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Frosty Faustings 2020 winner, Joey, talks growing as a competitor in the age of fighting game eSports, the best uses for online play, and more

The Mika formerly known as Mo-Joe

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • January 21, 2020 at 6:02 p.m. PST • Comments: 7

Joseph "DETHRONE|Joey" Porter just took home gold at this year's Frost Faustings, but the Minnesotan R. Mika competitor had already been turning Street Fighter 5 heads over the last year with impressive tournament moments and a top 32 finish at EVO Japan.

He also garnered a good bit of attention by qualifying for the second season of the North American Street Fighter League where he and the rest of Team Storm (801 Strider and Tommy2Step) put on notably entertaining displays of both play and personality. We were fortunate to catch up with Joey during Capcom Cup in December and got to chat with him about his growing presence in the Street Fighter 5 scene.

We'd be remiss if we didn't highlight Porter's big victory this past weekend, and have a particular moment during the top eight bracket to point out.

Fireworks almost always fly once a player like Joey gets an opportunity to go on the offense, but if you're going to play R. Mika, you have to have strong reads. Getting close to foes is an uphill battle for the rainbow wrestler, and getting inside an opponent's head is a must if you're going to make this character work.

Though his first place finish was certainly the highlight of the weekend, many have been talking about the crazy read against EQNX|Brian_F that kept Joey in the tournament. In the second round of their third and final match, Joey, down a round and thus facing elimination, found himself blocking one of Balrog's EX rush punches.

This attack leaves Balrog at a +1 advantage, meaning the defending character cannot safely press any button. Despite being in this situation, Joey had the read and calmly decided to use Mika's EX Rainbow Typhoon, an attack with five frames of startup, and wound up defeating his foe with the 240 damage move. From there, he went on to advance past Brian and eventually take down the whole event.

You can check out the clip depicting this crazy sequence by clicking the thumbnail below. You'll find our full interview with Joey from Capcom Cup after.

Click image for animated version

Raptor - You've been emerging onto the scene and making a splash with appearances on Street Fighter League, a few high placings in notable tournaments, and you're now headed (thanks to his win at Red Bull's special Pin Drop event) to Red Bull Kumite in Japan. How much of this has been you intentionally trying to grow your brand vs. just being and doing well at the right place at the right time?

Joey - It's a mix of the two. I'd say in this situation with Red Bull Kumite, it kind of fell in my lap. For the most part, though, it's me going to events and doing the best that I can. When I see an opportunity, I try to make the most of it. That's what happened with Street Fighter League, I was one of the online qualifiers and I put a lot into trying to get to SFL. The result of that was more exposure and having people noticing me more having seen me on stream.

Raptor - Until recently your handle was "Mo-Joe," and now it's just "Joey." Why the change?

Joey -Well, to be honest, I thought I was still a rising player within the scene so I thought I could get away with the name change. Also, many people I am close to in the FGC don’t even call me Mo-Joe, they call me Joey, so I thought it was fitting.

Raptor - Online play is more and more becoming an unignorable part of Street Fighter. It created a big opportunity for you and Capcom seems to have a lot of their future SF5 plans tied into network battles. But then there's still an argument to be made that online isn't as valid competitively because of the influence of lag. What are your general thoughts on online play and how legitimate of a platform is online in your opinion?

Joey - Online is helpful for general practice and general knowledge. I took advice from NuckleDu while at SFL and asked him how he utilizes online play while training. He told me he doesn't play in ranked much, he only uses battle lounges and online to practice specific match ups with specific players. He doesn't focus on points that much, and that kind of turned my perspective around as to how I use CFN and such.

Raptor - Street Fighter League is competition, but it's certainly geared more towards being entertaining for an audience than most Street Fighter events we've seen. Bans, interviews, the highlighting of player personalities, what was that whole experience like coming from someone who was able to participate in it?

Joey - It was pretty cool overall. The main thing I liked was that it gave us all a chance to get a lot of face to face practice in with a bunch of America's best players. It's clear that it still helps competitors level up. I think it was 801 Strider who won a tournament right after SFL was over, so I think it was a good format for us American players to improve together. We're so widespread, and all of us being in the same room on a weekly basis really helped us to get better. I also loved how they highlighted each person's personality because I'm usually this quiet and shy person. It was a really cool experience and if I had the chance to do it again, I would.

Raptor - How long have you been a Street Fighter competitor?

Joey - I played Street Fighter 4, but SF5 is the game I traveled for, it's been the game I've really competed seriously in. I'd say 2016 is when I started.

Raptor - Along the lines of what SFL has been trying to accomplish with added components like character bans, what do you think of the balance between pure competition and the pizzazz of tweaking things around for entertainment's sake?

Joey - Me doing it, I didn't mind it. From a viewer's perspective, it's entertaining, but for people that regularly watch the more traditional competitions, from what I heard they weren't a fan of the bans at SFL. They thought it would be more entertaining for players to use the main characters that they put the most time into. I didn't really like being forced to learn a second character that I may not even end up using in a regular tournament.

Raptor - Do you think the pay off is worth it?

Joey - I get their whole idea behind doing it – basically put a handicap on the best players and give the underdogs a better chance. An example is Punk. He's obviously really good with Karin, but if you take her away you handicap him a little bit. When it happens to you, though, I can say I wasn't a fan of it. But even though I wasn’t a fan of it, I was still able to improve other aspects of my gameplay that I lacked with my main character.

Raptor - Anything else you'd like to say to the world?

Joey - I enjoy this game. I’ve developed many close relationships with FGC members that I thought I wouldn’t have! Obviously after this weekend, all the stuff going on with (Capcom Cup) production and the streams has people a little upset.

Raptor - Oh, on that note, I'd like to ask how the Capcom Cup experience has been for you as someone who is attending in person.

Joey - I always try to make the most out of it. Obviously there are going to be flaws because no one's perfect. People are upset but Capcom is still learning and still trying to improve. It's a constant learning experience and I think that, after viewing this year, they're gonna get better next year. And, of course, with the Olympic event going on next year they're going to step it up for the community.

Be sure to follow Joey on both Twitter and his Twitch live stream channel to keep up with all the Mika madness.

Banner image via Capcom Fighters. SF5 screen capture via Copatography.

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