Shoryuken interview: Marn talks about Northern Arena, Smug, and his passion for Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite

By on September 28, 2017 at 1:00 pm
Don-Chan Smoke Bomb

Martin “Marn” Phan has always been an amazingly entertaining figure within the fighting game community. From his championship in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom at Evo 2010 to his antics in front of the camera — including on ELEAGUE — he has always been someone the people cheer for.

He was recently in Toronto to play in the Northern Arena Knockout event. While his day was cut short with two straight losses, we sat took the opportunity to sit down to talk about what the future holds for Marn.

Corey “Missing Person” Lanier: You had a rough day today. Let’s go back through your matches really quickly. How did you feel about your opening round match with Imstilldadaddy?

Martin “Marn” Phan: I was actually really confident going into that one. He didn’t play like I was anticipating. He didn’t Flash Kick out of my mix-ups like I thought he would. Like I would start a mix-up and then block, and he wouldn’t Flash Kick. He kind of got into my head and I went, “Well, there goes everything.” So I lost to that. I wasn’t really mad about the loss. He played well.

Missing Person: Do you feel like it was an adaptation on his end, knowing what you were expecting?

Marn: I don’t really think he did. I think for lack of a better term, he just completely outplayed my thought process.

Missing Person: Let’s move on to the subject of the day, your match with Smug…

Marn: Yeah, I hate him.

Missing Person: [laughs] How did you feel about that match?

Marn: He always beats me at every tournament and in every exhibition we play. And you know, he’s just not smart. He plays Balrog.

Missing Person: How do you feel about the Northern Arena Knockout event?

Marn: It’s already gone very smoothly. They’ve already reached top 8 and it’s 9:00. They said it would end at 11:30. It’s actually surprising when a tournament says they’re going to start at a specific time and end at a specific time and it actually happens. That never happens.

They’re also very nice, and took care of us here. I haven’t had one complaint, and the one small thing I found was that the green room was too hot for us to play casuals in, and they didn’t even hesitate to turn on the air conditioning.

Missing Person: You grew up in the era of community-run events, and we’re now starting to see more events with corporate sponsorship. Do you feel like this helps to magnify the foundation that the community built?

Marn: It’s nice. The corporate run stuff is more professionally, and sometimes they tell me to tone it down, and that’s kind of not cool. But it’s better this way. It helps the scene grow with the exposure it gives to the games. I hope more of these come along. Lately it’s been a little here, a little there, and I hope it just gets more frequent.

Missing Person: You’ve always been known to go ham in front of cameras. Even at ELEAGUE we saw some of your flair. Do you feel like there’s still a place for that as the FGC moves toward the esports realm?

Marn: I think so. Sometimes you have to show your personality. We’re not robots. We’re not Japanese players. We’ve got to be real.

Missing Person: Have you played any of the Canadian players since you’ve been here?

Marn: I played Drae “Yomi” Games, the Laura player. He beat me. I don’t think he really bodied me though, it was really close. It was casuals. They’re really good. They beat all of our players here. They kind of destroyed us the first round, but we ultimately came back and destroyed them.

Martin "Marn" Phan playing Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite against Kenneth "Kbrad" Bradley before Northern Arena Knockout. Photo courtesy Corey "Missing Person" Lanier
Martin “Marn” Phan playing Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite against Kenneth “K-Brad” Bradley before Northern Arena Knockout.

Missing Person: Focusing on Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, you’ve always been a solid Vs. games player. What are your thoughts on the game?

Marn: It’s probably the most fun game I’ve played in a very long time. There’s not been a game where I’ve felt like I could sit down and play 100 games and be fine. Street Fighter V in my opinion is not a bad game, it’s just a very stressful game. That’s what I don’t like about it. If I play 20 or 30 games of it, I can’t do any more. It just hurts my brain. I’m not saying thinking too much is bad, but there’s so many frustrating moments to it. Even in Infinite, there are frustrating moments. But it’s very fun to play. It’s very fun to get creative.

Everything about the game is fun to me. Everything you think you can do in this game, you can eventually get it to work. It’s so nice to be so creative with your combos. People keep saying that the easy combos do the same damage, but it’s never been about that for me. It’s always been about being stylish and execution heavy. I can do that in this game. In SFV I cannot express my play style as much as I can in Infinite.

Missing Person: Are you drawing any shades of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom into this game?

MvCI Battle for the StonesMarn: No, it’s a completely different game. Yeah, there’s combo breakers in stuff, like the Mega Crash in TvC, but the tag system with no assists is so crazy. Everyone was freaking out that not having assists wouldn’t make it a Marvel game, but this game is definitely one.

It has everything you want in the game, except for the art. Some people just need to learn to look past that. They want to hate on this game for no reason. But if you’re having fun playing the game, does the art really matter?

Missing Person: So moving forward, are you going to be focusing on Infinite more?

Marn: I will only be focusing on Infinite until Season 3 comes out. That’s why I haven’t been travelling as much since I have given up on the CPT. But I will be going to all of the Battle of the Stones tournaments.

Missing Person: Your team is coming up really well. You’re setting yourself up for a run in Infinite, Smug is doing really well, and MenaRD has been a rising star of late. What’s your thoughts on this?

Marn: You know, at the beginning of Season 2, in my head I knew I wasn’t going to do well this season. It didn’t feel like a game for me. So I knew Rise was going to be mad if I tell them this. But if I hand them two great players who will do great and make Capcom Cup, they can’t be mad at me. So I gave them those players, and said, “I don’t want to travel anymore. You have two great CPT players. Just let me rock.”

Missing Person: So Marn is the harbinger of all the damage they’ve been doing?

Marn: Yeah, because I told them I want to focus on Marvel. I was going to give this game my 100% focus, so it would’ve been a waste of money to send me out for Street Fighter V, because my heart wasn’t there.

Missing Person: Are there any shout-outs you want to give?

Marn: Shout-outs to Rise and Kareem, the owner of the team. Shout-outs to the fans, I don’t know how many of them are still around. I’ll make it work once Infinite goes full throttle.

Corey "Missing Person" Lanier is a full-time writer, and one half of the "So Smart" team that did commentary for Street Fighter V Crash. A former English teacher, he has spent 5 years living between China and South Korea before moving to Canada. When he's not busy writing, he enjoys streaming, playing mafia and elevating his Super Turbo game. He also believes Sailor Moon S is the best fighting game on the planet, and if you don't believe him, see him in Sailor Moon!