The East Coast Championships, a tournament event which initially started out as a small convention of players has long since grown into a legendary event. Last week marked the biggest Street Fighter convention for the east coast, as players from throughout the country came together to compete at ECC4. The event took place on Memorial Day weekend during the dates of May 29th and 30th; hosted at The 8 on the Break in Dunellen, New Jersey. The Break is no stranger to many players as it regularly holds weekly tournaments and is still going strong! With the support of Chris Cotty, the founder who has made the entire East Coast tournament events possible at the Break. Along with the ECC staff, namely the tournament administrator Todd Dwyer, who have all worked together along with the additional staff members to organize and produce the annual events. Players would be gathering together to see new and old faces, a time for gathering and showing off new skills and to take a shot at the being the best.
Participants such as myself got off to an early start as the door officially were not opened until 1 p.m. Players were given the opportunity to practice their strategies or find other ways to kill time until the actual fireworks began. Personally for myself, I found the experience to be very enlightening as this marked my first major national tournament. :) With camera in hand, numerous pics were snapped in addition to recorded footage of the two-day event, which will later be made available to the public in the future.
"Go for Broke -- Street Fighter Alpha 3"
This year's event held tournaments for Street Fighter Alpha 3, but players could compete in Hyper Fighting, Super Turbo, Marvel v. Capcom, Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Street Fighter 3: Second Impact. The attention this year was much greater than it was projected. Street Fighter Alpha 3 attracted the largest number of players as it consisted of a pool of 115 players. Lots of potential was demonstrated among the attendees, many who held an array of characters in their arsenal. A number of excellent matches were displayed during the first tournament as I personally watched Apoc's Balrog, who was a sight to see when he battled against Eddie Lee. In addition, Chocoboat's R. Mika (a certain cross-up with a throw remains burned in thy head), John Gordon's Cammy (surprising a number of veteran Alpha 3 players); Joey "Mr. Wizard" Cuellar's annoyingly offensive Chun Li was present (waaaaay too good!!!!), and other fine players made the Alpha 3 tournament easily one of the most enjoyed sessions for the entire convention.
Some highlights consisted of the highly confident Estuardo, who feels that he not only owns all Chun players (owns for the unitiated means basically, no contest...total victory), but also feels he can beat any Gief player with Rolento. Basically, the entire match was a showcase of just how irritable and uncommon events in Alpha 3 can be the slight of luck. Estuardo started the match by choosing A-Zangief against Tom's V-Dhalsim. Tom Cannon won, not too much doubt there =) Estuardo countered his initial defeat with back with V-Rolento. This was VC city here, people. Whoever was in the corner first lost. Estuardo couldn't stop Tom's VC from doing immense block damage. And Tom couldn't figure out how to block Estuardo's confusion VC. Estuardo managed to win in the end. Strange stuff. O_O
In other news during the A3 session: Trien Ho put Jason Cole into the losers' bracket where Eddie Lee later eliminated him. According to reports, namely from Tom Cannon, he personally felt that the fact Cole plays a defensive Dhalsim cost him the match against Eddie. Lee's V-Vega was allowed to run around and build meter, which is what he does against most all Dhalsim players. (I am surprised he didnt use the gate to kill time, that is, when he had his home field advantage). The end of his reign with Vega was terminated by Thao's semi-offensive X-Dhalsim. All of Eddie's attacks or attempts to escape were cut short by the quick reflexes of Thao, who didn't allow his character to move anywhere on the field. Later during the peak of the Semi-finals, Jason Gonzalez aka APOC, put Eddie Lee away with his devastating Balrog.
The end of the Alpha 3 finals was very entertaining as the remaining players 'battoned down the hatches' and went all out in order to become the champion for this year's tournament. The results: Alex Valle won 1st, Thao Doung for 2nd and Amir Amirsaleh for 3rd. Amir, a resident from Westwood, CA who currently is residing on the East Coast front showed that age is just a number when skills are involved as he brought the crowds to their feet againt Thao Doung and Alex Valle. Amir initially introduced his X-Rolento to Valle's X-Ryu, the match was taken by Valle in the end with a highly aggressive style and effective customs to take the lead: 0-1. However, Amir didn't let up as he then brought in his V-Karin and proceeded to show off some customs of his own unleashing a 100% combo juggling Valle in the corner with her Zaibatsu Punch and thus tying the bout 1-1. However, Alex countered the spirited fighter with his V-Akuma unleashing what many call the "Daigo Custom", where Akuma throws Hadokens at the opponent. To make the combo truly successful, he follows the projectiles while utilizing his Kuchu Go Hadoken or Hyakki Gosen (Air Magnificent Wave Motion Fist and Magnificent Spearhead, respectively).
The crowd was in utter frenzy as they watched both players battle it out. In the end, Valle succeeded to take First Place from Amir, who put up a valiant fight who . Thao later then battled against Eddie Lee's V-Vega with his dangerous, yet patient X-Dhalsim. He constantly countered attacks and made the matchup quite fustrating as he threw out various well timed attacks. Eddie switched to V-Sodom and Thao kept consistent with his attacks managing to gain a sweep of 3-0.
The final set for Alpha 3 brought Cali players Alex Valle and Thao Duong together. Once last battle consisted of the best 4 out of 7 matches, winner takes all. Alex selected V-Zangief and Thao chose X-Dhalsim. Valle takes the first two matches with Gief. Though the next three matches was taken by Alex, Thao surely would not allow a total sweep. Rethinking his strategy, he makes a character change and selects A-Charlie to combat against Valle's Gief...a down-to-the wire match ensues and Thao comes away victorious setting the stats to 3-1. Valle switches up and moves to V-Chun (I walked away from this point, so I am not sure what techniques he used) =( Reports concluded that Thao defeated Alex's V-Chun (methinks that Valle was playing around) and goes back to V-Gief. Thao comes away with yet another victory against Valle bringing the stats to 3-2. Alex then drops the cards in order to bring the Alpha 3 tournament to an end with V-Akuma unleashing his own style combined with the famous "Daigo" combo. Not as intense as the B3 matchup between Valle and Choi, but still entertaining none the less.