January 30, 2019

The Japan Capcom Street Fighter League powered by RAGE

1 What is the Japan Street Fighter League powered by RAGE?

2019-01-26 JP Street Fighter League Team Captains

Back at Tokyo Game Show 2018, one of the announcements was a Street Fighter V team three on three league. The Japanese version has three classes of members, one on each team. I wrote about the team composition in a post about the Beginner Class selection, and also mentioned the High Class member selection process in another blog post. Here is the basic information though.

Each team will have one of:

The team play will take place in January and February of 2019. The team captains drafted team members in the Team Draft show streamed on OpenRec.tv on January 26th. I haven't seen too much about this - except for some HiFightTH clips that were likely hard to understand without more context. I don't mean to throw shade on HiFightTH - the guy is amazing and you should support him on Patreon if you have the ability.

How does the tournament work? The teams accumulate points during round robin League play. The three teams with the highest point total advance on to the Grand Finals. Players in each respective class play each other, and point values differ based on that. Each set is a first to two.

  • Beginner Class FT2 winner scores their team 1 point
  • High Class FT2 winner scores their team 2 points
  • Extreme Class FT2 winner scores their team 3 points

Note that because of this, there really is a balance between teaching the team members, and just trying to coast by on the individual performance of the team captain. It is likely that the win rate (well, I guess I should talk to The Game Twok or finish reading Fighting With Numbers 2019 first) for the team captains will be around 50%, so if they can focus and teach their team members to consistently win, that is a probably an easier path to points than trying to train to beat the other pros more consistently. There is relative strength in the different captains, but I'm convinced this structure makes the Beginner and High class members important as well.

1.1 League Rules

This league is a three person to a team, round robin tournament style league. Each team will play 10 sets (facing each other team 2 times). This composes the normal league play. Based on the results from the normal league play, the top three scoring teams will advance on to a Playoff Tournament to decide the final standings.

Each team consists of three people, including the team leader (I'll call them Captain). Each battle is a first to two, and the winner of the FT2 wins one match.

A complete set consists of a team battle between the vanguard (beginner class), the center (high class), and the captain (extreme class), where each class fights the opposing team's member of the same class.

  • The battle settings are Versus Mode, 1 round is a 99 count, and three rounds.
  • Stage selection is random, with Kanzuki Beach, The Grid, Flamenco Tavern, and Skies of Honor banned.
  • Rainbow Mika's Cheerleader / Pom Pom outfit is banned.
  • Each player provides their own stick or pad.
  • No auto-fire or macro capabilities are allowed for controllers.
  • If there is some problem with the controllers the players provide, the organizers will provide a controller.
  • You can use custom controllers but they need to conform to the basic capability of a stock controller (no rapid fire / macros / etc.)
  • If there are problems during the match, to the best of one's capability, the situation before the problem occurred will be re-created for play to continue from that point. If that is not possible, the organizers and teams will confer, and may decide to re-run the match.
  • The organizers will decide which team is on which side. [TL Note: This may be important for the Beginner class members.]
  • You can not changes sides during a SET.
  • Each team must tell the organizers which character and sub character they will use on their team an hour before the match.
  • Players must use only the characters that they informed the organizers about (multiple characters allowed).
  • Before the match judges will confirm that the selected characters are the ones that have been submitted prior to the match.
  • If there is no problem with character selection, each player declares their V trigger selection to the judge, and the game will start once the judge confirms selection.
  • After a Battle, players may change their character and/or V trigger. The winner player can not change characters, but may change their V-trigger.
  • If there is a PS button, share button, etc. pressed during the match, the side who pressed it will lose the round. If the button is pressed after victory is assured, then it can be ignored. Some various other mumbo jumbo around how that is decided, all pretty standard stuff.

Each time will win points for every match their team wins, called Victory Points. The number of points depends on the class of the players. The beginner matches are worth one point, the high class matches are worth two points, and the extreme class matches are worth three points. The standings will be determined by total number of Victory Points. In cases where there are ties, the standings will be settles by:

  1. Number of Victory Points
  2. Number of Matches won
  3. Number of Battles won
  4. Number of rounds won

After normal league play is done, the top three scoring teams will advance on to the "Grand Final" Playoff Tournament.

If a team has a player absent, that player forfeits, and the opposing team wins points in a straight count: 4 rounds, 2 battles, 1 match, and the Victory Points for that forfeiture.

If there is a draw game, the battles and rounds for that set will be ignored, and the set will be run again.

1.2 Special Rule "FINAL ACT"

If there is one set where the number of Matches won is a runaway victory 3-0 for one of the teams, the FINAL ACT special rule will be invoked, or as the machine translated version puts it, "The crying time final act". In this special match, the winning team's Captain (Extreme Class) will go up against either the Beginner class or High class member of the losing team. The losing team can decide which class will go up. If the beginner class is chosen, the beginner class member and the extreme class member will have a single round match. If the extreme class member is chosen, they will have a normal two round battle. In either case, if the losing team's beginner or extreme class member wins, the losing team will receive 3 Victory Points.

If there is a draw game in the FINAL ACT, that will count as a loss for the Extreme class member's team.

1.3 Grand Finals

There is some information about the Grand Finals in the detailed rules PDF. The Grand Finals will be decided by Victory Points, with a maximum of 5 Sets played, and the first team to win 3 Sets will be the victor. The "FINAL ACT" rule will not be applied in the Grand Finals. Seeding in the Grand Finals will be decided by points gathered in regular tournament play.

1.4 Prize Pool

The total prize pool for the league is 5,000,000 yen, about $45,735 USD. The prize distribution is:

  • 1st place: 3,000,000yen, about $27,440 USD.
  • 2nd place: 1,000,000yen, about $9,150 USD.
  • 3rd place: 500,000yen, about $4,500 USD.
  • 4th place: 250,000yen, about $2,300 USD.
  • 5th place: 150,000yen, about $1,370 USD.
  • 6th place: 100,000yen, about $915 USD.

2 2019 Street Fighter League powered by RAGE Schedule

The main Street Fighter League page has a great table of the upcoming shows (click 番組情報).

The AbemaTV links are free when the show is live, and after a week or two the archives are free as well. I believe OpenRec is free to stream live as well.

Date Section Stream Comments
2019-01-26 Sat. Draft AbemaTV OpenRec See the next section for my summary
2019-02-01 Sat. 1 AbemaTV OpenRec 9pm JST / 7am Sat. EST / 4am PST
2019-02-02 Sun. 2 AbemaTV OpenRec 9pm JST / 7am Sat. EST / 4am PST
2019-02-09 Sat. 3 AbemaTV OpenRec 9pm JST / 7am Sat. EST / 4am PST
2019-02-10 Sun. 4 AbemaTV OpenRec 9pm JST / 7am Sat. EST / 4am PST
2019-02-23 Sat. 5 AbemaTV OpenRec 9pm JST / 7am Sat. EST / 4am PST
2019-02-24 Sun. 6 AbemaTV OpenRec 9pm JST / 7am Sat. EST / 4am PST
2019-03-02 Sat. 7   9pm JST / 7am Sat. EST / 4am PST
2019-03-03 Sun. 8   9pm JST / 7am Sat. EST / 4am PST
2019-03-09 Sat. 9   9pm JST / 7am Sat. EST / 4am PST
2019-03-10 Sun. 10   9pm JST / 7am Sat. EST / 4am PST
2019-03-21 Thu. Finals   1pm to 7pm JST (8pm - 2am PST) Ticket will be available for a live audience, at Akihabara UDX Akiba Square from LivePocket from Feb. 14th 11am, 2778yen or 9259yen for a premium ticket with a hoodie.

3 2019-01-26 Street Fighter League Team Draft

2019-01-26 JP SFL Draft Daigo isn't ready to answer

The team Draft took place on Saturday, Jan. 26th, from 9pm JST. You can watch from the OpenRec.tv archive of the SFL Draft. The six teams are

  • Nemo Aurora
  • Itazan Ocean
  • Fuudo Gaia
  • Umehara Gold
  • Mago Scarlet
  • Tokido Flame

If you watched the Street Fighter All Star League Powered by RAGE last year, you'll notice that some of the team Captains and colors remain the same (Nemo, Itazan, Umehara, Tokido) with two new additions. I'm surprised they didn't pull Gachi-kun to captain one of the teams actually.

As the MCs introduce the rules, we got a bit more information about how the team battle will work. The team battle pits each class against each other, so when the teams play, the Beginner will play the Beginner, the High Class member will play the other team's High Class member, and the two Extreme Class members will play each other. All of these are First to Two matches. The team accumulates points for each win, 1 point for a Beginner win, 2 points for a High Class win, and 3 points for an Extreme Class win. At the end of the League play, a total of 10 sessions scheduled, the top 3 teams with the highest point total will move on to the Grand Finals to be held at the end of March.

Ayako Hatta asks each of the captains to talk a little bit about the type of team that they want to have. First up is Nemo Aurora. If you watched the RAGE Street Fighter V All★Star League powered by Capcom in 2018, or read my summary of it, you might remember that Nemo's Aurora team had a reputation as a "Black Company" - a term used for companies that treat their employees very badly. The Sentimental Typhoon had a great tweet at the time explaining the background. So, when Ayako asks Nemo about his conception for his team this time around, she prefaced it with "You had the reputation last time of being a very strict (harsh) team leader, some might even say a Dictator. So what do you want this time?" Nemo replies: "People who obey my orders." After the laughter dies down, he says that last time he had impertinent players on his team (Storm Kubo and Kazunoko), and he wants people who will take orders. This whole exchange was very funny to me - pay close attention to Mago, as well as Hameko trying hard not to crack.

Ayako asks Itabashi Zangief about his team, mentioning that he chose two unsponsored players (Gachi-kun and Machabo) who both did very well later in the year, and they won. He says that he thinks he was right in choosing to have a "white" team, and they proved they were right. Here, the white is in direct opposition to Nemo's "Black" team. If you don't know, Nemo and Itazan have a storied history of a relationship, see another great tweet thread by The Sentimental Typhoon on the topic, or maybe this Kotaku article or a few others you can find by googling "Nemo Itabashi Zangief rivalry". He goes on to say that he wants to have a similar team this time.

Next, Ayako talks to Fuudo. She says that he was on Tokido's team in the RAGE All Stars league, but now he is on his own, and wants to know what kind of team that he wants to have. He says that he wants to emphasize having fun and for things to be easy, but he plans to choose his teammates based on their strength. Note how Daigo suddenly seems to realize halfway through Fuudo's interview that he now has to answer a question about his team, and he looks completely unprepared for such an unexpected thing to happen (sarcasm here.)

