Kevin ‘Dual Kevin’ Barrios might be a new face in the competitive Street Fighter scene, but he’s a bonafide fighting game veteran, having gotten his start in the genre at just ten years of age. While his Rashid might be formidable now, he’d cut his teeth in the Versus series. Now making a name for himself in Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition - as well as the Street Fighter League: Pro-US 2019 tournament series.
Arcade mode addict
Kevin’s passion for fighting games kicked off when he was merely a child, back when was naught but a “button masher.” He would spend his days learning combos in the Street Fighter II games and play through arcade modes in other titles “over and over again,” until his brother accused him of being too scared to fight against real-life opponents - a challenge that would ultimately kick off Kevin’s career in competitive gaming.
“...my brother would make fun of me and [ask] me why I don’t play online, and [accuse] me of being too scared to play actual people,” Kevin recalled. “I eventually started playing online and got bodied, of course. That’s when I would look up tournaments, since I knew there would be people playing this in a tournament setting. I had no idea of the fighting game community at the time, but I bumped into a Wednesday Night Fights video that showed players like Justin Wong playing the game.”
Making moves in the Versus series
Kevin’s love for the Versus games eventually lead to his competitive run in the series. The player estimated that his competitive come-up in the game occurred around 2015, after ample practice and taking sage advice from the pros.
“I would look up to players like FChamp, RayRay or Justin Wong,” Kevin said of his origins. “Even if they don’t play the same characters I played, I would listen to them talk about the game, or how they played the game, and incorporate ideas with my own characters. So many hours spent watching tournament footage, or even the old FGTV Twitch archives, just to get a better understanding of that high level play.”
Becoming a World Warrior
Despite his long run with the Versus series, Kevin was looking for another challenge, as well: a quest that prompted him to try his hand at Street Fighter V years down the road. While he admitted that bouncing between both Street Fighter and Versus games was initially difficult, he hopes to be “great” in both series - not just a one-game champion.
“I eventually chose Street Fighter V because I saw my skills as a player in one fighting game, and wanted to see where it would take me in another fighting game,” Kevin stated. “Some of the greatest players in the FGC have played multiple fighting games and were great at a lot of them. This was just a way to prove to myself that I could do the same. My friends in Indy were all already hyped about SFV so I thought I might as well pick it up myself and see. ...I’m not just trying to be good at both games, I’m trying to be GREAT at both games.”
You can’t escape my gale!
It’s no secret that Dual Kevin mains Rashid, a master of the turbulent wind and a tech-savvy heir to his wealthy family. Kevin’s choice of fighter wasn’t by accident, nor a twist of fate - rather, it was a calculated decision, one that required a laundry list of strengths for him to declare a final verdict.
“Before I got the game, I went over some friend’s house to look at the base roster and see who I would choose,” Kevin explained. “I wanted decent walk speed, a fireball, but not a shoto. Rashid became my pick, especially because he had a unique fireball. The character is really strong, in the case that he has great normals to poke with and control a lot of space, good pressure midscreen and great pressure in the corner, and doesn’t have many losing matchups. The hardest matchup, at least for me, would have to be Birdie. [It’s a] tough matchup with the normals that Birdie has, [as well as] his ways of getting past the fireballs in neutral.”
Leveling up at the Street Fighter League
Kevin’s skills in SFV:AE eventually lead to his participation in the Street Fighter League: Pro-US 2019 series, an experience that he claims helped him both “level up” as well as showcase players who “aren’t as well known,” with the Midwest region being especially “represented hard.”
“The League has been so fun, in and outside the game,” Kevin said of the series. “I also believe the League showcases how analytical I can be when reviewing my own matches or someone else’s matches. ...With so many great players in the League, we have sessions between team battles, to play, practice, and talk about the game. I feel like I’ve leveled up 100x from the League because of the conversations I had with other great players.”
Taking heads at Texas Showdown
The League coincided with Capcom Pro Tour Ranking Event Texas Showdown in early May, which saw a total of five League participants in the tournament’s Top 8 bracket. Kevin was one of these players, who went up against fellow League players ElChakotay Andrich and JB, another Rashid player.
“I ended up placing third, and while I wanted to win, I’m proud of myself with my run,” Kevin said of his performance at Showdown. “I showed my people that I can fight them in this game and make it hard for them, as well as proving myself the same thing. ...It was amazing to see how many League players did so well at Texas Showdown. I knew it would help not only me, but other players in it as well. [With] so many great minds of the game all in one setting, is just going to naturally level up anybody.”
Aiming for Capcom Cup 2019
With Combo Breaker 2019 in the books, the next Premier Event on schedule is Taipei Major, throwing down in Taipei, Taiwan this weekend. As the Capcom Pro Tour continues its run, Kevin hopes to make even bigger waves in the competition, predicting a season of travels and racking up League Points to secure a place at Capcom Cup in December.
“Getting CPT points has motivated me to go after more,” Kevin admitted. “I’m going to be participating in a good amount of tournaments. ...I don’t think I get 10 times better with each tourney, but get 100 times better within each tourney. So, with me having 80 points so far, I want to be able to qualify for Capcom Cup, one way or another!”
As the Street Fighter League: Pro-US 2019 barrels forward, the competition can be expected to get more and more fierce - as can Kevin’s Rashid, which fans will be seeing much more of in future tournaments. Just watch out for the whirlwind!