It’s been quite the long hiatus, but one of the best online exhibitions is back. Focusing exclusively on Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2, Tension Pulse is coming back after about a five-month break. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it typically features four players paired up in sets of first-to-seven. Usually, one pair is rather less known, and the other features more famous players — though it’s not always a distinction. Famous or not, all the players display impressive skill at the venerated Arc System Works fighter. All this takes place on Steam’s servers, and features commentary duos for entertainment (and educational) purposes.
We’ve got fresh blood all around. We have a chance to see one of the best Baiken players in the United States, NitroNoodlez, face Strawberry’s Ky. That will be interesting to see, considering Baiken has received a healthy batch of upgrades in the 2.1 Guilty Gear patch. We will also see new I-no tricks from INOBOYZ against AverageJoe’s Johnny, who might not turn out so average. Let’s learn a little more about each participant and see what they have to say about their opponents.
On the match: “I’m super excited and happy I was approached for this exhibition. There aren’t many Baiken players out there and not much footage of her as well, so I want to show what she can do as of the latest update. Most importantly, I want it to be a set where not only me and my opponent can learn and improve from, but also any Baiken and Ky players out there.”
On his opponent: “I know Stawberry is quite a good Ky player and overall solid, but we’ve never played each other before, so I don’t know exactly how my opponent plays. Ky is so open-ended as a character that every Ky plays pretty differently. As far as the match-up goes, Ky is certainly one of Baiken’s worst. It’s hard for her to get things started against him, and he can force situations and interactions on her that are very skewed in his favor. It got slightly better with the 2.1 update, but not by much. That said, I have been preparing with my local Ky players, zenzen and bafojig, as well as invading the Ky discord for matches so I can play against a variety of styles.”
On his individual style: “Compared to the other Baiken players such as LTL and Mystic, I play pretty lame and passive. I don’t mind even if every game ends in a time out, haha. I think it stems from my playing environment and the characters I play in other games, such as Nine in Blazblue, where I will play a slower-paced game until I get a knockdown or smell blood. That said, I’m a bit of a slow starter so I constantly try to research, analyze and study since I’m not the type of player who usually plays off feel, despite Baiken having a penchant for making reads.”
On the match: “I’m excited to finally be on Tension Pulse, I’ve watched the stream for a long time, and I feel like this a great opportunity for me to start my tournament training for Texas Showdown and Combo Breaker. I hope at least I can put on a good show for people watching, but I have to confess — I really want to win too!”
On his opponent: “Coincidentally, I just met NitroNoodlez on Twitter a couple weeks ago while I was looking for information on Baiken. Since then, a lot of people have spoken highly of his skill, so I’m a little scared but also a little excited to play him so soon. I don’t have much experience against Baiken at all, so I’m not quite sure how to interact with her using Ky, but I’m most worried about falling into patterns and making it easy for her to Guard Cancel my offense. I think I need to be especially careful setting up okizeme. Ky is a strong and solid character, so despite my unfamiliarity with this specific match-up, I think if I can stick to what I know and adapt it around Nitro’s gameplan, I should be okay.”
On his individual style: “I feel like my playstyle is still in an emergent state, but I’d say I tend towards trying to minimize risk by playing from a distance. I enjoy the mind games that are created when I can set a Grinder and threaten the opponent into making a bad move. Ky is a character that can do well at all ranges, so if I’m feeling aggressive, there’s always that option too. I’ve also been trying to emphasize “mental strength” recently; if I have even a pixel of life left I won’t give up! Ultimately I want to do what I need to in order to win!”
On the match: “I’m very glad I have the opportunity to play in this exhibition. I don’t think I’m known outside of my circle of friends in the FGC, and this will help put me on the map and make a name for myself.”
On his opponent: “The only thing I know about INOBOYZ is that he thinks water is wack. Outside of jokes, I’ve only played him like six times at CEOtaku 2017. I do know that INOBOYZ travels for a lot for tournaments and also has a lot of Johnny experience from RIO, who is a Johnny player at his locals. I play the I-no match-up a bunch with my friends Spectryn, BeastChan23, and Havoc_Noah. So I feel very comfortable in the match-up. I think it will be a very exciting match, and hope to please everyone watching.”
On his individual style: “I like to play a very patient and calculated approach. I do have my fair share of crazy mashes and going ham, but every single time I do something in match, I do it with meaning and purpose.”
Don’t miss the reignition of Tension Pulse on its usual stream: Silva_hime’s Twitch channel. AverageJoe and INOBOYZ will kick off the action today at 9:30 PM ET/8:30 PM CT/6:30 PM PT. After that, we’ll see NitroNoodlez and his Baiken against Strawberry’s Ky. Hotashi and bafojig will commentate the sets.
Sources: interviews; Silva