We chat with Defend the North/Team PIE Founder.
If you’ve been around the Street Fighter 4 community throughout the Tri-State area over the past few years, there’s a high probability you’ve crossed paths with Citiofbrass, a member that’s supported the scene since Capcom’s iconic franchise supercharged the competitive community back in 2009. The tournament scene has come a long way from its humble roots where events used to be far and spread apart, but now, there’s always something going on each month throughout the country. Inspired by his peers who’ve enjoyed continued success with popular events like NEC, Final Round, and East Coast Throwdown, Citiofbrass felt it was time for New York to get back on the map and host major tournaments of its own, which lead to the development of Defend the North.
Since there’s a few essential details that need to be finalized, the interview doesn’t heavily focus on DTN (additional insights will be reserved when the event is actually underway next year). So this is mostly a casual introduction to anyone who may be unfamiliar with his interests and involvement with the scene. And who knows – if you’re a newcomer – perhaps you’ll feel compelled to come out to the Big Apple and throw down with the rest of the competitive circle planning to attend.
Let’s take it from the top, tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Andy Dumornay aka Citiofbrass. I started in the scene in 2001 and have an active participant ever since. It’s funny, cause I can remember my first tourney like it was yesterday. Shout outs to Mike Infinite; he may look young, but he’s just as old as my ass [laughs]. I got the name Citiofbrass during a Magic: The Gathering event that involved an actual playing card known as “City of Brass”. I use this name because back I was a kid, I got ripped off the pricing because the store owner favored the buyer. I sold it for $3×4 to later find its worth $10×4 each. The name served as a reminder never get played like that again.
Tell us about TeamPie (mission statement, orgins, etc.)
The name stands for Team Professional Instigators Entertainment. It was founded by Lee Chung and I. We’re pretty much a close-knit group that appreciates being part-time gamers while still kicking ass in the scene. It’s not a coincidence that we’re all the furthest thing from being passive. We pop off, get obnoxious, money match and do what it takes to bring the old-school shit talk to remain in the scene (although most of my team consists mostly of members from the 2009 generation, also known as 09ers.)
You’ve spent several years operating as a TO (tournament organizer), what inspired you to take on that responsibility?
Back in 2008 – 2009, I decided to run tourneys because my region needed help. We had a small beef with the West Coast, and it didn’t help when Mike Ross and Gootecks kept coming to the East Coast dominating. At that point, I started to run regionals where the winner would get a flight to EVO. I run tournaments now because I can’t put in the time needed to remain competitive. So I’m doing majors because a. it’s a great way to stay active in the scene and see old friends without worrying about tourney performance and b. the New York scene needs this.
Think about it, New York is a big city, recognized as one of the top two regions, and yet a large majority of these players often have to travel out of state. It’s time to present some of that tournament action back home.
In a few words, what would you say is the most rewarding highlight about running your own events?
I’d have to say my greatest joy in running this major is to create something that hasn’t been done before. This generation of gamers are all appear to be flocking towards the MOBA/RTSRPS and first-person shooters. I’m attempting to attract a new fan base to our community.
What advice do you have for those who aspire to create/run tournaments on their own?
Well, trust me. . .this shit ain’t easy. If you think all you need is an investment and knowledge to be a successful tournament organizer, that’s dead wrong. Fortunately, I have experienced individuals like Big E and Sweet Johnny Cage that helped me from the beginning. I seriously can’t thank them enough. I wanna make them proud and show that [New York City] won’t do me dirty [laughs].
Before we break off into some other topics, let’s talk about Defend the North, taking place Jan 11 – 12. What can players look forward to?
Hey, this it’s New York City. If you haven’t been here before, come on down. From a competitive perspective, we’re too good. I can’t wait to see the brackets. We are not free. The top 10 players alone still has threats in its stomping grounds to fear.
Do you plan on featuring some of the old-school classics (i.e. Super Turbo, Alpha, Marvel vs. Capcom 2)?
It’s funny that you mention that. I can’t do a major without repping Capcom vs. SNK 2, Third Strike, and Marvel vs. Capcom 2. There’s a lot of players here in New York that can’t let go of the past. They love these games, so I have to let them show off their skills there as well.
DTN looks like it aspires to get casual and veteran audiences to coexist, encouraging the younger generation as well as ladies to attend. Can you elaborate a bit further on this?
I’m always hearing kids talking on the train after work about League of Legends or Call of Duty. I know times have changed, but damn, are there any kids that actively still play our games? So I’m doing a big campaign, with the combined support from PIE | Poem to promote this event throughout all the high schools and colleges throughout the area. Teens 18 and under get in the venue half off. It’s a big risk, but I’m trying to help the community grow.
Ultra Street Fighter IV is still several months away. Based on the information that’s been revealed so far, what’s your take on the title?
Well, for starters, I want to point out there’s nothing wrong with Arcade Edition v. 2012. There’s a shirt I had to buy from BrokenTier that I am sure you’ve come across. The one which crosses out a bunch of words, leaving the most relevant option that ensures success: ADAPT. That’s how I feel. If any changes were needed, I’d say leave the top ten characters alone and buff the other characters. At the end of the day, there will always a upper tier of characters. We’re still gonna hear more moaning and complaining when the adjustments are put into place.
Aside from SFIV, are there any other fighting games you enjoy?
I am all about diversity. My personal favorites are: Melty Blood: AA, Arcana Heart, Third Strike (best game in my opinion), Capcom vs. SNK 2, King of Fighters XIII, Street Figher IV, and Injustice. Due to real-life obligations however, I only have time to play Street Fighter IV.
Do you plan on sticking with Makoto, or will you look into exploring some of the additional characters being added to the roster?
I specialize in characters where you need to put in work. I play my games in the hardest level, so why should it be any different in competitive games? In vanilla, I ran Honda, until he became top tier in Super Street Fighter IV, then moved onto Sakura (who eventually became an upper-tier character in Arcade Edition), and now Makoto in v. 2012. I am pretty sure I’ll change characters again if they make her too over-powered.
Naturally you don’t spend every waking moment playing fighting games, what are some of your other hobbies?
I generally enjoy playing poker, watching movies with my kids, and going out clubbing.
Where would you like to see the fighting scene 5 years from now?
I’d like to see competitors reap similar monetary rewards like the DOTA2 scene is accustomed too, someday (2 million dollars, wow). That’s progress.