Daigo’s Adjustments Push Him into ELEAGUE SFV Playoffs

The mark of a great player is having the ability to adjust after below average performances.

Daigo “The Beast” Umehara, only weeks after the unveiling of his new character Guile, was able to make the necessary adjustments to make it out of the Group B and into the ELEAGUE SFV playoffs.

Photo courtesy of https://twitter.com/el/

Daigo’s only loss was at the hands of one of the most explosive players in SFV, Eduardo “PR_Balrog” Perez, who won group B. The top overall seed entering the day took care of business going 2-0 and 6-2 in games (faced Eita and Daigo). Against two of the premier Japanese players, he convincingly owned the neutral game with Balrog.

Aside from another strong performance from PR_Rog, the most unexpected result was Daigo essentially coming out of nowhere to get second in group B. Daigo is obviously a strong player, but after a sub-par finish at NCR and finishing sixth with a 3-4 record questions started to arise regarding Daigo’s play.

During SFV’s life cycle, Daigo’s had a harder time than usual adjusting to the new game. Ryu, his classic character from other Street Fighter games, wasn’t working for him this one around. He needed a character switch. Guile, a charged fireball character with excellent spacing tools, seemed to be the answer.

Despite bad losses in March and early April, Daigo proved this Friday at ELEAGUE that it was only a matter of time. Daigo ended with a 4-1 overall record with a 13-6 record in games. His defensive playstyle was a switch from weeks prior. It ended up working out.

Wins over Hiroyuki “Eita” Ngata (2x), Bruce “Gamerbee” Yu-Lin Hsiang (Necali), and Darryl “Snake Eyez” S. Lewis (Akuma) pushed him into the playoffs. Unfortunately for him, PR Rog’s relentless Balrog gave him fits, but he gained valuable information in that matchup.

Next Round Matchups

Group A and B winners will face off starting with PR Balrog up against Victor “Punk” Woodley, and Daigo will meet with one of his longtime Japanese rivals in Yusuke “Momochi” Momochi. First off, I’m already gleaming over these opening match-ups. Punk is quickly building a legend I. Street fighter V and PR Balrog looks fantastic with Balrog.

However, Daigo vs. Momochi to open as an elimination match will be intense. Daigo will have basically a month to build more Guile experience and prepare for Momochi’s Ken.


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SSB World, A New Smash 4 Database Focused on Helping Pros and Amateurs Improve

The landscape of Smash is growing rapidly with the frequency of weekend majors, and payouts starting to rise. The amount of data out there for Smash 4 alone is daunting. Smash has endless amounts of information tied to the game; but with Smashboard’s popularity falling, it’s gotten harder to find reliable sources of information regarding Smash 4.

Enter SSB World, a community driven site working towards creating a database filled with essentially anything Smash 4 players or fans can go to learn, watch, or just experience Smash. The main draw is the video database, which currently has 15,000 videos, and is growing every day. It doesn’t just include major tournaments, but extends all the way down to local events.

Furthermore, the site allows for players to search for character or player specific matches. It’s a great resource for players struggling in a specific match up or for those trying to get a handle on a character. Any member of the community can add a tournament video to the database, and that’s the beauty of SSB world.

Production Value

On top of that, SSB World will be able to provide necessary information to help analyze tournament and character results. As Smash grows, the more crucial this type of information will become. It’s not only interesting to look at, but will be essential to the industry as stream productions continue to grow and become more professional. A database dedicated to tracking players and characters will have great insight for streamers, commentators, and even players studying their opponents or characters.

Each players page not only provides their matches but also their record according to the database, among other important details. The site also works with the PGR, which is the stats team for Panda Global. It gives anyone looking at a player page a comprehensive look at that player’s tournament success up to that point, once again making it easier for broadcasters.

Say a player is looking for information on a player in his pool at a tournament, check SSB World. It’s the most optimal way for finding Smash 4 videos on the internet and provides much more insight than YouTube. The database covers character usage and how characters fair on certain stages. It’s a perfect medium for pro and amateur players.

Stats are the Future

Stats are the future of Smash, whether that’s in Melee or Smash 4. The readily accessible information on character or stage usage is the first big step. The base of information is all there, and as the scene continues to grow, more stats will become more accessible. In Melee, thanks to Fizzy’s mod, the game can track wins in neutral, edge guard percentage, and center stage control.

Stats as specific as this are the next step in the evolution of Smash. Imagine having that sort of data always available after sets. Not only will it be interesting, but it will actively help players improve. For example, a player who’s winning neutral 60% of the time, but is dropping most of his edge guards, will know exactly what he needs to work on. It will be a great resource, and databases like SSB World are helping the community by pushing us towards more data-driven play.

