DM.Xian: 'The Beast Slayer' on the Road to EVO

The hype of Ho Kun Xian’s victory over Daigo in the South East Asia Major 2012 is still lingering in the air. We paid a visit to Team DM’s champion yesterday at Tough Cookie Gaming Cafe, where he works, to catch up with him after his win.

Watching him stock the fridge at Tough Cookie with drinks nonchalantly, one could be forgiven for not recognising Xian’s prowess in fighting games. But spend a little time with him and you’ll know better – that DM.Xian is an unassuming champion.

“I feel very happy,” he said of his win, as we got started with the interview. “[Daigo] is one of the few fighting game players I really respect, besides Momochi.” In spite of that, DM.Xian continued to say that his win against Daigo wasn’t significant.

“I prepared a lot for it,” he said, citing his training with Guile players and his own matchup knowledge from the days when he mained Yun as leading factors in his defeat of The Beast. “After Daigo goes back to the training lab, he’ll be really hard to beat.”

But the significance of DM.Xian’s win over The Beast wasn’t that he won, but that he actually forced Daigo to counterpick. Daigo had only been seen counterpicking once in a grand final. That Xian had forced him into a corner, to such a state, was and still is an incredible feat on its own.

But the true greats do not rest on their laurels, and DM.Xian is no exception. Though celebrations went on with great aplomb on Sunday night following the SEA Major’s conclusion, Xian is already back to work – and to his training schedule.With EVO just a month away, Singapore’s finest still doesn’t feel he’s ready.

Though he feels he has fought enough characters apart from Viper and Rufus, he thinks he, like Daigo, needs more time in the training lab getting setups done. He also added that he has lots of character matchups that he needs to practice on. DM.Xian will be playing four games at EVO – SSF4:AE, UMvC3, KoF XIII and SFxT – and each game has its own setups, matchups and timings to work on. It’s hard, but not impossible.

Citing Japanese player Tokido as an example, DM.Xian told us that he had nothing but respect for the former, as Tokido had “gotten very good at many games in a short time”, especially with his recent Soul Calibur V performance.

But a lack of practice in all the games he wants to play isn’t the only factor that might affect DM.Xian’s EVO performance. He has gone to Japan (GodsGarden), Australia (OzHadou), and even as far as Sweden (Dreamhack!), but has little experience with players in America.

“There are a lot of people I feel I can’t defeat. I haven’t fought Justin Wong before. I want to play against Viper [players], Wolfkrone and Latif.” DM.Xian also named PR Rog and Ricky Ortiz as players he’d like to go up against.

Xian only made it to the Top 32 for MvC3 and SSF4:AE in EVO 2k11 – which is a feat unto itself given the sheer number of folks had who signed up for EVO – but wasn’t enough to match him with the players in the American FG scene he wanted to go up against. He’s hoping to attain the same results this year, and shook his head when we asked about his prospects of entering the Top 8.

“It’s that hard,” he explained.

But it’s been one hell of a ride for Xian since the EVO 2k11 skirmish. With the backing of both sponsor Team DM and the local Fighting Game community, and based on his current form, it’s not hard to imagine Xian improving on last year’s Top 32 placing.