Monday, 7 November 2011

Canada Cup 2011

So the Canada Cup 2011 has now concluded, and I think everyone was surprised at the quality on show. Let's not mess around, this was E.V.O level talent. A more humble crowd, but in a few years time this will be just as big a tournament, and it was already every bit as exciting.

A couple of things. The live stream cost too much for premium, if you had of halved that, everyone would have gone for it I believe. The $8.95 became a running joke in the comments section and you could understand peoples frustrations to an extent, as they were clearly willing to pay, but just not that much. The regular stream wasn't up to much. A lot of restarts and lag, but in general it was good. Another small criticism would be, why don't you have someone to blog the results up on the website? Or at least copy that over from your official Twitter feed when its convenient. It feels odd not seeing any results on the site. I think you could even embed the feed onto your website as well, give it more traffic.

Now thats out of the way. The tournament itself: just wow. Some great talent on show here. The two that shone the clearest for me were Wolfkrone of Team USA and Kazunoko of Team eLive Japan. The Japanese themselves admit that they don't get as many good C. Viper players as USA. I myself find Viper a bit spammy, but with the questionable balancing of Arcade Edition these things happen, and you are expected to deal with it. Lets see how 2012 edition plays out.

Kazunoko is the #1 Yun in Japan, and it shows. Everybody hates Yun, its a scientific fact. But with Kazunoko you can't help but be impressed by how he constantly finds innovating ways to jab and keep at you relentlessly. He never lets up, and this pressure really seemed to intimidate his opponents.

One thing that was really noticeable throughout the tournament. People are so obsessed with which character is in which tier, and making the matchups even, that they forget to learn to deal with specific characters. This was especially evident with players like Blanka and Vega. Normally at tournament level you would not consider these as usable. But in the 5v5's Canada and Europe managed to catch people out with extremely impressive players using these characters.

Two big surprises in the 5v5's. Wolfkrone of Team USA OCV'd (one character victory'd) Team Japan 1. Japan 1, with names like Tokido, Mago, Momochi. The biggest names in the tournament, all brushed aside. Some people were half expecting this because he dominated them in singles. But really, to do it back to back again in 5v5's either shows how annoying his Viper is, or just how special a player he can be at this highest level, and I think we all know it's the latter.

The next shock was that Team eLive Japan (Japan 2) actually ended up winning the whole 5v5's. Not because I didn't think it was possible. I know that for a fact they would have OCV'd USA with Kazunoko if Floe hadn't been on his game, but he ended up taking him out earlier than eLive might have wanted. But then for eLive to go on and match USA game for game to bring it up to 4-4, I don't think many expected that. Not with the likes of Mike Ross and Justin Wong on their team. And wouldn't you know it. The grand finale was Wolfkrone (C. Viper) vs. Kindevu (C. Viper). One of Japans best trolls on the circuit, and he lived up to his name. Edging out Wolfkrone to win it for eLive Japan 5-4. Amazing stuff.

I learned some great things from the exceptional commentary. Not the least that around 4 out of 5 players in Team Japan 1 all play at the same arcade in Tokyo! Could you imagine playing there with those people? That's just insane. It makes me want to actually move there. I was also interested to hear about how the Japanese players prefer Arcade machines to playing online, as they feel when you put that money in, it's literally to them like you put yourself on the line, and it influences the way they play as a result. That and they don't have to put up with online lag of course >.> This is also the reason you don't see people using the full roster in Japan, because they always feel they want the best chance. But really, I want to go to that arcade some day. It would be such an experience even just to watch.

Learning about the difference in mindset of the Asian players compared to the west was also intriguing. Some would hear the crowd cheering them on and be almost surprised by their reaction. This would usually be because someone was playing USA or Canada, and then the opposite fans in the crowd would want the Asians to beat them. But the foreign players really love that energy the crowd brings in over to the west, they are not used to it at all, and it seems to be half the reason they keep coming back over. On the same flip of the coin there are the Asian players who play Yun characters etc, that get depicted as the bad-guys. I remember James Chen saying that some players don't like this, but others absolutely thrive on it, and that was interesting to see just how much the social interaction has influence on what the players actually do.

All in all, it was a great tournament. Lots of buzz and hype that you'd expect from a VG fighting tourney. With just a dash of "salt" and a hint of "free". We wouldn't have it any other way. They always say these things are completely different live, rather than streaming. Hopefully one day I can attend one of the big events. Or better yet, London gets their act together and can play host to the Daigo Umeharas, the Justin Wongs, the Kazunokos and the Wolfkrones/Tokidos. The list goes on. Either way London, get on it please! Oh and, shut up and take my money!

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