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Plup’s Luigi Pleases the Crowd at CEO: Dreamland; Mew2King Takes Home Top Prizes

The CEO: Dreamland win for Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman was impressive. He beat top seeded Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma, overcoming a 2-4 2017 record against Hbox. The bounce back win was a great story, but it took a back seat to the rise of Luigi.

The last month for Justin “Plup” McGrath was not spent playing Melee. Plup, being a top-10 player, spent the last couple weeks traveling across South Korea and focusing on anything but Melee. In his first tournament back, the readiness and performance was in question. Then, late Saturday night, Plup sent out this tweet:

In light of this tweet, Plup took to the CEO ballroom floor and proceeded to turn heads with a character most people would say couldn’t win a major. Plup’s Luigi was assumed a gimmick when the day started, but no one was thinking that at the end of the day.

Furthermore, Plup took out Michael “Nintendude” Brancato and Sami “DruggedFox” Muhanna, proving early on his Luigi was for real. He made it into a winners semifinal at a major by going all Luigi. It’s a rare sight seeing Luigi anywhere near Top 8. Stephen “Abate” Abate was the first Luigi to make a deep run at The Big House 5 where he almost brought the venue down with his win over Johnny “S2J” Kim (the invisible celing set). The play of Ben “Luigikid” Tolan making deep runs at SSS, and Eduardo “Eddy Mexico” Lucatero Rincon help legitimize Luigi with strong wins in Southern California.

The best part is Plup has no recorded tournament sets with Luigi, so in his first try he finished fifth. He gave the eventual champion, M2K, a ride before the inevitable readjustments coming from M2K’s counter pick of Marth from Sheik.

SFAT Loses the Runback

SFAT and M2K. Photo courtesy of YouTube.com/vgbootcamp

It’s rarer than rare to see a performance similar to Zac “SFAT” Cordoni’s at CEO: Dreamland. The only other player with similar results that come to mind is William “Leffen” Hjelte who has beaten multiple gods before he was considered one himself. SFAT is slowly developing those next level mind games to be able to compete with the likes of M2K and Hungrybox.

Despite a 2-16 lifetime record against M2K for SFAT, he entered grand finals up 3-2 in sets against a player who’s absolutely had his number. All signs pointed to SFAT winning his first major with Gods in attendance. But, as history has shown us before, never count out any of the Gods to get the reset win in grand finals.

M2K, who lost in game 5 against SFAT in winners finals, made key adjustments and played better on Final Destination. Two of the best players statistically on Final Destination played four games on the flat stage. The count was 2-2, but M2K took back stage control and forced his will on SFAT’s Fox.

Unfortunately, SFAT ran into M2K who has historically had his number. The southern California Fox main is creeping into the title conversation. He’s real close to breaking the ceiling, but M2K wasn’t going to let that happen at CEO: Dreamland.

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CEO: Dreamland Smash 64, Melee, Brawl, and Wii U

Photo courtesy of twitter.com/CEOGaming

The growth of Community Effort Orlando (CEO) has flourished to the point where Alex Jebailey, the proprietor of CEO, has been able to create events for specific communities. CEO: Dreamland is the newest installment, and it’s one of the first events of its kind. A tournament dedicated solely to platform fighters.

Yes, Smash events have always been focused around Smash, and to a lesser extent, any other platform fighters. It’s not a new idea, but coming from one of the most well-known and well-respected members of the fighting game community adds a new sense of belonging. It’s a sign of good things to come for the Smash community when traditional fighting tournament organizers are throwing Smash centered events.

However, this is not CEO’s first attempt targeting the larger niche communities in fighting games. CEOtaku, a tournament for the Anime fighters, was a big success. Similar to Smash, Anime players feel as if their needs aren’t always heard. Jebailey and company are here to listen and create an environment built specifically for us, the fans of this game.

The event itself will feature six games: Smash Bros 64, Melee, Brawl, and Wii U. Also added are two recently developed games, Rivals of Aether and Brawlhalla. Dreamland will not only provide high level matches of Melee and Wii U, but also give Smash 64 another chance to be in the spotlight. Rivals of Aether is also starting to generate more competitive interest after recently being at Genesis 4. It even has Brawl as a featured event!

Here’s a quick preview of all the Smash tournaments at Dreamland.

Smash 64

The Smash 64 tournament has two players headed on a collision course towards each other in winners final. Alvin Clay Leon Haro, otherwise known as just Alvin, is quickly rising up the 64 rankings. He’s 4-0 against the best player in the world in his last four attempts, and has won his last two North American tournaments. He’s becoming the best Pikachu, unless Dan “SuPeRbOoMfAn” Hoyt (SBF) can stop him.

