Interview with Carl "PerfectLegend" White, two time EVO Mortal Kombat Champion
Carl "PerfectLegend" White is arguably the best Mortal Kombat player in the world, after winning Evo in MK for the past two years. This isn't his only achievement either, as he's also won an Evo Championship in Dead or Alive 4 in 2006. Check out what he had to say to us as he heads into MLG Raleigh this weekend.
Dustin Steiner: How did you get involved in the FGC, specifically with playing Mortal Kombat competitively?
Carl “Perfect Legend” White: I got involved in the Fighting Game Community because I felt thatI could compete with the best players in the world. I wanted to experience fighting them and proving to myself that I could win a world championship.
After winning my first championship which was Dead or Alive 4 at Evolution 2006 the game slowly faded away in the competitive scene; both in the community and in the leagues. It wasn’t until 2011 when Mortal Kombat came out that I decided that I found a game that I liked in which I could rise to the top again.
My teammate MK Tom Brady who is also in Empire Arcadia helped me to understand the game. It wasn’t long before I got the hang of it on my own and from there I took the game by storm, winning two Evo World Championships back to back.
DS: How has working with your team Empire Arcadia (or EMP) helped you as a competitive player?
Perfect Legend: EMP is a development organization in gaming. It focuses on helping gamers to understand not only their value but how to market themselves.
Knowing how the industry of competitive gaming works and how you as a gamer can work in its system. This is from how we conduct our interviews; like the one I’m doing now, to how we conduct ourselves in interviews based on how we look to what information that we give out.
Finally, the brand has been around for a very long time and the accolades it has amassed over the last decade alone helps puts you out there. EMP has done its own clothing commercial on G4TV, its own Reality Show on MTV, been on the NBC news, it has its own documentary and the list goes on.
When you look at the way EMP put’s itself out there in terms of media you can’t deny the significance of this effort versus community entities that can only use social media networks such as YouTube and Twitch.tv. I see the benefits of what EMP can do for me in the long run and that is what attracts me to the organization.
If I just want a sponsor to pay my plane fare to just travel to tournaments to compete with no true outlook on my career as a professional then I would just join these other organization that really just get product sponsorships and semi financial sponsorship. Unfortunately I know for a fact that there is no future in that. It’s a good start point but not something that you spend too much time in. EMP has helped me to realize my true potential and for that I’m very grateful and happy to be a part of the organization for 6 years and going.
DS: Do you feel a lot of pressure being a two time Evolution Champion in heading into the 2013 Evo Season, as far as defending your title?
Perfect Legend: Actually I used to feel that pressure but then again I have learned a completely different perspective on the whole competitive scene and all the elements that go along with it. I’ve learned in that you can’t win forever and a lot of gamers go into the whole competition with this endless purpose. They just want to win but then when you win what then?
There is this J!NX commercial that we did (Empire Arcadia) where it has Justin Wong, Prod1gy and TriForce (leader of EMP) in it. TriForce says this line, “It’s not just about winning, it’s what you do with that win.”
That line made me think about what was the real goal that I’m setting for myself. I don’t want to just win and then when I’m done, go back to repeat the same thing over and over again. That’s pointless. That is when I decided I want to be a true professional gamer like Fatal1ty, where after I win and establish myself I can use that to win at the game that matters most in life, prosperity in money and success.
A lot of people say that I’m playing the wrong game but that’s the beauty of it. I want to be one of the big contributing factors that help bring fighting games to that level. Guys like Justin Wong is established and known for Marvel vs. Capcom and Daigo for Street Fighter 4; I’ve established myself for Mortal Kombat and Dead or Alive. In the end I will be one of the most prominent figures that became a house hold name to help establish fighting games into eSports; so when going into competitions, I have in mind that I need to do this to help bring gaming to the mainstreamnot just for myself but for the gaming community at large. That right there gives me the motivation I need to beat even the best.
DS: You didn’t get to go to a lot of tournaments this past year – what has gone into your preparations instead of local competition?
Perfect Legend: Understanding the engine of the game and the character that I play. I have a lot of Street Fighter experience so reacting and constantly adding pressure on my opponent is key to my strategy in many of my match ups. Every now and then I’ll change it up because I don’t want to be readlike a pattern. Spacing, anti-air’s, max damage combos are all the fundamentals that I need.
There are a lot of players that just play each other thinking that they are learning how to fight. The reality is they are learning how to fight the player. They learn each other’s bad habits and patterns. Then it comes down who knows who more. I don’t play anyone that much so you’ll have to learn about my bad habits and patterns on the fly while I’m just reacting. That means no matter what you do, I can react while you have to wait and that gives me a significant advantage.