The FGC Recap is back this week to take a glance back at the weekend that was in the fighting game community. Father’s Day weekend was a big one as it featured the EU’s second Premier event (Dreamhack Summer 2016), loads of Smash Bros. action from Low Tier City 4 along with great matches from Wizard World. So much to cover, so much hype and so much salt. LET’S GO.
Wizard World – West Coast Smackdown
Wizard World has been host to numerous quality sets of Street Fighter V this year and each subsequent convention has brought together numerous professionals and online warriors to test their mettle. Justin Wong and Gootecks also sought to educate those willing to learn with SFV Boot Camp sessions that allowed amateurs a chance to pick the brains of top-tier talent with replay analysis and the like. Those looking to start building the foundation for better play should give the Boot Camp replay a look. There was, however, a tournament that was, essentially, a West Coast throwdown featuring Capcom Pro Tour stars such as EG|JustinWong, EchoFox|Julio, ChrisG, PG|fChamp, Circa|LPN and more.
North America’s goldenboy, Justin Wong, stuck with Chun-Li for the duration and showed out against some strong competition. Just when it seems he might not have another character in his back pocket then he rattles off 3 in a row. Looks like the time in the lab has paid off, Mr. Wong.
Wizard World has also been the site for numerous qualifiers for the King of Iron Fist Tournament 2016 along with other major events throughout the United States and Canada. It’s one of the few places outside of attending larger FGC events that game is being made available for anyone to play. Check out the Wizard World site for convention schedules and to find out if there will be a Mishima family outing near you. One of the highlights of each of these qualifying events is, without a doubt, getting to see Tekken played at a high level. The console release stateside won’t be until next year so the Iron Fist tournament will have to suffice.
Not only are cash prizes on the line at these qualifying events but, more importantly, it gives the wider audience a chance to actually see Tekken 7 in action. The last major glimpse was at E3 and it delivered on the goods. Now it’s time to see the tech start to develop and for the professionals, new and old, to make their marks on the scene again. Kane v. Kenji in Grand Finals of the Sacramento event was tense. The trading of blows had all the similarities of a great tennis match but, utltimately, Kane’s Kazumi Mishima won the day. Those wake-up grabs were fierce.
Low Tier City 4 – The Gods Assembled
Plano, Texas. The site of the Dallas/Forth-Worth area’s biggest gaming convention, Let’s Play Gaming Expo, also plays host to a yearly event that has become a staple of the summer Smash tournament season, Low Tier City. This past weekend marked the fourth edition and some of the best and brightest all came out to prove their worth. The field of Super Smash Bros. Melee was sufficiently stacked but it came down to the most storied rivalry in the scene, Mang0 v. HungryBox. A great writeup regarding Smash’s most decorated combatants can be found at Peek & Co’s Smash section. Great snapshot of two players who’ve risen to the top of their field.
Team Liquid’s Juan “HungryBox” Debiedma has been on a rampage as of late with 7 of the last 10 events he entered full of bodies in his wake and gold within his clutch. The road to EVO has not been easy but the Team Liquid pro has handled the adversity well, adapting his new mindset and appearing rejuvenated in the face of the return of TSM|Leffen and his long-time rival finally carving out some wins against him in the process. His real goal, though, has to be Armada. The European-born warrior who took EVO 2015 for Melee has had a huge target on his back ever since and it has been HungryBox’s burning desire to supplant Armada atop the mountain once more. His performance so far this season looks as though he has a great chance of doing just that. The set between Mang0 and HungryBox was a quick one with Juan dispatching his opponent fairly quickly. His Mastery of Jigglypuff’s Rest in Peace Sleep combo and avoidance is godlike at this point and, frankly, even the expert Fox play from Mang0 simply wasn’t enough.
Smash4, a game formerly comprised of only ZeR0 and Nairo winning it seemed, has finally started to grow into the clean slate that many argue the Smash competitive scene needs. I wanted to highlight this match between Mr. Lz (Game-n-Watch) and HyperFlame (Lucas). It’s not exactly a great match-up for Lucas yet the set between these two is intense. The shield pressure, the machine-gun Down-B’s from Hyperflame that would ultimately lead to a 70-ish% percent finish on LZ. HyperFlame is a great example of just how fast a Smash player’s hands move to get the type of traversal necessary to be competitive. Just so much motion across that Gamecube controller. A really wonderful set from these two that was, frankly, an upset as Mr. Lz was heavily favored. The crowd loved it, Lunchables loved it and, furthermore, it was one of the more hype things to watch across the entirety of the Smash4 tournament. It feels as though, especially going into CEO 2016 (where Super Smash Bros. for Wii-U has more entrants than even Street Fighter V) and EVO soon after that the meta is shifting in a very positive direction, more Top 8s at tournaments aren’t just forgone conclusions with ZeR0 and Nairo either.
