Monday, 8 December 2014

Southern Cross Championships 2014 Writeup!


This weekend was the second Southern Cross Championships or SXC (pronounced Sexy because we're all mature adults with high-brow sense of humour down here). Rather than last year's overambitious hotel hire it was at Adelaide University. Specifically good ol' Rumours Cafe on the top floor of Union House. I haven't been in there since the last AVCon to use the area, which was 2008.

Part 1: Remarks as an Organiser

I was running all the anime fighters, and was assigned the loft above the cafe to use. It clearly hadn't been used in quite some time given the dust (shoutouts to whoever had done a preliminary dust removal job as nobody was short of breath the whole time). The lights in the secondary room didn't work either, as I discovered at around 9pm on Saturday night. The loft was somewhat nostalgic as I recalled the days of it being the library for VG during AVCon, as well as where the Ultimate Gamer qualifiers were done in '08. Unrelated remark that was a good system that we should bring back. Complete with the laminated instruction cards.

It might sound a bit bad from that description, but it was honestly quite cosy and the right size for the number of players we had. There was enough room for everyone to move around, play games and clonk their head on a table if they needed. It was good!

What wasn't so good was the streaming from up there. The internet was rather choppy, meaning I had to just record matches. Alas, I forgot to bring my headset so I couldn't really check audio levels. On top of that, at wickd00d's suggestion I went with using his mic setup to just pick up the audio of what's going on in the room. I shouldn't have done it. The audio quality is... bad to say the least. I should have just recorded raw footage with game audio only and chopped in an overlay later. That's pretty much what I did on Sunday bar the overlay anyway.

That said, using the little room to hold the recordings/bracket organisation connected to a setup that had speakers worked great. There's barely any soundwash into/out of that room even with the door open, so it disturbs nobody. If we wind up there again next year, I'm definitely running with that system.

We got into the Uni an hour later than expected on the Saturday morning. Combined with the usual waiting for everyone to turn up, we started running the tournaments somewhere between an hour to two hours behind schedule. I asked the players if they wanted more match recordings or a faster bracket and they opted for the former, so there were no complaints that things went later than planned. We still finished all our stuff by something like 7pm on both days, so all was well.

The only real hookups were when Nerk and I had to play KOF games, and a combination of Weng, Falco and Nedjoe winning games of Third Strike during Guilty Gear. A huge shoutout to Blazhew for offering to man Blazblue brackets while the KOF interruptions. I was pretty dead due to nowhere near enough sleep on Friday night and I needed the break.

The most irritating part of the Uni is access. At some point on Saturday, floor 4 was locked (including via the lift). That's the floor with the toilets. Thus, someone kept us able to reach it by stuffing the stairway door with magazines so we could reach it. Adelaide Uni has always been annoying to deal with for things like this, and that's probably going to stay forever unless there's some serious shakeup with how they handle events organisation for things that aren't a brief snobby meeting.

I expected more people to get lost for longer than they did, but people managed to find the place just fine. Ample signage is always handy to make just in case though.

Finally, the main stage. Blazblue's commentary didn't get recorded due to someone not clicking the right button. Nevertheless, our duo of Runis (the Sydney Mu player who is isorropia's main training partner) and Giggles both said they had a blast and want to work together again if possible. The Smash setup took somewhere between half an hour and 50 minutes, so Guilty Gear wasn't able to be streamed. That's pretty sad for a new game which can always use exposure, but I know that the games we got were both exciting and recorded. The combo video myself, Nerk and Giggles whipped up displayed fine, but the speakers weren't powerful enough to really carry the sound. Thus, my tribute to wickd00d's atrocious Shinji Gets Grounded Goanimate saga wasn't able to have the impact it could have. If you want to see the video, here it is! Youtube muted it, the jerks.

And that's about all I can think of from an organisational standpoint right now. The saddest part is always the lack of games one gets to play when running the show.

Part 2: Remarks as a player

I'm one of those people who needs like 9 and a half hours to function properly.   I got five on Friday. I played atrocious. My crappy Dick Smith screen also died the day before, so I really wanted some tournament winnings to replace the damn thing and have a second monitor before I stream more stuff or just play more Xrd.

