damage," meaning they perform a light Auto Double, and go straight into an Ender for quick damage.

There's quite a bit more to this interview, so be sure to hit the link below to read Justin's thoughts on Spinal, (based off of his announcement trailer), game-plans during his KiT grand finals set with EG|PR Balrog, and more.

Source: Jason Stewart over at Evil Geniuses. Photo via Karaface.


A4headedninja said on February 4, 2014 at 9:27 a.m.

Great stuff Justin! I cant wait to play this game when I get my XBOX ONE.

Kankurou said on February 4, 2014 at 9:32 a.m.
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ROSHINOBI said on February 4, 2014 at 9:33 a.m.

Saber wolf FTW...that rabbid bastard is my fav as well

Troppop said on February 4, 2014 at 9:35 a.m.

Seems to me that the whole fighting game scene has adapted this playstyle, clearly noticed in SF4.
Almost no one cares about doing anything with effort anymore.
Low damage, low execution, quick and simple.
It makes every game incredibly boring.
Has even gone so far that people rather do a simple throw on a whiff or after a hit confirm rather then trying to link in a move.

Hats off to the ones that still play with effort and most of all FUN.

TheTHCGamer said on February 4, 2014 at 9:39 a.m.

Shutup what is Justin not allowed to play other fighting games not made by CAPCOM? If he was getting payed why would he state that one character in particular is better than the rest and state people are going for cheap easy damage? No developer wants to hear those things but yea there paying EG. Lol keep reaching.

Kalyx_triaD said on February 4, 2014 at 9:42 a.m.

Why leave it to reading your opponent, eh? Gotta hedge your bets.

Focusflute said on February 4, 2014 at 9:45 a.m.

Can't wait to see Justin's Spinal

DunnDeal said on February 4, 2014 at 9:45 a.m.

You just hate the fact that pros enjoy this game don't you? It's an amazing game. Deal with it.

TheTHCGamer said on February 4, 2014 at 9:48 a.m.

No it's called low risk and when your playing at a high level you see this all the time especially with Japanese players it's called playing smart. There's still going to be highlight moments at every tournament but it would be dumb to try to show off everything you could do in a match if it's not going to help you win. Hats off to the players who do whatever it takes to win.

TheTHCGamer said on February 4, 2014 at 9:51 a.m.

It's the yomi game in KI that makes it so good. It's almost constant mind games when your playing against someone who knows how to play the game.

FightingGameLover90 said on February 4, 2014 at 9:55 a.m.

More KI hate coming from people who clearly can't afford an Xbox One get over it already damn -.-

Deadpoolbub said on February 4, 2014 at 9:57 a.m.
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SgtKonus said on February 4, 2014 at 10:01 a.m.

>Justin Wong plays game he enjoys and does interview on it.
> Must be getting paid.

Come on friend, you know what logic is faulty.

mrambitious said on February 4, 2014 at 10:01 a.m.

the L --> M --> H --> super --> ender combos are pretty decent damage for the almost nonexistent risk involved. Agree on almost every front except "I chose sabrewulf because he's easy". Screw the American tier whores, its all about the love for the game players like Sako, Xian, or Smug. I have no less respect for Smug than I do JW, but there is a clear difference in player skill and tournament results between the two players.

skitz0phrenic said on February 4, 2014 at 10:03 a.m.

Tried to like the game but after several weeks of playing it, it's just horrible to me.

Smorgasboard said on February 4, 2014 at 10:04 a.m.

Don't hate the player, hate the game.

djm0001 said on February 4, 2014 at 10:07 a.m.

@FightingGameLover90 - CLEARLY he can't afford an Xbox1, that's what I took from his comment too..........

@Deadpoolbub - grow up dude, nobody wants to read your immature remarks

mrambitious said on February 4, 2014 at 10:07 a.m.

Obviously you are either a scrub or a troll. I have yet to actually meet someone who doesn't love it.

TorTorVega said on February 4, 2014 at 10:07 a.m.

A lot of pros have stated that they love and enjoy SFxT as well.

KI is IMO a very fun game, but amazing? Eh. We'll have to wait and see. It's incomplete. We don't have all the game modes yet, we don't have all of the characters for "season 1" yet. We're playing a beta, and it's very important that we acknowledge that we're playing a beta. While MS may have been working on KI internally before handing it off to Double Helix, Double Helix has been working on the game for less than a year. It's an impressive game with that considered, but it still needs work. And that's not me talking s***, that's just being honest and realistic. The game is fun, the netcode is good, it's solid, but it's essentially still a beta.

