Fighting game competitions would be dry without a healthy dose of rivalries. And with the release of Injustice 2 launching in a few months, one particular grudge match needs to be addressed.
While the NRS community has grown accustomed to Dominque 'Sonic Fox' Mclean being a dominant force in Injustice, the title was originally held by EVO 2013 champion Philip 'KDZ' Akitson. His record also includes first place victories at Winter Brawl 7, GUTS II, The Fall Classic and multiple victories at local 8 on the Break weeklies.
For years, he was arguably the face of Injustice, remaining uncontested up until the title was claimed by Sonic Fox. And it's clear some would like to see these players settle the score. Recently, a discussion over Twitter developed between NRS developer Ed Boon and Sonic Fox regarding who was the true victor in the first release.
@SonicFox5000 What does that random comment have to do with you the best Injustice1 player? ????
But when Boon made a comment about Sonic Fox’s tournament credentials, players in the community jumped in to offer some clarity. Both players share a history of tournament showdowns, including Evo. Though Darth Arma claims KDZ still holds a stronger record over his rival, Sonic Fox points out the results are tied.
It sounds like this grudge match needs to get settled soon, and the retail release is fortunately just a few months away. We caught up with KDZ to get some perspective on his rivalry with Sonic Fox, thoughts on using The Man of Steel, and Injustice 2 first impressions.
Now that you’ve had an opportunity to play the beta, what are your thoughts on Superman?
Well, first I just want to say thank a friend in high places who gave me their code to play the demo. I wasn’t a part of the first wave that received the codes but this person, who I would like to keep anonymous, helped me out. I want to personally take this time to thank him through this article.
As for your question, I’ve honestly told myself that I would not touch Superman until I went through the rest of the characters in the beta. Right now, only Superman, Batman, Supergirl and Atrocitus are available to play.
I want to play the rest of the cast as the beta expands, and see what they have to offer since I didn’t get a chance with the prequel. At one point, I’ve had the cursor on for five minutes, — just itching to check him out — but so far, I’ve held out. I’ll probably check him out over the weekend and release a video of my impressions.
What other characters are you looking forward to picking up?
I want to try out Supergirl. I don’t know, perhaps it’s a Krytonian thing why I gravitate to her. It would be great if I could win EVO with her and keep it in the family. As for returning characters, I’m really interested in Wonder Woman.
In the first installment of the game, I picked her up as an alternate to address Superman’s [more challenging] match-ups. In a sense, she was my “Supergirl." I’m interested to see what [characteristics from Injustice] remain, or if they've made any major changes. I didn’t get a chance to master her as a character like I did with Superman, so I am looking forward to that opportunity this time around.
You’ve once stated that Darth Arma motivated you to pick up Injustice. In what ways has he helped you to develop as a player?
He helped me a lot because he was willing to take each match and analyze what could have been done better in every situation we came across. A lot of players tend to settle on a practice dummy to beat up on for training. But Darth Arma doesn’t have that mindset, and it allowed me to learn about the fundamental fight engine for the game.
It also allows me to engineer new ways to approach opponents and how to deal with eventual bad match ups that I would come across. It was the only way I could keep Superman competitive for so long. Especially the terrible nerf he received after The Fall Classic in 2013.
Do you feel the degree of rivalries are less frequent at events?
Rivalries exist at almost all fighting game tournaments. However, there's probably only a few veteran tournament organizers who could try to develop those rivalries and enhance the event experience.
Some of the ways to improve that are platforms like this, which creates conversation to discuss the rivalries. This requires an objective point of view about the rivaling players and or teams though. Both sides need to be supported and given a chance to get their point of view across.
Out of the bouts you’ve had with Sonic Fox, which highlight was memorable to you?
I think the most memorable bout I had with Sonic Fox was at Winter Brawl 8. It was a real test for me. This was during Year Two of Injustice, and Superman had pretty much died shortly after The Fall Classic 2013. This was a chance for me to resurrect him.
The entire stage was set, as I had to come back from losers’ bracket against Batgirl who is a tough character for that current version of Superman to face. I got some good advice from my teammate and corner and I just had to focus on beating the player and not the character since it wasn’t a good match-up to begin with. It’s one of the most memorable learning experiences I had in the game.
Sonic Fox claims the tournament record between the two of you is tied at 3 – 3. Can you confirm? And when can we expect to see you settle the score?
I am not sure, honestly. He could be right. I played the game a lot in 2013. But after Winter Brawl in 2014, I didn’t keep up with the game as much. I was traveling to the Caribbean and work really caught up to me.
I even missed EVO of that year because of it. I don’t recall me losing to him at any tournament in 2013. I know I beat him at Summer Jam 7, The Fall Classic 2013, and Winter Brawl 8. From what I can remember he beat me at GUTS 3 and Summer Jam 8. He probably did beat me at another tournament that I’m not even aware of but nothing comes to mind right now so, maybe. Maybe not?
As for settling the score with Fox: we will cross paths again.
It's kind of obvious. But if neither of us wins EVO this year, then the rivalry will lose a lot of its worth. It will become just a personal rivalry between Sonic Fox and I. Eventually people will lose interest. I think that would be an unfortunate waste for the viewers who are interested in the rivalry. I think finding a way to incorporate the rivalry where it can be shared in some capacity. Perhaps getting the community involved would be better and would give it a longer lifespan.
I don’t want to indirectly disrespect a whole new era of players who want to draw their line in the sand for this new installment of the franchise because I’m only focusing on Fox. That could blindside me as I’ve beaten a lot of other top players to reach that mountain top and they want revenge. This applies to Fox as well. We could be so focused on our rivalry and end up both being taken out by some of the great vets of the franchise or a rising star in sequel. So, I need to take other potential threats into consideration.
In this era of Injustice: "lines once clearly defined, become blurred." Hmmm, perhaps it is time for them to be redrawn.
Aside from Sonic Fox, what other players are you looking forward to facing against this year?
Well, it all depends on what they bring to the table in terms of their skill set. From what I’ve experienced, the game is not the same. The neutral game in Injustice 2 has improved and there are different aspects of the game, but it’s way too early for me to give my opinion about the game because this is just the beta. There are only four characters to try out.
We have four and a half long months before the release. Many things can and will change when the new characters are released. Along with that, more things will change from what we know of the game at this time. People have certain expectations of myself and even Sonic Fox. We’re the only two champions for the franchise. And that means there’s a target on us.
We’ll have a ton of people to face off against some good, others not so good. I believe it will be people looking forward to facing us as they have something to prove. Fox and I have been at the top and we’re both looking to return there so that’s what I’m focusing and looking forward to.
As for any final words to Fox?
Team KDZ vs. Team Sonic Fox? Injustice 2: Battle of the Gods? (Editor's note: An invitation for a future exhibition? Get hype.)