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Evolution West 2006 Report

Evolution West was overall a great tournament. We had a huge ballroom that might have made us "the first fighting game tournament ever with too much space." Also, our new format of doing one game at a time worked exactly as planned. If was much easier to get the players in the right place at the right time with this method. Also, it was great that we had so many casual play stations in the same room as the tournament. This allowed players to practice for for their matches ahead of time.

As for my personal performance, I wish I had done better. I got top 8 in DOA4 (qualified), but hardly anyone even entered. I hope about 100 DOA players magically show up at our Las Vegas finals, because the total lack of support from the DOA community we've seen so far means we won't be able to feature the game next year. Too bad, as I think it's a pretty fun game.

In Guilty Gear, my team got 3 place, qualifying for a spot in the final brackets at Las Vegas, but this was mainly due to my teammate Ruin's performance. (XenoTiger also did well). I wanted to play first in our rotation, but Ruin was certain that he should play first, so he did. His plan was to single-handedly beat the entire field, and he practically did. His Eddie ripped through victim after victim, including top players like Ken I (Potemkin), Justus (Zappa), and Deuce (Faust). I played Potemkin and didn't accomplish much, unfortunately, except 28 wins in casual play, lol.

Going into this tournament, I thought Eddie was top tier, despite what everyone else says. I'm more sure than ever now. The ability to lock down an enemy while controlling two characters at once (Edddie) is just too good, even with all the nerfs in GGXX Slash.

Also note that before the tournament I ranked Slayer as top tier. Paul Kugler (slayer) was on the 2nd place team in the official Evolution West tournament and he also *won* the unofficial singles tournament. Slayer just flat-out does too much damage. Aba was my other pick for top tier, and Combofiend's Aba got 2nd in the singles tournament. I know that this isn't enough data to conclude tiers, but my predictions are sure looking good so far.

I said Ky was 2nd tier (despite everyone in the world saying he's top tier) in Slash, and after seeing Heidern's Ky (wow!), I finally get it. I'll finally put Ky in the tier 1 list. Sol still seems tier 2, but Said (aka ID) puts him at the bottom of tier 1. Semantics, really.

SF2 AE was pretty disappointing for me. I'm not happy with getting 9th, as I really wanted at least top 8. I ended up losing to the 2nd and 3rd place finishers: Alex Wolfe and Alex Valle. Even though I planned to play mostly ST Honda and ST Bison, I ended up playing HF Ryu almost the entire tourament as a counter to other people's Ryu's. It worked in the early rounds, and then I faced Alex Wolfe's Dhalsim (the only non-Ryu I'd face all day). I picked HF Ryu and Alex kind of laughed. I started the round with 8(!) consecutive helicopter kicks, demonstrating that the move is too good. I gave Alex Wolfe the opportunity to throw away the game here, but he cleverly did nothing and ducked almost all of them. Anyway, I beat him decisively in the first game. He stuck with Dhalsim and he won game 2. I really should have stuck with Ryu, but I switched to ST Honda and lost. Most of the game, I couldn't get in, and I finally got one ochio throw in the corner (should lead to 100% damage), but I did stand jab too slow as he got up (Dhalsim gets up slightly faster).

Against Valle's ST Ryu, I played HF Ryu and won the first game. He then switched to CE Ryu and won the next two. I think HF Ryu is clearly superior to HF Ryu, but whatever. Valle used Valle skills and won.

Here is what I wanted to say before the tournament about character rankings:

* HF Ryu's helicopter kick is one of the best, if not the best, moves in the game.
* CE Guile might be the best character in the game. WW Guile is almost as good, but he only has one sonic boom speed and can't do reversal attacks.
* HF Zangief is "secretly" good, but nearly no one has the skill to play him. Ironically, Alex Wolfe does, but he plays Dhalsim as his main so no one even realizes the Zangief threat.
* Chamption Bison is the most overrated character in the game. He isn't even as good as ST Bison. CE Bison has faster scissor kick startup and can combo after the scissor kick, leading to a dizzy and redizzy. He also has weird properties on his torpedo that make hit randomly hit as a crossup. But ST Bison has a super (CE has no reversal attacks AT ALL). ST Bison has better crossup attacks that lead to an easy dizzy combo. ST Bison's stand short allows him to tick into throw (usually untechable, too, unless the enemy is an ST character). ST Bison had a high priority jump strong. CE Bison is a one trick pony who can't get out of traps and has no reversal. There's no need for an "I win more" button, when what you really need is a little more defense.

*ST Vega would be good, but his input recognition on the off-the-wall attacks are broken. Same goes for HF Blanka.

*ST Honda is pretty good, but he still can't beat Guile or Ryu, really.

*HF Sagat is pretty good, and straight up better than CE Sagat.

After the tournament, I still believe pretty much all of that except the CE Bison part. Even though CE Bisons lost more than they won at Evo West, I finally saw the power of "scissor kick lands = you die." It is admittedly scary. Also, a perfectly executed CE Bison trap (scissors, low strong, stand forward, repeat) is *very* hard for an enemy bison or dhalsim to get out of. Watson demonstrated this on stage in a tournament match against Dhalsim.

It's interesting that the top 2 finishers in SF2 AE (Graham Wolfe and Alex Wolfe) both played ST characters (ST Balrog and ST Dhalsim).

Anyway, thanks to everyone who came out for the event. I hope to see even more people at Evo East, and I look forward to facing the competition there.


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