Also @11 - Just to be mean, don't worry, there is an xbox one price cut right around the corner. :)

mrambitious said on February 4, 2014 at 10:10 a.m.

Must be why Alex Valle and Maximilion play it constantly too right? Every sponsor out there is forcing their players to play and pretend to enjoy KI, right? I mean how else do you explain the all around positive reviews?!?!?! CAN'T BE BETTER THAN MY SSF4!!!!!

OhYouDontSayThat said on February 4, 2014 at 10:14 a.m.

One time, I beat Justin Wong's Sabrewulf with shenanigans and he was like "OhYou, plz teach me!" and I was all like, "No." #ReallyHappened #Real

DunnDeal said on February 4, 2014 at 10:14 a.m.

I'm not doubting that this game is a beta. The fact that this game is very addicting even with the small amount of content is what makes it amazing. Every character is completely unique with the exception of Shadow Jago which will have his own move set in the future.

nebbiez said on February 4, 2014 at 10:14 a.m.

Notice how he said "in the early game" which to me means he will either get nerfed or other characters buffed to even this out. There's no way the producers aren't noticing that 90% of top 8 players are using the same character.

Posthuman15 said on February 4, 2014 at 10:20 a.m.

Haha haters gun hate!

sarif2soon said on February 4, 2014 at 10:26 a.m.

Ahh, I remember the days when people said the same about SFxT.

SgtKonus said on February 4, 2014 at 10:29 a.m.

Top 8's have been pretty diverse, even "Low Tier" Orchid is getting some play from PR ROG and ShinPaulo.

2Dcool said on February 4, 2014 at 10:30 a.m.

Yeah, cuz Lightning Loops and infinites in Marvel are so easy. Justin is doing easier combos because of the games system mechanics where it is more worth cashing out then to lose potential damage.

It does kill me though that people complain about links being "too hard." This is fighting games, part of the fun is the execution barrier.

nusense said on February 4, 2014 at 10:33 a.m.

Weebo\capcom\sony pale riders......

Quan said on February 4, 2014 at 10:34 a.m.

Seems like its goes that way wen games become tourney savvy... the idea of high execution and and takin risks go completely out of the Window. And now that we hav a stable FGC and the good ol' web, all this information gets passed immediately... for me its definitely a love hate thing, but definitely hats off to those who play who they love and not becuz they r the "best" in the game.

Quan said on February 4, 2014 at 10:36 a.m.

The post clearly states as of now Saburwulf is the easiest to play... not the game

SgtKonus said on February 4, 2014 at 10:51 a.m.

What if who you love is the best in the game?

I love Gato, God Tier in every SNK he's been in.

Troppop said on February 4, 2014 at 10:56 a.m.

With that logic it's like calling someone being cheap for "economically aware", might be true but it's not the point.
Offering the enjoyment of the game for "success", is just stupid.
And I'm talking about extreme level of being cheap here, not tournament like, because I've never seen a high level tourney player being cheap, yet.

Don't know what you originally answered to, but yeah, I don't really hear/read about the ones whining, but you can definitely see that most people don't even try, even after a hitconfirm.

Gotomaster said on February 4, 2014 at 11:02 a.m.

So someone who has a differing opinion from you is trolling? I know there are actual trolls like the 2nd guy, but #18 isn't saying the game is objectively bad, just that it isn't good to him. Jeez ppl, being overly defensive is just as bad as being overly offensive.

SoftShocks said on February 4, 2014 at 11:05 a.m.

I noticed this with Sabre when I first picked up the game. and I get crap for playing Sadira haha.

cloudskywalker said on February 4, 2014 at 11:08 a.m.

The human psychology is crazy. Even with a game so far that only has 7 characters, people are still creating tiers. A game that is ever changing, still expecting patches, people speak of tiers. In the end, no matter what character you use, it's all about fundamentals. Xian won EVO with Gen, a character whom most would never expect to win such a renown tournament. The majority of top players are suffering from what I like to call "cookie-cutter syndrome". Essentially what this means is that it's a wash and rinse repetitive cycle of flocking to the "easiest" characters to use and then dropping them the moment they get nerfed. Just pick a character you resonate with the most, find out their strengths and weaknesses, and win. Simple as that. Your dedication to the character will be reflected in your performance and gameplay. Stop tier whoring, it makes matches very boring and rots the essential core of the game.

