Well I wasn't originally going to do an entree on my Evo trip since its not in Japan but its relevant enough and people seem to want one so what the hell. Im gonna keep it kinda brief though (it may seem long but I actually cut out a LOT of details) cuz it was a long 4 days and I dont really feel like typing for hours.
On Thursday I spent my last morning in Chicago after a 3 week trip visiting my family and friends which was great times. I got dropped off at the airport by my dad and a few hours later I arrived in Vegas. I took a shuttle to the Tropicana where Evo would be held. When I got there, I really had no way of contacting anyone since I dont have a US cellphone. I checked at the desk to see if Aaron (AKA) had already checked into our room but they said he hadnt arrived yet, so I decided to just kill some time at the $5 blackjack tables. After about an hour and 2 rum cokes later, I lost 20 bucks. However, I got up to check and sure enough, Aaron was standing in line to check into the room with Veteru. We talked for a bit and finally got our room. At some point we ran into Prucha (Blacksnake) who drove all the way from Chicago. After getting up there, our next task was to figure out how to get some casuals going. Just as many other hotels, the Tropicana had shitty TVs with that stupid plastic thing on the back that prevents you from hooking shit up to it. Thankfully one of Joshfunkdoc's friends came prepared with a took kit and ripped that shit off. Shortly after we had casuals going. Not long after, tons of people piled into our room and we had a nice gear session going that lasted most of the night. There was lots of playing, drinking, and "celebrating" with Prucha and Arturo. Matt (Hinta) decided to "celebrate" and got extremely fucked up and puked in the toilet. Eventually we all went to sleep kinda late.
The next day we werent sure if they were holding a tournament or not since there were rumors that everything would be run on Saturday, but we decided to go down to the ballroom where Evo was being held sorta early anyway to make sure. Turns out Jeff (Hiedern98) was there and was already taking signups for singles and said they would be starting at like 1 pm. Thankfully things were pretty organized and it started relatively on time. I got some casuals in before the tournament started. Most notable was Latif, the Eddie player who won Final Round. I never played Latif before but he was a favorite going into this tournament so I wasnt going to take him lightly. I played him in one game of casuals and managed to beat him surprisingly well. I mostly was just able to zone him out and he wasnt even able to get any rushdown stuff in on me. At some point we ended up playing a game of casuals again while the tournament was going on one one of the small TVs on the side. We played a 2 out of 3 that went down to the last set and last round and he ended up winning. I got to experience his offense which was extremely solid. No holes and extremely smart. This was more like it and more what I was expecting from Latif. I was looking forward to facing him in the tournament after this. I also noticed that Latif and MIU were playing a shit ton of casuals and MIU was overall just getting worked by Latif. MIU kept dropping lots of combos and seemed a bit off. There were lots of matches he should have won but his execution was just off. At some point I tried a game of Blazblue and played as Arakune but had no idea wtf I was doing and got rushed down by some Ragna player while I was trying to figure out what his moves were. I didnt get around to playing any TvC or SFIV all weekend and that was the only game of BB I played all weekend too. So anyway, regarding the tournament...
There were like 85 (or something like that) entrants too which was a big surprise! The tournament was run on like 3 TVs so it took like all day pretty much. I dont remember the names of all the people I played but I fought a Robo-ky first match and won, after that I fought John wu's Chipp and won. My next match I think was against a Potemkin player called Mighty Whitey and I beat him as well. I think there was another match in there somewhere but I cant remember. I eventually fought Jo's Johnny and he was pretty solid and surprised me but I won anyway. I think my next match was against Latif. I knew this was gonna be epic. Everyone started busting out the cameras and gathering around once this match was called. Not much point in describing the match when you can just watch it here...
