Monday, 8 September 2014

Shadowloo Showdown 5 Post-Event Writeup

So on the Thursday before Shadowloo Showdown I felt fantastic. When we (we being Nerk, MiracleMilk and Giggles, with Wickd00d and Sieg from Queensland joining us on Friday) reached our hotel room, all was well. There was a little problem in the form of both MiracleMilk and Giggles having influenza, but it was definitely manageable. We had adjustable airflow (though couldn't open the windows), separate rooms and plenty of shops nearby. We played some games and got Nerk to play some Azrael in the event that we wound up having to fight that darn gorilla in our Blazblue pools. Also spent some time recording and trying to find solutions to certain Tager setups involving him punishing purple throws. I was playing pretty well and felt excited about how we'd do this tournament.

Friday was more of the same throughout the day. theundyingmage popped around and Persona 4: The Ultimax Ultra Suplex Hold was playable. Giggles and mage spent a good 7 hours or so just playing that. From us hitting buttons, several conclusions were reached:
 - Yes, the rumours were true. P4UUSH Yuu Narukami is in many ways dumber than his Vanilla incarnation.
 - Personaless Sho Minazuki has an invincible aerial move that's an instant overhead. He also has a grounded overhead that sometimes crosses up and has a million years of autoguard.
 - The game is well and truly in kusoge (bad game) territory now and mostly worth playing for laughs.

Oh, and I think we'd gotten the South American juice from Tropicana about three times by this point. That place is about half the reason trips to Melbourne are worthwhile.

Come Friday evening, we headed on over to the CQ for the opening part of Shadowloo Showdown. The area available was half what the rest of the weekend would be as there was another event booked in half of the ground floor. This meant that things were very cramped, very moist and had awful air circulation. Given the time of year, this meant it was absolutely perfect conditions for people getting sick. I don't get sick very often (usually once a year at most), but when I do I go down hard. I got sick, and I think in retrospect this evening was a more likely culprit than our room where we frequently ran disinfectant on everything to be safe.

Anyway, there was a UNIEL setup going right from the start, so I jumped on quickly. The guys on at the start hadn't much experience with the game at that point, so I tried to give some pointers of general game flow while beating them up. About ten minutes in, current Marvel hero Abegen (Tron/Thor/She-Hulk) walked by and called next. We played about six games at the time. I won most of the them. He clearly enjoys the game, but also clearly hasn't played very much or really hit the strong arcades. He makes some weird decisions and has odd combo routes that definitely indicate he's been making the stuff up himself rather than hunting for optimised damage and advantage off hits. At some point in the evening Nerk mentioned to him that I was doing a side tourney on Saturday and he said he'd play.

Otherwise all I did that evening was play some Blazblue and drink endless amounts of water. The Smash Bros. crew were right behind where the UNIEL screen was. They were extremely excited during their exhibitions that night. They were extremely excited just about the entire weekend as well, with a notable exception being when Brawl was on their stage. If you want to watch anything from the event, the Smash was pretty darn fun times.

So Saturday came rolling in and I had a rather hefty sore throat already. This wasn't a good sign, but we headed on over. Blazblue was scheduled for 10am, but started nearly an hour late. That was pretty good time by the event's standards, honestly. Some games got far worse delays. I'd brought my setup and spent some time working out where I'd put it. In the end I opted for a coffee table near the two Blazblue setups we had going and just put Blazblue on there as well. We wound up using it to help the bracket go quicker.

While we're here, brackets were run on paper. Understandable given that the internet's wonky and there wasn't much room for laptops with Challonge or Tio. We had last minute signups on Friday as well. Nevertheless, if you can't find records of pools this is the reason.

Where was I? Blazblue. My first game was against a Ragna who wasn't very good. I stomped him. Second game was the nasty one though: Isorropia. Iso's Sydney's resident Iron Tager player and the guy who takes the game the most seriously by far. Most of the current Blazblue scene like to play for fun as much as winning. Iso plays purely to win. It might sound odd given how insistent he is on playing Tager, but the guy knows his setups. He has a gigantic bag of tricks he can whip out in tournament and run a train on everyone with.

Tager vs Bullet is in my opinion one of the worst matchups in the game to boot. Probably 8-2 Tager's favour. Bullet's game plan is all about using frametraps to make the opponent get impatient and blown up for hitting buttons. Tager, being a grappler and all, eats frametrap characters for breakfast. Bullet's gameplan is to basically run away and watch what Tager does. If he does something like whiffed 2D, punish with 3C. If he jumps, swat him with 6B. If he's got 50 meter, do not pressure him at all. If he's got spark volt, things get worse. I played it a bit worse than I would have liked, but still took a round off Iso before losing. It's not much, but from memory it was the only round Iso lost the entire tournament until Top 4.

After getting plonked into the loser's bracket I stomped some other bad people, and lost to Anta, Melbourne's Ragna. He's a pretty good player, but I played that terribly. The flu was starting to kick in at the time, but I still shouldn't have played that bad. Ugh.

The other official tournaments I'd entered were KOF13 as usual, and Divekick. I'd completely forgotten I'd entered Divekick. I perfected my first opponent in the first game, then lost the next two games when he switched to Dive. As silly as matchup talk my seeem for that game, Dive is a bad matchup for Kick. His jump speed and kick angle are just plain good at blowing up any movement Kick makes. I then won my first loser's game and lost my second. I didn't particularly care at that point. I just wanted to drink more water and play poverty.

