Sunday, April 19, 2009

SF4 World Tournament Results and Reactions

(Justin Wong, center, the US champ. Thanks to and for the pictures and results. Thanks to Ganguro for giving me the heads up on the results!)

1st - Daigo, Japan (Ryu,)
2nd - Justin Wong, USA (Rufus)
3rd - Iyo, Japan (Dhalsim)
4th - Poongko, Korea (Ryu)

1st match - Iyo beats Poongko 4-2
2nd match - Daigo beats Poongko 4-1
3rd match - Justin Wong beats Poongko 4-3
4th match - Daigo beats Iyo 4-3
5th match - Justin Wong beats Iyo 4-2
6th match - Daigo beats Justin 4-0

Dang, I believe this is as a BIG wake-up call to those outside of Japan and America. For a while many of us (myself included) were saying that the level of the US isn't up there. We watched some videos and we made judgments based on that, but today's result showed us that the US is still a force to be reckoned with. Perhaps Rufus v Dhalsim is a really bad matchup for Dhalsim, but mad props nonetheless to Justin Wong for beating the reigning Japan champ and Poonko (The Korean champ, whom I've played before).

Before I get to Poonko, let me draw your attention to this post on

In particular, this line:
"we headed to Keystone II, which is a secret arcade at Albert’s house (yes, it’s in his backyard) where all the NorCal pros train on Friday nights."

This, to me, was THE reminding factor as to why you can't ever rule US out. As long as they have a collective of pros that get together to TRAIN, they will always be competitive. Train. NOT just getting together, having some games, playing to win and feeling good about beating people that you play with every week anyways. Instead, training means trying out new things in games against top players. It also means 'debriefing' after every game to discuss how the matchup went in an intelligent manner. What moves were good? What moves were bad? How did I win/lose? ("Sagat is sooo powerful" isn't an intelligent comment. By the way, I think we can lay the whole "Sagat is cheap" notion to rest now. He's still the best character in the game, but there was no Sagat in the world tournament. Only the Japan finals had a Sagat, the US and Korea finals did not.) Now, I don't know if this is exactly what the 'Norcal Pros' actually do, but I've trained with top players before (Laugh, who was part of the Cali scene included) and this is how we did things.

Another thing that struck me is that these 'Norcal pros' delibarately get together on a regular schedule to train. I think if we're going to take ourselves seriously in this game, we schedule training sessions on a regular basis. Maybe even just once a month, but a regular schedule means we're being professional about this, instead of randomly popping up at the arcades or on PSN/XBL. It has a sense of deliberateness about it which brings about a more serious attitude during the sessions themselves, which in the end ups the level of training. So, no matter what level you are in SF4, I encourage you to get together with people around your skill level to train regularly. (at least once a month. If you're time constrained, then cut down on your 'random casual' game time.)

Now, on to Poonko. While he came in 4th, i think its enlightening to know that we are within touching distance of his level. Personally, I feel that Peihoon would go even with him should they fight. And while I still feel that Peihoon is Singapore's best player, he hasn't reached that 'completely dominating' level relative to the rest of us yet, which means that with a little bit more serious training we could all compete on an international level.

So at the end of this long-winded post, I guess I'm just trying to encourage everyone to get some serious training sessions up, and to share tactics and teach other people how to beat YOUR own character. If people are falling for stuff over and over again, you should tell them how to get out of it because chances are, top players from other countries already know how to. As shown in the world tournament, just because Poonko looks good in the videos tearing it up against the people around him doesn't mean that he's going to do the same against the rest of the world. Which mean that people only look as good as they competition allows them to. Oh, and lastly, more props to US for having a Rufus v Honda matchup. I've read some of Mike Ross' (the Honda player) comments about playing a supposed 'lower-tier' character and its encouraging to know that despite the difficulties, he made it work.

