Behind The Mask: Martin Novosel

Hello Martin, it is a pleasure to meet you, and get you on Behind the Mask so that you can talk about your newly created character Duff Martin. When he was first shown off on Facebook, I know quite a few people seemed to take notice, and for good reason. Not only does he seem to be a reference to one of the most popular and longest running tv shows of all time, but as a competitor in the game he seems like he could be quite strong!

Martin: I wanted to make a competitor that could survive in the current meta. After playing him at GenCon, it seems that I succeeded. I despise bury/discard decks and wanted to foil that if I could. As far as the Duffman idea, you can thank the Boss for giving me that identity last year at GenCon.

When it came to creating this character, what were your thoughts on the overall look of the character? He definitely seems like he’s a blue collar type of guy.

Martin: I have a red Duff beer hat and tan Duff work shirt that came from Universal Studios. So, that is the outfit that I went for. I did not want him to look like a wrestler at all. He looks like a beer delivery man and that works for me, because beer is first, wrestling is second. I couldn’t go for the Simpsons Duffman outfit because I didn’t want to come close to a copyright violation.

When you decided on his stat breakdown, what sort of things did you keep in mind while you figured it out? Were any stats changed around from what you had wanted originally?

Martin: My favorite competitor for tornado and trios is Night Terror. I just love spoiling people’s combos. Sure, it’s rude but so are some of the tornado tag teams out there. So, the stats are almost identical to Night Terror. I wasn’t really concerned with the stats really. They were the least important part of the competitor. I got no push back on the stats. They came back exactly as I asked.

Let’s move onto the gimmick, which is normally the most important thing about a competitor in this great game. How did you come up with it? It looks similar to Trent?’s gimmick, but slightly different, is that what you were going for?

Martin: The gimmick came from that fact that I am horrible at turn rolls, so I wanted to have something positive potentially happen even on my opponent’s turn. Trent? is good, but the fact that I can trigger the gimmick after they draw for the turn insures me that I am going to draw a card most of the time. That and my hatred for discard fueled the idea. I found out during GenCon that the gimmick is super good in tag matches. I have no problem saving my partner when I know I can get cards back relatively quickly. That was an unintended benefit. I believe the Dangerous Alliance took Duff Martin to the final 4 of the tag tournament.

The finishers that you have for Duff Martin are pretty awesome, and it’s not just because of their ability to finish a match, but also the way that they can impact a match even from the discard pile like your submission finish. How did you come up with them? Is there something certain you were trying to accomplish with the set, or did it all just happen to come together?

Martin: Ah yes, the finishers…the Six Pack Attack is the weakest of the 3. Once again, I hate discard, so if that lands, I get a huge draw advantage. Problem is, with the gimmick, I almost never have that few cards. So if I could do that one over I would. To be honest, I think Frog Splash is better in the 28 slot against anything except heavy discard. The thought process behind Kegstand was that I wanted to get a benefit every time I played the card. If it’s not stopped, I get a pin roll. If it stops, I grab a card from my deck. Either way I get value. The ability to play as a follow is nice, but there are no stat boosts, so all in all it works. Finally there is Twist Off…Originally when I sent the ideas over for the cards, I gave 2 gimmicks. The first one is the one on the card, the second prevented finishers from being moved from discard to hand. Somebody has to stop the 4:20. My original idea for the sub finish was a STOP. That got shot down immediately because frankly they are strong and any one creating a competitor wants one. So the Boss suggested I put my second gimmick on the sub finish and I could not be happier with the results. That card is to be feared for sure and I have to give the Boss credit on that.

So with this being the first character that you’ve made for the game, what was the creation process like when it came to working with the boss? Did he give you a lot of good feedback? Did he push you to change a few things to make it more compliant with the rest of the competitors in the game? Let us know how it went.

Martin: Working with the Boss is great. The only thing that got shot down was the STOP finish. Everything else is pretty much as intended. Like I said, without his idea to move my gimmick to the finish, one of the best cards in the game would not have happened. He kept me informed of the process, showed me the art as it came in and really tried to deliver the competitor I wanted. There is truly no other real game in the market where you can get that interaction.

It’s quite expensive to purchase the rights to create a character for The SuperShow, do you feel as if it was worth the money spent? Would you want to do it again in the future for a similar price?

Martin: Like I said before, it is so rare to collaborate with the head honcho of a game to make a significant impact. I was treated like a prince through the whole process. It is costly, but, to be honest, it’s rather inexpensive for being able to add something permanent to the game. As soon as I got the cards in my hand, I realized that it was without question worth the money. As long as people play SuperShow, my ideas are a part of that, which is pretty priceless.

When it comes to making a deck for Duff Martin are there any certain cards that seem like a “must have” for the deck?

Martin: First off, Rolling Forearm, Call to the Crowd and Strength in Numbers are essential. Not only are they great cards, they help you keep the gimmick active. After that is Crossbow, getting access to Twist Off early is pretty strong, so that helps. The one obvious thing to avoid is draw card abilities. So I find the line cards that let me put cards from discard to top of the deck work well. Also the 718, although counter intuitive to the gimmick, is just to good to pass up. Nothing draws out stops like that card.

If you could, please share some advice for other community members who may decide to create a competitor in the future.

