Shoryuken interview: PR Balrog speaks on switching to the Demon and his journey in the Capcom Pro Tour

By on August 10, 2018 at 1:00 pm
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Eduardo “PR Balrog” Perez took time from his Evo schedule to speak with SRK on the state of SFV’s netcode, his major character switch, and points distribution within the CPT.

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Known throughout the fighting game community for his performance with Shadaloo’s boxing King, CYG BST|PR Balrog has since switched characters in favor of Akuma. From this considerable switch to his performance at ELEAGUE and more, PR Balrog talked to SRK at Evo 2018 and gave us a look into his journey in this year’s CPT and beyond.

Transcending his humanity

As can be guessed, PR Balrog is so named for his outstanding accomplishments with Street Fighter’s original boxing character. However, much has changed since SFV’s release, and Eduardo is now under the sway of the Satsui no Hadou. He attributes this character switch to Balrog’s lack of viable tools, as well as Akuma’s comparatively engaging playstyle. “The reason why I changed was because current Balrog doesn’t allow me to do what I want,” he explained. “He doesn’t have a reversal in this game, so it makes it hard for me to play my game. Akuma has a fireball, which you can relate to Balrog with the rush punch, but Balrog doesn’t have a reversal, so I have to block all day. Akuma does have one, of course. I think he’s just more fun too.”

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With Akuma sitting as the second most-used character in SFV, Eduardo’s change in mains aligns with the FGC’s movements at large. Up until Evo, it seemed as though the top tiers controlled the game’s competitive sphere — with two potential Abigails and Tokido’s Akuma appearing in Evo’s top 8, this still appears to be true (albeit Cammy and Menat were nowhere to be found, and Problem X ultimately decided to stick with M. Bison for the finals). Although the Cammy menace is still at large, PR Balrog believes that her strength — and that of other top tiers — is just part of the fighting game meta. “Every version has top tiers,” he stated. “That’s just how it is. It’s true that Cammy has not been nerfed, and she remains untouched. I think you just have to play the game.”

ELEAGUE and the console challenge

PR Balrog was seen using Akuma upon his return to TBS’s ELEAGUE, going up against the current Capcom Cup champion RISE|MenaRD and 2017’s Evo champion Echo Fox|Tokido in Group A. Although he fought hard, he didn’t make it out of the group stages, and was eliminated by Dogura’s Urien 2-3. Eduardo stated that his performance in the invitational ultimately acted as a means to gauge his strength for future competitions. “ELEAGUE to me was like a line saying, ‘This is where I’m at,’” he explained.  “I lost all my matches, but they were all 2-1’s, so I just need to do better next time.”

Eduardo likewise noted that the use of PS4s as a determining factor in his performance. With the recent news of SFV’s input delay and introduction of artificial latency in its netcode on the PS4, his PC training left him with the need to adapt to the console during his matches. “I feel that I could have won a lot of those, and I don’t want to make this an excuse, but I play a lot on PC,” he said. “So when I came to ELEAGUE and I finally played on the PS4, it felt a lot different than I was used to, and that was a disadvantage on my part. But it’s okay. I think it helped me to realize where I was and what I need to work on.”

Points distribution and Evo advice

Aside from Evolution and ELEAGUE, PR Balrog hasn’t been travelling much for competition in this year’s CPT. Part of his reasoning for this absence deals with the current points distribution within the Tour — as it places a greater emphasis on Premiers rather than Ranking events, competitors must fly their way to the Tour’s biggest tournaments to earn a meaningful amount of points. “I like streaming a lot, so I like staying at home,” Eduardo stated. “I do like going to tournaments.” It is also worth noting that Eduardo is employed full-time, with responsibilities that do not allow for frequent travel. Thus, his life outside of the game takes precedence over competing at present.

Evolution 2018 likewise marked an important Premier in the Capcom Pro Tour. As the biggest fighting game tournament in the world, it also marks the first of many players’ experiences in a tournament setting, and can inspire them to put in serious work and practice to improve. Eduardo’s advice to these new players centered on time management and a focus on enjoying their time, in order to get the most out of their tournament experience. “Whenever you go to a tournament, always take advantage of your time,” he advised. “Play as many people as you can. Ask questions — but not too many, ha ha. Other than that, drink a lot of water, and most importantly, have fun. If you’re not having fun, you should not be there.”

Eduardo’s advice comes just after Evolution’s finishing crescendo. With Problem X’s victory sending him to the second place in the CPT ranking and two new characters in the mix, the CPT could very well see more insanity throughout the rest of the season. TWFighter major is on the horizon, and SCR follows as the last Premier event in the States before Capcom Cup — who’s to say what will come next?

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