The Naija Fighters Connect 2019 ranbat has come and gone and it was a blast. This was the first fighting game event for the year and it had a lot of players in attendance – old faces, new faces and some returning faces. The event had a lot of happenings but we have compiled a list of the major ones. Without much ado, here are the top twelve highlights at NFC ranbat 2019.
TH GOTEI MAKE A RETURN
For a long time now, top competitors from the gaming clan, The Hadou aka TH have been conspicuously absent from tournaments. With the exception of TH_Andyknigth and sometimes Vique (TH_MrSuckah) and Sagefox, the majority of the clan never show up for tourneys, always citing one reason or the other as excuses. This has led to a lot of speculation about their abilities and them being labelled as local champions. However, all that changed at NFC 2019 where some of their top dogs showed up and made their tournament comebacks. These include TH_VampireAlucard, TH_Special Agent Frank and TH_Ijebu. The regulars – Andyknigth and Vique – were also present. Here’s hoping to see them more in subsequent tourneys.
THE SMASH BROS. COMMUNITY IS FINALLY INCLUDED
In the Nigerian fighting game community, the Smash Bros players have never been regarded. Despite the success of the franchise outside Nigeria, the dominance of the Playstation has almost alienated any other fighting game franchise that isn’t on a Playstation console. Suffice it to say, Nintendo boys haven’t been too happy about the situation and have consistently grumbled about it until their cry was finally heard last Saturday as Smash Bros Ultimate was featured. Though it didn’t have the numbers to pull up a tournament, it was set up for exhibition and was played throughout the entire day. Moving forward, with more numbers, a tourney is in sight as Smash Bros looks to be a mainstay game as in other big fighting game tourneys.
THE TOURNAMENT ENDED IN RECORD TIME……….
One of the Achilles heel of the organizers of the tournaments has been the timing, a complaint that has been echoed and re-echoed through ages. Multiple promises by the organizers to end on time so that players who have come from long distances can quickly get home always ended in a disaster. Sometimes, top 8 began at about 7pm. But all that changed at NFC 2019, not only did the tournament end before 6pm, players had plenty of time to do casuals and exhibition to their heart’s content. We hope this isn’t a fluke…..
………..AND THE FOOD WAS LIT
Naija Fighters Connect was held at Silver Café and one of the things that attendees all agreed upon was the food. Though a little high, many a player who had eaten attested that the meal was worth it ….. so much so that some people went for extra rounds. This is especially commendable since most restaurants would have meals that are “just there” regardless of the high price. Nice one Silver Café.
APPRENTICE MAKES A TOURNAMENT REAPPEARANCE
One of the community’s legendary figures, Ryu Apprentice, who has been on a hiatus from the competitve/ tournament scene for over three years now, made a reappearance to everyone’s surprise and happiness. Though he didn’t participate in any of the SF tourney, citing his inability to play SFV as reason, he judged the Mortal Kombat 11 tournament and ensured its smooth running. Nice one Apprentice, we hope to see your tournament participation in future events.
VAMPIRE ALUCARD STUNS DOUBTERS WITH TOP 8 PLACEMENT
TH’s VampireAlucard, formerly known as Ice Disciple, has not been in the competitive scene for a while. His well known unfavored view of SFV has led to him not playing the game as much as its predecessor, SF4. He had even stopped playing the game for a few months leading a few to doubt his viability in the game. Last Saturday, he made a surprise appearance at NFC 2019 and reluctantly participated and it turned out to be full of surprises. Not only would he advance to top 8, he finished 5th alongside Rotex (Rexpet) despite having not played for a while. Are we going to see a more frequent tournament attendance? Let’s hope so. Meanwhile here is the footage of his match with fellow TH member Special Agent Frank whom he eliminated in the top 8.
CHUX – SFV DOMINANCE UNWAVERING, THRONE STILL INTACT
This, on a normal day, isn’t meant to be news. But with ChuX’s loss to both KID and Sphinx at the GET 2.0 tour, Lagos qualifier which took place in Unilag some months ago, people were beginning to think that the end was near for the SFV king’s dominance. Well, he squashed any doubts about that last Saturday at NFC 2019. Tearing through the groups and top 8 without being reset in his typical dominant fashion, he left no one in doubt as to why he is still the strongest Nigerian SFV player on the scene despite his poor international performances, an error he intends to fix this year. Looking forward to that.
Here is the grandfinals
ZOD BECOMES THE NEW DOMINANT FORCE IN MORTAL KOMBAT
Back in the MKXL era, you would always find a couple of names consistently in the top 5. DT_General Zod was one of those names. Towards the end of its life cycle, General Zod gradually toppled ChuX’s position and became number 1. However, a lot of people weren’t convinced about the young player’s ability citing ChuX’s waning interest in the game as the reason. So when MK 11 was announced, everyone waited with crossed fingers to see who would dominate since it would be a new game and provide no form of advantage for anyone playtime-wise. The game was finally released and everyone has had at least two months of playtime and practice. At the NFC last Saturday, Zod left no one in doubt about his abilities and MK dominace. Here is the footage from the grand finals with Shinigami. His run through was so complete that there was no bracket reset. He proved naysayers wrong so much that a prominent fighting game group – Fighting Legends Africa aka FLA – had to be renamed FLA – Zod Tha Gawd for four days as a tribute to him. All hail Zod Tha Gawd, may your reign last long.
