Monday, June 7, 2010

No Regrets

So this is it, the B2 block finals weekend.

I headed to Tokyo with Matt and Emmet on Friday night on the usual train. We stopped by at Mikado and played till about 11 pm. There were a fair amount of decent players there so I got some good practice. I started off doing really well and got a 10 win streak. Then after I won, the game suddenly just froze. I went and got an arcade staff member and they rebooted the machine but it was taking forever, so I just went to play on another cab. I played a few more games, getting lots of wins. I only lost 4 times the entire night which is pretty good (against Udei once, NOB's Slayer after I beat his Sol, and I forgot the others). Then, at some point, Osaka B yells "Shadow-sensei!" So I go over to him. He was playing on the cab that froze on me. He told me since the machine froze on me earlier I could take over his game. He had 11 wins. The match vs a Robo-Ky was just starting up. I figured why not, so I took over his game and beat the Robo-Ky. Then I beat him again, and again... and again, until there was eventually an 18 win streak. This RO player was pretty bad honestly. I was starting to get suspicious. No one else was getting on the cab, just the same RO player who had just lost 18 in a row. I respect his determination I guess but I was getting pretty tired of fighting him. I asked Osaka B if it was the same RO player the whole time and he made like this funny frustrated face saying "Yea, he wont go away!" lol! So, he probably figured he might as well dump the game on me lol! I cant really blame him and it was kinda funny. So after beating him the 18th time, I got a match vs the computer to start up and I went into IK mode and got off the cab as fast as I could (as this is often the indication that you are leaving your game), yet a few seconds later, the guy put another credit in the cab anyway. I just got the fuck outta there and went to go play someone else real fast heh. Though eventually I did look over and someone else challenged the RO player so its no big deal.

Anyway, we stayed till 11 and then after that we headed to Shinjuku to go drinking at Current. I am still trying to watch out for my ulcer, so I agreed to go drinking but figured I would make somewhat of an effort to take it a little slow. Since Matt is only visiting for 3 weeks I pretty much have to go drinking (and I want to too, I just need to be careful).

Current was pretty good for a Friday night. On the way there, we ran into Ayano, Taka, and a few other guys who were just getting back from a Nile concert. They said it was a good show and stuff. We all headed to Current and got a big table together and chilled. A few other regulars were there as well. Chris showed up and so did Yuta, that girl that Sam is friends with. I guess her and Chris are sorta making out with eachother a lot as of recently. I stuck to beer all night and just tried to pace myself. I never really got very drunk but I at least had a good buzz going.

We left and went to PSY at around 3. It wasnt very packed but there were a few people there. I started to fall asleep towards the end since something about the atmosphere in PSY just makes me sleepy. After that, we headed to the nice manga kissa.

The next day we woke up at around 2 pm. I felt fine and didnt have any dark black stools so I didnt drink too much. It seems I am safe to drink as long as I dont go crazy. We all took showers and by the time we got out of there it was almost 3 pm. This is the time that today's SBO qual at Game Ace was scheduled to start. We originally were planning to go watch, but we figured by the time we got out there it wouldnt really be worth the trip, so we got some Shakey's pizza lunch buffet and went to Mikado instead.

Since most of the good players were probably at Game Ace, it wasnt that packed at first but there were some players. I asked who won last weekend on Sunday (since I couldnt go) and the winning team was Mugen (BR) / Kakeru (SL) / 池田 華菜(DI) This is most likely the Dizzy players real name. I forgot his gamer name but it starts with an S. He uses the black and gold color. So this is another good team we would possibly have to face.

So anyway I ended up playing against a DI player a bunch at Mikado this day. He also used the black and gold color so I had suspicions it was the same DI player on Mugen's team, but I wasnt sure. I was doing very well at first against him getting perfects and stuff but eventually he started to adapt and then we were pretty much going even. I got some games in vs the guys on Mitsurgi's team too. I fought Nage in a FA mirror and won and then he rematched me and beat me. I also beat Ina's Millia on my first try but then rematched him like 5 times and couldnt beat him again. After the Game Ace tournament ended, tons of people that were there started to pour into Mikado. I asked someone who won today and the winning team (much to my surprise) was RF (FA) / Ogawa (ED) / Shonen (TE)! This team is very broken and I was surprised that they came all the way from Kansai but I guess since its the block final weekend and slots are scarce this year, it makes sense. So now there was a chance we would have to face this beastly team. Also, while I was at Mikado, someone came up to me and asked me if I remembered him. I said, sorry but not and he started speaking in fluent English and said he was Umemura. Umemura was a Baiken player from Maebashi in Gunma who I teamed up with once 2 years ago. I hadnt seen him in so long I didnt recognize him. He congratulated me on getting into the block finals. He said he would be entering tomorrow with Komayuki the Eddie player. He said he lives in Tokyo now. We wished eachother luck for tomorrow. Its kinda odd though cuz I still have his email in my phone and I have contacted him before about teaming up but he never replies. Maybe I should have asked him if he changed his mail but I forgot to. Oh well.

