Shadowloo BAM 2010 Recap: http://www.shadowloo.com/?p=2806
Ozhadou BAM 2010 results thread : http://www.ozhadou.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=5452
BAM 2010 SSF4 Top 8 videos: http://www.shadowloo.com/?p=2913
BAM Recap: Saturday
I meet up with Spider at 930 in the morning, and he shows me his nifty new voice recorder that he’s hoping to use for interviews. I couldn’t sleep at all the night before. I tried to lull myself into numb slumber by visualising anti-air dragon punches, but to no avail.
We head into CQ and register. The venue looks really nice, with a bar and everything. During BAM I would often feel like the venue was smaller than last year’s, but I realised later that’s not the case. It’s just that BAM 2010 was absolutely packed with people.
I go over and say hi to Dave and everybody else. There’s the big projector screen on the left of the room, with Bugs manning the stream behind, and there’s casual stations on the right, and finally Smash further in front.
I was really impressed by the casual setups; we had actual couches! It must’ve been hell for Loki and Zan and the others to lug all that stuff up the stairs. I also notice the Tekken guys even lugged in an actual Tekken arcade cabinet for BAM; now that is hardcore.
I settle down for some casuals. Right away I end up playing Somniac, and get beasted as usual. What a good way to build some confidence before the tournament. Sol offers me some encouragement, as well as a hearty “Muttons…I’m gonna kill you if you go 0 and 2 today!”
I have to reiterate; the place was Packed. I actually wanted to play some people that I normally don’t get a chance to; mainly the Sydney people and especially Humanbomb. But with so many people around, I didn’t get a chance to. In the end I mostly wandered around and talked to people, which was good fun too. (Note: I got to see Zerolance in person for the first time, and his Guile was hella impressive.)
All the Whirlpool guys were there, azn_killbox also manning the stream, Zero and Impakt being upbeat as usual, and I got to talk to Infinity a little bit about his upcoming money match with Heavy. And hey, Heavy was taking the match seriously; I spotted him getting in some Cammy practice with Alex during the Melbourne Sydney 5 on 5 right before his MM!
Brackets are soon put up, and I stare at my opponent’s name for a long time before I realise I’m playing Genxa, the sick Sydney Cammy player first round. Oh shit.
I have no Cammy experience whatsoever. All I know is some theory fighter stuff; she gets up one frame slower, but you can still safe jump her DP, option select tech with low strong, she can do meaty fuzzy guard grabs with that flying throw…but no actual matchup experience with a good Cammy player.
I try to psyche myself up, as well as getting some advice from Spoony and Somniac. Spoony tells me that her dive kick rarely crosses up, and if it does, it is possible to DP it because there is not enough hitstun to cover such a high hit.
I find out that I’m going to be playing on the big screen and on the stream as well. I start to feel pretty nervous right around now, but there’s no time to think as I’m up.
I sit down on the left of Genxa (Henry) and shake his hand. I hear the Melbourne contingent behind me making some sounds of support, and I pray inwardly that I won’t let them down too badly.
Round 1! Extremely close round, but I somehow manage to force Genxa into the corner. I badly miss a lot of EX fireball in Ultra opportunities, but I manage to keep him in the corner, and do a couple of tick throws to take the round. Genxa shakes his head violently at this point, and I heard the Sydney guys yell out “Yo! Don’t lose to that basic shit!”
Whatever it is, Genxa steps up his game to the next level, and rips me apart. I lose the next two rounds badly, and pretty much the only things I was hitting him with were option select tech low strongs. I noticed that he wasn’t bothered by my zoning at all; he avoided my scrubby fireball patterns with ease, jumping over and doing low dive kicks, or focussing through them.
I hear the Melbourne people behind me encouraging me after the first game, but I try to zone it out, I don’t do well with extra pressure. And I can sense in their cheers that they can sense that I’m outclassed. In any case, Genxa easily beats me down the next game. I even tried to do a random DP at one point with not having previously mashed one in the previous game, but he was so on point that he blocked that too. After the game he pumps his fist, but quickly turns around to shake my hand. GG Genxa. I guess he must be feeling the first game jitters/pressure as well, and it must be good for him to settle down with a first win. I quickly and shamefully walk out of the pit.
I ask Genxa later for some matchup advice, and he was quite nice and helpful. I go behind the screen, and Killbox lets me type “I got blown up” on the chat window.
On the other hand, my other main training buddies are doing pretty well. I think Spoony, Igor, and THK all won their matches, and they all did better than me in singles. Cactus was doing well too, which I guess is expected of Melbourne’s Most Improved Player!
