From first-person shooters to 4th at EVO in his first competitive fighting game: Gutter Magic brings the thunder in this EventHubs exclusive interview

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • July 16, 2014 at 6:07 p.m. PDT

EVO 2014, the largest fighting game event of the year, took place this past weekend, and with it came a slew of hype moments, upsets, and overall excellence.

We were lucky enough to catch up with one of the strongest newcomers to hit the competitive fighting game scene in recent times, and talk to him a bit about his performance at this year's event. After scoring first place numerous times in Killer Instinct at Level Up's weekly event, The Runback, Gutter Magic went on to win 4th place at this EVO, only placing lower than three fighting game veterans.

So what's even more amazing than all of that? Well, Killer Instinct is Gutter Magic's first competitive fighting game ever. Check out EventHubs' exclusive interview with this terrifying Thunder player.

DreamKing: So why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself.

Gutter Magic: My name is Neilimen Joel Alicea [a.k.a Gutter Magic] but people just call me Neil since its easier to say.

DreamKing: From what I've heard, Killer Instinct is the first fighting game you have ever played competitively. Is this correct?

Gutter Magic: Yes, Killer Instinct is my first fighting game I'm taking serious. I did put time into Super Street Fighter Arcade Edition v2012 as a Sakura player, but I felt I started too late to get into the game the way I wanted to with Killer Instinct.

DreamKing: What genre of games were you most into prior to fighting games? Did you regularly compete in said genre?

Gutter Magic: I played FPS (first-person shooters) mostly and competed locally back when I lived in Pennsylvania and once out here in California, but since I played the game type Free-For-All there wasn't too much going for it. I did play Call of Duty 4 competitively and was a leader of a clan, but it fell through after the clan went to play MMO's, which I wasn't too fond of at the time.

DreamKing: You managed to win 4th place in Killer Instinct at the largest fighting game tournament of the year, EVO 2014. The only players to place higher than you were not only three fighting game veterans, but arguably the three best KI players in the world -- EG|Justin Wong, RG|Rico Suave, and RM|CD Jr. How does it feel to know you that you placed among the best of the best?

Gutter Magic: Wow, Since you put it that way, it's pretty awesome to be a part of that elite group of players! From starting off my stream and just playing online then, to competing at TRB and winning 8 times, to placing 4th at the biggest tournament is a HUGE accomplishment. I am honored.

DreamKing: You are known for playing a mean Thunder in Killer Instinct and you’re a bit of a character specialist, sticking with that particular character in every match-up. Why is it that you play Thunder? What do you like/dislike about him?

Gutter Magic: THE HUGS! I mean yeah I feel that Thunder has his bad match-ups, but for me, I just love the design, the movements, the authority that he shows walking up to you, and the fear he gives the the other players.

The biggest thing for me about Thunder is that the mind games come into play. Am I going to grab you, overhead, jump in, or just stand there? I can't honestly say anything bad about him other than that his Sammamish can get hit out of the air. That being said, without shadow meter his Sammamish is pretty crappy.

DreamKing: With Killer Instinct season 2 expected to drop this Fall, are there any characters or changes you’re hoping will make the (killer) cut?

Gutter Magic: CINDER! I mean how can you NOT want Cinder in this game. He would look amazing on the Xbox One.

Changes? Maybe a touch on the ranked match system by adding more ranks exceeding 40, and just a fix on the freezing and lobby system.

DreamKing: Are there any other fighting games you’re considering competing in? Perhaps Ultra Street Fighter 4 or Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3?

Gutter Magic: I've played a bit of Ultra; I wouldn't mind to put more time in it and head to WNF for some practice, but I will put more time into bettering myself on KI for my main focus. As for Marvel, not my type but I'd try it.

DreamKing: So what’s next for Gutter Magic?

Gutter Magic: Just to keep doing what I've been doing. Streaming for my amazing supporters in the Killer Instinct community, talking to and helping whoever I can to better the players, and to keep training and learning.

DreamKing: Would you like to give any shoutouts?

Gutter Magic: I would like to give a shoutout to the Killer Instinct Community! To Double Helix for being an awesome developer for season one and STILL supporting us while we stream with hype and motivation to play more and learn more.

