Vincent Homan, better known as “Super Akouma,” has been placing high in European Tekken tournaments ever since the game came out on consoles. He qualified for the Tekken World Tour finals last year and quite recently won Kuwait Battle Royale 2018. He is definitely a force to be reckoned with.
In the 3rd episode of my interview series I will talk with Mr. Homan about his fighting game history, his Tekken 7 main, playing on a Hitbox, and this year’s Tekken World Tour.
Super Akouma recently won “Ultimate Ranking: Road to EVO 2018” tournament and will be traveling to Las Vegas this year, so better get ready for his Akuma!
What did your fighting game history look like before Tekken 7?
I’ve been a fan of fighting games and especially Tekken for as long as I can remember but I started my journey with the FGC about a year after Tekken Tag 2 came out. On release, I started getting really invested in the game and the online mode when I stumbled across an ad for my local tournament. I went there and there was no Tekken but the organizer knew who to put me in contact with. Three players came running to recruit me, among them there was Daiten Jin who decided to mentor me and bring me to tournaments outside of my town and then abroad. I fell in love with tournament and travelling so naturally I kept doing it until Tekken 7.
Who did you play back in Tag 2? How did you do?
I used to play Lee/Armor King and Lee/Violet towards the end of the game. I always did quite good at small to medium sized tournaments and OK in big tournaments. I think my most notable performance was at UTXVI, I got 9th but I probably had the hypest match of the entire tournament.
How did you come up with your nickname? Did you feel like a prophet, finding out that Akuma was actually coming to Tekken?
It’s a bit silly, there’s a parody of DBZ on YouTube made by Team Four Star and the old Namekian (the really fat one) gets called Super Kami Guru. I was gonna call myself Super Kami but it was taken already, so I went with Akouma. And it’s a perfect fit and also less pretentious than Super Kami, lol. When I first saw the trailer for Tekken 7 FR with Akuma, I was in the car on my way to my local tournament, it wasn’t me driving but I almost crashed the car because of how hyped I was. It was a sign for me that Tekken 7 was gonna be my time to shine and I guess I was right.
“Ahhh, Tekken… a fast-paced 3D with tons of movements and hand-to-hand combat.” – that’s how most people could say until Tekken 7 came out. Even though Eliza was already present in Tekken Revolution, she was treated more like an experiment. She actually was, leaving some good foundation for Tekken 7’s Eliza, as well as Akuma and eventually Geese. We all saw how well Poongko did at Evolution 2015, demolishing most players. However, after the game came out and people got used to the character, he was less and less used in top 8 at tournaments. Why did you decide to choose Akuma? I know that there are many core Tekken fans who do not approve the guest character – have you experienced a lot of negativity towards yourself due to playing Akuma?
Akuma is the perfect character for me, I like him because he’s a heavy hitter, requires high execution (with great reward), he can bend the rules a little bit without it being gimmicky and I’ve always liked his design and character traits. The reason a lot of players stopped playing him is because they nerfed him immensely, when Akuma first came out he was actually broken and also people didn’t understand him well enough to deal with him anyway. At the beginning, I did get a lot of negativity, but I don’t anymore. I’ve managed to prove that I make the character what he is and not the other way around.
Can you share some anti-Akuma tips?
My tip is that you have understand there isn’t a single option that beats everything, to beat Akuma you need to be good at mind games (unless you play Jack). Also you need very good movement, more than most matchups.
Have you tried any other character? Do you have someone in your pocket for counter-picking?
I play most of the cast but I’d rather struggle with my main than pick the easy way out. The only matchup i might consider switching for is Jack. If I have to I’ll pick Kazumi.
And what about other fighting games? Is Tekken the only game you play or only the one you focus on?
I enjoy most fighting games but only focus on Tekken.
Who would you consider the top 10 characters in Tekken 7? Random order.
In no order: Dragunov, Devil Jin, Kazumi, Jin, Jack, Steve, Paul, Xiaoyu, Law but tied for tenth I’ve got Asuka and Feng.
Other than playing Akuma, you are one of the few players using a hitbox in a competitive 3D fighter. Do you think you have advantage over your opponents using SOCD? [Note for readers: when left and right arrows are pressed, Tekken reads it as neutral, adding an alternative way to perform backdash cancel].
I use the hitbox for its speed and precision but I don’t actually use the SOCDs.
Did you try playing on an arcade stick before using a hitbox?
I tried and for Tekken and other 3D fighting games but I’d rather use a pad or a hitbox.
I know it’s been a few months already but I wonder how did you enjoy the last year’s Tekken World Tour finals. I can only speak from the stream viewer perspective but everything looked really polished.
Even if my performance was poor I can say the tournament was great. It was full of emotions and great matches. The presentation was also pretty good. I look forward to next year’s final and hopefully many more TWT finals.
What’s your opinion on this year’s TWT rules for Leaderboards? Do you feel it will be much harder for people outside of Asia to qualify to the finals in Amsterdam?
Me and a lot of other people were worried about that at first but there is nothing to be worried about. Nobody can afford to travel to enough tournaments to make a real difference between them and other top players. Also people tend to think of a large pool of great players and then think they can all win so many points, when in reality only a about 6 of those players for a Master and about 3-4 of them for a Challenger can get decent points each tournaments. When you understand those players will be mostly the same out of that pool and that nobody can actually point block another region, then you stop being worried. There’s one more factor that actually helps out Europe: the incentive to travel for a Challenger is much lower than for a Master and Europe has more Challengers than the other regions so i’m very confident that a few Europeans will make it in the top 20.
How big is the French Tekken community and who are currently top players in France?
The French Tekken community is quite big with a large chunk of players in my hometown of Marseille but also in Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux and Toulouse. There are also some notable players that are kind of alone where they live. So I’d say we have maybe a bit more than 100 players that are active in some capacity. There was actually a trend not to long ago to do player tier lists for French players (the UK scene did it first) so I did my own:
Modesty tier Super Akouma
S- Gunni, DaitenJin, Doug from Paris, Red
A Kingheim, Chris