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Behind the Sticks – Fiyah Liger

UltraTech Timestamp:

Tell us about yourself.


My name is Damien aka Fiyah Liger. I am currently on the Selfless Gaming organization to compete in Killer Instinct. I am an avid sports fans, mainly consisting of NFL, UFC, and Boxing. If you ask me about any of those I’ll probably know more about that then I need to/more then you. Also I’m a huge Anime fan. Always watching something on Crunchyroll or online (and no not the typical American Animes that get popular here in the states). I have a wonderful wifey and working full time so the time I have for gaming is very precious to me these days. I am also a musician. I can play Drums, Guitar, Bass, and Piano well. I used to play Trumpet. I tried to learn violin but that’s a bit more complicated than most instruments. Most of the things I learned in music has been self-taught. I do know how to read sheet music due to Choir, Recorder, and one semester of piano in high school. But for the most part I play by ear. Also I like to think I’m a pretty snazzy singer. Come see me in some karaoke sometime haha.


What got you into playing Killer Instinct? Were you a fan of the original before getting into the new Killer Instinct?


I originally grew up playing the original KI for the SNES. My dad used to take me and my brother to the arcades nearby to play the “adult” players and we used to do very well when we were younger (around age 6-7ish). I’ve always grown up as a gamer and competitor. And having and older brother and father who are the same way drove me to always become better in every game I’ve played. Trust me when your dad’s taunting you when he’s beating you by 40 in Madden 93 it helps build a strong character. Same goes for when I played football way back when but hey that’s a story for another day.


As for as the new KI goes, when it was originally announced for E3 I was happy but at the same time meh. I never really paid attention to the KI scene when I did start making my appearance in the FGC via MVC3/UMVC3. The only time I truly watched a top 8 was CEO 2014. Season 1, I was becoming a fan/friends with CDJR, JWong, Rico, etc. And when I saw KDD break this game with that Sadira ultra and how hype the crowd was for Ricky Walker it caught my attention. Still didn’t have an Xbox One so that was about the only tourney I watched live.


To be completely honest. The reason I picked this game up was because I just happened to be watching ChrisG stream KI randomly one day during mid S2 when Riptor was released and watched him go thru training mode trying to learn her. I liked the character design and because the game was free and I finally had an Xbox One I decided to finally sit down and give it a try (Starting with Jago/Orchid to learn the main game mechanics before I bought Riptor and began truly training mainly with TekkenTim aka FeastedGaming aka EMPR Souless who really helped me learn the game).


You’ve been known as one of the best players that uses Riptor, what made you decide to pick up Riptor as your Main Character? Have you ever considered switching your Main?


One of the best? pssshhh I am her chosen Disciple leader. But enough about that lol.


Going back to the ChrisG stream, it just so happened that PaulB was also watching that stream. I had no clue who he was but he blew up Chris’s chat/twitter to play a set in the mirror match. That’s when I witnessed Riptor’s true shenanigans (Flame Carpet setups, Infinite, Tailflip 50/50’s). It blew my mind what this character could do and because she’s an animal I was drawn to her concept and design already. If you look at my track record I’ve always liked fire based, or animal based characters (Dormammu, Redacted, Gado, Long, Felicia, Ken, Sagat, Kuma, etc.). This character is both in one so it was an easy pick for me.


But people always ask, why not play Wulf? Well…. A. Because he’s a Wulf >_> and B. I just never had fun watching Wulf players play when I did finally start watching KI. I just feel like he didn’t suit me and how I would choose to approach this game. I always feel the most important thing for me in fighting games is to play what you like not because they are top tier but because they are fun, look cool, look interesting, or fit your play style. I do not believe in playing and picking top tier for the sake of doing it as I feel it becomes a chore and loses the true essence of gaming period.


