Interview with #CellGames Champion, @Mikeand1keFGC
Welcome back, readers! @xJagoBlake here.
Today we're bringing you an interview with Devon "Mikeand1ke" Petties, who recently won the season finale for our DBFZ circuit, Cell Games.
After placing from Top 32 to Top 8 in all six weeks of the series, Mike qualified for the finale alongside seven other players. Having collected enough points to finish in 8th in the standings, he started his trek through the finale with a confrontation against FluxWaveZ, the highest seeded player out of all the finalists. Mike narrowly won that set 2-1, giving himself a huge boost in confidence.
Without ever entering Loser's Bracket, Mike bested Slay in the Winner's Finals, then fended off BxA odfullauto in Grand Finals to prevent a bracket reset and win the whole event. As Mike himself stated, the outcome left him almost crushed by an overwhelming sense of relief, as it had not been an easy journey to the top for him.
It's not common to see players winning a finale after failing to take a weekly bracket, but in our case, it's not the first time such a phenomenon has occurred. Back in our Killer Instinct series called KrossUp, Damian "Raven is Raw" Gonzalez finished in Top 8 for all weeks except the final week, for which he ended his run in Top 16. Regardless, he advanced to the finale, where he was crowned the KrossUp Season Finale winner.
Quick little plug here: If you have not checked out our interview with Raven, you can read about it here.
Now, Mike has repeated Raven's achievement in Cell Games. His skillful display has been very inspiring to us all.
Last night, I had the privilege of sitting down with him to touch upon his history as a fighting game fanatic. We learn about what pushed him to elevate his interest in fighting games to a competitive standpoint, as well as his sojourn into our Street Fighter V circuit called the Savage Series (which took place last year).
Mike had quite a lot of details to offer and I was rapt with attention absorbing them all. I hope this discussion has a similar effect on you as well!
JagoBlake: First of all, congratulations on winning StreamMe's DBFZ circuit, Cell Games! Before we get into that discussion, though, perhaps you could introduce yourself?
Mikeand1ke: Thank you! Well my name is Devon Petties and I go by the tag Mikeand1ke in the fighting game community. I have been playing Dragon Ball Fighterz since launch and before that I was playing Street Fighter V.
JagoBlake: Would you like to touch upon what sparked your interest in the fighting game genre?
Mikeand1ke: Ah of course. Well I've been playing fighting games casually since I've started playing video games back when I was 2 years old. I was a big fan of Tekken, Mortal Kombat, Marvel vs Capcom, etc. I just love the idea of combat I suppose. As a kid I loved the Rocky movies and later on in my life I took up wrestling in high school and I practiced mixed martial arts. The feeling of going against someone 1 on 1 is great to me.
JagoBlake: Do you remember the first fighting game you ever played?
Mikeand1ke: I want to say either Marvel vs Capcom 1 or Tekken 3. Those are what come to mind when I think about the first fighting game I ever touched. Casually of course.
JagoBlake: Casually, you said. We all had to start somewhere. Everyone has their story as to what inspired them to elevate their interests in a fighting game to a competitive standard. What would yours be?
Mikeand1ke: I watched EVO 2014. Literally that was it. I heard of EVO before then but never really thought much about it but some friends of me were talking about watching it so I decided to watch with them and then my interest in competitive gaming peaked. I immediately wanted to be like the guys I saw playing at a high level.
JagoBlake: Interesting! Since you're mentioning Evolution 2014, what is it about that event that jumped out to you the most?
Mikeand1ke: There is 3 things I think of when I think of when I think of that event.
1.) The amazing top 8 of Street Fighter 4. Luffy pulling a godly losers run. Snake eyes and Ricky Ortiz making a great name for the US in the top 8, Bonchan playing amazing until he ran into Luffy. It was amazing.
2.) Pig of the Hut vs Sonic Fox in Inj. I really liked Injustice casually so seeing the game played at a high level like that was pretty awesome. Pig of the Hut made Zod look so cool to play and Sonic just played so godlike in grand finals resetting the bracket and winning.
3.) The AMAZING grand finals between Dogura and Gallieo in Blazblue Chronophantasma.
JagoBlake: If you hadn't mentioned the BlazBlue Grand Finals, I might have ended the interview right there...nah, just kidding. ;)
So as Evolution 2014 inspired you to take your talents to the competitive scene, do you recall the first event you actually set foot in?
Mikeand1ke: I didn't have to means to compete back in 2014 or 15 so my first event wasn't until 2016 at a Red Bull Proving Grounds Philly monthly for Street Fighter V
JagoBlake: Sounds like the wait was very much worth it. If memory serves, didn't you also participate in the Savage Series StreamMe held a while back for the SFV community?
