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Lucar: “Videl is the Strongest in My Team”

24 min

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Lucar: “Videl is the Strongest in My Team”
DashFight interview with a prominent player

Lucar is a pretty active fighting games competitor. Not only do we know him from DBFZ tournaments, but also he plays many other titles. Sure, Dragon Ball FighterZ is obviously his main game at the moment; we all can see this thanks to his pretty impressive results.

Lucar is often on top at regular Juicy Monthly events. He was 3rd at CEOtaku 2022, 2nd at First Attack 2022, and the Winner at Kumite in Tennessee 2022.

2023 has already brought Lucar another notable achievement — victory at Texas Showdown 2023. He dominated throughout the whole tournament and then won a tough Grand Final against Reynald. After such an impressive performance, we at DashFight just had no other choice but to reach out to Lucar and ask him for an interview.

And actually, here it is — we are happy to share with you guys our chat with one of the best DBFZ players in North America. We talk about his team, strategies against top-tier characters, the upcoming DBFZ patch, experience of gaming in general, plans for the future, and even more.

DashFight Interview | Lucar

Could you please describe your general emotions after the Texas Showdown victory? Are you happy with your performance?

After the Texas Showdown, I was happy, of course. Last year, I did end up going, and I couldn't even make it to Top 8. I had to fight Reynald, and he outplayed me two matches in a row. It was kind of a very salty feeling. But after coming out and getting my payback against Reynald, it felt nice. It felt like I worked hard and showed a whole year of training and competition, how much I've grown as a player. And it felt super great. I can't explain how amazing it feels.

You were on the verge of resetting the Grand Final at the Texas Showdown. And then you managed to win those two games and did not let that happen. But you were on the other side at Kumite in Tennessee 2022. You came through the Losers side, reset the bracket, and eventually won the tournament. How do such placements on the Losers or Winners side affect your play? Is it additional pressure, extra motivation, or you just play your game and don't care?

Being put in the opposite scenario in KiT, it was a different feeling, outside of the game; I did feel anxiety, nervousness. But once you sit down and just put your hands on your controller, you look at the match, you look at your opponent, everything feels like a different type of reality, no matter if it's Winners or Losers, it feels the same in-game. And all that I tried to put in my brain was “I'm just going to play my game. This is my game, no matter what.” And if I achieved getting into this mode or the state, it feels like one of the most exciting positions to be, because… Not only was I put in losers… being put back into a corner, it feels like “Yo, this is it, I'm just gonna throw out everything I got, and I'm not gonna back down. I'm gonna go my way”. It feels exciting, and it feels so thrilling. And it definitely puts a little bit more motivation that “I want this win much more and much more”. I've been put in this scenario countless times at multiple major tournaments. I've had this feeling, and it is probably much more anxiety-inducing, but I feel really alive while competing on the Losers side compared to the Winners. On the Winners side, you feel more comfortable, relaxed, being like “Okay, I can lose one more; it's fine”. But on the Losers, It's a different feeling, entirely different.

Is this victory kind of extra pressure for the next tournaments — you go as a winner, and you feel more expectation from you? Or it’s rather a boost of confidence, like “I can do that. I did it just right now”?

Whenever I come to a tournament, I always have expectations put upon me, not just from myself but the people around me. And it always feels anxiety-inducing to be there. But being in this scenario where I did win the Texas Showdown, I feel like I've met my goal as a fighting game player. And it feels great to be in this position. From every tournament onwards, I expect myself to be putting in the same amount of work or the same amount of placements in future events. Combo Breaker will be around the corner, and I expect to make it to Top 8 and everyone around me encourages me to do so as well. I've been training with them and they've got my back since day one. They always want to see me improve and grow. So I always try to hope for better results every tournament.

For our recap of the Texas Showdown, I’ve made a title “Instinctive Win”. But that’s mostly because I couldn’t coin anything Videl-related. I feel she is a gem in your team, very unusual at pro events. What do you like about her?

I have always run a very non-meta and very unusual team. And even with rocking the team that I have, it managed to get high placements at tournaments, such as CEO and EVO, and winning other Majors like Texas Showdown and KiT. It’s a very unusual thing.