(This is by no means a diss on Poonko. I went 5-1 or something down against him when we fought. Flashy combos aside, he's a very, very good player that will OBLITERATE 99% of the world Street Fighter population)

Edit: Crap quality vids are up! Oh my God, Poonko put up an incredible fight against Daigo. That was seriously one of the best SF4 matches I've ever seen.

Double Edit: Watched more vids, and seriously, the level of all play is insane. Poonko was messing up alot of his inputs which is very uncharacteristic, and Justin Wong had AWESOME home crowd support. Love it when the crowd puts their hands up evertime Rufus finishes his ultra.


  1. Ask Julius; I told him Daigo would win and US would come 2nd. And that Poongko wouldn't do as well as everyone expected. ;]

    Never sleep on the US. :D

  2. yea , i take back my comments on US being bad in sf4 ( not you chris :P ) . wongs rufus is really good .

  3. dun be delusional lah... simi on par with poongko... go back home and sleep lah. scrubs playing in a small arcade thinking they can make it big time. loalstatus.

  4. I'm getting troll comments now! Unmistakable sign that my blog's getting readership, thank you. =)

  5. old school still works! i am working on lvling my C Viper player, but i play for fun now. during the early 90's. I seriously can say no one in singapore can beat me in SF2 Championship edition. But I have stopped playing SF much since early 2002 after September 11. So my level of skill has dropped tremendously. Looking forward to catching up with you guys man! But it is hard.

  6. How much you guys earning for playing sf4? Curious here.... LMAO!

  7. How much you earning for trolling here? Curious here.... LMAO!

  8. I am a full time SF4 Player.
    I want to be the King Of SF4
    I want to win daigo,
    i want to be best in Singapore.
    My resume will put Specialization in HADUKEN!

  9. Quote, "My resume will put Specialization in HADUKEN!"

    no offense dude, before you can specialise in it, you gotta learn to spell it properly first.

  10. Yeah, Old school works, what a coincidence, I can seriously say no one can beat me in Sf2 championship edition and SF2 turbo edition also. What a small world!

  11. oh wow! it's really a small world!
    this can only mean one thing!
    someone is lying and thinks too highly of himself :D

  12. i heard that David and Shane were the best in SF2 during the early 90s.

    hi Shuncheng, is your English name David or Shane?

  13. where got pepople self-proclaim best one?!

    i seriously can say no one in singapore can beat you in... bullshitting

  14. Lol @ boh liao trolls.

    Someone's bitter that they got schooled by TL's Viper? o.O

  15. sf 4 can make help me earn lots of income!

  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  17. Just happened to find out about this blog. Never knew about it till now, but anyway, just wanted to add my 2 cents.

    I'm from Singapore, on exchange in SoCal right now, and I've been around the pros and drop in regularly at the usual arcades around LA like AI, FFA, Denjin, etc.

    I've been out of SG for some time now, before Bugis had SFIV, so I can't say I've seen any local SFIV play in person, but from what I've seen of the pros here and Poongko himself, compared to the vids of local players, they're many levels above us, honestly.

    I was at the Gamestop/World Tourney in San Fran as well, and Poongko did mess up pretty uncharacteristically. Put it down to first international tourney nerves or whatever, but I saw him in action several times, and he is crazy good.

    He probably doesn't have as good an understanding of the game as someone like Daigo or even JWong, but I think he'd beat our best easily. He beat majority of the Cali pros here quite comfortably in casuals, and even they (the Cali pros) are quite a bit better than us.

    Now, I'm not putting down the local SFIV scene or anything, so don't think I'm trolling or anything. I'd love for the local pros to be as good as those I'm seeing over here, and it is far from impossible, but I'm just saying, from the vids I've seen, I don't think the best local players are anywhere near Poongko's level at the moment.

    BTW, I'm not saying I'm better than the top local players or anywhere as good as the Cali pros here. I'm far from it and the matches I've played against the pros here were embarrassing for me, but there's always something I can learn from those, which is why I'm saying it's great if the SG scene can improve to that level, cause it helps everyone.