Mikeand1ke: Yeah I won one of the Savage Series events actually. I didn't finish out the circuit for some reason I don't recall why but I did win one of the events held for it
JagoBlake: Yeah, when I glimpsed your tag again, it sort of tugged at my memory.
On the topic of Street Fighter V, what influenced your character choice(s) in that game? I recall seeing you play Laura, but as we are now in Season 3, that may have changed since.
Mikeand1ke: I play Laura due to her just looking cool. She ended up fitting my playstyle anyways. Very rushdown and mixup heavy. In season 3 I play Laura and a bit of Kolin as well. I may pick up Cammy as well in the future considering she is just way too strong.
JagoBlake: The community appears to be incredibly split on its outlook of the direction Street Fighter V has taken in comparison to its predecessor, as well as Capcom's renewed approach to balance (which, in this instance, consists of huge patches dropping at the beginning and midpoint of each season since Season 2). Have you any input to offer on this subject?
Mikeand1ke: I currently think Street Fighter V right now is kind of a bad game if I'm going to be honest. I can't lie, a part of the reason I may feel this way is due to Laura being nerfed so now it feels like I'm not fighting fire with fire like I was in season 2 but in season 1 Laura wasn't considered strong and I really enjoyed the game in season 1 so it's also due to them not doing anything to the actual system of the game. It gets too reliant on guessing even in situations where from an outside view, you wouldn't think anyone is guessing. It's kind of ridiculous and this is coming from someone who likes to mix people up, but the strongest mixups in the game are something dumb like dash throw, guessing between wake up jab or wake up ex dp, v trigger on block into either throw or button.. stuff like that.
If they balanced out the characters better, maybe these problems would be less apparent. I say just make the characters like Chun Li, Ryu, etc top tier but not too crazy like in season 1. Nerf Menat, Guile, Cammy and Akuma in a fair way. Buff other lower characters in a fair way. It may work out. I think some changes to the system may fix a lot too but I don't know if they could even do something like that. We are kind of stuck with what we got in terms of system. They could buff v reversals and nerf v triggers a bit and make meaties easier somehow and I think the system would take a change for the better. Again, this is all my opinion.
JagoBlake: Obviously you've taken an interest in Dragonball FighterZ since its launch. Care to describe your current outlook on the game?
Mikeand1ke: Currently I really like Dragon Ball Fighterz. I think you more so have to learn the way the game plays (I.e the system and the mechanics) and just go from there if that makes sense. Like of course there are top tier characters like Cell, Kid Buu, etc but pretty much most characters are playable honestly in my opinion. Say if a character gets nerfed, a good player in Dragon ball Fighterz can easily replace them with another and they'll be fine honestly because they are good at the game itself because you have to be.
The game is in a pretty fine spot I think. Only thing I would wish to see is to buff guard cancel a bit. It is almost useless right now. Too slow on start up and punishable on block. Either make it faster on start up or make it safe on block. I think having both may make it too strong so either or would be fine in my opinion. Aside from that the game is in a good spot and it's still a fresh game so there is even more room for growth.
JagoBlake: Opinions on the DLC characters? (Vegito Blue, Fused Zamasu, Bardock and Broly)
Mikeand1ke: Bardock is easily a top tier character. Broly is slept on in my opinion I think he's pretty good. Vegito Blue is decent as well and I think Zamasu is kind of weak only because he needs assist just to do good bnb combos it seems like, it isn't really like that with any other character that I can think of.
JagoBlake: So who is your current team in DBFZ, and what inspired your choice behind each member of the team?
Mikeand1ke: My current team is Kid Buu/Cell/Vegeta. Sometimes I'll switch the order between Cell and Kid Buu and sometimes I'll replace Vegeta with Bardock as well and play around with the order with that team as well. I play Kid Buu because of the outstanding neutral he has as well as great mixups and when it isn't being played his assist is way too good. Cell also has a good assist and is an outstanding character and meshes well with Kid Buu. I play Vegeta because his assist combos well with Cell and even Kid Buu and he can also do level 1 into level 1/3 after Kid Buu level 1. Same with Cell.
I play Bardock at times because his assist is also good. He can be good at pretty much any spot on the team. At first I didn't think he would be a good anchor but his level 3 mixup and sparking combos are so good that it actually works out. I think he is a bit better with assists though.
JagoBlake: Are there any other characters you hope will be added in as DLC? Anyone that would convince you to consider changes to your team?
Mikeand1ke: Well the leak seems to be confirmed so I'll try the reminder characters that seem to be coming (Base Goku, Base Vegeta, Cooler and Android 17 I believe) and see if I like them enough to play them and if they are strong. As far as characters I want, I can't really say. Anyone that I wanted to see in a DBZ game is already in the game.