Martin: My best advice is to collaborate with the Boss, he knows the game better than anyone and will only make your competitor stronger. If you go in rigid and resistant to advice, than you could possibly miss out on something special. The other piece of advice would be to do it ASAP. The cost for doing a competitor is only going to climb as the game grows.

Do you have any ideas for other characters you’d like to add to the game, and if so, would you like to share anything about them?

Martin: I really would like to create a tag team now that the formats are changing. I have a few ideas that I’m working on with a friend but as far as characters go, it’s up in the air. I think I would do something completely different as far as characters go, not just slap Duff Martin with somebody else and call it a day. Right now I’m going to enjoy Duff Martin and who knows what will happen down the road.

Once again I’d like to thank you for this wonderful interview, and if you’d like to say a few words, or give some shout outs to members of the community, now is your chance!

Martin: Thanks for the forum to talk about my experience throughout this process. Shout out to my boys in the Rustbelt. Shout out to the Dangerous Alliance for making me their official beer sponsor. Special thanks to The Brain for tagging with me at GenCon. Finally, thanks to the Boss and the GM for taking the Duffman beer challenge.

Behind The Mask: Everett Stephens

Hello Everett, thank you for joining me today to talk about your character in the L.F.F. “The Phoenix” EV Fresh. I must say, the nickname of “The Phoenix” is pretty cool, how did you get it or come up with it?

Everett: So originally in this game I was called Kid Fresh because I was known for playing Kid Fresh at PAX Unplugged. I had to make a new name because I didn’t want to steal the name from a kid who is portrayed as Kid Fresh. I wanted a name that symbolized someone getting back up after getting knocked down and I thought of a phoenix because after a phoenix dies it comes back to life. I had to keep something that symbolized my beginnings so I kept the fresh as a last name for my character. That is how I became “The Phoenix” EV Fresh.

When it comes to the overall look of your competitor, what sort of thought process went into it? Do you actually have that full outfit?

Everett: I wanted bright colors for my competitor and I thought red, orange and yellow would be great colors for my competitor. I wanted a jacket that had the hood shaped like a beak. I don’t own an outfit like that, it would make me look too much like a chicken rather than a phoenix like my friends keep telling me. If you see me, you see me usually wear a phoenix hoodie.

When it comes to your competitor card, how did you come up with your stat line up? Was there any certain moves you were thinking about when coming up with those numbers?

Everett: So my stat line that I thought of did change. Originally it was going to be 8 power instead of 8 submission, but Chris Pagillo aka The Italian Bombada told me that he was going to have my character on the impact bomb card and asked me to change my 8 to submission so my competitor can actually play it. I am a fan of “Full Nelson” and “The 718” so I wanted my competitor to be able to use those cards.

How about we move onto your gimmick? It definitely seems like a good gimmick to use against characters that constantly try to dominate turn rolls. What was the thought process when you were coming up with it, and did it change at all over time?

Everett: I wanted a competitor that does something when losing turn rolls because at that time there wasn’t one in the game and my least favorite thing in the game is losing several turn rolls in a row which puts me extremely behind. Originally, I wanted my gimmick to be “when I lose the turn roll, my next turn roll is +1.” I had other ideas when talking to Chris Pagillo and Sarkis Babikian, the creator of the immortal warrior, but Steve gave the final idea of giving my gimmick +1 to three of my stats when my opponent wins a turn roll to make my competitor more fair in singles and multiplayer formats.

When it comes to your finishers, what went through your mind when you were coming up with what each one did?

Everett: I wanted all of my finishers to do something with losing turn rolls, only the strike stuck because it was the only one that the wording would make sense. The submission finish was an idea Chris Pagillo gave to me, but it was crowd meter 2 originally not crowd meter 3. The grapple finish I came up with was just more about utility and to get more cards along with getting a +1 to the turn roll.

Throughout the process of creation of your character, what was it like working with the SRG Boss? Did he give you any cool ideas for your character or finishes?

Everett: Working with the SRG Boss definitely helped me with actually making a competitor work. He more so fine tuned the competitor to make it fairer and easier to play.

When it comes to purchasing a competitor set, do you feel as if it was well worth the money?

Everett: It was definitely worth the money spent to immortalize myself into a card game that I love and being able to stand out against other competitors in the game.

When you build a deck for this competitor, what are certain cards that you feel are a must have? Is there a certain play style that fits the character better than others?

Everett: I don’t want to tell people what are must haves in the deck because other people have certain play styles that they like. I say play my competitor however you feel like because my competitor doesn’t restrict you to playing a certain play style.

What sort of advice do you have for the community if they’d happen to show interest in making a character for the game in the future?

Everett: All I can say is if you have a certain aspect in the game that you don’t like and want to make a competitor, just do it. It will help out not just yourself but others in the community.

Do you have any immediate plans to make any other characters for the game, or are you done for now?

Everett: I don’t know what I want to do with Edwin Carlton Patrone yet, but expect a CCC appearance of a certain east coast promoter.

If there’s anything you’d like to shout out, or shed some spotlight to, here’s your chance. The floor is yours sir!

Everett: I’d like to give a shout out to Jeffrey Reilly, Jonathan Van Derziel, Chris Pagillo John Polverino, Joseph Ritchie, Micheal Deans, Kyle Kreiger, and Nick Ciuffreda for allowing me to continue my time in this game because if it weren’t for you guys, I’d probably be out of the game by now. Also, I’d like to thank Andy Rossi for introducing this amazing game to me at pax unplugged.

