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NorCal Regionals 9 Results and Revelations

By Siri Karri

NorCal Regionals 2011 came to an end, and there were some good matches and some shocking surprises. Half of the results were utterly expected, half blew us away, while 100% gave us clues as to what will happened at EVO.

The Results for Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 are as follows:

1) Daigo Umehara (Yun)
2) Infiltration (Akuma, Ryu)
3) Ricky Ortiz (Rufus)
4) WolfKrone (C. Viper)
5) Hsien Chang (Yun)
6) Marn (Yun, Dudley)
7) Vangief (Zangief)
8) Julio (Yun)

Marvel vs. Capcom 3
1) Justin Wong (Wolverine, Storm, Akuma)
2)Tinh (Taskmaster, Magneto, Phoenix)
3)FLoE (She-Hulk, Wolverine, Akuma)
4)X-Ray (Dante, Amaterasu, Magneto)
5)Detramantix (Wolverine, Sentinel, Phoenix)
6)Filipino Champ (Magento, Dormammu, Phoenix)
7) Wentinel (Dormammu, Tron, Sentinel)
8)Daigo Umehara (Wolverine, Dante, Akuma)

So what do these results mean? Let’s take a look at Street Fighter IV first.

1) Arcade Edition is still balanced for top players

It’s easy to look at the top 8 places and go, “Wow, half those people used Yun, he’s so cheap”. While top 8 certainly indicates talent, it’s the top 4 that tells the true story. The top 4 places consist of WolfKrone and Ricky Ortiz (arguably top 5 in the world), Infiltration (one of Korea’s finest), and world #1 Daigo “The Beast” Umehara. Of these, only Daigo used Yun . . . and he was the world’s best Street Fighter player way before Arcade Edition was released.

There are some notable names missing. One is Filipino Champ, who probably suffered the most from the Arcade Edition update. His character, Dhalsim, excels at zoning out characters using his absurd reach and fireballs. Yun and Yang have so many safe ways to get in that Champ needs to pick up a new main. Justin Wong also didn’t make top 8, but he was sent to loser’s bracket by . . . an Evil Ryu?

For those that aren’t aware, the Japanese have had Arcade edition for MONTHS, and their top players (Daigo, Mago and Tokido included) have ranked Evil Ryu in the bottom 1/3rd of the Tier List (a.k.a. not recommended for tournament play). Yet Justin, one of the top US Street Fighter players, was swept by Evil Ryu. Perhaps it was a fluke, but this may be more indicative of Arcade Edition’s balance.

It seems that while using Yun certainly gives players a leg up on the competition, it doesn’t help them become elite.

2) Americans have no answer for top foreign players

In the last series of tournaments, I noted that the Japanese had become unstoppable in Street Fighter, winning 3 of the top 4 places in CEO and ReveLAtions. The only player who even remotely challenged world #1 and #2 Daigo and Mago was the best Viper player in the world: WolfKrone. At ReveLAtions, he gave a great fight to Daigo and nearly eliminated Mago.

This time however, Daigo beat him into a pulp and Ricky Ortiz finished him off. The only man to give trouble to Daigo was Infiltration . . . a Korean. In ReveLAtions, the only trouble Daigo REALLY received was from his teammate Mago.

With Daigo, Mago, and Tokido doing damage in the
US from Japan and Korea’s Infiltration not far behind, Americans must step it up. Remember that Japan still has a stable of talented players such as Uryo (who has beaten Daigo), and Korea has Poongko . . . the world’s greatest Seth player who has always given Mago a host of problems. It won’t be long before these players come hunting for US prize money as well, and Americans must step it up before their tournaments serve simply to fatten foreign wallets.

3) Daigo Umehara, if possible, has gotten better

Daigo has been (and still is), the Michael Jordan of Street Fighter. His dominance is now international; he carves swaths of destruction through Japan before flying over to North America to sweep tournaments there as well. When Super Street Fighter IV came out, Ryu (Daigo’s main character) slipped in the character rankings behind characters such as E. Honda and Balrog (two American favorites). Yet he still managed to win tournament after tournament.
But at least Ryu had bad match ups such as Dhalsim and Balrog, against whom he has the most difficulty. At least Ryu was a balance between offense and defense and couldn’t simply blow through your life bar, right?

Then Arcade Edition comes out, and Daigo picks Yun. Yun is widely considered THE best character in the Street Fighter IV series . . . statistically. You see, Yun is like a high maintenance girlfriend: she’s really hot and fun to show off, but the work that it takes to keep up with her is absolutely mind boggling.

You see, Yun is an unbelievable offensive character. He has amazing anti-airs, a lightning fast dive kick, a multitude of combos, and possibly one of the most devastating supers in the game. But while Yun can quickly dominate a game, he can just as easily BE dominated. Yun has poor health and even poorer wake-up options, and characters with solid defense and counters can quickly overwhelm him.

This explains why previously unknown gamers using Yun can get solid tournament results, but fails to actually beat established veterans; they simply can’t master the beast.

I guess it takes a Beast to master the beast. Until a patch comes out that weakens Yun . . . Daigo Umehara’s dominance will only intensify.

There is only one note for Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and that is the debut of Daigo Umehara.

1) Daigo is not ready for Marvel vs. Capcom 3 . . . but he soon will be..

Good news for Americans is Daigo did not come close to winning Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
Bad news is that he placed top 8 in his first American tournament, and the only people he lost to won 3rd and 4th place in the tournament.

Daigo’s natural fighting game brilliance showed through; with little to no practice against top tier competition, Daigo’s Dante is already the best in the business. Commentators and fans alike were astounded by the absurd combos “The Beast” was able to string together unlike anything I or anyone else had seen until this point.

It quickly became clear that, due to the lack of competition in Japan, Daigo was having a hard time analyzing matchups. He began to drop combos, miss mix-ups on entering characters, burn his X-Factor too quickly, and overall make mistakes that American players had already weeded out.

That being said, it’s astonishing he made top 8 at NorCal Regionals. Remember: EVO 2011 is more than a month away. This means Daigo has a month to back to Japan and analyze his losses, and come back better than ever.

Yup, I’m scared too.

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