Shoryuken caught up with Capcom Cup 2017 finalist RB.CYG BST|Darryl “Snake Eyez” Lewis shortly after his run at Red Bull Battle Grounds, where he competed in Street Fighter V, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, and Ultra Street Fighter IV. Though he was not able to break into the finals that weekend, he spoke about his preparation for Capcom Cup, Street Fighter V’s grapplers, and the current direction of the Street Fighter community.
Forte: So, you’re through with all of your games today?
Snake Eyez: Yeah, I’m out, I played every game [except Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike]. To be honest, going from Street Fighter V to Super Turbo and then Street Fighter IV, then back and then playing the same character in every game… it was hard, because once I saw green hand my mind just changed. It was hard to retain the same play style in Street Fighter V, so I ended up losing that match then I went back to Super Turbo. It was like heavy juggling, I don’t think I should play that many games at the same time, you know?
Forte: But, at the same time, what made you want to play them?
Snake Eyez: They were all free. For some reason I didn’t think it was going to affect me the way it did, but it really hindered my performance a lot. But it was fun, I know that I can’t do combos anymore in Street Fighter IV. That was rough, that was something that I prided myself in, but since I don’t need it anymore I kind of just dropped it.
Forte: And how are you feeling about Capcom Cup? You’re not going to change your placing today.
Snake Eyez: That’s the important one, I mean this is important too, but I’m definitely going to boot camp before Capcom Cup comes. And I’m going to get my pad fixed. I’m gonna try and play with relevant characters that are in Capcom Cup. And I don’t know if people are picking up new characters or if they’re trying out alternates, but I’m going to watch a lot of videos and play as hard as I can to try and take the whole thing.
Forte: Do you gameplan for specific players, like your route through the bracket, or are you just trying to square up your game in general?
Snake Eyez: I’m just trying to square up my game in general, but I do like to practice against specific players because I can’t purely out-footsie someone in this game and win the entire time. You need to have multiple elements to be able to beat them in a match. So it takes a little more effort to beat someone in this game, I have to really know what they want to do. I have to know if they’re going to dash a lot, or jump. Because you can’t really react, so you have to replace that with a lot of other things.
Forte: You came out to a big lead during the Capcom Pro Tour season, how have you been getting your practice in?
Snake Eyez: I actually have a few friends within my area, some not too close, in Texas and SoCal. So we end up playing against each other, I would say they’re like above-intermediate. So like almost as good as me, but not quite. But they can take games off of me, so that’s important. The thing about this game is you can play against casuals and still get relevant practice to go to a tournament and play in.
I get a lot of online practice and I’m always in training mode. I was trying to figure out how to properly train, because I was using a training mode mechanic that was supposed to be used a different way, and I was using it the wrong way the entire time, and I lost to Idom at East Coast Throwdown because of that specific thing.
Whenever I knocked him down he would wake up with a certain button that pushed him backwards, and I was like, he didn’t do that on purpose. So I did it again and he did it again and I was like “OK yeah, that was on purpose,” and it was actually surprising that he knew that. With Zangief I don’t have to do that specific string, I can just do headbutt and he would get hit, because he pressed a button on wake-up. So that was interesting that he would do it perfectly every time. And I like to try and figure out players and their intricate button timings, and stuff like that.
Forte: Without one frame links in the game, how do you use training mode?
Snake Eyez: When I’m in training mode, I’m like man, this is not that fun. What I mostly practice is hit confirms, so I’ll put the computer on random block and I’ll try to confirm one of my combos, or like a headbutt into super. Or with Akuma, I’m practicing certain strings, or something like that. So with Akuma it’s a bit more difficult because he’s a striker character, and I’m mostly trying to SPD with Zangief, like all the time.
But yeah, just trying to make sure my combos are consistent. Akuma actually has difficult combos in the corner, like counter-hit crouch strong into the back fierce into delayed red fireball, and then uppercut. Then he has Crush Counter into pretty much the same thing. I’ve been practicing that a lot, and I’m starting to figure out that it may not be worth it because it’s just so hard. And I don’t know how Tokido does it, he must’ve been in training mode so long practicing that.
Forte: What about practicing online?
Snake Eyez: That’s mostly my training, but I’m playing online too. But sometimes it’s hard to get the right guys to train with, because some days they might be laggy, and then some days you come across a lot of newcomers and you can’t really profit from online play, it’s not consistent. Because when the game first came out you could play Ranked mode and it was legitimate practice. But I don’t think anyone really plays Ranked anymore. They only do Battle Lounge and they only look for people around their specific area, so you have to deal with that entire thing and it’s a hassle.
So I end up traveling to play with friends, I’ll take a break in Texas and play of the local guys there, then I’ll go back home to SoCal and play all of the local guys there. It’s getting a little harder to get practice though, seriously.
Forte: Is that just because you’re getting so far ahead of the pack?
