Top Players from the East: a review

I actually haven’t finished the fourth report but Shadowloo’s stream had me gunning for the keyboard.

re: Oz
Old Timer asked about Oz playing 13. Now I didn’t see that much but he entered the team battle tournament, lost and went home. I cant remember what characters he was using apart from dlc iori and maybe dlc kyo. While effective, many of the old timers play this style, and if you watch Dakou playing at shadowloo showdown, it’s very similar, which will win against your average player but will fail against the top players using new characters such as Saiki, Duo Lon and Karate.

re: Cap
A quick special mention for another old timer, Cap looks to be potentially very strong and is picking up new characters such as K’, to add to his typical arsenary of EX Iori and errr Iori? Watching him pulverise everyone only to get blown up by Shen just shows he still needs experience of the new character setups, but definitely has the potential to bring back terror into the hearts of his opponents.

re: Tokido
As you will have seen from the SSK12 stream, Tokido hasn’t been resting on his SF laurels, and did the smart thing by picking the top tier characters in 13, picking Mr Karate and learning the strategies (something I warned Ryan Hart about, and he agreed to pick him up too, yet… evidently he didn’t have time to follow through).

However, his lack of match up experience cost him – this is partly not his own fault because everyone he played at 13 in Tokyo was using top tier characters ie Karate Iori Shen EX Kyo. It was rare to see Andy, Robert, Duo Lon, Leona, Mature, Ash and Ralf and when they were played they were either um… still learning or masters. I only saw one Billy player in Tokyo and he was not yet a master by any means. Xiaohai, who along with Dakou, know the kof98 matchups like the back of their hand, picked Billy and it was quite plain to see that Tokido had no idea what to do. This counter pick was a tide turner and the outcome could have been very different otherwise… The ‘murder face’ definitely has the potential and capability to be one of the strongest players at kof13, but his lack of match ups against the other characters will be his weakness.

re: Dakou
You’re only as good as the people you play.
Xiaohai trained with Dakou no doubt, but it seems Dakou didn’t bother to expand his characters past 98, which cost him, when it came to fight Karate. No doubt when he went up against Xiaohai he had already mentally given up as Xiaohai knows him so well. Watching Dakou play other matches, I felt really disappointed because it really did seem that he only practiced Iori’s HD combo (and probably bastardised from 2k2)- and dropped a few along the way. Not to say nobody drops combos, even Bala does, but we’re talking ggpo all time legend here. The hype for the infamous Yessterday has all been blown out for me, Dakou obviously isn’t taking 13 seriously, which is a real shame.

re: Xiaohai
Thankfully, the hype for China’s no1 kof player has now only just begun, as he did practise, and learn Karate AND Billy as a tactical backup plan which worked like a charm. Now we can begin discussing the hypothetical matchups against other famous players such as Bala and Dune. Bala and Dune won’t be fazed by any character selection so it’s down to reaction and prediction skills, and Xiaohai has evidently got both in spades. However, if his character range is still within 98, he too will fall to Duo Lon and Saiki tactics, not to mention Shen and Chin! I hope Xiaohai will take this game seriously.

re: Dune
I have to say right now I can’t see Dune being ready to compete in any majors due to his schedule with studying for the bar. You’ll see him spend a good hour beating the living hell out of me with the most efficient HD combos but when we went to Shinjuku he had serious problems with some of the players there, using you know who.

re: Oogosho
It’s quite simple. Oogosho is currently using Chin, Raiden and Daimon. He is a monster with this team, but this team is still not good enough and I’ve only seen him hit the Daimon HD combo once out of six times… yet Oogosho seems to refuse to tier whore. The price of honour is quite steep…

re: Urasia
Recent no1 on psn ranks for kof13, lag tactics didnt help in the end, getting knocked out at Shinjuku. He may well need time to re adapt to offline play.

re: Shoki
Look at this guy move. Just watch, and be reminded that KOF actually gives you a lot more mobility than you think! He has been playing with everyone and will tier whore to win. He wont save meter and uses pretty much whatever he has on stock when given an opportunity. I am almost in agreement with Toxic Avenger on this one. This guy may well be one of the best, however there is one other player…

re: Mari-chan
Winner of the Tournament at Shinjuku Carnival but lost to Shoki at Versus. Need to get some more footage but he uses sdms efficiently at long range and has Karate and Shen down pat.

To be frank, there isn’t one Japanese player that has stayed on a machine with a win streak for that long, each player has a counter player, eg: Oogosho beats everyone but Haregoro, Haregoro always loses to random Shen, Shen gets wiped out by Nagihey, who gets beat by Koukou, who gets beat by Mari, who gets beat by Shoki, who gets beat by Cap, who gets beat by Oogosho… etc etc. It’s actually early days for the Japanese KOF community, but noting the way they are playing now, and the way the Chinese are not taking it seriously, it’s going to be quite obvious which two countries will be at the finals at MLG/EVO.

As most of the Japanese players mentioned cannot afford a ticket to the USA, the worst thing will be that one of those finalists will probably not even know 13 properly.

So for me, right at this moment, the top 3 players in the world are Bala, Shoki and Mari-chan. It’s more about results than performance because everyone drops combos and goes funny in the brain at tournaments. All round knowledge of KOF13 and offline match experience is what makes these players stand out for me.

No doubt this could change next month, and as soon as Dune passes the bar (ganbatte!), perhaps we’ll see a return to form.

Next up, going to analyse some of the play at Sinaloa.

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