If you are unsure whether you want to go to a major or not. This personal story is meant to convince you to go.
I just got back from my first major! Norcal regionals was an awesome experience and I cannot wait for next year. I managed to get 4th place in the Skullgirls side tournament, play a ton of UMVC3, and meet some awesome new people while also getting to hang out with some very cool players.
I had been practicing Marvel and Skullgirls for the past couple weeks nonstop and got myself to a point of consistency where I felt I could at least compete and set out for a couple of goals. My goal for Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 was to at least win one set in pools and to win at least two sets in skullgirls. These goals were not too high but I wanted to make sure I set something that was attainable and would help motivate me to make that first big step into the major scene.
Although this was my first major, I have attended tons and tons of local tournaments but I just had not made it out to one of the big events for whatever reason. Now that I went I really want to go to more majors soon. I now understand post tournament depression because immediately after I got home I had to do homework after my weekend of fun…
I woke up on Friday morning at 7am to head out to the Amtrak which I took from San Jose to Sacramento (SAC). When I arrived at around noon the first thing I did was drop my bags off in the hotel check in, grab my stick, and go straight to get my badge. The badge pickup was simple. I gave them my name and they crossed me off and handed me my “Fighter” badge since I had already pre-registered online for Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Skullgirls. Then I headed into the game area and went straight over to where they were having UMVC3 casuals. I went to one of the setups and asked to get in next. I played against a guy who was playing Spencer-Doom-Vergil and I got bodied super hard. I could barely take a character off him. This is common but it defiantly made me feel a little bit unprepared. Then he left and I played against another guy who also bodied me, forgot who he was playing but I know I was losing. Apparently the first guy I was against was Kyle P. who made top 8 for Marvel. Basically what I am getting at here is even though I was getting bodied in casuals I still didn’t feel discouraged and I didn’t know that who I was playing was one of the best players in the venue. That is pretty exciting to think about. So I took my losses and I am ready to keep practicing up until the next tournament I will attend.
I then met up with pokken player Zyflair and we went to grab some lunch at a nearby coffee shop. When we got back to the venue it was almost time for pokken to start so we hung around the area that that was going to be held at while things were being set up. The South Bay pokken players are super chill and put on some extremely impressive pokken play at some local events and a few of them tore it up at NCR like Zyflair, who ended up getting 7th place so congrats to him on his great performance.
After that I met up with my friends Jawnsunn (3rd in skullgirls) and PleasureThatCutsWind (2nd in skullgirls). Then we walked around and tried out Fantasy Strike which is a cool game that intends to make a more simplistic fighting game control layout while still demanding fundamental skills to play the game. It was super enjoyable and I definitely recommend you check out the game (link below).
I watched a bit of pokken pools then I went to go check into our room with my good friend Clawmaster who put on and commentated our awesome Skullgirls tournament. I stayed with him and DawnHibiki (who was first place in the SGs tournament). At around 5:30pm I headed over to the Marvel area to wait for pools which started at 6pm and I chatted with my friend Timtastic who had been paired up with Justin Wong his first round. That’s one of those things that I feel like I would think “oh man, I am guaranteed to lose first round BUT I GET TO PLAY VS JUSTIN FREAKING WONG!!!” Timtastic described it as a good loss since he wasn’t just losing to some random which I think is a good way to look at it.
Next I played my matches in UMVC3. My first set I got 3-0ed but it was a good set and a few pretty visible mistakes in my play cost me the games. My opponent gave me tons of respect in our set and we shook hands after. I enjoyed how much respect I was able to receive and give over the weekend. It was really cool to get to play against players who where so much better than me. Every game I played I felt I could take something from it and I felt myself adapting to new things and polishing up my movement and spacing. The next game in losers I lost 2-3 and it was a pretty close set. My opponent was playing a Firebrand- Amatarasu team that focused on unblock able setups. Its cheap but I know I could have approached many aspects better and a few key drops caused me to lose the games I did. We shook hands and that was my Marvel tournament. My take away is that I have been practicing a lot and felt happy with my performance and see clear places to improve. I will keep practicing.