There has never been a point in time where I even considered changing Riptor as my main. It’s never crossed my mind once, even when she was bottom 3 in S2 and everyone started dropping her*cough*Paul*cough* I have a strong sense of character loyalty. From the time I started learning her and the game I’ve literally never touched another character in this game ever until General RAAM came out. But I mainly just play him for fun. He’s not someone I feel I would play in tournament. Or if I did it wouldn’t be any time soon. But with me being as stubborn as I am I can never betray waifu Riptor. Unlike some of my Riptorian children… Keith (Gargos), Moxy (Cinder), Paul (Everyone but Rippy). I’m disappointed in my Riptorian army but I still love em <3.



Was there a “breakthrough” moment for you where you gained the confidence to compete at a higher level?  When did that happen for you in KI?


The first tournament I competed in KI in was TX Showdown 2015. I got to losers semis after playing for maybe 3-4 months at the time. Of course I was more focused on Marvel at the time so not the end of the world. Next I went to Combo Breaker 2015.


Now that I feel is the moment I began to realize I can actually compete in this game. I went there after another 2 months of practice from TX Showdown feel better about how I’ve been playing. There I play against Jebailey first game. First match, on stream, I’m not completely sure how it’s going to go. Alex giving me the old “I don’t even play this game so you better not lose” OS. I’m already kind of meh with him at this moment, then my controller disconnects 2 secs into game one. We restart, my controller disconnected again. My cord was jacked up since I accidentally grabbed my roommates cord. Hi I’m Keith gives me his cord but I’m already out of it. Then I proceed to lose to that man… That guy of all people… and of course he pops off. So I’m in Losers first round, miserable about what just happened, but it’s not all bad because the main reason I went to CB was to play Divekick honestly. That was my jam at the time.


So I go to play off stream, I steam roll thru losers side and get to losers finals to face Grief. At the time I have no clue who he is, but he picked Sadira who I had no clue how to fight and was a horrible match up for Riptor at the time. I managed to beat Grief 3-1 and popped off since it was the first time I made it out of pools in that game. Grief hated me but now he loves me and we pop off on each other every time we play because reasons.


Now fast forward to my first match out of pools in top 16 and who do I have to play? The guy who at the time basically was the guide to play Riptor. One of the main mentors PaulB. At the time I was a huge fan of his and was extremely nervous but my competitiveness didn’t allow me to just roll over and die. Playing against Paul was one of the most stressful and fun matches I’ve ever played in KI. Even though I got 3-0’d it wasn’t as free as I thought it would be and I was about to make one of the hardest reads that worked in my favor in the last game during the last seconds.


At that moment I knew I could at least compete with the top players of the scene. From there on it was all grinding online, 8BitBeatdowns, and playing sets against better players as I acquired more friends/rivals within the scene. With the changes from S2-S3 Riptor I feel has been at her best since Day 1 broken nonsense.


Additionally, you’ve recently been picked up by Selfless Gaming. What has that experience been like?


It’s been amazing. Our team manager Ryu is extremely supportive of my gaming. He’s also invested very much into the scene watching many of our in scene only Tournaments (8BBD/KIPL). I even managed to get him to watch Combo Breaker 2016 Top 8 and other majors in a game that he normally probably wouldn’t even have bother to check out. Also the respect from all our other players has been awesome. It’s been so much fun that I’ve actually began playing CS:GO because of the Selfless Team. I used to play Counter Strike religiously in middle school at a local PC Cafe. I stopped when the source version came out but as I watched selfless play CS:GO I fell back in love with the game. I even recently climbed out of the bottom tier Silver rank and made it top Gold rank this past week.


But the continued support and memes from the team has been awesome and I will continue to support, promote, and work with them to help grow their FGC/Smash team and cheer on our amazing men and women’s CS:GO teams. As well as our Overwatch and Rocket League squads. #SelflessPride


Since Season 3’s Launch, you seem to have stepped up your game by placing in Top 8 in virtually every Tournament you’ve been competing in. What has changed for you personally that has helped you level up?


