Written By: Steve Vegvari
During the Toronto Fan Expo 2017, WorldGaming hosted the “Beat The Pro” competition. In partnership with WB Games Canada, anyone and everyone could step up to the plate and take on the Injustice 2 Regional Champion; W1nterwarz. As the doors opened on September 2nd, a line formed and would not quit.
Over the course of the four hour span, players got their hands on a DualShock 4 controller and attempted to take down the champ. W1nterwarz mained the event as Batman, but competitors could choose from the wide slate of DC characters. These included Supergirl, Scarecrow and The Flash. While a few players managed to get the best of W1nterwarz, he cheekily chalks up his defeat to using a controller instead of his usual set up.
The activation was such a success it called for an encore. W1nterwarz shook it all off and came back the very next day to do it once more. Competition was tense but smiles were had by all and even the defeated walked away with a handshake from the champ and a small prize pack for coming out. Casual players and enthusiasts of the game all came out, CabooseXBL even came to the stage in hopes of taking down the champ.
As the competition came to an end on the first day, W1nterwarz took a bit of a breather. We chatted over pizza and afterwards I had the chance to speak with him about his time competing and his love of the fighting genre.
Q: Can you give us a little introduction?
A: My name is Azhar Qureshi, my gamertag is W1nterwarz. I’ve been playing competitive fighting games since around 2011 when Mortal Kombat 9 first came out. Mortal Kombat 9 is the game I have the most history with. I consider myself in the top 25 in the world when it comes to that game. I ended up going into the majors, one being in Toronto and won that competition. After that I have been playing what I can, real life can get in the way sometimes. Overall, just an OG in the Toronto NRS games scene.
Q: What drew you into fighting games and competing?
A: I used to play emulators of Mortal Kombat 2 and 3 just for fun and I saw that I was decent. Eventually I would play online against players so when MK9 came out I just gave it a shot and the rest history. I just kept grinding and grinding when I could. Playing locally, and tournaments. Just doing whatever I could to play.
Q: What was the first tournament you found yourself in?
A: It was T12, which was around November 2011. I made top four. It was great because there was a really popular Street Fighter player; Arturo Sanchez that showed up. When an American comes onto Canadian soil you want the Canadian to win. A big perception out there back then, not as much now is American players are better than Canadians. You want to beat them. That was my first regional, I just went in and did my best.
Q: What pulls you away from Mortal Kombat and into Injustice?
A: I’ve always prefered Mortal Kombat. I’m a fan of the robots, I love Sektor. Injustice is more a formality. The way NRS works is they alternate titles. They release MK9 and Injustice, than MKX and Injustice 2 so they way the community is built they just move on to the next game. It has been defined in that way. I will say they made a lot of adjustments to Injustice 2 that makes me want to stick to it more.
Q: So you see yourself sticking to Injustice 2 after new content and updates.
A: For sure, one big problem with NRS games was good net code. During MK9 and Injustice if you didn’t have a good local scene you wouldn’t level up. It was really hard to play online and I remember playing people in tournament with people who would do stuff you could only do online and get confused because it was a different environment.
Injustice 2 is that they went back to the fundamentals. The online is very good. I don’t have to beat up with locals at a tournament, I can do it on my own time. I work from 9-5 as a programmer so I can work on my gameplan on my own time. I think NRS has finally got the net code and a good balance with their games.
Q: What has been your biggest hurdle when competing?
A: I think the biggest thing for me is that I love to play other games. I love playing Counter Strike, Gears of War, I actually tried to get Diamond ranking and that took a lot of time away from playing fighting games. I love learning and attempting to set a goal for myself in these other games. I think the biggest challenge is I’ve skipped out on playing a lot of NRS games since MK9. It’s been a lot of catching up, the scene from five years ago is way more vast and competitive. The people I used to beat are now amazing because they put in the work and are consistent.
Q: So today I saw you maining as Batman, is this the character you usually use in Injustice 2?
A: Yes usually, I am not the biggest fan of the DC character line up, but I love the Batman franchise. Joker, Two-Face, and Batman of course. These are all great characters and I always wish that one day they’ll put Christian Bale’s Batman in Injustice. No Michael Keaton, Ben Affleck was okay at best, but put Christian Bale back in the suit. Just do it.
Q: That being said, any tips for Batman players?
A: Learn to manage his trait. Batman’s trait is one of his best tools. What makes him really powerful is his trait. Learn how to manage it, how to combo it. It’s a great tool to increase pressure and cancel combos. Learn how to block as well. Batman’s slide is okay but it’s not the best. His up-batarang is great but his traits are key. You’ll have bad matches with characters who know how to zone so be prepared and patient. Even for me, I have a bad shot from Green Arrow and I want to pull my hair out.
Q: Any upcoming tournaments planned?
A: I do want to start competing again. The Injustice 2 Regional was my first return, I just happened to win. Maybe start returning to regionals and majors here and in the U.S. I have a whole bunch of vacation days so I better use them.
Q: Where can people find you online?
A: I just made my Twitter account so @w1nter_warz. I don’t really post them much as I’m not a huge Twitter person, but if you want to follow me and see what I’m doing that is where I’ll be.