We got to speak with Apologyman following his recent Red Bull sponsorship!
We were given an incredible opportunity to sit down and speak with Vineeth "Apologyman" Meka after the announcement of his Red Bull sponsorship. Esports.gg's Tyus "Kaze" Hotta spoke with Apologyman to get his thoughts on his new sponsorship, the return of offline events, and the current state of Guilty Gear Strive going heading into Evo.
Editorial Note: Unfortunately, the original audio of the recording of the interview has been lost. The following paraphrases Vineeth "Apologyman" Meka's answers based off of notes that were taken.
Kaze: So, my first question for you is, how does it feel to be on a team with legendary players like Daigo Umehara, Bonchan, Arslan Ash, and Shanks?
Apologyman: "Yeah, it feels almost unreal because of the players you mentioned. Red Bull has always been a really well respected org so it seemed crazy when they reached out to me. The players that you mentioned like Daigo, Bonchan, and Gachikun are like household names in the FGC. It was almost kind of daunting and it had me doubting myself for a little bit, but I have come to learn my own worth because of the offer, so I feel great about it."
K: Yeah, definitely. So do you think with your new Red Bull sponsorship, that you’ll be able to travel to more events than you weren’t able to go to before?
A: "Yeah, having Red Bull’s sponsorship to help me out is definitely nice, but I was already planning on going to a lot of these events anyway. The way Red Bull is helping out more is in my well being because they have mental health specialists and physical health specialists to help and make sure that I can play at my best."
K: That’s great to hear! With the return of offline events, like CEO where you made top eight for Strive, how does it feel to come back to offline events after two years of having to play online events from home?
A: "Honestly, it feels good to be able to come back to offline in person events. I actually didn’t really feel comfortable playing at home in my pyjamas, it wasn’t something that I was really used to. I spent most of my time not entering online stuff and just spent hours in training mode labbing stuff out. As soon as it was safe to do so, I started going back to my locals, and even last year I participated in an offline event at the Red Bull Kumite. The first couple of offline events took a bit of getting used to, but now it feels like things are getting back to normal.”
Apologyman's Thoughts on EVO
Apologyman is well known as a character specialist focusing on characters that are less played. Characters like Piccolo in Dragon Ball FighterZ, or Super Skrull and Firebrand in Marvel vs Capcom 3. Apologyman mains Faust in Guilty Gear Strive.
K: Nice! Speaking of offline events, obviously the big one coming up is EVO in a few weeks. How do you feel about EVO going into it, and what games are you entering?
A: "So for Evo I’m going to be entering Strive and Dragon Ball Fighterz. My main focus is gonna be on Strive, but if I do well in Fighterz that’s a bonus. I feel pretty good going into it. I feel like I’ve been improving a lot. There’s still stuff that I need to work on and practice with the latest patch, but I think that things are gonna go well."
K: So do you have any special training that you’re doing for Strive? Like are there any particular match ups that you might want to practice? I know that you primarily solo main, but have you been thinking about picking up a secondary for any difficult match ups that Faust might have?
A: "So I did have a secondary that I was using for a bit last year. I was trying out Gio, but she was nerfed, or like side graded in the most recent patch. I think that with the most recent round of buffs that I can solo main Faust. He has a few tricky match ups, but the buffs help him out a lot."
Apologyman on the balance of Guilty Gear Strive
K: So on the subject of patches, I know that Strive recently had its Season 2 balance patch where a bunch of stuff was changed. I myself as a Ky player thought it was great, but how do you feel about the patch and the current balance of the game?
A: "I think that the balance of the game is really good right now. The top tier characters like Leo, Ram, and Chaos are still really strong after the patch, but the developers did a great job of buffing the other characters in the game to try and catch up. Characters like Faust and Ky are stronger, but the top tier from the last patch are still top tier in my opinion."
K: The Strive the developers have recently had that like feedback survey and is there anything that you would want to see changed personally going forward? Anything like towards the balance of the game, maybe bringing back instant kills? Like just is there anything that you personally want to see going forward?
A: "Oh man there’s a lot of things. First off nerf Ram, I think that character is really over powered. But aside from that, I think bringing back instant kills would be cool and adding more specials. Maybe that’s something that Arc Sys will include in like Strive Rev2 or something like that. I think stuff to give players more options and Ram nerfs are all I really want."
K: I 100% agree with that. Sorry to jump back and forth between topics, but for EVO, are there any players that you think will show up as a dark horse to shake things up and make their way into top eight, even when people aren’t talking about them?
A: "Yes, there is the player Darkrai who is an insane Goldlewis player. I know that he doesn’t really compete much because he works a day job and that’s it, but he did say that he was gonna be going to Evo."
K: "Are there any characters that you think might make a stand out performance at EVO? Maybe someone who gets memed on like Anji being the worst character in the game or Faust as Laust?"
A: "I think that Baiken has definitely gotten a lot stronger and the Baiken mains are starting to figure her out more. Players like Diaphone, who already has a strong I-no, have gotten really good with Baiken. I think Testament too, they’re very strong, but I’m not sure if the top players like Romolla are going out to EVO."
K: And as a final question, how does it feel to always be in the shadow of HookGangGod when it comes to maining characters
A: "God dammit! Its almost kind of infuriating because we end up playing the same character. I thought that I would end it with DNF duel. I saw that he was playing Ghostblade and then I hard dropped the character as soon as I saw his stream. I said ‘I’m gonna pick up someone new. I’m gonna play Hitman.” Then like two days later, I turn on his stream, he was playing Hitman! In all honesty, he’s a really good friend, and its cool that we always play the same characters. It means that we can share tech and whatever set ups or match up knowledge that we have together. It’s just funny that we always end up gravitating towards the same characters.”