This time we only stayed and played until about 9 pm. I kinda wanted to play longer but Matt made plans to hang out with Sawa at an izakaya so I figured I might as well go too. We all met up at Shinjuku station. Sam came as well and brought a friend of his named Emily who used to work with him at Anime Expo and is currently studying in Japan. Sawa also brought a friend of hers but I forgot her name. So the 6 of us headed to an izakaya. We drank and ate there for a few hours and just talked and stuff. I had maybe like 4 beers within the almost 3 hours we were there, and for me, thats taking it really slow cuz Matt and Sam drank double that. Eventually Emily left a bit earlier and then Emmet showed up. He was at another izakaya drinking with some girl. Aside from someone throwing up all over the izakaya bathroom, it was good times.

After that, we headed to GODZ cuz Chris said Current was a gaijin fest and he was drinking at GODZ. Chris wasnt even there when we got there but maybe about 10 people were in the bar. The played some good music and we stayed for maybe an hour. It was alright. Then, we went to Current. It wasnt as bad as Chris said and some regulars were there. Also, Ai came to hang out and I havnt seen her in like a whole year. Ai is really cool so I always like drinking with her. Terry was there too and he bought me a tequila shot. I already did a shot with Sam when we went in and I am trying to lay off the shots but I figured one more wont hurt since I didnt really even feel that drunk.

We all went to PSY at around 4 or something. This time Chi was working and Matt was very happy to see her. Sam was pretty wasted when we got there. So was Emmet. Infact, Emmet passed out shortly after we got there. I took advantage of this by barrowing a black marker from Natsume and drawing penises all over Emmets face and the back of his neck. He didnt wake up at all lol! These are the laws of Shinjuku drinking. After Emmet woke up, Matt told him he had penises all over his face but Emmet was a pretty good sport about it.

At about 5, we went to Karaoke. I wasnt gonna go but I figured why not. They wanted to stay for 2 hours but I wanted to get enough sleep and practice time for tomorrow so I only stayed for an hour. I wasnt really drunk at all anymore at this point. Me, Terry, Matt, Sawa, Emmet, and Sam all went to Karaoke. I requested some songs but NONE of them got played for some reason. I think there was a problem with the machines there or something. So I basically sang one song someone else requested along with them and thats about it. I would have been better off going to sleep early but oh well.

The next day I woke up at the manga kissa. The wait for the showers was too long so I just headed right for Akihabara. I got a kebab and then went to the arcade. When I got to Club Sega (the old one), the preliminary for today was just starting soon. It was PACKED in there. I think something like 36 teams entered! Just about everyone came for this one. They were running the tournament on 4 setups and they also had 2 setups for casuals. The line to play was really long, so I went to HEY! to try and get some practice games in.

For whatever reason, HEY! had their GG cabs hooked up to the big high def cabs they have for BB and there was a huge amount of lag. I won like 4 games and then decided to just leave cuz the lag was fucking with me. After that, I went to the new Club Sega down the street and they had 3 setups going there that were regular and lag free. A few other top players were there like Ka2, Ko1, Haken, and Satou. I played Satou in one game and lost. I also played Ka2 and Haken twice and lost but both times I did better than the first attempt. I beat a few various people as well. Matt eventually showed up as well and was watching me play at new Club Sega. MIU showed up too and I was talking with him for quite a while. I also got a message from Andy. He was busy all weekend but decided last minute to come watch me play in the tournament. He arrived a little after. He was looking to buy a PS3 arcade stick so I showed him a few good stores to look for it at in Akihabara. I had to get back to old Club Sega though cuz the finals would be starting shortly.

When I got back, I witnessed the very final match of the preliminary which was AGF Anji vs Nemo's Testament. AGF won and Nemo looked pretty bummed out. So the winners of the final B2 block preliminary were AGF (AN) / Consome (PO) / BOB (ED).

It was so crowded in there that I couldnt even see if MK and Isa were there so I mailed MK. He told me they were both in there somewhere lol. Soon the tournament started.

To set up the brackets they had each team draw a number. There were 7 teams and it was organized into an 8 team bracket so one team got a bye. Isa drew a 4 and our first opponent was to be Maruken's team. Isa was really excited that we would be fighting this team. I guess he was confident we would beat them. The team that ended up getting the bye was Mugen's team and the winner of my first match would be fighting them next.