Videl is a very unique character in this game only because she utilizes an offensive structure that not a lot of characters really have in terms of how you approach the blockstrings. She's a more reset-heavy type. And on top of that, she relies on assists to open you up with her Specials a lot more frequently than other characters. And even though she doesn't have the highest damage on some of the starters, she has a lot, and I mean a ton of different ways to open you up compared to the rest of the cast. Even against the top tiers themselves, she, in my opinion, has still one of the best offensive structures in this game. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. That's what I really like about her. 

Playing around other opponents that actually have bigger normals or better tools, she has answers for them that a lot of the cast don't really know how to work with. And why I personally enjoy her, because she utilizes that structure a lot better than the overall rest of the cast. People say that she's probably the weakest in my team. I disagree. I think that she is actually the strongest in my team, just because of all of the options she provides. Not just for my team, but as the character itself.

I actually found only one player throughout many tournaments, measy, who also plays Videl, but on Mid and Anchor. Where is she really better?

It depends on a couple of things. Her whole design is meant to revolve around the assists. So, the more assists you have, the better you're going to open up your opponent. And with her offensive structure, you're going to have a lot more chances. But running her on Mid also has positive gains, because when you land your first hit on your opponent, you can bring her in. And you can force RPS scenarios with your 3rd assist. So, there are pros and cons for both [positions]. But I ultimately decided on Point, because having two assists is definitely better than having one. Using all these offensive tools in the game, you can have two chances over just one. That's my personal opinion of where you should rock her. And on top of that, she has a ki blast that can go through nearly the rest cast’s ki blasts. So her neutral is defining that you can set a good start to your match, approach your opponent, and have both assists ready. If you have only one, you have only one attempt. I don't think that as Mid she's as good as rocking her on Point, but she's still a solid Mid. She has her tools.

I like this thing about playing non-meta teams, because everyone is playing the Fusions right now, so many players. And Lab Coat is everywhere. Was it tempting for you to try her?

Back last year, when Lab Coat was introduced to the game, everyone knew that she was going to be a problem. And after realizing that the debuff is comboable… I went to that Texas Showdown without her, and I think that was probably the worst mistake I could have made. I was tempted enough to pick her up at Combo Breaker 2022. And It felt weird, because I had a lot of different tools to work with, over the tools I currently have. Having all that, it felt nice, but it just didn't feel the same. It didn't feel like the game I enjoyed because of what the character offers. The character skips neutral at a rate that I don't think should ever be done in a fighting game — a Lariat that goes nearly full screen, has anti ki blast properties, and is able to smoke you across the screen. It feels nice, you know, winning, like “Oh yeah, I'm winning, I'm winning”. But in the end, I feel like I'm not doing anything special to win. So after doing that, and she got nerfed, I went back to my old team. If I’m gonna play the game, I'm gonna play the game how I enjoy it, I'm gonna play the game that feels right. Because if I played just this stuff, of course, I'm winning more, that feels also nice, but it just feels kind of lame. And what's the purpose? If I don't have fun in the game, then there's no point in playing it.

I’ve heard two strategies on how to deal with the Fusions and Lab Coat — you either play them or play someone who is good against them. What would you recommend? How to deal with such powerful characters? 

Fortunately, Lab Coat has some weaknesses. It is hard to exploit it, because it’s a tag-team game at the end of the day. But there are openings that she does provide either from her frame 1 anti-air spin — there are assists in the game, you can call them,  and she'll get punished. And on top of that, not only do the Fusions have this, but there are other characters in the game that have abilities or Specials to rival against Lab Coat. But now that we live in a scenario where everyone wants to pick the top-tiers, we condition the player base “You only have these set options, these set options can win”. That's not true. Broly has a command grab that can grab her from across the screen and throw her. But because you don't see those characters being played more, you don't see people experimenting with those types of things. Like my characters, there's an answer for nearly all of their tools, right? It is hard, it really is. But if you know, experiment, practice… and you're like “Okay, I've seen this 1000 times”, and you play it up, it's always going to work. And just experimenting with different teams or even character abilities — there are answers to both Lab Coat and the Fusions. 

