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SpeenLeague: Interview with Ricki

As the SpeenLeague looks forward to its first playoffs, former Eurasia group leader Ricki looks back with me on historic matches.

The SpinShare SpeenLeague is underway! The SpeenLeague brings together top players from all around the world, both familiar faces from the top 8 of the SpinShare SpeenOpen and newer faces from within the community. As we enter the last week of play, we see the playoff picture begin to take shape.

Enter Ricki, the early leader of Eurasia SpeenLeague. Ricki closed the first half of the Eurasia group as the league leader with a 4-1 record; though he’s faltered a little bit, he is still well-positioned to shake things up in the playoff stages. Ricki’s playoff history has earned him a reputation, as well as rivalries with fellow playoff contenders kaddalaug and Programmatic.

I talked with Ricki about his playoff hopes and his match history in SpeenLeague and beyond.

Ricki addresses the “top player” conversation: “I’ve never really had a big competitive streak, or at least not that I’m aware of”

rewardadrawer: Tell us a little about yourself.

Ricki: Hi there! I’m Ricki, long-time Dragonball fan (who’d have thought), working with computers for a living and as far as I’m aware, the only player in the SpeenLeague in their 30s. Picked up SRXD almost a year ago now and haven’t really put it down since.

You are one of the few participants who isn’t a charter. Do you think charting (vs. playing) provides a competitive advantage to players? Why or why not?

In a general sense, not really. There are charters who are completely unable to play their charts at a “high level”, but they have an excellent grasp of timing and playability. Those who can already play at a high level, though; it’s fairly safe to assume that their own creations are going to provide some sort of advantage – if you made it, it’s unlikely to surprise you in any way!

Picked up [Spin Rhythm XD] almost a year ago now and haven’t really put it down since.

Ricki

For the longest time, the conversation for top player has centered around Mapy, NickAzn, and TreXDer, with players like you and Programmatic being largely ignored. With Mapy’s departure and your consistent top performances, are you planning on asserting yourself in that conversation?

In a word, no. I’ve always said that I’ve been playing for fun, although some have said to me recently they consider me a top player – bizarrely I’ve never really had a big competitive streak, or at least not that I’m aware of. (Although thinking back to the GH days, there were a few friendly rivalries in the Uni flats… Incidentally, GH Metallica was the best of the series, change my mind.)

The top 3 have been there for some time now. While the gap has been slowly closing in terms of event performances, and Mapy has opted to take a break from it all, there’s still quite a distance between them and myself, and others have been advancing in leaps and bounds! Unless I find another burst of skill somewhere I’ll be outpaced before too long, I have no doubt of that.

For the longest time, you had stated a personal pride in never being swept in a tournament event. That ended in week 3, when you were 0-2’d by long-time rival kaddalaug (right after he said he was coming for you). How are you handling the loss of this streak?

(Thanks for making that one public knowledge RAD! xD) Initially it didn’t even really hit me. I knew it was an off day in terms of my own play—random misses here and there had been happening all day and it carried into the match—but the loss was announced and we all just sort of moved on. Ultimately it was never going to last, especially not considering how closely matched we all are in the Eurasia group.

Kadd’s proven himself for sure, though; highly consistent and damn near perfect play even took Mapy out in the first RR, no small feat, so it wasn’t such a surprise.

Do you have any other personal goals in Spin Rhythm XD, either competitive or otherwise?

From a competitive standpoint… Again, not particularly? A really good run might well see me in a semi-final which’d be pretty sweet; but, not really setting it as a goal per se.

In terms of personal goals, outside of competitive play, I think I’d be pretty happy to be able to consistently FC a majority of charts in the 50s range, which isn’t something I can put a claim to right now.

One target I had for a long time was to be able to clear a few seriously hard charts; Trex’s TTFAF charts (both the original and the remake – Jammy showing the original off post-match was something to behold back when I’d only just discovered SpinShare!) and of course Freedom Dive – all of which I managed to achieve very recently, which was fantastic.

Regardless of who it turns out to be, all I can hope for is a good match. . . . Provided it’s a good map-pool, I’ll enjoy it regardless.

Ricki, on his playoff opponents

It’s very likely based on this week’s results that you’ll finish the group stages in either second or third place. This means your opponent in winner’s bracket round 1 will likely be either Programmatic or babyjimbo. Are you looking forward to either of these matchups?

Regardless of who it turns out to be, all I can hope for is a good match. Both players are highly skilled in their own right, with Prog looking almost robotic in recent plays and babyjimbo vastly improving his accuracy in a VERY short timespan. Provided it’s a good map-pool, I’ll enjoy it regardless.

You have a storied history of matches with Programmatic in playoff events; you’ve pretty much always gone the distance, but he’s always narrowly come out on top. If you face off again in the playoffs, how do you like your chances for round 3?

At this point, who knows? Not me, that’s for sure. As you say, historically it’s always been close, maybe it’s my turn to win the last round? I always feel he’s had the edge over me, though; we’re both relatively consistent, but I fear a difficulty spike would put me at a disadvantage.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to readers?

First and foremost I’d like to put out a massive THANK YOU to my partner “ZaraUnguided” – she’s kept me afloat more times than I can count, and has definitely been a driving force for me.

Based around some feedback I had recently, I’ve been trying to think up a way to run a variation on the existing Custom 8s. Essentially, lowering the apparent skill ceiling and bringing back the original Open 8s in a sense; no forced XD difficulty and maybe even a stopper on current top players from entering, allowing those who perhaps play more casually to put their skills on show?

Naturally this idea needs to be fleshed out a bit more, but I was wondering how much interest there would be in this. Please let me know if this would be something you’d like to see / take part in!

Enter the SpeenLeague Hyperbolic Time Chamber

You can watch Ricki and the rest of the Eurasian SpeenLeague on Twitch Saturdays, starting at 2pm EDT/6pm UTC. If you’re not able to watch the SpeenLeague live, you can still follow the action on the Toornament bracket. Spin Rhythm XD is available on Steam. If you’d like to play these charts yourself, check out SpinShare and get in on the action!

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