Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunday Evo 2007

I just had a pretty good afternoon of practice sessions with Graham Wolfe, Alex Valle, Jason Nelson, Jason Cole, and Brian whose last name I don't know. Brian and I found Graham right after his incredible evo performance to congratulate him. We had lunch and then we got the other players together to practice. Nelson was really into money matches. He was trying to make every game a money match! We played some money matches.. I beat Nelson's Guile and Dictator with Chun li, and then lost to his Old Boxer(!), and one other match I don't remember. We ended up going 2-2. I should have just quit when I was 2 games ahead.

We played from around 3pm to 7pm, so a good four hours. The most useful for me learning wise was when the others had left to get stuff and I played Valle's Ken 1 on 1 for 20 or so games. Playing again reminded me why I think he is a level above almost everyone in natural talent. He was doing things like supercomboing my Boxer's rushes. Maybe I was being predictable, but he was doing it a lot, and a lot more than happened in Japan.

Anyways, I played a lot of Claw and Boxer against him, and I was having a pretty hard time overall, but especially against his old Ken. I felt like I had no way around the jab fireball trap. Graham and the others came back in, and I watched how Graham won. Then both Valle and Graham helped me with what I was doing wrong.. namely I wasn't punishing jab DPs with dash uppers, and I wasn't timing my jab headbutts over fireballs right. I was doing them too early and always getting swept or thrown.

With Claw, playing against Alex forced me to be really patient. After some tips from Valle, I was able to jump over his new Ken's jab fireballs, but I still had a hard time with Old Ken. The general pattern was that with both Boxer and Claw, I was being too aggressive and impatient getting over fireballs, instead of being patient and blocking. This is something that it helped to have these players point out explicitly, because in my mind, I wasn't being agressive ENOUGH! I thought I was being really defensive, but in actuality I was being overly agressive. Now that I write this, I realize that this is something I see lot of other players do too. They keep attacking when they shouldn't and get beaten bad because of it.

Thanks a lot to those players for taking the time to play. I felt like I really improved my game. At one point, someone knocked on the door and there was a crowd of like 15 or so players that wanted to play too. I'm sorry guys for turning you down. I don't mean to exclude anyone, but the whole reason we had gone to play in a private room was to avoid the ridiculous lines on console play. Also, when you want to sit and practice matchups, you only want to be playing with a handful of players, so the rotations are quick and you can get your game in right away if you lose. We had that many players on Thursday night, with the Japanese guys, and it was pretty long.

I want to write about my own performance later, but I want to write about Graham now before I forget about it. Graham played in a really inspiring way. Last night, after I was eliminated, I was feeling pretty angry and frustrated. I lost really badly to Ohnuki, and I really thought that I just could not beat him, ever. But watching Graham play completely changed my mind and my outlook. His match against Gian was incredible. I'll put a link to it here when it goes up on youtube. Gian is someone I played for YEARS and was never able to beat him with Boxer. Graham completely destroyed him. Even so, when I saw his draw against Ohnuki I knew he was going to lose. But Graham played a perfect Claw. He completely destroyed Ohnuki too. He stayed on the ground, and kept him in the corner, playing patiently, and didn't try to go for wall dives. I'm now officially a Graham Wolfe barn.

What really impressed me about Graham's play was that he thought about the match analyzed it, and then used his understanding to win. This process was very visible in the way he played. I'm reminded of the Muteki guile interview that inspired me before Evo.


Anonymous said...

Zass! Great write up! I loved it...
For the record the last name is Dawidowicz.. Yeah that is right 'D A W I D O W I C Z.'

Can't wait to play again. G. Wolfe and I landed up getting the 8.30 cab. Had a great talk about O.sagat and Rog.

It was a blast to meet you.

Brian (fatboy)

Deezo said...

Wow, that Muteki interview was hella inspiring. Actually this blog was equally inspirational. Really really makes me wanna improve for next year.