Behind The Mask: Iain Kenderdine

Behind The Mask: Iain Kenderdine
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Iain it’s a pleasure to have you on Behind The Mask as you’ve made three characters for the game thus far, and with one of them being quite popular in the community because of the effort you’ve put in to promote it. Today, we’ll be talking about Mic Riot, Dayna Might, and Gia de los Muertos, with the last of those three being known the best. Let’s start with a character that is the newest of the bunch Mic Riot. How did you come up with the character in the first place, along with the attire that your character wears?

Iain: Mic Riot is my Alter Ego, he has done many things in the past 10 years, including being a Roller Derby announcer, a pro-wrestling manager, the interim general manager of Impact Pro-Wrestling NZ and the main stay on IPW’s commentary team. So when it came to making a character based on myself it was a no brainer to go with Mic Riot. The attire started with my custom mask, with is based off the design of Rey Mysterio’s, but has the silver ferns the sides and koros to give it a New Zealand flair. Then the Mic Riot logo pays homage to another one of my favorite wrestlers Rowdy Roddy Piper, who I have the pleasure of meeting at SDCC 2011. Finally the over all look is clearly a nod to one of my current favorites Kevin Owens, with the “Right Time” on the shorts being a nod to my other nick name “Right-Time Riot”.

So from talking to you a bit at the Grand Gathering this year, I had learned that the stat line up wasn’t what you were originally expecting for the original copy of the character. When they decided to change it for the full character set that came out at Origins, was that the skill set that you had wanted all along? Also is there any particular reason why you chose the skill layout that you did?

Original Mic Riot with the wrong stat line.

Iain: Yeah, so I don’t know what happened with the stat line on the original release at the Grand Gathering, but I remember sitting down to make a tornado tag team and going “Hold on, none of these stats line up like I remember.” I pointed it out to Steve and he happily changed it to the original stat line I pitched with the release. As for the stats I choose for Mic Riot (Blue) it was to give him the feel of a my favorite wrestling archetype the “Agile Big Man” the likes of Bam Bam Bigelow and Keith Lee. As a big kid I always love seeing these guys hit moves that you normally only saw the smaller guys try, to this day I still think Bam Bam has the best enziguri in wrestling. Also I love grapple in this game and wanted a character with a different 10 stat from my other characters, I figure that they should all play differently.

Obviously in the very late game, Mic Riot would be hard to put down for the count considering his gimmick, is that the gimmick that you had wanted all along, or was it changed during the creation process? Also did you have any worry that he wouldn’t get as much play as other characters because of how rare it might be to actually get to a crowd meter of 5?

Iain: The gimmick was a nod to my SRG tag line “The +5 Crowd Meter Eater” which I dubbed myself after two years in a row of making it to the top 4 at Gencon Tag Team event, with many of my games going to +5 crowd meter. Originally when I pitched the idea of the gimmick it was a two part gimmick with the second part being “whenever a finish card is stopped the crowd meter goes up by 1”. In play testing they decided this was too good and cut that part from the gimmick. I always wanted the gimmick to be a risk vs reward type, that was good in tag team format and was fun to play. I wasn’t too worried about much tournament play the character saw, as I envisioned him more a “fun side deck” type.

Let’s talk finishers, each of your finishes enable you to possibly pump up the crowd meter, and with that it may make your gimmick trigger. Was that the focal point you wanted from the finishers, and was there any other ideas that you had for them that may have gotten changed, or shot down?

Iain: So as I mentioned the original gimmick was done in two parts and the reason for this was Mic Riot was never meant to have his own finishers, he was just going to be a character card with generic finishers. The reason for this was how I got the art work for the character. Mitchell Fells is the biggest wrestling fan in New Zealand, he was also born with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a progressive muscle disease that affects 1 out of every 3600 baby boys. DMD is the most common of nine muscular dystrophy disorders, and is characterized by progressive difficulty in walking, performing everyday activities as muscles to deteriorate and break down. In 2018 the NZ wrestling community decided we would come together and make one of Mitchell’s dreams come true and get him to Wrestlemania. We did a ton of fundraising and as a part of that I won an auction for an original piece of art work by Michel Mulipola (aka Liger). So when I pitched Mic Riot to Steve I already had the art work for the character, but not for finishers. The finishers were all Steve and his team and it wasn’t till I got to Grand Gathering and put in a match to win the finishers for Mic Riot that I even knew they were a thing. I like them and think they work well with the gimmick.

When it comes to a Mic Riot deck, are there any certain cards that you feel are must haves?

Iain: I’m still working this out for myself, but I do like having at least one of the “Knockdown” TLC cards that ups the crowd meter. The nice thing about have the two different stat line versions are that there are multiple ways to play the character.

