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Andrew (VITRIOL) and I head down from our room in the CQ around 7pm. A whole bunch of guys are already there. Bugs is setting up the stream, and Loki and his crew are moving stuff around.
We actually had quite a large number of people show up for setup this BAM, with even guys like Burnout and Somniac showing up later. We finish around 11, and Andrew does the responsible thing as he has to run AE tomorrow and hits the sack right away. Since I only have to run Marvel on Sunday, I figured I could get some practice games in Ricecooker’s room.
I do okay against Rice, Zero and Beefspecial- but when Beef whips out his Blanka, I immediately lose six straight games.
Kon (Ricecooker) says I tend to freeze up under rushdown/pressure and I would agree. I feel way more comfortable walking back and forth against Beef’s Dee Jay, just chilling and throwing fireballs.
I tried to do the stand block and reversal Ultra trick against Blanka’s wakeup EX up ball, but I only succeeded one out of three times. The timing is so strict. Since you have to stand block it, if you hold back just a little bit earlier you walk slightly back and the Ultra won’t catch the up ball.
I hate this matchup, and I’m happy about the Blanka EX up ball changes. I don’t mind getting knocked down on hit if I can also get to punish it consistently on block.
I sneak back to the room, and unlike most nights before a big tournament where I lie in bed thinking about the day ahead, this time I conk out almost immediately. Blackness.
I head down for setup, and the whole CW staff is already there. I meet up with Spoony and talk a bit about tomorrow. I feel pretty relaxed and well-rested. My energy levels are high, and I’m feeling good about things.
Pretty much a completely different feeling from Shadowloo Showdown where it was so hectic and tiring from the get go. Having so many people enter AE and ten million international guests will do that for you. I remember at Shadowloo Showdown there was this huge line early in the morning, but at BAM around the same time this morning people are still slowly trickling in. I help out a bit with registration but I leave after a bit- I don’t want to step on Javi’s toes, and he seems to have things well-covered.
BAM really benefitted from the monthly Couchwarriors staff meetings- we have ample staff for every position, and everyone knows their set roles and responsibilities. There’s Bata and Javi sitting at the registration desk, Bugs has pre-planned multiple shifts for his stream team, Loki is doing brackets and we have different teams of judges for every game. The main thing I like about our multiple teams of bracket staff is that the big boss, Loki, does not ever have to step on the floor and handle a bracket, freeing himself up for the more important and big picture stuff.
Take Spoony and I for example. We had four judges ready to go for Marvel- Syntax, Bernard, Gab and Shadowfox (with Anthony as a backup) even though it turned out we didn’t even need that many people. We even had people coming in from other organizations to help run things, such as Dna and his Guf crew who became part of the CW meetings and eventually helped run AE brackets. So it was really cool to see all this collaboration.
People start coming in and registration is going pretty smoothly. I have a bit of spare time to walk around and talk to people. Even guys like Igor who I haven’t seen in ages. I even see guys from Bluehouse like that Bison who I call “That Bison Guy” in my arcade battle log. I discover that his actual tag is Eveazn and he and his Cody buddy even ask me to join teams. I didn’t really want to enter teams so I direct them to Beefspecial who was looking for a team earlier. It’s kinda cool to be able to finally put a tag to some of the faces.
My job for the day is to be the match organizer for the stream. I go back and forth between the bracket organizers for AE, in this case Andrew and Chris Ho from Galactic Circus, and line up good matches for the stream. I try to keep at least two matches lined up after the match currently playing and sit the players on the red couches directly behind the stream setup.
I had fun. Andrew and Chris were very helpful and by the end of the day we settled into a rhythm and pretty much they had matches lined up for me every time I walked over. I noticed that I quickly ended up not paying very much attention to what was going on the big screen- I just wanted every match to finish a swift 2-0!
It’s kind of impressive that the whole thing came together so fast. I think like three weeks before BAM there was still hardly any content for the magazine, and I didn’t think that it was actually gonna happen. Fast forward two weeks later and we had multiple interviews, player profiles, a Melbourne terminology guide and sections for each game. Dave put it all together in one sexy package and Bugs put it to print. Wow.
Loki even wrote a troll “fake Muttons callout” editorial, in which I call out the whole community in abrasive fashion and promise to beat down everybody with my Hello Kitty purse. Dave even made a little cute Muttons logo to go with it. Great job guys, I had a good laugh.