Behind The Mask: Alan Hawkins

Hello Alan, thank you for joining me today. You definitely have a lot of experience making characters for this awesome game that we play, so it’s a pleasure having you on to talk about a few of those characters. Today we’ll be talking about Lunatic Ginge and Monster Asylum, the first of which being your most known character in the community. Please tell me, how did you come up with the character Lunatic Ginge?

Alan: Thank you for having me. At the time, I was actually wrestling on a YouTube show called GTS wrestling. The Lunatic Ginge was the gimmick I was using on that show at the time. So I took what I was doing as that character and tried to put it in card form.

How did you decide on the stats for your character? Technique is still the least used 10 in the game, so that has to be nice if you’re planning to run a Single Leg Crab in the deck.

Alan: Well, I feel that when you see the technique stat, it is to convey that characters skills in a technical sense. Like if Bret Hart was in the game, I feel his stat line would be Technique: 10 Grapple: 9 Submission: 8.

What about the gimmick for the character, how did you come up with that? It can be quite strong to keep you in a match as long as you don’t roll your botch. Was there any other versions of the gimmick that was come up with before this one was finally settled on?

Alan: Ok, so as I stated earlier,  I wanted to take what I was doing as the character and do my best to put it in the game. I have over 20 years wrestling experience and when I was on GTS they were no rules, hardcore wrestling. I’ve always contended to them, you can do with me what you want but you may not like what happens back. So there was this match I had that I think was pulled by YouTube where I had like 3 guys hit me with their finishes before I grabbed one and just started supposing him repeatedly. One guy hit me with a chair, I just looked at him, one hit me with a stunner and I no sold it, then one guy hit me with a superkick. When he hit me with a superkick I grabbed him and German suplexed him, then another got hit with a bossman slam and the last guy, I grabbed him and did a pump handle Suplex to him that I basically threw him as hard as I could and he did like a bowling ball/bowling pen effect with them. So I was thinking “hmmm how would no selling work in this game?” So originally what I wanted was “if you would get hit with a strike or grapple finish, discard a suplex card and get +4 to your breakout rolls.” But installing with Steve and play testing, it was decided, that it should be “if you would get hit with a strike or grapple finish, discard 2 cards, if one is a Suplex, you get +4 to your first breakout roll.” Then when the card was printed first, the stat line was messed up. And that one had a gimmick of “When your opponent hits a strike or grapple finish: You may discard 2 cards from your hand. If either of those cards had ‘suplex’ in the name, your first breakout roll is +4.” And when I pointed out that the stats were wrong, the corrected stat line card had “When your opponent hits a strike or grapple finish you may discard 3 cards and add +3 to your 1st breakout roll. If you discarded a card with Suplex in the name, add +4 instead.”

What about the finishes. How did you come up with the names for each finish, along with the images you chose?

Alan: So the Lunatic Ginge is a crazed truck driver gimmick. So I would talk with Grim about my finishes, which I was using a clothesline from hell, the iron claw, and it varied with a powerbomb and various suplexes along with a bossman slam. So if you know anything about trucks, the air line is what connects to the trailer from the truck that gives it the ability to move and stop. If the airline blows, it’s like a rubber hose that flaps wildly and can cause major injuries.  So that’s what we started calling my clothesline from hell. The iron claw is basically how I hold the gear shifter as I run through my gears and some times you have to force the transmission into gear which looks like a ironclaw/chokeslam style move. The wild ride is a generic name for getting thrown around “they really went for a wild ride tonight folks”.

Each finish has an interesting mechanic that goes with it, what was the thought process when coming up with what they do?

Alan: Well, this game has an interesting mechanic in “bury”. So if you are able to, bury a card you want to draw then use wild airline to get the “stacked” card and bury something you don’t need. Forced into gear was because I had played in my first worlds making top 16 at gen con 50 and someone hit me with the masked llama strike finish and I wanted to be able to not have to deal with it any more. And I felt for wild ride that if I’ve been suplexing you all match, it should be easier to win, right?

Is there any staple cards that you’d always put into a Lunatic Ginge deck? Is there a certain way that people should attempt to play the deck?

Alan: DRAW AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!!! In my deck there is so much draw. I like options and in TCG’s I’ve always been a control player. So it’s best to play Ginge as a control deck. Lots of stops, lots of draws.

Thanks for the insight on Lunatic Ginge, now let’s move onto one of the very few printed tag teams in the game, Monster Asylum. How did you come up with the idea for the tag team?

Alan: Well again from GTS and SWF wrestling, in the Jersey area, they are an actual tag team there. Giant Leather and Sprinkles the clown, with their manager, Dr.K. good guys, a little bit murderous, but good guys.

The team definitely looks like quite the powerhouse from the art, so it’s no surprise that you chose to make them a power based team. What was your thought process when coming up with the other stats for the team?

Alan: Well knowing them and being involved with their matches, you got a guy that is 6’8, and one that is 6’4. Big meaty guys. They wont be as agile as Flip Gordon or Ricochet. But they are 2 strong guys. They beat you into submission and then beat you a little more. So their power had to be the big number, then their strike, then grapple, then submission, agility, then technique… I’m guessing it doesn’t take much technique to beat people to a pulp.