Ayako asks Daigo whether it is easier for him to teach people about a character that he knows well? Daigo says that surprisingly, he hasn't ever really taught anyone about fighting games. That seems to directly contradict everything I've heard about how he prepped for Kemonomichi by teaching Otani how to use Akuma, but he might be talking about teaching someone who doesn't really know fighting games to start with. Or, in typical Daigo fashion, he's just not really completely there for the interview and isn't really thinking too carefully about what he says. I can never tell with that guy. The chat on OpenRec, by the way, is totally going nuts too (what? lolololo really? What about Otani!? Or people talking about the Fire Emblem game he's been streaming lately, just going nuts.) He says it will be a good experience to seriously teach someone, and he is looking forward to see how much growth he can see in his teammates. Ayako says everyone watching is excited to see him teach, and he's kind of like oh yeah, ok, great.

Ayako says that Mago is said to be a good teacher, and he replies that he has more experience than any of the others teaching people from beginners to higher levels about fighting games. For context, on most Thursdays there is a weekly SFV gathering at Red Bull Gaming Sphere in Nakano where Mago runs a session teaching beginners about the game. That said, Fuudo also does a lot of teaching on JikokenTV, which is also often run out of Red Bull Gaming Sphere in Nakano on Thursdays. So Mago says that he is confident in his teaching ability and that his team will do well in the league. He says that in a short period of time, he's good at helping people out and that plays to his strengths. He wants his team to have fun, and be able to continue to play the game.

Finally, Tokido is last. Ayako asks Tokido how he will choose his team members this time. He says "This time I want to choose players, without making any compromise, that can win." When Ayako asks what he means by that, he says that last time (RAGE Street Fighter V All Stars League powered by Capcom) he was able to choose a strong player for the first person on his team (Fuudo) but then for the third member had to make a compromise. Watch Mago carefully, since he was the third player on Tokido Flame. Tokido continues "For this tournament, I want to choose someone who has a really strong will to win the tournament." Standing right next to him, Mago asks "What kind of compromise did you make?" Tokido says "We'll talk about that later. Anyway, this time, I don't want to make any compromises." Aya: you want to choose the players you want? Tokido: I want to choose a team that can win. Mago: You had to comprise before? Tokido: Yes, lots of compromising. No compromises this time! And those three people are here now, and in particular I do not want to lose to this guy (points at Mago.) Mago: As far as I remember, we lost as a team. It's because he's just bad at teaching. Tokido: You might be right about that. Aya: Did you ever give teach them during the matches? Tokido: well, uh…

So there is a lot of fun stuff going on in the interactions between the captains, which is something I really liked from the RAGE All Stars League too.

3.1 Extreme Class draft

2019-01-26 JP Street Fighter League Draft
2019-01-26 JP SFL Draft - Extreme Class Captain Preferences

Each of the teams need to draft one High Class member, and one Beginner class member. The field of High Class members draws from a pool of 11 candidates, each with their own established main and playstyle. There has been plenty of footage for the captains to review as part of the selection process, and in the draft the High Class members were paired off and played each other. After the play had finished, the team captains were able to request additional matches be set up between people that they wanted to see play each other. Finally, after all of that, each competitor was given a chance to try to sell themselves to the panel with some self promotion. The team captains then submitted sealed bids for the player they want. If no other captain selected a person, that person would join the team. If two or more captains chose the same player, all the captains that chose the same player would draw lots, only one of which had the SFL logo, and that captain would receive the player. The remaining captains would need to submit new bids, and the process would repeat until all teams had selected a High Class member.

I'm not going to talk too much about the individual members, but will jot down some notes.

The show talks about individual players, and has some comments on which captain likes which players, and who the players would like to be chosen by.

  • Anman. He's Urien player, and supported by the Scarz Youth team.
  • Susanoo Sakagami. He's from Kyoto, uses Boxer, and was (very) recently picked up by the (brand new) Kyoto based Susanoo team. Itazan is interested in him, but he wants to be chosen by Mago.
  • Fuudo comments that there are actually 3 Boxer players, and he liked Kinoko Boxer. BTW, Kinoko Boxer frequently comes to Fighter's Crossover -Akiba- on Wednesday nights.
  • Nemo and many others are interested in 19 year old F.A.N.G. main Mocchan. Fuudo is pretty hard on him for trying to throw when his opponent was in hit stun. Mocchan says he would like to be picked by Nemo, and he says that F.A.N.G. was buffed this season.
  • Hibiki is a Ryu main that people like. He wants to be picked by Tokido since they both use Shoto characters.

They have a slide showing who is interested in whom, three of the captains are interested in Mocchan, and two are interested in Hibiki. They ask if anyone wants to see any other matchups, and Fuudo call out for three (Elshard, Sakagami, Anman) and Nemo comments "Oh, you are starting with the strong players. I actually want to see Ikahara." Man, Nemo's rough (the implication is that Ikahara is on the weaker end of things). They set up a few different matches, and we see some of that play out. The matches are high pressure for the participants, who know they are being watched and judged.

As a final check, the Captains can ask to play against one of the High Class members themselves. Tokido asked to play against Hibiki (Ryu), and Itabashi Zangief asked to play against Kobayan, the youngest High Class member (16) who plays Abigail. Tokido won his match, but praised Hibiki's play. ItaZan was kind and asked him who he wanted to play against, Zangief or Abigail. He asked for an Abigail mirror. He has played Kobayan in the past online, but wanted to see how he played in person.

Then they move on to evaluate the Beginner Class before drawing lots. You can skip down below to see the Beginner Class, I'm going to thread in the next step for the High Class here: they let the captains ask the field questions.

First up is Daigo. He actually says that there isn't much time until play starts (one week actually!) So he says he wants to know how much they can actually practice. He also says that he is shy, and if they don't have good teamwork, it will likely show up in the tournament - he wants to spend time with people before that. So he literally asks "Who can be here in Tokyo before we start?" So they talk to the people that don't already live near Tokyo, and they talk about whether they can or can't come. A couple of the people have Final Exams until a few days before the League play starts and say that it will be tough to devote much time to this before that is over (School is good kids, stay in school.) The best answer was Sakagami, who lives in Kyoto. He says he's not a student, so he will come whenever Daigo asks. Ayako asks "What will you do about travel expenses?" (It costs about $40, or $80 to $200 dollars one way depending on how you do it, bus, nice bus, train, Shinkansen). He says he doesn't know about how he'll pay for it, but in the worst case he'll ride his bike (this is like riding your bike from San Francisco to San Diego). Everyone laughs.

Finally, everyone gives a bit of speech trying to sell themselves. Sakagami says that he will not only play and practice, but also be a lot of fun outside the game, and says "I'm counting on you, Mago!"

Here is how the voting ended up (arrows to second and third choices):

  • Nemo Aurora: Anman (Urien)
  • Tokido Flame: Anman (Urien) ➙ Hibiki (Ryu)
  • Itabashi Zangief: Mottchan (F.A.N.G.)
  • Fuudo Gaia: Mottchan (F.A.N.G.) ➙ Hibiki (Ryu) ➙ Kawano (Boxer)
  • Mago Scarlet: Sakagami (Boxer)
  • Umehara Gold: Oniki (Karin)

Ayako asks Daigo about his choice. He said that he was thinking of Kawano, but he lives in Kyoto, and has final exams. He said Oniki did well in the exhibition play, and he liked what he showed there. Ayako asks Oniki a few questions, but that was all pretty standard stuff, do my best, etc.

Ayako asks Mago about his pick. He says that he felt bad when Sakagami called him out (smiling), but he was actually thinking of Sakagami before that. He think Sakagami's character is a bit like him, where he just does stuff and doesn't think too much about planning things out. Sakagami is super happy to be chosen by Mago, and he's super happy to get a chance to play with him.

Nemo and Tokido both chose Anman, so they needed to draw lots. Nemo won the lottery, and Anman joins him team. Nemo says that in Season 2, Anman came to Studio Sky and they met there, he also thinks he'll be able to teach the character well. Ayako asks Anman about being on a "strict" team, but he says that's not a problem he just wants to learn. Ayako comments to Nemo: "He'll be a good employee" and Nemo responds: "Yeah, he's not like him" (referring to Storm Kubo, who bore the brunt of Nemo's ire in the RAGE All Star League). Shortly after that, Storm Kubo tweeted that Nemo really is a nice guy.

Itazan and Fuudo also had to draw lots of Mocchan, and Itazan won the lottery. Itazan says that of all the candidates, Mocchan had the highest level of motivation, and in the new season F.A.N.G. got buffed and he thinks Mocchan's desire to show off new stuff with the character adds to his motivation. Mocchan is super happy to have been chosen, and is really emotional.

On the second draw, both Fuudo and Tokido choose Hibiki, a Ryu main. Tokido won this time. When asked why he chose him, Tokido said that of course he played well in the exhibition matches, and even though he first chose Anman, it was really close, and once he lost Anman, he wanted to go with Hibiki. Hibiki wanted to join Tokido's team, so he's really happy. Since they are both Shotos, he's looking forward to learning a lot from Tokido.

On the final pick, Fuudo chooses Kawano (Boxer). He says that even though Kawano lives in Kyoto he talked with him before and that was comfortable, and while he'll connect with him on chat applications and stuff, he's a strong player so that will make it easy on him. Kawano was really surprised that he was chosen, he said that when nobody chose him the first time around he thought everyone had given up on him.

Then they spent some time on the people who weren't chosen, and it was tough; some of these people were really devastated. Especially poignant for me was the 16 year old high school student, who really seemed impacted, but he's going to try to show up in future things.

3.2 Beginner Class draft

2019-01-26 JP Street Fighter League Draft
2019-01-26 JP SFL Draft - Beginner Class Kunisada Preferences
2019-01-26 JP SFL The final two women in the Beginner class

The process for the Beginner Class was the same, with the exception that there are fewer Beginner Class candidates, 7 instead of 11. The big difference here is that only one person will not be selected.

