While it’s easy to label Kyle “Brutus” Gallant as one of Canada’s brightest young players in Street Fighter V, it would be a disservice to him. It would be fairer to call him one of the brightest young players in the world. At age 16, Brutus walked into the Toronto weekly “Stun City” event — formerly held at A&C Games in Chinatown — a complete unknown. He walked out with a top 3 finish.
He hasn’t stopped leveling up since. He was part of a team Toronto that finished just outside of finals at Red Bull Proving Grounds Finals in the fall season, and also took three of Japan’s best in Dogura, Momochi, and Itabashi Zangief out of the team tournaments at Canada Cup 2017. While there, I sat down with Brutus to talk about his rise to stardom.
Corey “Missing Person” Lanier: How was your Canada Cup this year?
Kyle “Brutus” Gallant: It was good. I played in the 5-on-5 team tournament, and our first opponent was Japan 2. I was able to beat both Momochi and Itabashi Zangief before losing to Moke. In losers bracket we fought Japan 3, and I was able to defeat Dogura before losing to Daikoku_GO. In singles, I didn’t do as well — I went 3-2, losing to Nephew and Sako.
Missing Person: Those aren’t bad losses — Nephew went very far in the bracket, and Sako is a legend.
Brutus: While they’re respectable losses, I didn’t have any notable wins in singles either.
Missing Person: Let’s walk through the team battles first. Take me through the wins over Momochi and Itazan — especially the Itazan win where you defeated the best Zangief on the planet, in the mirror.
Brutus: With Momochi, after Orangeman lost to him, we decided to put me up next. We feel that Zangief beats Ken. At first, it looked bad. Momochi was whiff-punishing my standing fierce for 300+ damage. At that point I was at 10% life to his 95%. Then I was able to get one jump-in into EX SPD. And he just died from there. After that, I don’t remember too many specifics because it happened so quickly, but I was able to clutch it out. I was thinking it was something he would do to me, so I was really happy about that.
Against Itazan, I had played him in casuals just before the team tournament. He beat me 5-0. After I played him, I asked him what I needed to do better, and when we came to the team tournament, I applied what he told me to do immediately. I was happy that I was able to adapt that quickly and take the game when it mattered the most.
Missing Person: What were those things that he told you?
Brutus: He told me that my defense was way too predictable. He was able to understand my defense way too perfectly. He also said my offense was way too predictable. At that point I realized that because I watch Itazan play so much, that when I played against him, I was playing it like he would. This was why it was so easy for him to understand. When I played him in the team tournament, I tried to play more like myself, as well as other Zangiefs like DrDannyPham. This threw Itazan off.
Missing Person: You mentioned Itazan and DrDannyPham as two of your inspirations. Who are some other Zangiefs that you look up to?
Brutus: I’d say the top 5 Zangief players in the world are Itazan, Snake Eyez, Kichipa-mu, DrDannyPham and Stupendous.
Missing Person: You were 16 years old when you first entered a tournament at A&C Games in Toronto, and I believe you got third place there. Since then, your progress has only been phenomenal. How much are you grinding lately?
Brutus: I’ve actually been grinding a lot less than I used to. In terms of execution and general game plans, I have most of those down. It was just that my mental state was really bad before. That’s mainly the thing that I’ve been working on. That’s sort of an out-of-game thing that you don’t necessarily need to be playing the game to develop.
Missing Person: Those adjustments have been paying off, as you found your way to Red Bull Proving Grounds Finals. How was the experience for you?
Brutus: I was able to go 11-3 in sets. I took two sets from Houston. I OCV’d Atlanta and Orlando. I took two games from Philadelphia and one game from Montreal. My most notable wins were against Philadelphia where I beat JB and Ludovic. I was pretty happy with my performance in the event. We worked together to deliberate on who should go first. I’m not fully happy with how we did that, because that’s what caused us to lose to Philadelphia. If we had more thoroughly thought out our gameplan, we could’ve went 5-0 instead of 4-1, which would have put us in the finals.
Missing Person: With events like Red Bull Proving Grounds in North America and Gfinity in Europe, how do you feel about the team format for Street Fighter?
Brutus: I like it a lot. It’s more dynamic and requires a lot more thinking in terms of gameplan. What I like about it too is that it separates itself from team games somewhat — which I don’t like team games. In team games like DOTA, you can be a really good player but still have to rely on your teammates. If they’re not good, then the game is a lost cause. In Street Fighter, you can still win by yourself in team tournaments. That’s part of why I like fighting games is I don’t have to rely on someone else to win. In team tournaments, you can rely on your team, but you don’t have to either, because at times you may have to carry them to victory — or vice versa.
It also brings a lot of energy to this to say “Team Canada,” or “Team Japan,” as opposed to just saying it’s a Canadian player against a Japanese player.
Missing Person: You’re still studying, and with the season winding down, there’s less chances of this happening this year, but are you planning on doing any travelling to events in 2018?
Brutus: I’m considering going to Combo Breaker and Summer Jam. I’m also thinking about SoCal Regionals. I just want to get out there as much as possible.
Missing Person: How do you feel about Zangief as far as Season 2 is concerned?
Brutus: I actually believe he is top 10. He may be in the lower part of that, but he’s really strong.
Missing Person: What are your thoughts going into Arcade Edition? Are there any changes you’d like to see made, or have you put any thought into what you’d like his second V-Trigger to be?
Brutus: I have a feeling they’re going to give him Green Hand for his V-Trigger. If they do, I would like for them not to make it projectile invincible — because that would make his current one worthless — but make it similar to Karin’s V-Trigger, where he has access to multiples of it.
Missing Person: You’ve shown the world how capable your Zangief is. Do you have any pocket characters you’re working on?
Brutus: I’m just rocking Zangief the whole way.
Missing Person: How do you mitigate your bad matchups?
Brutus: You just play them more, so that you understand them more. That’s how I mitigate my bad matchups.
Missing Person: Any shout-outs you’d like to give?
Brutus: I would like to give a shoutout to two people that have been helping me level up my mental game which has improving recently, and those are L.E.S and Andrew “Drewface” Nguyen.