UPDATE: It was originally written that this year’s Tougeki stream would be free to watch. The Game Extra Stage is indeed free to watch, but the main stage stream is paid.
TOUGEKI 2012 -SUPER BATTLE OPERA-, the 10th Arcadia Cup Tournament, is less than 2 weeks away. On August 4 and 5, players from all regions of Japan as well as from around the globe will travel to the city of Narita in the Chiba Prefecture to compete in 8 different titles. In a Tougeki first, two of those titles are console games: SoulCalibur V and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
Since May, qualifiers have been held for the console titles, with most having taken place in June and July. While information on SCV qualifiers, particularly the international ones, is somewhat sparse, info on the majority of the UMvC3 qualifiers is readily available. With the game drawing the most viewers at this year’s EVO 2012, peaking just short 100,000 concurrent views, and a constant flow of new information regarding play strategies and tactics, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is currently one of the most hotly discussed fighting games, particularly in the United States. With the last of the widely-announced qualifiers completing yesterday, here is a look into results and details of the qualifiers.
Marvel at SBO: A Bit of a Mystery
While Tougeki itself hasn’t made a complete public announcement regarding the tournament format and rules for the console games, beyond a singles format, according to Frieda, the UMvC3 finals will be single-elimination, best 2 of 3 games, stage locked to Bonne Wonderland. Supposedly each entrant will be allowed a maximum of two teams. The tournament will be played on PlayStation 3, with both arcade sticks and pads allowed.
The Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom finals at Tougeki 2012 uses a 32-player bracket. The proposed distribution for spots is 10 for Japan, 10 international, and 12 for last-chance qualifiers. While all of Japan’s planned spots are claimed, only 7 of the international ones are known; this could be due to a lack of information of qualifier events, or simply due to a final total 7 spots. Any remaining spots will past to the last-chance qualifiers.
Here’s a detailed list of the results to the qualifiers, with information on event location, date, format and winner(s). With the exception of KVO 2012, all qualifying tournaments are singles competitions.
KVO THE ULTIMATE BATTLE 2012
Athena Nipponbashi, Osaka
May 4 (Fri)
3on3, Single-elimination, best 2 of 3 game individual player matches; Xbox 360
Kyamei (Wesker/Nova/Vergil), DIE-chan (Firebrand/Morrigan/Vergil), Chou (Wesker/Magneto/Vergil)
Event information (JP)
FINALROUNDBATS★TOKYO PIZZA CLUB//01 “HAPPY BIRTHDAY SP☆!!!”
NAKED Communications, Tokyo
May 19 (Sat)
Single-elimination, best 2 of 3 (3 of 5 Grand Finals); Xbox 360
Kusoru (Motobe Izou) (Viewtiful Joe/Frank West/Rocket Raccoon)
FINALROUNDBATS★TOKYO PIZZA CLUB//02 “MARVEL FESTIVAL ~ マーヴルお祭り!”
HOBGOBLIN Akasaka, Tokyo
June 23 (Sat)
Singe-elimination, Best 2 of 3 (3 of 5 Grand Finals) ; Xbox 360
究極人類トーナメントin大山ニュートン (Kyukyoku Jinrui Tournament in Ooyama Newton)
GAME-NEWTON Ooyama, Tokyo
July 1 (Sun)
Single-elimination pools, best 2 of 3 games; Round-robin finals, best 2 of 3 games; PS3
JEO (Morrigan/Wesker/Strider Hiryu), Frieda (Zero/Dante/Magneto)
Event information (JP)
具志堅祭 (Gushiken Matsuri)
Ketsubato U -Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3- 京都大会 (Kyoto Tournament)
FINALROUNDBATS★TOKYO PIZZA CLUB//03 “SUPER ARCADE ~ スーパーアーケード”
July 22 (Sun)
Singe-elimination, Best 2 of 3 games; Xbox 360
Mamespider (Spider-Man/Doctor Doom/Vergil)
Gulf University for Science & Technology (GUST) Main Auditorium, Mishref
July 12 (Thu)
Double-elimination, best 3 of 5 games (4 of 7 all finals); PS3
Dr. Mysterious (Wesker/Dante/Vergil), G-Voice (Wolverine/Sentinel/Phoenix)
US Southwest Region Qualifiers
*Ranmasama (Haggar/Dormammu/Sentinel, Haggar/Dormammu/Magneto) won the first qualifier but was unable to attend Tougeki.
