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Thursday
Jun112009

« THE GRIND: SOCAL EDITION (SF4 TRAINING & SBO QUALS) »

"Hey, you're Haunts right? Welcome to SoCal... Man, I've never been so nervous for a tournament as I am today.." says Mike Ross as I am checking out all the equipment for the SBO Quals live stream.

"Yeah, it should be pretty crazy..." I say casually, not knowing that this will be one of the most intense tournaments of my Street Fighter career.

THE GRIND

Rewind three weeks, I approach MAGUS1234 , NorCal's best C. Viper player, asking him to go to SoCal with me for a week and three days to level up in Street Fighter, possibly check out E3 and gather content for iPlayWinner. Just a few days prior to that we discussed competing in SBO Quals to try to win a free ticket to Japan anyway, so after thinking it over for a week or so, he finally contacts me and says "Yeah man, lets do this, it will be a grind but sometimes you just have to do it."

What is The Grind you ask? Well, like in any RPG game there is always the need to grind it out, have a ton of battles in high level areas to gain EXP points and level up. Whether people realise it or not, this is required in Street Fighter as well if you expect to be a decent player. Except unlike video games, when and where you level up, and the reasoning behind it isn't as simple as rising two digit numbers. Really, you are the main character and all these battles take place at actual locations like Keystone, Denjin Arcade, Arcade Infinity, EVO and all the other random dungeons you may encounter along the way.

This was more or less our thought process for going to SoCal: MAGUS1234 and I felt we needed to seek out other styles to take our game to the next level.

FIRST STOP: DENJIN ARCADE

After a grueling 6-7 hours drive from San Francisco, we arrive at Denjin Arcade in Simi Valley around 4:30 pm on Friday. We book a room around the corner and meet up with Dae, one of SoCals best Chun Li players, Let Blood Run, one of the best 3s Urien players in the country, Pherai, another Denjin regular who plays Akuma in all games and JayJay, another devout Akuma player who makes a mean bowl of ramen.

Good games all around in SF4 and 3s but before you know it it's 3 in the morning and we head back to the hotel for some sleep so we wont be too worn out for the King of Fighters XII tournament the following day.

KING OF FIGHTERS XII TOURNAMENT

Our master plan of showing up fully rested ends up not working out as well as we had hoped as we stumble into what appears to be a night club all dolled up for a King of Fighters tournament. It was really well organized and a lot of fun despite how tired we were - they had a ton of casual set ups for KOFXII, free food, a make-up booth where you could get realistic scars put on your body and things like that. Solid job all around by the Ignition and EVO crew.

With it being a KOF event we didn't really know many of the players, but 30 minutes or so after we get there, Gootecks happens to roll through with Scott, the guy who uploads most of the videos for Arcade Infinity. We kick it for a bit before my name is called to enter the tournament.

I'm so tired I end up playing with the wrong button configuration and lose my match with a player who obviously understands KOF a lot better than I do anyway. Regardless, the casual matches were fun to play and watch, and whoever ended up winning the KOFXII arcade machine sure deserved it more than I did - there were a ton of awesome players there.

 

 

DENJIN ARCADE RANKING BATTLE

We all head out before the tournament ends so we can get back to Denjin Arcade for the last Ranking Battle of their season. We see some more familiar faces such as Luka, Ed Ma, Ken I and others we had encountered at California Regionals earlier in the year.

Feeling completely worn out I end up not doing as well as I would have liked, losing to 5 Star who plays Ryu. I end up falling for a lot of walk up DP into FADC Ultra as I try to tech throws, also missing some crucial opportunities and over all dropping the ball in the last round. My next match is against another Ryu player who wasn't as tricky who I ended up beating. I was still in the tournament but at this point I was so exhausted from the trip I wasn't sure how much longer I could stay in it.

Meanwhile, Magus1234 is giving all of SoCals top players hell with his C. Viper. We assume most of them have very little match up experience with Viper in that he runs through BustaBust (best Abel in the USA), ComboJack (awesome Sagat player), Kai (SoCals top El Fuerte) and sends Ken I to the losers bracket.

 

 

I end up playing my third match against someone I don't remember, although it may have been Dae's Chun Li. I was a bit bummed I didn't put up much of a fight, but watching MAGUS1234 take out player after player in the RanBat gave me a second wind.