Snake Eyez: I think so; it’s so weird that I’m playing guys in casuals and I’m destroying them, and then when tournament comes around it’s like somehow they got a little better, or I’m just playing slightly worse. Or I’m just guessing wrong with Zangief, because I kind of have to guess to get damage.
Forte: A lot of characters in SFV have command grabs in general, how do you feel Zangief is set apart from the other command grab characters like Alex and Laura?
Snake Eyez: I think that Zangief, his archetype is very fair because he’s very slow and strong when he gets close. But then you have characters who are strong and they’re fast, or they’re strong and they’re grapplers. So that doesn’t really make sense to me, because there were never really grapplers like that in Street Fighter except for Abel. But he was just a hyper grappler. He wasn’t like Laura who is almost like everything, and a grappler.
And Alex as a grappler, he is fine right now. It’s just the other characters are too good. He does well against Zangief, and Ryu (Ryu sucks too), but he does well against those characters. It’s just the stronger characters that present a problem.
Forte: How about Abigail?
Snake Eyez: I like Abigail, I don’t really like his anti-air though. He’s so tall that when a character jumps in, Abigail’s height meets them at the peak of their jump and you can’t really time it on the way down, you have to an anti-air them almost as soon as they jump.
That poses a problem for me because some of the most damaging combos in Street Fighter come from jump-ins, and if I can’t stop that it’s a huge problem. But aside from that he is very strong. Like if they gave him an extremely good anti-air, he would probably be too good. But he has tech, I was talking to CoolKid93, I think he might be the best Abigail in the US. He was sharing tech with me and I was like man, I might have to try out Abigail when I go back home. He did one combo on Samurai and it did 80% damage. And I was like wow, that really appeals to me as a player, that’s my style.
Forte: Is Abigail your favorite out of the season two characters?
Snake Eyez: He’s my favorite character to watch, but I don’t think I would play him in tournament. I would have to play him in a match-up that I know he’s good in, and also I would have to play him for a while to want to pick him in a certain match. Because I don’t really feel confident in his buttons and I need to have my instinctual thought process built into me to want to play a character. Because when something happens I don’t want to think about what I need to do, I want to just do it right away. And that works for Zangief and Akuma, but not Abigail right now. Definitely gonna stream really hard and play some Abigail.
Forte: Most people feel that Zangief is a strong character, but I don’t think he pops up immediately in that conversation; what match-ups do you feel he has trouble with?
Snake Eyez: Lately I’ve been feeling like he loses to like F.A.N.G and like Alex, Dhalsim, and Menat. I actually think he doesn’t do so bad against Akuma, but other players have been telling me differently. Oh Guile! How did I forget that one? And he loses to Abigail, and that’s a really frustrating one, because he does what Zangief does to other characters — but he does more damage and has higher health, so it feels really shitty. I think that might be it, everyone else, he can beat them.
Forte: Anything on your Season 3 wish list for the game?
Snake Eyez: I want Zangief to have green hand, that’s obvious. I don’t even know what his second V-Trigger would be. The biggest thing I want is for the input lag to be reduced. I heard about the Unreal Engine patch or whatever, and I was like hell yeah, we’re gonna get reduced lag. It’s decently low now at 6.5 or something like that, but if it was like 5 that would be really nice.
Forte: How do you feel about the direction of the game, and the community?
Snake Eyez: I feel like people are still into it, but for some reason lately people have been on this weird complainy route. They kind of seem like they don’t really know what they’re talking about, but they just complain. Or when someone tries to support them, they just have really crazy things to say about it or aren’t really grateful for having it. And there’s this weird hive mind right now that they’re developing, but I feel like everyone is in a better position now than they were before, and we’re not really sacrificing much to get more eyes on Street Fighter.
So I think it’s going in a good direction. If you look back just a few years ago we weren’t this big, and we’re still not done. I like the direction, the only thing I wish would change are certain things about the game and it could be so much better.
Forte: And what do you think about an event like this, where for free, you can play Street Fighter II, III or IV?
Snake Eyez: I couldn’t imagine being a guy living in Boston, working everyday, and then I just randomly hear about a Red Bull Street Fighter event down the street for just 10 bucks and I get to play in a tournament or just go there and play pros. This entire venue is modeled after Union Station and only Red Bull does stuff like that, it’s sick, and not a lot of people notice when they first come in. It was really fun — they like the VR thing, that was dope.
I love the grassroots of the fighting game community, because everyone’s still organic. You still see salt, you still see pop-offs, I got pop-off’d on early — well, it wasn’t a real pop-off but the guy apologized to me after, and I’m like, dude don’t apologize, that makes it worse! No other esports community is like the FGC where they do things like that, because everything is regulated in a corporate manner. But the fighting game community can have corporate powers behind it, but it’s still grassroots — and that’s what makes it extremely unique, and that’s something that it needs to pride itself on. And I understand why everyone is upset, but we can make a small sacrifice without having to sacrifice everything.