One of the surprise entrants in the top 8 at Evo 2016 for Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 was NetBattles|Kevin “DualKevin” Barrios, hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana. The Midwest region had not had much to hang their hat on in terms of big event finishes, and the player with a unique team in Deadpool/Dante/Hawkeye proved to be proper inspiration for their scene.
At Naptown Clutch, the Midwestern hero proved clutch in an exhibition match against Evo 2015 champion Kane Blueriver, dispatching him 10-3. He also finished in 4th in the main event, losing to EG|NYChrisG and eventual champion PG|RayRay. He also took a respectable seventh in Street Fighter V at the event, losing to Wolfkrone and Tech-Bandit.
While at Naptown Clutch, I spoke to him about his experience at Evo 2016, and what has driven the Midwest to strength in Marvel.
Corey “Missing Person” Lanier: Kevin, you had an amazing set with Kane Blueriver at Naptown Clutch. In the exhibition, you made it look really easy. How did you feel during that match?
Kevin “DualKevin” Barrios: I just had to play my game. First of all, my team beats his team easily. It is too much of a struggle for him to get in close. On top of that, I completely understand the ways he’ll want to approach. If I throw a grenade with Deadpool, he’ll want to jump. Then, I can just call my assists and dash under him. I studied the match-up a lot, and knew I was going to come out on top.
Missing Person: When he switched teams midway through, did that throw you off?
DualKevin: He was able to get one game, but otherwise, it wasn’t much of an issue. When I brought it back after that game to go up 9-3, I went to character select myself for him to show him he ought to just play his main team. Naturally, the match-up with Hulk/Haggar/Sentinel is in my favor, but he can make it more difficult for me by merely changing his playstyle.
Missing Person: At 8-3, when he only had Shuma Gorath left, and you kept zoning, was there anything he could do to get in on you, or was it over?
DualKevin: I think he mentally just broke himself at that point. When he had the exhibition against Filipino Champ, he did the same thing, and it ended in the same results. I didn’t think it would get him anywhere here as well.
Missing Person: You also had some close matches in the Curleh Mustache exhibition at Naptown Clutch. What are your thoughts on that bracket?
DualKevin: It was rough—I ultimately finished fourth. I have to give respect to JDM, he came back out of nowhere to beat me 3-0, and then Static Alpha beat me 3-2. JDM has always been one of the biggest threats in the Midwest Marvel scene since the beginning. I believe he placed in the Top 16 at one of the earlier Evos for Marvel 3. He always has a great neutral game. The only thing that has held him back is that he isn’t cheap enough.
Missing Person: Speaking of Evo, how was it for you to be playing on the stage at Mandalay Bay at Evo 2016?
DualKevin: It was crazy to think that I was playing on a stage that so many performers had been on, and having my character on the stage as well was just incredible. It was an amazing once in a lifetime chance.
Missing Person: And to make it there coming from the Midwest, which is heavily underrepresented in majors.
DualKevin: Exactly. JDM was honestly the one that held down the Midwest scene for a long time. We were known for a long time as being one of the worst regions ever. When he quit for a while, there was nobody to represent us. I tried to do it, and with Elithecurry and other players grinding out practice sessions, it helped. So to be able to do that and put the Midwest on the map felt great. It’s now to the point that people say that we are one of the best regions. But we had to start from the bottom and work our way up.
Missing Person: So with the representation that you brought at Evo, do you feel like the Midwest will be more sought after in the grander scope of the FGC?
DualKevin: Definitely. It’s already starting to happen. You have players like Static Alpha and Imanariesbaby showing up to events and doing really well. I am so proud of them. I don’t want to be big headed about it and say that I solely revived the Midwest scene. However, when I beat Filipino Champ, that set the wheels into motion, and it’s great to see them follow up on it.
Missing Person: With Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite coming out later this year, what are your thoughts on it?
DualKevin: It’s too early to say what I expect. I want to see a lot more movement brought into the game. They haven’t shown much movement yet. I hope that Deadpool and Dante are in the game so that I can play them again. I feel like they’re going to be there. I love that team shell. If they are in the game, I will play the hell out of Infinite.
Missing Person: With the system changes between Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite, do you feel like there could be a divide between players who prefer each game?
DualKevin: I was originally afraid of that. I remember for the first year of Evo, there were 1,000 players, then the player count slowly dwindled. But with Yipes, Persia, and Kinderparty taking the lead on building up the community, I believe that they have enough ideas to keep people involved in the game. I don’t think that we’ll see a decline in any way.
Missing Person: How do you feel about your chances of getting back on the main stage at Evo 2017 on finals day?
DualKevin: I’m definitely going to be trying hard for it. What excited me about the donation drive was that got everyone excited to play Marvel again. It was able to get Filipino Champ talking about it again, and you even see Justin Wong streaming it again. What I really want is everyone to be excited about Marvel again, and that’s what it did. I want the best players to be at their prime in July.
Missing Person: What prompted you to play a unique team like Deadpool/Dante/Hawkeye?
DualKevin: I initially started playing Spider-Man with Deadpool as anchor, and it started out with Taskmaster in the middle. It sucked. I just wanted to make Deadpool work on a team in the worst way. I went through so many characters to do so. I settled with Dante and Hawkeye, but I initially thought that Deadpool and Hawkeye had no synergy. I stuck with it because I knew Dante and Hawkeye was strong. Eventually I found more tech with it, and I really like it now. It especially works with my dirty Quick Work with Jam Session assist setup that I do on incoming. I can’t give up that team.
Missing Person: Do you feel like having such a unique team with a low tier point character actually benefits you in tournament, as far as match up inexperience goes?
DualKevin: I would’ve said yes a couple of years ago when no one knew me. Now that I’m a force to be reckoned with, I don’t think so. If you have heard of me, you are likely to know what works against Deadpool and understand what he is capable of. So I don’t think it helps me that much anymore. I feel like some people have caught on to it.