SOULCALIBUR Asia League Finale - Southeast Asia Major 2019
SOUTHEAST ASIA MAJOR or commonly known in its nickname SEAM is considered the biggest FGC tournament in Asia which features a lot of popular fighting games. It was held in Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre at No. 1 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore. Most importantly, it is the event where the Finale of SOULCALIBUR ASIA LEAGUE was held. With 59 entrants coming from more or less 9 countries around the world, this tournament featured not only the biggest SCVI players across Asia but also introduced some big names coming from countries France, Australia and USA outside the continent.
Home Turf Defended?
Presenting an all-star cast of players from Asia, Europe and Oceania, a lot of quality matches happened even before the top 8 began and a number of notable rivalries and interesting storylines occurred during the pools. One of such is how World Invitational player OPLON | Skyll was shown to be allergic to Taiwanese when he was unsuccessful in getting his revenge against 575 and was subsequently eliminated from the tournament by another Cipher, another Taiwanese player. Well, with that meager display of performance and a 0-3 set record against Taiwanese players, maybe he should consider making challenges against anyone from now on. Furthermore, another notable storyline is how Singapore’s PG | Shen Chan got his sweet revenge against another World Invitational player GO | Keev during their EVO Japan rematch and how the latter (like his fellow French player Skyll) was pushed away from the top 8 by Japan’s PGW | Kamizono. With that in mind, here are your top 8.
Asia's Top Dogs
Finally getting rid of the players from visiting countries, the top 8 was left open for Asia players (or is it?). When the pools ended, 8 players where left standing to compete on who will be Asia’s best SOULCALIBUR VI player and for the 7th spot of the World Invitationals. The 8 participants of the SCAL finale featured four of five of the Battle Stage Champions (Tokyo Battle Stage’s Champion Shiwapon was the only one who did not make the top 8) namely: Singapore’s PG | Shen Chan, Korea’s Plruto7, Japan’s PGW | Kamizono and Taiwan’s 575. Rounding up the top 8 are Korea’s FLASHGAWD, Taiwan’s Cipher0613, Singapore’s (???) ShenLin and Japan’s World invitational player/EVO Champion SHEN | Yuttoto.
The Kamizono|FLASHGAWD Trilogy
The Winner’s top 8 set ended fast with Yuttoto showing his Voldo prowess against 575’s Nightmare in which the latter had no answer whatsoever and PG | Shen Chan accomplishing another of his revenge assignments against Plruto’s version of Nightmare.
The next match, on the other hand, had shown a much more competitive battle.
Starting the loser’s top 8 is a rematch between Thailand Battle Stage Champion Kamizono and Korea’s FLASHGAWD. The last time these two players faced was in the Tokyo Battle Stage which ended in Kamizono’s Seong Mi-Na dominating FLASHGAWD’s Azwel and EVO 2019 where Kamizono is the player who eliminated FLASHGAWD out of the tournament. FLASHGAWD, adapting from his previous two losses against Kamizono, had chosen a different character to match his opponent’s Seong Mi-Na…2B. Considering the opposite playstyle’s of each of their character, this match was one of the most interesting fights of the tournament.
First match, FLASHGAWD started fast attacking his opponent with 2B’s barrage of attacks during the early rounds. Although Kamizono tried to stop the hurt getting away from the onslaught, his opponent’s 2B was just too fast in closing the distance and overwhelmed him in close range which was his character’s weakness. After a good showing by FLASHGAWD, he got the set win. Another win and he will finally get his revenge and advance to the next round.
Second match started to be the same as FLASHGAWD tried to overwhelm his opponent again with 2B’s offense during the first round. However, Kamizono was prepared and after countering a 2B jump with Seong Mi-Na’s jump attack, he continued it with combo that led to his RO win (and an awkward Ring Out animation from 2B). The next rounds were then an exchange of blows between the two reaching a match set 2-2. During the last match, both players dished out each of their Soul Charge to put pain into the other. In the end, Kamizono won the match adapting his play by whiff punishing his opponents with Seong Mi-Na’s superior range and more damaging attacks.