D_GNT SCORES MULTIPLE UPSETS, CLAIMS STRONGEST BIRDIE POSITION
D_gnt is mostly an online warrior whose offline showings and records haven’t been too impressive……………….. until last Saturday. Fielding his trademark Birdie, he was being placed in the same group with veterans of the game including TH_Vique (TH_MrSuckah), Iyacgl_Aensland and the up-until-last-Saturday strongest Birdie user, Rotex (Rexpet) and he was no doubt the obvious underdog. His first match was against Vique and after a tough match which came down to the last game, he snatched a narrow 3-2 win over the Karin user. But that was it, everyone erroneously assumed “all dis one na initial gra-gra, IYA would soon flow for him". Like, there was no way he could defeat Aensland (who himself is another proficient Birdie user) or the master Birdie himself, Rotex. Well they were right.
IYA did flow.…….. But it was in the reverse.
Vique’s fight proved to be the toughest for D_gnt as he would go on to thrash Aensland a resounding 3-1 and demolish Rotex 3-0, causing a string of upsets that hasn’t been seen in ages in the Naija FGC. He advanced undefeated from his group into top 8, followed by Rotex. Then he would square up against Rotex again in the losers quarter-finals. Now Rotex is all warmed up and everyone watched to see how he would avenge his group stage loss, right? Wrong again. D_gnt dismantled him 3-1 again, proving that the first win wasn’t a fluke. He finished at a decent 4th place and since then critics have been dumbfounded at the super performance.
You can watch the footage of the losers quarter finals against Rotex here.
THAT SPHINX SETUP……. TURNS K-I-D TO KING OF SALT
The SFV tournament was packed with interesting play as competitors played their hearts out. In the top 8, KID squared off against young Akuma prodigy, Sphinx in the losers final.Sphinx took an early 2-0 lead and was on game point before KID readjusted his chair and gameplay. KID took the third game and then in the fourth game, each player had won one round apiece and it was down to final round. KID had the upper hand and had drained Sphinx’s health bar to less than while he still had over 60%. Sphinx had already activated Akuma’s V-trigger ad after KID threw him, he jumped and threw Akuma’s double air-fireball which would hit KID in a meaty state. He quickly followed up a forward walk, st. MK, LK tastu and a cr. MP into another LK tatsu. The cr. MP forced KID’s Karin to be air-reset so that the follow-up LK tatsu from Sphinx whiffed and he landed early to execute a raging demon which KID didn’t see. Sounds like we are speaking Latin? Here is the clip from that exact moment to expel the confusion.
Although Karin was still alive, she only had a sliver of life left and a whiffed st. HK from her and a cross-up jp.LK from Akuma sealed her fate and dashed any hopes of KID placing second……… or first.
The reaction from the crowd was thunderous and it has been unanimously voted the “Match Of The Day” by everyone present.
Here is the full fight.
REVENGE IS SWEET WHEN SERVED TO ALL – TuMISHIMA REGAINS TOP FORM
When you mention Tekken 7, TuMishima is a household name. He is undoubtedly one of the strongest hands in the game. However, when ranking the top guys, TuMishima usually comes in last. His ‘weird’ tournament losses to some of his peers who he usually ‘drags’ with in casual plays had caused him to be labelled as just average. With three consecutive tournament losses to Ghenesis, two consecutive tournament losses to both Icefox and Diamond, it seemed like TuMishima didn’t have answers to tournament losses. But then comes NFC ranbat and TuMishima was determined to correct this ‘anomaly’. Put in the same group as Ghenesis, he scored a 2-0 win over the latter and advanced into top 4 behind ES_Combo. Then in the top 4, he thrashed both Icefox (3-1 in the winners semis) and Cyborg D aka Diamond (3-1 in losers finals). His only losses came from ES_Combo but that is a different topic altogether. Well vengeance is sweet when served one for all. Congrats TuMishima.
SHINIGAMI FINALLY PROVES HIMSELF – FINISHES 2ND PLACE
Shinigami hasn’t had a good tournament showing in previous times. Most of his prior tourneys end up in him getting knocked out in pools/group stage prompting people not to take his views seriously when matters of game analysis are being discussed. Saturday brought good tidings for the young player tournament wise. Not only did he eliminate ChuX – an old experienced dominant player in the MKX era -, he finished second place behind DT_General Zod proving once and for all that he is also a force to be reckoned with. Big ups Shinigami, wishing you more tournament success in your future outings.
There you have it, the highlights of Naija Fighters Connect 2019. If you want to see the post interviews and tournament overview, you can catch the video here.
Big ups to the organizers, they really got this one right.