SBF had a strong 2016, but started the 2017 season on somewhat of a sour note with some uncharacteristic losses. In all likelihood, SBF will get his shot at Alvin this weekend, and the most patient Pikachu-ditto will commence once again. The only threat I see to potentially messing up this reunion is Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallet and his Yoshi coming out of nowhere and beating one of the two. It’s happened before, but seems like he’ll be focused on Melee this weekend.

Melee

Photo courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/smash/CEO/Dreamland

Smash Rivalries may have built confidence in the underdogs and presented doubt within the favorites’ psyche. CEO: Dreamland will be a tournament to build upon that momentum from last weekend. Wizzrobe is clearly the player to watch this weekend. His performance last week was no joke, and he’s a candidate to potentially make it back to Grand Finals.

30 ranked players will be in attendance at Dreamland, which means more upsets will be coming down the pipeline. It’ll be good to get back to an open bracket where anyone can make a name for themselves.

Favorite: Obviously Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma is a heavy favorite to take Dreamland. He’s coming off a win at Smash Rivalries and a win at Full Bloom 3. Outside of Wizzrobe, no one has given him a close set. Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman also presents some problems, but after a weak performance at Rivalries (9th place), we’ll have to see if any doubt lingers over.

Players to watch: Sami “DruggedFox” Muhanna has been on a rocket ship in the last month. He’s starting to win problem matchups and play consistently. Justin “Plup” McGrath is clearly one of the favorites, but his recent travels have taken away practice time. He might not be as sharp as usual this weekend.

Sleepers: Jay “Drunk Sloth” Danya has had success at locals recently and could be the surprise player this weekend. His fifth place finish at Frame Perfect Series 2 was an aberration and a performance he can build off of. It’s Edgar “N0ne” Sheleby’s first major appearance since Genesis, so people haven’t seen his play style in a while, which may become a factor.

Brawl

Brawl is back once again! It’s back with all the hard hitting players and should be a nice break between Melee and Wii U. The most successful Brawl competitor in history, M2K, will be competing alongside the second most successful Brawl player, Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada.

Despite the history, Vishal “V115” Balaram might be the favorite as the most practiced Brawl player at a Dreamland. Also, the fact that most players will be focused on other tournaments will benefit V115. Look for his Zero Suit Samus to turn some heads.

Smash 4

http://wiki.teamliquid.net/smash/CEO/Dreamland

The Smash 4 scene is still reeling from Civil War. This will be the first real major since then, so eyes will be on the top players who got eliminated early at Civil War to bounce back. Gonzalo “Zero” Barrios, Nairo, and Jason “ANTi” Bates, who all had bad placings at Civil War, will look to make it back into top 8.

Favorites: ZeRo, as always, is the likely favorite to take the event. Despite one bad event, he’s still the same threat. He has wins over Leonardo “MKLeo” Lopez Perez in the last month too. Samuel “Dabuz” Robert Buzby will also look to build off his Civil War win.

Players to watch: Tyler “Marss” Martin always flies under the radar, and this tournament is no different. He has good records against a number of the top players attending. Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey is also due for a nice showing. The final name is the second place finisher at Civil War, Griffin “Fatality” Miller, who’s been having strong showings even in bad matchups.

Sleepers: Jamaal “Samsora” Morris Jr has been an underrated player in the south since release of Smash 4. With the new burgeoning conservative styles of Peach and Rosalina getting results, Samsora could be the next player in line to make a jump in placings.

 

 

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Smash Rivalries Ends With The East Coast and Hungrybox Stealing the Show

The West coast squad ended up winning the crew battle on Saturday, but the East coast players showed up at Yahoo Esports Smash Rivalries singles tournament on Sunday. The top three players were all from the East coast, along with five of the top eight. The best player from the East coast, Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma, won his second consecutive event, taking it over Captain Falcon main Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallet.

Zac “SFAT” Cordoni happy. Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/yahooesports

Aside from Wizzrobe’s surprising performance, Sami “DruggedFox” Muhanna also stepped up and finished third. It was a day of interesting results as two of the expected favorites fell out of the tournament before the top six and both Joseph “Mango” Marquez and Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman finished well below their average placings.

Wizzrobe not only made himself the third player in history to take out M2K with Falcon, but he sent him to losers with a 3-0 sweep. He went on to take a set off Hungrybox in the Grand Finals and beat DruggedFox, James “Duck” Ma, and Daniel “ChuDat” Rodriguez with a combined set count of 12-1. He ended up going down to Hungrybox 8-3 (3-0, 2-3, 3-0).

