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Sako switches main from Karin to Chun-Li, has a new 'Sako Special' - plans on attending more events in 2016 than he did previously

Posted by Cheng Kai 'KarbyP' Sim • April 17, 2016 at 8:04 a.m. PDT • Comments: 35

On the first episode of Daigo The Beast TV, Hori|Sako revealed that his main for Street Fighter 5 (at the time) was Karin.


He has since changed his main to Chun-Li, however. You may have caught some of Sako's Chun-Li in action on a separate episode of Daigo The Beast TV last month.

Although at the time Sako had only been experimenting with Chun-Li to better understand her strengths and weaknesses, it appears that the Hori-sponsored pro gamer enjoyed playing the character so much that he decided to switch mains altogether.

In this interview from Famitsu.com, translated by us over here at EventHubs, Hori|Sako goes into detail the reasons why he decided to make the switch.

He also talks about his latest "Sako Special" combo, advice for beginning and intermediate players, as well as his plans for Capcom Pro Tour.
Famitsu: It's been about a month since the game came out (at the time of this interview). How much time have you spent playing it?

Hori|Sako: On a weekday, after I'm done with work I'd spend at least three hours on it per day. On my rest days, I'd play from morning to night. For the most part, I spend all that time playing in online matches or in training mode. But when there aren't that many people online, I do go into the Story and Survival modes.

Famitsu: We thought you'd only make use of the multiplayer and training modes. But you actually go into the single-player modes too, huh?

Hori|Sako: Only when I need to take a breather. For Survival mode, I've cleared all of the difficulty levels up until "Hard" for Karin. As the "Hell" level is quite difficult and very time-consuming, I've pretty much left it alone. Until there is a good strategy for clearing that, I think it's fine to just leave it aside (laughs).

Famitsu: When playing matches online, which mode do you actually go into?

Hori|Sako: When the game first came out, I used to go into Ranked Match all the time. These days, however, I focus on playing in Battle Lounges, as you can set the number of matches in this mode.

Famitsu: Are there any opportunities for you to partake in offline matches?

Hori|Sako: There's this game cafe bar called "Cross-Up" that just opened here in Osaka recently, and I went down to it the other day to play some offline matches. The player base at the place isn't very established yet, but there are quite a few well-known players who come down to it, so it's been great for gaining offline match experience. As it happens to be near where I live, I'll be going down to Cross-Up on a regular basis.

Apart from that, whenever I make an appearance on Web-streamed shows, I make sure to play a ton of offline matches before and after doing the program.

Famitsu: Unlike past entries, there's no arcade version of Street Fighter 5 this time. So as a result, offline play opportunities are pretty valuable, huh?

Hori|Sako: Yeah, exactly. As the play experience between online and offline matches is quite different, to be better prepared for tournaments, ideally I want to stock up on offline match experience as much as possible. So even though I'm usually playing online, if I can play in an offline setting at least once a week... that's the pace I'll be going at.

Famitsu: Since Sako-san is doing this as a sideline, to be playing at least three hours per day, that sounds pretty tough.

Hori|Sako: I should try to get more sleep (laughs).

Famitsu: Which character do you currently main in Street Fighter 5?

Hori|Sako: When the game first came out, my main was Karin. But now it's Chun-Li.

Famitsu: Is the switch because Karin turned out to not be as strong as you thought she was?

Hori|Sako: Karin is actually thought to be pretty good. I enjoyed playing her as well, and she's incredibly strong. However, when I faced Chun-Li as my opponent, I had a tough time. So what happened was, I decided to play Chun-Li for a while to learn the character's traits and weaknesses. She possesses a speedy forward dash, as well as a fireball move, so she's able to set the pace of a match.

On top of all that, if you perform her Lightning Kicks move right after leaving the ground, there is this "instant air Lightning Kicks" technique that's really strong. The command input is a little tough, but it's something that, the more you practice it the stronger the move is. As I'm generally fond of these sorts of elements, I've decided to make Chun-Li my main.

Famitsu: Although it seems like you've only just began using Chun-Li recently, is there a hard-to-perform combo or technique you enjoy pulling off that's worthy of the "Sako Special" namesake?

Hori|Sako: Right now that'd be the "Head Stomp => LK Aerial Lightning Kicks". When performed as an instant-air move, the Head Stomp will beat crouch blocking. On top of that, when you perform Aerial Lightning Kicks right after that, you can continue to pressure your opponent. It's great for making your opponent guess high or low, and since it's an attack that comes out really fast, it's difficult to defend against, in my opinion.

However, it takes a while to get used to pulling off the instant-air Head Stomp, and on top of that you need to be fairly quick with the command for the Aerial Lightning Kicks, so the difficulty for performing this is quite high. For opponents who are seeing this for the first time, even if you repeat the maneuver over and over, they'd find it difficult to deal with.

Famitsu: It's difficult to pull it off even once. To do it consecutively, that's going to be quite tough. Is there a trick to doing it?

Hori|Sako: Nope, it's really all down to practice (laughs). Another aspect about Chun-Li that I really like is her V-Trigger, which allows you to do all kinds of stylish combos. Chun-Li is a character that gets stronger the more you apply yourself to researching her moves. She's quite the rare character in Street Fighter 5, in that aspect.

Famitsu: This year's Capcom Pro Tour has already begun, and there have already been a few premier tournaments. Do you feel ready for the tournaments yet?

Hori|Sako: No, actually, not at all. I've only been able to play serious matches against a portion of the roster. There aren't that many people I know who use Birdie, Vega or Dhalsim, so I have not been able to practice much against such characters. In my current state if I were to travel overseas to tournaments, it'd be too much of a risk. For now, my goal is to thoroughly prepare myself and be ready by July's EVO.

Famitsu: Do you have any advice for beginning or intermediate players who'd like to level up their game?

Hori|Sako: For beginners, as you're lacking various kinds of knowledge, I'd recommend just focusing on trying out various characters and having fun. By doing so you'll eventually get a good grasp of each character's quirks. Once you have a good grasp, at some point you'd automatically start developing your ideas and play style along a specific trajectory. At that point, it's a good idea to stick to one character.

Famitsu: I see. What about for intermediate players?

Hori|Sako: For players who have no problems controlling their character, it becomes more important to familiarize yourself with every character's capabilities -- even if it's just each character's main means of attack.

Once you know each character's capabilities, even in difficult-to-deal-with situations, you'll be able to figure out what's going on and navigate your way to the solution. If you can't understand what your opponent is doing to you, that's the worst situation to be in.

Famitsu: It also seems like, if there's a character you're bad at fighting against, it's a good idea to try and play that character for a while, yes?

Hori|Sako: Yes, that's right. Even if it's just going into training mode and lightly going over the character's moves, that can make a world of difference.

Famitsu: Finally, to end the interview, is there anything you'd like to say to the readers?

Hori|Sako: Recently, I was able to get my contract with Hori renewed without a hitch. So that's been a sigh of relief for me. Getting my contract renewed was only possible thanks to all the support from the fans, so thank you for that.

This year I'm planning to make more appearances at tournaments and events than previously. As it's a new game we're competing in for this year, I'm hoping to make more of a splash over time as well. While I may not be able to leave my mark in a tournament right away, I'll work hard at it, so please continue to give me your support.
Source: Famitsu.
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