I was a little disappointed that they changed my power grid categories for the player profiles though. I originally had pretty wacky categories to replace the more mundane categories such as power/rushdown, defense/runaway etc. I’ll put them here:
Power Grid Legend (Scale 1-5)
Clinginess: This is how much the player wants to get up in your face, rush you down, and keep you under his thumb. Players with high Clinginess are very aggressive, and always want to keep their arms tightly around you.
Fear of Commitment: Players with high FoC always want to maintain space from their opponents. They prefer to fight at a distance, and avoid close encounters. They also take their time in making decisions, and would prefer for you to make the first move.
Fimble factor: The title is self-explanatory; how prone a player is to fimbling something. Out of the blue or in the clutch, due to his poor execution or nerves. It may also apply to other negative things- pure bad luck for example. Opponents mysteriously falling out of Ultras, or perennially bad brackets!
Lack of Conscience: Just how much the player does not give a fuck. He will uppercut without meter, random Ultra from full screen with a complete lack of remorse. He will go all in, every single time. The Carnage factor. It’s not random if it hits right?
Romance: The X-factor. That something extra in his game; be it charisma, flashiness, or impossibly good looks. This is how much inherent hype the player brings into the room, and affects how readily the loving masses declare him to be their People’s Champion.
Dave changed the categories to more standard things like In Your Face replacing Clinginess and Got Game replacing Romance. I guess it makes it easier for a wider audience to understand the power grid, but it just isn’t gay enough for me.
Goddamn it, I put in a lot of time writing the legend specifically for these homoerotic categories, and Spoony and I even took a lot of time coming up with ratings for each player. Now you take away my Romance category?!?!?!
Nah it’s all good. You did a great job Dave.
One last thing…this might seem like a petty gripe. But I noticed that a few top players didn’t buy the magazine- because they said they could just get it later for free from Dave.
C’mon guys, it’s only two freaking bucks! I could have done the same thing and gotten a copy from Dave but I bought two copies because a) I wanted to keep a copy for myself, and b) I wanted to support the work that all the guys put into it. I think it’s kind of missing the point if you just grab a copy off them. Just put in a measly two bucks and support your buddy’s work!
Don’t be such hockas… Okay, okay, rant over.
I notice Shang Tsung and Afterdeath in the crowd. Shang Tsung in particular put on an amazing performance in AE singles. I went over and shook his hand, and despite his “Australian Murderface” face, he’s extremely chill and nice guy.
I remember asking him; “So with Bomb leaving Australia, who do you think will be the best in Sydney now?’
He looked straight with me with a completely straight face and dead serious eyes and said with no hesitation; “Me.”
Now I remember Shang Tsung coming onto the scene, trash talkin’ and calling people out in the Ozhadou thread. I remember thinking at the time; who’s this pad Bison player who actually has the cojones to call out dudes like Crazyfreerider and Humanbomb of all people, to a moneymatch having never even played in an offline tournament before?
But as the legend goes; he showed up true to his word and took his lickings and after that the Sydney community took him in and he became one of their top players.
I think that’s a really rare and truly the stuff of legends- a trash talking online warrior who actually backed up his talk, but when talking to Zan- he thought that wasn’t such a rare thing. He thought that a lot of top players are who they are because they put themselves out there and kinda put themselves into situations where they actually have to back it up.
So I think Shang’s confidence is a large part of why he is so good. And I only wish I could have a little more of that kind of confidence in me.
Personally, I did shit in AE. The only person I beat was, no offence sir, a male Chun Li cosplayer by the name of BiosB. He was clearly new to the game, and he didn’t even know we were allowed to play on pad!
So I went over and grabbed a 360 pad for him, and we played. He was taking rounds off me just doing sonic boom, down roundhouse, sonic boom, down roundhouse.
I don’t know what the hell I was doing.
At first I tried to DP in between the hits of the down roundhouse but I kept screwing it up or trading. Finally I managed to focus through the second hit for a big punish, but it only took me what? Three, four times to actually do it? FAIL.
I swear I got even more mindfucked after the match because I was playing so badly! Losing rounds to Guile sweep….
