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Europe’s #1 Irishman talks his roots, Tekken World Tour, how to find a sponsor and Asuka

A chat with Europe’s TWT finalist, Fergus McGee of Ireland.

Fergus McGee has been considered one of the top European players for some time. Last year he qualified to the Tekken World Tour final event. This year he had quite a strong opening, placing top 9 at Final Round a few weeks ago. The Irish player sponsored by UYU will be travelling around the world, wrecking the competition with his Asuka. Let’s talk with him in the first episode of a series of interviews which will introduce you to European players, who do not get as much spotlight as those from Korea, Japan or USA.

Hi Fergus, and thank you for accepting the invitation for the interview!

Thanks for having me, honored to be on this.

I believe that most of the readers have been you playing or at least heard about you. However, there is always something we may not know about you and your career. How did it all start?

I had actually started out as a Soul Calibur 4 player back in 2008, hence my current alias Fergus2k8. But I was very new to fighting games at the time and only started to learn about the concept of combos and frame data then. I played Soul Calibur IV until SF4 came out which was pretty much the revitalization of fighting games as we know it, I played Street Fighter 4 then and I found my local scene in 2010 at an anime con and been with them ever since. I rinsed Street Fighter 4 until Tekken Tag Tournament 2 dropped and having played tons of Tekken in my childhood, I decided to give it a go. I was kinda reaching out for a fighting game at this time as I wasn’t enjoying Street Fighter 4 so much anymore and I got hooked on Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and I started streaming along with picking up Tekken Tag Tournament 2 so I am very grateful to my viewers for helping me on my journey, it would have been tortuous otherwise. As of now, I’m playing Tekken 7 primarily, with a small amount of Street Fighter 5 on the side. I’m looking to really invest into Soul Calibur 6 when it drops.

I started playing fighting games during the Soul Calibur II days, so we need to talk about our roots at some event! But for now, let’s stick to the other 3D fighting game from Bandai Namco. Let’s talk about Asuka in Tekken 7. I believe that we have never seen her being stronger than she is now and you place her in the top 10 characters from the whole Tekken 7 roster. What are her strengths and weaknesses? Why should SS+2 be nerfed?

I believe this is the strongest version of Asuka we’ve seen yet. I believe that she has every tool to win in the game. Her strengths lies in how hard it is to take damage off her due to her having the best panic toolset in the game and strong keep-out on top of being a very safe character. She has high damage output, good wall carry, 2nd best Rage Drive in the game, decent movement, top tier wall game and strong CH tools. She is a bit weak vs turtles but this is overly exaggerated by a lot of people as it doesn’t take much to win with Asuka when she has rage and/or a wall game to work with. She’s looking to get 50% off any launchers when she has rage on lock or a 60 damage low sequence from d1+2 RD. I don’t think she has many weaknesses in T7 other than 10f standing and later WS punishment. My mouth actually dropped when I saw the SS2 buff, I was like “This cannot be real” but it is. I’m not complaining, I’ll gladly take it! [Di: For your sake I hope Harada-san is not reading this…]

Do you have any tips for people who struggle against her? How to sidestep her? Are there any weak points you notice not being exploited by your opponents?

I feel the key to beating Asuka is to just remain patient and let her hang herself if the Asuka player is impatient. You won’t win in brawls with her due to her panic moves so playing a turtle game vs her is effective and really choosing your moments to go in. Force them to whiff their flowcharts (buttons on block into SS2 etc) and other tools to get your damage in. I feel being strong at low parrying is effective vs Asuka since her lows are not too bad on block -11/-12 for nearly all of them, so low parrying is a good way to rack up damage vs predictable Asukas.

There have been many discussions on this year’s format of Tekken World Tour leaderboards. There are no barriers between regions and people believe that in the end it may turn out that all 20 slots will be occupied by Asians. What’s your opinion on this?

This year around, it heavily favors people with sponsorship’s more than ever. We are still early in Tekken World Tour stages so I’m not sure how much travelling the Asians will do for the likes of challengers in USA/EU so I’m thinking it won’t be that much of an issue. I believe the top 20 will have mostly Asians for sure but there will be EU/USA in it also, however small the portion is. It really depends on how you think the finals should be, should the finals be the best or the best or have diverse representation, ala 5 a region like last year? I’m a bit biased in this discussion because I have a strong sponsor backing me up sending me to international events but I can definitely see the difficulty those with no/low profile sponsors would have.

There are many people seeking sponsors and I believe that as an UYU member you are one of the players who can give them some tips.

There is a misconception that you have to be extremely skilled as a player to be picked up by a sponsor, it is for sure a big factor. But there are also other factors as well, social media presence, how approachable you are, brand association, content creating, and a bit of luck.

How did your journey with UYU get started?

I was released from my old sponsor Team Dutch Gaming as the contract expired at the end of the Tekken World Tour season, so I was looking around for new potential sponsors and having come off being a Tekken World Tour finalist, I figured it was a good time to immediately start looking. I sent emails to various teams including UYU and I got a reply back saying they’re delighted to have me and it just went from there. I believe this was around end of November last year. I’m very grateful to have them and they are immensely supportive and the rest of the team are really friendly. Huge difference from my last sponsor as I was the only FG player on the team. I really like how deeply integrated UYU is with the FGC and I’m excited to see what the future holds.

Recently you have been animating the Irish scene. Could you tell our readers about it? There are not that many Irish players within the FGC. I think it’s mainly you and Cobelcog who are known worldwide. Maybe someone who follows TekkenGamer lives in Ireland but does not know about your local communities.

There are 3 main scenes in Ireland at the moment, not just for Tekken but also for all fighting games. The main ones are in Dublin, Belfast and Galway, with smaller scenes in places like Cork. There was actually an Irish scene back in Tekken 5 DR and we had an arcade with DR cabinets on the main street in Dublin City, one of your fellow Polish Nevan was part of it back when he lived in Dublin for a while. This was before my time as I had only joined in Tekken Tag Tournament 2 but all the old players were long gone. For Tekken Tag Tournament 2, there was a small scene that was around for about 8-9 months or so but it faded away sadly so I was left to grind online for the remaining years till Tekken 7 more or less. With the release of Tekken 7 there has been a surge in popularity, with old faces returning and new ones appearing and the Irish FGC has been improving with regards to tournament frequency. I try my best to welcome new players into the scene and help the hungry ones to level up by hosting a house session in my home once a month or so. I’ve actually gotten a few players that are regular now through my twitch chat alone. It’s quite hard sometimes to get someone who has never played offline to come to a tournament or session, as they might be concerned about a few factors including doubt about skill levels, not knowing anyone, getting to the session etc. I hope with my growing presence in the Tekken community globally, I can try and also build on my own scene in Ireland, you can never forget your roots :).

Thank you for your time! What’s your next stop? When should we keep our fingers crossed?

My next tournament will be at the Colosseum in Rome on the 12th and 13th of May, I hope to place well, Italy is in my opinion the strongest scene in Europe so it will be hard.

Former writer for SDTEKKEN, TekkenZaibatsu and 8WAYRUN. Plays Tekken and SoulCalibur but prefers to run tournaments. Works in QA and has been credited in multiple titles, including Ultra Street Fighter IV, Mortal Kombat XL (PC) and Injustice 2. Teaches math and English. Loves pandas, read sneakers and ice cream.

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