  • Everyone is interested as Kunisada, the Ed player. He is pretty clearly better than most of the other beginner class members. Mago says that even though his character is simple, he plays calmly. Kunisada himself is interested in Mago's team - since Kunisada himself is a comedian, he talks about how Mago is a very lively character and has lots of experience as an MC.
  • Itazan is interested in Matsuura, the 17 year old voice actor who plays Ryu because her dad loves Street Fighter taught her the character.
  • Kimura Kenta (26) is a Ken main. He says when he heard Itazan say that "In the end, it is person against person" he was moved by that and wants to be chosen by Itazan.
  • Misaki Kousei (23), is an actor and Akuma user. He wants to be chosen by Tokido. He watched a lot of his videos to learn, and really admires Tokido.
  • Miyata Hidemichi (19), is an actor who changed from Cammy to Kolin. He doesn't have strong preferences on whom to be chosen by.
  • Okumura Mami (22) is a talent and Cammy main. She's part of the video game division in her current talent agency. She's interested in Mago, but would be thrilled to be chosen by anyone.

Fuudo asks for the two women to play each other, and a few other matches were lined up. After that everyone talks a bit about the players, and they all agree that Kunisada is the best of the lot. Tokido wonders about how much they will be able to develop, and I think worries that it is hard to judge that in such a short time. He wants to ask them how they tried to improve their play.

They interview a few of the captains, and they all essentially say that it is hard to choose. Daigo says that also having experience in large scale tournaments is important too. Itabashi Zangief says that Kunisada is probably the best of the Beginner Class, but he also is interested in Kimura (the Ken player). He goes on to say some things that, as a person living in Japan for the past 12 years, I just can't understand. Something about practicing with him and maybe eating I don't know Itabashi Zangief is one of the hardest people to understand with his own special vocabulary and way of speaking. If it wasn't for Hameko's research on Itabashi Zangief's peculiar dialect I would understand even less. Anyway, he's interested in Kimura. Fuudo talks about how it is likely that everyone will choose Kunisada, and then even in that case, people will choose the same person for their second choice as well, so it makes the selection difficult. Nemo says he's just going to choose people in order of their strength. Daigo says that outside of Kunisada and Kimura, the other players don't have too much difference in their ability, so it will come down to how much will they have (is this a subtle Will to Keep Winning plug? No, it isn't). He says it is a difficult decision, and he think the different people have different levels of motivation, and he isn't sure who has the desire at the level that he wants. Mago talks in a roundabout way about checking the people out, but doesn't say anything too enlightening from my point of view. Tokido says that he wants to choose someone that has the ability to play, and that has their own style, and simply someone who can win.

They switched to the Extreme Class draft after all the player introductions and interviews. After the Extreme Class draft was done, they switched back to the Beginner Class. Fuudo asked if they would change characters, and everyone except for Kimura said they would do whatever the captains through was good. Kimura just went in and was all like "I'm only playing Ken, just Ken. Because I've got a red shirt". His name is also Kenta, which might have something to do with it. He seems like an interesting guy. Nemo asked them in the past month what they thought was the best way to practice to raise their LP. Most people talked about either playing ranked matches or using training mode in some variation. I'm not sure what Nemo was looking for, but Kimura said this: "I play for an hour before bed, then spend eight hours in bed thinking about the game and get up and play for another hour." They asked everyone to give one final sales pitch, and everyone basically said they would do whatever is necessary. Matsuura, the 17 year voice actress, said she hadn't really played games at all before this but was really moved by how much she's been able to progress. Also, she just bought a stick but would switch back to a pad if they wanted. Nagashima, the talent, said that he has lots of debt and doesn't get much work as a talent so he will do whatever it takes. He's cut back a shift on his part time job to make time for training. Kimura, as he has been doing all day, was a bit different. He said he's very strong, and then yelled out "Itabashi Zangief, please pick me!"

When the captains chose, everyone except for Itazan and Daigo chose Kunisada, the strong Ed player. Itazan chose Kimura (Ken). Daigo chose Nagashima, who was pretty shocked. When Itazan was asked about Kimura, he said it was a dangerous risk. Everyone had been talking about how Kunisada was the strongest, and Kimura was right up there with him, so I guess he thought he might have to draw lots for Kimura. Kimura said that he really liked Itazan's (risky?) playstyle, and wants to learn that from him.

Ayako asks why Daigo chose Nagashima, and he sounds like he was both surprised by the question, and hadn't really thought much about it. He said something like "Yeah, uh, well, I thought he probably had money to go out drinking". Really, I had to look that up. 飲み代 (のみしろ, nomi shiro). And then, Daigo turned around and said "You live in Tokyo, right?" Nagashima confirms that. This is totally wild. I think Daigo chose this Nagashima because he thought he would be a fun guy to hang out with, and he guessed he lived in Tokyo since he's a talent trying to make it in the showbiz world (which is Tokyo based). Daigo really does have a different thought process. He probably doesn't see much difference in people in terms of level, even Kunisada, and so makes more practical decisions, like will he enjoy spending time with this person. Ayako asks Nagashima how he feels, and he says he isn't sure if he is happy or feels bad because he was basically chosen because he has free time. Ayako then asks Daigo, "you had more of a reason than that, right?" Daigo has a very long drawn out "uuuh" and says "We're around the same age so I think we should be able to talk to each other easily." Ayako totally saves it by saying that in the previous RAGE All Star league team play Umehara Gold's team got along really well together, and she expects Nagashima to keep team spirits high. He seems much more used to things like that and responded positively.

Everyone else chose Kunisada, so I won't spend much time on that. Mago won the draw and got Kunisada. The others then went around and chose more people, there wasn't anything too exciting there. I do have to stress that choosing Kunisada was the safe option. Daigo and Itazan really stand out for their unusual choices, and not going the safe route.

At the very end, Nemo kept losing the draws and he was the final captain who had to choose between the two women, who remained. The chat was going crazy over this. It was clearly not a position that Nemo wanted to be put in, and he said that people are going to think that he's making a girl cry. While I don't think there is anything wrong with anyone, men or women crying, it is tough to be put in a position making a decision like that. The chat was also saying things like, "Of course Nemo can't choose a 17 year old girl" and "It wouldn't look good if he stayed up late at night training her" and things like that.

The final Beginner Class selection is:

  • Nemo Aurora: Okumura Mami (Cammy)
  • Tokido Flame: Misaki Kousei (Akuma)
  • Itabashi Zangief: Kimura Kenta (Ken)
  • Fuudo Gaia: Miyata Hidemichi (Kolin)
  • Mago Scarlet: Kunisada Ryosuke (Ed)
  • Umehara Gold: Nagashima Kouji (Rashid)

They ask final thoughts from everyone before wrapping up. Nemo says that it is rare to have the chance to teach a woman (forgetting maybe about Fuudo's mentorship of Hatsume?) He's also looking forward to teaching Anman who uses the same character as him, and through that, improving himself.

Itabashi is next (they are clearly setting the stage again for a Nemo Itazan rivarly) and he says, "As always, we will be a white team." This is in direct opposition to Nemo's black team - referencing the black company shtick. He goes on: "But even in a white company, you need to have rules. You can only celebrate when you win, if you don't win, you need to handle your punishment on your own. What do you think Mocchan?" Mocchan thinks that's a good rule. Everyone in the chat also goes wild about Itabashi getting a bit strict on the Beginner, but since he seems like a bit of a wild one it seems to go over well.

Fuudo says he doesn't want to be too strict (doesn't want to rein them in, contrasting with Itazan's last few words) and he wants to be able to go out and eat dinner with his team when the day is done.

Daigo says that he was able to choose the people that he wanted, unlike last time (another reference to RAGE All Stars), and he thinks they have a good team that lives close to each other.

Mago is happy with his team, saying that he's really happy he got Kunisada as the beginner, and says they both have a lot of spirit.

Tokido says that the three of them have the concept of a Shoto team, and thinks they have a good team.

Hameko closes out saying that the really interesting thing about this league is going to be how the High Class and Beginner class players develop, and how that education process works in the team.

I really agree with that - some people may say that having lower skill players is not as interesting to watch, but I'm very interested to see their development. Some people are close to the high class league players, and if we get insight into how the pros help them develop, that is useful. The beginner class are really at the Rookie and Bronze level, and as newcomers to the game, coming from a completely different field than we would usually see, might draw in new people to spectate. That is why the Beginner class was packed with comedians, actors, and talent - all of them are good in front of a camera, can make people interested in things, and are nice to look at, which really helps to appeal to a more casual audience. Seeing how they develop could show people who are new to the game concrete steps they can take. I think this is a really interesting approach that Capcom is taking. I don't know if it will work, but I like that they are trying interesting things.

More interesting than banning characters anyway.

That's it for my summary. The league will start on Feb. 2nd, so it's only a week away (more like a day or two by the time I finish this summary).

3.3 Final Teams

The team links take you to the RAGE eSports page for the team, which has up-to-date stats on each player in the team including character usage and more.

Team Beginner High Extreme
Tokido Flame Misaki Kousei (Akuma) Hibki (Ryu) Tokido
Mago Scarlet Kunisada Ryosuke (Ed) Sakagami (Boxer) Mago
Umehara Gold Nagashima Pineapple (Rashid) Oniki (Karin) Daigo
Fuudo Gaia Miyata Hidemichi (Kolin) Kawano (Kolin) Fuudo
Itazan Ocean Kimura Keita (Ken) Mocchan (F.A.N.G.) Itabashi Zangief
Nemo Aurora Okumura Mami (Cammy) Anman (Urien) Nemo

4 2019-02-02 Section 1

20190202 SFL S01 - Commentary Desk

On the commentary desk tonight is Hameko, a premiere game commentator, Yamato, who has been doing a lot of OpenRec commentary lately, and in a surprise move, Higa Eri. Eri is a high school model, and took part in the Beginner Class selection series. She is super enthusiastic, very energetic, and loud. I think she will bring a lot of energy, I just hope she doesn't scream through the entire match.

They quickly go through and each Captain says something about their team. Usually about how they want to do well, or have good teamwork. When Itazan's team came up the chat started talking about how his team is "White", and immediately afterward Nemo's team came up and the chat switched over to "Black".

I enjoyed some of the reactions and interactions between teams after the matches, so I cut together a few of them. You can really see the Captains coaching during the breaks.

4.1 Itazan Ocean vs. Mago Scarlet

Before starting the matches, Ayako Hatta briefly interviews each of the team Captains.

Ayako asks Mago if their team practiced together, and he said that they couldn't really since one of them lives in Osaka. He did say that he invited Kunisada over to his place, and they practiced together. He thinks they have really improved. She asks Sakagami whether he's gotten better (he lives in Osaka, so didn't really practice with Mago) and he jokes around saying that he really did get better. Kunisada praises Mago's nice house, and feels like he improved.