When it was all said and done Ken I came back from losers to take it all, but not without MAGUS1234 putting up a real fight. With a 2nd place finish, he ends up with 7 points, finishing out the Denjin ranbat season at 9th place. Not bad for an out of towner.

Later that night we experienced some legendary gaming at Denjin after hours and soon head back to JayJay's to relax and unwind with the rest of the crew along with a couple new faces such Joe Dubbs, who has a sick SF4 Gief and 3s Ken. Thanks to JayJay, the next two days were filled with nothing but Street Fighter III: 3s, beer, spicy steak ramen and Michael Jackson jams. Good times and much needed rest ensued.

DIAMOND PLAZA BEAT DOWNS: ARCADE INFINITY

We come back to reality on Monday, (as much as you can call it that, leaving home to play Street Fighter 4 for 10 days) and head out towards Arcade Infinity to seek out more high level competition.

It's a bit early in the day so both Magus and I end up racking up 10+ win streaks until some of the better players roll through such as Paul/SoMuchDamage, SoCals best Sagat, VicTheSlick, an up and coming Bison player and Kryojenix, one of SoCals only C. Viper players. About six to nine hours roll by and another day of grinding is complete, as we learned a ton about different match ups from all the players at Arcade Infinity.

Over the next 3 days we stay with my friend Charles who lives one exit down from Arcade Infinity (thank God, LA traffic is absolute hell) and he and his friend Aries gives us the low down on the different arcades, telling us about the Video94 raid and all sorts of crazy stories about the scene. Not really planning out where we were staying for the majority of the week, having a relaxing home to chill at in a situation like this was a God send.

By this time, checking out E3 was a distant memory and Arcade Infinity became our second home over the next few days. We would show up at around 2pm or so each day to get games in with the regulars until about 1am at night. Each night was a new mix of skilled players, (Moval, Paul, Bebop, Gootecks, Combojack, Fuson, SHGLBMX - the list goes on and on). Despite the set up having a bit of lag, causing some execution problems for Magus, this is with out a doubt the spot in SoCal for SFIV competition.

PRE-SBO QUALS DENJIN LOCK-IN

With there being an all night pre-SBO quals lock-in at Denjin on Thursday, I rendezvous with Magus who had ended up in San Diego some how the night before. We roll out and battle LA traffic for an hour or two and finally land back at Denjin.

After 3-4 hours pass, Combofiend shows up and since very few people were in the arcade at the time, we had the next 6 hours or so to train one-on-one with him. He played a mix of Akuma and Viper through out the session, showing us how to play aggressive with very little risk, always staying outside of the range in which we can do damage, yet always punishing us when we throw out an attack.

After a couple hours both MAGUS1234 and I start to fair much better than earlier in the evening, finally getting some wins on Combofiend here and there. This is the type of training that you just can't get every day, the type of eye opening sessions that come only a couple times a year, and only come if you go out and find them.

With not enough people showing up, the lock-in never happens and instead Denjin stays open till 4 in the morning. People look a bit disappointed, but to think of an actual arcade staying open till 4am anywhere else in the country is pretty absurd.

Friday, the day before SBO quals, we try to take it easy, not really playing too much at Denjin that night, but instead just watching matches and having a good time. By this time a lot of the other NorCal cats show up such as Crackfiend and Long. We all say what's up and finally head back to the hotel around 1am completely oblivious as to what lies ahead.

 


 

SBO 09 GAME LINE UPSBO QUALS

"Man, just give me a coffee and a banana and I'm straight for the rest of the day.." MAGUS1234 says as we roll out towards Denjin for the SBO quals. If we had known that 12-14 hours from now we still wouldn't have eaten any food, IHOP may have made it into the mix somehow, but instead we stick with potassium batteries and iced coffee, trying to get our heads in the game as quick as possible.

With SBO Quals to begin within the next hour or so, we find Dae and register our team. "What's your team name?" he asks us.

"Ehhh...Team SF...thats what is always is right?" Magus says..

"Team SF? What? Hell no, Team TIGER KNUCKLE...!"

Dae appears far more satisfied with my response now, saying that is a much better name than Team SF. I couldn't agree more - I was feeling good, I really wanted to win this, I wanted a trip to Japan, and if having an intimidating team name helped the cause then so be it.

