Six headlining events and over 1,000 epic matches later, the ninth edition of northern California’s biggest major event is now in the books. With players traveling all the way from Japan, Korea, Canada, Mexico, and all over the United States, players had their sights set on becoming champions at NCR9 and winning the coveted EVO Tournament Season seeding points for placement at the big one next month.
After succumbing to two NorCal players last year — EG Ricky Ortiz and Filipino Champ to be precise — Team MadCatz Daigo Umehara reemerged as champion and defeated all those who stood in his way with his new character choice Yun and a prototype Mad Catz SFxT stick (which looked smokin’, by the way.)
South Korea’s Infiltration also picked up points of redemption by defeating American rival EG Ricky Ortiz to take second place, while Ortiz rounded out the top three which ended up looking strikingly similar to last year’s EVO 2010 results. Also, after losing to HMG Hsien Chang in SoCal in the previous week, Infiltration spent some time in the lab in the week between ReveLAtions and NCR9 and had the last laugh by sending Hsien to losers in their top 8 rematch.
Wolfkrone, the pad-toting Crimson Viper machine, also attended NCR9 and made waves by not only placing fourth at the tournament but also making his record sixth top 4 appearance in the EVO Tournament Season. And it appears that people are starting to take notice. As Chris “Crizzle” Scott puts it, “He’s the best C. Viper in America.”
The big surprise of the tournament? Up and comer Julio Fuentes representing NorCal quickly made a name for himself by double eliminating both Filipino Champ and Ryan “Laugh” Ahn in pools to qualify for his first ever top 8.
In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Mr. Umehara made his long-awaited debut and caused a huge ruckus when he defeated EG Justin Wong in the team tournament that took place earlier in the day, however after making top 8 in losers, he was quickly dispatched by NorCal’s Raymond “X-Ray” Monsada and took seventh place – before having the opportunity to face Justin heads up once again.
As many predicted, EG Justin Wong took the prize for MvC3 singles, but not without a few bumps in the road. Tinh “MINE” Ngo, longtime Marvel crackhead and one of NorCal’s finest players, sent Justin to losers in their winner’s finals match. However, Justin clawed through “X-Ray” and Ari “Floe” Weintraub in the losers bracket for another shot at Tinh, and boy did he get it.
Tinh “MINE” Ngo simply did not have an answer for EG Justin Wong in their second meeting. Justin’s Wolverine/Akuma assist ripped through Tinh’s team for six straight victories in what felt like one of the quickest grand finals set ever at NCR9.
In Tekken 6, it was a heads up NorCal vs. NorCal match between long-time veteran Bronson Tran and all-around fighting game master Jimmy “Mr. Naps” Tran, and it ended with Bronson claiming victory over his friend and training partner.
In it’s first tournament lineup appearance ever in the NCR series, the Mortal Kombat tournament brought new, never before seen faces into the competition. Using Kabal throughout the tournament, Mike “Michelangelo” Lerma defeated EG Justin Wong
Finally, there was the highly-anticipated first showing of Street Fighter X Tekken in Northern California. On finals day, an exhibition match pitted four top Tekken players, including Namco’s Richard “FilthieRich” Bantegui and Jimmy “Mr. Naps” Tran, against four top Street Fighter legends, including EG Justin Wong and his Evil Geniuses counterpart EG Ricky Ortiz. And while the competitors from the Street Fighter side had a perceived advantage (they ended up eliminating all four Tekken players right off the bat), the King of Iron Fist crew still showed strong interest in picking it up once it comes out in Q1 2012.
Now that NCR9 is behind us, I’d like to give major thanks to all of those that helped make it happen – the iPlaywinner team, albert_c and Joe “CPSIV” Flores representing Keystone II, Seth Killian and Capcom, Rose Silvestre and her fabulous photography, NoS Energy Drink, Kineda, Namco, BrokenTier and last but not least Markman and the entire MadCatz team. (Follow them @MadCatzInc)
And of course, everyone that attended and watched the stream online. Thank you and we’ll see you all next year!
Check out all of the photos here courtesy of Rose Silvestre. Stay tuned for a special exclusive interview with Laugh and Infiltration coming soon.