Famitsu runs a Street Fighter X Tekken strategy blog on their website.
And from time to time, Hori-sponsored pro gamer Sako drops by to do a guest column, answering questions from both readers and Famitsu themselves.
This is one of those times – the sixth Sako SFxTK blog column, to be exact.
Unlike previous Sako columns, this one doesn’t deal with reader questions.
Instead, Famitsu talks to Sako about his thoughts on attending EVO for the first time, and how he feels about being stuck in the infamous “Death Block” , having to go up against other top players like Kindevu, Eita, Xian, and GamerBee early on.
— Just a couple more days till EVO begins, huh?
Sako: Regrettably, I couldn’t make it to EVO last year (2011). Now that I can finally attend EVO, it almost feels like I’ve been waiting an entire year for this.
— It sure has been a long time coming (laughs). Surely your fans who expected to catch you in action at EVO last year share your sentiments. Is this your first time going to EVO?
Sako: Yes. I’ve always felt that I need to attend EVO at least once, since it’s the world’s largest fighting games tournament, after all. Besides, this year (2012) a lot of star players from Japan are attending as well, so I think our supporters from Japan have even more to look forward to this year. I’m really looking forward to the tournament myself too.
— So you’ll be participating in the tournaments for X Tekken and Super IV?
Sako: Yes, those are the two games I plan to compete in. But if I’m invited to join any side tournaments, depending on how tight the schedule is, I might join… I suppose? As EVO is such a large-scale tournament, even taking part in just two titles would keep me plenty busy, so it might be difficult to try and do anything else. Participants for Street Fighter X Tekken number in at 400 teams (800 people), and Super Street Fighter IV has 1,500 players. To whittle down the competition to just the best 8 players, that surely is no easy feat.
— That does sound pretty tough. By the way, have you seen the tournament brackets yet? In Super IV, if you keep on winning you’ll face, pretty early in the tournament, two of Japan’s EVO veterans Kindevu and Eita, Singapore’s Xian [translator’s note: woah, Famitsu knows who DM.Xian is… wait, that’s a matter of course; Xian did place third in SBO2010 for KOF13], and Taiwan’s GamerBee.
Sako: The so-called “Death Block”, huh? Well, I’ve always been pretty unlucky when it comes to drawing lots.
— Of the group, which of those opponents do you think will require the greatest amount of vigilance on your part?
Sako: Any one of them could give me a tough time. That said, if I were to base it on match-ups, then it’d probably be Kindevu and GamerBee the most. Especially Kindevu, since there’s no way you can tell what character he’s going to come at you with, so that’s a little scary.
— That’s true. But not knowing which character he’ll use can give you quite the thrill, too. From a spectator’s point of view, that is. What about your brackets for Street Fighter X Tekken?
Sako: In the first place I don’t really have any experience playing Street Fighter X Tekken with anyone outside of Japan. Plus, since it’s my first time playing in a 2-on-2 format, really I think it’s anyone guess as to how I’ll end up performing for X Tekken. The sole reason I decided to take part was really just to test my might, see how far I could go. If you were to ask me how smooth I think the teamwork will end up being, I’d say expect things to go south. The timing to do a partner switch is pretty tough to nail!
— Who will you be teaming up with?
Saki: That’s a secret for now. Please look forward to finding out on the day of the tournament (laughs).
— Well that’s certainly something . So how goes your prep-work for the competition?
Sako: So-so, I would say. Well, in the first place I’m not the sort of person to go “alright, I’m done for now, this is perfect!” For me, there’s really no end point. Every single day I just keep at it and train as much as I can.
— Alright then, finally, a word to your fans about how fired up you’re feeling for the tournament, please!
Sako: Actually I don’t think I’m good at getting myself fired up. I’d just like to take it easy at the tournament, play at my regular pace without having to shoulder any expectations. Something like EVO doesn’t happen every day, after all, so I’d like to take the opportunity to enjoy the tournament and its proceedings thoroughly. If I manage to get into the top 32 play-offs, that’s great. If I don’t make it to the play-offs, well that can only mean I’ll have more time to go take in the sights. Since I’ve decided to take part, I’ll definitely do my best. But above all, I’d simply like to have a good time at the tournament – and that’s something I hope I can convey to my supporters as well [have a good time at tournaments]. That said, I’ll do my best, so please give me your support!
— In a way that’s sort of your own personal way of getting yourself fired up for the tournament, huh? Okay then, we’ll be cheering for you! From all of us over here in Japan!
Photo credit: Smugmug