A big thanks to Gutter Magic for taking the time to speak with us.


Gotomaster said on July 16, 2014 at 6:12 p.m.

That is super awesome. Glad he made the jump.

Imknomad said on July 16, 2014 at 6:22 p.m.

GUTTER GUTTER that's My homie right Fellow thunder player Lets Go!!!

Kzero said on July 16, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.

How can you not love Gutter? It's been a amazing to see his growth in the community, to see how far he has gotten. I look forward to learning from him and everyone else in the KI community! What a kickass dude!

CyberHyperPhoenix0252 said on July 16, 2014 at 6:38 p.m.

From FPS to fighting games? Nice. Happy that the transition to fighting games went this well :)

Also DreamKing...
"Brings the thunder"? If that was a reference to the new By Book, Blade, and Crest of Flame (Falcon, Robin and Lucina trailer), then bravo that was a good one XD.

FADCTAUNT said on July 16, 2014 at 6:39 p.m.

(This user was banned.)

Kudarane said on July 16, 2014 at 6:58 p.m.

(This user was banned.)

TheTHCGamer said on July 16, 2014 at 7:11 p.m.

SFIV has been out forever KI hasn't been out a year do the math.

himura said on July 16, 2014 at 7:15 p.m.


Whether its true or not that KI is an easier game to play, he is right in the sense that there is a lot discovered already in SF, and it has to be kind of overwhelming to try to get to competitive level in Ultra.....

which reminds me what max said about getting into the fighting game the first 2 weeks when it is released.....

and, needles to say that KI is a game that is not even close to be fully exploited. there is a lot of potential in that game, just needs a bigger community and more time in the lab....dont forget that season 2 is heading to xbox, and is going to change things for good.....

in a more serious note......The Kappa at the end is starting to sound pretty old and silly....

mouse501 said on July 16, 2014 at 7:35 p.m.

the game is fun that all that matters

Dogs4Dinner said on July 16, 2014 at 8:18 p.m.

...I thought he was a T.Hawk player.

Deneb said on July 16, 2014 at 9:26 p.m.

lol. #5 is right. Ver. 2012 came out at the end of 2011. By then, all the help anyone needed was online along with current tournaments. I'm not throwing salt on anyone's success but I've seen this guy on street fighter for a few years now. I understand it sounds good to say "first fighting game" but it's disinegenuous in this case. He played SF for a couple of years prior.

THCGamer, you might want to do the math. He played SF for far longer. KI has a very small player base because it's on xboxone so, more than half of the community isn't playing it. KI's been out a year and not many are into it yet so it's far easier in that respect as well.

4th at Evo is a great accomplishment on any main game. There's no need to fluff it up by pretending the guy hasn't been playing SF for years already. He didn't JUST come from fps(s) and didn't just start playing fighting games. The embellishing wasn't even necessary and makes the reader who knows what's going on wonder why you went out of your way to make it sound better than it was. I hope this isn't a usual thing on eventhubs. This is stuff people do to falsely hype their friends. No reason not to just be honest here. 4th is awesome!

I wouldn't have said anything if I had not seen him playing SF online for years.

Please, keep it legit, EH.

Dreamking23 said on July 16, 2014 at 9:42 p.m.

The big key you're missing here is competitive.

This is the first game he actually started playing in tournaments. Playing online and with friends offline is nothing compared to a tournament setting. For him to pick up KI, wreck people at TRB, then get 4th at the biggest event of the year is a huge accomplishment.

For the record, it says that right in the headline: "first competitive fighting game."

himura said on July 16, 2014 at 10:25 p.m.

well said!

100% agree

TheTHCGamer said on July 17, 2014 at 12:24 a.m.

Thank I thought I was the only one that is sick of the whole kappa crap.

TheTHCGamer said on July 17, 2014 at 12:28 a.m.