But what was nice about this tournament which I haven’t experienced before, was that after coming off a match, I would find people waiting for me. I know this sounds corny, but hear me out.
Previously in other tournaments, I would come off my matches and sort of stand in the corner for a while. Maybe I’d talk to Ali or Dave for a bit. But this time, almost every time I came off a match, Spoony or Igor would be there with a thumbs up. I guess it’s because we trained together extensively before BAM, or maybe it’s me simply getting to know guys better, but this feeling of support really does work wonders for the tournament nerves.
This constant exchange of encouragement and “how did you do in your match” really did make losing that much easier to bear. I guess no man is an island, especially in the sea of matchup knowledge that is SSF4.
For example, my next opponent was a Cammy player called Wilson who had lost to Spoony first round. (Another Cammy. This character would prove to be my bane at BAM.)
Spoony told me a lot about Wilson’s game, and it really calmed me down a lot before the match.
So I sat down and shook Wilson’s hand, and we went at it. I noticed right away that he wasn’t consistent with his combos, which led to a lot of blocked spiral arrows which I could punish. Now I wasn’t playing any good as well. I was mostly punishing his spiral arrows with straight DP, when I was actually trying to do chp dp. (I guess when I think I’m calm, I’m actually still nervous as hell.)
Despite that, I was able to do a couple of safe jumps that baited out his DP, which I punished heavily with forward fierce combos. And that was enough to take the game. GG Wilson! I walked away feeling really relieved that at least I didn’t go 0 and 2 again.
Around this time, the other two members of Team Loser’s Bracket showed up. Eugene (Lupster) and his wife Runxuan, and Joon (Noobhead), both who don’t really play SF like that. I encouraged them to enter with me in the team tournament to experience that tournament rush firsthand, and BAM is their first tournament. Now the first thing that I noticed from them was this really horrified look on Runxuan’s face.
Imagine walking into this room stuffed full of sweaty noisy guys all smacking away at buttons, screens flashing everywhere, and Smash getting hype in the corner. I imagine any normal person would be a little terrified.
I tried to find them some casual matches to get some matchup experience when I could, and also brought them over to watch Smash’s top 4. (A game that Runxuan actually plays and can understand.)
There were a lot of exciting matches even before top 8, and one match that proved to be particularly pertinent to me was Andy (Hadoouken) vs Somniac. Andy took Somniac to the limit with his Zangief, and was one hit away from winning that match. So so close. I was still digging that match, when the screen showed that I had to play Andy next!
I’ve only played Andy once or twice before, and he bodied me every time with his crazy option select green hand everything Gief. I also don’t have experience with a really good Gief player, and I knew I was in for a tough match.
Andy still seemed a little disappointed with his loss to Somniac, and I was talking to him about his match before our match. (AKA softening up the opponent.) I had also just played Afterdeath (George) from Sydney for the first time, and I couldn’t help asking Andy who had the better Gief. He looked at me and said “I don’t really to want to say it like that. But… Me.” Concluding with a thoughtful nod!
Our match had a really casual feel to it, and I can’t help but feel that Andy was going easy on me. I tried to be a bit more aggressive with my footsies, which I felt was somewhat successful, and I was actually taking rounds from him. When I did that, he would give a big smile, and say “Good job, good job.” Then he would put on a “time to not lose” little squint, and a few ex green hand through fireballs and knockdowns later, I would be dead every time!
I was so scared every time I was on the floor; he knew how to do the short jump knees that beat DP, so I was very terrified of letting him touch me at all. I got lucky here and there predicting a 720, and punishing uncharacteristically with aggressive forward fierce combos. But in the end, Andy was too much for me, and man hugged me to death. GG man. How can a man do such a good job organising the tournament, and still have such a beastly Gief? Wow.
I wasn’t salty at all to lose to Andy…but I went 1-2 yet again at a tournament, which sucked. Big time.
At least all my friends were doing better than me, and that cheered me up a bit. I got to watch InfinityEX pick Dan against Naruga, which was pretty entertaining, especially since Heavyweapons was doing commentary! He actually took a game off Naruga when he switched to Rose which was impressive. Zero and I were getting pretty hype, even with Zero being in the middle of a match!
Spider ended up losing to two Ryus, which he blames on me safe jumping him too much, and conditioning him not to EX up kicks those pesky shotos. But otherwise he did great, and he even took out a big name in Mr Chowda, whom we later brought out to dinner along with Guillotine Fist. Great to meet you guys!
