A new challenger enters the arena! This time, the Wheel of Fate turns for a brand new exhibition. In a sort of similar-but-unrelated tone to Guilty Gear‘s ongoing Tension Pulse online sets, now BlazBlue: Central Fiction warriors have a chance to shine. Provided with commentary, we’ll see two different sets grace the stage.
On one side, it’s a character Discord exhibition. We’re going to see Team Kagura face off against Team Azrael in an FT10, as well as a special FT5 between two very skilled players, Ruka and Diospyros. The event’s main organizer is Chickzama.
“So, I decided I wanted to do something to to get people hype for the upcoming patch, a fond farewell to the current version,” Chickzama told SRK. To get new people into the game and get the community involved with teams and build bonds between each other, to start conversations about match-ups or how to better one’s play.”
“This game is very near and dear to my heart, and I felt the need to do something and show why I feel the way I do. I hope with each passing exhibition I am able to convey that feeling to everyone.”
Let’s hear from the players to see what they have to say about the exhibition and the match-ups.
Team Azrael: ChaoticGamez, DanteRedGrave, ZIL
ChaoticGamez is representing Team Azrael in the responses below.
On the exhibition: “Personally, I think this exhibition is a great idea in order to get more BB content out there for more people to see. Guilty Gear, Arc’s other flagship anime fighter, has Tension Pulse. With this, I hope we can achieve the same with BlazBlue and reach that level of notoriety. When the idea was presented to me, I was more than happy to show my enthusiasm and even happier when I learned I was going to be a part of the very first exhibition.”
On his team: “Dante’s playstyle is somewhat more of a slower, yet explosive Azrael. Dante knows when it’s time to sit back and when it’s time to let loose. One to prioritize damage, he takes to ending fights quickly and painfully once he turns the switch on. Zil is an Azrael I believe to always be cranked on max. Aggression is the name of the game when he’s on the field, so expect him to find his way in quickly and lay the hurt once he’s in your face. I myself build my playstyle based on reads and punishes. I’m working on my patience, but once I get in, I gamble on my opponent panicking and dropping their defense so I can apply the killing blow.
On the match-up: “In Central Fiction, I believe Azrael vs. Kagura to be flat-out 6-4 in Azrael’s favor. Kagura has a difficult time keeping Azrael far away from him due to his poor buttons and moves as they’re more used for approaching and setting up somewhat of a vortex, which itself is subpar in this version. More often than not, overcommitting to a C button with Kagura at a not-so-far range will force him to either cancel into stance or orb. Orb can be Growlered by Azrael and stance follow-ups are risky, as Azrael has an option to deal with most all of them. However, Kagura’s reversal is a flash kick, which can actually mitigate most cross-up attempts Azrael can do as oki. Once Kagura has the corner and knockdown, he has a multitude of ways to low profile Azrael’s DP as well as options to punish wake-up backdash.”
Team Kagura: JukeBoxHaru, AWastedNinja, Hedgesledge
JukeBoxHaru speaks for Team Kagura below.
On the exhibition: “The exhibition feels like a rather spur of the moment send-off for CF1, obviously looking forward to CF2 and Jubei. I’m glad they chose a character exhibition rather than a standard tournament for this send off, since that will give people more of a banner to cheer behind for characters — rather than individual players — which is what we’re all looking forward to with CF2.”
On his team: “Hedgesledge plays a number of different characters, though I personally know him as a Ragna player. Who on Earth could say why he picked up Kagura, but it’s certainly beyond me. AWastedNinja is a Kagura Discord regular, and though I’ve never really seen him play before, I do know he’s quite the combosmith. I know he likes to do clash sequences as well as creative combos, which takes a special kind of talent if you ask me.”
On the match-up: “Kagura doesn’t have any strong matchups, and Azrael is no different. Azrael has many dangerous ways of closing in space, as well as excellent defensive tools to reset to neutral, where Kagura absolutely struggles. Azrael’s Growler Field effectively nullifies Kagura’s go-to oki setups, and his backdash is particularly dangerous because of Kagura’s long startup, long recovery attacks. On top of all of this, Azrael’s average damage matches and even surpasses Kagura’s, making the amount of mistakes each player can make roughly the same.”
