At the last Couchwarriors, I had an interesting conversation with Bugs. He said that he was going to try to play as many fighting games as he could from now on. I asked him; why the change?
He replied that he didn’t want to be so serious about just one game to the point that he becomes an asshole! And then we shared a chuckle.
He said that last weekend, but I had been thinking earlier during the week that I should perhaps stop logging my matches at Bluehouse because of precisely that: I am turning into an asshole.
I notice I have been getting saltier and saltier after each loss. Sitting there with a black face. Being less warm with people and not talking to dudes.
I theorise it is partially because I have been meticulously logging every win and loss, that I am becoming such a salty asshole.
I now always have win/loss records floating around in the back of my head. When I lose now, I instantly think things like; oh now I am 0-8 to this Yun player the last two weeks, or shit, I am going to drop below 40% in the Ryu mirrormatch with this one. And I feel additional pressure, and I take the upcoming match very, very seriously. And become really tense and play worse as a result.
Why am I so stupid?
If I continue logging my matches I need to remember that playing at the arcades is about learning, and getting better. Not about my stupid win/loss record. I need to spend less time sitting there wasting time by feeling salty, and more time thinking about what I did wrong in the match.
I need to take improving at the game as serious as I still do, but to take the actual act of winning and losing less seriously.
That is the whole point of training right? Lose; get better.
So I have to remember that I suck at this game, and so I don’t really have a right to get salty if I lose.
And in the last few years my main goal in SFIV has been to get my first top 8. Then and there walking back to work I decided I should be more realistic and not think about it too much until maybe like next year.
Then I went to Couchwarriors last weekend and got top 8.
I actually won one match in top 8 as well, but I’m not sure what my final placing is. Spoony said I placed 5th because I won one match in top 8, but what if I come from loser’s bracket side?
After placing, I still felt a little undecided. To be honest one big, big reason why I could place is because so many heavy hitters were still in Vegas. Carnage, Naruga, Toxy, Heavy Weapons and Somniac were all not in attendance.
Should I really count it? Should I really strike it off my checklist?
Then my buddy slaps me on the head and says, “Take your victories when you can….You dumbass.”
And then I think of the tournament at Ballarat where nobody else went except the Ali brothers and Toxy and thinking beforehand; hey, maybe I actually have a chance to place today! And then…
….I only won one game.
…….Against a little girl.
…………….Who shook my hand and smiled sweetly afterwards, whereas I stomped off like a raging salty motherfucker after losing to Burnout.
So even at frickin’ Ballarat with nobody in attendance I can still be a 0-2 pot monster. Obviously this is proof that at any tournament anywhere I can still be…freeeee.
So maybe I should count my blessings for once and take the goddamn win!
But back to Couchwarriors.
Before I headed off to Box Hill, my buddy called me and asked me to join them for dinner at seven. I told him I should be able to make it on time, I’d just lose quickly and leave early.
And right before the top 8 I was in my usual pessimistic state of mind. Ali had just bodied me worryingly easily and sent me to loser’s bracket. He wasn’t playing his usual Ali-rushdown style…he was being very patient, and just played the fireball war the entire time, while going for safe mixups whenever he got an untechable knowdown.
Matter of fact, he played the whole match in a really textbook manner. I think that is actually the proper approach to the Akuma- Ryu match, as I think Akuma beats Ryu in the fireball war, and playing that way really limits Ryu’s opportunities to get some damage in.
So that really gave me a lot of trouble. Ali’s normal style of rushdown normally leaves a lot of holes for me to capitalize on, but not the way he was playing on that day.
I asked him about it, and he said; “I know all you want to do is fireball. So I have to play that way against you.
And feed you some of your own damn medicine, bitch.”
Okay, he didn’t say the last bit. I probably imagined him mouthing the words or something.
And Ali being Ali, he still Demoned me twice. Once I intentionally did a really obvious jump-in, hoping he would teleport and my OS tatsu would come out and I could combo super after.
But he didn’t teleport. Nor did he DP. He just blocked the jump-in, and mashed his super Demon when I landed and did my blockstring. The super came out and KOed me. Who does that?!?! Zzz.
So I was feeling not too hopeful about my chances. I then found out I had to play Bugsimus next for top 8. Hmm…Honda.
But interestingly enough, he went for Blanka instead of his usual Honda, and in my mind I was thinking; oh shit.
Because I suck donkey balls against Blanka.
But somehow I won the game, and he went back to Honda.
All this time I was feeling pretty nervous because I have been dreaming about placing top 8 for three long years. And I always fall short and choke in the very match to advance to top 8.
I kept trying to reassure myself; I am a game up. You are much better at the Honda match than you were before. Option select that bastard.
And then Bugs beat me the first game.
Now I was telling myself; okay you didn’t adjust quickly enough to the change of character. Now you have had time to adjust. You weren’t anti-airing enough. DP that ass and you’ll be fine.
