Interview with KI World Cup Champion, F3 Sleep!

As the 2016-2017 season for the KI Ultra Tour comes to a close, the World Cup sees the rise of a champion hardened by the trials of battle.

F3 Sleep has been one of the longtime KI veterans since the game’s resurrection via the Xbox One. Although he’s had some experience in other fighting games, it was through Killer Instinct that he would find his time in the spotlight. His Kan-Ra put the competition on edge in Season 2, but with the arrival of Season 3 he began dabbling in characters such as Arbiter, Maya, and ARIA, with whom he achieved his greatest victory at the KI World Cup.

He has also been competing in Stream.Me’s KrossUp circuit, where Killer Instinct players can battle to earn league points and cash prizes every Saturday. At the end of the league, the top eight players will qualify for a Season Finale where they will compete for increased cash prizes and prestige. With his Week 7 victory, F3 Sleep is set to compete in the Season Finale on April 15th¬†alongside UA Wheels and UA Bass. More details will be shared at the end of this article.

I was unfortunate enough to not be at the World Cup myself, but from what I understand it was an experience of an unrivaled quality. That said, I had to get Sleep’s perspective on the event, and also touch upon his life as an icon in the Killer Instinct scene.

Read on for an interview with the man who is currently recognized as the best Killer Instinct player in the world!

JagoBlake: First of all, congratulations on winning the Killer Instinct World Cup! Before we get into that, though, the people at Stream.Me would like to know – who are you?

F3 Sleep: My name is Darnell Waller A.k.a “F3 HollywoodSleep.” I’m a twenty-four year old gamer from Detroit, Michigan that truly enjoys the sport of traveling to compete in fighting games.

JagoBlake: What inspired you to pick up Killer Instinct?

F3 Sleep: Well I always loved Killer Instinct back in the day with it being on the SNES. My brother and cousin always used to compete around me when I was a child. So when I found out they were releasing a new version of Killer Instinct with Glacius being one of the day one playable characters, I was so excited.

JagoBlake: What motivated you to deeply invest yourself into the fighting game community?

F3 Sleep: Well I love the energy the fighting game community (FGC) has. But mostly friends like Christian Fincher aka “FinchoMatic,” who motivated me to compete and travel more.

JagoBlake: You’ve been known to main Glacius in Season 1, then Kan-Ra in Season 2, and you went through a list of characters in Season 3 but ultimately found your groove with ARIA. What factors influenced your character selections?

F3 Sleep: Well I ultimately play characters that I like aesthetically and that are difficult to use.

JagoBlake: Can you describe your experience at the 2017 Killer Instinct World Cup?

F3 Sleep: It was probably the best, if not one of the best tournaments I’ve ever been to. Production, venue, and commentary were the best.

JagoBlake: Describe to us what was going through your mind as you played through the Top 8 at the World Cup.

F3 Sleep: I knew I was going to win honestly, there was a little doubt in the beginning but when I saw the top 8, I knew this was my World Cup.

JagoBlake: It’s been said that while you were at the event, you’ve talked about how you are the man to beat – and of course, you proved that with your win. What inspired your confidence?

F3 Sleep: There were multiple players dodging me. What I was told was, ” I don’t want to get downloaded, everyone knows you download players, Sleep.” That’s what they said. So I figured they won’t know what I’m bringing to the table and still don’t. So since nobody wants to play me, I figured I’ll have a greater advantage on the outcome of a set if we meet in tournament.

JagoBlake: How did you go about preparing for the World Cup, as well as for any other tournaments that came before?

F3 Sleep: Well I play all the match-ups that are not so commonly played. Next, I work on my tough match-ups mostly, doing first-to-five sets while learning to adapt faster in the game. Then I keep stress levels down spending time with family or friends while paying attention to any big tournaments happening. Also I suggest reading random things to keep your mind in shape for the tournament. Eating less greasy things and exercising a little more helps, too.

JagoBlake: Now that the World Cup has reached its end, Killer Instinct continues to receive balance patches along with new content. Tournaments continue to be supported by the KI Ultra Tour as well, as proven by the $5K pot bonus provided for Combo Breaker, which happens in May. This being the case, do you have plans to continue playing KI competitively? If not, will you invest time into any other fighting games?

F3 Sleep: Yes, I will continue playing for Combo Breaker and CEO, but when Injustice 2 comes out I will focus on that for quite a while. I am not happy with the patch notes in 3.7 but I love KI so I guess I have no choice but to accept it, right? LOL

JagoBlake: Having just mentioned balance patches, I’d like to ask you to share your thoughts on the 3.7 patch notes, as well as Shin Hisako. Shoot!

F3 Sleep: Not a fan of either. I may play her anyways because she looks very cheap. LOL

JagoBlake: You’ve been competing in the KrossUp series since its launch in January. How do you feel about your experience there?

F3 Sleep: I love it! It really keeps the game alive.

JagoBlake: With your recent victory over Mike N Ike 25, you’ve not only become the Week 7 champion, you’ve also locked yourself in for the Season Finale alongside UA Wheels and UA Bass. How confident do you feel about going into the finale?

F3 Sleep: Not worried at all. I play these guys all the time…except for UA Wheels because he dodges me. SMH

JagoBlake: Even though Season 3 is over, Killer Instinct continues to receive content updates including new characters. Many have speculated about a fourth season possibly coming to the game. In your opinion, do you think it might happen? If it does, what would you like to see in Season 4?

F3 Sleep: I don’t see a Season 4 only because this season is not close to being completed. But if it happens, I would like all original KI characters and no guest characters. And take flip-out out of the game, please!

JagoBlake: How do you feel about the extensive support that Microsoft and Iron Galaxy give to the game?

F3 Sleep: I think it’s great!

JagoBlake: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us! Do you have any advice you’d like to give to any new players picking up the game? Any shout-outs, too?

F3 Sleep: Shout-outs to Team Hollywood (HW)! Only advice I can give is to enjoy the process of learning and keep labbing.

Thanks to F3 Sleep for giving me the opportunity to speak with him! If you haven’t watched the KI World Cup, you can relive his triumph by watching these two clips of the Top 8 finals! Don’t forget to follow Sleep at his Twitter account!

Also, don’t forget to check out the final week of the KrossUp series this Saturday at 6 P.M. EST! If you’d like to participate, visit this page for details. Additionally, non-North American killers can check out King of the Ring, brought to you by Stream.Me and The Dutch Brawlers.