Hungrybox took care of business as usual. He once again proved how consistent of a player he’s become, as the rest of the God’s had one of their worst days in recent memory. It was also a fairly dominant effort, considering Hungrybox’s 17-5 record on the day. He did face three consecutive Fox players in Zac “SFAT” Cordoni , DruggedFox, and Joey “Lucky” Aldama before his match with Wizzrobe.

Graphic Courtesy of twitch.tv/yahooesports

Smash Rivalries provided us matchups like Ice Climbers vs. Captain Falcon in a winners semifnals. That’s almost unheard of at Melee tournament nowadays.

ChuDat moves to 2-0 against Mango in 2017 with another 3-2 win. Mango’s lack of Smash DI out of the Chu’S jab setups was his demise.

With this in mind, the Melee tournament landscape is starting to evolve and the top players are starting to get figured out. Mango’s off to the worst start to a year with three straight finishes outside the top five. He went Falco for every set aside from his matchup with ChuDat.

Here are the rest of the results:
1. Liquid Hungrybox (Jigglypuff)
2. Wizzrobe (C. Falcon)
3. DruggedFox (Fox)
4. CLG SFAT (Fox)
5. Tempo Axe (Pikachu)
5. VGBC ChuDat (Ice Climbers)
7. RNG Swedish Delight (Sheik)
7. C9 Mango (Falco/Fox)

The character diversity was seen throughout the tournament. The fact that a Pikachu, Ice Climbers, Captain Falcon, and Jigglypuff made deep bracket runs is evidence of that. Even with a Fox heavy field, the mid-tier characters hit hard.

Wizzrobe’s style and game plan switched drastically from player to player. Also, Jeff “Axe” Williamson uses Pikachu’s strongest tools to their highest potential.

For this reason, these top players have taken these characters to their limit. Hungrybox is redefining the meta-game with how people look at Jigglypuff. In almost every situation, Hungrybox seems to find the advantage. This was the case at smash Rivalries.

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Smash Rivalries East vs West Crew Battle Preview

Smash Rivalries by Yahoo Esports, a return to a more crew focused Melee event that pins the two sides of the country against each other. It’s the most classic rivalry in fighting games: East coast vs. West coast. Players are representing more than just themselves and it creates a level of pressure unseen in a regular singles tournament.

The event itself will be held in California, and will consist of two teams of eight players, five hand selected commentators from both sides of the country, and a $15,000 prize pool. The tournament also has a singles and doubles tournament both with $5,000 in the pot ($5k for each event). 13 of the worlds top 20 players will be in attendance. It’s a star-studded affair.

However, it doesn’t seem like a coincidence after the success 2GG’s Civil War had with Smash 4. Crew battles generate rivalries and appeal to a different type of audience not always wanting to watch the singles tournament. If Smash Rivalries can avoid some of the Civil War pitfalls, like crew battle after singles concludes (salty players), the crew battle can be a highlight reel of clutch plays.

The teams are basically even. It’s definitely a pick em’ game with how tight these two rosters are. Historically, the West coast has been the best, mainly Southern California, aside from a few losses at events like Melee-FC. The Southern California crew (seven of eight players on West reside in California) has won the last two Big House crew events. Mango and the depth was the main reason behind the success.

Let’s take a look at the teams…

East
Juan” Hungrybox” DeBiedma, Florida (MIOM Rank: 2)
Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman, New Jersey (MIOM: 4)
James “Swedish Delight” Liu, New York (MIOM: 11)
Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallet, Florida (MIOM: 12)
James “Duck” Ma, Michigan (MIOM: 15)
Ryan “TheMoon” Coker-Welch, New York (MIOM: 21)
Daniel “ChuDat” Rodriguez, Maryland (MIOM: 22)
Sami “DruggedFox” Muhanna, Georgia (MIOM: 23)

 

photo courtesy of twitch.tv/vgbootcamp

Strengths: Top of the roster. Having to deal with both Hungrybox and Mew2King is going to be a problem. Both are capable of taking 4+ stock and could quickly turn the game in the East’s favor. Add the ability to neutralize certain players. Outside of Mango, Hungrybox was 25-2 against the West players in 2016. M2K has strong numbers and even better matchups with a counter pick. It’s going to be tough to game plan around M2K’s versatility.

