The grand finals for Cross Assault takes place tonight at 7pm PST / 10pm PST LIVE at Final Round. Check it out at crossassault.ign.com .
Additionally, for those that weren’t able to follow the whole show, we are in the process of creating recap videos which tell the overall story in a much easier to digest format than a 10 hour daily live stream. Some of them are finished already, and are up at youtube.com/IPLfighters . We should have the rest of them complete and uploaded by early next week.
As much as Cross Assault is a fighting game competition, it also was a social experiment with fighting game players. As I mentioned in my opening blog, it was meant to be mental warfare. Players were put through a wide range of challenges that show a variety of fighting game skill sets, while also needing to prepare for who they may face off against during Elimination Matches. Sometimes this involved trying to determine what strategy the opposing team would implement for a certain challenge, other times this meant hiding certain tactics from their own team mates, as they may face off against their allies during the Elimination Match. No one felt safe during the course of the competition, and all players can attest to this being the most stressful experience they have faced in their time playing fighting games.
Ultimately it was the coaches who played one of the most important roles during Cross Assault. It was their obligation to strategize on their team’s behalf, and prepare their players for the challenges ahead. Each coach took a very different approach. Alex Valle, coach of Team Street Fighter, built a very strong rapport with his team, and spent one on one time training each and every player. Aris Bahktanians, coach of Team Tekken, took more of a manipulative approach. He spent less time coaching his players, and more time trying to find loopholes in the rules, spying on the opposing team to get intel, and trying to find out ways he could give his team and edge when it came challenge time. On one day, Aris found the lunch menu for Team Street Fighter and switched their orders up, thus sending them into a tirade which could potentially throw them off their game. Both teams implored different strategies, and both teams were playing to win, however the results speak for themselves and Team Street Fighter definitely took the correct approach and dominated this competition.
In the grand finals taking place tonight, both Team Street Fighter and Team Tekken are comprised entirely of members who started on Team Street Fighter. Before Cross Assault began, our teams were criticized for being imbalanced, with Team Tekken being declared too overpowered. When you see Team Tekken’s accolades written out on paper, yes, they do seem imbalanced. However, since this is a new game and a race to come up with dominant strategies, it goes to show that the approach to learning the game can be more important than a player’s background. Methodical training and team work, trying to provide an environment for players to feel welcome and learn, is a great recipe for success. Aris only backed his strong players, taking a more sink or swim approach, and spent his time figuring out how to he could get them into the finals. However, this left players like KOR and SuperYAN out in the dust. Both of them were very talented players who really wanted to learn, and could have benefited greatly from some more direct coaching. By the end they were tired of being used as pawns for the greater good of their team.
Alex Valle and Team Street Fighter proved that their approach as a team was superior, and as a result, one of their players will walk away with the $25,000 grand prize.
Now on to our actual match ups for the grand finals, listed in the order that they qualified for the top 4.
Team Street Fighter:
Nerd Josh was overall the most consistent player on the show. He pulled it off for his team almost every time, had the highest overall score during the Top Player Gauntlet, and was undefeated when he teamed up with Combofiend. One of his shining moments in the competition was on day 3, when he stepped up and volunteered to take on 200yen in the Elimination Match. It was a gutsy move to do at that point, but that was arguably the most crushing blow to Team Tekken, and you could see their overall team morale decline after that point.
ReNiC was also extremely solid throughout the competition when it came to actual matches. He eliminated KOR on day 1, and had very solid results in the Top Player Gauntlet. Where he fell short was in some challenges, notably the combos and trials challenges, of which he openly despised. ReNiC also had to deal with “Bronson Assault” which on the surface looked like Bronson was going to sacrifice his chance at revival and sabotage ReNiC in the Day 6 Scramble Battle Resurrection Challenge. He refused to practice with him all day, and essentially just trolled him. Watching ReNiC just sit there are practice with Valle assuming he would just be automatically sent to elimination was pretty priceless.
Team Tekken: (Represented by members of Team Street Fighter)
Dr. Sub Zero:
What a wild ride Dr. Sub Zero had on this show. He was the first member of Team Street Fighter to get eliminated, as he was the first to fall victim to Pandora Elimination. The moment Team Street Fighter had to vote one of their own into the Elimination Match was a very heart wrenching experience, and you could tell how visibly bothered the whole team felt about having to make that decision. Dr. Sub Zero’s post game interview after his loss was one of the most intense moments on the show, saying he wanted to rescind his submission for Team Street Fighter and would sabotage them the rest of the show. Afterward he was deemed “Dr. Salt Zero.” However, he picked himself back up, continued to practice and support his team, even though he would have rather been goofing off with Team Tekken, and was able to beat SherryJenix in the Day 6 Scramble Battle Resurrection Tournament, and reclaim a spot back on the active players list. His strategy to invest entirely on the combo challenge during the Day 7 Road to Evo Gauntlet was also brilliant, and it guaranteed him a spot on the final four. He also ironically got his wish, and was switched over to Team Tekken in the end.
TFA Hornett won so many Elimination Matches on the show, he can set up a MadCatz shop in his garage. If there was a toughest path to take to get to the final four, he was the one to take it. He had to face against two Team Street Fighter players in Elimination Matches, Dr. Sub Zero and SherryJenix, and also was the one chosen to take out who many felt the strongest player was on Team Tekken, Bronson. Other than the super intense elimination matches between Bronson and SherryJenix, my favorite moment with Hornett was when he nailed his SWAG combo on the first try during Day 3. Hornett came on this show to prove that the online warrior and the age of the pad player has arrived, and Hornett delivered in spades. As one who was not widely recognized at the start of the show, I believe that he showed everyone that he definitely deserved to be in this competition and is a force to be reckoned with, and hopefully we will be seeing a lot more of him in the near future.
The Grand Finals:
Keeping with the tone of mental warfare and trying to switch up the standard competitive format for fighting games, the finals will be the last and most stressful test on the players.
Street Fighter X Tekken is a team game, and it was stated up front that it would not be possible to win this competition without the ability to work as a team.
To start the competition off, both Team Street Fighter and Team Tekken will go head to head in a 2v2 Pair Play battle. The losing team will then be eliminated from the competition.
The two players on the winning team will then have to face off head to head, for the grand prize for $25,000 dollars. There is no second prize, and there will be no splitting of the pot, as it states clearly in the rules that doing so would require them to forfeit their prize. I think this will be the first time players are forced to work together, for the chance to fight each other, for such a large cash prize. I really wish I could have seen the training sessions between the players, as they need to ensure they are good enough to win the Pair Play match up, but still keep enough of their true weapons a secret to pull off the win in the end. Either way, it should be very exciting to watch, and for the four players on stage, and experience they will never forget.
Tune in at 7pm PST / 10pm EST tonight, Saturday March 3 rd to see the action unfold Live. Hopefully you thought the show was entertaining, and are excited for some of the other things Capcom has planned for this year with the 25 th Anniversary celebration and tournament series.