Absolute Battle 6: A Glimpse of the Future

The sixth year running for one of Texas' best tournaments of the year. Great competition, great production, and some interesting results put this underrated event on the map.

The last time I had been to Absolute Battle was back in 2011. I was brand new to the FGC with only a few months of SSF4 experience under my belt. Fast forward to 2015 and the differences between the event from then and now are night and day. If you haven't heard by now, or didn't get a chance to check out the tournament throughout the weekend, the production value of this tournament alone will be enough to make you kick yourself for not catching it live. You don't have to take my word for it, all of Twitter has mutually agreed this was a huge step in the right direction for the FGC. 

For those who couldn't catch it live, Panda x Gaming is already uploading footage to their YouTube! These guys work hard!

But of course, the amazing visuals were only one of many amazing aspects of the event. There were also notable players in attendance such as NuckleDu, K-Brad, IFC Yipes, and many more from around the country. With the competition stacked, we all knew the tournament was going to be one to watch, but Versus Gameplay and Panda x Gaming really took the time out to give us a show. Along with the team and singles tournaments, we got a chance to witness some hype exhibition matches during Ultra Fight Night on Saturday. With 10 exhibitions in total, there was plenty of hype and entertainment throughout the evening. Kicking it off with the MKX exhibition, the trash talk and excitement alone set the tone for the rest of the night. Even though Alucard took the set quite convincingly over Koreythedragon, things didn't look so easy the next day during Top 8! It's always interesting to see the way different settings/environments change the outcome of a match. Although I don't play MKX (yet), the exhibition from the night before definitely had me more interested in watching Top 8 so I can see how the story would unfold with these players during the tournament. Exhibitions add such a great element to the event and I hope more tournaments decide to incorporate things like this in the future.

But of course, the amazing visuals were only one of many amazing aspects of the event. There were also notable players in attendance such as NuckleDu, K-Brad, IFC Yipes, and many more from around the country. With the competition stacked, we all knew the tournament was going to be one to watch, but Versus Gameplay and Panda x Gaming really took the time out to give us a show. Along with the team and singles tournaments, we got a chance to witness some hype exhibition matches during Ultra Fight Night on Saturday. With 10 exhibitions in total, there was plenty of hype and entertainment throughout the evening. Kicking it off with the MKX exhibition, the trash talk and excitement alone set the tone for the rest of the night. Even though Alucard took the set quite convincingly over Koreythedragon, things didn't look so easy the next day during Top 8! It's always interesting to see the way different settings/environments change the outcome of a match. Although I don't play MKX (yet), the exhibition from the night before definitely had me more interested in watching Top 8 so I can see how the story would unfold with these players during the tournament. Exhibitions add such a great element to the event and I hope more tournaments decide to incorporate things like this in the future.

Before getting a chance to actually watch Terry Bogard play, when I first heard about Terry vs Champ, I thought it would have been a blowout. After watching Terry play, it got me even more interested in seeing an exhibition between those two. It's too bad that we didn't get to catch the match this time, but can we please set this up for the future?! I know Champ can fight Morrigan well, but Terry plays an unconventional Morrigan that could possible catch Champ off guard. But.... for now... I guess all we can do is speculate. USF4 followed Marvel with the most exhibitions of the night, but the one with the most buzz was Tommy Gunz vs Crackfiend. I had been hearing about this exhibition the entire weekend so far. There were a lot of words exchanged, matches accepted then denied, but no matter what it was really about, it all led to the most anticipated match of the night. Our host for the weekend, Ernesto, had a chance to get some of the backstory straight from the horse's mouth right before the match. All I have to say is.... Damn. Crackfiend definitely came out swinging with words, but Tommy Gunz kept his fight in the game. Since Crackfiend also ONLY came to AB6 for the exhibition, I bet he's glad they played for pride after all.