Itazan said that they did a bit of practice together. Ayako asked how the high class member practiced with Itazan, since he is in Nagoya. Mocchan says that since they use different characters, he got a lot of advice from a different viewpoint, and he also says that it is rare to have a chance to get advice from a pro, and he's really appreciative of that. Kimura says that he got a lot of advice, and that Itazan is very easy to learn from.

They have some really nice graphics for the characters each player uses. Kimura Ken changed from VT2 Ken to VT1 Ken, and the commentators speculate this is due to Itazan telling him that VT1 is better. After Kimura loses the first battle, they do cut to Itazan giving some advice, and he's mic'd up too. Kunisada takes the first battle 2-0, which was expected. Kimura Ken is probably the second strongest of all the beginners, but it doesn't look like he made up enough of the gap in the past week. Kunisada also had a few impressive combos, using EX meter to extend them a bit. In between the first and second games, Itazan tells Kimura that he made a few mistakes, and if he just cleaned those up things would be ok.

Mocchan F.A.N.G. vs. Sakagami Boxer is a really fun match, pretty close, but Sakagami Boxer takes it, putting Mago's team up 3-0 in Victory Points. Mago vs. Itazan could bring that back to 3-3 though. The Chat is calling Itazan "Old Man Standing Strong". Mago took it though. But guess what? The first set, we go straight to "FINAL ACT", a.k.a., "The Crying Time". Itazan Ocean sends up Mocchan F.A.N.G. against Mago, and if Mocchan can get two rounds, Itazan's team will get 3 Victory Points. It looks good at first - Mocchan takes the first round pretty convincingly, but then Mago wins the next round easily, and while it looks like Mocchan had the third round, Mago pulls out a come-from-behind victory.

Ayako interviews Mago first, and she asks what Mago thought of Itazan's Zangief. He says Itazan hasn't built up enough of that Muscle Power yet. Mago said he prepared for this match enough so that he wouldn't lose, and wants Itazan to focus on building that Muscle Power and trying again.

4.2 Nemo Aurora vs. Fuudo Gaia

In the interview with Nemo, he talks about using LINE (communication app in Japan) to tell Anman things to practice and particularly tips for Urien, since they play the same character it was easy to give him a topic, and let him work on it. Anman says it was really useful. Mami says that Nemo-san is very easy to work with, and was easy to practice with. Strangely for a Nemo team, they seem to have good teamwork, and Nemo even said as much.

In the Fuudo interview, he says that the League goes on for a long time, and this is just the first week, so he wants to see how the other players move and play first, and then think about how to use his time with his team. Kawano (Boxer, High Class) says that he had like 20 consecutive losses to Fuudo's Birdie, and he'd never been in a position like that before. Miyata Hidemichi (Kolin, Beginner class) says that Fuudo brought him to a local, and then went out to eat Kebab together (must have been Thursday night at Red Bull Gaming Sphere then) and he thinks things will go well.

Mami Cammy vs. Miyata Kolin. Higa Eri (the young commentator) is unabashed in her support of Mami, the only female in the League. Mami punished a blocked EX Hands, and generally looks a bit more intentional in her play than a week ago. She used to go ham on random Cannon Spikes, but is not doing that now, and has been pretty good about canceling low pokes into drills. Miyata Kolin takes the first game, but Fuudo is telling him to calm down a bit. Miyata Kolin takes it in the end, unfortunately for Eri-chan.

Mami apologizes to Nemo, but he is very quick with the "It's ok, don't worry about it!" Anman's Urien takes the second battle. The Extreme Class is Nemo Kolin vs. Fuudo Birdie. After he loses the first game, Nemo switches to Urien. Close, but Nemo pulls it out.

After the battle, Eri-chan asks "Hey, does Birdie get stronger when he eats stuff?" Hameko responds with brief information about Birdie's V-Skill, and Eri asks "Where does his food come from? That's really been bugging me."

Storm Kubo: Nemo-san is being really nice. Does anyone else think this is unnatural, or is it just me?

Nemo says his teammates were strong, and also that Mami was able to show off some of the things they practiced together, and he was really happy about that. Ayako asks about why he played Kolin, and Nemo said that he didn't think he could beat Fuudo's Mika with his Urien, and so he's been practicing Kolin, and he thought if he lost in Kolin vs. Birdie's he'd pull out his Urien. Mami apologizes for her loss, but talks about how she wants to improve on her shortcomings with her teammate's help. She was happy that she was able to do some of the things she practiced in the match though.

4.3 Tokido Flame vs. Umehara Gold

20190202 SFL S01 - Nagashima Pineapple
20190202 SFL S01 - Hibiki Ryu and Oniki Karin

Ayako asks Tokido how he feels about his team, and he says he thinks they have a fun team. Hibiki's Ryu is strong. Tokido also says that he absolutely does not want to lose to Mago's Scarlet team (see the draft for more context).

Ayako asks Daigo about how he feels, and he says he thinks that Oniki has an advantage in the High Class, so things should be ok there. Then he says that Nagashima-san (the beginner class who said he would reduce his part-time work shifts to make time for this) talked about having time, but they still haven't yet practiced together, but he did watch some of his online matches and gave some advice on those. Daigo says that you don't really know what will happen until you get into the real matches, so he wants to see that and then figure things out. Nagashima Pineapple makes quite the face, since it seems like Daigo is, in his relaxed way, calling him out for not putting in the time and effort.

Misaki Kousei (Akuma) vs. Nagashima Pineapple (Rashid) face off in the beginner match. Daigo looked super happy when Pineapple won, and Pineapple looked relieved too, given the previous discussion.

I really liked the color for Hibiki's Ryu on the Tokido Flame team, but he wasn't able to pull out the win. Oniki's Gold Karin doesn't look bad either. Hibiki's Ryu is really fun to watch - or I might just think that because I think it is fun to watch any Ryu.

Damn, did you see Daigo's standing no-charge tech reminiscent of Kemonomichi against Tokido? Those were close matches, but Tokido wins it. I was also surprised that Tokido was wearing his Echo Fox gear.

In the interview, Tokido says he was happy with his team, but it was a bit unfortunate that Kousei (Beginner, Akuma) wasn't able to realize fully some of the preparation they had done for the match. He said they made a plan together, and he was able to carry out parts of it, which was great. Hibiki's match was close, and he thought he tried really hard.

Ayako turns to Daigo, and says that she thought he put a lot of effort into his cheering. He said he asked them to remove their headsets so he could give advice, and their team really got into it.

4.4 Results

20190202 SFL S01 - Results 1

They spend a bit of time talking about a new low priced version (~$39.99) that will come out in March. I'm pretty sure they are thinking that if they get some new viewers from this show (they might) then it is good to have an easy way for them to get into the game.

Rank Team Points Matches
1 Mago Scarlet 6 3
2 Nemo Aurora 5 2
3 Umehara Gold 3 2
4 Tokido Flame 3 1
5 Fuudo Gaia 1 1
6 Itazan Ocean 0 0

The next session is on Feb. 3rd, so those results will change again pretty soon.

5 2019-02-03 Section 2

The same people are on commentary tonight as last night, Hameko, Yamato, and Higa Eri.

This time before the teams play, they show a pre-recorded session with the teams training together. It is really super interesting. I took the first one and added some subtitle (over titles in this case) so you can get a feel for it.

5.1 Fuudo Gaia vs. Itazan Ocean

In the pre-game interview, Fuudo says that this is a very important match since both teams lost before, and it is important to avoid being in the bottom three of the rankings. Ayako Hatta asks if Kawano's spirits has improved since yesterday, and he's pretty reserved, saying he wants to do his best. People in the chat are calling him the new MOV, since MOV was so humble and quiet when he was on the RAGE All Stars League. Miyata Hidemichi says he was able to learn some stuff since Kawano uses the same character and taught him.

In the interview with Itazan Ocean, Itazan says that since you know the players and characters ahead of time they are able to prepare for the matches. This differs from the RAGE All Star League, where the team order was not set, and I think also adds more of an element to focus on how the captain can help his team members improve. He says he's going to be giving them advice during the match. Ayako says that last time Mocchan got a bit overconfident, and he completely agrees. He thought he would win, but dropped it. She tells him to relax, and not get nervous. Kimura, as always, is full of confidence. He says he's going to show us "a new Kimura command". Itazan is like "what was that?" "A new Kimura command". "A new Kimura command? Huh." Ayako says that Itazan is being a bit cold with his team, and everyone cracks up. It is an interesting exchange.

The Beginners are up first, with Miyata Hidemichi's Kolin vs. Kimura Kenta's Ken. In the second set, Kimura showed us his "New Kimura Command" - cr. forward into CA. In the High Class set, Kawano's Kolin beat Mocchan's F.A.N.G., and Mocchan just looked devastated.

In the Extreme class, Fuudo brought out his Birdie, and Itabashi went with Abigail. Fuudo stuck with Birdie, and lost 0-2.

Ayako asked Itabashi about how he decides between Abigail and Zangief in Season 4, and he replies that he is mainly going to play Zangief, but he thought that Fuudo would use Birdie, and so he decided to go with Abigail. Ayako then asks Kimura about whether he got out his "New Kimura Command", and he said he did. She asks Itazan if he knew what it was, and he said that he actually had asked him about it. She did not ask Mocchan anything, which shows either how she delicately handles his loss, or as the chat was saying, that they edited out his segment because it wasn't interesting. I don't know if this is live (I doubt it) so it could have been either.

Fuudo Gaia Itazan Ocean Games
  B 0-2
HH   2-0
  EEE 0-2
2 4  

5.2 Umehara Gold vs. Mago Scarlet

20190203 SFL Mago looking relaxed

They show a clip of Umehara Gold training. I don't think I'll translate that, but here is a really rough impression. He starts by saying that in the Beginner class, Kunisada is very strong, and it wouldn't be surprising if they lost that match. But, after watching the previous matches (Saturday's) he has some idea of how Kunisada moves, and wants to practice some things with Nagashima Pineapple. While Nagashima Pineapple is practicing with Oniki in the background, Daigo talks about how the Beginner class is only one point, so you might not think it has much of an impact, but really it adds up over the whole league. If he wins every time, that is a 10 point advantage, which might be enough to take the League. Daigo talks about how Kunisada will probably be on the offensive, but if he isn't it is likely because of Mago's advice. When he realizes that, Nagashima should change how he plays in reaction. Then Daigo starts to talk about the Cammy Guile matchup, and how he hasn't played Mago in Season 4, so he's not too sure how things will go. If Nagashima loses, and so does Daigo, he thinks they are in trouble in terms of points, so he really would like their team to reflect on the previous match, and win this time.