Weaknesses: Lack of depth. The East has underrated talent, but the bottom half still can’t match up with the West. If it comes down to depth, it’s tough to see a situation where the East prevails. Despite their head-to-head records, players like ChuDat, TheMoon, and DruggedFox can be a liability in the wrong situation. A lead will be extra important if they have to fall back on the bottom half of the roster. That said, all three of those mentioned are hovering around an even record against the West roster.

X-Factor: Duck. Samus can be a hassle and most Fox mains still don’t have a handle on the matchup. Duck proved this with a second place finish at Full Bloom 3. With a West team full of Fox and Falco mains, Duck could be the counter pick answer. His play, as of late, has been great and he’s starting to get more marquee wins on his resume.

Sleeper: ChuDat. Yes, Ice Climbers can be hard-countered with a Fox or PewPewU who has a strong record against Ice Climbers. But, we’ve seen Chu pull off the unbelievable upsets. He’s unquestionably the best Ice Climbers player, and his grab setups continue to improve. He had the potential to beat a player like Mango and get whooped by Lucky’s Fox.

West
Joseph “Mango” Marquez (MIOM Rank: 3)
Zac “SFAT” Cordoni, Northern California (MIOM: 7)
Westin “Westballz” Dennis, Souther California (MIOM: 8)
Jeff “Axe” Williamson, Arizona (MIOM: 9)
DeJuan “Shroomed” McDaniel, Northern California (MIOM: 11)
Kevin “PewPewU” Toy, Northern California (MIOM: 14)
Johnny “S2J” Kim, Southern California (MIOM: 16)
Joey “Lucky” Aldama, Norwalk (MIOM: 19)

S2J and Mango after TBH6 Crew Battle win. Photo Courtesy of twitch.tv/vgbootcamp

Strengths: Depth. The East lacks depth, while the West has eight top-20 players. The ability to throw out Axe, Westballz, and SFAT after Mango is a luxury. Almost every player has a positive record against the East squad excluding matches against Hungrybox and M2K. Outside the Gods, it’s clear the West has the personnel edge.

Weaknesses: Character Diversity. The Four Spacie mains will make it tough to counter pick against an East team with plenty of character options. There’s no floatie characters as all are fast fallers, which will give players like Wizzrobe and TheMoon the chance to take the advantage with a strong punish game.

X-Factor: Mango. Anytime Mango is involved in a crew battle it’s most likely going to come down to his overall performance. He has the highest stock ceiling with the best punish game with his Falco. His punish game is what makes him so dangerous in crew battles. Mango builds momentum quickly through his punish game. The only problem is the East had two Gods to throw at him; but if he gets a favorable matchup, watch out.

Sleeper: S2J. He has a favorable record against most of the East squad, and despite tougher matchups with his Captain Falcon, he can still generate plenty of momentum. He’s shown in the past that his nerves are meant for these types of events. At The Big House 6, S2J held off William “Leffen” Hjelte to win the crew battle regional tournament.

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Fighting Game Invitationals vs. Open Tournaments: Can the two coexist?

Fighting game tournaments are evolving. As the scene moves out of the basement, a plethora of opportunities have been presented. The world discovered there’s a market and dedicated audience that not only loves the games themselves but follows each top players tournament performances.

Enter the new era of fighting games. An era where potentially new players would rather sit back and watch the best players than invest the time into becoming a strong player themselves. Welcome to the age of fighting games as a spectator sport.

Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/el

In the Joseph “Mango” Marquez Cloud9 Melee documentary, he mentioned the fact that the growth of Melee’s player base has stalled but that viewership has risen considerably in the last three years. Yes, the Melee renaissance brought in plenty of new players but it also exposed the scene to potential investors and showed that there’s money to be made here.

Consider this: five years ago a tournament like the Smash Summit would have been nearly inconceivable to the Melee or fighting game community. Today, it’s accepted as one of the premiere events and most of the audience could care less because the Summit puts on an entertaining show for fans.

A tournament with no open bracket has been accepted by a community founded and based on the ability for anyone to compete. It’s a dramatic switch in philosophy.

Open tournaments are what separate fighting games from other esport titles. The fact that any random fighting game player can enter a major tournament, face the world’s best players, lose, and still get that entire tournament feel is unique and special. Most players, at the end of the day, could care less about their record. It’s more about the culture and tournament atmosphere that keeps bringing people out.

However, invitationals are going to have a strong presence moving forward. The benefits are the fact that payouts are typically higher at these events ($250k ELEAGUE prize pool, $100k for Smash Summit) and top players themselves love the events. The viewers still tune in despite the lack of a real tournament feel. Numbers don’t exceed the Evo’s and Genesis tournaments but get enough attention to justify these events to the community.