So, our team was the very first match to play in the tournament, and I was the very first player to play. TONS of people were watching and Shoot was on the mic announcing. Shoot is like one of the hypest announcers ever.

Anyway, here goes the results.

ElvenShadow (FA), MK (JO), Isa (ED)
vs
Satou (JO), TEN (IN), Maruken (BA)

I went first vs Satou. I pretty much was nervous and played really conservative and kinda scared and ended up losing. I felt pretty bad but just got up and didnt really say or do anything. MK went next in the JO mirror match. Much to my surprise, not only did MK beat Satou but he beat him DOWN! He won both rounds completely one sided.
Up next MK went against TEN. Once again, he played extremely solid and took out TEN. Unfortunately, MK lost to Maruken but it was a good effort. In the final match of Isa vs Maruken, Isa won the first round well. He was off to a bad start in round 2 but got it together and pulled out a win! We advanced passed the first round! After seeing how hard MK and Mugen were fighting, I knew I needed to stop being so nervous, step it up, and just play my game like I always do. I was determined to do better next time.

Up next was...

Ogawa (ED), Shounen (TE), RF (FA)
vs
Ka2 (JA), Ko1 (MI), Haken (PO)

Haken handled Ogawa like he was just another Eddie! I saw Haken beating tons of Eddies earlier today. He must really know that matchup. I was just surprised to see Ogawa go down so easily! Next, Haken fought Shounen and lost. Then, Ka2 fought Shounen and got a clutch win after hitting Shounen with a corner mixup, ending up really high above him, and somehow blocking Shounen's gold burst. The final match was Ka2 vs RF. RF put up a decent fight but Ka2 just kept hitting him with nasty counter hits into death combos.
...and just like that, Ogawa's team was eliminated first round! I was cheering for Ka2's team cuz I didnt really wanna fight Ogawa's team lol. Most people were cheering for Ka'2 team actually. As Ogawa, RF, and Shounen walked out, they didnt look very happy at all.

Up next was...

Inoue (OR), FAB (FA), Machaboo (TE)
vs
AGF (AN), BOB (ED), Consome (PO)

If I remember correctly, Inoue lost to Consome, and then I think Machaboo OCVed the whole team.


Up next was our 2nd match

ElvenShadow, MK, Isa
vs
Mugen (BR), Kakeru (SL), 池田 華菜(DI)

We were discussing who should go first. Isa said he figured they would either put Dizzy for Slayer first. If it was Dizzy, I would be best to go cuz MK says he hates Dizzy. If it was Slayer, MK said he can take Slayer and Slayer is a bad matchup for Faust. In the ended, we opted to have me go first again.
First match was me vs Slayer. I started off playing it safe with a backdash into crouching punch. I proceeded to zone him pretty well. I got hit a few times but I was able to keep him out most of the round and I pulled off a win. The 2nd round I started off super jumping to just get away and landed with an air dust. I was able to hit him with a standing punch which was able to combo into sweep into air combo and from there I got him away and played my zoning game and was able to beat him again! After I won, the crowd got pretty hype and Isa and MK were very happy and gave me lots props.
Up next was me vs Dizzy. I tried to play it like I was when I was practicing against Dizzy before. Started really patient just waiting and keeping good spacing trying to wait till he threw out a summon to stuff it with a far slash, but he managed to keep me out with a bubble and was able to start filling the screen with garbage. He started rushing me down pretty relentlessly and I pretty much got owned the first round. I turned to Isa and said not to worry and that I would get this. The next round started off with him catching me off guard with some pokes and he was able to keep rushing me down for a while. I blocked A LOT of mixups and was in the corner at some point with almost no life left. However, I was able to escape, and from this point he was pretty much just trying to chip me and cheese me out with all kinds of garbage and projectiles on the screen. I continued to just dodge and evade them for quite some time. At some point he threw out the fire super, and I did the air teleport and landed next to him. From there I was able to start rushing him down. I just continuously rushed him down with mixup after mixup and made one of the most epic comebacks ever! People were getting loud and HYPE! Pretty much at this point now the entire room was like cheering for me. I was pretty in the zone so I didnt really even hear the crowd but Matt told me that everyone was cheering and he people yelling shit like "sensei ganbatte!" and shit. As for round 3, I dont remember many details about it specifically but it was a much cleaner. Every time I got a hit in people were making all kinds of noise and stuff. In the end, I got a forward punch counter hit in and did an air combo off of it that finished him off. The whole room erupted once I won. Isa and MK were going nuts and like patting me on the back and all kindsa shit like that. I gave a thumbs up to Matt and Andy who were sitting across the other side of the crowd.
And from here... now I had to fight Mugen. I am not that knowledgable about the Bridget matchup and Mugen has always been really hard for me to beat. I pretty much never get a chance to play him in casuals. During this match the crowd was still getting hype every time I got a hit in. We played a lot of zoning games against eachother, and it was drawn out pretty long. I was mostly getting hit when he rushed me down. I kept making the mistake of getting hit by the sparks from kick start my heart. In the end, it was sorta close but Mugen defeated me.