I basically played kinda conservative in regards to mixups, tried to do more low risk stuff and made some mistakes here and there (both tactical and execution) but in the end it came down to Latif not hitting a combo and I ended up baiting a burst which I was able to block and get in the winning combo! I was extremely glad I won this one. Had I lost, I would have been ready to come back from losers but I would much rather just carry my momentum to the finals. Latif gave me like one of the longest handshakes ever and we both gave eachother props; an epic match among the epicest of matches indeed. After that, my next opponent was Pat, the Millia player from Seattle that was staying with us in our room. I was mostly beating him all weekend in casuals so I figured I could handle things, and I ended up winning. Felt kinda bad though cuz he got so far and hes a nice guy. This was a top 4 winners bracket match, the other being Blacksnake vs Nerina, and Blacksnake lost and was sent to the losers bracket. My next opponent was obviously Nerina and I managed to take him down. I was a bit weary going into it since he beat Prucha and I dont particularly like fighting Baiken but I handled my shit. I now advanced to the grand finals. Blacksnake came back from losers, defeating Hellmonkey (who took out Latif earlier after I sent him to losers) and also winning a re-match against Nerina. I knew Prucha's Venom would be my hardest opponent since he knows my play style better than just about anyone and we had been playing eachother a lot the past 3 weeks in Chicago, pretty much going even, plus hes just a damn smart player. Before the match we had decided to just split the money for top 2 since were good friends, but both of us wanted to offical title of first, which kinda means more than money in a way, so we were both prepared to play our damn best and give everyone a good show. The finals were super hype and tons of people were making lots of noise and just getting crazy. Evo staff was threatening to kick us out since they were ready to close the event hall for the day as it was already very late, but Jeff managed to convince them to give us just a bit more time (thanks Evo staff). The finals were best 3 of 5 and we had some nail biter rounds there were super close but Prucha kept taking that shit and swept the first set. Since I was in winners he had to beat me 2 sets though. I knew I had to step it up if I wanted to take out Prucha so I held my shit down and took the next 2 games. Prucha managed to get one more win on me, but I won the next game after that and took the last set to win the tournament! This was my 2nd EVO singles tournament win as I had won 2 years ago (but didnt attend last year due to just arriving in Japan).
After it was over we were quickly shooed out of the event hall and made our way up to the hotel room. As we were waiting for the elevators in the crowded hotel lobby, people were getting all hype and betting over which one would arrive first. One of the elevators was sitting at the ground level for a long ass time and wouldnt open and eventually the other one came back from like 4 floors behind ftw! We divied up the cash and did a whole lot of "celebrating", this time with Jeff too. After that, a large group of players (like 20 or something) all went to grab some food. We went to Mcdonalds and it was jam packed, and so was the Fat Burger next to it, so we ended up sorta splitting up into 2 groups and the group I was with went to this food court with lots of food that we had eaten at the previous night. The rest of the night consisted pretty much of more drinking and casuals. I played Latif again in another match, but we didnt wanna do our money match at that time since I was sorta fucked up from all that celebrating. We would save it for the next day.
Sunday we woke up to get ready for the 3 on 3 team tournament. My team would be Prucha (Blacksnake) and Aaron (AKA). We entered the tournament under the name Shit Pillow Champions (refering to the night before when Aaron was asking people if they would still be his friend if he took a dump in their pillow case... fucking random). Before the tournament I got some casuals in. I got one more game in with Latif and won. We decided on playing our money match right after the tournament was over. Soon after, the tournament started. I honestly dont even remember the teams we fought early in the tournament but I OCVed our first opponent, Prucha OCVed the next team, and Aaron OCVed the 3rd team we fought. Our 4th match was against a team of Latif, Hellsap, and Digital Watches (ED, ZA, AX). Aaron went first and if memory serves me correctly, he beat Hellsap but lost to Watches. After that Prucha went next and defeated both Watches and Latif in an excellent match! Our next match was against the team of Nerina, Hellmonkey and MIU (BA ED SO). I went first this time and beat MIU and Hellmonkey but then lost to Nerina in a close match. I was playing way too conservative and he actually beat me by time over in the last round. Prucha went next and lost to Nerina as well, but thankfully Aaron had our backs and managed to take out Nerina with his Millia. We were now in the grand finals, and our final match would be against Nerina's team once again, as they had come back to win the losers bracket. This time Aaron went first against Nerina but this time, Nerina got his revenge on Aaron. Prucha went next but once again lost to Nerina. I knew I had to handle this shit so I played hard and took out Nerina, this time playing more agresively. Up next was Hellmonkey and I beat him as well. Final match of the tournament was me vs MIU and I took both rounds, finishing him off with an air teleport for the reverse OCV and the tournament win! Once again the finals were super hype and tons of people were cheering, also once again Evo staff almost kicked us out but they ended up letting us finish. I was planning on playing Latif in our money match right after the tourny but they made us leave right away.