Regardless of how players feel about invitationals, they still watch to see the best players play the best players. Investors see a studio product like ELEAGUE as the next step and a chance to profit off the fighting game community. The actual community is not prepared to move away from open tournaments as some top players have projected.

Photo courtesy of twitter.com/ThatMikeRossGuy

Despite what top players might say, open tournaments aren’t going anywhere. Without them, it’s no longer the fighting game COMMUNITY anymore. As invitationals become more prevalent, it should, in turn, strengthen open tournaments as well. It’s not a situation where we, as a community, have to decide between the two. Both can coexist and strengthen the other.

Finally, invitationals are the only viable way to present fighting games to a national audience. Of course, Turner decided to display 32 of the best players rather than invest in actual tournaments. Studio tournaments are the only possible way for these networks taking an interest in fighting games to control their product and squeeze as much profit out as possible. But this will help legitimize the scene as a whole and if the two can coexist, it can create a better future for all fighting game players.

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Fatality Pushes Captain Falcon Forward with Second Place Finish at Civil War

Fatality After Beating Nairo. Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/2ggaming

“Nobody can take this away from me. This is something where I can say YES I can do this, this character can do this. Now I have that thing and it just makes me feel more positive than ever about what I can do in this game.”

Civil War was a thrill ride from start-to-finish and no other player personified that more than Fly Society’s own Griffin “Fatality” Miller and his Captain Falcon. Wins over Rei “Komorikiri” Fuwukara and Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada, prompted his run all the way to Grand Finals. I asked him if this was his best performance ever:

“Oh, easy”, said Miller.

“I played the best I’ve ever played,” Fatality continued.

In “the most stacked Smash 4 tournament of all-time’, Fatality runs the gauntlet and finishes second. The 28th ranked player on the PGRv2 took out a litany of higher-ranked players. Even in less than ideal matchups, Fatality was getting the edge by adapting to his opponents tendencies.

“I had to go through a ton of tough matchups” said Miller, “but I did it anyway. Then again, I think Falcon’s also a better character than most of the niche characters. My matchups aren’t as bad. Even if I had 19 losing matchups every single one of them might be 45:55, which is doable. “

Furthermore, Fatality is a Falcon loyalist and has been a major part in growing the Captain Falcon meta-game. He’s the highest ranked Falcon-main and the only Falcon on PGRv2.

“I think that more Falcons are going to start coming out,” said Fatality.”I’ve been convinced for quite a while now that he’s at least a fairly viable character and I just needed something I could show the world and say ’Hey, I’m not just crazy. Look I can do this and if I can do this, so can you’'”

Additionally, he showed the world that any character is capable of making a deep run with smart game planning. Fatality went through plenty of preparation for his matches against Komorikiri and Nairo.”Well, up until today, I had always kind of struggled in the cloud matchup,” said Fatality

Komorikiri vs Fatality. Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/2ggaming

“I guess I just haven’t had enough practice to figure it out yet. But leading up to the Komorikiri match I was studying tons of Cloud footage and talking to a lot people about the matchup,” said Fatality,”and just trying to figure it out. It’s been one of the few top tier matchups that I just haven’t had a handle on yet. And after doing all that while studying my most recent set with him before that when I lost. I was basically, at least seemingly, able to figure out the matchup.

Consequently, Fatality got down early in both his sets against Komorikiri and Nairo. As he stated, he had a specific game plan to outlast his opponents adjustments and that was clearly displayed. The number of kill setups with his delayed up-airs gave everyone problems all weekend.

Fatality vs Nairo
Nairo, the third best player in the world, got a quick 2-0 lead over fatality. “I mean, I was feeling nervous but at the same time he and I were both dropping a some things here and there,” Fatality  stated.

“Two games were just the data I needed to figure out how he thinks,” said Fatality.

Moreover, he explained the philosophy behind his decision making process before-and-after sets: “I try not to think about the game in a general sense I’m more specific than that. I try to focus entirely on psychological analysis, profiling my opponents thoughts, and then in addition to that just crafting all the best strategies to counter whatever it is I happen to be seeing at the moment”

Character Diversity in Top 8
His win over Nairo was the marque victory in his run to Grand Finals. In top 8, he eliminated Noriyuki “Kirhara” Kirahara, Zack “Captain Zack” Lauth, and T before reaching Samuel “Dabuz” Robert Buzby, in Grand Finals. That’s a Donkey Kong, Bayonetta, and Link main on his road to facing a Rosalina.

