At long last, I finally worked up the courage to head down to Box Hill for one of their tournaments.
I got seventh place!
But I didn’t win a single match.
Let me explain that to you: it was their 2 on 2 team tourney on 15th of March. My teammate Turkpac basically damn near OCVed every team. I was a glorified cheerleader, pumping him up before matches when he was moaning about being bad at the viper and rufus matches. He would then proceed to beast on the team. Maybe that’s my true Street Fighter talent; cheering on people who can actually play this game well.
I got to meet new people like Cactus, and Tian Khoo came down too. The Box Hill atmosphere is something to see, with characters like Carnage polishing off duck on rice on a stool beside him before his matches, a Let’s Go Justin chant for a honda player. It was great watching Cactus’s Sim too. I like watching smart Street Fighter, I like watching the brains whirr and impeccable decision after decision.
I finally got to meet Baz’s brother Ben, a Chun player. Now I have a LOT of trouble with this matchup, so one of the first things I did was to go up to Ben and ask for advice. And boy, did he dole it out. He covered a lot of things from smp to hazanshu, to shoto low forward footsies. Ben and Baz were two of the most helpful guys I met in scene, apart from Ali and his brothers.
Of course, I ended up playing Ben!
But I’ll get to that later. Let me first recount the first time I was counted on to pull some weight on our team. (I failed miserably).
I and Turk were faced up against the beastly team of Somniac and Sharpy. I actually met Turk at the Fight Nights event, and we played some casuals. Luckily I remembered his face because of the hentai shirt he was wearing at that time, and he invited me to join his team. He proceeded to win every match until we met Somniac’s team. (Ironically, I was anchor).
Turk got beat pretty quick by Somniac, and it was up to me to keep our winning streak going. I mentally crossed myself before the match. I play Som a lot on psn, and it is never pretty. I think most recently we went 3-27 Somniac.
So the first round he pretty much beats me down quick. Gets me in the corner, hits an ex headstomp, and pressures me to death. I feel the hope (if any) draining out of me right quick. I’m not landing much damage, he’s blocking almost everything.
I am landing quite a few throws though, and midway through the second round, I land a throw. I jump in, and option select lp dp, praying he doesn’t teleport. (I can never read Somniac on wakeup). He does ex devil reverse which gets hit by my lp dp, and I ultra!!!
I finally realised what momentum is like in a Street Fighter tournament match, and I definitely felt it swing back to me. I still wasn’t landing much damage, but I took that round, as well as the third with a super. I wasn’t playing much footsies, but he wasn’t rushing me down so much as in the first round.
He did manage to take the fourth round, and it was down to the final round! I was feeling both jubilant that I could actually go the distance, and an impending sense of doom that I was going to witness Somniac turning it up a level.
The round was very close, both of us were down to almost no life in the end. I got a throw on Som, and did a crossup into the corner. Thinking he would just block down in the corner, I option selected an lp dp anyway, but he reversaled! And got hit by the dp. Unfortunately I was so surprised that he actually did something that I hesitated and didn’t do a followup with a juggle! That was my one big chance to win the match as I was now in the corner against Somniac’s hungry Bison.
He pressured me, pressured me, I tried not to be stupid and just block. I tried to hit a psychic dp fadc ultra in a lull between his attacks, but he blocked it, crucially burning the last of my meter.
More pressure followed, and he threw me in the corner. We both basically had nonexistent life. And. He. Ultraed. For. The. Chip. Win. I blocked, and basically died. If only I had one meter! I could have ex dped out of there. But Somniac was smart, and he got me with the savvy play in the end. Game over.
I felt really bummed after the loss that I let down the team, but at the same time I felt kind of happy that I had done so well against Somniac. Even though I lost, I think that was the best match I’ve ever played in a tourney so far.
I went up to Som and said GG, and we discussed the match a bit. He told me when I hit my option select lp dp to ultra, that he actually forgot that I used option selects which surprised me. I told him I thought basically everybody would be using option selects, and he told me that wasn’t the case. Huh.
The next match up was against Baz and Ben. Ben went first, and took out Turk. As I sat down, I was trying to think about all the advice he had given me prior. I remember we shared a joke about that as well before the match, Ben kidding that he shouldn’t have given me so much advice!
As the round started, I was thinking, anti-air, anti-air. Chun has a high jump arc. Watch that Ultra meter. Don’t throw predictable fireballs (my biggest failing).
But in the end he completely massacred me. That match was the clearest feeling I ever experienced of someone being inside my head, of pure mindfuck. He made me do so many stupid things, and he was there to punish accordingly every time. Every fireball I threw, he either predict-jumped, or hazanshued through. Even though he warned me about the hazanshu and using focus to beat it, he still got me everytime with those overhead shenanigans. He outfootsied me, mixed me up, and spit me out a blender. It basically could have been a double perfect, if not for my random super at the end, and even Turk was yelling at the other side of the machine: “Hey man! Let him get a hit!”. I felt so pathetic. I felt completely shocked, but you know what. It was a great learning experience to be destroyed like that. It can only inspire me that to improve knowing that level is out there, having tasted it firsthand.
Afterwards we said our GGs, and he was really nice about it, saying he has a lot of ryu experience. (Trying to hide the pure one-sidedness of the match).
I came away from that tourney feeling a little levelled-up inside. I had come so close to getting my first win, over Somniac no less, and had gotten destroyed as well. The hype of the night was excellent, and I only felt more and more engaged with the scene. My first experience of a team tourney!