  18. Just deleted a post with explicit content. Whoever you are, please don't use that kind of language on my blog, thanks.

    To the poster above, thanks for the insight into the Cali scene. Finally! Some good discussion after all the troll posts. =) This has been a pet topic of mine for quite some time, so allow me to address some of the points you raised.

    I mentioned in my post that its hard to judge skill based on videos, and I said that some of us here were wrong to judge Cali players based on their vids in the first place. Honestly, some of the vids of Combofeind, Valle etc looked really bad compared to the usual Japanese stuff we were used to seeing. However, as we may all agree on, generally videos of finals/semi-finals aren't as good to watch as vids of casuals and early tournament because of fatigue and pressure. This is where we didn't give US players enough credit for, and I think you're making the same mistake here regarding Singaporean players, because, while I haven't played them before, I know how beastly Combo and Valle are IRL.

    Lately, I must admit this. Videos of our semis and finals in the recent tournaments here have looked really bad. Super-safe play and lots of random stuff. All this after a full night of games with everyone watching. So I'm just saying: it's hard to judge a person's skill based on some videos you see of him in a tournament. Still, I believe US IS currently better than us now based on the community they have and exposure their top players have had to big events.

    As for Poonko, I've played him before as well. We had lots of games back when I was in Korea, and I don't think we're not 'anywhere near' Poonko's level, which is a strong statement. I've got some circumstantial evidence to back this up, but I believe our top 3 players here will at least be able to hang with him 2-1 in Poonko's favor. At least, and to me that indeed is touching distance from his level, which yes, is definitely higher than everyone here. Just not 'nowhere near'.

    Anyways, I'm really looking forward to some international tournaments around the corner where I hope our top players will be able to rub shoulders with the best from Korea, US and Japan. Also, it would be great to have you back when you do come back to SG so you can share with us more about the scene there. I'm sure you're learning lots from so many seasoned players.

  19. hey, just wanted to offer a correction -- Daigo didn't win the World Tournament, Justin Wong did. What Daigo won was the invitational part of the event.
    -- rook

  20. TL, I'm the dude in Cali who posted that long comment.

    Yeah, I'm aware my analysis of the Singaporean players isn't very accurate cause all I've seen of them are the few videos on here, but hear me out here k?

    Like I said, I'm not here to bash on local players (hell, why would I? I'd love nothing more than the local scene to be as highly competitive as that over here).
    My statement wasn't meant to be fact, but rather a combination of opinion and logical reasoning.

    Put this way, I've never played Poongko personally, but I've seen him beat quite a few Cali pros (Gootecks, Edma, Mike Ross, etc) reasonably well in casuals, which we all agree is the best situation to see someone's true potential (unless they're sandbagging haha).

    The only US pro whom I saw give him some problems is of course, JWong.
    I don't think Combofiend and Alex Valle were in San Fran for that event though; that would've been interesting to see. Or maybe they were but I missed their casuals.

    Anyway, my point is, those pros would likely have lost to him 2-1 in 2/3 matches too, and I know it's a broad assumption, but I figured if the top local players would lose to him 2-1 too, it's like saying they're as good as the Cali pros like Gootecks, which sounds pretty unbelievable to me.

    I don't like to involve myself in such comparisons, cause if I say I'm not that good, people will say my views are irrelevant, and if I say I'm good, people will think I'm just trying to show off.

    But, I used to play Third Strike in Bugis (usually after I was done studying at National Library, so I hardly go back there anymore cause I tend to avoid city area due to traffic, ERP, etc). And I did reasonably well against others there.

    Maybe they were scrubs, but most of the competition I faced was pretty good IIRC, but I beat most nonetheless, except the occasionally really good players. Might be one of the pros you're mentioning here or yourself even; I'm not sure cause like I said, I've never really gotten into the local scene cause of my unwillingness to travel so far to Bugis haha..