Vegito’s assist has a ki blast property, it goes by really fast. More than half of the cast can have answers to this. But you don't see players going around choosing these options either… because they like to complain and say “Hey, I can't believe this is in the game. What the fuck”. For example, 16 and Videl on my team both have Specials and command normals that can actually destroy the assist. And it actually has led me through more victories than I can count. I remember at Frosty Faustings of this year, INZEM called this assist, I used my command normal, and hit them, and that gave me a medium starter. But you don't see that often in a lot of players because they either rock the high-level characters or they just don't know what the characters’ true potentials are. What I recommend for every player is just to experiment more and more in the game. Because there are definitely answers that are still missing out there, that, as a community, we can piece out together. But if nobody's willing to try, then nobody's gonna find out.

Even to this day, I believe that characters like Hit and Gotenks are insanely good. And they have so many answers for this cast, but nobody wants to pick them because we all live in a scenario where “I have to pick Lab Coat. I have to play the Fusions” But it doesn't have to be that way. A lot of people like to choose… “I'm just gonna listen to what Nitro says. I'm gonna listen to what Wawa says. These people are playing the Fusions, Adult Gohan. I'm gonna copy them. Because they win Majors, I can win a Major”. It doesn't have to be that way. But that's my two cents. I think that players should definitely experiment, play what they like, and try to learn what are their characters’ strengths, what are their weaknesses of their opponents characters, not just the Fusions or Lab Coat but just in general everyone in the cast.

We are expecting this patch to come. What do you actually want from it? 

For this patch, I would like them to remove full-screen normals. That is my biggest personal gripe with this game. Because having normals that flung across the screen at a faster rate than even your movement speed is to me like a joke. That should never have been designed into the game. I don't see the planning or even the design where they were going with it. I personally want that removed. I also would like them to turn down defensive assists, because there are some scenarios, where I'm putting my opponent in a blockstring, or I'm getting put in a blockstring, and I'm just mashing my assists, and if the opponent delays “Oh, I'm gonna wait a little bit”, they just call their assist. And either I succeed or they succeed. To me, I feel like the assist call should definitely be a slower startup. Or it should be longer for the assist to be summoned out of blockstun, because you shouldn't be rewarded just for pressing assist and be like “Oh, I called my defensive assist, now you die”. And on top of that, you got a near ToD combo. “Congratulations. Shake my hand”. I want that out of the game.

Another thing, and it’s more of a system change, I would like them to remove the active tag when you do a Special. The top tiers of this game utilize this because of the length of their Specials. You have characters like Vegito, where he does legs. You can bring anybody in the game and DR them. Awesome. That's cool. He gets down, you stomp on them, If you're playing Lab Coat, Level 1, and then you go back to Vegito. And to me, I think it's a flawed design. Of course, you're gaining more damage. But why should you be rewarded with an assist call just for them to come out. And that's it, you're not spending any more resources. And in this game, if you put them in a combo, combos are so long that if you delay, delay the combo, the assist will come back, and you'll just be able to bring them out, and it will repeat. It either should cost more resources or they should be locked out of their assists, so they can't go back to their initial characters. It becomes too simple. And then it forces a lot of the players to pick a certain cast. 16 can't do it. Videl can't do it. UI can, but at that point, why not pick, of course, the top tiers, all of them do. Blue Vegito, Blue Gogeta, Red Gogeta, Lab Coat. It becomes very… samey. And a lot of characters don't have this. Teen Gohan may have it, but characters like Krillin don't have it, so why should I rock Krillin, it makes no sense. So I think it should be done either — make it so that it costs more resources or you have to do it earlier. It still feels useful for the whole cast. That's a big change to this mechanic that I would like to see. 

And as for the patch itself, when the patch comes, rollback is introduced, you know that I'm gonna be playing this game a lot more. And you're gonna see me experimenting and trying to learn stuff because I do want to continue to compete in this game. But I don't want to continue in a state where my opponent can just press one button and get teleported across the screen. That's personally the game I don't want to play. But as you can tell from the Texas Showdown weekend — I did win but I had to deal with this a couple bit. Not a fan, not a fan.

You offer coaching sessions on Metafy. Who could come to you? What level do I need to benefit from them?

I am willing to teach anybody who is interested in the game, from “I just bought this game” all the way to the highest level. I'm willing to teach anybody. But in my opinion, the people who would utilize it the most will be those who understand the core instructions that the game was designed for. “Okay, I understand the movement, I understand this calling, I understand combos. I want to grow from here”. And I'm willing to teach people on how to enhance their movement and blockstrings, enhance how to open up their opponent. And that's what I can offer the most assistance with in this game.

