What a hype event. Not only were there great matches, but an intense atmosphere to follow up with the heated Winter Brawl tournament that took place last month. The pools were also very well diversified seeing the likes of Raidou in Top 8 and Killy's Tina taking the show. This was an unbelievable event, and Killy has successfully obtained his golden ticket to NEC XVIII and is now one of the biggest threats in the community.
Sonic Fox (Christie) vs XcaliberBladeZ (Eliot)
Bladez starts this match off with counters and parries, knowing exactly what to do in the Christie matchup. Sonic fights back after Bladez gets a 75% advantage using combos and the wall via Zack Island. He's able to keep Christie pinned up against the wall with incredibly timed tech ups and stun launches getting a great in the second round. This just doesn't happen against Sonic Fox.
The third round Bladez continued to assert his dominance with mix ups to take the game. There is not one person who has figured out the Christie game better than XcaliburBladeZ, so Sonic makes the switch to Marie Rose for the second fight. Sonic Fox started making good reads towards the end, but Eliot kept hitting him with that 9 frame high and got his damage to secure a quick win.
Eviljutzu (Raidou) vs Khaliah Delorean (Helena, Tina)
The speed game really helped Killy with this selection, but I think Eviljutzu did a great job of spacing out Helena with Raidou to the best of his ability. He doesn't win in speed, and his reads were coming out moderately well, but Helena scooped him up with the mix-up game and won the first game.
Second round goes really well for Eviljutzu as he finally starts to find openings against Helena. He's not only successful with his guard breakers, but he's able to complete a lightening fist combo into the explosive environment on the Rig level. He ends the game with an offensive hold winning all three rounds which puts us into our first Last Round of Top 8...
Third game Killy decides it's time for Tina and he starts off with throws and gets a great utilizing Tina's fast strikes. Second round, Tina starts with a taunt launch and gets Raidou off the environment and starts making good reads; he then begins taunting the Raidou and pays for it immediately after Tina's down grab whiffs? I wouldn't call that a whiff, I would call that bad move detection that should be fixed by Team NINJA in a patch. That looked really bad on screen to me, but Raidou takes advantage and survives to see another round. Tina brings out the mix-ups and ends the game quick. Eviljutzu did a great job of using Raidou, a character used even less than Tina and I hope to see more of him in the future.
Hoodless (Zack) vs Mona Vanderwaal (Christie)
Mona has done a great job of keeping consistent at FR and that consistency continues in his bout against Hoodless. This is a back and forth match with well executed punishes, combos and use of environment... in Last Round of the first game Hoodless begins some serious pressure that pins Christie against the wall, and after another combo and a good guess reversal against the wall Hoodless wins the first game. The second game is on Crimson, and Hoodles has "woken up" and destroys Mona this time. Mona could find openings, but it wasn't enough and the pressure was certainly on.
Kwiggle (Christie) vs Rojikku (Hayate)Right at the beginning of the match Rojikku uses the environment to his advantage performing two ceiling throws in the temple early going with follow up environmental damage getting a real quick first round win. He continues the damage in the second game, but Kwiggle being as comfortable as he is whiff punishes the pressure and smartly gets Rojikku outside by breaking him out of the temple.
the community was feeling the hype from this super competitive match
Being outside doesn't bug Hayate a bit, and he's able to make some accurate reads, tossing Kwiggle around using some of the same strats he used in the temple giving Rojikku another round and some more confidence. Third round Rojikku makes some of the most impressive reads and spacing in the tournament and collects a quick win over a legendary fighter in the DOA circuit.
Kwiggle makes adjustments as soon as the next game starts at the circus. He's the god of side-stepping, getting his damage along the way creating another quick match this time in his favor. Rojikku goes for some great crushes, but gets whiff punished again by Kwiggle at the end which means we go into Last Round again!
The match begins in the jungle (fitting) and Rojikku turns on the pressure with all around great tech while also feeling the nerves he wins the first round. While maintaining his pressure, he's able to space as well which is an added bonus to having a stellar Hayate under your belt with fancy footwork. Though Kwiggle is patient and is able to find an opening and gets Rojikku on the wall for the round.
Kwiggle takes the second round after some great back and forth combo damage and pressure going into LAST ROUND they tear each other apart. What I loved about this game is they played each other's strategies at different points. It gets to a point where they BOTH choke, but Kwiggle made the ultimate comeback in this game and finished it off with a low.
Eviljutzu (Raidou) vs Hoodless (Rig)First round Eviljutzu is able to make some good reads, and takes Hoodless by surprise before taking advantage of a few openings. Hoodless keeps his guard on exrtemely high before winning the first match. In the second match Eviljutzu is able to secure the first round, but the low pressure from Hoodless proves to be too much for the slow Raidou. Eviljutzu knows when he's got an opening he just needs to lose the fear of going for it which is a hard thing to do with Raidou. Hopefully we see more of that Raidou in the future because it's a refreshing change of pace to see him.
Kwiggle (Christie, Rachel) vs Sonic Fox (Christie, Kasumi)
This might be a common matchup at most events, but you never know which brothers is going to come out on top and in this case it's a Christie mirror. Before the match there is definitely an exchange of words and Sonic Fox uses some mind games in hopes to get into his brother's head. It might have worked because he stole the first game with impeccable crushes, BT stuns and wall damage on Zack Island.
Kwiggle decides to switch to Kasumi and they get right back to it in the wrestling ring. Kwiggle makes the right reads in this match and quickly wins the first round, but Sonic Fox quickly adapts and responds with tons of electric wall damage and huge combos! Kwiggle follows up in round 3 with some great reversals, taking care of setups that were previously giving him a lot of trouble taking the round convincingly he continues to take advantage in round 4 where he wins and keeps his tournament life another game.
In the last game of the set, Sonic Fox goes with Rachel to counter Kwiggle's choice of Kasumi. This fight starts off in the lower level of scramble and Kwiggle aims to pin Sonic's Rachel to the wall as fast as possible and is successful. Sonic tries to find an opening, but Kwiggle's block game is just too strong and he continues to dominate because of it moving to the next round.
Kwiggle (Christie) vs Hoodless (Zack)
Kwiggle starts the match off with Christie and lets loose quickly getting the first round. Hoodless adapts and plays the match out in his favor by slowing down the pace and getting his damage where it counts to secure the second. After that we begin to see the trade offs we are used until we get to final round. Hoodless "played with the stun system" for the entire round and won the first game in this clutch set.
In the second game we see that Hoodless is far more comfortable and Kwiggles can see that. Kwiggle pokes him into the wall to win the first round via Zack Island (AGAIN). Kwiggle is able to jab his way past the second round after a close call. Hoodless is able to get comfortable in a slow round and wins it with a low throw punish but is quickly eliminated in the last round.
The last game is at the helipad where things get aggressive and up close despite the level being so open we see both fighters trade blows evenly until Last Round where they finally begin space and Kwiggle slowly picks at Hoodless until he gets the win.
(story will be updated throughout the rest of the week with individual match videos and more match write-ups.)
(Killy v. Kwiggle and Xcal will get a story of its own.)