I did really well this week at the Legacy games tournament. I managed to make it to losers round 3, with 2 wins and 2 losses. I played very strong and consistently, though I discovered a few new things to focus on improving.
Round 1 – vs Junii (Mario, Bowser)
In round 1, Junii started out with his Mario. I’ve actually had quite a bit of play time against Mario’s in tournaments in the last 2 months, seemingly encountering one almost every time. I have come to feel that the Mario/Mewtwo match up is in Mewtwo’s favor. His range seems to effectively keep Mario at bay, and his light weight helps to get out of Mario’s up tilt combo’s pretty early. Additionally, Mewtwos air dodge makes combo’ing me off the top extremely difficult. In all, I feel that Mario doesn’t get the benefit of his combo strings and kill combo’s particularly easy against Mewtwo. Instead having to rely more on stage control and the more risky smash attacks for a kill. As I mentioned earlier though, Mewtwo’s range seems to be extremely effective at keeping Mario at bay, making a smash attack from Mario difficult. With all this in mind, I played very strongly against his Mario taking the game pretty solidly.
In round 2 and 3, Junii switched to Bowser. This is a match up I have not yet encountered, but I had a pretty good idea of what to watch out for, having watched other Bowser players get early kills off of shield breaks and Bowsercides. Junii managed to grab game 2, but it was quite close. He got a smash attack on me at about 60%, sealing out the stock and the game. Game 3, I took him to Lylat and utterly dominated the match. Bowsers large size and heavy weight makes stringing together attacks very easy. Mewtwo has a lot of versatility in stringing together attacks, and this particular match up really exemplified that. In game 3, I played defensively for the most part, baiting out his attacks intending to breaking my shield or hitting me with his smash attacks. After a successful bait, I would very aggressively string together several attacks, racking up 30-60% damage and often forcing him off stage. This worked several times in a row, leading to both his stocks being taken and securing me the win.
Round 2 – vs Z2G (Cloud)
Ah Cloud. Everyone has got one, even me, and most everyone hates fighting them, also including me. Cloud is a character than can carry you with relatively minimal practice. He will often get you a few rounds into tournament until you start hitting the really good players. But a really good Cloud, that can be a real challenge. I’ve been spending a ton of time practicing the Cloud/Mewtwo match up against CPU 9 Clouds for the last 2 weeks. I can pretty consistently win against CPU Cloud, but the problem is that CPU Cloud and a real Cloud player play nothing alike. This is one of those things that I am very well aware of, but I don’t have a better option available to me to get solid Cloud match up experience. Even having played Cloud myself, and being very familiar with what he can do, I still find it very difficult to figure out what to do against him. This particular player, who ended up taking 2nd place overall, had a really good Cloud. I managed to take stocks in both games, but it was pretty clear that he far exceeded what I was able to deal with, at least for now. I feel pretty strongly that the Mewtwo/Cloud match up is slightly in Clouds favor. Mewtwos typical stage return options, such as spamming air dodge, is not as effective against Cloud as it is with most characters. Cloud’s up air maintains its hit box long enough that it is reliably able to him my 6 frames of vulnerability between air dodges. This often forces me to recover to the ledge, rather than directly to stage. None of my aerial attacks exchange favorable with Clouds up air, meaning that forcing my way back to stage typically results in me taking more damage and being forced back up. Additionally, forcing a good Cloud offstage is very difficult, because they know that can lead to an early KO. Mewtwo is particularly good at gimping and stage spiking Cloud as he recovers, so a lot of Clouds will almost never plays aggressively off stage, and will up to recover high against a Mewtwo to reduce the risk. Cloud and Mewtwo both have really solid neutrals. I can pressure with my shadow balls, but he can pressure by charging limit, making an overly defensive play style hard to pull off effectively. I haven’t been able to effectively pull off an aggressive assault against Cloud, player or CPU, because all of Clouds attacks will either exchange equally, or in his favor, so direct assault typically doesn’t work, leaving a more defensive play as the best option.
Round 3 – vs Eigo (Cloud)
Yet another Cloud. Eigo is a player I met in tournament previously about a month ago at the September DownB monthly. In that tournament, he played his Sonic against me, which I beat, then switched to Cloud and ended up beating me with him twice. This tournament however, I managed to beat his Cloud 2-0 securing me my victory. This might be the first time that I have beat an opponent who I had previously lost to. There are a few other individuals who I have encountered in tournament multiple times, however the end result has always been the same. But this would be my first real example of the progress I am making.
It’s worth noting, that after the tournament Eigo and I played friendlies for an hour or so. He played his Sonic and Mega Man, and while he did take a few games off me, I definitely appeared to have the upper hand!
Round 4 – vs. MintyGuy700 (Link)
This was a really close set. I had just come off my game vs a Cloud. Against Cloud, I have learned that I have to play much more defensively and patiently. However, with Link, I need to play more aggressively because defensive play doesn’t work well against Links strong projectile game. The first game of this set went to MintyGuy, who definitely played the match up much better than I. But towards the end, when I switched to being more aggressive, I started making some serious progress. Game 2 came around, and I had a very commanding presence on stage, securing a solid win. Game 3 sucked. Not because I played bad, but because Battlefield screwed me over. Early in the game, when we where both under 40%, we where both fighting for ledge control, having stage spiked each other about 3 times total. I performed a teleport, for the third time, to return to ledge, however I must have been to close to the stage or my angle was off, because when I reappeared I bounced off the stage and didn’t grab ledge. This led to a self destruct at about 35%. Unfortunately, this deficit, because he was also only about around 30%, made it an extremely difficult uphill battle. I managed to take him up to around 80% on his second stock, but I simply could not hold out for what essentially amounted to 2 stocks against my 1. In the end, he got a smash attack on me and sealed his victory. This was a very unfortunate turn of events, because I felt like I had a very solid chance to progress further in bracket. But things like that happen, so I will just have to be more weary of that scenario in the future and figure out how to minimize the risk of “bouncing” off the stage and SD’ing.
Not going to write a lot about doubles here, just a few of the highlights. I partnered with FireCat in a Jigglypuff Lucina team up. We ended up going 0-2, however our second set we actually took a game. It came down to a 1v1 with FireCats Lucina against the opponents Cloud. She managed to get a shield breaker and closed out the game. Overall, we played pretty well together, typically getting both the opponents down to their last stock, or their last player. Playing doubles was a lot of fun. They had 5 teams enter, so I was hoping for a round robin bracket to allow for more play, but they instead opted for a Double Elimination. Hopefully in the future they consider running a round robin if they have that small of teams entry.
This was a very good tournament for me. This is the second tournament (out of 3) in the last week that I showed solid progress in bracket. I’ve been feeling for about 2 months or so now that I have been progressing, despite not seeing the results to support that. Mostly I have felt this way because of how consistently I have been playing, and how often I have been taking stocks off my opponent almost every game, something that wasn’t the case before. My guess is that the gap between myself and the other players was so great, that it has taken me this long to finally close that gap. I would still consider myself on the bottom of the totem pole in terms of skill, which my bracket results support, but I think that may finally be starting to change!