I went 0 and 2 in KOF. That's the first time it's ever happened at a major tournament for me. By the time my games were actually up it was about 4:30 in the afternoon and the flu was kicking in hard. We'll see how I feel about the game the next time I go to a major, which will probably be mid-late next year judging by my current finances. My boy Nerk didn't make it out of his pool, which made me sad. At least Falco did.

I'd announced a few days before the event that I'd be running a UNIEL side tournament. I made a crappy sign and put it up next to my setup. I charged $2 to enter and said I'd start a bit after 6. I went about talking to people and asking if they'd like to enter, and ended up with 18 entrants including myself. I didn't get the whole thing recorded, but there's a chunk of it here.
Those games with the blue Vatista at the end of the video were Iso bitching about Vatista being ovepowered while we waited for Abegen to get back from some Street Fighter matches. Iso's an anime game player to the core, which means he has a rather poor understanding of how to open people up without canned mixups or setups you can grind out in a training mode. Things like goading someone into doing something you can whiff punish or empty jumping aren't things he's used to. The sort of player that winds up saying things like "Aquapazza has no mixup" while playing frickin Tamaki.

I played woefully bad against Abegen in tournament. At this point in the day I was running purely on adrenalin just to stay awake and run the tournament on time, so I could not block at all. The top 4 wound up being Nerk, Abegen, Giggles and Falco. Falco decided to forfeit halfway through loser's semis as he was being called for a Street Fighter match he really wanted to win, so Giggles finally beat the dreaded Adelaide Vatista. Here's his Loser's Final against Abegen.
Better luck next time mate. An unfortunate loss.

Finally we had the grand final. Shortly before it, Abegen had to play another South Australian in Street Fighter. Namely Reece204, our most dedicated SF4 player. Abegen mostly plays Cody, and Reece beat him the first game. Since Reece was playing Ken at the time, Abegen decided to try scoring a gimmicky win with T.Hawk. Alas, my boy Nerk plays T.Hawk and catches us out all the time. Thus, Reece stomped him pretty hard and won the set 2-0. I managed to explain this to Abegen as I brought him back for the UNIEL final and he had a good laugh. Here's the final.
Yeah, Abegen has no Byakuya experience. Nobody has good Byakuya experience. The trick with the character is, much like Bullet, there isn't much mixup. Just a lot of blocking and losing GRD to his webs. If I get a vorpal state but have lost all my GRD thanks to the webs, I'll usually just opt for a guard thrust instead of trying to chain shift my way out. Byakuya can die pretty hard once you start pressuring him, but his normals are super great in neutral and his own pressure goes for days. Annoying twerp, but he's got a pretty sweet Green Lupin colour.

Other things of note on Saturday would be Falco making Top 32 for SF4 and Top 8 for KOF. Nerk and Miraclemilk both made Top 4 for Blazblue (with Iso and RF rounding up the rest of that). I slept pretty bad as the flu was well and truly wrecking me by this time.

Sunday came in and we made it to the CQ 10 minutes after we were supposed to for Blazblue finals. The stream team hadn't finished setting up though, so we were fine. Please don't copy this behaviour, gang. Rock up to events when you're scheduled to. Event organisers will love you for it. Burnout asked for people willing to commentate Blazblue, so I jumped on the mic with Iso's training partner Runis. He's a pretty chill guy who I played nearly 2 hours of casuals with at Buttonsmash earlier this year. He plays Mu-12, the same as RF and of course knows how Iso plays. I knew how the SA boys play, so we had great combined knowledge for talking about the matches. You can watch the commentary here.

This was my first time commentating, so I was pretty happy with how it turned out. Audio levels definitely needed some adjusting, though we had no idea about that from our end. This also used up the last of my voice for the weekend.

A bit after Blazblue was done someone fired up Guilty Gear on my setup. I spent a good chunk of the Sunday playing Guilty Gear with people. First with Abegen, of which I have a few (poorly played) games recorded.

Ali then borrowed my recording equipment to get SF4 matches recorded. They were still running pools matches and then Top 32 at this point (about 2pm), so I was happy to help. I played some games with some American Faust player whose name I never found out. He was good. Then Nerk, Giggles and I played with one of Melbourne's old guard for GG. He said the old Melbourne gang wants to go in hard once Xrd is available, so it'll be good to play more GG with people. I was mostly playing May at this point, since the guy plays Dizzy and that's just miserable for Justice. I need to work on May for Xrd anyway.

So then I pretty much played casuals and watched some finals until we finally decided to leave once SF4 top 8 hard started. I was completely dead at this point and had a very fitful attempt at sleep all night.

We had wanted to run an Official Anime Suite with our room on either the Saturday or Sunday night, but we were all way too tired. As a result, Sunday night just turned into the gang drinking beer (well, mostly platonicsolid drinking beer) and playing a mix of Persona and Melty Blood. I had a bath at 3am I think.

We'd booked an evening flight for Monday so we could enjoy the company of others more. Alas, this turned out to mean that I had to spend an extra day in Melbourne wishing I was dead. I played some KOF 2002 with Colonov though! We also caught Arabian Adventures on TV. I need to find out the full story of that film some time.

So then I finally got off the plane after it spent 20 minutes circling Adelaide Airport and have spent a full week since bedridden. I think I'm in the final phase of this flu strain. I've just got a creek of mucus leaving my nose instead of an ocean and a horrible dry cough instead of a phlegm-filled one. I'd have written this sooner, but this is the first day my brain has felt like functioning to some capacity.

Oh, and this week's Doctor Who sucked pretty hard. Capaldi deserves better writing than that.

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