Monday, April 16, 2012

In which I pretend to know what I am talking about

I did not intend to spend my entire evening watching the Power Up stream, especially when I tuned in just in time to see the last two matches of the AE grand finals. They were running Skullgirls next, a game that I have been on the fence about since its release in spite of the tiny $15 price tag. Seeing it in very early tournament play has helped me make a decision: I am certainly not going to purchase the game, as it is firmly the 'games I cannot play at all, ever' camp along with Marvel, but I really look forward to what top players are going to come up with given more time with the system. Skullgirls has been out for less than a week prior to Final Round, so the play was a little rough, but the players were also adjusting teams and making discoveries on the fly. It has a ratio system very similar to Capcom Vs SNK 2, so there were one character teams fighting two character teams, and when that didn't work people were adding good assists just because they saw someone else use them.

There is one very smart addition to Skullgirls that will prevent many future issues that I want to highlight. It is inevitable that players will find infinites. There are too many people out there hammering away on the game engine that are good at what they do to prevent this. It took all of a week for easy, abuse-able tactics to appear in Street Fighter X Tekken and novices like myself are at the mercy of Capcom. They will patch it when they feel like it, probably over correct the problem, or just ignore the issue altogether. Skullgirls has a built in infinite counter: if a combo uses the same same set of moves too many time in a row the character getting hit has in invulnerable counter. This of course can be baited out an punished by stopping the combo short, but still, it a very nice way to allow players to experiment and push what is possible as far they can while still keeping things competitive.

It really makes me wish I could get my head around vs games and their extended combos.

Power Up also featured the most boring/intriguing grand finals in Marvel that I have ever seen. Ultimate Marvel buffed a lot of the zoning characters, so a few players began to experiment with defense, zoning centered teams. It should come as no surprise that Dieminion, who plays Guile in AE, settled on a Morrigan team. Morrigan's hyper that splits her in two allows her to literally fill the screen with soul fists coming from every direction. Get him by one and you are eating several more. Sit and block and get chipped to death while Morrigan builds enough meter to do that same thing all over again. It is certainly not impossible to beat, but with a a counter pick team it is very difficult to crack. This grand finals ended up with Dieminion's Morrigan team up against Chris G's Morrigan team.


Not really. It didn't look like Marvel (it looked like touhou, the fighting game) but I was thrilled. These two guys had not just changed strategies, they changed games. Chris G won because he had a better assist backing him up (hidden missiles all day, erreday). Power Up was a small crowd, and some of the biggest hitters were not there, so I do not know if zoning teams really are the wave of the future. Just imagine this kind of cerebral snooze fest as the headlining grand finals at Evo. What a wonderful, terrible idea.


  1. You were watching the Power Up stream. Final round was the first week of March.

  2. Good lord. Thanks. Like I said, I am pretending.