Melee defines the entire scene still and Brawl simply fell flat with its lack of speed and technical play. Smash4 is starting to get to the point that even long-time Melee stalwarts are starting to consider giving the newer title a real shot. The legacy of the game is still being written, though, and the epic rivalries and storylines of the Smash Bros. Melee scene simply aren’t there yet for Smash4. They will be, though. It takes time to become the same sort of monster that Melee has become. All that said Low Tier City 4’s Smash4 brackets came down to two of the absolute best, ZeRo and Nairo once again. ZeR0’s Diddy Kong is at an advantage of Zero Suit Samus from the start and Nairo, coming off Winner’s Finals, seemed to be shaken mentally after a huge spike that happened during. Nairo’s mindset was clearly not great going into Grand Finals as ZeRo rather easily dispatched his long-time rival. CEO should be interesting as the field will be quite large. Will the tournament scene finally start to be defined by other faces? Let’s hope so as the game feels as though it’s in the best place its ever been competitively.
Dreamhack Summer 2016 – Phenomenal
Dreamhack Summer, from Jönköping, Sweden, this past weekend showcased some of the top-shelf talent from the EU and Asia proper in the second Premier event for the Capcom Pro Tour in Europe. My Roundup from earlier in the weekend was full of potential winner precitions with some dark horse candidates. The amount of upsets along the way, though, was unprecedented. Even more surprising than that? A player whose last experience at Dreamhack Winter last year was so disappointing managed to turn around and take home the gold. BX3.TP-Link|Phenom made waves with his Necalli, even with a tournament stocked with some S-tier talent, yet his M. Bison was what truly left folks stunned.
The Dictator has seemingly fallen out of style since the very early days of the game yet Phenom showed that the Shadaloo leader is just as dangerous and potentially top-tier as any other character. His fearless play was a sight to behold even if his disrespect for some of the most legendary warriors in the scene was well-noted. Tokido, looking to potentially take home a first place finish, fell behind and eventually settled for third place. A great finish considering and yet another Top 4 placement for one of the Gods of Street Fighter.
Red Bull/Twitch’s Daigo Umehara made another showing at a major Premier event and, again, seemed not quite ready for primetime. His reads were godlike at times yet he still seems not as prepared as he usually would be for what’s thrown at him in live competitive play with SFV. Another B+ performance from the legendary FGC professional. EVO could be when the Beast finally rises to the occasion but only time will tell.
Phenom went on an absolute tear throughout the weekend taking down legends left and right like he was actually named Randy Orton. His set against Daigo, in particular, was intense and his switch to Bison late elicited numerous cries of confusion yet the results spoke for themselves. Some strange choices made in regards to sitting on full meter by Daigo-san but, nonetheless, he had his own share of hype moments this past weekend. Back to BeasTV, his Twitch ambassador job and to the lab until Evolution 2016.
Phenom, in an interview after the dust had settled, talked about he preyed upon his opponent’s stubbornness to continually abuse wake-up DPs. Fuudo, one of the smartest Mika players around, has started to finally inject some of the crazy that so many others employ into his gameplan yet he continually hit buttons. Phenom took full advantage and vanquished his foe with relative ease. The final Dunk from V-Trigger Necalli to finish off the tournament seemed a fitting end for Phenom’s run through the brackets. The EU has redeemed itself for such a poor showing back at Stunfest. Congratulations to Norway’s own, Phenom, for securing a spot in the Capcom Cup finals along with 128 CPT points.
That’ll do it for this week’s FGC Recap. We’ll be back later in the week for the Roundup for a look at the week’s biggest news and a look ahead to CEO 2016. I’ll leave you with yet another great compilation edited together by MaiNeenja: Halls of Hype SFV Volume 13. Stay free, Internet.