US West Coast Region Qualifiers
Super Arcade, Walnut, California
July 21 (Sat)
2 tournaments; Double-elimination, best 3 of 5 games; Xbox 360
Justin Wong (Wolverine/Storm/Akuma), Killer Kai (Zero/Taskmaster/Wesker)
Shadowloo Night Live SBO EDITION
Qualifier Factoids, Notes, and Points of Interests
Character Usage Breakdown: A Fair Spread
Below is a simple breakdown of the winners, again organized by country.
Kyamei (Wesker/Nova/Vergil) - KVO THE ULTIMATE BATTLE 2012 (May 4)
DIE-chan (Firebrand/Morrigan/Vergil) - KVO THE ULTIMATE BATTLE 2012 (May 4)
Chou (Wesker/Magneto/Vergil) - KVO THE ULTIMATE BATTLE 2012 (May 4)
Kusoru (Viewtiful Joe/Frank West/Rocket Raccoon) – FRB★TPC//01 HAPPY BIRTHDAY SP☆!!! (May 19)
ABEGEN (Tron/Thor/She-Hulk) - FRB★TPC//02 MARVEL FESTIVAL (June 23)
JEO (Morrigan/Wesker/Strider Hiryu) - Kyukyoku Jinrui Tournament in Ooyama Newton (July 1)
Frieda (Zero/Dante/Magneto) - Kyukyoku Jinrui Tournament in Ooyama Newton (July 1)
G.X (Spencer/Hulk/Doctor Doom) - Gushiken Masturi (July 14)
kubo (Vergil/X-23/Dante) - Ketubato U -Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 Kyoto Tournament (July 15)
Mamespider (Spider-Man/Doctor Doom/Vergil) – FRB★TPC//03 SUPER ARCADE (July 22)
Dr. Mysterious (Wesker/Dante/Vergil) - Kuwait Qualifier (July 12)
G-Voice (Wolverine/Sentinel/Phoenix) - Kuwait Qualifier (July 12)
Jan (Hulk/Sentinel/Haggar) – US Southwest Region at Arcade UFO (July 14)
Mihe (Zero/Vergil/Dante) – US Southwest Region at Arcade UFO (July 15)
Justin Wong (Wolverine/Storm/Akuma) – US West Coast Region at Super Arcade (July 21)
Killer Kai (Zero/Taskmaster/Wesker) - US West Coast Region at Super Arcade (July 21)
Antman (Wesker/Vergil/Hawkeye) - Shadowloo Night Live SBO EDITION (July 21)
TOTAL: 17 players + 15(?) last-chance qualifier slots = 32 players
Now here are the numbers for the overall character usage balance, based on primary teams.
Vergil – 8
Wesker – 6
Dante – 4
Zero – 3
Doctor Doom – 2
Hulk – 2
Magneto – 2
Morrigan – 2
Sentinel – 2
Wolverine – 2
Akuma (Gouki) – 1
Firebrand (Red Arremer) – 1
Frank West – 1
Haggar – 1
Hawkeye – 1
Nova – 1
Phoenix – 1
Rocket Raccoon – 1
She-Hulk – 1
Spencer – 1
Spider-Man – 1
Storm – 1
Strider Hiryu – 1
Taskmaster – 1
Thor – 1
Tron – 1
Viewtiful Joe – 1
X-23 – 1
-Based on primary teams, 28 of the 50 characters in UMvC3 are currently represented at Tougeki 2012. With 17 known players, 51 character slots, 18 of those slots are unique to a single player, and only 4 characters have more than two appearances: Zero 3 times, Dante 4 times, Wesker 6 times, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Vergil 8 times. The Tougeki bracket is for 32 players, and with nearly half of the slots currently open, the character balance dynamic could change drastically.
