Sunday, April 19, 2009
SF4 World Tournament Results and Reactions
(Justin Wong, center, the US champ. Thanks to www.eventhubs.com and www.gootecks.com 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 gootecks.com.
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.