Official StiltMonster Tournament Novel
12/13 Lloyd Center Tilt Edition
Okay… I knew this tournament was going to be really f***ed up. I didn’t know just how f***ed up, though.
Everyone’s seen all the drama that went into it over the “random” seeding by now. Of course, when Brian J hems and haws about joining the tournament because it was his birthday and he didn’t want to spend it all at a tournament, a little bit of suspense goes into it. Brian J asks Phongsack if he can enter the tournament, play me in the first round, and then leave. I bluntly tell them both that I’m not going to play Brian in an arranged match that counts for the tournament if he’s just going to leave right afterwards. So Brian says he’ll stay and they give him a first round match with Lawrence, who was drawn out of hat originally as per the random seeding to play me, and then I’d get the winner of that.
So yeah. You read that right. After all the screaming and yelling about how much better the tournaments would be if they were seeded randomly, they gave Brian J a first round bracket next to me at his request. Of course, the hope that Brian would beat me and knock me into the losers’ bracket right off never occurred to either Brian or Phongsack, I’m sure. Needless to say, I was a bit silently ticked off at this after all the drama over “random” seeding, and didn’t exactly think this arrangement had a whole lot of integrity in that light. However, that’s what happened.
Although it almost didn’t happen. Lawrence really should’ve beaten Brian in this match. He won the first game. He had a hit on Brian’s Sentinel in the second game and should’ve snapped him out but blew the combo. Then after he lost Magneto for pocket change, his Cable shot both Brian’s Sentinel and Commando to death, leaving Brian’s Cable (with meter) against both Lawrence’s Cable and Sentinel (with only a little meter) in a position where all he really had to do was not get hit to win the game. A few AHVBs later, Lawrence lost that one anyway. Then in the third game he again had a hit on Brian’s Sentinel early and should’ve snapped him out, only to blow the combo, although the rest of the game pretty much went all Brian’s way from there. I really was hoping, both because I liked my chances against Lawrence better than Brian, and because I think it’d be neat to see the dominant power structure in Portland’s MvC2 scene shaken up a bit (even though I’m part of it)… we saw a bit of that with randomIM knocking me to the losers’ bracket early last time and I thought we’d see it again here. Nope. Wasn’t to be.
So I had to play Brian J anyway. I finally worked up the guts to put BH/Sent/Commando against Brian’s Team Scrub in the first game. Brian, to my mild surprise, started Sentinel for this fight (which is actually a pretty good idea) and played it cautious. He countered Cable in when I screwed up a DT/HOD combo on his Sentinel, I DHC’ed to my own Sentinel to save BH. My Sentinel killed his Cable, but I got my BH shot along the way, leaving it to a Sentinel/Commando mirror match for the endgame which I wasn’t able to save. Oh well. This was a lot closer than it should’ve looked on paper, and Brian’s Cable is excellent, so I think I’m going to keep trying this match in the future… but for this particular occasion I decided to go to the bullpen and trotted out my own Team Scrub. I’d been working a bit on getting this team back into practice for this eventuality and felt better with that matchup than I did going back to Strider again like I did last time. It paid off. Game 2 is a Cable OCV to me. Game 3 went a bit more wildly and drawn out but I won again. Happy birthday BJ. Next time don’t ask for it.
Here’s where the chaos that screwed up the rest of the tournament began to start. Phongsack simply had no idea how to navigate the brackets in terms of putting who where in the losers’. My reconstruction of who placed where is more or less a “best fit” guesstimate because the brackets came out so screwed up that we don’t have a clear tie for 5th – Phongsack put a number of people in the wrong place, and for whatever reason thought that the loser of the winners’ finals went to the losers’ quarterfinals. To be fair, the bracket forms themselves that he was going by were a bit poorly labelled, but even so, he’s run enough tournaments to remember where people go a little better than this just on experience. If I were to scan the losers’ bracket sheet and post it, you guys would be seeing scads of crossed out names where Phongsack stuck people in a great deal of confusion as to where they were supposed to go and by the time we realized he’d mangled one of the 5th place matches, all the players we could’ve brought back to play them out had already been eliminated and gone home, so we sort of had to improvise.
