Guilty Gear simply makes sense to be played in a team format. Repeated tournaments have shown the upper placements and seeds dominated by a few specific characters, while others are almost completely absent. The same characters typically compose the top 8 and 16 of any tournament bracket, and other popular and otherwise solid characters never see the light of day.
Now take a look at Japanese tournaments. You’ll see Potemkins, Zappas, Testaments, Baikens, and all sorts of other “lower-tier” characters throughout the life of Reload. These were competitive players on competitive teams, and they contributed and often brought home tournament wins at major ventures.
Why? The team format.
Guilty Gear is a game where each character is so wildly different that one character can do fantastic against half the cast and be completely boned against a handful of other characters (Think Pot in Reload). This is sort of unavoidable, based upon how characters are built and balanced, but has terrible ramifications for a tournament setting where all the matches are 1v1. In reload, for example, a pot player COULD NOT count on consistantly beating Eddie players. Since Eddie was the best character, there were lots of good eddie’s in any tournament, either in Japan or Stateside. In the USA, playing Pot in a tournament was giving your money to the Eddie players that would inevitably pile up against you until one handed you a loss, since you were simply not going to keep winning even if you got lucky once. At least, not consistantly enough to win 2/3 games twice in a row.
In Japan, that Pot player still mattered. He could take out the other two teammates. He could look to counter other good characters that might give his Eddie-killer teammate some problems (ok, there was no eddie killer, the teammate probably plays Eddie). Regardless, he could be utilized and his choice to play Pot actually could benefit a team. Players under this system are encouraged to play the characters they like most and are best at, and while playing an all-around top character is still the safest bet it may not have the best payoff on a well-designed team.
A team system encourages players who might otherwise give up on their characters or the game, rewards the best players (and not simply those best at character selection) who are able to put together an effective team, sparks rivalries between regions, and evens out the tier lists. 3v3 tournaments are also more exciting to watch and are going to bring people back the next year.
There are, of course, some drawbacks to a team system. To have a team, you need to find teammates. Still, this is Evo. People prepare months ahead for this, and it really shouldn’t be very hard to find a team if you REALLY can’t find anyone in your area to play with. Hell, hold up a sign at Evo saying “looking for 1 more need anchor” if you’re seriously desperate. People are there to compete and there to have fun, and one way or the other you WILL be able to figure something out.
Teams don’t really take any longer than solo play. Simply have it be one game instead of best of 3, with double elim still in place. In fact, this would be FASTER than solo play, by a lot. If you need to, make it 3/5 rounds to even this out.
People who don’t have a full team can still play, they will just be short a member if they seriously can’t find someone in the crowd to take them on. This sucks, but it shouldnt be that hard at all to fill up a 2 or 3 man team.
I am absolutely positive that a team format would improve player interest in Guilty Gear at Evo and subsequent tournaments. Team tournies are simply that much more exciting in this game, and it would provide a huge kickstart to the currently rabid GG community who are already chomping at the bit because of the change that has been brought with Slash.
We’re ready for change. Let’s make this happen.
Now, this all goes down the tubes if there is no Slash at Evo because I don’t think anyone would show up.