    Anyway, so I'd consider myself an pretty ok 3S player. But when I came here to Cali, I was totally blown away by just about anyone who knew how to play the game at all. An average day at someplace like FFA, I could play 10-15 matches and maybe win once or twice only.

    Maybe I really sucked afterall and was just beating scrubs most of the time back home, but my point is, it's natural to expect the standard here to be higher than it is back home, and if even the majority of them (excepting JWong, who's not from the West Coast anyway) had trouble taking Poongko on, you'd pardon me if I feel SG players would have more difficulty against him.

    Well, sorry for the long comment, and please again know that I'm not dissing anyone back home. Maybe when I finally head home (long way off though :( ) and check out the local competition I'll be eating my words as I get beaten as comprehensively as the Cali pros are beating me too.

    And I'd be glad for it too, cause one is only as good as the level of competition around you, and if SG can be as good as out here in Cali (let's not worry about Korea and especially Japan for now), that can only be good for everyone looking to improve back home.

    Oh yeah, just a final note to this super long comment. One thing I feel is holding SG players back (and I'm sure everyone knows this too), is the emphasis society back home has on studying hard, graduating with good qualifications, getting a well paying job, etc.

    Somehow, amidst all this, it's hard to be that seriously into games (I would've said even moreso that fighting games were a niche, but I guess it's not so anymore). One can't expect to play at the level high enough to make a good job out of it, and that naturally hinders progression cause of other commitments in life.

    Heck, even out here most of the pros have jobs of their own, so ya, I guess you get my point.

    Anyway, thanks if you read till here, and whether you agree/disagree with me or not, hope you enjoyed my comments anyway. Haha..

    There'll be a Street Fighter exhibition tonight in LA, which will have a mini tournament as well. (Google "Gallery Nucleus") I'm not sure which pros will be there, but I'll be going for sure (not participating cause I can't make it on time), and I'll update you guys if anything interesting goes down.

  21. @rook: I think there's some confusion there. The so-called World Tournament IS the invitational, as the one Justin Wong won by beating Mike Ross in the final was the US tournament (it was open to US residents only).

    So, to clarify:
    JWong won the US tournament
    The mini invitational tournament, which involved US champ, Korean champ, Japanese champ, and of course the Beast, was won by the latter.

  22. Ok, like I promised (if anyone's even interested haha), results from the mini tournament at Gallery Nucleus in California.

    Can't remember much up till the semis, where Mike Watson (Chunli) beat Edma (Akuma), and Kai (Fuerte) beat Combofiend (Balrog). Kai then beat Mike Watson in the final.

  23. dude in cali: Dang, I read about that exhibition on Kotaku and I saw some preview art, definitely looked awesome! Shiiit, Kai with Fuerte?! NIIICE. Good to see Mike Watson getting results...and has Edma given up on Ken?? Thanks for the results. It must have been fun over there. If you can, do take as many pictures as you can and and it would be great if you could educate us on community building and events when you get back. =)

    Anyways, as for the whole SG vs US standard issue, I completely understand where you're coming from, and I respect your views. As for me, I just want to make it clear that this whole issue isn't a personal one, and I'm not offended at all by suggestions that we're worse than X country. I'm really enjoying this discussion and I hope I don't, or haven't come off as offended in any way.

    Ok, let me address some of your points. Of all the Capcom games, I would say that 3s had the weakest community and number of pros as compared to other Capcom games and KOF, so unfortunately 3s is the worst benchmark to judge Singapore's standards by. However, its funny to note that our best player here, Cody, placed 4th in last year's SBO foreigner's tournament, behind Korea's best player in 2nd (DB Koopa) and Pyrolee in 3rd.(if I'm not wrong). BTW, I used to play 3s like crazy also, my pink Makoto was always dishing it out against Raven's Uiren. Fun times. Who did you use btw?

