Once again, Final Round was an absolutely amazing tournament. Two ballrooms full of fighting game action for three days straight featuring top players from all around the United States as well as international guests like Infiltration and JDCR.
In last week's post I talked about how I was preparing for the Killer Instinct tournament. This post is a recap analyzing how I did and what I need to work on for the future, with the hope that it will help players new to the tournament scene. If you are a tournament player, reviewing your losses to figure out what you need to improve on is an important skill to hone so I hope this will be helpful. If you're looking for just the results of the event, check out this Eventhubs post.
As for my personal results, I got 5th in Killer Instinct, my team got 3rd in the regional Tekken Tag Tournament 2 team tournament, and I got a disappointing 33rd in the TTT2 singles tournament.
I arrived at the event on Thursday, so with the team tournaments kicking off the event Friday, I got plenty of time to practice TTT2. As a side note, it is always beneficial to have friends at the event with equipment to practice on! In these regional 5v5 team tournaments, momentum is important, so our strategy was to start off with whoever we thought was going to get us momentum. If someone lost, we would send up whoever had the best chance of taking out that opponent, while trying to save our best players to anchor against the opposing teams anchor. I was teamed with my training partners from Southern California and we ended up losing to the teams who got 1st and 2nd place. We ended up losing to JDCR (Korea) and Fuko (Venezuela).
Next up was the TTT2 singles tournament pools on Saturday. For those of you not familiar with pool play, the 256 man bracket is separated into 16 pools of 16 players. One person gets out of each pool on the winners side, one gets out on the losers side, cutting the 256 man field down to 32 players. My pool was, in my opinion, the hardest pool with four favorites to make it out, whereas most pools had 2 favorites to make it out. I started by defeating derricklegend, then beating Pokchop and advancing to the Winners Final against Akon from France.
Akon uses the team of Lei/Hwoarang, and while I am no stranger to Lei, I do have difficulty against Hwoarang. I had a plan for Hwoarang, however I did not execute well on it. I had been watching Akon's previous matches, so I knew some of his tendencies, but lack of experience against it didn't help me any. For example, I knew to sidewalk left against some of his Flamingo setups but did not do so when I needed to. Additionally, his Lei did more damage on me than I was anticipating, not helping the situation any! One of the things I focused on for this tournament was using Tag Crash more than raw tagging when necessary. In this match specifically, I forced myself to use Tag Crash - except, Akon had setups to severely punish it. This cost me at least two rounds. The lesson learned here is to be extra cautious about using Tag Crash when the opponent is close to a wall.
In the loser side final of the pool, I had to play Pokchop again. But before I could play that match, I had schedule pressure because my Killer Instinct pool was starting at 2pm and this TTT2 pool had run a bit late. I asked the person running my pool to give me some time to find the KI pool so I could explain the situation to them so they wouldn't disqualify me for being late. This wasn't an issue with the TTT2 pool, but as I searched the main ballroom, there was no KI. So I searched the second ballroom and surprise, surprise, NO KI! Where was it!? I asked event staff where it was, and everyone assumed it was in the second ballroom, but it wasn't. Luckily I ran into RG|Rico Suave, and he knew where they were running KI pools - it was in its own room, separate from either ballroom! There was another smaller room back here for the anime games as well. After finally sorting this out, I went back to the main ballroom to finish my Tekken pool. It was stressful to figure this out though, and that could have been avoided if I had verified where it was beforehand since I knew my pools were back to back.
Pokchop and I have played in multiple tournaments over the years, and in many sets outside of the actual tournaments and we have always gone back and forth. Since I had beaten him earlier in the pool, I was confident, but not overly so because of this history. The first match went down to the last hit, and I could tell he was going to do a crouch dash mixup with Bruce, so I went for a counterhit 4 to beat it. My timing was a little bit early, and his crouch dash 2 ended up crushing my high kick, to get him the win on the whole match from that one small decision. I regained my composure, and in the second match I won pretty convincingly, sending us to the final match. It was obvious that he had adapted to the ways I had beaten him in the winner side of the bracket, and I began to feel limited in my offensive options. I recognized that he had adapted, but kept trying to force the same situations anyway. This was a huge error. Rather than playing my usual game, I was trying to rely on the individual parts of my game that he had already adapted to. What I should have done was tighten up on my defense and limit my offense since he had adapted to the offense I had thrown at him. I could have also changed up my offense, but in that one game setting, it would have been risky for my personal playstyle. He was also more aggressive than usual in the last match, so I should have been looking for more counterhit opportunities and I should have expected this from our history.
JDCR from Korea ended up winning the tournament with El Negro from Venezuela taking 2nd place. This makes JDCR a back-to-back champion at Final Round, an extremely noteworthy accomplishment. The entire top 8 for Tekken Tag Tournament 2 was filled with high level action and entertaining matches. You can see it all in the video below (TTT2 starts at 1 hr 46 minutes):
While I didn't do as well as I would have liked to in the TTT2 singles tournament, I still had an amazing time at the event. NYCFab and Incognito had gotten a suite with multiple setups for Tekken players to play each other all weekend long. I spent a lot of my time there and got to play sets with JDCR (Korea), HarryPotter (Italy), and players from all over the country. It was easily one of the best tournament experiences I've had in years and I hope they continue to host these suites in the future. As I had spent the previous weeks focusing on Killer Instinct, I was undoubtedly less prepared than I could have been for Tekken. However, by playing so much in the suite against top players from around the world, I feel like I'm now playing better than I have in months. Final Round is an amazing tournament for Tekken players, but as always, the tournament is only one part of the experience. I definitely recommend getting out to these events to just play and have a good time. Everyone can't win the tournament, but everyone can have a good time and learn more about the games they play.
Check out Rip's recap of the Final Round Killer Instinct tournament as well.