Exactly and it's hard to play catch up competitively when you have so many established SFIV players that have once again been playing the game competitively for years.

freakk21 said on July 17, 2014 at 4:18 a.m.

larger rosters are sometimes too much for people just picking up the game late for them to handle. KI gives newer players from the 2011-12 generation a chance to really shine due to less matchups to overwhelm them. i know i was the same way when i first looked at TTT2. i had such a hard time choosing a character, let alone a second that worked in sync with the first. i think that if many of the newer generation gets a chance to get the system and really dig into KI, they'll find how much more gratifying it is to learn with everyone else and potentially perform better within a tournament setting

BucketheadZ06 said on July 17, 2014 at 4:51 a.m.

Everytime someone says "kappa" I think of the shoes that had little triangular pieces that you could snap on and off. I don't think anyone is old enough to remember those because anyone who thinks saying "Kappa" is cool is also obviously still rather young.

I_Are_RaBBiT said on July 17, 2014 at 5:26 a.m.

I'm pretty surprised that an article on Luffy winning wasn't the first article EH did after evo...

JGBpro88 said on July 17, 2014 at 5:36 a.m.

Total upgrade considering the fact he comes from a FPS background, and those games have practically no real depth in comparison to fighting games ... and most in general. Congrats and keep up sir :)

bankaizarkese said on July 17, 2014 at 6:13 a.m.

gutter attended evo last year for sf......dreamking plz

Cyan said on July 17, 2014 at 7:10 a.m.

That makes this article


gutter trash.

Helios86 said on July 17, 2014 at 8:27 a.m.

"I did play Call of Duty 4 competitively"

Stopped reading right there. "Competitive Call of Duty" is the biggest oxymoron in gaming aside from "gamer girl"

pxgiredman said on July 17, 2014 at 8:28 a.m.

Man theres so much more to Gutter than him being a COD player and this interview captures none of it lol. Gutter is the homey his story is quite amazing if the right questions were asked im sure he would share

jelaninoel said on July 17, 2014 at 8:41 a.m.

Game is easy mode. Can have daigo lvl skill but get your combo broken and make no progress. They get one hit in,u fail to combo break and lose %50 life. My friends have no chance against me in other fighters, but this game it becomes hard to win

UCLAplayer said on July 17, 2014 at 9:52 a.m.

Playing a game for a couple years doesn't mean anything. I've played this guy quite a few times in SF, and, no offense, but I'm pretty sure his "SF experience" did not give him any serious advantage in KI.

What matters is your attitude and how you play. From watching him at Evo, I'm sure he approached KI with a totally different attitude than SF

ToastyDMY said on July 17, 2014 at 9:58 a.m.

"Too late"
Yet people like aMSa, Marsgatti, and even afrolegends (for st anyways) all got into their respective games fairly late

inb4 smash is babbies easy to get into

Its never too late to get into a game, it just says you need to put in a lot more effort.

ToastyDMY said on July 17, 2014 at 10:08 a.m.

Key is games are easier to get into when their brand spankin new or getting constantly updated like KI
older games/rarely updated games are going to take more time because there are more people who known the ins and the outs of the game, and thats the reason why I prefer it anyways.

GodzOfTheArenaTV said on July 17, 2014 at 10:54 a.m.

This is indeed Ture, DreamKing23. Some people have a hard time understanding the difference between playing and playing competitively. There is a HUGE difference in between the two, but as usually much respect goes out to GutterMagic for still holding it down with Thunder.

ClaytonSamus said on July 17, 2014 at 11:29 a.m.

Let me make this clear...

As the person who brought GutterMagic into fighting games (ask him your damn self), he's has came a LONG way. Yes, he was an EXTREMELY good CoD player, but when he was introduced to Street Fighter 4 he basically didn't know a damn thing. He said he liked Sakura, and he went from getting his ass handed to him any time he played to us having to worry about him whooping our ass in our friendly gatherings.

One thing he always said was he enjoyed Street Fighter, but he couldn't take it serious. This doesn't take away the fact that he would LEARN. He LEARNED to look for mistakes, habits, baits, and capitalized at any chance. Of course, like any other player, he would get frustrated by random crap, or unblockables, or just lack of knowledge (eat a Makoto crossup tsurugi on wake up), but that's what we were there for, to share info and collectively level up. He wasn't always in the most comfortable point of stability in his life, so regardless of the frustration from sets, I STILL personally took it as a time for us to chill and put life's bullsh_t aside. He saw how the FGC shared this outlook, and loved that aspect of "I will beat your ass now, but after let's go get some grub and shoot the sh_t."