On the match-up: “The character I’m going with is Tsubaki. Tsubaki is a well-rounded rushdown character with every tool. Her Drive Install allows her to manually gain stock for “EX” versions of specials. For example, 421A (fireball) is slow on start-up, but if she gains one stock and uses 421D instead, the start-up is nearly instant. While she has average tools in neutral, she may struggle against zoners, being outranged and characters capable of sliding under her 5B, which is her main poke.”
On her opponent: “I played Ruka on netplay for BBCP, but the last time I played him offline was at Anime Ascension 2017. I played a few matches against his Kagura and one match against his Es. I can’t really say too much about his playstyle, but I will say he plays cautiously, and adapting to his opponent’s play style at every turn.”
On her gameplay style: “A lot of people describe my play style as runaway neutral and ‘getting into the opponent’s head.’ For me, it’s a mix of rushdown and neutral. I don’t like to brag about myself.”
On the exhibition: “I think the exhibition is a really cool idea and definitely an awesome way to get more attention for a very exciting game, which goes underappreciated at times. The only concern I would say I have is that BB is not known for the best netplay environments. It was interesting too, since I was originally planning on playing in the actual 3v3 between team Kagura and team Azrael, but most of the team Azrael members were from East Coast. So under that, everyone believed it would best if I didn’t play in the team 3v3. Later on though, Chickzama contacted me to see if I was interested in the 1v1 FT5. I hope this first event leaves a good impression to continue this series, and settle interesting rivalries, and unveil uncommon match-ups we don’t get to see very often.”
On the match-up: “Diospyros. I can’t say I know too much about her outside that she is definitely in my opinion one of the stronger Tsubakis in the North American BB scene. I have played her in the past in netplay but that was back during the CP days. Last time, I actually got a chance to play her was at Anime Ascension 2017 in a decent set of casuals. The results pretty much went towards my favor, but I think that was primarily due to her not knowing certain key things about the Kagura match-up. I have been watching her a decent amount and she has for sure grown stronger over the past few months ever since I last saw her at Anime Ascension. So I am by no means going to underestimate her.
“In terms of the core match-up itself, I believe Kagura vs. Tsubaki is somewhere around a 4.5 – 5.5 or 4-6 in Tsubaki’s favor. Overall Tsubaki is a character with a good set of pressure tools, with a decent set of mixups. It’s also nice that the character does some good damage when she spends stock. Kagura has a few way to answer certain things as if they the Tsubaki is being negligent about their charges and fireballs he can easily Wyvern them but at the same time, he could eat a lot of damage if a Tsubaki is able to 3C that. I think what is also pretty nice about the MU is that there are certain obvious gaps in her mixup which Kagura cane easily take advantage of with hic C Fafnir. I think Kagura has a decent enough set of tools to keep her on edge and always worry about something. But yeah, overall not a bad match-up. And I feel if things seem hopeless, I may possibly switch to Es.”
On his individual playstyle: “I don’t really know how to exactly describe my playstyle since it is kind of all over the place. It is very nice having a character that is rather difficult to cross-up and can easily take advantage of gaps in a player’s blockstrings like I mentioned earlier. So I end up tip-toeing between very careful pressure especially due to that fact that Kagura is very much vulnerable to Overdrive in this game, due to having long recovery moves outside of his 5A, 2A, 5B, and 2B. And this tip-toeing of trying to be aggressive or cautious sometimes costs me matches, as I become too hesitant to take my advances when I have them, and sometimes trying to take them when I don’t have anything going for me.”
The whole shebang begins on August 12th, at 5:00 PM CT / 3:00 PM PDT / 6:00 PM EST over on Twitch.tv/logichole. Tune in at that point to begin a new chapter in North American BlazBlue: Central Fiction.
“When I went to Evo this year, I went with full intentions of retiring from FGs completely since, with no new patch, BB was nearing its expiration,” Chickzama said. “I figured, even if I’m OK with it, everyone will eventually get bored and move onto something else, it’s an OK time to put my controller down. Then Mori announced the patch and BBCTB, and all my plans went out the window. I was moved to tears, I was so happy I’d be able to play the game that I loved and have been playing for six years, for more years to come.”
Sources: interviews; Chickzama