UFN was awesome, to say the very least. It brought the hype and left me interested in Finals day even more. Another amazing thing showcased during UFN was a very special announcement! As many of you may know by now, I've been collaborating with the crew over at Marvelous Essentials. We're all on the same page and want to bring more to the community and do more for Marvel. We've been hosting our bi-weekly podcast that talks about everything Marvel. From tournaments to meta, we've got you covered. Since starting up our project, we've been lucky enough to partner up with Team Spooky to give Marvel a new home to grow and live! Our podcast, Marvel LIVE, will be hosted every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month at 9PM EST only at www.twitch.tv/teamspooky! We're so happy and thankful for this opportunity and have many great things planned for the future!

Finals day was bittersweet. I was excited because I wanted to see who our winners would be, but sad because another Finals Day means another great tournament coming to an end. It's inevitable, I know, but I know all of you know the feeling. However, the show must go on! The entire AB6 crew continued to work tirelessly on all of the production to make Sunday finals perfect. I even had the chance to commentate Top 8 for Marvel! This time around, I was joined on the mic by Kyle. Yipes was competing in Top 8, so even though we didn't get to have him on commentary, it was nice to see him make it all the way to Grand Finals!

[SPOILERS ARE BEYOND THIS POINT]

Hopefully you've watched the video above because some serious spoilers are inbound. Noel takes the tournament over Yipes in Grand Finals after resetting the bracket. Of course I wanted Yipes to win! But you've gotta give credit when it's due and Noel deserved it. He's been playing great for the past few tournaments now and his team is strong and unpredictable.. You can tell that Noel plays with the same confidence he carries wherever he goes because he has no hesitation in fighting with plain ol' Jean Grey if need be. Securing Dark Phoenix is always the end goal, but Noel doesn't make that his only goal. Wolverine and Doom are a great shell on their own. If there is a problem character, spending the bar the make the overall match easier is worth it because there is a good chance he could land a TAC infinite on the next character and gain that bar back easily. The gamble between guessing the right direction for a TAC break and a TAC reset is rough and can give Phoenix many opportunities to get 5 bars. All of this we already knew, but what is even more scary about Noel's team is Wolverine! Of all the Wolverine's I've seen, I think Noel's is the most annoying. He's constantly in your face, always seeming to get the right dive kick or throw at the right times, and every time you get hit, you know you're in a bad position. So congrats to Noel for taking 1st place and finding the right formula for his team. He has used this team in the past, but it goes to show that with the right amount of practice, you can get better results. I can expect to see him in a lot more Top 8's in the future.

One last thing about Marvel at AB6, for anyone who thought that Texas was "free", Flux didn't make it out of pools. I think it's safe to say that Texas has become Zero-Nation because he lost to two ZMC players. Sorry, Flux.

As usual, USF4 was the last game of the night. Cast Blanka tried to keep the hope alive for Texas and had a ridiculously close set against K-Brad before playing NuckleDu in Grand Finals. Blanka has always been that one character I never understood how to fight but Cast showed off some tricky set ups and really showed me more of the character than I had seen before. His reactions to certain situations and great spacing even had me interested in learning Blanka for a second; a very brief second. I have no idea how to fight against Blanka, so it's always interesting seeing how top players handle the character. NuckleDu was really confident in his whiff punishes and mix ups and definitely showed off his experience in the game. He didn't use Guile in the set and it's pretty clear why. The amount of damage he scored from Decapre's resets and corner pressure was exactly what he needed to win the tournament. Huge props to Du for not only winning, but for making both Guile and Decapre a huge threat and rounding him out as a tournament player.

Needless to say, I had an awesome time at Absolute Battle 6! One great thing about the tournament is that even though I was actually there, I've still be scouring the internet for footage of the event. Panda x Gaming and Versus Gameplay really put on a show and I wanted to see their product as a viewer too. I tend to love anything with good replay value such as games, music, and even events, so it was fun to be able to relive the hype all over again. Aside from the event itself, the entire weekend was spot on. The food, the people, and the much needed practice reminded me why I love being a part of this community! Thank you, Absolute Battle, for raising the bar for the FGC as far as production and still managing to provide some of the best hospitality I've ever experienced. I'd recommend this tournament to anyone and everyone in the years to come.

-Persia


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