-Vergil and Wesker stick out from the rest of as far as character usage. Wesker is most frequently found as a point character, the only deviations being JEO, who normally puts Wesker as a second, and Killer Kai, who keeps Albert in the “Dark Wesker” slot as anchor. In contrast, Vergil is the most popular third; Mihe, however, who uses the less common variant of the so-called “Zero May Cry” team, places Vergil in the middle, leaving the other son of Sparda Dante as anchor. Kubo also uses Dante as anchor, but puts Vergil as the starting character.
-Two players have entirely unique teams. Kusoru won the first FRB qualifier using Viewtiful Joe/Frank/West/Rocket Raccoon, the oddball team that took him to the top at FINAL ROUND XV. ABEGEN, who took the second FRB qualifier with his daring Tron/Thor/She-Hulk team. None of the other currently qualified players used any of the characters in the above teams.
-The following characters currently do not have primary team representation at Tougeki: Amaterasu, Arthur, Captain America, C.Viper, Chris, Chun-Li, Deadpool, Doctor Strange, Dormammu, Felicia, Ghost Rider, Hsien-Ko (Lei-Lei), Iron Fist, Iron Man, Jill, M.O.D.O.K., Nemesis T-Type, Phoenix Wright, Ryu, Shuma-Gorath, Super-Skrull, Trish. Perhaps the most notable omission from representation is Dormammu, who is generally regarded as a high-tier character. Jan did use Sentinel/Dormammu/Haggar as a secondary team against Ranmasama in Arcade UFO Qualifier #1 Grand Finals, and also played Captain America/Hulk/Hawkeye as a secondary in the second qualifier, in which he placed 7th. Ranmasama, who Jan replaced, also plays Dormammu.
-Another surprise is the small representation of Doctor Doom. Despite the character’s popularity and strength as both a character and an assist, only 2 of the qualified players play Doom. Both G.X and Mamespider use the Hidden Missile assist on their respective teams. Considering the widespread use of Doom in Japan, more Doom players are likely to pop up via last-change qualifiers.
-Only a single Phoenix made it through the regular qualifiers, G-Voice’s.
Event Information: Venues, Formats and Coverage
-Kyukyoku Jinrui and Gushiken Matsuri in Japan, the Arcade UFO qualifier in the US, and the Kuwait qualifier all used PlayStation 3 for the qualifiers. All other events were played on Xbox 360. Tougeki 2012 itself will be played on PS3.
-The Japanese qualifiers had a wide variety of formats. The FRB qualifiers and Gushiken Matsuri used standard single-elimination. While the vast majority of events were singles, KVO 2012 was a 3on3 team tournament, with each member of the winning team claiming a blue ticket. Kyukyoku Jinrui used a round-robin league for finals. Ketsubato U used a round-robin system for pools but double elimination for the main tournament, a common format in European fighting game tournaments. Most of the events weren’t necessarily organized specifically as Tougeki qualifiers, but rather were prior planned events with blue tickets later attached.
-All international qualifiers used a double-elimination format and, with except of the US Southwest qualifier at Arcade UFO, were best 3 of 5 game matches. The Arcade UFO qualifier, sticking close to the Tougeki rules, used best 2 of 3 games. The Australia qualifier used best 4 of 7 for grand finals, and the Kuwait qualifier was best 4 of 7 for all finals.
-Only two of Japan’s qualifiers took place in actual arcades. KVO 2012 was held at the Osaka game center Athena Nipponbashi, while Kyukyoku Jinrui took place at GAME-NEWTON Ooyama in Tokyo. Both of the US qualifiers were held in arcades, with the Arcade UFO using a custom arcade cabinet set for the console game. The venues for the other qualifiers were quite diverse, from bars to university auditoriums to photo studios.