Fatality wasn’t surprised to see the character diversity in top 8, “most of the stuff that shuts down mid-tier characters is stuff like Diddy Kong, especially Diddy Kong, Cloud, and to a smaller extent Bayo are the characters, that for the most part, invalidate lower tier characters and since the main representatives from those characters were less successful,” said Fatality

The Civil War losers bracket bloodbath led to a more diverse top 8. “It’s not too surprising that when you also have the best players of those smaller, more niche characters then when they don’t have to necessarily deal with those awful matchups,” said Fatality.

The Civil War Crew Battle

Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/2ggaming

Fatality’s not bitter about not being selected for Team Ally, but he’s making sure that in the future they’ll have no choice but to pick him. He’s well on his way with his best career finish at a super major. Even with the raucous singles tournament, the crew battle was the main event.

I asked Fatality if this was the future of Smash event, “I don’t think there’s really a future in it because there aren’t enough, almost hard rivalries or enemies in the community yet,” said Miller. “It doesn’t feel that inspiring for most of the players involved. I know from speaking with people who typically are a part of these crew battles that while they’re fun for the crowd the players usually care very little.”

He continued on talking about the general tournament, “It was absolutely incredible. Just as a tournament itself its probably the best tournament I’ve ever been to. The venue was amazing. The production was amazing. Playing outside was really cool.There was basically like a giant concert venue on stage,” said Fatality.

The next tournament you can find Fatality is at ComicCon in Mississippi and later in April he’ll be attending CEO Dreamland which is the next big major. Fatality has put himself on the map and will now be looked at as a more potent threat to win tournaments.

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

ELEAGUE Street Fighter V Kicks Off With Unexpected Results

photo courtesy of twitch.tv/eleague

Fighting games have gone full blown esports. The preliminary round of ELEAGUE’s inaugural Street Fighter V tournament kicked off today with a strong slue of players competing in Group A. The matches were broadcasted live at the Atlanta studio and officially started the new era of fighting game tournaments.

Furthermore, it was the fighting game community’s first look at a new type of tournament. One with commercial breaks and invitation only. The broadcast lasted six hours, and only a small percentage was actual gameplay. This is not a critique, it’s just the facts. The best of three made for quicker games, making the host fill long periods of dead air time.

Regardless, the production value was outstanding, and the games overall provided some entertaining Street Fighter. Any criticism is met with the fact that it was their first attempt at a fighting game broadcast. All things considered, they did a great job. The lack of normalcy from a fighting game tournament was lost, but the overall event was a success.

1. Victor “Punk” Woodley, 6-1, Advances to Semifinals
Punk’s recent success is no mistake. His Karin play has pushed the Meta-game. Based off of today’s results, he is a serious contender to take the ELEAGUE title. His 6-1 record was impressive, with his one loss coming to Infiltration’s Juri. No one could consistently deal with his unrelenting corner pressure.

2. Yusuke “Momochi” Momochi, 5-2, Advances to Semifinals
Momochi hasn’t been as effective lately, but today his Ken came to play. He had wins over Infiltration’s Rashid, Smug’s Balrog, and only fell to Punk and surprisingly Marn. Momochi dealt with plenty of game three, last round situations, so it wasn’t an easy road. He did qualify for semifinals with his win over Infiltration.

3. Bryant “Smug” Huggins, 5-2, Advances to quarterfinals
After a disappointing season one, Smug is back in season two with Balrog and hitting harder than anyone. His punish game coupled with Balrog’s damage output is a perfect fit. One mistake and Smug would essentially end the game with his corner carry and use of EX-hits to extend combos to end rounds. It felt like he was back playing Dudley and styling on players.

4. Thomas “Brolynho” Proença, 4-3, Advanced to quarterfinals
Possibly the surprise of the day was Brolynho finishing fourth in the group. He was placed in a win-or-go-home scenario, and ended up winning two clutch sets against Marn and Julio. His mix-ups and recognition of the situation with Necali was impressive. Despite tough losses to Momochi, Smug, and Punk, he had strong wins over Infiltration to finish third.

5. Seonwoo “Infiltration” Lee, 4-3, Advances to quarterfinals
The second real look at season two Infiltration gave us two new characters and mixed results. He had answers for Ken with Rashid, but struggled with his new main in Juri in some situations. It’s a work in progress for Infiltration, and that showed with his 4-3 record. He’s still a player to keep an eye on heading into the next round.

6. Julio Fuentes, 2-5, advances to quarterfinals
Julio had a rough day. He was having difficulties in neutral with his Ken and couldn’t build late damage combos consistently. He did have times were he excelled with insane comebacks with V-trigger. His two wins came over Ricki Ortiz and the must-win 2-1 over Marn to advance. He’ll have to make adjustments if he wants to advance to the semifinals.

