At the start of Season 3 Du “NuckleDu” Dang surprised everyone when he parted ways with Team Liquid. Many wondered where the former Capcom Cup champion was going to end up, but in true NuckleDu fashion he ended up sponsoring himself and flying under the “MyWallet” banner. However, heading into Evo, Dang announced a new sponsor: Gears of War organization Ghost Gaming.
And sponsors have been interested for a reason. Even though he ended up suffering a disappointing early exit at EVO, NuckleDu has still put on quite the performance this season, with top finishes in most of the premiers he’s attended. I caught up with Dang to talk about the growth of Evo, how much he hates traveling, and how he’d like to see Street Fighter V changed for the better.
GINX Esports TV: How do you feel about how Evo’s been expanding over the years?
Nuckledu: I think it’s pretty cool to see how, like, how big its grown. Especially since it’s in Mandalay Bay Arena and just seeing all the people watching the video game is pretty cool to see.
Do you like how it’s progressed to more of a fighting game convention experience? Like, we have way more vendors than we used to and we have way more artists – there’s even more panels. I know you are here to compete, but do you get a chance to explore and enjoy all of that?
Me personally, I really don’t because I am trying to compete. But it’s cool for other people who aren’t just here to compete and, you know, they just appreciate fighting games so there’s a lot for them too. Especially if you get eliminated you could just go in, you know, check all the other panels.
You went from being sponsored by your own wallet, to now being with Ghost Gaming. What’s it like working with an org that’s known more for shooters and not so much for its fighting games?
Well, I have only been with them for a month, but I feel like I’ve known them for a long time already. I’ve known them since, like, January. They flew me out to the house, we hung out and… yeah, it’s pretty cool. All the Gears of War players that they have are really nice; they’re really welcoming. And yeah, it feels good.
The Capcom Pro Tour has changed to a structure where one of the best ways to qualify is to go to majors and win a premier, or you have to go travel week in and week out and really grind out those points. Do you prefer the old system which also allowed you to qualify through either online events or doing a bunch of ranking events, or do you like the current system?
I think the current system is pretty balanced right now. You could still qualify via online but it’s just a little bit harder and, yeah, it encourages people to come out more, yet there’s still the option of qualifying through online if you can’t afford the travel.
You travel a lot for Street Fighter, how do you stay healthy and stay on top of your mental and physical game while doing as much travelling as you do?
I personally hate travelling, but, you know, I try to stay healthy. I don’t like to eat sugar anymore. It’s giving me an esports belly, getting a little fat, but yeah, I just try to eat healthy, work out, and besides that, just trying to get a lot of sleep. I didn’t get much sleep for Evo. I think I got, what, nine hours for the past three days?
Oooh that’s not good.
It’s tough, you know. ‘Cause you are just mentally stressed for the next morning.
A lot of people haven’t been too happy with the way the game has been progressing. Street Fighter V, you know, a lot of people were definitely not happy last season and Capcom seems to have listened a little bit. They’ve added extra “V Triggers”, and balance patches have been coming up pretty well. Are you liking the way the game’s progressing, or do you think that Capcom is not actually meeting the needs of the community?
I think Capcom’s trying. One thing I really like is they added, well, they took out “throw loops”, which was really, you know, it was a lot of BS involved with the “throw loops”, so I like that they took that out. But there’s still a lot of things that could be corrected about the game, and I am sure its being addressed. You know, over at the Capcom Booth, they have a survey where you can give feedback, so I think that’s pretty cool that they are at least trying to see what people think about the game and what they can take from it.
What’s something that you really want to see in the game right now?
I think I want them to kind of nerf “oki” which means, like, for example, Abigail, he could lose 95 percent of his health, but he gets it once and then comes down to like two or three decisions. And, that’s not what Street Fighter is about. So just stuff like that where you’ll be out-playing your opponent and then all of a sudden he gets in once and then you die.
Who’s somebody that when you look at pools, you just start cursing to yourself that you have to face them, and who’s somebody that you see or a character that you know certain people play that you feel is a “free” match up for you?
I kind of want to play everyone. But, I guess if I really want to win and I don’t want my chances to be diminished, then probably Tokido and my favourite match is probably… I don’t really have a favourite match up, to be honest. Every match up is different and every character can get you basic… its Street Fighter V, that’s how it works. There’s no real comfort.