Once again, Final Round was an absolutely amazing tournament.  Two ballrooms full of fighting game action for three days straight featuring top players from all around the United States as well as international guests like Infiltration and JDCR.

In last week's post I talked about how I was preparing for the Killer Instinct tournament.  This post is a recap analyzing how I did and what I need to work on for the future, with the hope that it will help players new to the tournament scene.  If you are a tournament player, reviewing your losses to figure out what you need to improve on is an important skill to hone so I hope this will be helpful.  If you're looking for just the results of the event, check out this Eventhubs post.

As for my personal results, I got 5th in Killer Instinct, my team got 3rd in the regional Tekken Tag Tournament 2 team tournament, and I got a disappointing 33rd in the TTT2 singles tournament.  

Check out my recap of the Tekken 5v5 tournament and TTT2 singles tournament.

Watch the Top 16 of the Killer Instinct Tournament here (starts at 2 hour 30 minute mark):

After my defeat in Tekken, I was disappointed, but knew I had to get over it quickly since I was already late for my Killer Instinct pool.  I had to go up to my room to switch arcade sticks, so I used this time to focus in on Killer Instinct and think about the things I had been practicing the past few weeks.  As soon as I got back to the KI room they had me play my first match against ScumbagJago.  I was nervous, but luckily he was more nervous.  He was very defensive, which gave me time to warm up during the match and get in the right mindset for KI.  Another interesting thing to mention is that he was dropping all of his manuals in his combos.  Tournament pressure, different monitors, having or not having loud enough sound can all contribute to dropping combos, so it is important to practice manuals in worst case tournament scenarios. The next couple of matches to get out of my pool were Sadira players, so I was well prepared for that and made it out of the pool in winners. 

Top 16 of the tournament was the next day at 1pm, but I didn't have a setup in my room to practice that night.  I spent my extra time in the KI room playing casual matches and talking matchups/strategy with players from around the country.   In terms of the game's life and future, Final Round is still an early tournament.  There is still lots to figure out about matchups and players like Warchild, KDD, and GGA Dizzy spent a good amount of time with me playing casuals and talking about these strategies.  At these events, the tournament is important, but at the end of the day very few players will make it far.  Playing the game and sharing your knowledge with others who are passionate about competing in it is a rewarding experience itself.  

In the Top 16 of the tournament, my first match was against a Thunder player.  I was extremely concerned about this because Thunder is a counter to Sadira. I ended up losing the first match and considered switching to Jago.  I felt that the Thunder was letting me get away with being in the air a lot though, so I decided to stick it out with Sadira and it paid off.   Generally when faced with a bad matchup you should focus on trying to play the player, not the character, and that definitely helped me through that matchup. 

Next up I had to face EG|PR Balrog who had just beaten another great Sadira player in A$AP Ricky.  My match with him did not go well, and I attribute that to me overestimating him.  I saw that he had fallen for a lot of counter breaker baits against A$AP Ricky so I convinced myself that he would not do this again, but I didn't bother testing him on it and missed out on some huge opportunities.  Also, I don't have enough Orchid matchup experience, but I realized after the match that I should have been saving my meter for Shadow Counter opportunities.  If I had used more Shadow Counters against her Ichi-ni-san and stayed on the ground more (instead of dealing with her air throws) the matches would have went a LOT better.  Additionally, I didn't pop my instinct in the right places, which I have now realized is one of the most important things for Sadira to accomplish in a tournament match.

Later in the loser bracket, I had to play EG|Justin Wong and his Sabrewulf- who was the favorite to win the tournament.  He had been sent to the loser bracket by Filipino Champ in a close set.  Our matches were heavily in his favor, but I did much better than I expected to.   Sabrewulf is a difficult matchup for Sadira, but KDD had given me some advice about using instant air Heavy Widow's Bite against Sabrewulf.  I was trying it out in the match, but Justin wasn't taking the bait.  At the end of the day, it was Justin's strong ground game and spacing that beat me.  EG|Justin Wong ended up winning the tournament, and EG|PR Balrog ended up getting second place, so while I ended up at 5th place, my losses were against the guys who got 1st and 2nd! Always a nice consolation prize.

I learned a lot during this tournament and plan to keep practicing going forward.  Here are what I plan to work on the most:

- Anti Sabrewulf / Anti Glacius

- Creating optimal situations to pop Instinct in for Sadira

- Using Shadow Counter more, specifically against Orchid, Sabrewulf, and Jago

- Adding more manuals in my combos

Before I get to all of that though, I'm back to work on the PrimaGames Killer Instinct eGuide as we are currently adding in our section for the latest upcoming character, Fulgore!  Get the guide now and it will be updated when Fulgore is released!