Now is where I would get to actually win some games. Skullgirls was getting setup with a few hiccups such as a lack of a monitor and having to wait for Killer Instinct to finish. While everything was being setup we all played some casuals on laptops. Then, the tournament started. I won my first match 3-0 and wanted to try my best to give that player similar respect to the players who beat me in UMVC3 earlier and shook his hand. Then I won the next match and did the same thing. The next set I played on stream against DawnHibiki. He 3-0ed me but I did manage to put some pressure on him. The following set was against a player that lives nearby me and I didn’t even know it! I beat him and he tells me he wants to improve so I am super excited that I met a nearby player. Actually, several of the players where close to where I live in South bay which means that I can start focusing some locals on Skullgirls which is very exciting.
Ok on to the next match. I think this set was easily one of the best in the tournament and was a frustrating loss that I received but my opponent well deserved the win. My opponent was Jawnsunn and it had been a while since I had played versus him. He revealed the swords of revealing light to the stream. Then we started our first match and I was playing the team I had been playing all tournament which was RoboFortune- Squigly and he took that down with no trouble. After seeing that he had improved immensely and had brought his A game to NCR I knew I had to switch teams. I switched to my older main team which is Parasoul- RoboFortune- Fukua. I won the next game pretty convincingly and then the next game was pretty close but I took it. The game after that was close but Jawnsunn took it. Now we where both on tournament life and this is the moment in tournaments that we live for. Close set with a close last game. This game was super close. I was down to a low health robo and fukua and he was down to a low life Fillia. I got the hit on Fillia and I dropped the combo. I should have waited and blocked but I wanted to apply pressure. I called my assist and tried to go in but Jawnsunn had the answer. He reacted with Fillia’s level 3 reversal super and both my characters died. It took me a second and then I was like shit. It was salty but it was a super good set and Jawnsunn had the right answer in that high pressure situation.
After that I got a chance to commentate the last two sets of the tournament which was a lot of fun. That ends my Skullgirls tournament.
The next part of the evening… or at this point, it was night, was very eventful. Me and a few of the Skullgirls players went outside to find a restaurant and we ended up ubering to Denny’s. We ate and then ubered back. As we were pulling up to the hotel we noticed that there were like four fire trucks at the side of the hotel!!! We were very confused and had no idea what was going on. There didn’t seem to be anything stopping us from going inside so it seemed like nothing was wrong, or whatever had been wrong was no longer an issue. Apparently there was flooding throughout the top floors of the hotel! We weren’t supposed to go upstairs if we were floor 11 and above but we wanted to see if we needed to get stuff from our room (we were floor 15). Since no one was blocking anywhere we assumed it was safe (which it was). The elevators were off limits at the moment so we went to go up the stairs. The stairs had water running all down them! It was like a waterfall so we didn’t want to go up that if we didn’t want to get soaked. We found the “Staff only” stairs and they were all clear. We walked up all 15 levels and when we got to our floor there were firemen cleaning up water so we waited about 15 minutes to let them finish up. Then we walked over to our room. Luckily our room was dry, we think the sprinklers went off since there was a bit of wetness around those areas. Someone tweeted that there had been a fire in the upper level and maybe the flooding came from that fire being put out by the fire trucks. That would explain the sprinklers. So that was exciting.
After that I went down to the venue to play some late night Marvel until around 4am. When we woke up we hung out and played some games. We went downstairs, I tried the other indie game that was there called Punch Planet. That game was far less exciting than Fantasy Strike. The rest of the weekend was pretty relaxed. On Saturday night I was hella tired but I had a 51/50 energy drink that they were giving out free in the game room and that kept me up for the next 5 hours. Sunday I woke up and went home.
Norcal Regionals was my first real major tournament experience and I enjoyed it a lot. If you are leaning towards going to a major I would highly recommend you go. I was a bit worried I wouldn’t enjoy myself but I was very happy that I did go. It even has encouraged me to go to Evo this year. Majors are definitely worth the trip.
https://www.twitch.tv/videos/135671108 Skullgirls starts at about 4:14:00. Me vs Jawnsunn is at 5:27:00 and I commentate after that.