So I would say around the beginner or maybe mid-level is probably the best in what I can offer. And at a high level, I can teach you how to go even further, like even going into depths of what makes things work in this game. What are answers that you don't normally see? Or I'm trying to find ways to understand the game at a very deep level and enough to put you tournament-ready. I wouldn’t say trying to make Top 8 at Evo or a tier one Major, but enough for you to feel like you are happy with your results and happy that you signed up for the program. 

And I would recommend anybody who would like to learn the game to go on with your friends, learn the game together. And if you want even more help, like go to either Discord, go to other communities and just talk and talk, because in order to get better, the only thing that you have to do is just talk to other people and play with them. That's how to do it. And if I can definitely lend a hand, I'll definitely lend a hand whenever people ask. And if you want to reach me directly, of course, my Metafy is always available. My DMs are also available. I won't stray away from answering obvious questions, but for people who want more in-depth analysis on their matches, I’ll happily help.

To move a bit beyond DBFZ, I saw you play quite a few games at tournaments. How do you manage this? Isn't it confusing? 

I grew up collecting video games, and I grew up playing a lot of them. When it comes to managing tournament play, I actually practice this with an individual known as Adrian Riven that you may have heard of, and he's kind of Hollywood in League of Legends. He is my training partner. And we practice for about four to five hours every two-three days. And we make sure to get ready for tournaments. That's usually how we do it. 

Even though I have a large game collection, I actually don't play a lot of them. I mainly have been playing MMOs like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV. That's where I spent most of my time. Whenever I'm not playing fighting games, I'm just in an MMO, talking to my friends and just raiding.

But juggling between these, it is hard, because whenever I get to my “I want to feel relaxed. I don't want to play fighting games”. If I get too deep into it, I can feel the skill just washing away from my head. So I try not to stray too far away from my games. And I know that I'm doing a good job. Or my partner is doing a good job forcing me. Every day he's like “Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball!” Because we want to definitely compete and aim for good results. That's how I've been juggling the game. And without him. I don't think I would have won the Texas Showdown. I owe him a lot, even though I taught him how to play the game.

Do you have something in mind for the future? What’s after DBFZ?

In the year of 2023, when this interview is happening… (Hello future people who are reading this). But this year, we have Tekken 8, Street Fighter 6, and potentially a beta for Project L coming along. This is probably one of the best years of fighting games in such a long time. And you know that I'm going to be trying my best to earn as many tournament placements as possible. I'm going to try to aim for the Capcom Cup, I'm going to try to throw hands in Tekken 8. This is the best year to play. And this is the one that I would like to continue playing outside of just Dragon Ball. And I know in the past people have said things like “Oh, Dragon Ball doesn't correlate to other fighters”. That's not true. Because you have people making results outside of it. You have Nitro with Guilty Gear, you have Drac with KoF. Just because you're part of one community doesn't mean that’s the only community you belong to. I highly disagree with that. I feel like if you are part of the fighting game industry, you can adapt to whatever game you play as long as you're willing to put the time and effort into it. And I think I am willing to put the time and effort into Street Fighter 6 because I definitely want to come home winning the Capcom Cup.

What are your plans for this competitive season? Do you plan to travel abroad? 

Alongside Combo Breaker, Evo, and CEO, I would love to compete outside of the United States. And I'm planning on trying to do that for the DBFZ World Tour 2023/2024. I know that there was a tournament in Brazil. I heard that there was one in the Philippines. I heard that there was one in Japan. There are a bunch of events in the EU as well. I would love to participate in these tournaments. Because if this is the potential last year for Dragon Ball FighterZ, I definitely want to make a statement that I traveled to these majors, and I am like a menace to this game — in a good way. 

I would definitely like to leave my final farewell to the game if this is the last year. If not, you'll see me attempting this again next year. And I would also like to come home with the World Tour Cup. You'll definitely see me attending those tournaments. If not, you'll see me attending smaller ones across the country.

Thank you, Lucar, for this conversation. We at DashFight look forward to your fights in DBFZ and beyond this game.

Combo Breaker 2023 looks like the nearest opportunity for this. The events happens on May 26-28.

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