Analyzing Skullgirls 2nd Encore’s Tournament Performance: Dissecting CEOtaku’s Turnout

By on October 10, 2016 at 1:00 pm

The Skullgirls Community has been hard at work building themselves up over the past year. We’ve reported on the Skullgirls Community Tour that has been going on, and last week was the latest stop on Skullgirls fans’ to-do list. The event was a hit for several games, with Skullgirls’ efforts ensuring that it was the 4th biggest event of the venue, behind King of Fighters XIV, Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-, and BlazBlue: Central Fiction.

The tournament itself had very tough competition, with longtime players and Top 8 material sprinkled throughout every bracket. While–unfortunately–pools weren’t streamed, with many exciting matches having to be recorded on handheld phones, there were a few interesting circumstances that occurred just by looking at the brackets.

The first bracket didn’t have much of a surprise in the outcome. cR|SonicFox and Hirokuni make it out in Winners and Losers, respectively. Sonic didn’t appear to have much trouble, and Hirokuni, who placed Top 16 at Combo Breaker, made it through only losing to SonicFox. There was another player, iDante, who did very well for himself, making it all the way to Loser’s Finals. He is known for playing Solo Beowulf, and with solo characters being a rare sight in the upper levels of tournament play, seeing him just one step from Top 8 was interesting.

In the second bracket, Adeveis made it out in Winners and KPB|McPeanuts made it out in Losers. Adeveis made it out with a strong showing, as many expected him to despite him being very new to the tournament scene, but he wasn’t the one to put McPeanuts into Losers. McPeanuts’ team member KPB|FuLLBLeeD was actually the one who bumped him into Losers before himself being beaten by Adeveis. In the final round of Losers bracket both Kick-Punch-Block members met again, and McPeanuts managed to run it back and secure the win. McPeanuts is known and respected for his ability to analyze matches and adapt, so even without seeing this match play out one can imagine the adaptations he put into play.

The third bracket had cR|dekillsage and FNR|Cadenza making it through to Top 8. Even though in the Losers bracket, Cadenza made a very strong showing, only losing to dekillsage. He even managed to best PME twice, in winners and losers. PME made 9th place at Combo Breaker, alongside Adeveis, so this is quite the impressive feat. dekillsage is a consistently powerful performer, so his qualification in Winners came as no surprise.

The final bracket had a serious upset. keninblack made it out in Winners, and Swiftfox-Dash in Losers. keninblack had an incredibly strong showing, besting both LZ|Mr.Peck, the player who flew in from Europe to play, and Swiftfox-Dash, who consistently places Top 4 at every event he enters. I cannot recall a tournament that ever saw keninblack besting Swiftfox-Dash and both players having been entering tournaments since the very first version of the game in early 2013. This a huge achievement for keninblack, and a real testament to his improvement as a player. SwiftFox-Dash ended up in Loser’s Finals, where he took out Tommer and advanced. Tommer actually lost his second round in the tournament against SwiftFox-Dash and managed to make it through the entirety of Losers bracket, only to be knocked out by the one who put him there.

Top 8 was the only thing that CEOgaming streamed. If you would like to experience top 8 without being spoiled first, check out the archived stream here:

SonicFox started Top 8 off by knocking Adeveis into Losers pretty convincingly. The match started strongly for Adeveis, but once gaining his bearings Sonic proved why he’s the current the reigning Skullgirls Champ. At the other end of Winners was a much different story.

cR|dekillsage vs. keninblack was a very exciting match, especially with the context of them being the winner and runner up of last CEOtaku, with sage taking that set very convincingly one year ago. This time around, high off the energy of taking out SwiftFox-Dash, keninblack very nearly took the set from dekillsage, something only a handful of other players can boast about. The set ends 2-3, with Sage narrowly edging out the victory against keninblack, who was up 2-1 at one point.

Sage went on to face off against SonicFox, but is himself bested 3-0 and sent to Losers. Interestingly, Sage appears to be having a bit of a character crisis. He started off with a traditional team of Double/Fukua/Cerebella, but after losing the first two matches switched his character. He replaced Fukua with Ms.Fortune, a character he probably knows to some extent despite never making a tournament appearance. Ms.Fortune had a hard time putting in any work for him, though, and he ended up dropping some basic things and lost because of it.

Losers Bracket had some really exciting match-ups. There were a few upsets getting here, and no one really knew how it was going to play out. The first match-up was McPeanuts vs. Hirokuni. Despite a strong showing in his own bracket, Hirokuni had a difficult time dealing with Peanut’s Peacock, ultimately losing 0-3. Cadenza vs. SwiftFox-Dash was the next set. Despite losing the first match, SwiftFox managed to make adjustments and win the next three matches, eliminating Cadenza 3-1.

After getting bumped into Losers, Adeveis went up against SwiftFox-Dash. Adeveis wasn’t really able to get much started against SwiftFox, and loses 1-3. keninblack went up against KPB|McPeanuts in what was a heartbreaking set. These two are among the most liked members of the community, and a lot of people cheer for both of them when they’re up. No matter who won it would be a bit sad, but keninblack managed to take a 3-1 victory. Each match was intense and seemed like it could go either way at times, but ken advances.

After moving forward, keninblack meets the man he beat in his own pool, SwiftFox, and attempts to make magic happen once more. Similar to his set with dekillsage earlier, ken has a very strong start, being up 2-1 at one point, but just a little bit of leeway was all SwiftFox-Dash needed to run it back and take the set 3-2. Something interesting to note is that had the Skullgirls community not earlier this year decided on making all matches 3/5 instead of 2/3, keninblack would have knocked down dekillsage, and depending on how he fared against SonicFox this could have been a very different Top 8.

After advancing to Losers Finals, SwiftFox faced off against dekillsage. Sage is very confident against SwiftFox’s team, and goes to his Beowulf team. Dekillsage focuses on setups that completely shut down Peacock’s options, making it really difficult for her to get anything going. The match ends 3-1 in dekillsage’s favor, letting him advance to Grand Finals.

In Grand Finals, we see a bit more of what we saw in Winners Finals. Sage continues to use Ms.Fortune, and even takes his team structure in another direction by swapping out Double for Parasoul. Sage isn’t able to prove this team a viable choice, and loses 2 rounds in a row before making a team change. He gets rid of Fortune altogether and brings back Double. This final change to his team actually worked well for him, and he was able to solidly take the next two rounds, but the game–and the tournament–ultimately went to SonicFox.

Though the Grand Finals ended up dekillsage vs. SonicFox, as most have for the last two years, there were some really close calls. The young hero keninblack very nearly upset the entire bracket. This may merely be a sign of what’s to come, making ken a harbinger of change. Simply seeing someone other than SonicFox coming so close to beating dekillsage and SwiftFox is inspiring, and only time will tell if this blood in the water will attract and encourage others to do the same. Either way, we’ll have to wait until the next stop on the Skullgirls’ community tour to see if anything changes in who ends up in Grand Finals, which is GUTS4 in November next month.

John "Zidiane" Silvia is a big fan of classic fighters. Most well known for his efforts in the Skullgirls community, he spends his focus on approaching articles with fresh and unique perspectives. He prides himself on his passion and attention to detail on issues others rarely talk on.