Feature image: Verloren (middle left) vs. Tampa Bison (right)
Hyungsuk “Verloren” Kong has had a meteoric rise to prominence in the last year. People first heard him coming from Street Fighter Crash, he soon started attending events alongside Infiltration, and the Korean Cammy main started dominating.
This year, he was just shy of making top 8 at Evo 2017 during a bizarre match with Filipino Champ, where the match was moved off stream due to power issues on the PlayStation 4 on stage. That hasn’t deterred him from making himself poised to enter Capcom Cup for the first time in his career.
While at Evo, I got a chance to discuss his rise to fame and his feelings on the Korean fighting game scene.
Corey “Missing Person” Lanier: Amidst some major controversy, you narrowly missed out on top 8 at Evo. What was going through your mind during the final match with Filipino Champ?
Hyungsuk “Verloren” Kong: I really just wanted to have a good match with Filipino Champ. I was looking forward to it. I didn’t want it to come down to a disqualification or stalling — I just wanted to play the damn match! All I was thinking was that I wanted to play and for it to happen fast.
Missing Person: Let’s say hypothetically that no issues happened on stream, do you think that the match would have had a different outcome?
Verloren: I guess it always could be different. None of that really matters, since the results stand. All I can do now is practice to get my runback on him during the CPT or at Capcom Cup.
Missing Person: You’ve risen from relative obscurity in a very short time. How does it feel to have gotten this strong, this fast?
Verloren: I’m just trying to do my best to get the best results. That’s all really. I feel like the scene around me in Korea is also really good, but it’s important to me to just do my best at all times.
Missing Person: With all the international experience you’ve had lately, do you feel like you’re taking that experience back with you to Korea?
Verloren: When I go to other countries and learn different kinds of tech and strategy from them, I always come back to Korea and try to teach it to players there. Korea has a small but strong community for Street Fighter V. Regardless of the size, if I teach them something new, then they get better. If they get better, then I have to get better to stay on top. I feel like sharing with your community is the only way to improve.
Missing Person: What drew you to Cammy, out of all the characters?
Verloren: The first thing that actually drew me in was her theme song. Then when I tried her out, she fit my playstyle, so I kept playing her. At this point, I’ll keep playing her. I’m a character loyalist. For me to get really strong, I have to focus on one character.
Missing Person: One of the hardest things to do as a character specialist is win bad matchups. How do you do that consistently without relying on counter picks?
Verloren: I try out all the characters and learn them to a certain degree. The main thing I’m looking for is their weaknesses. Then I go back to Cammy, and look for ways to exploit that weakness.
Missing Person: How do you feel about your chances to make it to Capcom Cup at this point?
Verloren: I’m pretty confident that I’m going to make it — you ultimately need 500 or 600 points to basically guarantee your entry. I currently have 750. Anything can happen between now and then, but I’m already starting to research matchups and players that I might have to face there. I’m definitely going to do this more, because after Evo, it’s crunch time.
Missing Person: Are you still planning on going to events now to try to get a higher seed?
Verloren: I’m going to make it to all the Asian ranking events and all the CPT Premier events.
Missing Person: You just recently got sponsored by Gfuel. How does it feel to have a sponsor so quickly?
Verloren: The sponsorship came as a surprise for me. It was right after Battle Arena Melbourne 9. I am very thankful for Gfuel, but I want to keep improving my performance so I can get more potential contracts.
Missing Person: Korea is normally known as a Tekken country. How do you feel about the country’s potential in Street Fighter V?
Verloren: Pretty much every Korean that went to Evo for Street Fighter V made it out of their pools. A lot of them made it into the semi-finals, even. That’s a huge deal. A lot of these people are new to international tournaments, so it was impressive. If it keeps up like this, then I believe we’ll see far more Koreans in the CPT.
Special thanks to Gerald “mintcheerios” Lee from Core-A Gaming for translation.