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Tuesday
Aug032004

Evolution Fighting Game Championships 2004

I am back from Evolution 2004. www.evo2k.com. It was huge and awesome and there's so much that went on that I can't begin to convey it all here. Many of the best players in the world were there, competing in 9 different fighting games. I am one of the organizers of the event, and I ran a sizeable portion of the Super Turbo Street Fighter 2 tournament.

Anyway, here's how I did. On Day (qualifying pools day), I did not lose a single ROUND in either game I entered (ST and GGXX). This included a win against two-time US national champion Jason Cole, in 4 straight rounds. (Um...why were he and I in the same qualifying pool? I think we really need to seed by ranking, not just by region next year.) Oh, I played only Vega the whole time in ST. Cole played Chun Li against me first, then switched to Dhalsim. I played only Chipp the whole time in GGXX.

On Day 2, I won some matches in Guilty Gear, but lost (barely) to an Axl player who made top 8. I felt like that was mine to win, but oh well. I later lost to an Eddie player who trains with the great Kensao (Chipp player), which means he had plenty of practice against Chipp. I feel I must be honest here when I say that this Eddie player completely destroyed me. It was not close at all. I finished 17th.

In ST, I had been waiting all year for my rematch with Daigo. After retiring Dhalsim, setting Bison aside and focusing on Vega, I felt I was ready. I have beat both Choi and Valle in tournaments with Vega, so I was mentally prepared to face Daigo. The brackets even worked out right for me, as Daigo was on my path. I faced Alex Valle and the winner would not only qualify for top 8 (day 3) but also play Daigo on stage the next match. I wanted to win that one so bad, but Valle proved too tricky and took the match. In loser's bracket I somehow managed to lose to Jessie Howard (Jessie, you are good, but I'm coming for you next time ;) ). So two Old Ken players knocked me out of the tournament, I finished 9th. In case you think Old Ken counters me, I invite the rest of you to play Old Ken against me in a tournament and see how you do. ;)

My claim to fame was the GGXX #reloaded tournament. I have played #reloaded like 2 times ever (one of those times was when I qualified for Team USA lol). I know the differences Chipp has in #r, but since I did not play #r on purpose (since Evolution's main Guilty Gear tournament was Non-#r this year) people did not expect much of me. I teamed up with Destin and famed Japanese Sol player Miu. We faced "Dream Team USA" of ID, Ruin, and Chaotic Blue. Those are probably the #1, 2, and 3 players in the US. I personally beat ID (top Sol) and Ruin (top Edddie) consecutively, to the amazement of the crowd. Chipp power! My friend Miu was able to clean up Chaotic Blue for me. We took 3rd place.

Oh, and I shouldn't leave out Kuni. He is the Japanese liason, since he speaks very good English. He plays ST Zangief(!) and there is nothing like him in the US anywhere. He wins the unwinnable matches and managed not only to qualify for top 8, but to take 3rd place in ST! He beat down Hondas, Balrogs, Sagats and Dhalsim's like they were nothing...all considred nearly impossible matches. I hung out with Kuni quite a bit, and with the Japanese Guilty Gear players Miu (4th place, Sol) and Kindevu (2nd place, Eddie). They're all very friendly and gave me a glimpse of much higher level play than I had ever seen before in person. I will almost certainly be retiring from Chipp and taking up a new character. For sake of surprise, I'll keep that character secret for now!

--Sirlin

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