A bit of an early upset… DannyCat takes down Josh Chang in the first round winners’, after Josh took 4th last tournament and put a bit of scare on me with some rather infamous Ken comebacks to go further than that. No luck this time, though… Josh drew Lawrence in the losers’ bracket and went two-and-out.
So after a bit of random seeding and a bit of tough play, two of the better players in the tournament (Brian J and Lawrence) are in the losers’ bracket early, a third (Josh) is gone in two, and the semifinals of the winners’ bracket are Stilt-Phongsack and Antoine-DannyCat. DannyCat actually gave it a pretty good go but Antoine’s gotten a little too smart at this game to lose to the unfamiliar teams, plus he’s also been on the other side of the controls a number of times that I’ve felt like screwing around enough to trot Rogue out of mothballs.
For Phongsack’s part in the other semifinal, all the drama over who had the better Sentinel came to a bit of a whimper this time around. I’ll give Phongsack this much: for all his questionable tourney operation, he was at least wise enough to listen to me when I assessed his Sentinel as being a liability that cost him all three games in the last tournament match against me, and not the scrubs who were trying to claim his Sentinel was “dominant” against me. He went with Mag/Storm/Tron and Mag/Storm/Psylocke for the two games against my BH/Sent/Commando. He managed to snap my BH out in the second game, but it didn’t do him much good because Commando just DHC’ed safely to Sentinel immediately anyway, once again illustrating why I like Team Watts as my rush-stopper a lot better than Team Scrub. However, the games were at least more credible fights this time than he put up last time, even though he lost both of them.
Here’s where a bit of the chaos in the brackets started to come to roost. Phongsack mishandled where most of the people in the losers’ bracket were supposed to go, so Lawrence wound up playing through one quarterfinal while Rylan was first put in one half of the losers’ bracket well away from where he should’ve been. Brian J started playing MSS-A when he went to the losers’ bracket after his match with me, even though he is nowhere near as good with that team as he is with Team Scrub, because after losing to me he decided he didn’t want to stay any more anyway and was essentially going to lose on purpose when he played anyone halfway good who knew how to play their first team better than he knew how to play MSS-A. This turned out to be Lawrence.
However, at this point we had two losers coming from the winners’ bracket semifinals. Due to Phongsack’s mishandling of the brackets, Lawrence was the only guy left in the losers’ bracket who hadn’t been eliminated under the mangled system; Phongsack seemed to think that the loser of the winners’ final was supposed to be Rylan’s opponent while Lawrence would play… uh, I think Phongsack had himself there. Then I pointed out how it should’ve gone, and since all the people who’d been “eliminated” under the screwed-up system had already gone home we didn’t have any hope of replaying it in the right fashion… so we basically had to have Lawrence play Rylan and then the winner of that would play Phongsack out of the other half of the bracket. (Since Lawrence beat Brian, I’ve sort of got Brian at “6th” even though there’s no real clarity in the brackets as to who went out where after the 5th place spot.)
Or at least, that was the planned idea. I thought Phongsack was clear on this part, so I went downstairs to tell Antoine we could play the winners’ bracket finals, expecting that by the time I pulled him out of work the losers’ bracket would’ve sorted itself out and whoever was left would be waiting for the loser, and all the matches could be played out without a break so that Antoine could get back as quickly as possible. I come back with Antoine to find out that Phongsack hasn’t run the match with Rylan (who beat Lawrence) yet, because he thinks he’s supposed to play either myself or Antoine before he gets there, and thus leave whoever loses between us somewhere other than in the losers’ finals… which was a little screwed up. I know I’m describing this horribly, but you had to be there.
At any rate ™, the winners’ final gets played at that point. I went with BH/Sent/Commando, Antoine went with MSC. Blowout. Antoine takes Cable/Doom/Commando for the second game, which leads to a long, drawn out second game where I wasn’t mentally prepared to exploit enough of the holes in position and close range fighting that BH can make out of this game to force this into any other kind of fight other than a slow chipping game, which Cable/Doom/Commando is inevitably going to win, and did. For game 3 I decided to dust off Spiral/Sent/Commando. (A major thank you goes out to Clockw0rk for suggesting this team to the Spiral public at large.) As anticipated, that takes Cable-based waiting teams off the table, and he goes back to MSC to try to at least force a fifth game, but he goes down in four to Spiral/Sent/Commando.
