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Last week we were able to speak with Group B from the ELEAGUE Street Fighter V Invitational Tournament. We had the privilege of speaking to Punk, Strider 801, Phenom, Commander Jesse, Momochi, and Fuudo.

We discussed how they have prepared for this event, and how their experiences have shaped their mindset for the high stakes matches of ELEAGUE.

Disclaimer: Some of the players’ words were edited for clarity but the intent was maintained as well as possible. Momochi and Fuudo’s answers were given through a translator.

DE to Commander Jesse: Having made your way here through the Challenger series, has the way you have been preparing for the tournament been different than maybe those that have been in since the beginning?

Commander Jesse: I think it has been a big difference. In the Challenger house we had a lot of us who were all fighting to enter this tournament and we knew the best players in the world would be entering it, so the training process that goes into something like this is much, much different than training every week and competing against the people in the house.

DE: So you think it made you hungrier?

Jesse: Oh, without a doubt. I have been doing my best, preparing for what is about to go down.

DE to Momochi and Fuudo: You guys have been competing all around the world for many years now. How does an event like ELEAGUE stack up to other majors you have been to, here or anywhere else, and what about ELEAGUE makes it special from your perspective?

Fuudo: In Japan not as many people know how big this event is. But a lot of players do because they know there is a lot of prize money involved. So coming into something like this, you get very nervous. Even from last year as a comparison, I beat PR Balrog with a very seemingly planned out super, but that was a misplay, I missed my input. Things that you don’t usually try to do end up happening when such a big scale event is happening on TV. You do get more nervous as opposed to regular tournaments.

Momochi: I feel that in Japan it is relatively known how big this event is, and so players like Fujimura who are trying in the CPT this year to do well and get invited to ELEAGUE next year. There is a lot of prestige and money in winning something like this so players would want to join a big competition like this.

DE: So you feel it is starting to get more steam among other competitors and more people know what it is and are wanting to get involved?

Momochi: Yes.

DE to everyone in the group: This being an invitational, how has the way you have prepared for this event been different than something with an open bracket where you have no idea who you may face? Has that affected your preparation at all?

Punk: I feel like there is no way to prep for an open tournament so I would never try to, random things happen at those types of events. I think there is a different way to practice for these types of events because you know exactly who you have to play, so you can practice for each character specifically. While I am not quite sure how you would practice for an open bracket, there is a way to practice for an invitational tournament, especially when you are in groups, because you know everyone you play in that group. You can always practice all of their characters and find someone to play against and just go from there.

Strider801: I think everyone’s answer is going to be similar. We are all players that have a lot of videos online so I am sure everyone did their homework and studied each other’s tendencies, habits, and how we play matchups. When it comes to this event, I feel like the victor will be determined by who prepared the most over anything else.

Phenom: It is pretty true that because we know who we are playing we can study the matches and watch videos, but you know I think Strider had the best strategy because he decided not to travel for four months so there will be no videos of him. I think he had the smartest strategy in that regard.

Commander Jesse: I definitely agree with what Punk said in that in an open bracket tournament it is hard to predict who you will go up against because of upsets and things like that. But in this setting, everyone knows who they are playing, and there is footage out there. You can go on YouTube, you can go on CFN, you can find replays and matches of people’s gameplay. You can do the research if you really want to, it is out there. You can learn a lot about patterns and other tendencies of the other players in the group. It is about whoever put in the effort to study their opponents, I think.

Momochi: Basically I think my answer is going to be the same as everyone else’s. What I personally do is go and search for certain high-level players of each character represented in the group. You can also go into Training Mode and go up against specific things you struggle against with those specific characters and practice those things in and out so they are easier to do during the main event.

Fuudo: Whether it is a regular tournament or an invitational like this I don’t really change my process on how I prepare. But against characters like Laura and Dhalsim, there aren’t as many high-level players of those characters in Japan, so I had to find other ways to practice against those characters. That is the only thing I really did that was different.

Thanks to everyone from ELEAGUE who took the time to speak with us. Make sure to check ELEAGUE every Friday, streaming live on Twitch, and later that night on TBS (check your local listings) all the way up until the Finals, which will take place on Friday, July 13.

ELEAGUE Street Fighter V Invitational