The Killer Instinct Community is full of great competitive and casual players alike. Here at Ultra-Combo we’d like to start getting familiar with KI players from all over the world and see what makes them tick.
First up we have Kenneth “Ultra Arcade Bass” Armas from New Jersey known for his high level Spinal play. We ask what got him into playing Killer Instinct, his experiences in the tournament scene and what drives him to compete.
Tell us about your tournament history in Killer Instinct.
Kenneth “UA | Bass” Armas: 1st place Texas Showdown 2015, The Common Wealth, CEO 2015, SCR 2015 and Kombo Klash Japan. I’ve also placed Top 8 at every major attended since Kombo Klash (Texas)
What got you into Killer Instinct? Were you a fan of the original before getting into the new Killer Instinct?
Bass: I still own my Killer Instinct for my SNES, and grew up playing it in the Arcades alongside various fighting games. My first competitive fighting game was Street Fighter 4, then all of its versions, and Street Fighter x Tekken.
What are your favorite KI music tracks?
Bass: Aria or Orchid from the new KI and Glacius or Riptor’s theme from KI Classic.
How often do you practice, is it mostly online or offline with friends?
Bass: I play online for practice, and stream for fun and for my fans. Offline is better in my opinion, but all of my friends are into FPS. So online is my personal dojo. I don’t really play as much. I like to take breaks every now and then to keep the game fresh, and my reactions and muscle memory intact, rather than worn out.
Coming from personal experience as a competitor, there can be a “breakthrough” moment where you gain confidence to compete at high level. When did that happen for you in KI?
Bass: My breakthrough moment in KI was my evolution as a player when it came to performing in live tournaments. Transforming from the underdog into a strong threat. If I had to choose, it would either be my top 3 performance at Winter Brawl, or winning my first major at Texas Showdown vs MyGod(Grand Finals from Texas Showdown below)
What drew you into playing KI competitively and attending tournaments?
Bass: Killer Instinct at first got me hooked because of how fun the game was. As a hardcore SF player, it caught me by surprise that a reboot of KI would actually take up most of my time. Due to netcode differences, KI eventually made me drop SF for a bit. It’s the main fighter I play at the moment. I still play USF4, and will also be playing SFV on release. I love KI, I love the roster and how fun everyone is. The community got me hooked, and the tournament/fgc scene made me fall in love. I was always a stream monster for years, being a big fan of all of the SF/Marvel players, so it makes me happy knowing that I’ve transitioned into a place where I thought I’d never be. The money for KI from the KI Community Fund is just even more of an incentive to keep on playing hard, and the fact that EVERY person in this game is a threat is exciting.
You were recently in Japan for a Kombo Klash event, what was that experience like? Japanese players are usually regarded as the best of the best in any game they touch, how were they in KI against you?
Bass: Japan was a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to go since I was about 11 years old. The Japanese scene for KI is pretty small, due to arcades still ruling the land over there. But man they are very strong! In comparison to the American scene vs the Japanese scene, we both excel in certain areas and have our weaknesses (match up experience, shadow countering, footsies, meter management, etc.). Their tier list also varies with ours. They also have tech that we haven’t discovered with certain characters, and vice versa.
It was definitely an amazing experience to play against their best, and share tech, connecting and making this game grow. I would like to add that the American KI scene, and all of its tournament organizers have done a wonderful job streaming the game and helping it be shown to the world. As I was out in Japan, it is clear that the Japanese players know who are usual suspects are, and that they are fans of the higher tiered players, and their knowledge of said characters. They immediately smiled and reacted to certain names like F3 Hollywood Sleep, Her0ofTim3, and many others. We have impacted their playstyle and influenced them to also create their own techniques, while studying and watching us go head to head. So please, a round of applause to all of us, the Killer Instinct scene. Our actions and hard work have definitely paid off. I’ve seen it with my own eyes in Japan, and we also have big fans in Europe and South America. The Japanese players were definitely no easy feat. Their defense are much much higher than ours. It was extremely hard to just land a hit, but I’m very happy that I was able to keep up with them, and defeat them. New friends were made, and they truly loved the event, and how the game has unfolded so far.
What advice can you give for up and coming players in KI? What is your usual practice regimen like for a tournament?
Bass: My advice to any player is that this game is not only very fun to play, but it’s one of the few fighting games that is very easy to learn and pick up, and has a roster in which every character is viable. Don’t let your “what if’s” hold you back. In one short year, I’ve gone to every major in the states, being an online warrior known as Xi Bass iX, into an up and coming Bass NS, and now, a full sponsored “best Spinal” UA | Bass. All of these accomplishments in just one short year. It’s a blessing, but it also shows that hard work does get paid off. You never know until you try!
Before a tournament, I generally don’t stream that week, as I like to focus on my performance and execution rather than trying to entertain a stream and other variables. I’ll either take the week off, or play maybe a day or two before a major. Resting for the majority of the week before and playing other games helps me be calm for the main event (usually held on weekends).
Excited for KI World Cup?
Bass: I am more than excited for the KI World Cup. I’m really interested to see who makes it out as the Top 32 competitors, especially now that we have 2 of the best Japanese confirmed, along with a Kombo Klash event for the Netherlands. The diversity and level of competition for that tournament will be incredible. It will definitely rival Evolution 2015, or maybe even surpass that, as the KI World Cup is a guaranteed super threat because it will contain the best of the best, period.
What other games do you enjoy in your free time?
Bass: I am currently enjoying Destiny a lot, and I like playing various Mega Man games. Just picked up Halo 5. I’m excited to see how that’s going to turn out!
If fans would like to follow you where should they go?
Bass: I can easily be followed by adding /XiBassiX to Twitch, Twitter, Youtube and Facebook. I also regularly stream KI, along with other games I like to enjoy. I’ve also created a YouTube account that has all of my streamed matches (from all offline majors) into a chronologically ordered playlist (Click for playlist here) for everyone’s viewing pleasure if they missed the hype, or an easy study guide (for myself and my opponent) to see what had happened during said match and what can be improved on.
Discuss the interview here and be on the lookout for more community interviews in the future!