The gimmick for the tag team can be incredibly strong, especially late game. How did you come up with it?

Alan: So the guys are freaking huge…so yuge, like the best yuge….and are extremely intimidating. So when you have someone small like the Young Bucks, or Ariel Lipstick and Night Terror, they will be intimidated. Plus, you basically have Pennywise from IT and Leather Face from Texas Chainsaw Massacre…there really isn’t much, physically that you can do to them. So they would no sell a lot. But if you are able to out think them you are able to beat them. And that’s what I wanted to do in card form.

Let’s move onto the finishes, how’d you come up with the names and images used for them?

Alan: The images were from their matches in GTS and SWF. I got their permission to use them and their likenesses. It’s good to have friends in the business!

How’d you come up with the text used for the finishers in the set?

Alan: Well, I thought horror movies, and thought about how to translate that into the card game. Like the straight jacket, is basically the monster under your bed themed.

Is there any certain cards that you would always pack into a Monster Asylum deck? Any special deck tech you’d like to share if someone wanted to play the tag team?

Alan: The cards that allow you to discard cards they have in play. Make them play your game.

How was it working with the boss during the creation of your characters in general?

Alan: I love bouncing ideas off Steve. If he has questions about cards that I’ve created or how I think something should work, I don’t mind talking my thoughts about it over with him. And I try to balance the characters I send his way enough so that there isn’t much that needs to be done as far as mechanics go.

Do you feel that whatever you paid for the characters was well worth it?

Alan: Yes and no. Don’t get me wrong, the price is a steal for what you are getting. I mean you are getting immortalized in a game, and it’s great having people come up asking for your autograph on the cards you’ve created. But sometimes the process is kinda irritating. Like the play testers to me, have been the biggest obstacle in trying to portray a gimmick or idea in card form.

Do you have any advice for others who would like to create a character for the game?

Alan: Yes… STOP WITH ALL THE BURY GIMMICKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We get it, you only like to fishbowl the game.

Would you be willing to come back to talk about a couple of your other characters in the future?

Alan: Of course. I have one coming out at GenCon52 that this game DESPERATELY needs. Got one that we are waiting on all the other things for like ideas for the artwork and all, got 2 I want to do so bad, and 2 that are already out (one is last years Competitor of the Year).

Is there anything else you’d like to talk about or show off before the end of the interview?

Alan: Sure is, so the competitor I have coming out at GenCon, it is a game changer, and I wont let the gimmick be spoiled (mainly because of the diversity rule), but I can spoil the moves for your audience! So many people don’t know but I am actually an ordained minister, so I have a new gimmick for wrestling, Reverend Robert Torn. He has no masters above him except for the Trinity. His sole purpose is to spread the word of the #Trinity by reciting the verses of the #GoodBook. So his strike finish is aptly named: The Good Book, 3 Kings ed.

Alan: Very simple but very effective, and one of the first verses of the Good Book of major significance is in the book of Newman: Scriptures of the Trinity, Newman 3:16.

Alan: Kinda gives you the ability if they kick out to not basically start from the ground up again. Now one of my favorite verses comes from the Book of Torn. The Hand of the Trinity, Torn 4:69.

Behind The Mask: Scott Winterbauer

Hello Scott, thank you for joining me today.

Scott: My pleasure.

So I hear you have a character who’s coming out very soon at Gen Con, and you wanted to show him off a bit. Please go ahead and explain how you came up with the character The Fireball?

Scott: So after finding out about SuperShow at Origins last year and seeing people portraying characters, I wanted to come up with my own character for Gen Con. After a conversation with Steven Hines, I said to Steve Resk that the LFF was missing the pretty boy rock star gimmick. Now I’m a big fan of rock ‘n roll and its culture so I came up with the Fireball. The line I have in my head for him is a little bit of Bowie and a little bit of Freddie. It’s basically me, but at an 11. Like the red leather jacket and the glasses are things that I wear on a daily basis. One other thing that is a personal touch to the character is while most rock stars play guitar, I can’t play the guitar to save my life, but I can legitimately sing well, so I added the microphone instead. Just to make the microphone stand out a little more, I made it like how Freddie Mercury would use only a half microphone.

As we see above, the card art is absolutely awesome! Tell me, what were your thoughts when you first got to see it?

Scott: It was awesome. Nunoh is always amazing, but Juan Pablo is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists and I will probably use him for future characters.

When it comes to the stat layout of the character, what went through your mind when you chose it?

Scott: I’m very particular about my design for stats. I did base the stats around characters I typically play so characters with high strike or technique. I have never played a character with high power so it was a given that it was going to be my worst stat. I did put my agility to an 8 so I could use a certain 8+ card if I so wished. 😉 The only thing I regret is not making my submission a 7, but hey, it is what it is.

Your gimmick could be very powerful, especially if you have a very stop heavy deck. How did you come up with the gimmick and was there any other iterations of that gimmick that got changed during the creation process?