Alright, let’s move onto Dayna Might, one of the two feisty female competitors that you’ve created for this great game. What was the overall idea that you had in your head for the character during the original creation process? Was there a certain look that you were going for?

Iain: Dayna Might is based off Laura, who was the 1st ever ACCW (Arkham City Championship Wrestling) Champion here in New Zealand, in fact if you look at the belt she is holding it has ACCW on it. Laura worked as a St Johns ambulance volunteer (kind like a paramedic) so her ring attire colour is based on their uniform.

To be honest, considering the art, she looks rather strong, so I’m always surprised to see what her power is actually at. Is there any particular reason for the stat layout for Dayna?

Iain: Fun fact, Laura is 5 foot 2 3/4 inches tall. I originally pitched the spelling of her name to be “Dayna Mite” as she is a 5 foot firecracker with a short fuse, this is also why the power stat wasn’t high as she more intense than powerful.

The gimmick for Dayna is pretty interesting, and definitely something that could end up snowballing in a game where you’ve drawn out some of your opponent’s last stops. How did you come up with it, and is it was you originally came up with, or was it changed during the creation process?

Iain: The gimmick is the perfect embodiment of the character, the idea being that she has a short fuse and gets super upset when people kick out of moves and instantly throws a tantrum and starts kicking or slapping you for daring to counter her move. Some things you laugh off (gimmick doesn’t hit), sometimes she picks you up and drops you on your head (gimmick hits). This was very much what she was like when playing SuperShow, so I was happy we could bring it into the gimmick.

Her finishers seem pretty strong, mainly because two of them get a reaction if they are stopped by the opponent, making them extra powerful. How did you come up with the names, images and what the cards actually do?

Iain: So with the character name being a play on Dynamite and her having a short temper, that names were all a play on this theme. T.N.T actually stands for “Twice No Trouble” and is a double non-release german suplex hence why you have to stop it twice, as she ain’t letting go when she locks it in. The other two finishers were based off Asuka’s move set with the “Butt-a-Boom” being her hip attack and the “Short Fuse” is the “Asuka Lock.”

When building a Dayna Might deck, is there anything certain that you’d make sure to have in the deck? I have a feeling after this interview a few more people may pick her up if possible.

Iain: I used to play her with a lot of flip effects and recursion, so basically you try and strip the deck down, then only add back one type of action so the there is a better chance that the gimmick hits. “Destiny’s Call” is a great way to take out a chunk of one type of card. I am also looking forward to adding a bunch of the shuffle back cards from the new Freak Show faction pack to her.

Now that the first two characters have been covered, let’s move onto what is most likely your most popular character, Gia de los Muertos. Gia has definitely taken the SRG Universe by storm, with many people making a Gia deck just to try to help her break the curse with 1,000 victories. How did you come up with the awesome backstory for the character, along with the overall look of her?

Iain: The original backstory I came up with was for the 1st CAC comp I entered, I have always loved the look of the Mexican sugar skull face paint and I used to know a roller derby player with the name Gia De Los Muertos which I thought was a great name and a clever play on Día de los Muertos  (Day of the dead). I know Steve and SRG loved the original pitch and I believe her story will one day make it into the SRG comic. The basics of the original pitch were, The curse is that she can’t take off her face paint until she wins a 1000’s matches. Gia and her friends were dressed up for the Day of the Dead festival and decided it would be a fun idea to sneak into a graveyard. They found a tomb stone with a Lucha mask and a bottle of tequila by it, Gia’s friends dared her to drink the tequila, which she did only to pass out. She woke up to discover that she couldn’t wash her face paint off, she returned to the graveyard to find some answers. She discovers that the grave is that of a famous wrestler wwo died in the ring during his 1000th match and now she has is cursed to win 1000 matches to break the curse.

When it comes to her overall stats, many would have expected her to have a 10 in speed considering the fact that she has the name of a luchadora, yet her technique is her highest stat instead. Up until recently, having a 10 in technique was something that was somewhat rare, is that partially why you chose to make technique her 10, or was there other reasons for the way that her stats broke down?

Iain: The idea goes with the story of the great Luchador that she is cursed by, but has also gained his skills, he was the master of the counter-hold. He always had a counter for any move, and that is why the gimmick gives her an advantage for playing stops and also why the technique is a 10.

Her gimmick is so simple, yet very effective when you play a stop heavy deck, allowing you to possibly get through your deck very quickly. Was that the idea all along, or was there a few different ideas for Gia’s gimmick before the competitor was printed and sent out into the wild?

Iain: Again the gimmick was story based, but I also wanted a nice simple gimmick. At the time, people were trying hard to come up with meta breaking gimmicks or things that had never been done before. I liked Ms. Tierious gimmick and wanted something a long the same lines and also a gimmick that was easy for new players. Gia is a great character to give to a new player to demo with.