7. Martin “Marn” Phan, 2-5, eliminated

Marn. Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/eleague

Marn was undoubtedly the most entertaining part of day one. Despite being eliminated, Marn’s antics provided plenty of hard laughs. His Ibuki play was no joke. However, it feels as if he’ll need more time with Ibuki before he has success. In most of his losses, he kept it extremely close and barely got edged out in a few sets. Hopefully we see the newly sponsored Marn at more events.

8. Ricki Ortiz, 0-7, eliminated
Tier list matters, and that’s proven by the second place finisher at Capcom Cup going 0-7 at ELEAGUE. Cammy got nerfed to the ground, and after a disappointing 33rd place finish at Final Round and going 0-7 today, Ricki is questioning her character choices.

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Dabuz Wins 2GGC: Civil War Avoiding Upset Saturday

Dabuz after winning Civil war. Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/2ggaming

No one was prepared for the onslaught that took place at 2GGC: Civil War. It not only left the tournaments namesake sitting on the sidelines for top 8, but propelled Samuel “Dabuz” Robert Buzby towards his first super major win in Smash 4. The win came over seven unique characters, including two characters that have never made it to a top 8 at a major before.

The one constant, in a tournament of upsets, was Dabuz’s steady play. No matter the matchup, he stuck to his game plan and made players earn hits on his Rosalina. It was an impressive effort. One of the most consistent top-8 finishers in Smash 4 finally got his pay day.

His road to the finals was matched with complete uncertainty as top players began to fall early on Saturday. The first domino to fall came from Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios, of Team ZeRo. He fell to the California Fox main Matthew “Xzax” Liberatore and later, in the match of the tournament, to Arizona’s Zero Suit Samus main Andrew “Luhtie” Lataille. He was the first top-five player eliminated, all the way back at losers round two.

Futhermore, the upsets didn’t stop with ZeRo. Leonardo “MKLeo” Lopez Perez barely made it out of pools, falling to two lesser known, but strong California players. Meteor, out of nowhere, sent MKLeo to losers before falling to Armando “AC” Castenada Villalobos, 3-2, in losers round one. It was a bloodbath.

Additionally, Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada looked prime to win the event with so many players eliminated after day one, but he eventually became part of the fray. Griffin “Fatality” Miller, the eventual runner-up sent him back home in ninth place (are you detecting a pattern?). The final straw was Eric “Esam” Lew pulling out the Samus to eliminate captain Canada, Elliot “Ally”Bastien Carroza-Oyarce.

ESAM after beating Ally. Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/2ggaming

The upsets led to exciting sets with loud screams ringing out all over the Esports Arena venue. The atmosphere of the outside stage added extra pressure to an already pressurized tournament. It’s the first time a tournament had been held outside on a street. The city of Santa Ana deserves praise for allowing the 2GG crew to throw a great tournament.

Character Diversity

Outside the upsets, the character diversity is the most noteworthy aspect of this tournament. A Link, Captain Falcon, and Rosalina finished in the top-three. Donkey Kong made his first appearance in a top 8. The top tier characters all failed to make an appearance with the exception of Zack “Captain Zack’s” Lauth Bayonetta.

However, the play of Japanese Link main “T” was the main story. His aggressive style Link was not only optimally strong but enjoyable to watch. The bomb recoveries will be a mainstay in the Link metagame as T redefined Link. Eita “Hikaru” Hoshi also became a crowd favorite with his DK. The heavyweight Donkey Kong was made effective through Hikaru’s ability to win neutral and convert into lower-percentage kills.

Regardless, Fatality’s epic run to Grand Finals can’t be ignored. Before losing to Dabuz, Fatality went on an insane run of wins. He beat Rei “Komorikiri” Furukawa 3-1, followed by a reverse 3-0 over Nairo. That momentum carried over from beating Nairo all the way through top 8 and into Grand Finals. He lost a close set to T in winners but ended up 3-0’ing him in losers.

Dabuz Delivers

It was finally Dabuz’s time and it came at the most opportune moment. What is now known as “the most stacked tournament of all time,” as said by Zak “Coney” Z, Dabuz will always be remembered for avoiding the upsets and taking it home. His methodical, never approach style finally had an edge against players more prone to fall for his Rosalina traps. He’s a brick wall and now the Civil War champion.

In a turn of events, after the Noriyuki “Kirihara” Kirihara win at Frame Perfect Series 2, Dabuz regained the title of best Rosalina player worldwide with his big win at Civil War. He also beat Kirihara with a rather dominate 3-0. It was Dabuz’s tournament to lose and he came through.

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