Scott: So as some people may know, my main competitor is Lily Mai. It’s a very aggro competitor that runs on few stops. The issue with that is if you blank the gimmick, half of your deck doesn’t work the way it should and you can’t stop a thing. So the added ability to use stops and get a boost is a benefit from Lily. So originally the gimmick was going to boost the stats just like Lily Mai, but that was deemed too powerful. So by changing it to turn roll, you still get a benefit of getting a boost to winning rolls. The interesting part with this gimmick is you will have to decide if you want more stat boosting or stops cause they run in the same spots so there is that challenge when it comes to deck building.

This is the first time that anyone has gotten to the see the competitor card, or the finishes, so go ahead and introduce each of your finishers one by one, and give us insights on your thoughts of each one of them.

Scott: “Rebel Rebel” is what I like to call high risk, high reward. I wanted a DQ finisher from the start, but I wanted something that gave you a good benefit by playing it. I didn’t want the finisher to get replaced by some generic for people that are afraid to play DQ finishers. Originally it was only going to be +2 to power, but after the change to the gimmick it made sense to increase it because hey man, it’s a DQ finish. The adding 3 stops to deck is great especially in late game cause it might be what makes or breaks your chance at winning the game.

Scott: “Killer Queen” is the most basic of my finishers. Adding 2 stops to hand helps you be prepared for the next crowd meter if your opponent kicks out and the flip 2 helps add some stops to the discard pile if you don’t have stops in there yet.

Scott: So this finisher is a lot different than what I had originally planned. Originally I was going to do the “Walls of Jericho” as an homage to one of my favorite wrestlers Chris Jericho, but with the release of Haultain and other characters using the walls I decided to use something else. I decided that I would pay homage to my favorite Japanese wrestler, Minoru Suzuki. Like the image for the sleeper hold is near identical to an image of Suzuki doing that move. Now I like to use real life logic to cards and my original idea was since I was using a sleeper hold it would be harder to kick late in the 3 count roll. So basically -1 to the 2nd roll and -2 to the 3rd roll. I didn’t know that this finisher already existing in Phantasm. Now long story short, when CJ Sparrow came out at the Grand Gathering, he also had a similar finish and that kind of forced a change to my finish, which I get. So now the 3rd roll is the most important because even if I roll an 8 its not the easiest to kick out of.

Now that everyone has gotten to see your awesome creation, tell me, how was the process of working on the character with The Boss himself Steve Resk?

Scott: It was super easy working with Steve on building a character. I had a good idea on what I wanted from the start and I understand how to balance things out, so nothing I asked for was too outrageous. Any time I had questions for Steve he was easily available. And if there is something you don’t like, you can work it out with Steve because in the case of The Fireball, the first draft of art had me with more blonde hair than red. So I asked if we could change it to more red and no time flat it was changed to what you see today.

If you purchased the creation of your character, do you feel that it was a good investment?

Scott: Of course! You gotta get the rock star of The SuperShow. It will make your binders instantly prettier and you become 100% more fabulous just playing The Fireball!

When building a deck for this character, what sort of cards would you make sure to have in the deck? Anything that’s an absolute must?

Scott: Now I’m not gonna reveal all of my secrets when it comes to deck building for the Fireball. Obviously its gonna be a stop heavy deck, but I’m gonna say look at options for draw power, recursion and maybe some stops that aren’t frequently played. The one card I kinda see as a must pack is flying forearm shot just because it lets you draw and it is a stop for Press Slam.

Do you have any advice for community members who decide to create their own character in the future?

Scott: My only advice is don’t think that any ideas are off of the table. When I was designing Fireball, my #1 thought was, is that too crazy? Well if it’s too crazy, someone’s gonna tell me to draw it back.

Do you have any plans to make another character in the future?

Scott: Ohhhh yeahhhh. So I was originally gonna submit The Fireball for the CCC contest, but I couldn’t write a decent back story. So then I got the idea of a bug super hero the Masked Beetle. Masked Beetle triggered something in my head to make a universe of about 7 characters. So if I get the chance Masked Beetle is next then I have his allies Masked Mantis and Masked Ladybug. On top of that I have the Masked Beetle’s archenemy Black Scorpion X and his underlings Black Scorpion 1,2,3. Needless to say I’ve got a few characters I’d like to add to the LFF.

If you have anything you want to shout out, or anything you want to say to the SRG Universe, go ahead, the floor is yours!

Scott: The Fireball is ready to blaze through the LFF and make an Impact. I’m one hot man rocking with sex appeal so when you roll with The Fireball you better get ready to sing, you better get ready to dance, and if not you can head right out the exit door baby. Kisses boys and girls!

I’d like to thank you once again for joining me Scott, and I wish you good luck playing your character, as I’m sure you’ll do quite well with it!

Behind The Mask: Doug Saunders

Hello Doug, it’s a pleasure getting to interview you, and I’d like to thank you for joining me today. You’re a very active person in the community, not only with how often you play people online, but also the character you portray. Congrats on the character being a part of this year’s Kickstarter campaign by the way.

Doug: Thank you.

Please tell me, how did you come up with Eddy Fury, not only the competitor for the game, but also the character in general?

Doug: Eddy Fury was a character I’ve used in video games for decades.  Generally red/black colors, Alice Cooper-ish face paint, and the most extreme mullet the video game would allow. The Mr. Las Vegas and street fighter stuff actually was added more ad-hoc when we put him into SRG, partly due to a friend using a king of fighters Ken ripoff as the base for a quick mock up art. It’s easy to get a cheap ken costume to promo in. I play him up as the heel as much as I can, being a cartoon character and separating the FB accounts lets me do a lot more over-the-top actions and statements without getting misinterpreted as being serious.  Eddy is 100% self gratifying troll.