They then show the video for Mago's team. It starts off with Kunisada (Beginner class, Ed), who is a comedian, talking about how Nagashima Pineapple (also a comedian) is his senpai (elder) at the talent agency he is part of. Since they play a lot, he says, "I think I've got a handle on his Rashid". Mago says, "yeah, I think so", and then he turns to Sakagami (High class, Boxer) who says "I am not confident at all!" Great laughs from the whole team. In the training video, Mago tells Kunisada to attack his Rashid, which he does, and then Mago does a wake up EX Mixer, going over punish options. He says that in that case, Kunisada should keep the stick centered, or let go of it (as he practices the punish). When Mago is working with Sakagami (Boxer) he says that he thinks that Oniki (Karin, Umehara Gold's High class member) will anti-air with Standing Heavy Punch, and Mago says that actually a super early Heavy Punch from Boxer can beat that. Then they cut to Mago sitting super casual talking about how he's going to face Daigo, but Guile got nerfed, and even though Cammy got nerfed too, he doesn't think it was as bad as Guile. He thinks it will be a bit easier to win for him now than in Season 3.5.

Ayako asks Guile if they reflected on their last battle, when they got 3 points. Daigo says they did, but the problem is he didn't reflect too much on himself. He says that Nagashima Pineapple had some points he really improved on. Nagashima Pineapple says he will definitely win. Ayako says "Are you sure, you are facing Kunisada-san?"

Over the past few shows that Ayako has been on with Mago, she has had a soft spot for him, so when she opened up with "Mago, you had an amazing victory last time" Mago gets this huge grin on his face and chat goes wild about how that's just like him. They also like Ayako a lot. She asks if he reflected on the match at all, and he said, "well, not really!" He praised his teammates for things they did well, and things like that. Mago is a really friendly and easy guy to get along with, and has good chemistry with Ayako.

The first battle is between Kunisada Ed and Nagashima Pineapple Rashid. Kunisada was hanging back and throwing more psycho fireball things than normal, and Pineapple was able to nullify a few with tornadoes, and made really good use (abuse?) of Eagle Spike. He had a nice jumping roundhouse, cr. strong, ex mixer combo in there. The first game was close in each round, but Pineapple took it. He got a bit lucky at the end there. Mago then gave a lot of advice, but I couldn't make any of it out distinctly. As a result though, he stayed a bit closer, and started throwing out some standing roundhouse crush counters when before Pineapple did a reasonable amount of damage with standing medium kick. Kunisada overwhelming won that game. This time they clearly showed Mago giving advice: "When he runs at you and kicks, you can punish with heavy kick if you block it. That's all he's got, so block it, and punish with heavy kick." Daigo gave some advice too: "At first since you anti-aired him he stopped jumping in, and he started to come closer to you. Crouching heavy punch has good range and is good in that situation." I'll note that these aren't great translations - but it should get the flavor through.

In the final game, in the first few seconds Nagashima Pineapple throws out some crouching heavy punches and gets some crush counters. He completely whiff punched an Ed heavy kick with one. Nagashima also gets a nice jumping roundhouse, cr. strong, spinning mixer combo in there. Kunisada's combos are really good, but the difference in the first round was the neutral game - which people will say is spamming Rashid jazz hands, but it really shows the power of targeted coaching at the beginner level. Nagashima takes the second round too, going 2-0 in both of his victories, and 0-2 in his loss. In both cases, we saw some coaching from Mago that really led to an oppressive victory, but Daigo's advice was spot on, and definitely led to a conclusive victory for Pineapple in the final game. The first game was touch and go, and could have gone either way, but this set was super entertaining, driven by that coaching aspect.

I hope someone with more video editing skills and Street Fighter knowledge than I can go back and do some analysis of that set. I'm looking at you, HiFightTH. Just joking, he already does way too much.

Sakagami Boxer had a good handle on Oniki's Karin, taking that 2-0.

The Extreme class match between Daigo Guile and Mago Cammy went back and forth, but Daigo took it 2-0.

Mago Scarlet Umehara Gold Battle
  B 1-2
HH   2-0
  EEE 0-2
2 4  

Ayako interviewed Daigo's team, and Daigo talked a bit about his match with Mago and how he was not jumping as much as usual, maybe trying some new strategies. She asked about what Daigo said after the second game that he lost pretty convincingly. Daigo said that certainly while Kunisada-san is at the top of the Beginner class, at this level there is not really a large gap in the tactics of the Beginners. So if Nagashima-san played differently than he has in the past with Kunisada-san, he thought that would throw him off. So when he changed his movement and spacing in the third match, it paid off, and Daigo said that he was actually more interested in that match than in his own. I was too! I do like Dance Dance Revolution (that's what all those DDR comments are about when Daigo's on stream, right?) but that beginner match was fun to watch.

5.3 Tokido Flame vs. Nemo Aurora

20190203 SFL Nemo's King's Chair

They start with a video of Tokido and Misaki Kousei (Beginner class, Akuma). Tokido says that Mami Okumura uses Cammy's V-Trigger well, but other than that she plays carelessly. He tells Misaki that instead of trying to focus on what his opponent is doing, he should have a developed idea of what he wants his plan to be. Misaki talks about how Mami often uses V-Skill, and he shows how he can jab her out of that, which Tokido likes. With Hibki (High class, Ryu) he asks what Anman does, and Hibiki talks about the Knee Drop. Tokido says that's pretty unusual because Ryu can do Mind's Eye on that. Tokido also says that Urien's Aegis V-trigger has crazy comeback potential. Tokido gives him some Urien setups to practice against. Tokido says that he plays Nemo a lot, and the two of them really know their tendencies well. So all they can do is just go all out and try to beat each other.

Nemo open talking with Mami Okumura. Nemo tells her that Misaki might be throwing lots of fireballs, so she should practice against that. Chat is going wild with how Nemo's sitting in "The King's Seat" and how he's being nice, and now his company is a "White" company. He tells her to jump forward over hadoukens, and they practice that for a bit. He also says she should use jumping heavy kick when she jumps. Nemo says that he thinks Anman will win, but talks a bit about the range that he should stand at against Ryu. He says Hibiki would throw fireballs at pretty close range, and you can use Aegis to reflect those. When they talk to Nemo, he says that he thinks Tokido and Daigo are the two strongest team leaders, or at least that he has trouble with, so he really wants to prepare for them.

In the pre-game interviews, Ayako says that Nemo used Kolin last time, and asks what Tokido thinks about that. He says if Nemo uses Kolin, the chances that Tokido will win are very high. He's a Urien specialist, so that is what he expects. Hibiki says that Anman is a really strong Urien, so he's a bit worried. Misaki says that he lost twice already to Mami Okumura, so he really wants to win.

Ayako asked Nemo if he gave any advice to his team, and he said that he told Anman various things about the Ryu fight, and then Anman was able to go off and practice on his own. With Mami, he talked to her about things she could improve on, and her airborne tools to use against Akuma.

Misaki Kousei (Akuma) beat Mami Okumura (Cammy) fairly handily, and she looked pretty sad. Nemo was behind her and giving some good post-game advice in a very gentle tone. It is a complete turn-around from his RAGE All Stars days picking on Storm Kubo.

Hibiki (High class, Ryu) takes the match against Anman (High class, Urien) 2-0, but there were some close rounds. I really enjoy watching S4 Ryu, it's nice to see those hadouken buffs.

Tokido vs. Nemo was a good set, but Nemo had some tricks with Aegis to take it 2-1.

Tokido Flame Nemo Aurora Battle
B   2-0
HH   2-0
  EEE 1-2
3 3  

Ayako asks Tokido about his loss after he took the lead. He said that he made a few mistakes, and that Nemo was able to take advantage of that. He apologizes to his teammates. She asks about his teammates' play, and he said they did great. They were able to use the things that they practiced, and Hibiki did a good job of preparing and playing without any errors.

She turns to Nemo and said that the Company President was able to salvage things by winning in the end. The chat goes wild about her calling him President. She asks if he has advice for his team, and he says that he looked at the match and will talk to them about their matches. He actually said something like "I saw some bad stuff they were doing, so I'll talk to them about that" - the chat was playing off of how it kind of comes off as … a bit strict. I think they're just giving him a hard time. That's it, see you next time.

5.4 Results

Rank Team Points Matches
1 Mago Scarlet 8 4
2 Nemo Aurora 8 3
3 Umehara Gold 7 4
4 Tokido Flame 6 3
5 Itazan Ocean 4 2
6 Fuudo Gaia 3 2

6 2019-02-09 Section 3

20100209 SFL Announcers

This time Hameko and Yamato are joined by Matsuura Ayu, a 17 year old voice actress (Ryu) who was in the Beginner selection process. I like how they keep mixing up the color commentary guest.

6.1 Fuudo Gaia vs. Umehara Gold

During the team video introduction, I like how Hameko says "Is it Gold or is it Pineapple? Either way, Umehara is the leader". He also talks about how Umehara's advice for Pineapple was super effective in his battle against Kunisada, so I am not the only one who felt that way. Again, they show some clips of the teams training. On Fuudo's team, Kawano (High class, Kolin) spends some time teaching Miyata Hidemichi (Beginner class, Kolin). Umehara and his team were together, and he was focusing on teaching Nagashima Pineapple (Beginner, Rashid) anti-airs against Kolin. They showed some cr. strong, and Daigo went on to teach fierce Mixer (much better in many cases). He asks Nagashima Pineapple to do anti-airs 100 times, and really practice it because it is a generally useful skill, not just against Miyata Hidemichi's Kolin.

Pre-game interviews. Ayako opens up by saying that unfortunately Fuudo Gaia is at the bottom of the standings, and asks if he has changed how their team practices. Fuudo says that they don't really practice as a team so much. Since you know what the matchups are, Fuudo will email them and give them tips and things to practice. He thinks that last time his movement was poor and that is why they lost, so he spent a lot of time on himself. Ayako really starts to ask him about whether he's fully committed to Birdie this year, and Fuudo says he doesn't really know, but he does say that he thinks he can win this year with Birdie and in the long term Birdie is better. Ayako asks Miyata (Beginner, Kolin) how he feels after changing to Kolin (in the Beginner selection process he started with Cammy). Because Kawano (High, Kolin) is also Kolin, he's able to learn a lot and have fun. Miyata also says that since Pineapple beat Kunisada (Beginner, Ed, widely thought to be the strongest beginner) if he can win here he thinks that the valuation of the Beginner class players will really be mixed up again.