If I had to choose a character, I think it'd be fun to see Raditz to complete the team of the first saiyans to show up in the show. (Vegeta, Nappa and then Raditz) I also think another female character would be nice so maybe Videl and Pan would be a nice addition. If I'm not mistaken Videl is in a leak for characters to show up but I forget if it was season 1 or season 2.
JagoBlake: Gotcha. So let's touch upon your experience in Cell Games. You placed from Top 32 to 8 throughout the entirety of the series, but when it came time to throw down in the finale, you took it all home! There had to have been a shift in your mentality from the six-week series before the finale came about, so my question to you is...what changed?
Mikeand1ke: Well, lately I have been looking into mindfulness and trying to implement it into not only my game, but my whole life. I let things get to me in the game but in the Cell Games finale, I don't recall myself getting angry, flustered, or anything. I just played the game and it worked out for me.
JagoBlake: Apparently so! What was your reaction when you struck the winning blow that earned you the title of Cell Games Champion?
Mikeand1ke: Relief. Full Auto almost reset the bracket on me and even though I'm sure I could have had the energy to play another set, I was hoping to take the set in winners and become the champion from there so I was extremely relieved.
JagoBlake: Of all the tournament sets you've played throughout Cell Games, do any of them stand out to you in terms of anything?
Mikeand1ke: I lost to some good players in Cell Games throughout the weeks such as Fame96 and SoSickNashFan so I feel those losses helped me improve myself. As far as wins goes, my win against FluxWaves in the finale was awesome because he was the number 1 seed and I was pretty much bottom seed or close to it.
JagoBlake: Did you find your experience as a competitor in the Savage Series and Cell Games to be satisfactory? Anything about it that you feel could have been different or better?
Mikeand1ke: I don't remember too much about Savage Series to remember any issues but in Cell Games I fought a good amount of players that didn't have a good connection throughout my road. The players aren't necessarily to blame most of the time, it's the netcode being pretty poor so because of that I feel Cell Games should be more region based I think. Have a week for East Coast players and then a week for West Coast players. It'd make for a better experience I personally think. I'm not sure if StreamMe could even do that but if they could, that'd be excellent. Aside from that though, everything else was fine. Tournaments were ran well and the production is awesome as well.
JagoBlake: If there were to be a second season of Cell Games (NOT confirming anything about that here, BTW), would you consider participating?
Mikeand1ke: Of course I would participate. Would like to be a 2x finale qualifier and defend my title.
JagoBlake: What are your future plans as a competitor? Looking to collect the Dragon Balls in the DBFZ World Tour that got announced recently, perhaps?
Mikeand1ke: Well I'm already headed to CEO thanks to my Cell Games winnings so hopefully I can do well there. As far as other tournaments go, it'll be hard as a free agent so I'm currently looking to join an organization to try to travel to the other Saga tournaments out of the country. I'm sure there is more tournaments/qualifiers for the world tour that haven't been announced considering the video said both offline and online events but I could be wrong. I just want to continue improving in the game and try to do well in tournaments
JagoBlake: Wishing you the best of luck in your search for a sponsor and tournament results!
Since you've brought up CEO, how do you feel about its first jaunt outside of its home territory? For those unaware, CEO 2018 is going down at Daytona's Ocean Center next weekend from June 29th to July 1st, rather than the Orlando Wyndham Resort, where it's been held for a good number of years.
Mikeand1ke: Well I've only been to one other CEO which was last year so the change of scenery isn't a problem to me. Jebailey seems to have the event in good care so I expect nothing but good things!
JagoBlake: He always does, based on my past interactions with him.
I believe we're going to wrap this up here. In closing, got any shout-outs?!
Mikeand1ke: Shout out to anyone who is supporting me. Shout outs to StreamMe for running the Cell Games circuit, shout out to some friends of mine such as Spammy and SylverRye, they are some good sports. And, shout out to this group called the Sugoi Boys!
JagoBlake: Thank you again for your time! We wish you the best with your future endeavors, and we thank our readers for checking out this interview!
Mikeand1ke: Of course! Thanks for having me in this interview. It's a pleasure!
Again, thanks to Mike for taking hours out of his night to share some insight about himself, and congratulations to him once again for becoming the Cell Games champion! Follow him on Twitter at @MMikeand1keFGC if you'd like to keep updated on his journey through the FGC.
For those wishing to relive Cell Games in its entirety, check out our YouTube page to find the footage for all of our weekly brackets and the finale itself (be sure to subscribe while you're at it!). If you'd rather cut to the chase, see below to start watching the Cell Games finale!
We'll have more interviews coming your way soon! Please be sure to follow our blog to stay updated whenever they are posted.
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