After registering, I look behind me and see a ton of equipment set up, finally realizing that the whole event was going to be recorded and streamed live. I think this threw a lot of people for a loop and added a bunch of pressure, especially later on when we realized over 1000 people were watching the live stream. As much heat as Gootecks gets for this-that-and-the-other, you have to hand it to him for coordinating things like this that may have not happened in the past within the Street Fighter community.

ROUND 1: FIGHT!

Both Magus and I pace around the arcade for a while before finding out our first match is in fact against Dae and BustaBust. I felt confident since I was able to play both of these players earlier in the week, but I had no idea what I was in for.

We finally sit down for our match and these guys are on fire. I play BustaBust first, and he hits me with a lot of attacks that I am not used to seeing such as EX Change of Direction from a distance to absorb my pokes. He plays very patient but when he sees an opening he won't hesitate to burn all his meter and do max damage. I try my best to pull out a win against him, but it soon becomes obvious to me that I should have gotten some warm up matches before hand and I really don't know the Abel match up as well as I thought I did.

We end up winning one of the sets thanks to Magus, and I end up getting a perfect round on Dae at one point. Things are getting HYPE! Dae takes off his shirt!? What?! People yelling and screaming as it comes down to the wire! When the dust settles, Dae and Busta take it home in one of the most exciting matches of the event.

"Man, you guys played great.. but Dae was playing amazing, I've never seen him play like that." Ed Ma says to us in passing as we are reflecting on our first match.

Although I'm bit disappointed we are already in the losers bracket, I pull it together and go onto OCV the next team we encounter: Henry Cen (Dhalsim) and CaliSean (Ryu).

I listen to Magus having a conversation with someone as I play, making its fairly obvious he's not too worried about the match. I bring home the win and we are back in the game.

THE WAITING GAME

"You play the loser of our match.." says Iron Fist as we kick it behind Denjin Arcade. "I haven't even played yet, since Kai wants to wait until Third Strike finishes up." He looks a bit anxious and I don't blame him, it's already about 4 hours into the tournament.

I turn to Magus, "Wow, so no matter what we have our work cut out for us. We either fight Iron Fist and Kai or Ed Ma and Ken I, both killer teams." not too sure how we would fair against either of them.

Another couple hours pass as I pace around the arcade, watching different matches between all these top level players. When I mentioned this whole trip was similar to some RPG experience, being at SBO Quals is like if all the bosses you encountered through out the game came together at the end, and then decided to team up with the sole intention of beating your ass. You can't package and experience like that and sell it for $60, thats for sure.

Between matches I end up talking to Fubarduck about the business of ArcadeUFO in Austin and why he ended up coming to Denjin for SBO Quals since he already qualified for SFIV. Turns out he was there for BlazBlue and SF3: 3s. What a beast!

I also finally meet Arturo (Sabin), one of the East Coast representatives who came along with Long Island Joe who I never got the chance to meet. We talk about friends we know from days gone by, the same people who trained me in SF that would play Arturo when they traveled up the East Coast for tournaments back in the day. He was fairly confident about how well he would do at the qualifiers and I could tell it was genuine.

NORCAL TAKES STREET FIGHTER III: 3RD STRIKE

More and more people gather around the 3rd Strike arcade cabs as the 3rd Strike qualifiers are about to come to an end. Apparently Ricky Ortiz is the MVP so far, taking out 10-12 players in a row to get NorCal back in the game. It's really impossible to see what is going on from my angle so I settle for watching life bars and hopefully catch a glimpse of gameplay as I look over peoples shoulders.

Yang player ROM ends up taking the last match, beating 5 Star Yi Wang for the win. ROM, Ricky O. andEmphy are going to Japan!

HARD FOUGHT BATTLES

After Iron Fist and Kai lose their match to Ed Ma and Ken I, Dae tells Magus and I to meet up with them at the second set of SFIV machines, the set of machines that were not on the stream. A ton of excellent matches went down on these machines, and unfortunately they will never be seen.

I was fairly nervous but ready to play before this match, knowing a battle with El Fuerte could go either way. I decide to rush Kai down as much as I can since I know El Fuerte takes a lot of damage and doesn't have an answer for my close range attacks. The strategy works and I go onto beat the team in the first set.

Second set doeen't go as planned, with me losing to Kai, but Magus pulls through and reverse OCV's the team.

Two teams down with four to go if we want a free ride to Japan.

