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Q&A: NYChrisG on becoming an EVO champion

In the Fighting Game Community, we refer to them as “killers.” People in the room who can easily take down a tournament. Christopher “NYChrisG” Gonzalez is one of them. His team, often referred to as The Problem, is a brick wall of zoning and bullet hell that many can’t overcome. Over the years, his lame style of play earned him the nickname “the Villain of Marvel” and he was easily the heel of any top eight. But despite being always in the conversation of who could take down an EVO top eight, it was a feat ChrisG had yet to be able to accomplish. Until this past weekend, of course, when Chris took down EVO 2015 Marvel champion Nicolas “Kane BlueRiver” Gonzalez.

Slingshot’s Amanda “SageGnosis” Stevens had the pleasure of chatting with ChrisG after his win on Sunday.

Amanda “SageGnosis” Stevens: You’re now the Marvel EVO Champion; how does that feel?

Christopher “NYChrisG” Gonzalez: I’m feeling good. It’s been a long day but now I get to rest easy.

AS: This win has been a long time coming. At any point during the Grand Finals did you feel “this is it; I’m going to win”?

CG: The first game was actually super rough. But when I won the next game, I realized what I had to do. I realized what he was going to do and that’s more important. I realized that he will do anything – risk everything – to get a hit. And I knew coming into the game that was what he was going to do. So, when I started to stop him and I started to notice that he started to go absolute ham; I knew I wasn’t going to let that happen.

So, when I took the second game and then when I was up 2-1, I knew it was done. When I reset I knew that this was going to continue the exact same way.

AS: One of the things I noticed is that you are usually more of a zoning player. But in watching you play just now, I noticed you were way more aggressive in this top eight. Was that just an adaptation that you thought of or was it because people were telling you you were playing too passive?

CG: No. The thing is that when you are playing against someone like Kane BlueRiver you will feel overwhelmed; and he will take advantage. The first game, when I backed off, I was like “wait, damnit”and he hit me. After that I thought “nope, nope I’m swinging.”

So, every chance I got, I hit with everything I could. And I wasn’t going to take any armor, I wasn’t going to take any Gamma Charges, any Lariats. I was going to be the guy to push all the buttons.

AS: But not even just versus Kane BlueRiver. In all of your matches you just seemed to be a lot more aggressive, a lot more willing to get in people’s faces. Is that just because you’ve been playing the game so long you’ve realized that sometimes you can’t just play the zoning game?

CG: 100%. I lost to Kevin “DualKevin” Barrios – he put me in losers. And he has a defensive team; as do I. But at some point someone has to go in. I decided from Round 1 that I’m gonna go in. So, I beat him 3-0 and then I had to fight Armando “BT.Angelic” Mejia– actually even Juan “Priest” Corona before him has a defensive team. DualKevin, defensive team. I’m going to go in. Next guy, Priest. I’m going to go in.

Now, when I played Angelic he’s fully rushed down. But, I know that just like Kane BlueRiver, that he will swing and he will push buttons. I was going to push more buttons.

AS: Alright. When you saw that the bracket had you facing Justin Wong at the start did you feel that was going to be toughest part of the top eight?

CG: Oh, 100 percent. That is the hurdle that both me and Justin must  jump over at every EVO. For the past four years we’ve played each other. I won the first time we played at EVO 2012 Top 8. He won the next time at EVO 2013 Top 8. Then Justin won the next time Grand Finals EVO 2014. I lost and I had to hold that L.

The next year, which was last year, we played before top eight and it actually felt sad. Playing each other sucked. We realized one of us was really not even going to make it. And I beat him that time, and you know FChamp didn’t make it either, and I didn’t make it. After beating Justin at EVO I still didn’t make it. Thank God this year we both made it to top eight and it was going to be that tiebreaker. It came down to the wire, 2-2, and I won.

After I won he kept telling me – actually we both kept saying it — whoever won better win EVO. I took that into consideration. I won. I am glad I am able to prove myself and win EVO finally.

AS: What has made you stick with your team (Morrigan, Doctor Doom, & Vergil) for this long? You see people make variations to their comps over time. Even Justin left Wolverine out of his lineup and replacing him with Vergil.  

CG: That’s my team. It is my team. The Problem. That’s what people used to call it. Because I was pretty much that guy you had to beat, I was that person that was going to shoot you in you face until you got past it. Playing this team, even after all these years, I still haven’t perfected it. It sucks that I never mastered TACs (Team Aerial Combos), I still can do better Vergil combos, better Vergil conversions. I try to take it slow. I try not to overdo myself. Try not to push myself too far. The team pulls though for me.

AS: After having a nickname like the “Villain of Marvel” for so long how did it feel once you won to hear the whole crowd behind you?

CG: It feels amazing. For the past few years I was that bad guy. I was that guy that you should boo. I’m not saying it was fair. I don’t want to go up there and feel like crap. But you know, yeah, people wanted me to lose. But after a while it felt like it shifted from people wanting me to lose to I really haven’t won EVO yet. So, like, on the grandest of stages maybe you should win this one. Maybe you deserve to win this one. I finally took this one. The biggest one too.

AS: Is there anyone you want to shoutout? Anyone you want to thank?

CG: Yeah. Shoutout to all my fans, shoutouts to everyone who has been out there to support me, shoutouts to the Twitter to my Twitch page, to all of them. And of course, shoutouts to my girlfriend. There have been times when I doubt myself all the time and she’s there to hold me up. For a while, actually just like two months ago, when I was playing Street Fighter V for some reason I thought I wasn’t good enough. She woke me up. I started to win back to back tournaments on the West Coast in Street Fighter. This was for her. For everybody.


Photo credit: Stephanie Lindgren  @Vexanie