I got to see a lot of guys who worked hard for top 8 fall just short, like Cactus who lost to Kientan, who was on fire all weekend. I loved how when Kientan would abuse standing strong in the corner, the Sydney guys would yell out “She wants a handshake!” and Kientan would shoot his right hand straight up into the air. Good stuff. I saw Carnage vs Geese and I also saw Sol beat Akira to make top 8, which was immense.
But anyway, it was time for top 8. I got my non-community friends to sit down and watch, and we settled in for a show. Top 8 was Toxy, Naruga, Exis, Sol, and Somniac for Melbourne, and Humanbomb, Sicario and Kientan for Sydney. I was actually feeling pretty good about our chances…
Before top 8 I was going around asking Melbourne people for predictions, and they were mostly dire! I seemed to be the only guy around that was actually optimistic about our chances. But anyway it was time to cheer for Melbourne.
First Exis lost to Bomb. Then Sicario beat Naruga in a heartbreaker. Sol lost to Kientan.
It seemed that whenever Sydney vs Melbourne was on screen, Sydney would come out on top! The only Melb guy to win a match was Toxy in loser’s finals against Kientan. It was really crushing to cheer for Sol and Exis and everybody else, all these faces and people who I’ve trained with and welcomed me into their community, and watching them lose. But I have to give credit to Sydney who really showed their skills, and came down and put on a show on enemy territory. Good shit guys.
I have to point out also that THK is a fucking traitor. Every time Sydney would get a win and I would deflate in disappointment, Tian would turn around and point at me, gleefully chortling “I told you so!” That bastard was rooting for Sydney the entire time!
And now it was time for Toxy vs Humanbomb, basically Melbourne’s last man. And my sole opportunity to get one up on THK. It was an incredible match that more than lived up to its hype. In fact, not to take anything away from the other top 8 contestants, but the whole weekend almost seemed to be just a build up to the inevitable Toxy vs Humanbomb showdown.
Toxy started out strong in the first round, but Bomb came back with a clutch, clutch EX fireball in Ultra in the corner that had the Sydney guys on their feet. All my non-community friends were blown away by that match in particular; it was at such a high level, nothing was cheaply given away and every bit of damage had to be earned.
Toxy had his impeccable zoning going on, and would apply the vortex viciously whenever he got a knockdown. Bomb was so solid, and even though I think I saw every single Akuma vortex mixup ever invented used on Bomb, he blocked and teched damn near everything!
In the end Bomb was just too clutch, and narrowly took the set 2-1. I want to try and describe the match more, but I think you just have to watch the video for the full effect. My heart was in my throat the whole time, and when Toxy lost I sort of fell over my chair a little bit.
Of course no one was happier than THK.
Toxy showed he still had fight in him by taking out Kientan in losers, but then it was Bomb vs Toxy # 2, Grand Finals. I watched the match intently, but I knew that it was going to be very hard to take two straight sets off Humanbomb.
Heavyweapons was rocking the mic the whole top 8, and I have to say I loved the commentary at BAM from Heavy, Pyro and George. Heavy was really funny with his trademark “Uppercut!” Some commentary gems I remember that cracked me up include “Here comes Somniac…sponsored by Cadbury Time Out” and “Mole with the downward uppercut (Cammy’s dive kicks)”
To be honest I don’t remember that many details about the grand finals as Toxy and Humanbomb went on to play each other like 5 more times that weekend, and it all coalesced into one big back and forth mush in my brain. I believe the only thing I remember was that in the last round, Humanbomb caught Toxy teleporting or doing a raging Demon, landed from a crossup, and Supered into his back for the win and KO. (Edit: After watching the GF video, looks like I remembered it wrong, it must’ve been in the 5v5 when he did that.)
Sydney went crazy, the commentators told us to give it up for Humanbomb, proud son of NSW, and BAM 2010 SSF4 champion. Humanbomb was too damn good.
It’s kind of scary. I think Bomb has really improved his Ryu immensely from EVO Apac. And I also think Daigo has really improved his Ryu from EVO 2009 to EVO 2010. To see these players who are basically godlike in their own territories and in a league of their own continually evolving and being even more godlike is a little scary for those of us who struggle just to compete. I guess in the end it’s good for the game if everybody from scrub to champion continually strives to level up.