Dae tells us to stay on the machine and we soon find out our next battle is versus Fuson who is a sick Guile player, and Combojack, the same Sagat player who had a 40+ win streak at Arcade Infinity just a couple days ago. The details of this match are a bit blurry, but it was definitely a hard fought battle. I was constantly pressured by Combojacks block strings, and Fuson gave both Magus and I a lot of problems since we have very little Guile experience. Magus ends up bringing it home, taking out Fuson for the win.

So far so good, both Magus and I are in a rhythm, playing very solidly in virtually all of our matches. We are are on a roll, just to find out the next team we are up against is Black $$$: Keno and Mike Ross.

MIKE ROSS & KENO VS. MAGUS1234 & HAUNTS

We take a 5 minute break since we had been playing for almost 45 minutes straight between the IronFist/Kai and the Fuson/Combojack matches. I think to myself about the upcoming match, recalling how Crackfiened told me in the past that Keno is one of the best if not the best Balrog in the country. I had never played him before so I didn't know what to expect. Mike Ross on the other hand plays Honda, and I had played him before at California Regionals so I had some idea of what I was up against.

We head back inside and I sit down for my first match against Keno. The adrenaline is rushing, I really want to play, I really feel like we can take this.

First round ends with Keno doing an EX Armor Cancel into Ultra through one of my fireballs. Second round is off to a bad start, he is up by about 75% before I pull it together and make my comeback, winning the second round. I defeat him in the third round and go onto beat Mike Ross.

Wow, did I just OCV Mike Ross's team? You mean this is really happening? I couldn't really believe it myself at that point, after the lack of food and all the excitement things felt a bit surreal. More and more people gather around the machines as words spreads of this epic battle.

Set two, Keno gets his revenge on me, taking me out, moving onto Magus. Magus takes out Keno and moves onto Mike Ross. Honda is a very bad match up for Viper due to the fact that his vertical jump fierce punch takes out a lot of her air game, and his headbutt shuts down most of her Seismic Hammer game. Magus fairs very well, almost taking out Mike Ross in the third round. He goes for an Ultra, it looks good but it ends up missing. A few random pokes are exchanged and Mike Ross comes out victorious.

"Time to get to work.." I think to myself as I sit down at the cabinet again. I OCVed the team before, I can do it again. Round one starts against Keno and I'm getting murdered. I eat three or four throws in a row, end up dizzy and he takes the first round. Second round goes a little bit better for me, as I start to see his patterns and begin to condition him to set up more damage opportunities. I bait his throw after a cross up and go for a Tiger Uppercut into FADC, but instead I get a High Tiger Shot into a FADC backwards. This late in the game, running on fumes, it's hard to hit every last set up you have in mind. It's just part of the game.

The third round I get an early Christmas gift as I punish Keno's jump with a forward and roundhouse kick into Low EX Tiger Shot. I take off 25% of his life and keep tossing more Tiger Shots his way. I end up landing a Focus Attack, go for an Ultra for the win but a Super comes out instead! He still has a sliver of life left so I continue to throw Tiger Shots which eventually gets me the win.

Mike Ross is back on the machine and everything is going very well for me. He tries to bait a fireball but I wait and block his Ultra. I counter with an Ultra of my own.

"Hah! That will teach him to throw out random Ultras against me.." I think to myself.

Round two is off to a bad start as I try to mix things up with a jump in. Mike Ross counters with a headbutt and eventually takes the second round.

Third round is off to a great start, I have a huge lead right from the get go. Ross somehow gets in, lands some attacks and things are starting to not look as bad for him even though it is an uphill battle for Honda to begin with. I back off a bit and start throwing more Tiger Shots, finally getting him down to his last sliver of life.

I'm in the corner, he headbutts, and this is where we pause the video. Most people are probably wondering: Why did you throw the low EX Tiger Shot!?

It's not that complicated: I punished him for a blocked Ultra before and figured he wouldn't try it again, and instead either jump or simply try to take the chip damage. I was wrong - E. Honda's Ultra is activated and he sails right through my Tiger Shot for the win.

I couldn't believe it. I sat at the machine for what felt like an eternity before letting Magus get back on. Magus plays well for the first couple rounds and I feel we still have a chance of winning this despite the match up. Round three starts, Magus takes a few heavy hits and ends up losing close to half his life. Damn Viper and her low stamina! Ross lands a Hundred Hand Slap, combos into another and then cancels into a Super for a perfect win.

