XSPR’s Gian Recital 2014 Writeup


Thanks to XSPR for quickly getting this writeup out. It’s always good to read these tournament reports, especially from Japan!
Here’s a write-up on Gian Recital 2014. I wasn’t in much competitive shape, but it was great to throw down with so many great players.
I also entered the Pre-Tournament on Saturday. That was awesome. The rules were pretty silly, and actually, considering how well it all went, I now think that the rules of a tournament aren’t even all that important for the experience itself, as long as you see some good matches, and this pre-tournament event was full of them. The rules had everyone sorted according to their character, in a 5-on-5 contest, with one “combo” team made up of leftover/not-enough-characters-to-fill I guess. Generally, the pre-tourney events are fun but not nearly as many people are present as the following day are. You could choose your character and I think some chose those that weren’t their mains. Anyway I was on the Dhalsim team.
I had a big win before it even got underway. Each team had to draw a card to determine your team’s place in the single-elimination bracket. I was awesome at this. I drew 2 of spades, which meant we got slot two, which was actually two wins in one. First, it meant we were _not_ in the claw team’s pool/section, which had like, all these claw players, and one of them was MAO to boot. Secondly, our first opponent was the Guile team. So needless to say, I was pretty popular with my team. I mean they might as well have just saved everybody time and go straight to the grand finals of claws vs. dhalsims.
The first match was Blankas vs. Ryus. I don’t remember any big names in particular on the Ryu team (there may have been), but the matches were pretty intense. I think it went to the last player on each team, and just about every round was razor-thin close, except for AFO’s. There were lots of really strong Blanka players on his team, and Komoda wasn’t even on it. Nakamu wasn’t there that weekend either, but Komoda was there for Sunday’s main event.
During our match against the Guile team, I said I should probably go first, especially since I had only played on Xbox recently. Kawa-sim would go last. I recognized a few of the other Dhalsim players but can’t remember their names. Anyway, I definitely had a few misses of accidentally jumping when I did NOT mean to, and that cost me sometimes, but, the match-up is just too easy for Dhalsim. I had studied this in quiet some depth years back, but haven’t played it much in a while. I faced the final Guile, Muteki. I hadn’t seen Muteki in a while, but remembered that, at my best, I think I only ever won 25% of my games against him so my chances weren’t good. He is particularly deft at nailing many-hit combos unusually consistently, in addition to having strategy on the highest level. I made sure to remind myself not to just chuck out too many fires, especially at closer range because he is almost sure to capitalize on one good jump-in to take the round. But in any case, he proved too invincible, and won. Well, that was no problem, because he still had to face up to four other Dhalsims, so whatever, just let me know when it’s our next match. Actually I was concerned and tried to communicate to everyone on my team to be particularly careful of his combo ability. Maybe this is true regardless of which character you happen to play, but I don’t think Dhalsim players tend to listen much to other Dhalsim players about playing Dhalsim, maybe because, we all play the best Dhalsim already so what’s the point, right? Anyway I don’t think it mattered because the next three Dhalsim’s flubbed a lot of basics that had little to do with denying Guile big combos. Finally, KawaSim was up and he had a few good plays, but I think he also messed up a few motions (like me, sometimes jumping accidentally). In any case, Muteki didn’t have much problem and took the game, set, and match. Wait, what? That wasn’t in the brochure! I thought _I_ was supposed to OCV an entire 5-man team….
AniKen and OttoChun showed up! This was a surprise to me; if it was announced beforehand, I didn’t hear about it. OttoChun likes to set the speed to Turbo 2 when playing warm up matches. I think I had read or heard about this before. When I asked someone why, I was told it was because he can see more of the game (more frames basically, i.e. less frames get skipped).
Kurahashi was hungry for getting in lots of games with other strong players, even to the extent of being greedy I’d say, many times not getting up to give someone else a chance to play when he lost, which was pretty often. If it was an arranged set, even then, it still would have made more sense to do it on a cab _not_ right next to the pre-tournament cab. He sits up straight and has a kind of rhythm over the buttons when he knocks down his opponent as the characters are about to exit recovery times for their moves/getting up, which you’ll most likely notice this summer at ToL2. Over 10 years ago, I think it was him that I noticed using standing mid punch to get his opponents to jump at a significantly high level to go along with this rhythm.