What was your mindset when you came up with the stats for your character. The fact that the numbers count up from Power down to Grapple isn’t simply a coincidence is it?

Doug: The numbers running 5-10 straight down was a coincidence, but the stat distribution was not. I wanted to separate the 5-7 and 8-10 evenly between the stat “pairs” the game tends to use (Strike/Agility, Power/Grapple, Technique/Submission), and I wanted to use some of the more specialized/less common 8+ skill cards.

What made you want to use the gimmick that you chose for Eddy Fury? It is definitely a very strong gimmick during the late game!

Doug: Originally I had a recursion gimmick in mind, but wanted to do something with the crowd meter and it fit better with a stats gimmick. It went through a few changes to fit into the game (thanks Grimm). The gimmick is brutal late game and with stipulations that push the crowd meter, but is weak early and struggles with other stipulation matches. The incremental boosts also make games quite interesting…nobody else plays like Eddy Fury in the game.

Eddy’s finishes are all pretty strong in their own way. Something like the “Cash Out” doesn’t come to mind as a finish that is in anyone else’s kit. How did you come up with your finish names and the effects involved. Also how did you come up with the images used for each of the finishes?

Doug: The finishes work together as a set. They were named with the Vegas theme corresponding to what they do.

“Cash Out” is the most unique (though Combat Chris now has a weaker but less costly to use version). It’s meant to cover me early game when I don’t have any stat bonuses to avoid early finishers, and late game when I have the turn roll advantage but any finisher can be a kill shot.  
“Fist of Fury” compliments “Cash Out” with it’s recursion, since “Cash Out” is rarely used offensively. It also feeds into Eddy being a beast late game when I have few, to no cards in the deck and it gets shuffled in when stopped and can be potentially chained turn after turn.
“Wild Card” is the hammer, the really dangerous finisher, and it’s unpredictable effects. It’s the first card to copy another card in play (Random Guy copies a card in discard). Which at times is minor but very flexible…

What was it like working with The Boss during the creation of the competitor? Was there anything he made you change, or gave you ideas for?

Doug: The process was great. All 3 finishers and the gimmick went through multiple versions to get the mix right without being too crazy powerful or being made ineffectual. My advice for people is focus on the feel of the effects you want less than the power scale. Steve is very good at keeping it balanced power wise.

Did you purchase your character, or was it something that SRG decided to make on their own? If you did purchase it, do you think it was a worthwhile investment?

Doug: I bought it awhile back when the cost was less than now. I felt it was worth it, but it all depends on budget and how you play and interact with the community. You can be a character without a character pack easily enough. If you have the budget for it, it’s a very fun and rewarding experience to be made into the game, and see what other players do with the character and react to it.

Would you be willing to offer some advice when it comes to building a deck for Eddy Fury from your own experiences with the character?

Doug: His gimmick is stand-alone enough if you have a preferred deck style in general it will mostly work with him. He is fun playing aggro with the knockdown cards, and “School Boy” is an almost auto-include for him. “School Boy” gives you some card draws (to get “Cash Out” asap in hand) and you play it early not expecting to finish (though you can now and then) but it’s a quick way to pump the crowd meter up. Hitting “School Boy” early is a no-win for the opponent. Recursion cards for “School Boy” and “Cash Out” help a lot. Stat or turn bonuses stack well with the gimmick also.

Do you have any advice for anyone who may decide to create a competitor in the future?

Doug: Have a strong sense of what you want to play, both in-game mechanically and personality wise. Especially now with so many characters (especially player created characters) you want either (or both) to make a character you will absolutely play as your main deck, or that will stand out in the crowd and appeal to the general community as someone they would want to play as.

With you being one of the most recognizable personalities in the SRG community, what advice do you have for others who’d like to become more of a personality themselves?

Doug: Practice the promos. Get the theme and mannerisms of the character down some before pushing it out into the wild. Especially if you are looking at playing someone that isn’t you in kay-fabe. Don’t take the character too serious and separate competition with character. We all want to win a belt or C-A-C some day as players, but the fun of a personality driven character is that you can make someone’s day when you lose and lose well (sell, play the fool in the loss ect). Be as happy playing your role whether your booked like Ric Flair or Disco Inferno.

Is there anything in the future pipeline for you when it comes to this game? Any more competitors you’d like to create? Anything else you’d like to accomplish in the SRG Universe?

Doug: My main focus is getting a bigger play group here in Vegas and trying to be a west coast hub, should we get groups in California, Arizona, or Utah down the road. I can make a big event or two a year but I’ll mostly be online and local. I may make Oldy Blanderson down the line, or an alternate Eddy Fury with a recursion gimmick, but it depends on my budget…nothing for awhile at least.

If there is anything you’d like to advertise, or put out there to the community, please do so. The floor is yours sir!

Doug: Atomic Trading here in Vegas is our home for SRG, we play Wednesday nights mostly. We will be running prize events real soon, and hopefully something down the line to promote more broadly to attract a traveler or two :). Vegas Invaders are finally making their debut in the greater SRG universe this Gencon!