Moving on to Umehara Gold, she asks Daigo what kinds of practice they've been doing. Daigo says that this week they all practiced on their own more than together like previously. He told Nagashima Pineapple (Beginner, Rashid) a bunch of things to practice, but Oniki was doing self study. Oniki says that he is not super confident about the match up. Ayako asks Pineapple if he has more confidence now, and he says yes, but he's super nervous before the match and getting weak in the knees. Ayako says some nice things to cheer him up, while the chat is a bit toxic about how since he's a comedian he should totally be used to the pressure and being on TV. Man, chat in any language is the worst. I usually turn it off (but I do keep it on when I write these summaries up after watching it once without chat).

In the Beginner matchup, it is very clear that Miyata Hidemichi (Beginner, Kolin) was trying to punch Rashid's Eagle Spike, which Pineapple throws out very frequently, with V-Skill. It worked a few times, but wasn't consistent enough to force Pineapple to stop. Pineapple also pretty much won by knockdown, then jumping and doing an air-based combo when Miyata tried to tech a throw. That happened enough times to really surprise me, since Pineapple never showed meaty throw on wakeup even once. Still, at Beginner class, people don't know all the strategies, and haven't internalized the options available to them. I guess they are just trying to stick to one thing they know, and maybe in practice he was getting thrown on wakeup a lot. If Miyata practiced blocking high/low a bit more he could really improve - and maybe anti-air once he has the blocking part down. Nagashima Pineapple takes it. Hameko talked a bit about baiting throws and jumping for a combo too.

The High class matchup was Kawano (High, Kolin) for Fuudo Gaia vs. Oniki (High, Karin). Kawano took it pretty convincingly. I notice that I'm also getting interested in the differences between the High class and Extreme class matchups. In High class, everyone is able to hit confirm, whiff punish, perform combos, and defend well. I think the big difference is that punishes aren't always optimal, they might have a drop here or there, usually things are buffered, but not always. I want to try to see if I can better characterize the difference between the High and Extreme class.

I'm going to totally steal HiFight's Just Frame Analysis of this sequence, because Fuudo just looked so strong against Daigo's Guile. I think it was the MenaRD Birdie Costume that did it. By the way, HiFight has a Patreon and only 7 Patrons, which is criminal. Throw him some shekels if you have some spare.

Fuudo took the match handily. Ayako interviewed Fuudo Gaia only. With the win, Fuudo Gaia pulled into a tie with Umehara Gold at 8 points. Ayako praised Fuudo's Birdie, but he says he thinks he can get a lot better with him still. And that's all there was! Super short interview.

Fuudo Gaia Umehara Gold Battle
  B 0-2
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6.2 Itazan Ocean vs. Nemo Aurora

20190209 SFL Itazan 20190209 SFL Nemo

This is the match I've been waiting for. I'm an unabashed Itabashi Zangief fan, and love the interplay that he has had with Nemo's Aurora. Seeing Nemo's outward facing image change in JP SFL has been really interesting, he's been shedding the strict, heel type role he usually plays and is showing a softer side. The team intro videos have a kind of nice, happy sound for Itazan, and then when they showed Nemo it kicked over to a heavy metal guitar riff. I hadn't noticed that before, and now wonder if it was always that way.

In the introductory videos, Kimura Keita on Itazan's Ocean says that he still has a lot of points he really need to work on, but he wants to focus on those, and make people say "Wow!" Itazan asks "Who do you want to make say `wow`?", to which Kimura replies "Everybody!" Then Itazan and his team break into his trademarked maniacal laughter. Mocchan (High, F.A.N.G.) says he really does not want to lose to Anman (High, Urien). Itazan interjects: "You mean it's unthinkable?" and Mocchan says he wouldn't go that far. Anman is widely considered to be the strongest in this High class, and he wants to defeat him. The interaction between the team looks like a lot of fun.

On Nemo's side, Mami Okumura (Beginner, Cammy) says that actually, she hates Kimura. Even if all she can do is just show the effect that some of her training has had, she wants to show us that she has developed. Nemo then talks to Anman about how Mocchan definitely is going to work on his anti-Urien strategy, but Mocchan has some particular tendencies and habits that Anman can exploit for big damage. (I wish he was more explicit about that, because I couldn't really tell while watching. I'm pretty sure one of the things Anman worked on is responding to F.A.N.G.'s new fly command, since he bopped that almost every time Mocchan tried to do it.) Also, notice the chair that Itazan uses, and the chair that the production staff makes Nemo use.

Ayako starts the pre-game interview with Itazan Ocean, and asks how the past week went. He says they are doing well, and after the first and second section they talked about what they would do going forward. He thinks their team is ok, but he's worried about Anman and Okumura on Nemo's team. He wonders if they are enjoying themselves. Ayako: "You're worried about the working conditions at your rival's company?" ItaZan: "They went through a really tough audition process, and even though they were able to win after all that hard work, but in the end they have to be on that team. I think anyone would get a bit depressed by that. I'm really concerned for them."

Ayako to Nemo: "He's very concerned." Nemo says that they play and practice together and have been having a good time. Ayako asks if he assigns them homework, and Nemo says he does, and checks to make sure they can do that, then puts together another area to work on, slowly leading to improvement. Ayako says that things look very happy and great ("white" in the long standing "black" vs. "white" company parlance, no connection to identity politics at all.) Nemo says that "Actually, I've been watching since the auditions, and I think that Kimura's character has changed a lot. Like he's being oppressed." Kimura starts to say something and then ItaZan, with the timing of a long-working comedian like Nagashima Pineapple, says "Don't say anything". He gets a laugh, and Ayako asks Anman and Mami Okumura about their "working conditions." Anman says that he landed in a great department, and he's just thrilled. Mami Okumura says that Nemo-san praises her a lot, and really makes her want to do her best. The chat, by the way, is just going on an on about how Anman was forced to say that, they've been brainwashed, they're "Yes Men" and so on.

Unfortunately, Kimura Keita (Beginner, Ken) rolled over Mami Okumura (Beginner, Cammy) 2-0. I want to Itazan's team to win, but I really, really want Okumara Mami to win her sets. She needs to work on anti-air, Kimura was jumping in frequently, and he got a lot of damage off of jumps that could be anti-aired.

The second set was Mocchan (High, F.A.N.G.) vs. Anman (High, Urien) and the matches were very close. Anman sniped Mocchan out of the air almost every time he tried F.A.N.G.'s new fly move.

Itazan vs. Nemo was a really good match. It was Zangief vs. Urien, and Itazan had a really nice CA through Nemo's Aegis once to take a round.

After the match, Ayako interview Itazan's team. Itazan says that Kimura is the "mood maker" on the team, and they all get along well, and have a good rhythm. Ayako said his Zangief looked really good, and Itazan said he actually wasn't sure if he would use Zangief or Abigail right up until they started. He said that Nemo's weak point is that he doesn't like grapplers, and he wanted to take advantage of that psychological edge. If I throw him a lot I bet I'll piss him off, and that was an important part of the character selection. Ayako also said that his teammates really cheered him on. He said it really helped him to hear their support. Mocchan says he never thought he would get to see a Nemo Itazan battle in person, and was super happy about that. Ayako comments that it sounds like their team has a really good relationship, and they all laugh.

The chat, the whole time Itazan was talking about how Nemo doesn't like grapplers, was having a great time, in the way chat usually does. The whole Nemo Itazan rivalry is very popular. As far as I know, in reality Nemo and Itazan are friends or at least friendly, but I have a really hard time as a non-Japanese speaker, understanding some of their interplay on twitter and various other media. For example, there was recently an interview of Nemo by Kuramochi Yuka, and Itazan commented on that (saying basically, "I don't think I'm egging him on, please don't fabricate things") and then later, in response to that, said something like I think letting your life be controlled by what other think about you is even worse than having to play against Zangief. I wish my Japanese was good enough and that I had enough background culturally to actually understand this relationship, but it certainly is a fascinating one from what I can see. I really hope I'm not misrepresenting things to the English speaking world – ItaZan and Nemo are both really nice guys every time I've interacted with them.

Itazan Ocean Nemo Aurora Battle
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6.3 Mago Scarlet vs. Tokido Flame

In the prepared video for Mago Scarlet, they talked about how Mago prepared for Tokido Flame. He says that he's well prepared against Shotos. Kunisada (Beginner, Ed) says that he faces a lot of Akumas in ranked matches, and thinks he's familiar with the match up. Mago tells Kunisada that it is very likely Tokido has prepared his team to anti-air, so Kunisada should throw projectiles, and use cr. strong for protection, sometimes throwing out roundhouse.

Tokido Flame wants Misaki Kousei (Beginner, Akuma) to practice cr. forward into Hadoken, and particularly jumping roundhouse, cr. forward, Hadoken combos since those are basic combos for Akuma. He talks about learning those fundamentals first.

In the pre-game interviews, Ayako reminds Mago that they were on the same team in the RAGE All Star powered by Capcom League. He says that he was on Tokido Flame, so it sounds strange to him when he heard that his opponent is Tokido Flame. Mago Scarlet was sitting nice in first place, and Mago says that is due to the good work of his teammates, but that the League is long, so you never know how it will turn out. Sakagami (High, Boxer) says that people think the Boxer Ryu matchup is in Boxer's favor, but Mago showed him a lot of things, and he's nervous about being able to realize all the things they practiced in a real match. Ayako asks Kunisada (Beginner, Ed) about his loss to Nagashima Pineapple (Beginner, Rashid) and he says it really brought him down, and he just feels like he can't get back into the swing of things. He watched his replays (good!) and based on that found some areas to work on, and thinks he'll reduce his mistakes this time.

Ayako turns to Tokido and says that at the start of this, he said that the one person he really does not want to lose to is Mago, and asks how he's doing. Tokido says he's in high spirits, and they will sweep them. She asks if he is going to make Mago's team feel the disappointment like they had on the RAGE All Stars Tokido Flame season, and he says he'll hit them all with that. Mago says: "I don't know what disappointment you're talking about" and Tokido retorts "The disappointment and strangeness" which gets a big laugh out of Mago. They mutter back and forth some stuff I don't catch, but it sounds like they are all in high spirits. Hibiki (High, Ryu) says he has prepared well for Boxer and it should be a good match. Misaki Kousei (Beginner, Akuma) says he played Kunisada before and won, so he thinks he might be able to do it this time. If he can break down Kunisada's mental game he thinks he has a chance.