-A week after returning from his trip to EVO 2012, UMvC3 producer Ryota Niitsuma also attended Ketubato U in Kyoto as a spectator.
-All but two of the qualifiers were streamed, both in Japan. Due to a poor network environment, Gushiken Matsuri was not streamed, though match footage was recorded. Ketubato U had a planned stream, but due to a poor connection and PC problems, beyond a test broadcast nothing was streamed or recorded. The Super Arcade qualifiers pulled in the most concurrent viewers with at least 6700.
-With the yen still being high in value, a trip to Japan can be quite costly. The 4 US qualifiers each have half of their round trip flight covered. Kuwait 1st place Dr. Mysterious won 400 Kuwaiti dinar (KWD, ~1430 USD) and 2nd place G-Voice won 200KWD (~715 USD) to help cover flight costs. Antman has his flight to and from Japan covered for winning The Shadowloo qualifier in Australia.
Players (and Lack of Players)
-Based on available entry lists and bracket information, there were at least 578 total entrants in Tougeki qualifiers: 399 from Japan, 64 (unique) from Kuwait, 102 (68 unique) from the US and at least 13 (unique) from Australia.
-Some notable players who did not attend a Tougeki qualifier include Viscant, EVO 2011 MvC3 champion, Filipino Champ (pictured above), EVO 2012 UMvC3 champion, and Rei-chan, champion of KVO x GODSGARDEN (presumably for personal reasons). As the winner of KVOxGODS, Rei-chan won a sponsored trip to this year’s EVO, but unfortunately was unable to attend. The free trip passed to 2nd place Chou, who placed just outside of the Top 8 at EVO.
-Unfortunately there was no qualifier for the US East Coast, leaving players who were unwilling or unable to travel across the country high and dry. Team Spooky’s NerdJosh of New York did travel out to the Southwest qualifier at Arcade UFO, in his best performance tying for 7th in the second qualifier.
-4 of the UMvC3 Top 32 at EVO 2012 will be at Tougeki. Justin Wong had the highest placing at 7th, Chou just below him at 9th, and Mamespider and Jan both placed 17th. Overall 10 of the qualified competed at EVO: Justin Wong, Jan, Killer Kai, Chou, Mame Spider, kubo, Shimada, G.X, ABEGEN and Antman.
-Of the 6 players who represented Team FINALROUNDBATS Japan at EVO 2012, 5 have already claimed Tougeki spots: Chou, ABEGEN, G.X, kubo and Mamespider. In addition, Kusoru and Frieda, who did not attend EVO but also repped Team FRB at FRXV, also have claimed blue tickets. The only EVO 2012 goer who is yet to qualify is Shimada.
-Mamespider (pictured above) and Gottsu both participated in all but one of the qualifiers in Japan. Mamespider didn’t attend Gushiken Matsuri, while Gottsu wasn’t a part of Ketubato U. The two faced off in Grand Finals of the final Japan qualifier, FRB★TPC “SUPER ARCADE”, which Mamespider took with a convincing 2-0 victory.
-The only player outside of Japan to play in more than one qualifier event was Fanatiq of Afterglow Elite. Fanatiq attended both US qualifiers, placing in the Top 8 in each of the tournaments, including 3rd in the first Arcade UFO tourney and 4th in the first Super Arcade qualifier, but ultimately did not claim a blue ticket.
-In the 7 double elimination tournaments, 3 players came from the losers bracket to win the tournament. Kubo came from losers to defeat SHEVA777 at Ketubato U. Justin Wong, who lost to Killer Kai in Winners Finals of the Super Arcade Qualifier #1, ran it back in Grand Finals to win 3-1, 3-2. In the qualifier immediately after, Killer Kai himself did the same to Infrit, winning 3-0, 3-1. Jan narrowly lost to Ranmasama after quickly resetting, 2-0, 1-2. All other double-elim Grand Finals matches were decided in a single set.