Frustrated from his loss, FLASHGAWD attacked his opponent right at the get go while making perfect back dashes and jump to dodge his opponents counters which resulted into a perfect win. However, Kamizono returned the favor by getting his own perfect win during the second round by using Seong Mi-Na’s attacks to disrupt his opponent’s attempts in initiating pressure. Third match was taken by Kamizono showing that he adapted to his opponent’s attacks. Fourth round was taken back by FLASHGAWD but at the cost of using an SC gauge. During the last match, after an exchange of Soul Charge blows between the two, FLASHGAWD had a slight lead in the health department. However, Kamizono had another gauge for him to use which he did to take the life advantage. Now with both player one combo away from the winning the match, an exchange of pokes happened between the two before Kamizono was able to back dash and with perfect range and timing, was able to hit his opponent with Seong Mi-Na’s patented vertical low. At the end of the match, it was another win for Kamizono and another loss for FLASHGAWD in their continuing rivalry.
The Fake Shen
Of all the Asians battling out during the top 8, one stands out the most from looking more like a foreigner than a Singaporean (although his player name and flag says otherwise) and that is Singapore’s ShenLin. But even with his questionable looks and nationality, one thing is for certain, he and his Siegfried made sure that everyone will remember him.
His first match was up against Taiwan’s Cipher0613 who was known during the tournament as the one who ousted Skyll out of the tournament. Their first match was close between the two reaching a standstill set of 2-2. But with ShenLin having 2 full gauges during their finals match, he did not waste time to use the said gauges to have the advantage and hit his opponent with an aGa to win the match set. The second set started out dominantly by ShenLin winning two straight. But Cipher, showing his Geralt expertise, slowly but surely grinded out the next two to even the match set 2-2. With the final match starting similar with ShenLin having 2 full gauges, Cipher made sure to not make any mistakes to give his opponent a chance of countering him with a critical edge. Using patience and unbreakable defense, Cipher was able to clutch out a win to have another chance for a scramble against ShenLin. Their last match again reached an even 2-2 set with both players reaching the last round with 2 full gauges. ShenLin started the round getting crucial hits which made his opponent reach more or less 50%. With 2 full gauges, ShenLin made sure to make it worth by hitting Cipher with two straight critical edges to win the match and advance to the next round.
His next match would be a lore match when his Siegfried will battle it out against the Nightmare of Taipei Battle Stage Champion Plruto. Considering the caliber of his next opponent, this match will be more than a challenge for ShenLin. Their first match started to be in Plruto’s advantage when he got two straight comeback wins against ShenLin. But the unfazed ShenLin played the next three rounds slowly and cautiously to avoid another comeback loss and won the first set. Continuing the same strategy, he outplayed Plruto7’s Nightmare during the next set ending it with another Siegfried Critical Edge finish and a GG embrace to his opponent.
Meanwhile on the other set, Thailand Battle Stage Champion Kamizono just won a one-sided match against the Nightmare and Cassandra of his fellow battle stage champion 575. Thus, only four fighters remain.
BATTLE OF ASIA'S BEST
Starting out the top 4 is in the winner’s side where Shen Chan will be facing against none other than EVO champ himself Shen | Yuttoto. With such a big shadow standing in his way in winning the tournament and getting a spot for the World Invitationals, can Shen Chan defeat the player considered by most as the best SCVI player so far? Yes, he almost did it.
Set 1 – After an exchange of blows which featured high level of neutral, defense and pokes between the two during the first round, Yuttoto proved he was the better one and won the round. He continued his dominance during the 2nd Round, but Shen Chan, finding an opportunity, was able to surprise RO his opponent to take back the round. Shen Chan then reversed the match in his favor by beating his opponent in the next two rounds with flawless display of neutrals and spacing that not only matched but also surpassed Yuttoto’s Voldo.