Persona: While I'm still not very fond of this game, PerShona's braindead enough that I can make it work with pretty much zero effort. First game was against Javi, a long time Milia player from Melbourne. He's barely touched the game and just hits the right Teddie buttons to poke. I got around it and won.
Game 2 was against Giggles. He loves the game, puts in the work, and plays Aigis. You can't block Aigis for more than half a second, and unlike an I-no or a modern Valkenhyn, the payoff for such relentless offense is somewhere between 33% and 100% of your life each time you guessed wrong. He put me in losers and went on to get second in the tournament. Good on him!
Game 3 was against iso. He doesn't really play, so he got hit by j.2D and the like a bunch. He went on to get second in UNIEL and won Blazblue. Keep grinding those Tager setups you crazy (magnetic) diamond.
Game 4 was against Nerk. I got impatient against Yosuke frametraps and screwed up in neutral a bunch. I died. I shrugged and went to do something else.

I'm so goddamn mad about that first game. I played SER SHERLOCK, an Orie who's not bad. The lack of sleep was kicking in hard here. I was doing things like shielding Orie instead of just waiting for the inevitable autopilot 6B into persona moves that lead to a free punish. Ugggggggh.
I cannot remember my second game against Fire Ryda. It was a 2-0 though.
Third was against Spoony Gosling. He's still playing Wald and I smacked him around again like I did at Shadowloo Showdown. He's definitely improved and it's great to see he's still playing. Gotta kill that "every game is dead after 2 weeks" myth!
Fourth was against my boy Hugo. I'm so sorry man.
Fifth was AwakenedBeing's Linne. I dropped absolutely everything, made some dumb calls that got me EX leapslashed and died. I was mighty mad about this game.

I'm still dropping waaaaay too many inputs in this game. Coupled with how my main training partners both play pressure and okizeme oriented characters, Hilda needs to go. I think I'm just going to focus on Eltnum since there's none in the country still for some reason. Melty hyyyyyyyype.

I got Falco first game. Clark raised his hands and great punishment rained forth from the heavens.

Second was against Nath. One of the more middle-tier Queensland players. He's improved so much over the time since the game's release and is a testament to how good Colonov, Kim and Baxter's continuous training and support for the game has been for their scene. I got taco'd into Iori combos and died. I really didn't want to be playing the game and should've just told Reece to DQ me from the getgo so I could focus on the Blazblue brackets.

If I want to keep entering this game at all, it's at the point where everyone's getting thrown out. My Chin hasn't grown with the times, my Daimon just isn't suitable for the way Karate, Iori, Kim and so on dictate 13's flow. Kula might stay just out of habit, but it's definitely time to put in a Kim. And a Shen.

Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo
I had to play Nerk first game. I play Chun vs Honda completely wrong, so I went with Sagat, then Ryu. I still lost. The eternal story of my games in anything with Nerk.
Second was against Baxter. He knows crap all about SF4 and despite his immense skill, has got no knowledge about old games. He got thrown a bunch.
I think my third was against Burnout. He got hit by jumping light kick, st.MP and Chunthrow a bunch. I'll take the "at least I knocked out Burnout" consolation prize in any game. Love you man.
Fourth was against Mooseking. 20 years on, Claw is still a stupid character. I think I did something really dumb like try to use Boxer at some point instead of just spacing roundhouse Legs better. RIP me.

One of my regrets is that I didn't get to have time to just sit down with Igor, Kyokugen and so on and play more ST. It's still a mighty fun game and will continue to be for years to come. Just talking about dumb Capcom tech while hanging in that area's fun as well.

First was against Awakenedbeing. He's a Nu player. There's a singaporean guy who was popping up at local meets called Lance who also plays Nu. Lance is a much better Nu. I still played it wrong and lost. I went way too greedy with my airdashes and Migulet attempts, and just plain wasn't doing my tech punishes correctly all day.
Second was against K336. He's another OG Melbourne player, in this case a Tao. I've played against so little Tao that some quirks of her framedata, approach options and moves that she inherently low profiles with her crouchblocking hitbox that caught me off guard. Mostly I just played super bad and died.

