Goichi “GO1” Kishida is, at worst, the second-best Dragon Ball FighterZ player in the world, placing just behind Dominique “SonicFox” McLean at last month’s Evolution grand finals in Las Vegas. Not content with a second-place finish, GO1 is already moving on to other DBFZ events. He proved his prowess by closing out a World Tour stop in France last weekend — with a near-perfect performance.
Ultimate Fighting Arena in Paris, France played host to a number of important fighting game tournaments, but the most explosive came as part of the Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour. As a Saga Event, the winner of Ultimate Fighting Arena would earn their very own Dragon Ball, which grants automatic qualification into the finals event in January. This naturally attracted talent from across the globe, including Japanese powerhouse GO1 and another grand finals opponent, Eduardo “HookGangGod” Deno of the United States.
Outside of the game, these two players couldn’t have more different backgrounds in the fighting game community. GO1 is considered one of the strongest fighting game players of all time. Over the last decade, he’s produced impressive showings in niche titles like Melty Blood and Aquapazza before finally breaking into the mainstream with Dragon Ball FighterZ. HookGangGod, on the other hand, only just began making a mark on the scene in 2018, but his rookie year has been spent dominating competition across America. His most notable victory came against GO1 during the Summit of Power invitational last June.
As the tournament came to a close, the pair met in winners finals, where GO1 swept HookGangGod with a 3-0 performance. HookGangGod battled his way back to GO1 after a close match against Keiji “Garireo” Okamoto, another strong Japanese player who won BlazBlue: Chronophantasma at the Evolution Championship Series back in 2014. This gave HookGangGod another shot at GO1 in grand finals and, at the beginning, it looked like the American was ready for his comeback after a quick 3-0 win of his own.
GO1’s typically composed demeanor fell away, and he looked lost as to how to proceed. But he wasn’t ready to go down without a fight, even as the French crowd cheered for his opponent. After taking some time to compose himself, GO1 hopped back into the game for the second grand finals set. At first, little seemed to had changed except for his chosen Cell color (switching from his usual yellow to a more menacing red palette), but GO1 slowly clawed his way back into the match. By choosing to use the game’s limited Sparking! mechanic as an early attack buff instead of a safety net for his last fighter, GO1 was able to routinely put HookGangGod’s team at a disadvantage by defeating characters near the start of the round.
The most impressive part of this match, however, came right at the end. In his storied history as a competitor, GO1 has developed some serious defensive skills, so much so that he can often read and predict attacks—and then block and counter appropriately—over several seconds to avoid damage, which is quite a feat in a game as frantic as Dragon Ball FighterZ. With a 2-0 lead and on the verge of winning the tournament, GO1 put those skills to good use by simply defusing every tactic HookGangGod threw at him.
In the three minutes of the last match, HookGangGod wasn’t able to land a single clean hit on GO1. The best he was able to do was force GO1 to block a special attack, removing a tiny amount of chip damage that was eventually healed completely when GO1 switched that damaged character out. While it wasn’t a real perfect, which would have been designated by a special in-game graphic, GO1 closed out his tournament performance with full health. As soon as it was clear he had won, GO1 reeled back in his chair and yelled in triumph.
“I was so tired of always getting second, second, second,” GO1 said through a translator during his post-match interview, “but today, I finally won.”