Set 2 – Continuing his perfect display and mastery of Cervantes, Shen Chan did what only a handful of people could do, sweeping Yuttoto himself 3-0 and pushing the EVO champion’s back to the wall. Considering Shen Chan’s dominance, who could even beat him now?
Finding no other option to beat his opponent using Voldo, Yuttoto did something that no one expected him to ever do…he decided to play Azwel against Shen Chan! Considered by most as THE “Azwel-killer” or “Hero of the low-tiers”, Yuttoto lowered himself by using the best (and currently most hated might I add) character in SCVI to match Shen Chan’s Cervantes. Even if it sickens me, I won’t blame Yuttoto though. Considering how much of a monster Shen Chan was, the overpowered Azwel might have been the only answer to beat him.
Regardless, with such an adjustment, Shen Chan was not only surprised but gave a worrying and disappointed reaction with such unexpected turn of events. Not only was he facing THE EVO Champion, he was also facing a character which could be considered as the worse matchup for Cervantes. Considering this, Yuttoto unsurprisingly defeated Shen Chan (who was in low morale) with ease for three straight sets to get to the Grand Finals.
Regardless of what happened, the show must go on.
Moving on is the loser’s semis between ShenLin and Kamizono. Obviously good friends, their fights say otherwise. First match started to be an exchange of blows which Kamizono won with a clutch hit. However, ShenLin got a quick round win after his opponent with Siegfried’s devastating wall combo. Third round ShenLin stopped Kamizono’s comeback attempt by breaking the latter’s guard and ending it with a subsequent attack. A close fourth round came next between the two which Kamizono again clutched out by whiff punishing his opponent. Despite his opponent having 2 full gauges in the last round, Kamizono was unfazed and using his normal strat of taking his distance and whiff punishing his opponent when the opportunity strikes, He ended the first set with a win after hitting his opponent with a grab.
A stream problem suddenly occurred which skipped out their next set. But considering their match set stands at 1-1 and how quick it happened, we could say that ShenLin dominated their 2nd set. Going into the final set, ShenLin won the first round by successfully hitting his opponent with a classic flapjack into an RO win. Next round started to be dominated by Kamizono. However, despite being one hit away from losing the round, ShenLin made a massive comeback critical edge to steal the round from his opponent. Making sure to finish the set, ShenLin attacked his opponent non-stop. Kamizono then tried to fight back activating his character’s Soul Charge. But with a well-timed side step, ShenLin countered hit his opponent and ought to finish the match, adding another battle stage champion defeated in his list of victims.
Battle of the Shens
ShenLin’s next opponent is another battle stage champion and fellow Singaporean (?) Shen Chan. Considering the player ShenLin defeated to reach the loser’s finals, will this battle stage champion killer add Shen Chan to his list? Turns out, Shen Chan was a much different player than his previous opponents.
Their first match began an intense display of gimmicks between the two characters popping off against each other. The action then started with a back grab from ShenLin. However, Shen Chan, showing that he wants his rematch against Yuttoto, dominated ShenLin through the next three rounds with an RO win, 2k win and hit punishing his opponents wild critical edge attempt, respectively.
Second match began with ShenLin controlling the pace, overwhelming Shen Chan with Siegfried’s offense in order to get the quick win. However, Shen Chan immediately got his composure back and dominated his opponent the next round reading every move and countering everything the latter gives him. Shen Chan continued the pressure in the third round and got the victory by successively poking his opponent to death. Shen Chan’s domination was still in full effect in the fourth round showing his knowledge of the Siegfried Matchup. He won the next set 3-1.
With his full display of domination in the first two sets, everyone expected Shen Chan would cakewalk the final set. ShenLin, however, had another thing in mind. After giving out an Azwel scare to his opponent, ShenLin decided to finish the tournament with his main Siegfried.
Adjusting his game to a more spacing and defensive oriented gameplay during the third match, ShenLin challenged Shen Chan in the mind games and won the first round. Although ShenLin started out dominating the second round, his momentum was suddenly stopped by a rising B from Shen Chan into a CE. The next two rounds was then an exchange of wins between the two. In the last round, ShenLin was able to win it when he brought Shen Chan to the wall and pressured him until the latter was defeated.