BAM Day 1 is finally over, and I wearily make my way home to rest up for Sunday. I don’t know why, but BAM Day 1 was incredibly tiring for me, even more so than EVO Apac where I didn’t get any sleep before the event. Maybe because this time I was so much more emotionally invested as a spectator, and cheering so much I nearly lost my voice took a lot out of me. The moment Humanbomb beat Toxy, all the adrenaline started leaving my body, and I became so tired. I can only imagine how the organisers like Loki, Zan etc can be feeling.
BAM Recap: Sunday
Again I couldn’t sleep, and I walk up to BAM feeling a little depressed at Sydney’s win over Melbourne yesterday. I tell myself it’s a brand new day, and Melbourne still has a chance to redeem itself at the 5 on 5 exhibition!
I watch some of Third Strike, and Onyx shows me a bit of Civilisation V at the front table. There are not that many people around yet, and I settle down for some casuals. There are less SSF4 setups than the day before, and I end up playing HD Remix in the corner which is always a hoot. I love Ryu’s fake fireball, it’s so broken.
I grab Cactus who is watching 3rd Strike, and I ask him some stuff about hit confirming into super into 3rd Strike and how practical it is in SF4. Cactus tells me that for example with Chun’s low forward, you can cancel it really late into Super, and it’s not as hard as I might think. He then proceeds to drop some extremely helpful knowledge.
Now I suck at single hit hit confirming into Super, and Cactus told me about an old 3rd Strike method that I could use. When you do the low forward, look at whether the opponent is standing or crouching when he gets hit. Basically, if he’s standing, he can’t be blocking since the low forward hits lows. So just cancel into super right away. If the opponent is crouching, he’ll probably be blocking unless he is doing something unlikely like holding down forward. It sounds so simple and effective that I wonder why I haven’t thought about it before! Thanks Cactus.
Eugene and Joon show up, and I get to them to play some warm up casuals. I manage to get some warmup myself with Zerokill. I pull them off the setups soon, as it’s time to spectate the Melbourne vs Sydney 5 on 5 exhibition. Joon Win asks me what are they playing for, and I simply reply with “Pride”.
First up was Sol against Kientan, Abel against Chun. The match had its hairy moments but Sol pulled it out with his trademark aggression. The roar from the Melbourne crowd was a welcome one, and soon it was time for Sol vs Benson. Sol took that match too, and the crowd was really feeling it now. I was running around with an “I can’t believe it” face by now, which soon escalated to a “Holy Mother of God” face as Sol took out Genxa!
The Melbourne crowd was cheering OCV! OCV! by now, and the place was rocking. It wasn’t just the 3 wins in a row; it also was the nature of Sol’s wins. When Sol is on a roll, and feeling the rushdown monster voodoo juice, his Abel is truly a sight to behold. I found myself next to Pen, and I asked him what he was thinking.
Pen told me he believed Sol could become the number two in Melbourne behind Toxy. Now in my mind I’ve always considered Sol to be very good, certainly a perennial top 8 contender; but number two? I asked him why. Pen said that not only does Sol have the technical ability, execution and knowledge that comes with studying the game a lot and being a training room monster, he has an underrated defence and a killer instinct to boot. Sure, he likes to rushdown; but he’s able to make clutch and inspired offensive decisions. Add to that the footsies, and Sol has all the assets required to become maybe the best in Victoria up there with Toxy.
I pondered that a bit. Another thing Pen told me is that the Sydney guys told him that if Sol stuck with Abel for good, he could definitely be number 2 in Melbourne. Now that I wholeheartedly agree with; I believe that Abel simply suits his playstyle better, and Sol has the defence to not get torn apart when knocked down.
As Sol knocks out his fourth Sydney member Sicario, and the room goes nuts, Pen adds a few more strong thoughts. He recently got 2nd at a CW ranbat, and he said he’s not happy at how quickly he could catch up to the top players. He had nothing but praise for the Sydney players who take the time to be technical as well as fundamental. He used the example of focussing through fireballs, saying that most players in Melbourne would just block after the low forward, but everyone in Sydney would try to focus through it, or at least add it to their games.
I told him that I thought we should be doing better with our pre-BAM meetups, but he pointed out Sydney have weekly GGSs! Everyone goes over to play at Bomb’s house etc. He said that we need to do that as well, spend less time playing ranked matches and perhaps opening up endless lobbies with top players in them for lower tier players to play against and reach their level. Maybe his were harsh words, but Pen just wants the Melbourne scene to be strong, not just having Toxy being at a level apart from everybody else. And perhaps Melbourne does needs a wakeup call.
