In a time where esports events are so far and few between during the ongoing pandemic, Street Fighter League was a welcome sense of normalcy. Having concluded its third season earlier this year, fan-favorite team NASR Esports was able to make it all the way to the finals and take home victory. Later this year, NASR will face off against Team Japan in the Street Fighter League season finals for a whopping $150,000 USD prize pool. One of the standouts of this season was the Street Fighter League (SFL) veteran Miky Chea, better known as Samurai. He makes up the third part of the NASR trio, which includes the Birds: players Big Bird and AngryBird.
After multiple years of coming close, Samurai was finally able to make it all the way to the finals and come out on top. We got to speak with the Zen-like Ryu and Akuma player to find out his thoughts on winning SFL, and the future of Street Fighter.
At the top of the mountain
PCI: First of all, congratulations on making it to the finals of Street Fighter League. After all this time, it felt like it was inevitable. How did it feel to finally make it to the end of the season? What was going through your mind after the last match?
Samurai: It felt good to make it to the finals once more. It’s especially a great feeling of accomplishment when you’re working with new teammates each and every time. In the final match they had banned Akuma, but I was no stranger to using Ryu in a high-pressure situation. I was very confident going forward as I had previously qualified for SFL Season 2 Finals with Team Frost using Ryu.
PCI: How did this incarnation of team NASR come about? Did you request the Birds specifically?
Samurai: I actually wasn’t supposed to be in Season 3 of SFL due to the way the draft worked. Unfortunately, one of the original NASR teammates couldn’t compete due to academic obligations. That is when Big Bird reached out to me.
PCI: How was it like playing altogether on a team? What was training like as well? You guys all seem like very good friends and it was great to see the camaraderie you all had.
Samurai: It was a slow start at first. But we got the ball rolling towards the end of the season. Training was nice as we practiced with Team Alpha 3 mostly. It was great to have offline practice. I think us getting to know each other more attributed a lot to our success. It gave us confidence and let us trust each other when competing.
PCI: Who came up with the “NICE!” chant? Was it meant to be purely for fun or was it a psychological edge for all of NASR?
Samurai: Myself and AngryBird were a bit shy to be loud on the microphone since our teammates could hear us talking. But, once we understood that no one was bothered by it, both AngryBird and I started cheering as loud as we could to hype up our teammates each time they were up. It was all in fun and to just be ourselves while on stage.
PCI: After your match with iDom in the playoff finals how were you feeling? AngryBird has a better record against iDom than most, but were you still nervous?
Samurai: I felt very confident in Angry Bird. I had done a lot of mental damage to iDom prior and was confident it was enough for AngryBird to take the match. I also knew that AngryBird wanted revenge for the regular season matches we had lost against Team Dynamite. It was a close match, but AngryBird was not satisfied. The Birds and I wanted revenge.
A Street Fighter League rematch at Capcom Cup
PCI: Your match against Nephew on Day 1 of the Capcom Pro Tour Season Final was easily one of the highlights. How did you prepare going into that match? Did your time in SFL playing against him and Alpha 3 give you any kind of advantage?
Samurai: I think us practicing against each other benefited both of us. I had worked on a particular strategy that I wanted to use to counter Nephew, but it wasn’t enough. I was just happy I got to execute the strategy and know what to work on for the next time we compete against each other.
PCI: Since the season final of SFL has been delayed due to the pandemic, how are you preparing for when the time comes?
Samurai: The latest update to Street Fighter V has some interesting changes. I’m diving deep into the new V-Shift mechanic, as well as changes to the characters I play.
Ryu shifting into being a good character
PCI: As a fellow fan of Ryu, I am sure you are as happy as I am with the myriad of buffs he has received in Season 5. What made you stick with him for so long, despite his reputation as being a lower-tier character? What are your thoughts on him now post Season 5?
Samurai: Ryu’s fundamentals are something you can carry to any Street Fighter. It’s something you cannot give up on no matter what mechanics exist in any current or future Street Fighter titles. I think it’s a huge advantage when competing. I think Ryu feels really good in the latest patch. Capcom did a good job of addressing a lot of Ryu’s issues. I just wish they did that to every character in the game.
PCI: Likewise, how do you feel about the new V-Shift mechanic? Is it a benefit to the game? Do you feel it has been fully explored yet, or is there still more to learn?
Samurai: I think it’s an interesting defensive mechanic to explore. I believe it’s a benefit since you can use it offensively and defensively. It definitely has not been completely explored thus far. There’s still a lot to learn about V-Shift.
The answer lies in the heart of battle
PCI: Seeing you meditate when you play has always been fascinating to watch. Where did that come from? Were you into meditation before Street Fighter or did it happen because of it?
Samurai: I noticed Tokido had done some breathing before his matches. That’s when I looked more into meditation. It has been a great benefit to me in and out of competition. I never knew about it before. I’m very thankful and happy to have learned about it due to me competing in Street Fighter V.
A big thank you to Miky for taking the time to speak with us. As of the time of this writing, we don’t know when the Street Fighter League finals will take place. But keep an eye on its website for when the dates are officially revealed.