When we were still in the Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- era, there was one New York City player whose name echoed overseas: PAG|LostSoul. His terrifying command of Xrd’s new character, Elphelt, became particularly famous after beating CO|Dogura’s Sin in 2016 (check out the match below). His play even earned him a spot on the Japanese fighting game player wiki, something few US players have achieved.
LostSoul has been missing a bit from the scene due to personal circumstances, but he resurfaced at this year’s Evolution. It was a great opportunity to hang out with the player who had many Japanese visitors lining up to play him and learn more about him. To my knowledge, this is the first interview he’s ever done about his Guilty Gear play, so it’s a rare highlight of his impressive abilities. Responses have been edited for clarity.
Luke “Woocash” Siuty: How was your Evo? Is Guilty Gear the only game you entered?
LostSoul: Yeah, it’s the only one. I made it up to the 17th place, two spots away from top 8. And I believe that’s a great accomplishment for being out of the game for eight months due to life problems. Going to Evo, which was my first one, as well as my first major after coming back, I think that’s a great achievement.
Woocash: Walk us through some of the matches.
LostSoul: The first match in winners was against Omito. Knowing that he’s a great Johnny player, that was one of my great concerns — after coming back to majors — that I would have this tournament stress going on. I couldn’t have performed as well as I did [later], but he has great movement, great offense, and I just couldn’t keep up with that. Soon after I lost the winners, I managed to do very well against him, I took games off of him, after the tournament, even got a perfect in there. I managed to get him to do what I wanted him to do. Everything that I wanted to do I was able, no second thoughts, no nerves, my execution was there. I was basically me at that point. But what really counts is the tournament.
And of course, I lost to him on stream badly. And in losers, I lost to XCEL|BjornSonOfBear. I feel kind of bad, I have some rust on his character Chipp. Back before the break, we used to netplay a lot. I used to be the one winning, in tournaments also. In this case, not only I lost, but he also has greatly improved. Him getting the Overdrive series and winning the trip to Evo and CEOtaku, he has definitely improved on that. At the end, it was 2-1 his favor, last game, last round, and sadly, I lost to the only other American between us.Woocash: So you’re sticking with Elphelt?
LostSoul: Yeah, I still have Jack-O’ on the side, because Elphelt has, ever since the patch came about, changed somewhat. She got new unblockables with Roman Cancels, so I had to practice that. Practice my match-up experience against characters again since I was gone eight months, and change what was her unblockable route into a mix-up route. But Jack-O’ didn’t really change after the patch, her move set and combos are nearly intact. I’m planning to get back into Jack-O’ and dual main.
Woocash: Any further thoughts on REV 2 balance?
LostSoul: Some of the changes were a little questionable. Especially on my character, Elphelt. Her 6P has no hurtbox on her upper waist, so it’s like an anti-air and an overhead from 6P. Some supers actually whiff. Of course, as an Elphelt player, I’ll take it. It’s kind of weird. I know people hate it because it’s kind of half-assed, but personally, I’m indifferent to it.
Woocash: Are you comfortable to talk about why you were out of commission for eight months?
LostSoul: I was out of commission due to family problems. My family was being evicted. We had to live in my sister’s house for a good month or two. Since then, I was unable to play Guilty Gear. My main concern was to save up money to get back into the house. We managed to do that after 3-4 months with the help of the anime fighting game community. My friend, Mr. Bisonopolis, helped me set up a GoFundMe. This also helped set up to pay the first month’s bills. At first, it was 2000-3000. Within a couple hours, after he tweeted it out, the goal was met substantially, in two hours, flat. I was speechless. I was able to get back my house, and now, I am still there, being supported.
My new goal then, after four months, was to find a new job. I wanted to find a new job to support it. I thought I would be out for one more month, but job searching was more difficult that I imagined, so it took an extra four months. I promised myself not to touch video games until I got that done. I put priorities in life, Guilty Gear later. This was before REV 2 came out, so after this eight month period, that’s when I finally touched Guilty Gear again.
Woocash: I saw you play a lot of Japanese players, lining up to fight you at the ASW booth. Tell me more about this relationship with the Japanese scene, because they definitely talk about you a lot, and I know you’re on their fighting game player wiki.
LostSoul: I know that Japanese players have a totally different mindset from what we have in America. There’s a style to it, I can’t really explain it. They know what to do to avoid certain situations. They noticed me probably when I beat Dogura, the first time, back at Final Round, I believe. I got first place, beating him not once, but twice. From that time, that’s when on Twitter, I saw that the Japanese were surprised Dogura. That was my first event. But Dora was also there, another native from Japan. I beat Dogura in a FT5 and Dora came by, and I guess he spread my name, but Dogura definitely spread my name around. So I’ve been on the radar right around that.
Even now, a lot of Japanese want to fight me and after fighting me, they told me I’m very strong, so I guess I succeeded in meeting their expectations. I fought Haaken, Kedako, Fumo, Tomo. With Tomo, I kind of destroyed him at the first set, but then he got the next two. He said I was very strong and he had a difficult time beating me. I was going pretty even with Fumo in the mirror match. Maybe even stronger. I also beat Zadi 2-1. I’m definitely a “player vs. player” type of guy. Despite not knowing how they play and them trying to download me, I could also download them.
Woocash: What are your plans moving forward? How interested are you in esports, or becoming a sponsored player?
LostSoul: Yes, I am interested I guess in esports, but mostly, I’m interested in going to more majors after Evo. I want to go to every major that’s available. The next issue for me is taking days off my job to go those events. I’m even missing my locals, TSBs, because they happen on Saturdays, and my job happens on those days.
Woocash: And would you ever want to be a sponsored player?
LostSoul: Here’s the thing. I could say I’m interested, but the one I’m in now, PAG, already hosts me. It’s more like a group, they’re not like Fable or XCEL. But PAG does help me travel, just like Justin Wong sponsored me for this Evo trip. If I could have more opportunities like that, then yeah. Yeah. I’m definitely interested in esports.