The_Big_Boss said on February 4, 2014 at 11:38 a.m.

While I agree with what you are saying, this is never going to stop. Pro players will always play to win. That is how it always is. They feel like you limit yourself once you do that. I mean, look at all the characters Justin has mained in past games. Always the best or over powered. Its amazing to me that people don't use Rufus that much in SF4. If the execution barrier was easy then you would probably see more but him and other top players always use the best characters. That is why I enjoy watching players like PR Rog and Dieminion because their characters are not the best but they definitely make them work.

Hackstermatrix said on February 4, 2014 at 11:39 a.m.

I haven't actually *played* this game at all.
However I know a lot about it and DH have simply outdone themselves.
It's unfair that this game gets hate almost entirely because it's an exclusive title.

The very reason I haven't played this game is because I don't have an XB1, but that is no reason to hate a game that's almost flawless.

My only issues with the game are that it's too expensive overall, but even then it's not THAT bad when you look at other next gen titles like GT5 where you can spend over $600 on a single car's microtransactions.

Don't want this post to be too long so I'll stop there.

1ButtonDash said on February 4, 2014 at 11:43 a.m.

-best fighter out bar none

-more and more people getting loving it everyday

-MANY top known and unknown FGC players are playing it and have nothing but good things to say about it

-pretty much anyone who plays it, loves it

-DH devs are listening to fans on what we want

-sales are past expectations and DH on stream the other day pretty much confirmed season 2 is a guarantee and the rest of the cast + more will return

-this game is only gonna grown in popularity especially once the new consoles drop their price by 100 bucks which always happens, more people will get the system and get the game since for 20 bucks you can't go wrong

-the game is just super fun to play even if you lose you have fun playing, unlike a game like marvel where you can lose to total bs broken factor or stupid footdives and sword loops where you just get frustrated and pissed off

-best thing of all, haters are being silenced left and right

FlexingBum said on February 4, 2014 at 12:24 p.m.

Best fighter out bar none? That is the dumbest/most ignorant comment of the year right there.
Also, i wouldnt be banking on this game too hard since its already not doing too well numbers wise in the short time that its out.
And even if the Xbone drops in price it doesnt make it any more attractive to buy for just one mediocre fighting game.

RebornOdin said on February 4, 2014 at 12:31 p.m.


Gee, I totally can't tell by looking through your past posts that you're clearly a troll.

Sage_Liebert said on February 4, 2014 at 12:54 p.m.

If I was a tournament player, I would not be spending my money traveling to different places just to put on a good show and earn nothing from it. Pro players want to win that pot so they can continue on.

KI doesn't have any real flashy combos and execution from what I hear. I haven't played since KI64, but I'm sure the execution is just as easy.

1ButtonDash said on February 4, 2014 at 12:57 p.m.

lol yea he's in almost every fighting game stream constantly bashing KI.

@39 FlexingBum

You are callin me ignorant? Flexing u obviously havn't looked at the sales numbers then. Pretty much 80% of people who have XB1's have either downloaded the free version and or purchased the game. You're the one being ignorant here.

DH has already made the funds off sales to make season 2. You're gonna be seeing more and more KI wether you like it or not.

I'm not gonna get into a forum war with you thou because I know you will always reply with hate. So why don't you do us all a favor and remove KI from your news category. I did it with the games I prefer not to see. I don't go to their articles and bash the game, why must you do it for KI? Seems to me you are nothing more than a hating troll. Grow the eff up and ignore KI if you don't like it. People like you are so GD annoying.

GodPride said on February 4, 2014 at 1:04 p.m.

So the game evolved to the point where going from light Auto Double into an Ender for quick damage is where it's at? It sounds like they're trying to avoid playing the 'game', but that's to be expected.

KingBeld said on February 4, 2014 at 1:13 p.m.

just because ppl enjoy it doesn't make it better than ssf4.
its all a matter of personal taste and/or opinion.

DunnDeal said on February 4, 2014 at 1:21 p.m.

The manuals a quite difficult to combo. They have to be timed almost perfectly. That's all I go for because they're harder to combo break

Gladspencer said on February 4, 2014 at 1:23 p.m.

(This user was banned.)

Gladspencer said on February 4, 2014 at 1:38 p.m.

(This user was banned.)

Otter_of_Death said on February 4, 2014 at 1:45 p.m.