But it’s time for Sol to take on the last remaining member of Sydney, Humanbomb. Sol puts up a valiant fight, but Humanbomb puts an end to his rampage and knocks him out. Sol shakes his head, and gets off the station. The Melbourne contingent puts their hands all over him (no homo) to congratulate him, and I know Sol must be enjoying the moment.
Next up is Naruga, and I’m calculating the odds that Humanbomb has to face now. Bomb puts on a dominating performance against Naruga, and easily wins the game. At this point, Joon Win who was very impressed by Naruga on Saturday leans over and tells me how amazing it was that Bomb could make a great player like Naruga look second-rate. I silently shake my head too, Bomb is on another level.
In fact I talked about this with Onyx, for example at EVO Apac we would be supporting the Melbourne players, but Daigo would put on such a show that you couldn’t help but cheer a little for him as well. As Onyx put it, it’s simply the “show me more awesome play factor”, and Bomb has a little bit of that in him as well.
Bomb then takes out Somniac, and I’m surprised to see Toxy going up next. Toxy not being anchor? That must be a sign of the respect he affords Akira, and we mutter “secret weapon Akira” amongst ourselves. Realistically, I know that Toxy is probably Melbourne’s best chance, and I cheer my loudest.
Bomb has his game face on, and he crushes Melbourne’s hope once again by taking out our number one. I see some relief on his face, and now it’s Sydney’s turn to cheer OCV! OCV! Egg on our face to be sure.
Last up is Akira, and he takes Ultra 2. If this was vanilla, I’d be a lot more confident in Akira, but this is Super SF4 Sagat. We’ll see. Akira puts on some ferocious zoning, but Bomb soon gets a lead and forces him into the corner to take round 1. Akira regroups for round 2, and even snags an uppercut on Bomb for a forward roundhouse Ultra juggle. Watching the damage on Bomb barely register past 30%, and I suddenly find myself absurdly wishing that Sagat could do more damage.
Bomb puts him in the corner yet again, and Akira can’t get out. Low forward, low forward. Akira is almost dead, he has no meter! Low forward, low forward, finally the KO. Bomb reverse OCVs the whole Melbourne team! Fucking clutch.
Both teams stand up for GG handshakes. What an epic exhibition; Sol with the “Pride of Melbourne” near OCV, and Bomb with the Superman reverse OCV. And Bomb knows it too! Check out this IRC conversation from the ozhadou channel on tuesday:
<CTM|aCe> johnny, we’ll just take you there tomorrow
<umadson> PiPi very good
<umadson> u like
<umadson> reel tok
<vindk8> lol team useless
<vindk8> slack man
<humanbomb> you paid for me ? 😀
<CFR> damn straight they were
<humanbomb> its suppose to be 5v5
<humanbomb> not 1v5 lol
<CFR> HB vs Australia!
Soon it’s moneymatch time between Heavyweapons and InfinityEX. Unfortunately I miss most of it, as I’m frantically putting my team members through some last minute training. I get Eugene and Joon Win to play Igor, Kyle’s Guile, and then any other matchup I could snag for them.
Speaking of moneymatches, while my team members were playing, I see Cactus playing Genxa right next to us. I talk to Cactus a little bit, until I ask him what he is doing. Cactus laughs and tells me he’s actually moneymatching Genxa while talking to me all this while! That just shows how laidback Cactus is, and pretty amazing.
Incidentally around this time I ask Joon and Eugene who their favourite players of the weekend were, and they replied Kientan and Exis respectively.
Team Loser’s Bracket is in Pool A, and up against Team Don’t OCV Please. I see that if we win our match we have to play Kientan’s monster team next featuring both Genxa and Benson. I joke to my team that probably losing would be a better proposition.
I figure we would be one of the first few teams to play, and we sit there for a long time ready to go. To be honest, that was dumb of us, because personally I got stressed up and ready to play, and once time started dragging on a bit, the tension started to drain out and made me really tired. I guess getting pumped up to play too early is not a great way to get yourself right before the match.
Anyway it’s finally time to play, and we decide that our order will be Joon Win going first, Eugene going second, and myself being the anchor. None of us really wanted to go first, and I was unsure how I would handle being the anchor, but that was the best we could think up at that time.
Thinking back, Eugene proved to be the calmest under pressure, so maybe he would be better served going first. Hm.
We shake hands with Team Please Don’t OCV, and Joon sits down to play Wilson, the Cammy player I played earlier in singles.