Gia’s finishers are pretty good no doubt, but her “Pan De Muerta” is a possible kill shot in any stipulation match since it brings her grapple to an 11. Was that done by design, or was it a slight oversight when it came to giving her finishes their stat boosts? What was the process like, coming up with her finishing moves?

Iain: “Pan De Muerta” is a very interesting card as you’re right it does give her a possible 11, but at the same time once its in the discard pile it gives you a great advantage to winning turn rolls. I often ditch it early and leave it in the discard to help with turn rolls along with not getting stuck losing multiple turns in a row. To be honest I can’t remember if the stat bonus was an oversight or not, much like Mic Riot, Gia was released originally without her own finishers. The finishers came later and its possible that it was an oversight on the stat boost. I remember I came up with names and the moves they were based off but again Steve and his team filled out what the moves did in game.

Obviously with Gia, you want to build a deck with a lot of stops, but are there any cards in particular that are extra strong for Gia, that people may not think of most of the time?

Iain: Well there are two schools of thought on which stops to play with Gia, on 1 hand if you play regular stops the gimmick “replaces” the card you just played in your hand, however if you play the both players draw a card stop you are getting 2 cards to 1 for your opponent. I have argued which is better with a number of people and I believe it comes down to play style in the end, I for one like the 2 for 1 route. Also “Director of Operations” is a must for this deck, with the shear number of cards you draw, the extra hand size is great. Also I have to give a shout out to David Schmidt for the card #13 tech of “Duck One Take One” which works great in this deck.

While making your three characters for SuperShow, what was it like working with the boss overall? Did he give you a lot of good ideas? Was everything smooth sailing?

Iain: The great thing about SRG is how much contact you have with the owners of the company. Steve is very easy to work with and is also open to your ideas. I haven’t had a problem working with him, he is very open with why hes doing things if changes need to be made. I still think Mic Riot’s original gimmick could work without being broken, but I was happy to work with him on that. I think as long as you’re not trying to break the game and make the most OP character, Steve and his team will get your idea right. The better idea you have about what you want, the easier it’ll be to get it done. Though as you can see by my characters, theme and character were more important to me than being the best in the game. Just like real wrestling, everyone has a place in the show and not everyone needs a belt to get over.

It’s well known that it can be pretty expensive buying a competitor for the show, and you’d know that full well considering you’ve bought three of them so far. Do you feel as if it was well worth the money spent?

Iain: As a life long gamer, the idea of being a character in a card game that you love is priceless. Hell, I have played other games competitively for the chance of being put on a card. I have been lucky enough through people I’ve known and things I supported to have the geek triple crown of being in a card game, a computer game and appeared in a comic as myself. I love SuperShow and as anyone who has played against me knows I love playing as my characters as well as my friends like Liger. While it is a big outlay at one time if you compare the price over a year compared to playing something like MtG or Yugioh or Pokemon its not bad to have yourself in the game. Hobbies are expensive and you need to decide how much you can afford, but I’m totally happy with the out come of this expense.

Do you have any advice for community members who may decide to one day take the plunge and make a character for the game?

Iain: Do your prep, think about the character as a whole and not just gimmicks and stats, but what they look like, their backstory, etc, as the better idea you have of the character the easier it will be for Steve and the team to make it happen. Also don’t think you’re going to break the game and have an unbeatable character, SRG is very good for the most part about keeping characters balanced.

Do you have any ideas for any other characters in the future, or are you happy enough with your trio so far? If you do plan to make more, would you like to share any info about them?

Iain: I do have couple ideas, I would love to get the original Kiwi Connection tag team made, this is myself and my best friend Nate who I original tag teamed with at Gencon 2015, a team that took the Boss and GM Calace to a match that would of been 7 crowd meter if the crowd meter didn’t stop at 5. I also have an idea for a derby girl character and I would love to see a Kiwi faction pack down the line one day and maybe a Riot’s Angels trio with Gia and Dayna Might.

Thank you again for joining me Iain, and now that things are wrapping up, would you like to give any shout outs, or maybe let everyone know why they should help Gia break the curse? The floor is yours my man, say whatever you’d like!

Iain: Thanks, just want to say thanks to everyone that has been playing as Gia and reporting their wins to help break the curse. We are currently in the high 600’s and my aim is to have the curse broken before Grand Gathering 2. Also shout out my KSW Worldwide family, I was super stoked to be there for your win against the SRG faction and spoiler alert, look for Mic Riot on some of the KSW faction cards. Thanks to Powerbombonline.com, you folks are a great resource for the SRG universe.