Denjin Arcade erupts, people are going absolutely insane at this point. The last time I saw so much excitement was at EVO during the CVS2 Finals with John Choi taking it all. I didn't know what to make of it at first, I wasn't even totally sure what just happened but I know we lost. I walk over to the other side of the arcade to shake hands with the opposing team, but there are so many people over there already I decide to go outside for the time being and find Mike Ross and Keno later.

I was devastated and never in my life felt so emotional about a stupid Street Fighter match - head in my hands as I think the match over outside, behind Denjin Arcade. People come outside saying I played well and not to worry about it but I don't have much to say at this point. My job was to take out any Honda players we encountered and I blew it.

I failed.

OG RESPECT

At this point I'm absolutely starving and convince Magus to drive to get some food. We come back and eat at the arcade - the food is helping a bit and I start to feel a little better.

I finish up and go find Mike Ross who is standing outside with StarSlay3r, Keno and his woman.

"Good games, man.." I say as I shake his hand. Keno expresses how he felt about the match, StarSlay3r also chimes in saying everyone was on the edge of their seat for the whole thing.

I run into Combofiend back inside, we talk about the match a bit, he tells me it was a sick match, but we soon change the subject to his match with Sabin and Long Island Joe. He tells me about his strategy and how it worked, saying it will be "his team and Ed Ma's in the finals." He looked and sounded real confident but there was still a long road ahead of him.

People shuffle about in the arcade as I watch a few rounds in the distance, before turning around and seeing the one and only CaliPower.

"Hey, Alex Valle right? I'm Neidel aka Haunts.. Sorry we couldn't make it out to your RTSD event, it was just too far for us to drive."

"Hey man don't worry about it.. You're here with Magus, right? Man, you guys played great. You played really solid, I was commentating your entire match." he says.

Wow, mad props from a Street Fighter legend. Maybe it wasn't the end of the world after all.

I talk to Paul (SoMuchDamage) about the match as well. He tells me EX Uppercut would have been a better option and I agree. Turns out he is up against Black $$$ next. I ask him to get revenge for me and like a soldier, he does just that, taking team Black $$$ out of the tournament.

GRAND FINALS

It ends up being EdMa & Ken I vs. Combofiend & Alex Valle, just as Peter had predicted earlier in the night. It's late, almost 2 or 3 in the morning and all the players are visibly tired. Combos are dropped, opportunities are missed but over all some solid play from both teams. Combofiend seems to be pulling the weight mostly, but not before Alex Valle chugs a Monster energy drink in front of the crowd.

He is on fire now, OCVing Ed Ma and Ken I a set. I am not entirely sure what he was doing to win in some instances, but it was working. This is the OG power that you hear about shining through.

Ed Ma lays down some tricks of his own, hitting Alex Valle with a Raging Demon twice, using the same set up: Air EX Hurricane, land into Raging Demon.

The last match comes down to Combofiend vs. Ken I. I like both of these guys so it's hard to root for one or the other, but ultimately I get caught up in the hype and start cheering for Combofiend since we are on his side.

The tournament wraps up with people loitering all around the arcade. Some money matches between Sabin and Kai are going on inside but both Magus and I are too tired to care. We hang out a bit before heading back to the hotel and passing out.

THE AFTERMATH

The following days were brutal, I won't lie. The ride back to the Bay didn't seem to take as long as the ride down, but all we could think about is our match with Mike Ross and Keno. A lot of "What ifs..." ran through my mind on the way back, and I'm sure it was the same with Magus. We both knew that if we beat that team we had a very good shot of taking the entire thing.

I load up forums on my iPhone along the way and see people are talking about the match with it being one of the first videos uploaded. Usually this kind of stuff doesn't bother me, but a lot of the comments are fairly insulting, people on forums I used to frequent talking about me, and I am helpless to explain or defend my performance due to my account no longer working. It was fairly obvious most of these people had no idea what we went through to even be able to fight that team in the first place.

I talk to Richard Li from 1up.com as we drive back, telling me he watched the stream and was real proud of me. Loading up some Twitter messages from MarkMan congratulating me on my solid play was reassuring as well.

I return home, completely exhausted but still unable to pull myself from the YouTube comments and forum posts. I receive some more insulting IM messages along the way and decide to call it a night and pass out.