Joon played well, and I probably put my hands on him way too much trying to encourage him, but Wilson beat him 2-0. There was one instance that Joon had no life left, but landed a clutch EX legs in the corner. I screamed out Ultra! But he just barely screwed up executing the Ultra, and lost the round. If that had hit, perhaps everything would be different. It was still hella exciting, being in this team environment cheering for your team member, and really cringing together as one when opportunities were missed.
We gave Joon Win a bit of man love, and it was Eugene’s turn. He put his Blanka to good use, hitting some nice crossup into electricity combos, and using anti-air cmp appropriately. I was very pleased to see all that practice pay off, and his Blanka rushdown won us our first game! I looked over at Eugene’s wife smiling and Joon and I almost mauled Eugene in excitement. Too bad Eugene’s first victorious tournament game wasn’t recorded; in hindsight maybe we should have got Runxuan to do that.
Next up was Jeef’s Ibuki. Now I have Hyphen to thank for providing me with high-level Ibuki experience, and I closely eyeballed Jeef’s Ibuki. He beat Eugene by staying grounded, and got most of his damage from neckbreaking blocked Blanka balls. I wanted to whisper in Eugene’s ear not to ball anymore, but they both started round 2 too quickly for me to do that, and I did not want to risk distracting Eugene.
I was studying Jeef’s tendencies, and noticed that he was more of a defensive, zoning Ibuki, and didn’t do too much of that crazy Hyphen rushdown, so I was feeling cautiously optimistic about my chances. Jeef beat Eugene 2-0, landing both a dash through and a wakeup grab Ultra that turned around both rounds for him and it was now my turn. Eugene did well, but perhaps got really unlucky by getting hit by two grab Ultras, and I make mental notes about the grab Ultra in my head.
I sat down feeling the nerves a bit and shake Jeef’s hand. I notice him changing his Ultra and I make mental readjustments. I feel Joon Win’s hands on my shoulder, telling me to play my game, and I nod my head, rubbing my hands. I did just that, and applied my usual anti Ibuki game that I developed thanks to Hyphen. I was careful not to get neckbreakered, and safe jumped him like crazy. In the end, I finished the game with a crossup tatsu into super, which did good things for my confidence. GG Jeef.
Both Joon and Eugene were smacking my shoulders, and it was time to play Pete. I groan a little bit when I see him picking Honda. I suck against Honda. No matter, I take the first round comfortably, landing a couple of low short low jab sweep combos and doing a safe jump mini-loop to take the first round.
The second round goes more even, with him landing some nice hands damage on me, and me failing to option select DP a jump, (I did it every time previously), and getting headbutted, totally ruining any conditioning I was doing to him. He puts me in the corner with both our life really low, knocks me down, and does a buttslam. I try to DP, I have full meter, and I TRADE. I lose the round, and I’m cursing my stupidity. I had full meter, I could’ve done EX DP! At the very least if I had tried to do lp dp to get the super juggle and traded and died, I wouldn’t have felt so bad. I choked that round.
Going into the third round, I feel confident because I have full super meter. I stop fireballing for a bit trying to bait a headbutt that I can reversal super, but he’s wise to my game and doesn’t headbutt or jump in either. Things get worse as he puts me in the corner, and hits me with a few combos that really hurt. I’m way behind now, and I get a bit desperate. He capitalises on my desperation, and puts me away 2-1. GG Pete. Team Loser’s Bracket…go to the losers bracket.
I feel a bit sad feeling that I could’ve potentially won us our first game, but I try to hide it and congratulate Eugene on his first game win. I think my teammates are enjoying themselves, they look excited, and are being pretty positive despite the loss.
We sit down, and watch what was to be our fate, Team Don’t OCV Please going up against Kientan’s team and getting OCVed decisively by Benson. We give each other long looks and shake our head. I cross myself.
Next up is ironically Kyle/Kordibon’s team Shoutouts To On Blast. Kyle was nice enough to give my team members some pre-tournament practice, and now we’ll be facing his team.
We shake their hands, and Joon Win goes up against their first member, playing Ken. Joon kept eating wakeup DPs, and I wanted to whisper in his ears to bait more DPs but again am scared of distracting him. There was a scary moment when the Ken woke up with Shinryuken, and Joon’s Chun had a stand strong stuck out in the Ultra freeze. Luckily for us, the range of Ken’s Ultra sucks, and he missed completely. We were so into the match, that when I saw the Ultra whiff I smacked Joon Win’s arm really hard and yelled “PUNISH!!!” Thankfully he did, but he still lost the match to the Ken. I believe he took a round though, so still a pretty good performance for someone who just started practicing SSF4.
