Our interviews from Evolution 2017 continue! This time, we have the rare opportunity to present a conversation with another top Japanese Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 player, T5M7. He came in second in the Guilty Gear Grand Finals, right before Omito’s Johnny.
T5m7 — who’s actually called Tomo — rose to the surface with his Leo Whitefang, especially with a famous prior victory at Japan’s Toushinsai, also known as the Arc Revolution Cup. What’s more, Tomo received an r/Kappa sponsorship from Reddit after the subforum campaigned funds to help the man come to Las Vegas, Nevada.
We caught up with Tomo right after the Guilty Gear Grand Finals.
This conversation was also made possible thanks to assistance from an Arc System Works translator.
Luke “Woocash” Siuty: Tell us about the top 8 matches, and fighting Omito in the grand finals.
T5M7, also known as r/Kappa|Tomo: Right, well… I fought Omito many times before, I wasn’t really nervous, I was having fun out there. I can’t say that there’s no regrets, I wanted to win. But I had a good time and it was fun.
Woocash: After you lost to him first, what kind of changes or adjustments were you making?
Tomo: So in the first match, he had a lot of abare [poking, “mashing”], I focused on trying to stop that. But you know, he was very cautious with all that. And even in the finals, he was doing a lot of abare, so it was hard for me.
Woocash: You also fought other players, like Samitto Chipp. Which other match-ups do you feel are hardest for you?
Tomo: So Omito and Nage, they keep a distance, so as a Leo player, I need to step in and initiate the fight, which makes it a lot harder. But for Chipp, they come at you, so it’s a lot easier. But anyone who keeps their distance is very hard to play.
Woocash: You’ve managed to beat Nage.
Tomo: Today, earlier at the stage, yeah. Because, last night, we knew we were going to play each other, I was worried about how he was going to switch up his tactics and create some strategies to fight me. But I decided to not really worry about that and just go aggressive and see how he reacts to the aggressiveness. As you can see, as a result, I was able to overpower him and get that win from him.
Woocash: You’ve been proving otherwise, but a lot of people don’t consider Leo a strong character. What do you think about that?
Tomo: Yeah, so I agree with that notion. He’s a little underpowered, but he does have very powerful attacks and moves that do a lot of damage. It’s about managing the [Tension] gauge. At the beginning, I don’t have it, so it’s harder to play. But then I like to play and get more aggressive later on in the match. It really fits my playstyle. It’s all about timing and using the gauge at the right time and timing everything so you get that maximum damage.
Woocash: What advice do you have to people who are already strong players but can’t quite break through to the top? What can they do to continue leveling up?
Tomo: I see… The characters and how you’re going to move against opponents is very important. Also, the Tension Gauge. Having that Tension adds that pressure against the enemy because they never know when you’re going to do the specials and stuff. Learning the importance of having that Tension Gauge and how you use it without actually using it to your advantage is what’s going to be that leap to make it to the next level – top 32, 16, 8, etc.
Woocash: What do you think of Answer and Baiken, the new REV 2 characters?
Tomo: Baiken is very strong, with strong attacks, but the Azami system is a little bit different, so people are trying to learn the difference, so it’s hard to be consistent. Plus, her health is a little bit lower. People are still learning her.
As for Answer, he has strong combos, but, depending on the opponent, sometimes the combos don’t really land. That’s where it’s kind of iffy. He does have the mid and lower attacks, but there needs to be a little tweak going on, because in the current state, you’re losing a lot of the damage, because some of the combos won’t land. If they can make the right tweak, it will be interesting to see how he gets better. Patching and everything is going to be where it counts.
Woocash: Tell us more about the r/Kappa situation. Any shout-outs?
Tomo: I can only thank them and appreciate them for all the stuff they have done. I don’t speak English, so it was really hard to get the hotel room, book the flight. They arranged everything for me so I could focus on the match. I’m just really happy for everyone who assisted me and shout-outs to them.
Woocash: Any final thoughts?
Tomo: I just want to say, if people saw my match and they thought it was fun, and they got interested in the games, and had a fun time, I’m happy.
We also have an interview with Omito, the Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 Evolution 2017 World Champion. Check it out!