The Road to Manila Cup tournament circuit started strong this last weekend over at Playbook Circuit Makati. Games that were represented were Blazblue Central Fiction and Mortal Kombat XL. They may not see the same level of popularity as Tekken or Street Fighter, but both scenes probably contain some of the most dedicated players you’ll ever find. Bracket numbers may be smaller, but that only meant stiffer competition as everyone fought for a free spot in Manila Cup 2017.
Blazblue Central Fiction
First up last Saturday was Blazblue Central Fiction. For those unfamiliar, Blazblue is one of the most iconic anime-style fighters along with Guilty Gear. Apart from the art-style, anime fighting games set themselves apart from other 2d Fighters by having more mechanics (barrier guarding, rapid cancel etc.), airdashes, and flashier combos. Blazblue in particular puts emphasis on the neutral game. Converting all your hits to huge combos is very important.
The grand finals came down to Carlo “Blitzer” Navarro with Hibiki and Anthon Chico using Mai. Blitzer was dominating his opponents using Hibiki’s mixup options while making good use of his reversal to psyche them out. Chico’s gameplan for the most part was relying on Mai’s long range and strings to keep the pressure on his opponent.
Blitzer was the one who initially put Chico into the loser’s bracket when they faced off in winners finals after a pretty convincing set. Unfortunately for Chico, Blitzer’s Hibiki was still too much for him to handle. Reacting to Mai’s spear throw, Blitzer catches Chico with Hibiki’s jump super to take grand finals with a 3-0 sweep.
Mortal Kombat XL
Up next was Moral Kombat XL. Along with Injustice, MKXL is part of the subgenre of fighting games known as “NRS games”. NRS is short for Neather Realm Studios, the developer of MK and Injustice.
Similar to Tekken, playing MKXL at the highest level relies heavily on knowledge of character combo strings and high/low mixups. This,along with a juggle based combo system, makes MKXL a good entry point for Tekken players looking to transition to playing 2d fighters. Starting with MKX, Mortal Kombat introduced character variations, which allowed one character to be played in multiple ways.
For the MKXL Grand finals, it came down to a match between Cosmic Gorgons' Juan Miguel Champo and Niño “Gempoid” Figueroa. The set started off strong for Gempoid as he easily dominated Champo’s Flame Fist Liu Kang with Possessed. Down two games and on the brink of a bracket reset, Champo went back to the character screen and went for Cassie Cage, his first time debuting the character in a tournament. The switch was effective, and Champo was able to bring the set all the way back to 2-2. During second round of the last game, Champo managed to land a big hit, leaving Gempoid open for the following mix up. Champo came out on top 3-2 after a pretty intense set.
From Left to Right: Imperium Pro Team's Angelo "MacArthur" Baldonado, Blitzer, Champo, Playbook Esports' Arthur "Dr.Jimmy" Malgapo
The Road to Manila Cup will continue after Rev Major Philippines this weekend. The next games in line are Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2, Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and King of Fighters XIV, which will be part of the next leg on July 15, 2017 over at Playbook Circuit Makati