Street Fighter League interview – MenaRD and the international FGC - Upcomer
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Our Street Fighter League interview series continues as we got a chance to speak with the former Capcom Cup champion MenaRD. We discussed this season of Street Fighter League, the growing international FGC, and the future of Street Fighter V.

DES: How did you come to be involved with Team Dynamite and with season 3 of Street Fighter League in general?

MenaRD: I was invited to the Street Fighter League after the European players could not attend because of travelling issues. At first I was drafted by Psycho Shinobi with HotDog and Xian, but Smug wanted me on Dynamite and we came to an agreement.

DES: Ever since your Capcom Cup victory the Dominican Republic has been put on the map in the Street Fighter community and this season Caba also joined you to participate. Did you have any part in helping Caba make it to Street Fighter League?

MenaRD: Caba was considered for Street Fighter League because he’s an amazing player and we both qualified for the 2020 Capcom Cup. But after every team drafted their players, Smug was deciding on who to draft, but it was not convenient for him to have a character specialist on his team after he lost (Nuckle)Du. Psycho Shinobi expressed to me that Caba was their 2nd choice after me, so I decided to join team Dynamite with Smug so that Caba could join Psycho Shinobi.

Screenshot from Capcom Pro Tour website

The best laid plans…

DES: Unfortunately due to the pandemic, the original plan to have the Capcom Cup take place in the Dominican Republic had to be scrapped. But the fact that it was planned in the first place really shows how far the country has come in terms of recognition within the FGC. What can you tell us about how that plan first came about? Did you bring it up to Capcom or the other way around?

MenaRD: Well, the Capcom team right now is amazing and those guys really should be appreciated in the community. They are very aware of what’s happening in the community and they can see things from a lot of different perspectives. Capcom was the one that told me about the cup in the Dominican Republic and I just tried to help with what I could. Since my team and I have a lot of experience with tournaments in the country and we really wanted to see it happen.

DES: In week 15 right before the finals you and the rest of Team Dynamite played amazingly against Alpha 3. What was the team’s mindset going into that match and how did you feel about the matches that night personally?

MenaRD: Well, our mindset was to let me counter pick whoever started and get the first point. Smug on the second spot had to have a higher success percentage to close the second match and pressure them. We predicted Nephew or Punk going first and I could counter pick both of them. Smug went second to cover and we predicted CJ (Truth) last. GamerBee is a solid player and he’s good in the mirror match so we went for it and it worked.
DES: Unfortunately, despite great matches from everyone involved, Dynamite didn’t make it past the second part of the night in the playoffs. Was there anything that you felt you could have done differently? Either personally or with the team as a whole?

MenaRD: Yeah, personally, I should have been more confident in some of the matches and I didn’t trust my Abigail enough (laughs). As a team we were amazing. [There are] a few things we could have done better, as there’s always room to improve, but we tried our best and I’m proud of how Dynamite did.

Looking back on season 3

DES: In your match against Big Bird during the playoffs what made you pick Seth as opposed to any of your other character choices?

MenaRD: I personally think Seth has good advantage over G and I was doing pretty good on the matchup versus other G players. I was able to win vs 801 Strider and Nephew so I thought it was a good idea to try the matchup again in the playoffs. I was not ready for how good Big Bird was in the match up. Looking back I believe I should have picked Sakura or R. Mika, since he probably practices the Seth matchup a lot with AngryBird. But I don’t regret my decision since it was a good one and it was a decision the team agreed with.

DES: There are very few players who can pick up so many characters and excel with them like you can. How do you juggle handling so many different characters and matchups at the same time?

MenaRD: What I do is while learning how to play a matchup, I learn how to use the character I want to beat. That way I see what is difficult to deal with when I’m using them. Another thing that helps is using the characters for specific match ups, that way I just have to learn how to use the character in a specific way and not completely master them.

DES: What made you decide to pick up Sakura for this season of Street Fighter League? She is a very strong character but I still feel like she gets looked over compared to others on the roster. As a big fan of the character, it was great to see you perform so well with her.

MenaRD: Thank you (laughs). I picked Sakura because a friend of mine is a big fan of her and I wanted to show him how strong she was. Eventually, I found her very fun and decided to give her a try in tournaments.

Moving forward with Street Fighter V

DES: What are your thoughts on the new V-Shift mechanic that was announced during the Winter Update?
MenaRD: I think it changes the way the game is played. Now, using the resources to activate V-Trigger might no longer be the best option and it will make the game way more fun. I can’t wait to try it.
DES: Street Fighter V has grown a lot since its original launch and has evolved into a complete and enjoyable game by this point. Is there anything you would like to see carried over or changed into whatever Street Fighter 6 may turn out to be?
MenaRD: I would love if the personalities and differences each character has with the V-Skill/V-Triggers are transitioned to Street Fighter 6. Even if it is with a new mechanic that replaces the V-System.
DES: Are there any other fighting games that you have been playing besides Street Fighter from a competitive perspective? Or anything coming out this year that has grabbed your attention?

MenaRD: Right now I’m very focused on Street Fighter V. It would be amazing if the netcode gets improved to be able to have a more enjoyable experience now that online is so important. But I will keep giving all of my focus to Street Fighter this year.

Screenshot from Street Fighter V

Words of wisdom

DES: Your rise to prominence is a big inspiration to lots of players in the community, especially those in areas not known for having a big presence in the FGC. What would you say to those living in areas like that who want to grow in the FGC, especially now during the pandemic?

MenaRD: Never give up, you only fail when you stop trying.

A big thank you to Mena for taking the time to speak with us. You can catch him and the rest of the players that qualified for Capcom Cup this year during the online Capcom Pro Tour finals this weekend. You can catch it at 7:00 EST on February 20 – 21 on the Capcom Fighters TwitchYouTube and Facebook pages.