I don't have too much to say about the Beginner or High class matches. Kunisada took out Misaki pretty convincingly, and the same for Sakagami Boxer against Hibiki Ryu. Tokido and Mago was closer than the other two, but Tokido did win over Mago in the end, with a chip-out CA.

Mago Scarlet Tokido Flame Battle
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Ayako interviewed both teams afterwards, since they tied in points I suppose. Mago says that he still has further to go, but that Sakagami and Kunisada did very well.

Ayako asks Tokido: "Do you really feel like you can't lose to Mago?" and Tokido responds "I'm positive I won't lose to him". He did say that Mago brought it down to the final round, and it wasn't clear who would win (Tokido did have good positioning at the end of that round though, and it was pretty clear). He does think the fight they had was good, and both of them should be pretty happy with it, even though he did win this time.

6.4 Results

I think I'll start keeping track of Section to Section movement, so I added little arrows this time.

Rank Team Points Matches Movement
1 Mago Scarlet 11 6 -
2 Nemo Aurora 10 4 -
4 Tokido Flame 9 4 ⬆︎
3 Umehara Gold 8 5 ⬇︎
6 Fuudo Gaia 8 4 ⬆︎
5 Itazan Ocean 8 4 ⬇︎

7 2019-02-10 Section 4

7.1 Itazan Ocean vs. Umehara Gold

In the pre-game videos, we see Itazan teaching Kimura Keita (Beginner, Ken) and Mocchan (High, F.A.N.G.). I think this time I'll do a compilation video of teaching moments, because there were very good, but I'll get a text summary out before I move on to the media. Itazan first starts talking about anti-air, and he tells Kimura that it is better to get airborne over eating a jump-in combo, but anti-airing is even better. He notes that Kimura (Beginner, Ken) can anti-air if he is looking for it, but it's very hard for him if he isn't (general advice: be aware of ranges where you opponent might want to jump so you can prepare to anti-air). Then they cut quickly to a Zangief vs. F.A.N.G. battle with Mocchan, where Mocchan is in the lead, but a poisoned Zangief gets a SPD, does meaty suction, cr. light kick, SPD for the win. Then Itazan asks "Do you remember why you lost that first round?" (I don't know if that was what they showed though.) Mocchan: "I took too many throws." Itazan: "Why did you get thrown?" (Turns to Kimura) "Do you remember where he was when he was thrown? In the first round?" Neither of them remember. Itazan: "Try to remember." The chat is really interesting now too, since before this they were talking about how it seems like all of them were having lots of fun, laughing, how Itazan is the best captain to just hang out with, but now the tide is changing to things like "he's really strict" and "so much pressure!" Some people are saying things like "this is what makes someone a pro" and praising his teaching ability. It comes from this exchange:

Itazan: "This is important. It's the reason that you lost. Why did you lose?" Mocchan: "I had the life lead". Itazan: "That's right. You should have won." Mocchan: "I think I pressured too much, on my side." Itazan: "In concrete terms, where on the screen?" Mocchan: "Where was it… I can't remember." Itazan: "I remember. I did cr. heavy kick into V-trigger, and then Knee Bat" (Zangief's forward + medium kick, a knee move that goes forward.) "Then I got an EX SPD."

I really liked that exchange. Itazan was having fun playing with them, but pointed out important things that you need to keep track of during a match. You have to consciously think about your strategy and tactics knowing what your opponent wants to do. Asking Mocchan on the spot about why he lost, and not telling him, continuing to drill on that point to try to show him how to analyze things himself, is really important. Kimura is there too, and can see how higher level play works at the strategic level, once you have the mechanics down. Now of course, I'm really interested to watch Kimura's match to see what he does in terms of anti-airing, and Mocchan's match in terms of positioning, and what he does when he has the life lead.

Next up is Daigo, and he is working with Nagashima Pineapple (Beginner, Rashid) with Oniki (High, Karin) playing Ryu. He talks about how Ken has a fireball, and what ranges Ken likes to be at to throw a fireball. He talks about how in the last battle he would run into Kunisada's projectiles, and the battle with Kimura Ken might be the same. He teaches him to use Rashid's down V-Skill roll into kick to go through the projectile when he sees it. The spacing on that is a bit tricky (I say myself, as a silver level scrub Rashid) so it takes some time for Pineapple to pull it off. Daigo says it is hard against characters with good projectiles, but Ken's is a weak projectile and it isn't too hard to use. So if you think he's just throwing fireballs all day, you can use that.

My observation of Kimura's Ken is that you also really need to prepare something for frequent air tatsu. Daigo then also says that if he can practice a jump attack into a throw, at the Beginner level that is a strong tactic. Pineapple asks how the opponent can get out of that, and Daigo says that the opponent can use their own throw to tech the throw. Daigo continues, the League battles are a lot of pressure, so if you can get your opponent to crack, you can use that at the end.

Daigo then talks about his battle with Itabashi Zangief, and says that since he's been using Abigail, there hasn't really been a lot of time since he's switched back to Zangief, so he hasn't had the time to get in intense practice. Still, he's a strong player, so…

20190210 SFL Ayako Hatta Ayako Hatta plays Abigail. There are seven YouTube Videos from AbemaTV's Ultra Games channel showing her learning Abigail: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. 7.

After the videos we cut to an interview of both teams with Ayako Hatta.

She talks with Itazan Ocean first, asking him how he feels going into the match. Itazan says that it is hard to get a read on Umehara Gold, but there isn't much that stands out about them, and their team doesn't look too good. (After last week, I get the feeling he is playing more mental games in these interviews.) Ayako responds with "Oh really? They look like they get along well, and go out to eat together a lot." Itazan: "They eat together a lot? (Smile) That's just strange. (Laughs)" Ayako: "They probably go out to eat more than practicing." Itazan: "I just wonder what is Daigo's motivation for taking part in this."

With that Ayako asks Daigo about his motivation. He replies "Oh, he's really watching closely!" Then pauses a bit, and makes a cute gesture, saying he's really into it. He says that he gets more exciting seeing his teammates win than when he wins himself. Ayako says that everyone thinks how he claps (his "small claps") when his teammates win is really cute. Daigo says he's really happy when he sees them do things that he taught them and win. Especially with the beginner class, he really enjoys watching them improve. So Ayako asks if thinks his teammates' wins are more important than his, but he does say that the Extreme class gets the most points, so those are very important too. Logically that is the case, but emotionally it is more fun to see them win. Ayako turns to Nagashima Pineapple (Beginner, Rashid) and says that he looks confident. He says that Kimura is the person in the league that he wants to lose to the least. There is some background chatter about not wanting to lose because he's being outshone as a personality (he is a comedian by trade) and Nagashima does some strange pose imitating Kimura talking about a flaming left fist. It comes off of strange to me, nobody laughs, and the production cuts out the background noise so there is this silent pregnant pause of a second or so before Ayako say "Thank you". It's super strange how they cut it - I can just hear people starting to laugh as they dissolve to the battle setup, so I think they are trying to position that as a joke that just bombed. In actuality, it might have come off ok.

In the Beginner battle, Kimura (Beginner, Ken) takes it 2-0 convincingly. The High Class match was looking good for Mocchan (High, F.A.N.G.), but in the end Oniki (High, Karin) took it on a V-trigger freeze, CA through a Ryobenda. In the Extreme Class match, Daigo takes it 2-0, but it was closer than that would suggest.

Itazan Ocean Umehara Gold Battle
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Ayako interviews Umehara Gold. Ayako says that at the end it looked like Daigo might lose some rounds, but he was able to pull through. Daigo said that after reflecting on the previous battle, he decided that even on rounds that looked like he would lose, he wouldn't give up. Ayako says that getting five points as a team is pretty big, and asks how they will continue to train. Daigo said that Oniki was very nervous last time, and they worked on relieving that nervousness. Daigo says he doesn't know if it is because he is young or what, but he is able to work on things that he is told and make progress very quickly. Daigo says that Nagashima Pineapple has been practicing some things, and now he's able to consistently do them, and he's come to a level where he can start to look at strategy. He wants to start teaching him a good foundation.

7.2 Fuudo Gaia vs. Tokido Flame

Fuudo then talks about his matchup with Tokido. They play each other a lot (on Kachitagri TV), and he used to use R. Mika. He said he's had trouble beating top players with her, and decided to switch to Birdie. In fact, you could even say that he switched to Birdie to beat Tokido, and he doesn't think he can lose.

The video starts with Fuudo's Gaia, and Fuudo talking to Miyata Hidemichi (Beginner, Kolin) about the importance of the opponent's anti-airing. He says how it is important to know whether the opponent (Akuma in this case) will Shoryuken or not. If you think the opponent will throw a hadouken, and they don't dragon punch, you should keep on jumping. He also says not to let go of the stick. Then he has Kawano (High, Kolin) who is playing Akuma throw a fireball with input on, and says that is a bad one. (Down, down forward, forward, punch.) He says if you do it right, the fireball command ends with a punch button and a forward input at the same time, he says that is more reliable to get the fireball out. Kawano then says that he wants to teach some set play after a throw, specifically heavy punch EX vanity step crossup. Fuudo thinks that is a bit difficult. Kawano says it is easy. So they start to practice. Fuudo says that, up until now it has been hard to get damage, but if Miyata can learn this kind of set play, it will really increase his damage output. Kawano talks a bit about how Miyata doesn't quite have a grasp on the timing for the strong punch cancel timing. They show a lot of a match with Kawano Kolin vs. Fuudo Ryu that Fuudo takes with cr. medium kick into CA. Fuudo tells Kawano that he needs more work on Ryu backing off and throwing fireballs. Fuudo says that most Ryus aren't trying to win with fireballs, but intentionally back off until they are near the corner, and then back throw you into the corner. He then shows the spacing the Ryu wants, and how they will back off, then sometimes dash in and throw, and this pattern is something that he was beating Kawano with. While it looks like you've forced them into the corner, they actually drew you there with their patient fireball play. He doesn't know if Hibiki will do that though.