As soon as I stood up from the chair, despite losing against Mugen, like EVERYONE in the arcade gave me a huge round of applaud. I wish I would have gotten the OCV but it still felt good knowing I contributed something.

Up next, MK went. He played a pretty careful and patient game and was just dancing around the yoyo the entire time. MK took round 1! Unfortunately Mugen got the best of him and defeated MK in rounds 2 and 3.

Finally it was time for Isa. Isa mainly was trying to get little Eddie in on Mugen while hiding under the ground. Mugen did a good job of constantly killing little Eddie, forcing Isa to pretty much either run away and wait for little Eddie to come back. Isa wasnt really able to get in on Mugen otherwise because flying above Mugens head is just a death wish with all the good anti air pokes he has to hit him out of flight. Isa tried to zone him with the drills too but Mugen was just super careful about not getting hit, and Isa just never really got little Eddie to work for him enough. The times when Isa DID get little Eddie to start hitting Mugen, most of the time, Mugen was able to block most of the stuff. In the end... Isa lost to Mugen...

...and with that, we were officially out of the tournament. Of course I was disappointed, but I feel like I did my best and thats all there is to it. I have no regrets. Given how beastly every team that in the 7 team finals was, I dont think it could have possibly have been any harder of a block finals. Given that fact, I think we did pretty well. Previous years, block finals only had like 2 or 3 teams, making it much easier, but now that this year GG is only 16 spots in the grand finals in September, its just way harder to get in.

After we lost, I walked over to where Matt and Andy were to watch the rest. As I walked past a bunch of people, tons of them were giving me props and telling me I played really well.

The next match was...
Ka2 team
vs
Inoue team

Inoue lost to Haken
Then, Machaboo beat Haken, Ka2, and Ko1. This is the same thing that happened with their match vs AGF team. Inoue loses first and then Machaboo gets an OCV. Machaboo was no joke today!

Finals was

Inoue team
vs
Mugen team

Inoue OCVed them in the order of Dizzy, Slayer, Bridget.

And with that... Inoue / Machaboo / FAB are the winners of the B2 block and will be playing in the SBO finals. The funny thing is, FAB didnt play a single match this entire tournament! Lucky him!

Once it was over, everyone sorta just walked around talking to various people. TONS of people came up to me and gave me props saying I played very well and they were impressed. Isa said he was very surprised with how well I played. However, he said he will most likely be forming a new team the next time he enters, but he said he doesnt even know when that will be. MK on the other hand, said he might be interested in teaming with me again. He seemed genuine enough about it, but he said next weekend he cant enter, so in 2 weeks I may team with MK. I talked to the Dizzy on Mugen's team and he said it was a really good fight. He said that it WAS infact him that I was playing against yesterday at Mikado. Mugen also said it was a good fight. I told him that if he ever needed one more for his team that I would be happy to join. I dont know if that will ever happen though heh. In any case, I think I gained a lot more respect today from the community as a whole. Even if we didnt win the SBO spot, I won a little respect which is at least something.

Andy recorded the finals so I will link that once its uploaded. Also, he tried to ninja record my matches but you cant really see whats going on cuz someones head is in the way, but Ill probably just upload it anyway cuz you can see me playing and the crowd and stuff so it will give people an idea of how things looked and the general atmosphere of the tournament.

After the tournament, MIU showed up saying that he missed it cuz he was studying English outside, but he heard what happened and congratulated me for doing well. After that, MIU, Andy, Matt, and I went to get some food at restaurant. MIU said how he has been trying to study English more lately and stuff. He also said how hes still considering if he will go to EVO or not.

Nothing much else really worth going into detail about. The meal was good. After that, it was pretty much time for us to get headed back to Gunma or we would miss the last train. We said bye to MIU and then headed back.

So... unfortunately I didnt qualify for SBO...yet. But, theres still plenty of chances left. One of the best parts about qual season is the fun of actually playing in all the quals, so at least I have like 2 more months of tournaments to look forward to. Maybe I will be able to assemble another amazing team. If not, I have still have a lot of solid players I can team with, so dont count me out just yet.

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