So although we still have the traditional results post, I'd like to write this up to 1) Give Tweedy credit for his win, which I think every major winner deserves (congrats, Tweedy), and 2) Talk about this weekend's event in a retrospective fasion. Feel free to share your thoughts in the replies as well!
Let's face it -- Combo Breaker 2018 has been one of the most wildly unpredictable events in the NRS' community's recent tenure. Even as someone who's been following this scene since 2011, I could not and wouldn't have predicted the results for this weekend's games.
We've often heard that the same people win everything, and some have gone as far as to call the meta 'stale'; but what we've saw in Chicago is anything but. This was a game that is very much still alive, with a meta that is shifting organically as people individually champion various characters.
For an entire group of guys, this was the first time that they've all found themselves watching together from the sidelines, collectively, in years. We've seen events where an expected name fails to place, but in one fell swoop Semij, King, Theo, Whiteboi, Honeybee, Tekken Master, Hayatei, Iluusions were all simultaneously rendered spectators to a major Top 8. That's unusual -- and in my opinion, despite the disappointment some of them must feel, this is great for both the community and for the game.
What exactly happened between late 2017 and May 2018? Did a resurgent crop of players become better than those who ran the Pro Circuit during the first year of the game's release? Possibly not yet.. But it seemed apparent that those who were really hungry for this tournament, likely worked harder than some of the people who are resting on last year's accomplishments. This means that players haven't been completely replaced, but they've been put on notice that they can be eliminated at any time by a fresh and motivated group of challengers. And that uncertainty is very, very good for the game.
Meta-wise, things are at their most fluid in years. Not only are the matches closely-contested and exciting to watch (how many 5-game nailbiter sets have we seen?), but the flow of characters is never-ending. I can count important contributions this weekend from: Green Lantern, Dr. Fate, Red Hood, Firestorm, Captain Cold, Starfire, Black Adam, Bane, Blue Beetle, Atom, Supergirl, Hellboy, Braniac and more.. These are characters that all felt viable, if only situationally.
We're also watching some players definitively step into their own. Rewind has put everyone on notice that he's not at all afraid of any player on any level. We often hear about a young player who'd cut out to be the next major Top 8threat after giving people problems online (Murk, Xarakamaka, Revet, Balding, etc), but the talk is bigger than the resulting tournament resume. Watching the fundamentals and execution on display in the match between Rewind and Sonic however, it's apparent that Rewind has tools that position him to be to be a dangerous threat to the establishment, and that's great.
Tweedy has likewise been fashioning himself into someone who can threaten anyone he's up against. We saw shades of this in MKX, but a win in Injustice 2 provides both continuity and proof of resilience and practice. A confident player who's also willing to put in the hard work, and isn't afraid to shake things up, is ultimately good for the scene -- and I'll be interesting to see where his road leads from here.
My takewaway from watching this tournament is that our scene is in a good place -- and that those who were sidelined at this event will now have to shake the rust off, sharpen their tools and come back and contend with the guys who've put them on notice. This is exciting, and we should embrace this. Curbolicous showing up to win MK9 after years, with Revet placing and Tweedy winning Injustice was a symbolic passing of the 'young lion' torch. Expectations were shaken this weekend and it's exciting.
In any case -- drop a reply here and let me know what you think. And also congratulations to Scar, SylverRye, and Gunshow, whose grinding over many months has recently paid dividends. The Pro Series is just beginning.. Let's go.
Tweedy Wins Injustice: A Combo Breaker Retrospective