Fuudo then talks about his matchup with Tokido. They play each other a lot (on Kachitagri TV), and he used to use R. Mika. He said he's had trouble beating top players with her, and decided to switch to Birdie. In fact, you could even say that he switched to Birdie to beat Tokido, and he doesn't think he can lose.

The next video is from Tokido Flame. He's working with Misaki Kousei (Beginner, Akuma) on his Akuma. He said that in the previous match, his opponent was good, and would likely anti-air him. Against Kolin though, he says that you can pressure her on her wakeup. They show video of a blocked Kolin hands, which Misaki punishes and then jumps in for a combo. They also show a bit where he does a jump roundhouse, then throw, and some more combos. Tokido sounds very pleased.

They show Tokido and Hibiki (High, Ryu) with Tokido throwing out Kolin heavy standing kick, and Hibiki practicing fireballing it. Tokido says that watching Hibiki's previous match with Kolin, he had a tendency to back off and throw fireballs. He said that he shouldn't back off as much, and he should keep track of the distance between the two characters, and preserve that. Sometimes walk forward a bit and block the opponent's attack. If he feels like they are too close, then back off a bit, and continue the pressure. This is also some very practical advice.

Tokido talks about his match-up with Fuudo. He thinks that Fuudo will find a lot of success in the second half of the season, but since he just changed his character he doesn't think he'll have great results immediately. As he gets used to it, he expects Fuudo to have better results, but at this early stage he wants to crush him.

As usual, the next segment is Ayako interviewing the two teams before the battle. Ayako asks Fuudo about their point situation since they won last time, and Fuudo says that since Itazan lost he expects them to fall in the rankings, but since both his team and Tokido's team are on the bottom, whoever wins will move up, so this is an important match.

Ayako asks Tokido about Fuudo's character change. The camera cuts to Fuudo and he makes some really funny faces. Tokido says that he is going to win. He then goes on to talk about how Tokido Flame gathers as a team and practices together, and they want to do their best together. He's throwing some kind of shade at Fuudo, perhaps a reference to the previous Section where Fuudo said they do a lot of their communication and training remotely.

In the Beginner match, Miyata Hidemichi (Kolin) vs. Misaki Kousei (Akuma) Misaki was applying a lot of wake-up jump pressure on Kolin, as expected from the earlier video training clip. He also showed a nice V-Skill anti-air that got Tokido super pumped. Miyata (Kolin) got in a nice jump over fireball combo once or twice, but Misako (Akuma) takes the first battle 1-2. Tokido is really into this match. Misaki (Akuma) pulls off jump attack, cr. medium kick, fireball multiple times, which is something they worked on in Section 3. He had a few more anti-air V-Skills, and took the second game 0-2.

For the High class, we have Fuudo Gaia's Kawano (High, Kolin) facing off against Hibki (High, Ryu). Kawano takes the first game 2-0, and got a lot of mileage out of Kolin's double ice jump, where Hibiki tried to anti-air dragon punch it, but Kolin flies over the anti-air and gets a nice punch combo on the other side. Hibiki was clearly trying to keep his spacing and not back off too much in the second set, but he lost 2-0 in rounds again thanks a lot to missed dragon punches, and also Kolin's VT2 long range quick attacks.

Fuudo Birdie vs. Tokido Akuma was a really fun match. Of course, it is a different season, but Fuudo Birdie is really different from MenaRD Birdie in my eyes. I like that the character can be played differently by different people, but actually I haven't watch much MenaRD this season, so maybe that's just my memory playing tricks on me mixed with a lack of information. Fuudo takes it in a close 2-1.

Fuudo Gaia Tokido Flame Battle
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In the interview with Fuudo Gaia. Ayako asks Fuudo about his preparation for Tokido's Akuma, and how it looks like it paid off. Fuudo thinks that the switch is paying off and is happy about it. That's it, short interview.

7.3 Nemo Aurora vs. Mago Scarlet

The training video starts off with Nemo talking to Mami Okumura about how she got jumped in on a lot. He tells her about V-reversal, and how to use it (forward and all three kicks for Cammy when blocking). The chat is talking about how he should teaching blocking first (I agree - she needs to work on high/low blocking a bit) and how he isn't a good teacher, etc. They show some practice, and she gets it sometimes. He talks about how you can use that move to get people off of you if you are being pressured or they are too close. Anman (High, Urien) says that in her three matches, she has lost a lot of life to jump in attacks.

Nemo then talks with Anman about Sakagami's Boxer, and how since he probably doesn't beat Anman in casuals, he'll come at him hard in this tournament.

Then Nemo talks about his preparation for Mago. He says that Mago leaves a lot of openings, and if he just waits, Mago will give him a chance to win. Also, I don't know if you noticed, but there was no "King's Chair" for Nemo today.

In Mago's training clip, we see Mago talking with Kunisada (Beginner, Ed). He talks about how at their level, Kunisada should focus on learning his opponents attacks, and when there are gaps that he can punish. Against Cammy, she's small and fast, but there are definitely gaps in her special moves. (Notably, he isn't talking about frames. I think avoiding that at the beginner level is the right move - first get a feel for things intuitively.) So Mago has Kunisada block a spiral arrow, and shows how that is punishable. He says he can punish with anything, which Kunisada does. Mago says that an optimal combo will work, but in order to be consistent, Kunisada should just focus on doing cr. medium punch into psycho upper, which he then tries to do. It's funny though because he actually does cr. medium punch, standing heavy punch (I think) into Psycho Upper, and Mago is like, "no, no just the simple one", and he gets it. Mago says it is important to punish moves like this - not necessarily with the optimal thing, but to punish them.

Then he talks about Anman, and says generally for any Urien, if you keep pressuring them eventually they are going to do EX Headbutt. So Sakagami does cr. light punch repeatedly, which I think you can block EX Headbutt from if timed right.

Mago then talks about how if Kunisada and Sakagami win their match, it will help them move up, and he really wants to win. I'm surprised there wasn't anything in there directly about Nemo though.

In the pre-game interviews, Ayako first asks Nemo how his team is feeling. He says they've been getting points, and want to get some more. Ayako directly asks him about whether he's confident against Mago's Cammy, and he says "A broken Hayashi Kenryo sleeps here in my heart, so I think I'll win." Mago makes a face. Hayashi Kenryo is Mago's true name. I think in the Fighting Game Community, as in fantasy, knowledge of a true name must give you some power over someone.

Ayako then asks Anman about his match with Sakagami, and he says that they normally play a lot, they're the same age, and he is going to completely thrash him and make a present of it to his Company President. The chat gets a kick out of that one.

Mami Okumura (Beginner, Cammy) says that along with Kimura, she also really hates Kunisada. (If course, she says this in a cute and gentle way, and I've been following her on twitter and it seems like she's trying to play mental games. In a kind of way that everyone knows is not working. The chat just keeps going on about how cute she is.) Nemo then says that they've been practicing together a lot, and she really doesn't want to lose, and she really really does hate him. Once again, Mami: "I really hate him." The chat is going on about how Kunisada is going to have a mental breakdown. She says that he's been dissing her this whole time. Back in the first Beginner league auditions he showed up with an arcade stick and told her that there's no way he'd lose. Ayako: "Go and beat him up!"

Mago says that people might think it is only him against Nemo, but really their team has a lot of rivalries with Nemo's team. Mago says that his team has done well, and they were able to get a lot of points, and really he has to step up his game. He's going to do it with Nemo. Lots of awkward shots of Nemo nodding and smiling, then everyone breaks out into laughter.

Ayako then asks Sakagami about his matchup, where Anman said that he probably has the edge. Sakagami says that if they play 10 sets, he might or might not win once. He feels like they have a rivalry going, and wants to win.

Ayako asks whether Kunisada's heart is broken or not. He says he feels like he's been under a sudden mental attack, but he's excited to play her for the first time, and become even more hated. He says his goal is to win, implying he doesn't mind that hatred stuff. The chat feels like he's a complete masochist and is into it. Chat is toxic. Sometimes funny though. And there is nothing wrong with being Masochistic if that is what you are into, and you know how to act those fantasies out safely (read Savage Love.)

Before the matches start, Hameko asks Matsuura Aya, also in the Beginner class tryouts as a Ryu main, what she thinks of Kunisada. She says she also hates him.

Kunisada took the first game. In the second game, Mami Okumura took the second round, and was super happy. Chat was very happy for her too. It actually was a bit close in the third round, but Kunisada took it to win 0-2. Anman destroyed Sakagami, but had to do it via Aegis comebacks. I think that's almost half of Urien's gameplan, so no surprise there.

Nemo made it look like he keeps a broken Mago in his heart, and took their match 2-0. Mago did not look happy about that.

Nemo Aurora Mago Scarlet Battle
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HH   2-0
5 1  

In the post-game interview, Ayako asks Nemo what he thinks about getting five points and moving into first place. He says that he really wanted to use Kolin against Cammy, but since his opponent is Nemo, he used Urien. Normally he would use Kolin against Cammy, but he knows Mago doesn't like Urien, so he uses him. Ayako provokes him: "So you do things he doesn't like", and Nemo continues "right, do things he doesn't like, and bring out that broken down Hayashi Kenryo". Ayako asked what he thought about his team's play, and he said he learned from Anman's match with Sakagami, and he actually thinks Anman is better at the Urien Boxer matchup than he is. Ayako asks him if he has any challenges or homework for his team, and he says he wants Okumura to try some new things. I'm surprised he didn't compliment her on how she won a round, but you can never tell how they edit these things.

7.4 Results

Lots of movement this time for Fuudo Gaia who shot up, and Mago Scarlet who dropped down three spots. Nemo Aurora and Umehara Gold both move up a bit, and Tokido Flame and Itazan Ocean both fall a bit. The ranks were very compact after Section 3, so we're starting to see some separation now, but in the best case, no more than a single Section's worth of results separate the top from bottom positions right now.

Rank Team Points Matches Movement
1 Nemo Aurora 15 6
2 Umehara Gold 13 7 ⬆⬆
3 Fuudo Gaia 13 6 ⬆⬆⬆
4 Mago Scarlet 12 7 ⬇⬇⬇
5 Tokido Flame 10 5
6 Itazan Ocean 9 5 ⬇︎


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Re: The Japan Capcom Street Fighter League powered by RAGE Team Draft
Godlike write-up! Absolute credit to the community which deserves to be widely recognized.

OpenRec is hard to watch out here due to constant buffering but I like the idea of this event.
Posted 2 weeks, 6 days ago by Hassun • • • Reply

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