In a game where you can be classic DC Comics characters like Batman, the Flash, Superman, and Catwoman, Ryan “Dragon” Walker won Injustice 2 playing a character that not many people respect or even consider fun. Aquaman, the but of many jokes, is what many would refer to as a “lame” character. He has many zoning tools and can deal tremendous chip damage.
And as boring and lame as Aquaman may be, Dragon was able to takedown crowd favorite Tim “HoneyBee” Commandeur for the right to hoist the Evo 2017 trophy over his head.
(This interview was originally published on PVP Live July 20th, 2017. PVP Live is now defunct)
(c) Red Bull Japan / Stephanie Lindgren
Who do you play and why did you specifically pick that character?
I play Aquaman and the reason picked him…well there’s always two things that I always look for in a character. One, that they’re fun and then also match my competitive nature. I wanna play a character who’s good. I want the best chance of winning. So, if they’re fun and they’re good, that’s who I’m playing.
What makes Aquaman fun for you?
This is the thing that everyone says, “how do you have fun with that character?” This is funny, I’m a guy who likes to lame people out, and Aquaman is a character who does that. He’s very defensive, you can play him very methodical, and that’s my playstyle. It’s what I like to do.
And those same reasons make him a competitive character as well?
Exactly, yes, that’s what pretty much makes him good. There’s a couple other things, but that’s the main thing.
When you saw your brackets for EVO, was there any thought in your mind you couldn’t make Top 8 or were you pretty confident looking ahead you could make Top 8 based on your pool?
That’s a good question because, I was confident all the way up until my Top 8 match, to play FOR top 8. But the brackets went how I wanted them to. For one, Whiteboy lost to 2Easy which was good because I might have had to play Whiteboy for Top 8 and I was kinda nervous about that match. And then Semiij lost to Nubcake; which meant I had to play Nubcake for Top 8 and I’m more confident against him then Semiij. So, it really played in my favor with how it all worked out.
Why were you worried about playing the other players?
It’s a player and match up thing. Certain characters do well against other characters. I usually lose against Semiij. So, I was actually pretty scared I’d have to go up against him. Whiteboy I haven’t played against. So, it was mainly unfamiliarity with going against him.
Once you were locked for Top 8, was there a thought in your mind like “yeah this is mine, all these guys are scrubs.”
Honestly, yeah. When I saw that Hayatei beat Slayer, I was really confident. It meant I had to play Hayatei instead of Slayer and I’m more confident against Hayatei. I actually almost lost to him. Afterwards, I would have to play either Honeybee or SonicFox. I wanted to play Honeybee. It was good for me when Honeybee upset SonicFox; no one thought he could do it.
You play Aquaman, is there any other characters that you would think about adding as a secondary back up character?
Yeah. I actually have Black Adam as a secondary character. The reason why I picked him up is because the last two tournaments I played at were Combo Breaker and CEO, and at both tournaments I lost to a Black Adam. I said to myself, “if you can’t beat em join ‘em.” I used him a little bit in this tournament, I didn’t at all in the top 8, but before that I did. When I get home I might add someone else but we’ll see.
What attracted you to Injustice? Did you play Injustice 1, and if you did what made you want to play these games?
I played Injustice 1, but it was only casually, I didn’t even know tournaments were a thing back then, plus I was also 13. I got into MKX as my first competitive game, and since Injustice 2 is from the same people I said “I’ll give this a try, I liked the first Injustice, it’s the next biggest and greatest thing.” I had to move over like everyone else did and compete in that instead.
You’re pretty young, you’re 19, how do you find time to do schoolwork, I don’t know if you have a part time job, and practice Injustice?
I graduated from high school 2 years ago, I’m not in college right now. I do have a part time job, it’s only 2 days a week sometimes 3, so basically I pretty much I have all day and all night on days that I don’t work, and even when I do I can still go home and then practice all night and then stay up til you know whatever 4 in the morning and just play and play and play. And that’s what I do.
When Noble reached out to you to be your sponsor, did that kind of blow your mind?
It was back, god I don’t even remember when it was. I can’t really say it did because I was one of the top players in MKX. Noble’s great and I love them, but I wasn’t necessarily so surprised, I was grateful, but not necessarily so surprised, but it’s great they’re awesome people and there’s awesome players on the team and it’s like a family almost.
That’s great, sort of a last question, is there any other game you would consider picking up like we have Marvel vs Capcom Infinite coming out, we have Dragonball Fighters, Street Fighter, are any of the other games really attractive to you at all?
They are, but only on a really casual level, and the reason being, it’s hard for at least me to play 2 games at an extremely high level. I could prolly get good at one of those games but then it would take away my skill from Injustice. I wouldn’t do as good in that. So I’m just mainly focusing on Injustice and then I might just play casually in the other games that are coming out.
From a casual standpoint, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite or DBZ Fighters, which one are you more excited for?
I’m not really a big DBZ fan, I might get some hate for that, but Marvel vs Capcom Infinite looks pretty good, but I prolly won’t be playing it too much. Mainly just Injustice.