In that state of mind, I found out I had to play Phero next. Phero, obviously, is damn good. And he must have been looking to get some payback on my “model father to Phero JR” joke in Double KO because he pounded me hard. No hetero.
After I lost, I felt really salty. Not because I lost to Phero; I know Phero is better than me. But because I never really got into it…it seemed like I was playing at half-speed, really sluggishly and half in a daze. I never turned it up and just got rolled over. So I was really disappointed in myself.
But GG Phero senior!
My next opponent was William.
Funnily enough, the last guy that I played at the arcade before BAM was William’s Fei Long.
I lost most of my games in the arcade against him, but I would say I gave him a decent fight in most of the games.
I remember in the arcade when the round was about to start, I would be wary of immediate opening rekka. And I would do things like preemptive low forward/strong/stand jab/focus attack to kind of warn him off that.
And he never did it. He always waited a bit, or threw a feint to start the round.
But at BAM, I sat down and the first thing he did at the start of the round was rekka, rekka, rekka. I ate the whole thing, got up and ate another rekka, rekka, rekka to the face. Corner.
Then he would just rape the shit out of me in the corner, as Fei Longs are wont to do.
This seemed to happen just about every round, and before I knew it he just kept getting momentum and perfected me in the last round to win the set.
So I was out. GG William. He gave me this consolatory shoulder pat and smile, saying, “Bad matchup. Bad matchup.” Whereas I just had this expression of pure black gloomy sadface.
I tried to put it behind me, and went back to my steam hustler job. Ali soon took over my shift, and I got a chance to go sit down and play Ultimate Marvel and SFxTekken.
Now initially the first time I sat down to play Ultimate Marvel I was put off- not by the game, but apparently all the button layouts were screwed up. And you couldn’t actually access button config in this build. So after a few games I said fuck this, and went off to play SFxTekken.
Everyone really seemed to be enjoying this game, but I wasn’t really feeling it.
I sat down and was the boring asshole that tried to do low forward fireball and fireball shoryu traps. I didn’t really like the chain system; I think it’s kind of stupid and Marvel-lesque to have universal combo chains for each character. Like you do LMH, press another H for the launcher and auto-tag, and then you can do H xx special move with your partner.
This seemed to be the generic thing that everyone was doing, and it didn’t feel that much like Street Fighter to me…But to be fair I have only played SFII and SFIV. Maybe because I didn’t play things like Darkstalkers and Alpha I shouldn’t be talking too much…
What was more interesting to me was how guys like Carnage were instantly getting into the game and discovering things. He would play it for a bit and discover interesting things and tactics- like he would do charge fireball with Ryu for the super, dash forward to cancel it to bait the jump and then DP it. He would figure out all the weird inputs like D MP+MK for Pandora or raw tag inputs and things like that.
He was clearly enjoying himself and in his element. He was this explorer of the games quickly jumping onto things, while I was this guy still stuck in my old ways. Clearly Carnage has done this exploration of new fighting games many times before, and more importantly, in the pre-Youtube age.
Maybe that’s the difference between the brain of top player and a low-level player like me. How quickly and naturally they take to game mechanics and characters, and think about/approach new games.
I later got to play more of the two games when someone figured out how to configure the buttons (I think in Xbox dashboard) and in Loki’s room after Saturday was done.
While everyone was trying the new UMVC3 characters, again I was the only asshole who would continually pick his vanilla MVC3 team of She-Hulk, Taskmaster and Spencer. Team X-copy Combofiend.
So first off- She-Hulk’s new slide is ASS.
When I first heard about the nerf I was like; wait. I need that move to slide under disruptors and to punish beam supers and shit. How am I supposed to get in on asshole zoners like Deadpool and Magneto now? Also, comboing after the Take Out The Trash super is going to be way,way harder. And what about all her kara grab setups?
Previously I heard she got an air-dash to make up for the loss of the slide, which to me, feels really wack on She-Hulk.
But in this build she does not have an air-dash.
And the slide now goes less than half the distance, while probably taking around the same number of frames. So previously she would slide across the ground really fast because of the sheer range of the move, now she kind of snails across the ground. It felt really shit to me. Now I’m just gonna feel pissed off whenever I look at Hawkeye doing his slide.
Not being able to chain Ls is to me also feels like an unnecessary nerf.
