Photos credit: Imperium Pro Team’s Angelo Morelos Baldonado.
Written by Gab Lazaro.
The first day of Summer Salt came to a conclusion this past Saturday. Held over at the G Square Arcade in Mandaluyong, Imperium Pro Team and The Pad’s joint tournament started strong as local players flocked in to get a piece of the action. Featured games included Guilty Gear –Xrd– Revelator, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and King of Fighters 14 as the highlight game. Here’s a quick rundown of results for Summer Salt, day one:
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Imperium Pro Team’s Anton Castilla continued to dominate the local Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 scene as he took the crown over Bryan Balcorta in yesterday’s grand finals. Considered by many as one of the local top players, Anton was the highest placing Filipino in last year’s Manila Cup, placing only behind International Superstars, Then Evil Geniuses’ Justin Wong and Kenneth “K-Brad” Bradley.
His opponent, Bryan Balcorta, is no slouch either. One of the few Deadpool specialists in the country, Bryan is a consistent top placer in most tournaments he enters. In fact last year in Manila Cup, he finished just behind Anton at fourth place.
Anton told me that going into the tournament, he was confident he’ll come out on top, even as he entered grand finals. “Bryan and I play each other so much almost every week. It almost felt like just playing casuals” Anton said.
While he was known for being a Zero player, Anton opted to go for Morrigan this time around. Despite losing the first game, Anton maintained his composure and just continued playing. As the set progressed, it was clear that Anton was able to adjust his game and overwhelm Bryan with Morrigan and Dr. Doom’s trademark zoning game. A simple mix up cracked open Bryan’s defense and left him wide open for Anton’s Vergil to close out game three and the match.
Bryan (left) and Anton (right)
Anton gave a big shoutout to his brother and teammate, Carlo Castilla, for helping him win at Summer Salt. “Carlo’s the one I play the most with at Home. It helped a lot that he’s also a Deadpool main, so I really know how to play the match up.” Anton explained.
This makes it Anton’s second championship this year, the first one being at Playbook’s Burning Knuckle tournament held this past January. Anton hopes to continue his hot streak as the local community prepares for Manila Cup 2017
Guilty Gear –Xrd- Revelator
Guilty Gear grand finals came down to two Playbook Elite Players: Shinji Takimoto and Mark Anthony “Tuks” Casing. Both have had a long standing rivalry, meeting each other several times in different events. In Manila Cup 2016, it was Shinji who sent Tuks home in top 4 Guilty Gear before going into grand finals. In South East Asia Majors, Tuks sent Shinji to the losers bracket in top 8 of the regional tournament before winning the championship. Both are considered to be some of the top players in the South East Asia Region, and many were looking forward to another classic match between the two.
Shinji opted to go for his pocket character Slayer to start off the set while Tuks went straight to his main, Zato-1. Tuks made short work of game one, forcing Shinji to switch characters. Now back to his signature May, Shinji took game two, sealing it off with a Perfect game. However it was clear afterwards that Tuks made the necessary adaptations, winning the next two games convincingly and taking the first local Guilty Gear tournament this year.
From Left to right: PBE. Shinji, PBE.Tuks and IPT. Alden
Prior to Summer Salt, Noob had just gotten back from Japan where he trained over at the prestigious Mikado Arcade. The experience seemed to be of help, as he told me he was pretty comfortable going into the tournament.
When asked of his experiences playing against top level Japanese players, he tells me that the local community needs to focus on improving its defense the most. “We already have the set play down, what we really need to do is get better defensively. That was the biggest difference I noticed between us and Japanese players.” Noob told me. “Japanese players take advantage of the slightest mistake. There is no margin for error when you play against them.”
While he will still be aiming to win tournaments throughout the year, Noob says that it gives him a bittersweet feeling. “Winning is always good, but I would also be happy if someone new or different would beat me apart from Shinji and Drake. It would mean that the community is leveling up.” He explains.
Noob will be focusing on improving the community’s overall skill going into 2017. “Even though we’re a pretty small group, the level is still there. I believe we still have a chance when going up against international players.” he states. “Learn why you lost, look at your match videos and don’t stay salty. It definitely won’t be easy, but we have to put in work.”
King of Fighters 14
Highlighting the first day of Summer Salt was the King of Fighters 14 tournament, which received direct developer support from SNK Playmore. The grand finals came down to two North Mall regulars, **Renato ”Jay Ar” Balimbing Jr. ** on the winners side of the bracket and Eiji “Igi” Quido at the losers side. The set was intense with both players exchanging wins back and forth. With the set tied at two games apiece, it came down to the final game to decide who was going to take the championship. In the end, Jay Ar’s Kula play managed to give him the advantage, taking out two of Igi’s characters, before Jay Ar closed out the set with Mai to win the championship.
From Left to Right: NM. Igi, NM. lolomarte and NM. Jay Ar
Going into the match, Jay Ar describes that he was actually really nervous. He attributed his win to Igi’s character unfamiliarity, particularly with Kula. “I noticed that he wasn’t familiar with Kula’s style of pressure, so I took heavy advantage of that.”
Jay Ar also commented how glad he was that SNK was supporting the tournament. “I don’t think anybody knew there was a King of Fighters scene here in the Philippines, so getting the developers support for an event like this is a really big help to us.” Jay Ar shares.
Jay Ar hopes that KOF 14 would make it to this year’s game line up for Manila Cup. “I really hope that it gets in as a major game. I also hope international players like Xiao Hai and Mr. M attend. I really want to get the opportunity to play them. Win or lose, it doesn’t matter. I really want to learn.” Jay Ar says.
Summer Salt’s second day will be held on March 18, featuring Mortal Kombat XL, Street Fighter V and Blazblue Central Fiction. Online registrations are still open here. For those even a wee bit curious, this is the perfect opportunity to join in, get to know the local fighting game scene and just have fun!