Behind The Mask: Ezekiel Zhong-Han Azib

Ezekiel it’s a pleasure getting to speak with you, and I appreciate your time. Some people may or may not know, but you actually have 3 characters currently immortalized in the game we all love. Today we plan to talk about two of the three with META and Riggs Simmons. First of all, who was created first, and secondly, what was your thought process when coming up with those two characters?

Ezekiel: Sure & it’s a pleasure to be on here, especially since I’m residing on a different land mass and time zone. There’s actually more than the known 3 but yes, Riggs & Meta are my primary creations and my Pride & Joy. Riggs is my first created and Meta is actually my third. As for my thought process, I draw a lot from this universe to create what we have now in the SRG universe, so a lot of personal experience and what’s in pop culture.

First we’ll start with Riggs Simmons. Is there any certain reason why you chose the skills layout that you did? Any certain things that you wanted to run at the time that needed certain skills to be higher?

Ezekiel: So around the time I created Riggs, I was like months into training at Singapore Pro Wrestling (SPW) and I realistically based it on my actual skill set. I was a martial artist growing up so strikes and grapples were high. I wasn’t the fastest and had no technique so those were low. My fight style was more beat down and go so I picked power over the methodical submission. I believe I made Riggs when I first heard of this game and its culture while browsing Kickstarter so I learned what was needed about the game while also creating Riggs.

How did you come up with the gimmick for Riggs Simmons? It’s quite an interesting gimmick, though it seems like there would be a lot of follow ups needed to really be able to use it often enough.

Ezekiel: Well when I studied the game, I learned a lot of it would be spent in the follow up phase, until you throw down the finish. When I started browsing the available cards at the time, a majority of the stop cards were leads and the follow ups were beefier attacks so with the right combo, I could cycle through and prep before I go into the finish.

When it came to naming your finishers for Riggs Simmons, along with the images used for those finishers, what went into your thought process? Is there any special meanings to any of them? Is there anything certain you wanted to do with the text of the cards as to what the finisher does?

Ezekiel: Even when naming Riggs himself, I was and am a roadie for SPW and wanted to represent that in him so Brütal Legend’s Eddie Riggs was my skeleton for him. I even had a custom denim vest with patches of various promotions one being the SRG universe. “Rigged to Strike” is my ‘All or Nothing’ playing it down is my match killer with baseline of two 10’s and two 9’s. “Girder Collapse” ties back to my follow up gimmick and learning patience in wrestling. The scoop slam was my most mastered grapple when I started so it became a signature with my personal touch of me following through and driving myself onto them. As a roadie the tear down is a more arduous task than setting up especially with the crowd sticking around for photos with the stars, but most rewarding after once we sit down for a meal together. When I started training with larger guys my go to finish was to pounce behind them, grab them by the neck and gradually wear them down, when I got better it became my submission.

When it comes to Riggs Simmons, it has been brought to my attention that there are actually two versions. Even though I believe they have the same text, the art is a bit different. Are you able to explain the change, or the process that you had to go through to get a second version of the card?

Ezekiel: I knew that’ll come up, so when I got into Supershow & Pro-Wrestling, I had a girlfriend who was prominently featured in the first edition and named the strike finisher after her. She agreed to it when it got to the build but when she dumped me, she decided to out the cards as well, so that “Girlfriend Edition” got discontinued and I had to scrub her off the character card. I also had to rename “Hail Kaitie” (based on Hail Mary) to “Rigged to Strike” in this rebranded Riggs’ “Solo Edition.” This also birthed my second & fourth characters but not worth mentioning currently.

With the way the game has grown over the past year or so, what are your thoughts on the fact that a character like Riggs Simmons isn’t available for purchase at the moment off of the website? I know you’ve sold them to some people, but a lot of newer players may not even realize he’s a character in the game unless they happen to come across it here on Powerbomb or hear about it otherwise. Would you be down for a possible alt art re-release sometime down the road?

Ezekiel: I say it sorta aligns with my wrestling career currently, now on the back burner with new guys having their turn to shine but still not that much forgotten. Biding my time, training until they decide it’s time for 3stars to become 5stars. As for here, he’s been my primary here in the LCW, even the current champion, and am open to matches online if requested or challenged. I am intending to discuss a re-release of the “Solo Edition” and am looking to work a tag team run with Meta, I just need a name (Currently it’s Cross/Over) and I have a something lined up after but that’s not worth the spoil.

If you had to redesign Riggs Simmons, as in changing a stat or two, or possibly his gimmick, what would you like to do with the character?

Ezekiel: As for a technical redesign, maybe switch around my mid stats to reflect my current performance. For the gimmick, given I’ve sacrificed a lot for pro-wrestling and it’s culture, maybe on my turn: discard a card to get an effect.

Now let’s move onto META, I honestly have to say that the character is truly one of a kind as far as I know, with not only being a flip character, but also a character with 6 total finishers, that are better for one side of the card or other. What were some of the difficulties in creating a character that flips and has that many finishers?

Ezekiel: Meta was created when I fully understood how the Supershow works. The inspiration came from the SRG universe itself and I wanted Meta to be a big thank you to everyone, from the creators, the players to even wrestling fans. A difficulty is to maximize usability of what can be put in without it being too overpowered in a single line of game play. So while there are certain finishers that favors one side or the other, a true master is able to fully utilize a flip strategy and plan finisher execution. I created Meta such that he’s accessible to newcomers, reliable to veterans and can be absolutely savage to masters of the game.

