'I'm not a fan of RPS-style neutral in a game where momentum is heavily rewarded' - Phenom reiterates SF5 thoughts, talks Necalli, EVO hopes and more

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • July 7, 2016 at 4:59 a.m. PDT

DreamHack Summer 2016 took place recently, and your very own Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor was on the scene.

Now, what kind of EventHubs writer would I be if I didn't take the opportunity to grab as many interviews as I possibly can? Next in line, we have BX3|Phenom, who in this interview talks about his thoughts on Necalli and M. Bison, winning DreamHack Summer 2016, hopes for EVO and more.

Here's a snippet to get you started.
MajinTenshinhan: You just won DreamHack Summer 2016, which was a premier event, and had some massive competition present. You just barely missed out on making Capcom Cup last year during the end of SF4, so how does it feel to have a guaranteed spot now?

BX3|Phenom: It feels great. Last year's loss at DreamHack Winter helped make me a lot stronger mentally, so I'm grateful for that. Now, I can relax a little bit and prepare for Capcom Cup in December.
Hit the jump to read the full interview.
MajinTenshinhan: You play both M. Bison and Necalli, though you seem to have shifted much more to Necalli over M. Bison lately. How good or bad do you think these two characters are, and what is it that makes you choose one over the other in any given matchup?

BX3|Phenom: I think that Necalli is really strong, probably top 5 in the game.

I played only M. Bison in Street Fighter 4, so naturally, I picked him again in Street Fighter 5. I knew early on that the character wouldn't be that strong in the long run, but he was rather strong in the beginning because of his gimmicky design. So, I was already practicing my Necalli back then, thinking that M. Bison could end up a really weak character, which I think he turned out to be.

I think that Necalli is really strong because of how hard it is to predict what he's going to do, and he gets an insane amount of reward if he touches you with anything. There's nothing gimmicky about him, he is very straightforward. A couple of correct decisions, and he can kill you pretty fast.

MajinTenshinhan: Last time we spoke, you had some choice words about how Street Fighter 5 functions as a game, most notably the lack of reactionary footsies. If you had your say, how would you change the game? What would make the game better, in your opinion?

BX3|Phenom: There's a certain aspect I personally don't like in Street Fighter 5, and that's the lack of reactive whiffpunishing in the neutral game, mostly against medium buttons. Whether it's the 8 frame lag's fault or the lack of hurtboxes, a lot of buttons have no recovery. I would've liked if they reincorporated that somehow.

Besides Street Fighter 5, the only game that I played competitively was Street Fighter 4, so it's the only comparison I can make. Street Fighter 4 had a LOT of its own issues, and I would never go back to that game even if it were to be revived, but the neutral game design in Street Fighter 4 was something that I really liked.

You could play a much more reactive neutral game. Reacting to whiffed buttons was a lot easier compared to Street Fighter 5, the same thing with jumps and dashes. Some exceptions to this was, for example, Abel and Makoto who had very fast dashes, or divekick characters like Yun or Rufus. These are some examples, but there are other characters as well who went against this design, which is one of the reasons I didn't really like Street Fighter 4 either.

Street Fighter 5 mostly lacks those types of characters, with divekicks or specials that defy the basic neutral game. R. Mika is really the only exception I can think of at the moment. It's mostly pretty straight forward neutral design.

The neutral game in fighting games can never be 100% reactive, but I would enjoy Street Fighter 5 more if they made it slightly less pre-emptive so that you can control the pace easier, rather than always thinking "Is he going to jump? Is he going to dash? What button is he going to press?". I'm not a fan of this rock-paper-scissors style neutral game, in a game where momentum is heavily rewarded. This is from a Street Fighter 4 player's perspective, just my opinion on it.

MajinTenshinhan: Now that the game has been out for a while and had some time in the public eye, what characters do you think stand out as particularly strong or particularly weak, and why?

BX3|Phenom: In no order, I think that Chun-Li, Ryu, Nash, Ken, Necalli, Karin, R. Mika, Vega and Cammy are the most viable characters for tournament play at the moment. Balrog and Ibuki haven't really been out for that long, so it's hard to say anything about them.

Excluding future DLC characters, I doubt any character besides these will be able to win a big, major tournament that is stacked with top players from everywhere... And using other characters as a counterpick for certain matchups doesn't count.

MajinTenshinhan: EVO is right around the corner, and you'll be attending. What do you think about your chances at what many consider the year's biggest event?

BX3|Phenom: EVO is going to be really hard. A lot of factors count in on how well you do at EVO. You can have a difficult bracket, you can have a good or bad day, or be jetlagged if you're traveling from outside of America.

A lot of strong, talented players from the US, Europe, Asia, Latin America and really everywhere are heading there. In the end, there are 5000 people competing against eachother in a game that's been out for 5 months, so anything can happen.

I'm just going to do my best and whatever happens, happens. You can't control anything more than that.
Huge thanks to BX3|Phenom for participating in this interview with us, and we wish him the best of luck in the rest of this year's Capcom Cup.

Banner image courtesy of Stephanie Lindgren.

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