    Hmm, I should actually do a post on the international interactions our players have had. They're nothing to really shout about, but I have a feeling that if you had a better idea of what Singaporeans have done on an international level when it comes to fighting games, you wouldn't say something like "but I figured if the top local players would lose to him 2-1 too, it's like saying they're as good as the Cali pros like Gootecks, which sounds pretty unbelievable to me." Not to say Gootecks isn't good (he'd probably beat 95% of our players here easily), but unbelievable is a strong word that I hope to make you take back when you get back here haha. =)

    Anyways, I still do think that the US is on a higher level than us indeed, but not if we can do anything to change that in the coming months.

    Its interesting you mentioned societal factors and how they affect the level of play. I've read somewhere that this SF player in Japan thinks Japanese are good precisely because they've had to work harder in life on more mundane things to attain comfort, which translated to them applying the same hard-working ethic and discipline with regards to the mundane to their Street Fighter. I'd love to explore this topic in further detail in the future!

  24. Hey TL, thanks for taking the time to respond in kind. Yup, I respect your views, and I apologise if I sound like I'm underestimating the Singaporeans, but thanks for being candid about the whole thing too.

    I hope I didn't come off as too judgmental, as again, it was more my opinion than anything, and after reading what you've said, I'm really looking forward to checking out the local standard. Do post more videos of players back home if you can!

    Since I think we can both agree that the local standard may not be as good as that over here, but that it's certainly pretty high still, and probably moreso than I assumed, I won't go too much into this debate, aside from a few more comments.

    Everytime I watch the pros here in Cali, I learn something new or at least can see how implementing their play can improve my game. I never really saw anything like that back home, at least on a consistent basis, but I admittedly only went to arcades back home occasionally for the past few years (studies, other interests, and even other games took up my time).

    I think my original sentiment stemmed from your original comment in the post that "Peihoon would go even with him (Poongko) should they fight". I guess I just found that a bit hard to believe considering this was the same Poongko that just beat almost every US pro he played in casuals aside from JWong.

    Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not passing judgment on Peihoon. For all I know, he could easily beat the US pros too, but having not seen him play in person, I hope you understand why I assumed this wouldn't be the case, as we both know the US scene is pretty competitive and these guys have been at it for years, whereas I don't think there was as much competition for years back home, aside from a small group of people who remained dedicated to fighting games during the years the genre dipped in popularity.

    Anyways, thanks for enlightening me on all that, and in any case, I too do believe if there are enough dedicated players around locally, we certainly can attain as good as standard as over here.

    Oh yeah, I usually use Ken in 3S. Occasionally Yun, but I pretty much sucked with him. I do remember having some matches with a pretty good Makoto back in the day. Can't remember if it was pink or not, but that guy was good. It was more or less even between us (we went a few rounds, that's how I remember, cause most don't keep playing), but I think that guy shaded it for most part. I get pretty scrubby when I'm nervous. Not a good player's mentality, I know. :(

    Now, on to the more fun stuff. The art gallery event was pretty awesome, the art was great and there were some cool cosplayers too.

    Seth Killian was there too hosting the event, though he didn't do commentary until the final, IIRC. Managed to grab a picture with him, so that made my night haha (especially after I realised the videos I had been recording were not saved cause there was no SD card in my camcorder the whole time.. yeah, stupid :( )

    The tournament itself threw up some surprises, as Mike Ross lost to Mike Watson in the quarters, both the semi-finals, and of course, the winner itself being the underdog (both player and character haha).

    Nah, I don't think Edma will ever give up Ken, but he's always using other characters in smaller tournaments like this. I spoke to him before the tourney started, and he hadn't even decided who to pick at the time yet!

  25. Lang, did your Viper or Fuerte thrash someone that bad recently? celebrities get hate mail, you get a post dissing you big time haha...

    most people know who i am when they see my nick, and i have no qualms about stating for the record, "if you want some, come get some."
    but it's sad that the poster dared to thrash-talk so much, but chose to remain 'anonymous'... no balls to back up his words? pitiful and pathetic.