With META having two sides, what thoughts did you have when it came to putting together the character’s stats for both sides?

Ezekiel: So I love my comics and the most compelling characters that stick with me are those that are or have been good & evil. For face Meta I wanted him quick on his feet both defensive & offensive so agility & strike are the high stats and as most textbook heroes go for the non-lethal end, submission was next. As for heel Meta, I wanted him to be a methodical brute so maximum power followed by technique and an above decent grapple to boot.

Normally it’s hard to come up with a gimmick at first, but what was the process like coming up with a gimmick for both sides of the competitor? Also are you happy with how the character plays?

Ezekiel: For a two-sided competitor I didn’t want the gimmicks to be too similar that’s it’s just a palate swap, yet so different that it’s like a whole different competitor. I wanted Meta involved in the event of stalemate rolls or bumps as both players get to draw, both has the advantage depending on what they draw. Heel Meta was easy, he just says you can’t draw, for face Meta he gets a 50/50 do over to possibly roll better, to make a move, or accepts the draw and not risk his opponent moving. While Meta is allowed to turn evil, I would have preferred if he could flip good as well.

With 6 different finishers, it had to be rather difficult coming up with names and images to go with each of them. How did you choose the names and images? Also was it your idea to have each of the finishers attached to a different skill being rolled, or was it something that The Boss had an idea for?

Ezekiel: As I’ve mentioned above the SRG Universe itself inspired Meta and given it’s a card game with a dice element, I wanted to emphasize how great this addition of the dice is. So if players wanna keep it safe there’s the obvious 3 to choose but if you’re cunning to work a flip into the match, an unexpected flipped finisher can catch a master off-guard and steal a win. “Jiraishin” was from my favorite Japanese TV show growing up: Guyferd. The move translates to ‘Landmine Shock’ and much like an actual landmine once triggered there’s no undo. “Flip the Script” was a fun one when I thought it up, like a 2-headed coin it’s one where you can’t really roll badly, unless your opponent rolls really well. I wanted “Fractured Reality” to be the most unfair when played granting only 1 chance to escape, while experimenting after training I came up with the submission move which you now see: a kimura to the targeted arm, my back leg trapping the other, and my body weight on him preventing him from moving. “Breaking the Fourth,” much like Deadpool is to amputate or dismember the opponent in the event that it moves into the next level. “Overture Op” is meant to be a quick grab finisher, whether to end the level or the match. “Tap or Snap” is the more ‘regular’ of the 6 giving me more moves to work with when it goes into the next level. The first 3 are match enders while the next are match ‘progressers’. I gave The Boss what I would want done, he tells me how much it can be done to balance him out and not make it too crazy.

If you had a chance to redesign anything about META, whether it’s the stats, gimmick, finishes or whatever, what would you like to do with the character?

Ezekiel: As I’ve mentioned earlier, I would want him fully flippable, to make him able to change from face to heel and back when necessary in the match.

What was it like working with The Boss Steve Resk during the creation of your competitor sets? Was there anything that he made you change? Was everything quite smooth?

Ezekiel: He was great to work with, as I’ve said earlier: I provided the “what,” and he tweaked the “how” so they would play fair.

Do you have any advice for anyone who would want to make a character for the game in the future? Anything that people should know before jumping into the deep end?

Ezekiel: I say when coming up with the characters, if it looks and feels naturally put together you have something worth the effort. If available spend time on one of those games that lets you create and dress up your player, when the aesthetics are done right the rest will fall in place. Narrative can help initial build the stats, gimmicks & moves. When given the chance to discuss with the Boss, make full use of the time granted. And of course have fun while doing it, otherwise what’s the point?

Would you be willing to offer up a deck list for both Riggs and META that could give other players a better idea of how you like to play the characters that you’ve created?

Ezekiel: Meta is a very varied character to deck build and the same deck can play differently from player to player. I am willing to offer my iteration, but I highly recommend build yours before referring to it. As for Riggs, sure thing, I have my Spartan/Monk configuration which won me my first & current title reign as LCW champion.

If there is any other topics you’d like to talk about or anything you’d like to plug, go ahead and do it. The floor is yours man.

Ezekiel: So as some have known but most will now, I train & perform with SPW, we have a YouTube channel where you can view our content such as matches and promos. We do shows every 3 or 4 months if you’d want to check us out. I run Leo City Wrestling (LCW) the local Supershow chapter & card marketplace in Singapore. Wrestlefest is happening in Singapore on October 5th. While I have a Facebook presence for both characters, Meta’s Instagram is recently picking up speed and you may follow him @the1metaverse. And a future plan worth noting, I plan to come round stateside to train & perform (maybe even join your local leagues), currently ASWA (& OVW) in Louisville KY, looks promising but feel free to advocate your town for a stopover. If that is all, thank you again for having me, hope to see you all soon and as always #PlayItForward.

I’d like to once again thank Ezekiel for joining me during this interview, and I hope that everyone checking it out learns a thing or two, or at least enjoys seeing The Supershow from another players point of view. We will definitely be circling around sometime in the future to hear about Ezekiel’s other characters in the universe, so make sure to stay tuned!