-Dr. Mysterious of Kuwait had the most dominating performance in qualifier, beating second place G-Voice 4-0 in both winners and grand finals. Mysterious won the Kuwait qualifier for Shadowloo Showdown 2012, and was scheduled to attend, but ultimately did not participate.
-The majority of the qualified players play on arcade stick, but Mihe of the US and Dr. Mysterious of Kuwait are both pad users. Mihe plays on a Xbox 360 controller while Dr. Mysterious uses a stock PS3 controller.
-The only player to forfeit a qualifying spot was Ranmasama of Louisiana. Due to schedule conflicts with work he was unable to attend, so his spot pasted to 2nd place Jan. G-Voice, who took 2nd in the Kuwait qualifier was at one point questionable to attend, but was able to obtain his visa and participate.
Looking Ahead to Tougeki: America’s Chance?
The Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 finals at this year’s Tougeki may the most realistic shot for the US to snag an SBO title. Historically, America’s overall performance at Tougeki has been sub-par, but its players overall are dominant in UMvC3. while the four players representing the US may not represent the nation’s absolute best, they quite strong nonetheless. Evil Geniuses’ Justin Wong is arguably is part of the top 4 in the USA. In the Road to EVO season, he won Winter Brawl, Toryuken and CEO 2012, and at EVO itself he placed just within the top 8. Jan also performed well at EVO, breaking into the top 24. While Mihe had been out of practice prior to the Southwest qualifier, he showed the power of Zero with an impressive 4th place finish at FINAL ROUND XV. Killer Kai has become one of the strongest players in SoCal at The Runback series, arguably the most competitive weekly UMvC3 tournament in US, placing 3rd overall for Season 3.
The US isn’t the only foreign nation competing, and the players from Australia and Kuwait are just as hungry. Antman tied for 5th at Shadowloo Showdown 2012, incidentally eliminated by Justin Wong. His performance at EVO was not as impressive, as he was eliminated in pools. From Kuwait, Dr. Mysterious in particular stands out due to his overwhelming dominance of the qualifier. Though he may not well-known outside of his country, he’s proven to be one of the best that Kuwait has to offer.
As for Japan, most of its strongest players are already in the competition. Kusoru seized the championship at FINAL ROUND XV in a performance that sent bigger shock waves through the Marvel community than Tokido’s victory in MvC at CEO 2011. Chou has shown his technical strength at home and abroad with wins at KUBODSGARDEN and KVO 2012 (as part of a team), a second finish at KVO x GODSGARDEN, and placing just short of Top 8 at EVO 2012. Mamespider put forth dazzling performance on stage at EVO 2012, sweeping Clockw0rk 3-0 and finishing tied for 17th overall. The other qualifiers are certainly no slouches, with unique teams like ABEGEN’s; innovators such as kubo, founder of the Kubota Escape; and powerful tactics, such as JEO’s Morrigan-Hiryu Vajra assist lockdown. With so many last-chance qualifier spots, even more of Japan’s top players are likely to qualify.
Tougeki 2012 is a part of a larger event, Game Summer Festival 2012, which will feature many other games outside of the fighters genre. As a part of the festival, the fighting game tournaments will take place outdoors. As for the UMvC3 finals, the tournament will take place on the second day of Tougeki, August 5. Like last year’s stream, this year’s Tougeki will again be a pay stream.
Sources: TOUGEKI, Amalgame TV, IPLAYWINNER, GODSGARDEN, FINALROUNDBATS, FINALROUNDBATS blog, Gostunv, Kyukyoku Jinrui, Gushiken Matsuri, bsjn (1, 2), Ketubato U, FikraKW, Shoryuken, Arcade UFO, Level|Up Series, The Shadowloo (images via Karaface, Bosslogic, ultimatewp and others)