With both players applying the same strategy during the fourth match, the same turned out an even exchange of blows and mind games between the two which turned out in favor of ShenLin, getting another get go to have a final match against Shen Chan.
Shen Chan showed that he was hungrier than his opponent during their fifth match, ending the first round dominating his opponent and continuing the same in the second round. Looking like a straight win for Shen Chan, ShenLin fought back showing his previous wins was not a fluke by beating Shen Chan without using a meter in the third round and winning the fourth round by a side throw to his opponent. With such emotions and pressure for both players, the final match began…Not wanting to have another disappointing loss, Shen Chan attacked his opponent with his peerless neutral game and finally ending the match with a kick to the face. Thus his rematch against Yuttoto came…
Although reigning Weapon Master and EVO Champion Yuttoto might have made one of the biggest heel turn (or betrayal) of the event, no one will still question his talent and skills as a SOULCALIBUR VI player. Before using this so-called Savior of the Human Race, he was just easily getting through pass anyone he faced up to the winner’s finals with his Voldo. If not for Shen Chan dominating his Voldo and cornering him with no room to escape, Yuttoto had no choice to but to use his pocket Azwel to beat his overwhelming opponent.
Facing Shen Chan again in the Grand Finals, he did not think twice to use Azwel again for the finale. First match began with an even display of neutral game between the two. Although Yuttoto as obviously in advantage using such a strong character, Shen Chan still clutched out the round beating his opponent with a hit after a well-timed Guard Impact. But even with all his efforts, Azwel is just too powerful for Shen Chan’s Cervantes. Combining Yuttoto’s flawless game with Azwel’s overpowered moves, he never needed to use any gauge to win three straight against his opponent.
Shen Chan made a surprising move on his own during their second round changing his character to Kilik. Although not entirely an anti-Azwel Match up, Shen Chan surprisingly played better with Kilik against Azwel, managing to beat him in the first round. Yuttoto then continued to put pressure to Shen Chan and got the next two rounds. Shen Chan, stayed with his tactic of using Kilik’s fast pokes to hit Azwel in-between his mix-ups proved effective and he was able to get back the fourth round. In the fifth, Shen Chan finally got his first set win against Yuttoto’s Azwel when made a critical edge after a side step.
With such rejuvenated energy, Its looking possible for Shen Chan to make the comeback. But…
Yuttoto using an Azwel was just too much for him. The last two sets featured a battle between an big gap between a low tier character to a high tier one. Although Shen Chan tried his best to go toe-to-toe with Azwel, it was not meant to be. His journey ended with another loss to Azwel. Yuttoto, an already world invitational player, won the SOULCALIBUR ASIA LEAGUE FINALE and proved that his soul burned the brightest within Asia. Congratulations! With the win, not only Yuttoto proved he is the best player in Asia but also further cemented his already solid bid as the World’s best SOULCALIBUR VI player.
A Fun Ride...
Ignoring the fact the finale ended into an anticlimactic manner, the whole Asia League was still a long, memorable and fun ride to everyone who participated. It featured some of the unknown talents Asia was hiding unlike other continents which featured more tournaments. Regardless, questions still remains on who will now get the 7th spot in the World Invitationals now that Yuttoto won SEA Major. One of the tournament’s host, Markman stated that at such event an already invited player wins SEAM, another spot will open up for the Last Chance Qualifier participants. However, such news was pretty sudden and might not have been originally planned by the organizers. Whatever happens, the next big event for SOULCALIBUR VI will be the World invitationals which will feature the game’s best of the best.
Brackets links :
Top 16/Top 8: https://versusasia.challonge.com/SCALSG2019TOP16
BIG THANKS TO THE COMMENTATORS!
— ゆっとと@御剣駆逐おじさん (@upipon) October 13, 2019