Over the next couple days I talk it over with some friends, the 925 cats, Onikage and Crackfiend telling me "you played real solid, man" and "don't worry about that man, you're famous now!" which made me feel a bit better.

Overall, Oichi from VersusCity summed it up best: "Don't worry about them, they're all scrubs anyway."

FINAL THOUGHTS

The trip was a blast and a total success when I look at it in it's entirety. I'm already back in the lab learning how to counter all types of things that I was hung up on in the tournament, preparing myself for Evo and Japan. Yes, you read right, Magus and I are heading to Japan for SBO to enter last minute qualifiers if all goes according to plan.

I certainly leveled up due to this trip, learning a lot about not only the game but also myself. I'm not a Level 60 Tournament Player just yet, but if I keep on grinding, I'll be sure to get there.

"Cool story bro.." - Jon Garcia

 

Reader Comments (38)

I'm glad that you had a wonderful trip Haunts, as well as Magus. Hope you guys just come down and visit and kick again at JayJay's house for beer and ramen :3

June 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDae Hee Lee

AWESOME READ! :D

June 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commentere_med

Awesome read Haunts and yeah don't worry about the scrubs. The final moments were really guess and win. Ross is a beast in the corner it's the worst place to be against him. Considering all the guys you beat that was a really great run.

June 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKioshen

Great writeup!

June 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkaneka

Ahhh memories

June 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMagus1234

i am sad that my name isnt tagged in the article. in It should read like this: SBO, alex valle, king of fighters, live stream, street fighter 4, richard ri!!!!!

June 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrichard

Like I told my buddy, "...don't worry about what others say or think, you were there, and they weren't."

Great read btw, was planning on attending, but some family emergency needed my attention.


Good luck in Japan for last minute quals.

June 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterfobi0

Great read Haunts. You held it down!

Good shit <3 !

June 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarkMan

trees. FOR DAYZ.

June 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commentershglbmx

Y'all didn't get to win but y'all let your presence be known and let others know that Norcal is serious bout sf4. If you're getting hated on that means you're doing something right.

June 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterQ Boro

That was pretty fun to read. I look forward to your future exploits making it on here.

Also; fuck the haters, what do they know?

June 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterxanavi

Write ups like this help make SF4 feel like it's big time, great work. Your article makes me want to level up. I watched you play live and thought you had a great Sagat, easily one of the best in the US. Good luck at EVO and in Japan. Keep up the good work and the coverage.

June 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommentereyeDK

Hey you played really well, so it's nothing to be ashamed of only one team gets to go unfortunately so it's how it goes sometime. I watched that match and I didn't see the ultra coming either. (Yeah okay, so maybe my eyes are the most credible, but still).

It was a really hype match and people went crazy partly because that ultra was a little crazy. Sometimes you guess right, sometimes wrong, it's all fighting games.

Good luck at Evo! I wish I could go, so you have to have another killer writeup, okay?

June 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSnow

WORD, you get mad props for the tourney yo. The match between you and Mike Ross online could have gone either way, and you played well. Good luck in Japan! I'll be there to root for you cuz I'm a scrub with no team lol.

June 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOichi

Dude, haunts, that was a very enjoyable read and an inspiring writeup. I totally feel the passion for fighting games and the community.

I was watching the live stream, and you and Magus were awesome. It's unfortunate you guys lost, but that's Mike Ross for ya. Keep leveling up, man. You've definitely made me want to.

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersirwiggle

Excellent writeup.

I watched your match live streamed all the way from New Zealand, it was awesome!

I have to admit I wasn't exactly cheering for you initially Haunts, mainly because I don't like Sagat, and I'd not really seen you play before. But you were certainly impressive, and I was definitely rooting for Magus and his Viper, but yeah that finish was just O_o

The context provided in this post certainly puts a few things into perspective about both your team's accomplishments and the tournament as a whole.

Thanks for the site, the writeup, and the great matches :)

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterfluxcore

Haunts - Dood.. You played absolutely sick. You and Magus are crazy good. Mass props from me and some at GAF. Ignore the douchebags that tease you.. they have nothing to show for other then "LOL I GOT INTO G2" You freaking went into SBO with Magus and took down some of the biggest names out there. Awesome job.