I don't like ending my time with Blazblue on a 0-2, but I have absolutely no interest in continuing with this game. I got what I wanted out of my time with Bullet, but this just plain isn't a game where character loyalty is worth overcoming the mountain of dumb setplay and just plain better movement options everyone else but Tager has. 2.0 isn't doing anything that interests me from a universal meta approach or tweaks to Bullet, so I'm done. You're welcome to keep playing this game if you enjoy it, but I never really did in the first place. Time to go back in the ST corner and grind that Magic Throw when Igor isn't looking.

Guilty Gear Xrd
I decided to go with May, and switch to Zato if I felt it might help me after losing a game in a set.

My main concern was whether I'd have to fight Giggles, guess wrong in the oki against her a bunch and die horribly there. Hilariously, he wound up dying to undyingmage of all people. Robert "anime sucks let's play a ft50 in KOF" Yip. The guy had spent some time doing the challenges so he had good damage off most hits and Giggles didn't consider doing things like making HHD whiff then just throwing a hairpin.

Despite that upset, I still lost to other SA players in the end. I lost to Nedjoe, who's been going in hard on the I-no grind. That's always been a bad matchup for May due to Chemical Love blowing up horizontal dolphins, her having to just take it when Note oki happens and her antiairs not being very good at swatting an I-no dash K-ing in your face all day. So I lost, switched to Zato and lost again. Sloppy stuff.

My other loss was to Falco, who's decided to go with Axl this time. He really enjoys playing zoners who can just swat people for zipping around in high mobility games, so this was honestly what he always should've gone with. I played this match completely wrong on the day, then had some horrible input flubs with Zato that cost me the second game in the set. Ugggggggggggggh.

Should've just picked Faust. We didn't have a single goddamn Faust in the tournament.

The greatest upset of all was Weng though. The guy's one of those "pretty solid" players who goes to every major because he likes to hang out. He usually loses to the other Perth guys whenever they fire up GG. Last year I had a great Loser's Final with him in +R. I'd thought he was already eliminated and thus gone over everything I could about how to beat Justice as Potemkin, then had to work around it all when Nerk called us up to play. Anyway, he just went with Ky this time as he thought the new 5D animation was a hella hype "raise the roof!"

He got second.

This is a very interesting example of the power of stray hits in GG. Just catching people with far range slashes and swatting them whenever they're in the air can rack up pretty hard. Nerk at some point remarked about grand finals: "I thought I was dominating him, but then I looked at my health and like half of it had just kinda disappeared when I wasn't looking."

Weng Factor is real. Don't trust that man.

So finally, my main intent is to go in hard on Zato and live the unblockable dream. I want to spend a bunch of time with all the new characters just so I have as firm an idea of their plan and buttons as I do most of the old cast. Elphelt's mighty tempting to main as well since her tools are just plain fun to use. I made a kill combo from 47% with her on Day 1 and everything!

And that's about it for this SXC. As a final list of shoutouts:

 - Issen for holding up that poverty flag hard. Grow strong, kiddo.
 - isorropia for calling everything shit. Especially the game he loves. And for working his way around Falco's Vatista at last.
 - Blazhew and the rest of Queensland for their boundless enthusiasm and support.
 - All the Sydney guys who saw I'd left DFC on the main setup by accident at the start, went "you guys play this? YES!" and only stopped because I had to boot them off to start Persona.
 - Adelaide Uni's crappy internet.
 - Kaizmo for hosting my terrible stream, then forgetting to actually stream the Brawl 1-stock.
 - Hugo for insisting on bloody Burger Theory instead of Chefs on Tandoori. We'll play 7 Wonders next time mate.
 - Weng for calling Greed Sever the Rainbow Snake then carving out that Murray River. You just saved our state's irrigation issues mate.
 - Perth for busting out both Catherine and frickin' Ribbit King!
 - Everyone who said "okay" when I offered them the stick to play Death Cargo
 - Everyone who made a joke about Pen Ninja hating fun. We'll optimise stuff later, I promise!
 - Dakimakuras for not appearing. Showing up in force and playing games right up until the very last monitor is packed away shows true strength to the CapCops, not your budget for cloth!
 - The Smash guy who let me use his Adelaide Uni account to access Challonge and attempt to stream.
 - Arc System Works for driving me insane with asshole DLC schemes and baffling character unlocks in 2014.

See you guys next year! Maybe even at ButtonSmash if I have the money!

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