Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Cutting Room Floor: More on SCR 2014 with Steven Malecki
The interview with Steven went longer than the first published article, and looking back over everything, a follow-up post seemed appropriate. Here are more of Steven's thoughts on such topics as his Hazanshu counter tech, the GamerBee runback, and "holding your focus" against DSC Beehol. (In the interest of readability, there is some overlap with the first article.)
Okay, so let me recreate the scene. Your 4th game. You played and beat a Cody first, played and lost to Jayce's Viper second, so you're in losers. Played and beat a Makoto, so now you're into your 4th match against DSC Beehol's Guy. EH says the match is a 5.1, slightly in Guile's favor. You take the first set 2-0, lost the second set 2-1, and [go from 1-0 to 1-1], losing to a reaction ultra. Is that accurate?
What are you thinking and feeling at THAT point, when the final round starts.
STEVEN: Well, while the ultra was happening, I was about to look back to Andy and make a bewildered face, haha. Just as I was about to do that though, I kind of realized that I needed to be planning for the next match instead of making stupid faces.
Haha! So, in a sense you held your focus long enough to crumple the opponent instead of taking the backdash.
STEVEN: I was thinking, "Ok, I'm just going to play my game, but play it better."
Well, that's kind of an interesting metaphor...You see a lot of top players backdash their focus when they could be crumpling blatantly punishable attacks. Thing is, a lot of times, they are just trying to play it safe, and they already have "safe play" stuck in their head. In a sense, the last round I was backdashing more. Playing lower risk, lower reward and it paid out. Backdashing metaphorically, that is.
Ha! Of course. And it paid off. I wanted to ask about a couple other matches. The Chun matches between you and Branbert and Orikasa. EH says they're 5.4, or favorable. You seemed pretty confident.
I noticed that you were quick to punish most Hazanshu's with F+HK into combo. Why choose that over the arguably easier focus crumple, and was that a result of training, online play...?
STEVEN: Well, focus crumple is a prediction.
Back in Japan, a lot of Chuns would "focus confirm" and then focus cancel their Hazanshu into a backdash, let your focus whiff, and then punish. Most characters can focus dash forward and punish the recovery as well.
Thing is, that close b.hk (upside-down kick, or UDK), is immune to lows on the very first frame of activation and Hazanshu is technically a low hitbox attack. Meaning, you can do it last second or early and it doesn't really matter. It's actually way easier to time than focus dash forward > c.lp > c.lp > c.mp xx flashkick and probably does more damage anyways. (Edit: Yep, it does.)
I developed that tech myself, actually. It was an AE buff.
Did you practice and use that tech specifically against Chun, or was it just a tactical decision against those opponents in those Chun matches because you know the low-hit property of Hazanshu?
STEVEN: Yah, it's general Chun matchup stuff. A lot of people don't know about it. That's probably why the MU is listed as 5.4 on EH. It's waaay worse. Technically, Chun can do Hazanshu from far enough out to where the close attack will turn into a far attack, but it's really noticeable and easy to react to by just not doing anything.
A question about your match with GamerBee and playing the same person again. You played him and lost at EVO 2013, and had the chance to run it back at SCR 2014. Was there any special preparation for that match, any revenge play, or just another game to be played?
STEVEN: I didn't prepare for GamerBee specifically. Gustavo helped me work a lot on my footsies though which definitely helped me in that match. I felt as though he had to work for those wins this time, whereas I got pretty much swept by him at Evo.
Still, my footsies have room for improvement... GamerBee's are just so GOOD!
I think the advantages on IAJK help with that, too.
STEVEN: Most definitely. Jaguar kicks are what makes the matchup bad.
What's the next BIG tournament we're going to see you at and are you going to prepare any differently for it?
STEVEN: Not too sure to be honest. I'd like to go to as many as possible on the road to Evo, but I just got a job and I'm still a full-time student and I'm getting married in August. Super busy!
Looks like a full plate. Sounding like locals and casuals for a while!
Thanks again to Steven for his time during the interview process.
Feel free to comment below or suggest further articles for the blog. Currently, I have interviews in the works with Renzo and Gus so be sure to check the blog daily. Other than that, I will post SOMETHING on a daily basis. Sometimes it will be rushed, sometimes it won't, but it will always relate somehow to Utah and fighting games. Thanks, all.