I tried the lamppost move- it is hella slow. Sure you can runner’s stance cancel it but it causes a wall-bounce so you can’t even do Super after it. WTF am I supposed to do with this slow-ass move? To me this feels like a “filler buff” where Capcom puts in useless changes to pacify you about the important things that they are taking away.
I wish I could do the runner’s stance cancel relaunch consistently enough to do some solid testing at BAM, but I also heard the torpedo has increased pushback, knocking the opponent further away. Obviously, that potentially makes midscreen runner’s stance cancel relaunch much harder or impossible, and with the removal of the TAC glitch, She-Hulk just lost her two viable relaunches. Yay.
So I’m seriously considering dropping She-Hulk now. Which I’m pissed about because I really, really like the character. She just feels so solid to me and appeals to my play-style. Good normals, a great anti-air, damage and boobs. What more could I want?
On a more serious note, she’s definitely my best character and I’ve put quite a lot of time into her trying to get the more advanced executional stuff down. Oh well. I might just replace her with Doom. That new jS is so stupid…
I really don’t understand a lot of the changes Capcom made, not just with She-Hulk. For example, nerfing Tron’s Jump H and Haggar’s non-assist stuff….why Capcom? I understand nerfing their assists, but it’s not like they were great characters outside their assists so now…Tron’s just going to be bottom tier? Guys like Cap America definitely deserved their buffs, but buffs to characters like Dormammu and Doom? With that crazy new jS?
Also, I hate getting blown up by Sentinel, but in my opinion the Rocket Punch nerf is totally unwarranted. Especially after I saw Nemesis’s super, which is a full-screen tracking OTG projectile that ends with Nemesis jumping on the guy for an easy DHC second super. So you just do S, j M M H S and do that super from anywhere on screen which is even more brain dead than Sentinel’s old combo.
It’s not even the easy rocket punch into super that makes Sentinel good…anyway.
Edit: After talking to Gab, he reckons that it is the general hit stun nerf that causes them to flip out before the super hits them than an actual nerf to Rocket Punch. Hm. Editedit: In Max’s latest video he says the untechable knockdown time of the OTG rocket punch has been lowered significantly.
I tried Taskmaster and his Spidey Swing hits differently now, and it feels like you have to adjust the timing for all his BnBs. I haven’t gotten his advanced long combos down or I would’ve tested them more extensively, but from what I’ve heard, they are no longer possible which is a big bummer. Basically Taskmaster being not much a mixup character lost his main strength- his raw damage. The nerf of OTG arrows also really hurts my basic DHC setup…
His new command grab thing is pretty cool- you can cancel it and make it safe, and you can get Super or full combos after. Pretty nifty. But it can be blocked and I’m not sure whether using it in combos will actually do more damage. So I’m not sure of its practicality.
Spencer felt the same. His Death from Above move feels like it takes quite long to startup however. Not sure how effective it will be as an attack. Maybe it will be more of a combo tool.
The day starts winding down. The pool brackets are almost done and we almost have our top 8 for AE.
I had fun just walking around at this point. I spy a guy playing Dark Souls, so I sit down and watch a bit. I immediately decide what I will be doing for the next two weeks after BAM. The stream is going great, and we’re keeping to the schedule and look to be ending on time.
One thing that I made sure to do the whole day was to keep drinking litre after litre of water. And when the day was done even the lure of UMVC3 and SFxTekken in Loki’s room didn’t keep me up that late, and I went to bed around 1 AM. I wanted to keep my voice ready for running Marvel brackets. And after the weekend was done, I still felt pretty good physically. I didn’t fall sick or blow out my throat/voice which happened to me at both Shadowloo Showdowns. So I think I did a much better good job of looking after myself this time around.
So I was walking around and I heard this big buzz in the room, I walked over to the main stage and discovered that Sol had knocked Toxy into the losers bracket! I stood there for a moment thinking about the ramifications.
Now Sol is my good buddy, always offering me training, advice and lots of encouragement, and while I have never repaid his good faith with some actual results, I’ve always been really grateful for all his help. Now he has never won a major before, and in my opinion, knocking Toxy into loser’s had just greatly, greatly improved his chances of winning BAM.
So I was standing there feeling really good about my buddy’s chances. Of course, I had no idea about the cataclysmic events that were about to happen in the top 8 tomorrow…
To be continued in Part 2…