He went to EVO 2013, entered SF4, and at the time still didn't take it seriously. You can call him a pot monster, but he made the effort to go just to experience EVO and what it had to offer, and to this day would still say that it was one of the best experiences he's had, just because of the energy and FGC as a whole.

So when Gutter told me he was interested in KI, I cheered him on to get into it naturally. Couple weeks later, he tells me he LOVES the game, and watching him play, he's reading people left and right, with the energy he gets similar to his old MW3 moabs. There was no doubt that he should take it more serious, but to see him actually start consistently winning TRB was an eye opener -- you are playing with some of the most competitive, adaptive, consistent players of our region, and winning. Not to mention him placing fairly high and NCR and SCR.

He needed to go to EVO 2014. The primary difference here was that he went to compete in KI, not just attend, and ended up walking out in top 4. If you can recall during the match with Justin Wong, the commentator (I believe James Chen) said something along the lines of "these players are playing immense footsies, GutterMagic is able to have a footsie battle with Justin Wong". You don't learn that overnight, and for one of the BEST fighting game players to respect your ground game, it says a lot about you.

So to attempt to discredit him on his recent winnings is to be blatantly spiteful and/or jealous. Everyone with the game has had time and opportunity to learn and level up. He happened to make it work for him.

tl;dr -- this nigga has came a long way, grats on his work for top 4 and much respect

Littlegirl1994 said on July 17, 2014 at 2:34 p.m.

Ooooooh You Touch My Tralala ...

HelenaBeat said on July 17, 2014 at 2:34 p.m.

This guy is pretty good-looking, no homo.

Deneb said on July 17, 2014 at 3:19 p.m.

Again, not throwing salt on any accomplishment. "First competitive fighting game." Adjective/noun. SF is competitive and he played it for years, prior. Just because he didn't compete or do stellar in Evo2013 still flies in the face of the misrepresentation in the article. First Evo for Ki? Sure. First Evo? no. First competition? no. First competitive fighting game? no. Just because someone isn't competitive on a large scale doesn't mean they aren't playing a competitive fighting game and learning fighting game fundamentals.

He's been playing competitive fighting games for years now as is apparent from the comments if you didn't play ranked sf online for years.

I agree tournaments are one thing and online is another but it wasn't his first competitive fighter offline either. Anyone not placing high but putting in time is "having fun and not taking it seriously."

I like Perfect Legend for this reason. Not only is he a great player on multiple games but he announced that he was taking sf seriously. His lack of a top placing doesn't speak bad on him but speaks more to the level of competition involved with SF at this point. He didn't pretend that because he didn't happen to immediately be awesome at it that he wasn't playing it seriously just because he played other fighters too. In short, the whole "not playing seriously" line is nonsense. If you enter evo, that's about as serious as you can get.

Props to Gutter Magic but again, the article is embellishing the truth. You make it sound like he jumped from fps to fighting games and in his first time out got 4th place. That isn't close to the truth. That's all I'm trying to get across. He played SF for years and went to Evo. KI comes out and he enters and gets 4th. Great job. It is what it is. It's just disheartening to see fluff where it isn't necessary and isn't the truth. You guys do this quite a bit and I just usually shrug it off as sensationalism.

I mean, I'm still waiting on sonyono to win a major, or even a next level or a small major or...anything! You seem to want to talk about the difference between online and offline when it's convenient. You hype online players often and disregard that they don't have a stellar tournament record to speak of. It would be understandable if a player was tops in the past offline so it can be assumed online and offline doesn't matter but Smug is the only one to really show and prove. Props to him as well.

It isn't my site. All I'm requesting is that you keep it real instead of fluffing things up as if for a sale.

MRN_SirFoxington said on July 17, 2014 at 6:57 p.m.

I totally agree there !

Well rounded post and you are absolutely right,they should make a special interview with luffy ! For a fellow european,i just pressed the "liked" button at your comment !


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