Amazing write up.. Can't wait to see you back on the boards giving some advice :)

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTurtleSnatcher

Keep your head up Haunts. You're still one of the most enjoyable players to watch. Watching you play gives me motivation to get better. And this is the best article I've ever read about a fighting tournament. Great job!

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKadey

Long ass post man!!!! good ass read though, sounded like a lot of fun.

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkfergthegreat

great read :)

dont take those comments too hard...your ride was worth it just for the experiences you had.

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDexa

Haunts, that was an EPIC article. It really got me hyped. It also really, really makes me wish I lived in California if only for this kind of thing. Loved the RPG references. It's really like that!

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAvatar2

I saw the stream Haunts. You and Magus did a great job. A mistake is a mistake, they happen. You lost with class and that matters even more. Congratulations on a great run.

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKYJellyDonut

Nice write-up man, fuck the haters, you should never read the YT comment threads leave that for scrubs like me to handle.

Good to see NorCal up in the bitch, I look forward to reading about future exploits. The players you beat were no joke.

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHoax415

Wow this was an awesome article. I wish we had more articles like these. Great write up Haunts. You're an amazing SF4 competitor so don't let those "internet" SF4 wannabe players get you down.

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDavidTack

Like the other posters said YOUR the one out there letting your name be known and what's more man enough to take a loss just as well as a win.I wonder what would your haters do if they lost like that Live infront of not only the people in the arcade but the thousands of people watching the stream?Probably go play a game that tells them good job for mashing buttons on some kind of plastic guitar contraption and be called "HERO".At any rate your the one out there living the dream instead of sitting at home wishing you were at the quals and judging everyone there thinking your pro via Ufrag.

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOne voice

Man, you guys are awesome.

Like I mentioned in the article, the comments themselves usually dont affect me, but people just had no clue what went down at the event. I just felt frustrated and realized there was a need for people to hear the whole story. I think if we haden't of taken a 10 day trip down there and leanred so much about the match ups, we wouldnt have made it as far as we did in SBO Quals. I don't think anyone expected us to make it as far as we did lol.

I hope this inspires other players to get out there and actually travel to find competition. Even if its just for a full weekend you wont regret it. Besides everything you learn about the game you will meet some awesome people along the way as well and make new friends which is always welcome in my book.

It's the grind baby!

June 12, 2009 | Registered Commenterhaunts

I'm sure Mike Ross felt damn lucky about that situation. It was a great insight into the top player community. You and Magus must do a podcast about it.

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commentershayneboogie

Most people wouldn't have even made it that far. Don't let a bunch of youtube-fighters diminish your accomplishments. Props on the article and the performance.

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCrazyMike

Took a while but I readed/watched the entire entry^^
I hope you'll keep the good things of the trip, and just learn from the loss, and after reading your conclussions, I'm sure you will.
Sometimes we can't win, but you just went for it

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBlinky

Great write up. I didn't know you switched to Sagat. Good luck in Japan

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterconcerned.citizen

Hi Haunts,

Thank you for that great article. It's nicely written and really brings the competitive scene to life in an honest fashion for guys like me who basically have no clue.

I understand that some comments on the web might feel harsh after an achievement such as yours, but don't mind them. People (including me sometimes) are just commenting top level play like they would comment a football match in a pub on a saturday night ;)

Keep on the good work !

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSmiley B.

Great stuff haunts. Way to represent the Bay. You made us proud up here.

June 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDangmug

Simply marvelous. Great job Haunts and Magus.

June 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLottaMercy

Haunts, great write-up and great match! You've come such a long way from when I knew you back in Atlanta. There's no doubt that you're one of the best out there and you'll take 'em next year!

June 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlyte edge

Fantastic read! You guys did amazing out there.

You are an enterprising guy and you can turn all those negative posts/comments into a positive. Your name has a lot of recognition right now! Invite all those big mouth scrubs to see if THEY can beat your Sagat with Honda. Charge them $5 to try and make a killing :)

June 15, 2009 | Registered Commenterbradido

Really nice write-up, Haunts. Cya at the next tourney =P

June 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDavisJack

Wow good luck @ SBO last minute quals. I think your hustle is inspiring

June 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRed_venom

great writeup haunts, good to hear that my norcal people are reppin'!

don't let haters and busters get you down. they all talk, they're sitting at home talking shit on the internet while you're bustin' people's ass at tournaments

keep your head up, good luck!

July 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkazuo
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