Though I agree with a lot of what you're saying, Season 2 isn't a done deal yet. I know people think good sales = more content, but that's not necessarily true, especially when we're dealing with Microsoft. There's always the chance that Microsoft will take their winnings and cash out.

Sage_Liebert said on February 4, 2014 at 1:51 p.m.

All this Gato talk makes me want a Mark of the Wolves 2. Add Jamin, Hauer, Panni, and Laocorn from Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture. Make it a prequel to the original.

DORMWORM said on February 4, 2014 at 2:06 p.m.

hey what did #2 say?

SgtKonus said on February 4, 2014 at 2:33 p.m.

Lol, I erased that garbage game from my mind. I feel that might be the worst KOF game and this is coming from a guy who likes Vanilla 2002.

MatchFixah said on February 4, 2014 at 4:22 p.m.

The wulf is easy to play but man he's almost free up against a glaucius who knows what he's doing...

MarthFE said on February 4, 2014 at 4:44 p.m.

I agree 100% with what you said... however i can not tip my hat to players who only do what it takes to win. when thats the case, having your own unique style is thrown out the window. and being all for it just promotes more "pick top tier characters just because they win easily" kinda mindset.

do what it takes to win, yes, you need to spam them out of that 25% health they have left? YES,do it! need quick easy damage? hell yeah, go for it! but just because someone may be losing, i cant say id be like "YES, USE DR DOOM AND VERGIL NOW!!"... in other words, im all for "do whatever it takes to win"but do it in your own way =)

Gladspencer said on February 4, 2014 at 5:04 p.m.

(This user was banned.)

Razberryclownsac said on February 4, 2014 at 5:37 p.m.

I played the game for an hour or two and had fun with it. My favorite was Sadira, with Saburwolf close behind. I just can't bring myself to get an Xbone when there's only one game I'm interested in playing.

CrapcomKeepsTheJaggaManDown said on February 4, 2014 at 5:51 p.m.

(This user was banned.)

TheTHCGamer said on February 4, 2014 at 6:08 p.m.

A high level player will do anything they can to win during a tournament sometimes it looks flashy sometimes it doesn't.

TheTHCGamer said on February 4, 2014 at 6:11 p.m.

No one olds exactly the same so everyone pretty much is doing it in there own way. I'll never question his someone plays and I never will because in the end it won't change the way they play. Play the way you want as long as your winning or having fun.

FlexingBum said on February 5, 2014 at 3:10 a.m.

Ignorant and stupid i see. Good sales obviously equal a good product, right? And it certainly means that the game will last in a competitive environment. (it doesnt)

likewoah said on February 5, 2014 at 3:54 a.m.

You've ignored the fact people who tend to spend a good amount of time with the game end up liking it.

1ButtonDash said on February 5, 2014 at 5:58 a.m.

how is that ignorant? do you even know the meaning of the word? I suggest you look it up.

I said best fighting game out bar none which is MY OPINION and you called an opinion ignorant. Now THAT my friend is what's stupid.

You are a total KI hater and a troll, I looked at your past posts, you have constructive comments on all other games but when it comes to KI posts you have nothing but hate and bash the game.

And you also ignore what else I said. I told you to remove KI from your news feed if you hate the game so much. I don't hate on other games why must you do it to KI?

Oh and sales obviously equal good product? No but the product is good, that's what you fail to realize. Thou I think you just want to believe the game is bad because you don't have an XB1.

I know for a FACT (because of pasts forum posts) you don't have an XB1 and I'll just say you havn't sat down with the game much at all (most likely not at all). Yet you still tryin to bring it down.

Here's what I gather from you. People are loving the game man, that's a fact, and you just can't stand the sight of it. You hate the fact known FG players are playing it and liking it and it sickens you to death. Why it pisses you off so much I don't really know or care but I will ask you again, please remove KI from your filter. We don't need people like you here.

TwoDogKnight said on February 5, 2014 at 8:59 a.m.

I think too much attention was given to the top 8 at KIT. The top 8 of every other tournament has been much more diverse than that with plenty of Thunder, Sadira, Jago and Glacius to go around.

And even online, when you start playing above a level 12 or so, the number of sabrewulfs you come across decreases immensely. I'm a level 14/15 (going back and forth) sabrewulf and I just don't see him as much as I did in earlier ranks. He's easy to pick up early on but he becomes harder to win with against more experienced players.
Of course Justin Wong and other top players can win with anyone they want to use.


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