Eugene goes up next, and I study the Ken. I notice that he likes to play at full screen and close up, but doesn’t like the middle range. He throws fireballs a ton at full screen, and relies a bit on jumps for mobility. Again there’s another moment when the Ken whiffed his Ultra, and we were all screaming for Eugene to Ultra. Eugene jiggled…then did Coward Crouch instead. No….He went on to lose that game, but seriously team tournaments are a ton of fun!
I’m up, and I feel the pressure of being the last guy left. I need to beat all three guys for us to stay in the tournament. I’m still pretty nervous, as I fimble a chp dp FADC Ultra in the first round, but I use all that I’ve studied to beat the Ken and bait enough uppercuts to take the game. With my team’s encouragement, I’m able to calm down a bit, and cut down on some of my nervous miscues like unintended cmk srks. The next player is a Fei Long player, and I play the first round a bit defensive to scout him. I notice that he aims to chicken wing through fireballs. With that in mind, I try to alter my fireballs patterns accordingly, and apply my usual safe jump pressure to take the game.
The last guy up is Kyle, and I shake his hand. He eliminated me from CWs two ranbats ago, and since then I’ve gotten to know him a bit better. He also has focussed more on Guile since then. We’ve played more since that last CW encounter, and I’ve learnt a lot about the Guile matchup from him.
My basic game plan against Kyle is to stay grounded, and patiently force him into the corner. Even though I might lose the lead, I just want to get him into the corner. Really good Guiles like Hoppa seem to force me back by sheer force of their zoning, and I often find myself in the corner instead! But with Guiles around my level, they often do half the job for me by constantly moving back, and cutting off their options.
When I do get him in the corner, I stay out of Sonic Hurricane range, and do fireball traps, while occasionally moving forward trying to bait Flash kicks out of Kyle. Earlier in the day, I had a lot of success baiting Flash Kicks from Kyle, but in this game he was very solid, and I couldn’t get him to bite.
My frame traps were having trouble with his mashed low short crouch techs, and I was losing life to booms, but I stayed patient and eventually got him in the corner. Walk up throw, walk up EX tatsu. I got a hit! I did the Ultra motion, hit the buttons, and groaned when I saw Guile’s legs drop down a little before the Ultra freeze. I did it too slow, I thought. My team members were going YESS around me while I was the only one dropping my head.
But wait! The Ultra did hit! I exhale watching the hits, feeling goddamn lucky, and eke out the round with some low forward pressure. The second round is much of the same, Kyle being solid and not flash kicking and me generally behind in life, but slowly walking forward until I cornered him. Pressure, pressure, game.
I give a huge sigh of relief as my team goes crazy around me. I shake Kyle’s hand. GG man. The first win for Team Loser’s Bracket! And my first ever OCV. (I won’t lie, it felt really good.)
We walk off, and I get thumbs up from Spoony, Igor and Tian. Whew.
We’re soon up again, against Team Fuck SFIV, and on the big screen/stream to boot. I try to psyche our team up before our match, and Joon Win’s girlfriend is even here to watch us get humiliated on the big screen. I get some scouting reports on Nick and Strazz from Spoony, while I wonder which Alex was on their team.
As Nick and Strazz call Alex up, I notice that it’s Alex the Melbourne Ryu player. I’ve never beaten his Ryu before, and I immediately feel a bit worried. Later on, I would discover that Nick was playing Ryu, and that meant Alex would be playing Cammy instead. That meant two things: a) I was happy that I didn’t have to play Alex’s Ryu, and b) I have to play another Cammy, and I don’t know the matchup.
Strazz takes on Joon Win first, and I notice the fight is really hard for Chun without Ultra 1. Joon Win fights hard, but Strazz is too strong and takes two straight rounds. Joon was at a loss at how to punish balls and a lot of other stuff, so it was always going to be an uphill battle for him. We give him some encouragement, letting him know that he is loved.
Eugene is up next, and I pray that the randomness of the match that is Blanka vs Blanka will favour us, but Strazz seems to know the match better than Eugene, punishing Blanka balls with slide, and I think this is Eugene’s first time facing another Blanka. There are some hilarious moments where they trade electricity hits and such, but Strazz takes the game.
Yet again I have to beat all three guys for us to stay alive. I feel tense, but the last OCV helps me feel a little bit more confident.
