Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Episode 2: A *Certain* Final Round Experience!


Ok, it's been what...2 weeks since I made a new entry? Yup, long over due for another one. Well with that said, I should *FINALLY* get to my experience at Final Round XIII.

Final Round XIII took place in Atlanta, GA during Mar. 12th-14th. This was my first major in a bit over a year and it was my first MBAA major since the game came out. Due to reasons beyond my control I was -unfortunately- missing out on Northeast Championships X. Well anyways...after a long 6 1/2 hour drive from Raleigh and getting stopped by police for speeding (don't ask :P) I finally made it to the hotel that was housing Final Round. Well the first thing I did was setup my two hotel rooms for MBAA. Yes, I really needed to buy 2 rooms for this weekend because so many people decided not to reserve a room and/or the people who were reserving a room ended up not showing up for one reason or another. Well after setting my rooms up I called over Silent Shinobi and told him to tell everyone I was at the hotel and if people wanted to play some games just stop by. Well...it started out small at first with only a handful of people stopping by (Choco, Doren2K, and Shinobi to name a few) and we only had one setup at the time so rotation was taking a while.

Remember my last post where I was talking about performance anxiety, yeah? Well it hit me HARD. I was feeling so anxious that I really was afraid of playing against people that REALLY wanted to play my F-Ciel. Like, I sort of had this feeling that the people who were entering the tournament had this super high expectation of me. Whether that may or may not have been true...I don't know. Well anyways, after my casual matches with Shinobi, Choco, Doren, and the other 8 people in there I was feeling a bit better about myself...although not 100%. Which was bad for me considering I had a team tournament the next day.

Well after a afternoon of casuals it was the team tournament. I ended up teaming with Cajunstrike and P-Soul (C-Mech player I talked about in my last post). I was sort of glad that they had me playing anchor position because I was feeling anxious all over again now that the tournament pressure was on. It was me trying to get back into the groove of things since I was just getting back into the tournament scene...although it didn't happen till much later. Well after a couple of sets where I didn't have to play, I decided to step up and play out my first match. I forget who's team we were playing against and granted I ended up winning, it was not a pretty site. My movement was all sorts of janky, my blocking was weak, dropped a couple of combos I shouldn't have dropped, and overall...I just felt so flustered. Granted to say I was NOT going to live that down so for our next match I decided to play first. I can't really explain it, but at this point it sort of just came back to me. I felt as though my movement was as it should've been, I was hitting all my combos, blocked what I knew what was coming, and just felt relaxed. At this point we were playing team 'Bama (Solidplay, Silent Shinobi, and Doren2K). I ended up beating Solidplay pretty convincingly with overwhelming my Ciel pressure. I was barely able to scrape out a win against Silent Shinobi's H-Arc. We kept going back and forth to the final round and I managed to pull the win. Started getting into trouble with Doren2K and F-Miyako. I don't know what it was about it, but I just couldn't get a good read on it. Like when we played last night during casuals I was able to break his defenses and start my rushdown, but this time I could hardly hit him and if I did it wasn't a hit I was able to capitalize on. So instead I ended up losing that match and eventually out team got reverse OCV'd into losers.

IIRC at that point we had to play team "Live to Win" which consisted of B.Z.B, Frank the Tank, and Pacstrife. I decided to go first again fighting Pacstrife first. At this point I was just in the zone. Everything was clicking with my mind and what I was doing on the screen. He was using H-Tohno which took me by surprise considering I've never seen his H-Tohno before that moment. It really didn't matter because I was able to pull out the win. My match after that was against Frank the Tank's C-Warc. Now I won't lie...if I thought I was going to lose at this point it was to this guy. See when I got back I played him before the Lucky's tournament in February and it was pretty bad. I really had no idea how to fight his C-Warc and he was steamrolling me badly. Well it was different this tournament. I actually beat his C-Warc 2-0 by just staying patient and trying to stay away from the corner and blood rings. It also helped that I didn't try and challenge his J.B since that pretty much beats whatever F-Ciel is doing in the air for free...and I shielded him...a lot. After that match I had to go up against B.Z.B's H-Roa. Now this match I KNEW I was going to lose. I still wasn't able to exactly read his H-Roa, even after playing him countless times before this tournament. It also didn't help that this character is just lame. Great pressure strings, air control, ground control with lightning and SOKU DAROU! ETC. He's also one of those characters that forces you to block EVERYTHING until you can just see a opening in his pressure...now if the H-Roa is solid that isn't going to come around anytime soon and by the time you realize it you're about ready to be guard crashed so you're stuck with making a risky decision that could possibly cost you.

