The top eight for EVO 2012′s Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition Version 2012 tournament was truly an international affair. Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Australia/Hong Kong, and the United States all vied for the title, but only one man could come out on top.
Set 1 – TH Poongoko vs eLive Qanba Xiao Hai
The first set of the evening was Xiao Hai’s Cammy against Poongko’s Seth. Xiao Hai took game one pretty convincingly, out-spacing and out reading the mixup oriented character. Round one of game two was no different, leaving Poongko flustered. Was this the same man that perfected Daigo last year? Round two was a return to form, as Poongko perfected Xiao Hai, but he was unable to set the pace for the following round and was quickly defeated and eliminated from the tournament in 7th place.
Set 2 – AVM Gamerbee vs BT Dieminion
Next up, we’d see Gamerbee’s famous Adon vs Dieminion’s expert Guile. Gamerbee took round one quickly, but struggled a bit in round two after cornering Dieminion before eventually taking the game. Dieminion took a moment to compose himself, then made a few good reads in the first round of game two to keep Gamerbee out for a bit. But just like in the first game, once Gamerbee got in on Dieminion’s Guile, the round ended quickly. Dieminion spaced Adon carefully with his tournament life on the line, and even caught Gamerbee with an Ultra 2 in reaction to a Jaguar Kick, eventually leading him to a victory in round two. A short back and forth in round three had the crowd breathless, but Gamerbee finished Dieminion with a throw to eliminate him in 7th place.
Set 3 – CVapor PR Balrog vs Human Bomb
PR Balrog’s namesake has been on fire all weekend, and he sent the message loud and clear to Human Bomb’s Sakura in round one, finishing him off with a combo into Ultra. Human agressively cornered PR Balrog in round two, but Balrog patiently fought his way out. Human showed us shades of cross Tekken with some jab pressure. He landed two throws in a row and then baited a headbutt to take round two. Human got a little greedy with his Hurricane Kick pressure in round three. It cost him some health, and eventually the round.
The first round of the second game seemed close until Human Bomb baited out a headbutt. He dropped his punish, however, and Balrog was able to headbutt again and combo into his Ultra to take the round. PR Balrog out-spaced and out-read Human Bomb pretty convincingly in round two, then lost control for a moment before landing an air to air hit to take the game and send Human to losers.
Set 4 – MCZ Daigo Umehara vs WW/MCZ Infiltration
Infiltration guaranteed victory in both SFxT and SSF4AE, but he’d have to face world renowned Daigo Umehara for the right to face PR Balrog in the winners finals. Infiltration followed through on his promise in game one, convincingly taking Daigo’s Ryu apart. Round one of the second game had Daigo looking outclassed again, as Infiltration’s Akuma landed a great Demon setup, and then reacted correctly to a double EX Dragon Punch situation to take the victory mark. Daigo answered Infiltration’s offence with a Shoryuken FADC Ultra in round two, but found himself on the receiving end of another Raging Demon, giving Infiltration the win.
Set 5 – AVM Gamerbee vs Human Bomb
Now facing elimination for the first time in the tournament, Hong Kong / Australia’s Human Bomb wuold face Gamerbee’s aggressive Adon in the losers bracket. GamerBee established dominance early, and scored a perfect on Human in round two to take the game. No one wants to come into the top eight on the winners side, and then lose two sets straight, so Human Bomb refocused himself and pushed GamerBee into the corner and kept him there for most of round one in the second game. In round two, after a short back and forth, Human cornered himself for a moment, and then lost control in the footsies game before taking GamerBee back to the corner. It looked like he could take the game, but Adon answered with an EX Rising Jaguar to steal round two. Round three was not as close, as GamerBee established his spacing and pace to eliminate Human Bomb in fifth place.
Set 6 – MCZ Daigo Umehara vs eLive Qanba Xiao Hai
Another great international matchup graced the screen as China’s Xioa Hai faced Japan’s Daigo in the losers bracket. Daigo played his patented Ryu game in the first round, and Xiao Hai seemed to feed right into it. Round two saw Xiao Hai’s Cammy coming out on top in the footsies game again the legend, giving him a victory mark. Xioa Hai got an early lead in round one, but Daigo slowly took it away with great reads and great spacing, and even caught a wakeup backdash with his Ultra. Xiao Hai lived, and blew through one of Daigo’s fireballs with his own Ultra to take game one.
