Xiao Hai: 'I began training for KOF13 in March 2014; Xian's Gen and Dakou's Gen are on the same level' - 4Gamer's post-EVO interview

Posted by Cheng Kai 'KarbyP' Sim • July 15, 2014 at 8:58 p.m. PDT | Comments: 42

Japanese gaming site 4Gamer caught up with Qanba|Xiao Hai for a brief interview right after he won EVO 2014 for KOF13.

In this interview, Qanba|Xiao Hai not only recounted his thoughts on the KOF13 grand finals -- during which MCZ|Tokido gave him some difficulty due to the way he was about to stop the Chinese player's offense by reacting merely to the sound of his button presses -- he also spoke at length about the reasons why he began playing SF4 and KOF13, and how he was able to get so good at those games.
4Gamer: First of all, congratulations on winning EVO for KOF13. In all of the matches you've played from the pool stages all the way to the grand finals, were there any opponents in particular that left a deep impression on you?

Qanba|Xiao Hai: That would have to be MCZ|Tokido. I first got to know Tokido and the other Japanese KOF players better back at the Topanga World League earlier this year, and they taught me a lot about the techniques in KOF13. But at the same time, Tokido had begun to download my play habits.

4Gamer: Ah, was that the case?

Qanba|Xiao Hai: Especially with the EX Iori mirror match, I think Tokido was able to put into good use today the fight tactics he saw me use from back then. In addition to that, at the EVO 2014 grand finals, his play style with Chin had completely changed from the way he used to play him, and that really put me on the spot.

On top of that, Tokido is really good at side-by-side match play. There were quite a number of times when Tokido managed to stop my offense simply because he could react to the sound of me hitting buttons on the fight stick. In the latter half of the matches, I decided to not go on the offense as much, and focused on zoning instead. And I felt that it was because of that switch that I somehow managed to win.

4Gamer: Although you're always been known to be a remarkably strong player in KOF98, we heard that it was only recently that you began picking up KOF13. When did you began to train for KOF13?

Qanba|Xiao Hai: Near the end of March 2014, I participated in the KOF13 category at the Id Global Tournament in South Korea. At that point in time, I had barely practiced, and so my run in the tournament ended with me tied for 5th place. It was right about that time, when I began to ask my friends who were still on KOF98 and KOF2002UM to come play KOF13 with me online, for the purpose of getting better at it.

4Gamer: Could you provide any details on the type of practice you did?

Qanba|Xiao Hai: It involved playing matches, of course, but at the same time since my specialty is in KOF98, I thought a lot about how I could capitalise on my strengths from that game to do well in KOF13. And so, even at EVO 2014, from the day I arrived at the hotel, I've been holed up in my hotel room all alone the whole time doing image training. Rather than looking at match videos, I focused on coming up with fight tactics from within my head, in order to polish my game plan.

4Gamer: From within your head? That's... kinda amazing. Now let's change the subject a little. Although you were originally a well-known KOF98 competitive player, in recent years you've also developed a reputation for your performance in the Street Fighter 4 series, even though at EVO 2014 unfortunately you were knocked out this time. What were the reasons that caused you to start playing the SF4 series?

Qanba|Xiao Hai: Before I had begun playing SF4, I watched a number of overseas tournament videos for the game and thought "if the competition is at this level, then if I tried my hand at it I could probably emerge victorious". At the very least, I was about as skilled a fighting games player as those who placed in the upper echelons at SF4 tournaments.

4Gamer: Ah, right, you mentioned a little bit about that when you were at the Topanga World League too.

Qanba|Xiao Hai: Besides, I believe that KOF98 and SF4 do share some similarities. As long as you make good use of the invulnerable moves you can win. Even though, well, I guess you could say that's pretty much the case with any fighting game in general. In any case, I really enjoy winning at tournaments.

4Gamer: And that's why you began playing the SF4 series, which saw a lot tournaments organised for it. We heard that the KOF series is incredibly popular in China. But how about the SF4 series? Is it popular there?

Qanba|Xiao Hai: Frankly, there aren't that many people playing SF4 in China.

4Gamer: In light of that environment, how did you manage to become as strong a player as you are now?

Qanba|Xiao Hai: I think it's all thanks to Qanba|Dakou (who is another strong SF4 and KOF player like Xiao Hai). After playing with him for a while, I was able to grasp the game's systems and mechanics quite thoroughly, learn to use all of the game's characters, and come up with fight tactics and combos on my own. In China even though we can't access Nico Video or YouTube, by simply relying on Dakou's ability to conceptualise match-ups, I was able to compete on the world level. For instance, RZR|Xian's Gen and Dakou's Gen, I think they're about as strong on the same level. So by sparring with Dakou, I was able to get really good.

4Gamer: From this point forward, do you intend on continuing to play KOF13 and USF4 concurrently?

Qanba|Xiao Hai: In either game's case, as long as there continues to be tournaments, I will keep playing it. Although I love KOF98, I find that KOF13 is a more intriguing game. In KOF98 if you were to play to win, you really could only pick from four viable characters. However, in KOF13 regardless of the character you've picked, there is a good chance you could win. The same could be said about USF4 too, and that's what makes it enjoyable.

4Gamer: I see. Finally, please leave a message for the KOF players in Japan.

Qanba|Xiao Hai: It was definitely not through sheer luck that I was able to win at EVO 2014. In order to win, I had to put in that much effort on training. I would like that to be an encouragement to the Japanese KOF players, for them to be zealous and to practice more. And then, we'll be able to play some good matches the next time we meet at a tournament.

4Gamer: Thanks for your time.
Source: 4Gamer.
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