I feel like after I finally got over a years’ worth of training in with one specific character it helps with learning match ups much faster than someone who has 2 or more characters. Since the S3 launch the changes to Riptor have 100% changed the Meta of the character in my opinion. I believe in S2 she was built to be very nutty. She didn’t have great damage in standard combos. He neutral was complete garbage (sweep was -15 for some reason) and her other buttons were okay but there’s a lot of the cast that can beat her. Her predator stance and predator dash was virtually useless since it got hit by fireballs and other projectiles. The only way to get true damage was from tail flip resets but after a while most people learned how to block it.


Now in S3, I feel she’s better suited for a more conservative approach. I no longer need to rely on Tailflip to get me damage. Her overall damage has been increased so I can focus more on keeping my opponent in front of me instead of risking a move that is -1000000 on block. The other big change was the Flame Mortars, Those things changed 3 really bad matchups into 3 even if not winning match ups now. The angle and way they track cover a lot of dead space she could not cover in previous versions. And heavy hits beating armor help out so much especially against people like Glacius or Aganos.


So combining those 2 concepts as well as knowing how to approach all S1-S2 matchups I feel like I had an early head start when I began relearning the new balanced Riptor. From there it’s been adding in the new S3 mechanics of stagger off Flame Arc and Run HK into the arsenal for some nasty setups.

Even with all that though I was unable to get the EVO Top 8 I really wanted. That’s the only major I haven’t gotten Top 8 at this year and it sucks but live and learn. Extremely hard to get anywhere at these tournaments.


Have any advice for upcoming players in KI? How do you usually prepare for a tournament?


If you’re picking up KI find a character that suits you. I know I’ve said it before but don’t go snooping around for “top tier” especially with IGS at the helm. They will get patched and the tier list is always changing. If you want to learn your character, find out who the best players are (online and offline) and ask them for tips and sets to help improve your game. Ask them what you are doing wrong if you feel you are no progressing. Don’t take anything to heart if it comes off mean. You have to learn from your mistakes. Also I highly recommend you watch as many KI tournaments to learn more about your character and every other character as Top 16 or Top 8 usually have a wide variety of the cast in the mix.


When I’m getting ready for a tournament. For me personally I’m mostly playing in ranked. I know others will say, oh why don’t you play sets against other good players. Well in order to get to the good players you have to get through the “Randoms” in your pool. 2-3 Ranked games help me get in the tournament mindset of short sets against a large variety of the cast. I know what I’m getting against the top players. It’s everyone else I’m worried about and with this amazing net code and the fact everyone has been leveling up I can’t take anyone for granted.


What are your thoughts on the Community Survey that was sent out a little while ago? What did you request for on it?


Not going to lie… I didn’t do it. I probably saw it one day then skipped over it. I’m actually really busy with work and my bad that I tend to miss a lot of things or delay on certain things. Sorry about that Keits and IGS >_>


Anything else you’d like to tell your fans or give thanks to anyone?


To all 3 of my fans, I truly want to say thank you for your support. I hope you enjoy my Riptor play and I hope to inspire new hatchlings to follow in my claws. I’m always available to help out if you have questions if I’m not available to play myself.

I would like to thank my Team Selfless Gaming for giving me the platform to promote their team into a whole new market/scene. As well as helping me out with whatever I need. You rock -RYU


I want to thank all of my friends and training partners (DevilMayCare, Evil Bass, Raven Is Raw, everyone in BH, Grief, Everyone in BxA, PaulB, Sleep, Rico, and all you silly goobers in ranked). Also everyone who plays in the 8BBD or KIPL. You guys are awesome.


Thanks to my Riptorian Followers/Supporters/Players, Keith, Moxy, Yoloho, Boogiemane, Scolioreset. And everyone else who plays the Goddess Riptor. You da the real MVP’s.


Also shout-outs to my brother who supports your boy. And of course the rest of my family and friends.


And last but not least my loving completely supportive wifey <3 The best Fox in the world.


Love you all, you can check out my stream FiyahLiger on Twitch or follow me on Twitter @Fiyah_Liger to find out when I’m streaming, when I’m talking about sports and random work stuff.