Both players hit rematch quickly, and game two began with Daigo taking a lot of health from Cammy while moving her to the corner. A great counter poke took round one for Daigo, but Xiao Hai removed half of Ryu’s life in the blink of an eye on round two. Daigo found his back to the corner and tried to escape with an air Tatsumaki, but he landed in Xiao Hai’s attack and lost the round. In round three, Xiao Hai had momentum for a long time, but lost it on an oddly placed Spin Knuckle. Daigo was almost able to take the game, but dropped an important opportunity and allowed Xiao Hai to advance, leaving him out of the tournament in fifth place.
Set 7 – AVM GamerBee vs eLiveQanba Xiao Hai
GamerBee looked to set his usual pace again Xiao Hai, but as soon as Cammy had Ultra meter, Xiao Hai called GamerBee out with an Ultra in reaction to a wiffed Jaguar Kick. He went on to take round one from GamerBee, but the message was clear; you will not be running your offense on me! GamerBee seemed to get the message, as he attempted to beat Xiao Hai in the footsies game, but he came up sort and lost game one. GamerBee’s Adon resumed his usual aggression in game two and took the first round, and then slowed the pace and sat on a lead in round two, eventually scoring a surprise Jaguar Kick to take the game.
With the set tied up, and both player’s tournament life on the line, Xiao Hai took the fight to GamerBee and quickly won the first round. GamerBee seemed to be doing the same in round two, but dropped an important combo and let Xiao Hai close the health gap. GamerBee missed a combo into Ultra that would have won the round, but he was able to take it with a crouching Jab anyway. GamerBee went back to patiently out-spacing Xiao Hai at the start of the round, and then got aggressive to take Xiao Hai down to less than a quarter health. Xiao Hai reacted to Adon’s Roundhouse with an Ultra and almost took the round back, but he ended up giving the game away with a bad Spiral Arrow. He was eliminated in fourth place, and GamerBee advanced to wait in the losers finals.
Set 8 – WW MCZ Infiltration vs CVapor PR Balrog
Winners finals is yet another international showdown, with Infiltration representing Korea against PR Balrog prepresenting Puerto Rico and the United States. Despite a few good reads from PR Balrog, Infiltration demonstrated his matchup knowledge and removed Balrog’s options to take round one. Round two was a lot closer, but Rog risked it all on an EX Low Rush, which Infiltration’s Akuma countered with a jump back Roundhouse.
In the first round of game two, PR Balrog bet it all on a safe demon flip setup and used his Ultra. It was blocked and it cost him the round. In round two, PR Rog was hit with the Raging Demon and left with a pixel of health, and was sent packing to the losers bracket convincingly. Infiltration awaits in Grand Finals on the winners side, eager to deliver on his promise.
Set 9 – AVM GamerBee vs CVapor PR Balrog
GamerBee and PR Balrog started their losers finals bout without delay, both eager to earn a shot at Infiltration and the title. Round one looked like it was going PR’s way, but GamerBee landed an Ultra to steal the round. In round two, GamerBee seemed to set the pace and keep things in his favor the entire round.
The crowd started a “PR Balrog” chant to try and give the player power, but it was short lived and didn’t help him overcome GamerBee’s Adon in round one. Round two was a different story, as PR forced his will upon GamerBee and dismantled him with throws and frame traps. Both players sat on full meter, and PR Balrog missed a hit confirm into his super and instead jumped back. GamerBee landed a combo into Ultra a bit later to even the health, and then eliminated PR Balrog in third place.
Set 10 – AVM GamerBee vs WW MCZ Infiltration
Korea already took home the titles in SFxT and KoFXIII. Victory was in Infiltration’s hands, and the only thing left in his Akuma’s way was GamerBee’s vicious Adon. GamerBee carefully spaced Akuma, but got knocked down and mixed up until he lost round one. Round two was similar, but GameBee lost to Infiltration’s expert use of the Raging Demon Ultra.
The first round of the second game looked like it belonged to Infiltration, but GamerBee used Adon’s Ultra 1 to tag him after a bad air fireball, which lead to a victory mark. Infiltration answered in round two with the super version of the Raging Demon, taking a point for himself. Yet another perfectly timed Demon left Infiltration in position to win game two.
One more game and Infiltration’s promise would be delivered upon. He took Gamerbee apart in round one, leaving him with a look of frustration on his face. In round two, he landed the same anti air Demon setup, and then took the Grand Finals set 3-0 to become the EVO 2012 Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition Version 2012 Champion. Can anyone stop him?