Only at this point is the losers’ semifinal between Phongsack and Rylan played, with the winner going to Antoine in the losers’ final. Rylan pulls yet another upset, which leads to a lot of “WTF” quietly going around. Rylan then goes up 1-0 in the losers’ final on Antoine’s MSC, and Antoine finally gets out MS-Cable and wins three straight to put Rylan out of it. Major overachievement for a good player using a somewhat bad team. If his Rogue were a bit less predictable and his Cable were better at pulling off the basics, he might’ve even made the grand finals against me. (And at that point, I probably would’ve played at least a first set going Rogue v. Rogue with him just for the novelty of having an all-Rogue grand finals and saved the usual teams only for the second set, if necessary. Sadly, it was not to be. )
So after Antoine polishes Rylan off, it comes back to the grand finals with me. He pauses a moment in the first game to see whether I’m going to stay with Spiral or whether I’ll go back to BH. I went back to BH. Out comes Cable/Doom/Commando again. This time around, things started off very badly for him with the Cable vs. BH fight… I zoned him off a lot more ruthlessly and hurt him in doing it, while still staying clear of Doom’s rocks enough that he couldn’t turn it into much of a pure chipping game. He’s forced to DHC Cable out to avoid getting him killed, and eventually I follow suit with BH DHCing to Sentinel when it doesn’t look like I’m going to get a StiltMonster DHC on his Doom before BH is run into the ground. Then Sentinel abused the rest of his team, 1-0.
Second game, he goes back to MSC. I killed his Magneto for giggles and then blew the DHC on a hit on his Storm. (I remember calling it out loud, “That’s HELLA not gonna hit!” when I saw where his Storm was on the screen when I cancelled the HOD. Sure enough…) This cost me in the long run, because he managed to come back to win the game in the closing seconds despite my best efforts to stall.
These were the two most contested games of the grand finals. In the third and fourth games his Mags got abused by BH, once getting killed with a DHC and once without and then Storm got DHC’ed instead. He tried going back to Cable/Doom/Commando in game 5 looking at 3-1 down, and then Cable took a turn eating the DHC early. Shortly after he tried to shoot my Commando when I countercalled on his, but my Sentinel was already too high up to be kept on the ground, and he had no meter left to DHC with, so his Cable got finished off there. Doom/Commando trying to come back on Sentinel with Commando and BH both still around was a bit of a turkey shoot… I did triple DHC to get BH back in before Sentinel died but neither Doom nor Commando had more than pixels of life left by that point, so the game was a bit academic and BH didn’t have to do much more than clean up.
I won the tournament, but it still could’ve been run a lot better and it also could’ve used a lot more people. No Kennewick (although no big surprise there). No Seattle even after much teasing. There were about three Portland locals who were spotted at the mall who refused to enter the tournament for various reasons. And after Brian J more or less lost on purpose in the losers’ bracket the outcome in the end was a bit anticlimactic. No showing from Marcus whatsoever, which graduates him from merely “retard” to “retarded little punk” in my book for all the shit talk he’s spouted over the last few weeks that he doesn’t even show up to make a paltry attempt to back up… or at least own up to it enough to take his medicine. The guy he was propping up for “beasting” on my screw-around teams was literally at the arcade at the time of the tournament and refused to enter despite the efforts of both Phongsack and myself at talking him into joining. (Uh huh. What a beast we got there. :rolleyes: ) Have to at least give props to Jetay, he at least showed up and stayed for the tourney to take his licks even though the GGXX tourney hopes kind of fell flat. (Did that even get run at all? ) Gotta at least give respect to the guy for that even though he was jawing that I wouldn’t win this tournament. :lol:
And of course, “random” seeding that applies to everyone except the guy who requests to play me in the first round in hopes of sending me to the losers’ bracket early, together with the mismanagement of the brackets throughout the tournament, lent more than just a little bit of farce to the whole thing. However, it did at least get played out and the matches themselves didn’t have a huge amount of controversy, and there was indeed a fairly clean line of who-beat-who from 1st through about 4th or 6th or so… which is a bit surprising given how screwed up it all was.