Mattsun was busy running both the pre- and main event during the weekend, and I didn’t see him play at all unfortunately (I don’t think he did). He puts in work to make it all happen. I just do my best to stay out of his way in the thick crowds of it all.
Gian Recital and X-MANIA events are a weekend of greatness, but it’s so much greatness that’s concentrated all at once. It’s probably best that way though, because it seems to drive everyone to take full advantage of the opportunity and thrive on the competition and chance to play so many of each other. There are tons of great players present, so many in fact, and it’s not like two or three guys are really dominating all that much over everyone else, at least, not as far as I can tell. There are Execution mistakes made, but not so many and there is also better strategy of attack gambles. Often this just means safer/less risk taken, in case attack gambits don’t work out as planned/hoped/guessed. Generally, there is a whole lot of knowing-what-he’s-doing on display. If you just watch the tournament, there are four dedicated cabs, with each one being shown on one big projector screen. You find yourself trying to decide which one to watch; it’s a four-ring circus.
I try to get in a fair amount of games myself, so I don’t even really follow the brackets too closely. And when it’s 5-on-5, it’s tough enough just to remember who’s on which team. I for one, don’t even remember “teams” so much as, particular games played by particular players. AFO@Blanka vs. Shogatsu@S.Honda is one example. AFO did many, many standing light kicks while Shogatsu was doing the hundred hand slap. And with S.Honda, he can move backwards while doing it. So Shogatsu is just tapping buttons. Ok, well, he’s moving too and getting spacing right, probably preparing a charge, and not cornering himself, but whatever. AFO is trying to move in, with the standing light kick ready as a counter, and sometimes he has to block, or move back because it’s risky. For S.Honda it looks more like a grind. So after a ton of standing light kicks, AFO does a rainbow ball (? charge back, kick move). That was almost definitely an accident (if it was on purpose then it would have been a big/mid kick version of the move at least) and it probably happened unintentionally because AFO had a charge from blocking too long, or released the light kick button he may have held down, etc. Disappointing for Blanka but it lasted a while to stretch out the round so it was a great match.
It was good to finally met Fudd in person. I’m looking forward to his report too. After the grand final, we went out to eat with MrBob, looking for food that was not Japanese, and not Korean, and finally settling on something that was… still open. Actually I just remembered that, at Mikado right before the grand final, the teams gave some commentary, and I think somebody mentioned going out to karaoke afterwards, and if that happened I missed it. I’ll definitely try to do that next time though.
I woke up Monday morning to a huge earthquake at about 5:something AM. That was definitely scary but no major damage.
Baby Nine had some good games. He really seems to have a fantastic sense of how to use certain moves at the best times, and not others. Of course it’s easy to say he spams ouichou, _after_ getting in, but especially his sparse use of heavy kick buttslam. He did it about once, maybe twice per game, and when it was very unexpected.
Anyway, I didn’t fare too well in the main event on Sunday. I was on team Doraibu, with some friends and our opponents just overpowered us. I won a game against a Chun Li I think (but curiously, I think the same player had some really good matches later on that day- maybe he doesn’t know the Chun-Dhalsim match so well because Chuns usually beat me in tournaments). I think I fought MORE boxer (from the arcade called MORE which shut down over 5 years ago that he played at). I think I got a perfect one round, but lost the game. I really feel like I don’t understand this match-up, the more I play it, or, specifically, why it is 5-5 which I now question. I strongly suspect Boxer, most of the time, has the ability to at least force trades, and that’s always going to work out in his favor. I feel that, at best, Dhalsim can outguess Boxer more often, yet because of this and his weaker damage and high propensity to get dizzied quickly, _still_ put him at just enough of a disadvantage to boxer. I tried playing as boxer a couple of weeks ago, and I’ll say that the buffalo headbutt doesn’t exactly do tons of damage many times, but it is very effective. Anyway, in our other match, we simply could not get past some Ryu players. I didn’t recognize them as any big names but they definitely had the edge.



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