Now onto the match...it actually went closer than I expected. Granted I still lost...I didn't get *completely* scraped. I ended up losing the match 1-2 with it being pretty close from what I remember. We still ended up winning the round with Cajunstrike taking him out and ultimately eliminating Live to Win. Our next and ultimately final match would be battle for Grand Finals. We had to play against team 'Bama again. I decided to go first again and I had to play Solidplay again. This time the match was MUCH closer. It went 2-1 with me almost losing. My next match against Silent Shinobi however did a complete 180. I ended up getting outplayed and losing the match. Although P-Soul was able to keep us alive by beating him Doren2K sent us out of the tournament by beating both P-Soul and Cajunstrike. So...with all that said...we finished 3rd out of 11 teams. Not too bad, although I wished we could've at least got 2nd and played on stage <_<.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand if you think that's all...boy you couldn't be anymore wrong. That was only day 1! We still haven't gotten to day 2.....SINGLES!


Well at this point I was *completely* feeling it. I knew I could at least make top 3 and no one was going to stand in my way. Now...I could be productive and talk about EVERY match I played in singles, but I really don't feel like typing that much and I really doubt you guys feel like reading all that much longer so instead I'm going to talk about my two biggest matches...Winners and Losers Finals.

First up...Winners!

I had to play Doren2K in Winners Finals and man I was a bit upset, because I KNEW I was going to lose this match. After what happened in the teams tournament I sort of convinced myself that I wasn't beating Doren2K and that's exactly what happened...I didn't beat him.

Now what took me off guard was that he didn't use F-Miyako against me...instead he used Crescent. I played a little bit of his C-Miyako Friday before teams and I'd like to say I did alright considering I've never played it before. Now in that video...well let's just say he was able to keep me off of him EVERYTIME I tried to get in on him. Also her mixup game is much more dangerous in C as opposed to F so that also took me getting used to. I was almost able to take him a couple of rounds, but as you can see I just got outplayed.

Now onto my next and *spoiler SHOCK!!!* final match. LordKnight vs. Myself in Loser Finals.

Now oddly enough...this match I had a feeling that I could win. Like I could honestly say I wasn't afraid of LK's H-Kohaku. Not saying it was bad, because his H-Kohaku is great, but IMO playing that made me realize just how *not* threatening her offense is outside of her command grab and even then it's not really that because after all the Reverse Beats and proration the damage she gets off of it is pretty weak...although what's threatening is the mixup she gets afterwards. The only other thing that's a threat is her overhead sword swipe that looks like a low :| . Outside of those two things whenever he got on the offense I just held down-back and just waited it out...except there were times I waited for TOO long and ate a command grab. Now even though I still lost, I would say my lost was more so due to me missing out on punishes I *knew* I had, but for some reason or another just dropped them as opposed to just outright getting beat. Now what really annoyed me in this match was the fact that if LK had 100% meter he would CONSTANTLY bunker out instead of just waiting it out. Although it's very well a viable tactic and he was smart for doing that instead of just taking the pressure and taking the risk of getting hit...doesn't change the fact it was a bitch to deal with. Also, another I have to note on is his habits. Now not to say he's a bad player or anything like that because he isn't...that couldn't be anymore wrong, but I did talk to Kensou and Kidviper about this (Two US SBO qualifiers for Blazblue CS). While he's very damn good on his offense and his neutral game is also very strong...it seems like he plays the game in the air a lot using the most safest air normal that character has (H-Kohaku...J.B. Litchi...J.C (staff) ). Also the fact that his defense is probably his weakest area. Now again...not talking down on him...especially about BBCS because I have yet to see him play BBCS, but if he's placing 2nd at SBO quals then he isn't obviously bad...now with that said, the reason why I brought up Kensou and Kidviper was because...he plays the EXACT same way in both BBCS and MB. Now speaking in terms of MB...I was able to see that going back and watching our matches. Whenever he didn't have meter to bunker out I was pretty much getting some type of BNB or throw to open his defense and he would most likely stay in the air using J.B as his air to air as expected considering that's H-Kohaku's strongest air to air normal. I can't exactly knock him for it because it obviously works for him and his character, but if I ever had to play him again in a future I would definitely say I would be able to take it to the last game (like I should've IF I didn't miss the final punish in game 4 <_< ) and *possibly* beat him.


Now with all that said...I think it would be best to say that me placing 3rd at FR reminded the MB community that I still played MB and knew how to play. I know that after a year + some months I sort of fell off the radar without going to tourneys ( thanks to real life) and it was honestly great meeting up with new faces and faces I haven't seen in 2 years. The ride to Gladys and Ron's was nothing but epic moments there and back, me sporting the pac-man hat was hype and just the overall tournament experience reminded me why I love playing Melty Blood and why I love travelling out to these tournaments. Even though I didn't get 1st or even 2nd I was satisfied with myself knowing that I can still hang with some of the top players and even with a lot of the new up and comers in this game.

Well...that's it. I hope you enjoyed it. I'll do another write-up sometime this week. Although I don't know if it'll be anime or the upcoming East Coast Throwdown 2 tournament next month.

See ya!

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