It doesn’t really show as Strazz and I have an uneven fight. I block his Ultra, and punish with my own Ultra. Only I do it too fast, and it only catches for one hit before it flies under Blanka. I say “Fuck me” and I’m sure my team is thinking the same thing. But thanks to playing Impakt and Eugene, I at least have some Blanka experience. So I low strong a lot and stock super, and try to overcome my fimbles with some solid play. I reversal super a Blanka ball in the last round, and I take the game. GG Strazz. Two guys to go.
Nick is up, and I switch costumes to alternate Pink to avoid confusing my eyes. I play surprisingly well, zoning and anti-airing competently. Spoony later tells me that he thought that I was the white Ryu, as I couldn’t be the pink Ryu; the pink Ryu was actually anti-airing! That can’t be Mutton. Thanks for the vote of confidence Spoony! Lol.
I hit a crossup tatsu and it hits at a weird angle, Nick must’ve jumped or something. His Ryu gets popped up really high as I execute my super. I crane my body all the way to the right, willing the super to hit. I can feel my teammate’s gasps stuck in their throats behind me. Somehow the damn super hits and I go on to take the game. GG Nick.
Alex sits down, and I shake his head. Oh boy, here we go. Another Cammy.
The game wasn’t as bad as the one I had against Genxa, it was actually close. It came to down to us both down on life. I did a DP FADC, but botched the Ultra. Probably upset at myself, I dashed up to Alex’s Cammy that was on the ground and stuck out a meaty low strong…and he wakes up with Ultra. GG Alex.
I watch the Ultra take the remainder of my life, and I shake Alex’s hand. GG Team Fuck SF4. Team Loser’s Bracket is finally out.
I gathered my team together, feeling really proud of ourselves. For a bunch of scrubs, getting 17th place is pretty good wouldn’t you say? I felt really proud of Eugene and Joon Win, who I felt played above their levels. Overall the whole team tournament was a great experience, this sense of shared excitement and cooperation is something I really enjoyed and want to go through again. GGs guys!
edit: I learned that team order actually does matter when it comes to team tournaments. I personally benefitted a lot by being able to scout my opponents and their tendencies. There really is some strategy in character order. Not only do you have matchups to consider, having someone you believe in being anchor, and having someone strong out the gate as your first player is also important. This is my first time really experiencing it, and I love it!
We went for dinner nearby, and my teammates took off with their missuses. I also find out that Tai OCVed Igor’s team!
Spoony and I got back just in time to see Zerokill win the PS3. I for one feel pretty happy that Zero won it, and he promptly promised to get in some games with me on PSN! One more for our side. (Screw Xbox.)
The good feelings about our team tourney performance helped wipe away some of the disappointment of my previous poor showing in singles, and I sat down to watch top 8 in teams. Once again I cheered for Melbourne, and once again Humanbomb won it all, beating Toxy for the fifth time this weekend. I guess we can say he’s the best in the country now, and a credit to Oz Street Fighter. Even watching top 8 felt a bit like watching an inevitable Humanbomb victory to me, which says a lot about Humanbomb’s performance at BAM.
The lights are dimming at this point; CW staff are going around taking down setups. I grab my stick which has been used all two days on casuals. As the finals wind down, security guards stand at the entrance. It’s time to get out of Dodge. Loki asks us to get out of there, and we do. BAM is finally over, an epic weekend of highs and lows, and I hope BAM 2011 will be even better!
to the CW staff, Loki, Zan, Onyx, Andy, Playasia/Phil (I saw your red eyes, I know you were dead on your feet. Cheer up man, you played great for someone in your condition, and what you did for the players was immeasurable.), and everyone else. You guys did an incredible job. All I did was play and watch, and I was donezo. You guys are superhuman.
Thanks to the TEC guys for doing media work all weekend, and training up a scrub like me. You guys are the best, and the sexiest.
Good shit to the commentators, and all the other players from the other games, like Smash, Tekken, VF, SC etc. I might not play your games, but I love your hype.
Great to see everyone from WP and BIG thanks for the stream; Bugs, Killbox, Noobert, Zero, Impakt, Infinity.
Great to meet and talk to everybody there; Mr Chowda, Guillotine Fist, 2D, Hyphen, Ian, Somniac, Cactus, THK, Spoony, Igor, Andrew, Patrick, Pen, and way too many people to name.
Everyone from Sydney, good shit, awesome performance. Sorry I didn’t get to talk to you guys too much though, I should’ve made more of an effort.
And lastly, my teammates from Team Loser’s Bracket. You guys did awesome, we got to flex our bromance big time.
See you all next year!