I won the first round, and then Bugs jumped over me for this Mike Ross-ian comeback with a fat hands combo into super that killed me for the second round.
Now I was telling myself; okay you bastard, now you are officially CRACKING!
Bugs had been playing really well. He wasn’t allowing me to dictate the tempo of the match, he was fighting to stay at that dangerous range with neutral jump fierces and was jumping over and punishing way more fireballs then I was successfully anti-airing.
The only thing that held me together was; okay, at least I have super for the last round.
And so in the last moments of the match he jumped at me, I finally frickin’ anti-aired, the LP DP traded, and I followed up with a super for the win.
I shook Bugs’ hand and exhaled this humongous blast of relief. Thank God I didn’t choke away the match.
I think I cracked maybe like 98%, but luckily I didn’t crack all the way.
I felt really happy at that moment, even though Ali and Kyle were trolling me on the mic. You assholes.
So I walked to the back and to kinda hide and try to keep from smiling too much.
I had to play Heyman next in the top 8. Now, this guy bodied me badly at the last CW held at Monash. With his Bison.
Now I have been losing to Bison since the dawn of time. Every Bison in Melbourne had taken their turn to scissors kick and headstomp my Ryu into the dirt, over and over and over again. From Somniac to Just-S to Sol to random Bluehouse Bisons, I suck equally against everybody.
I have put in a lot of effort into this match; and even after EVO grand finals I spent the rest of the day playing about 50 plus games against Dave’s Bison. What I tell people sometimes is- it’s not that I don’t know the match. I know the match. I just really suck at it.
I really didn’t want to lose to Heyman. And I was late for dinner! So I asked Ali if we could play on the non-stream setup, (top 8 matches are usually played one by one on the main stream setup) and he was fine with it.
Interestingly enough, with the pressure off after having made top 8, and me thinking about dinner, I probably played one of my best tournament matches ever against Heyman.
With Zero giving me support, I somehow won two quick rounds against Heyman’s Bison with Ryu. To be honest, I was really surprised.
At the end of the last round I had put him in the corner and knocked him down. I wiggled and walked back outside of his range and did cmk buffer super.
He dashed forward and ran right into my low forward. Super came out, and he lost the rest of his life in one shot, making me look like a genius.
In hindsight, that lucky super must’ve been why he switched right to Fei Long!
When I saw Fei Long on the character select screen, I was like, oh fuck.
But I won my first round, and lost the second round.
He was doing the usual Fei Long shit, pushing me to the corner, and punishing my fireballs with chicken wing combos.
But somehow I was keeping up with some well-placed low forwards and pressure, and I wasn’t feeling or playing scared at all.
This sweet feeling of flow, momentum and confidence…is this the rare feeling of….actually playing well?!?
In any case in the last round it was really close. He hit me with a chicken wing but missed the link and the DP afterwards. I promptly punished him for the win. Hm, and I didn’t even think about choking as I did it!
After that I had to play Muzztech on the big screen. The last two times we’ve played I’ve beaten his Seth, only for him to counterpick me with his Dhalsim and me quickly losing afterwards.
So I feel okay sitting down on the main setup to face his Seth. I try not to get too ahead of myself and think about the Dhalsim match.
He beats me pretty easily the first round. I notice in certain situations he would try to bait me to do something for him to react to. At certain ranges he would just be standing there looking to EX legs over my fireball and he got me several times.
I try to counterpoke his long fierce with cmp, but with no real success.
The second round I put him in the corner and take a decisive round myself with some aggressive corner pressure.
The third round is really close, and I’m uppercutting more. It gets down to him and me both with a sliver of life.
I know he is going to be buffering his EX legs to catch a fireball, so I wiggle and throw standing shorts and normals.
I walk back and forth and I think about his fierce punch. I decide to stick out a cmp just in case he does a fierce, and also to serve as a fireball fake.
Sure enough he reacts to the cmp with an EX legs. I get excited, thinking that I’ve won as my cmp will beat his legs (nothing beats shoto cmp or so I thought) or I will block in time…
But it catches me, beating my cmp cleanly and killing me for the game.
My heart drops back down from my throat and out my guts. Bah.
Muzztek shakes his head, and from his reaction I can tell he definitely was trying to react to a fireball, but it turned out pretty good for him in the end.
I play like crap after that, and he starts to read my DPs and baits them cleanly several times for heavy punishes. I was probably thinking too much about the game that got away, but I got severely outplayed the second game. I start to make basic executional errors like doing an EX uppercut from full screen when trying to throw an EX fireball. I lose and get up to shake Muzz’s hand.
Oh well. I had a pretty good run, especially by my standards. Maybe this placing will give me more confidence for tournaments in the future.
I leave quickly afterwards- I’m late for dinner!