I ran into a few people on the way to the room and said hi and shit, some people gave me props etc. We got back up to the room and played some more casuals. I asked where Latif was as just about everyone else was in our room (we had like 4 setups going) but someone told me he already left. I was disapointed that we wouldnt get to play our scheduled $50 money match but there was nothing I could do at this point. I managed to get lots of other much smaller money matches in that night though and won every single one which was nice. Later that night we went to the Hooters hotel and casino across the street and got some 25 cent wings. While we waited for our table I played some blackjack and lost like 10 more dollars. The wings were greasy as hell but not that bad I guess. We eventually went back to the room and stayed up till like 5 AM playing games. In the middle of the night, we awoke to someone coming back to the room, escorted by 2 security guards. They asked us if we knew this guy and we said yes. Turns out the person got drunk at a bar and stumbled back to the hotel. However, instead of getting on the 6th floor and going to room 624 where we were staying, he got on the 5th floor and went to room 524. On top of that, it just so happens that whoever we staying in that room failed to lock their door, which resulted in this person just going to sleep on their floor without realizing it, and the people who were staying in the room, waking up in the middle of the night and freaking out after seeing some random dude passed out on their floor. Getting woken up kinda sucked but it was worth the laughs we all got out of that story, lol.
The next morning, for some reason, there were like 5o zillion alarms going off in our room from phones and alarm clocks and shit like every 5 fucking minutes. Aaron and I slept in the longest. I think I woke up like at around 1:30 but Aaron was still passed out. Prucha had to leave early since the people he drove all the way from Chicago with wanted to leave. No Guilty Gear was going on today since the event hall was Evo finals only. I checked it out and it was like Tekken going on followed by Smash Bros and I didnt really feel like watching either game. I didnt know where most people were so I decided to kill some time playing more blackjack and drinking a few free vodka redbulls to start off my day. I ended up winning back all my losses plus like 20 bucks or something like that. Eventually I went back up to the room and Aaron woke up and we got some casuals going while drinking some beers and after like 15 minutes a zillion people came in our room and tons of people were playing. I eventually decided to go down and watch the Super Turbo finals. They were pretty exciting actually. After that, I went up to the room to grab another beer before the SFIV invitational tournament started. The tournament was sorta boring actually, though it was kinda fun watching Justin Wong playing an improvised Abel. After that I got more beer and we charged up in the room and then we went down to watch Marvel. Marvel was honestly not that exciting this year, no upsets, pretty much just what I expected to see. With the end of Marvel, Evo was offically over and the ballroom was cleared. However, Evo staff asked people to stay and help clean up. A bunch of the Guilty Gear players and myself stayed to help them load the truck and clean shit up. It actually didnt take very long at all, was overall really easy, and they gave everyone who helped free EVO2007 DVDs. Since I didnt even get to go to Evo2007 it was nice to get the DVD for free. Evo staff seemed happy that we stayed to help. Hopefully they might think more favorably of our community and realize not all our players are lazy over sleeping fat shit talkers next year when they are thinking about what games to make official. I doubt evo staff reads my blog but thank you guys for not kicking us out while our finals were going on as that would have been a real kick in the nuts.
After we finished, everyone wanted to go get food. There was another large group this time of about 12 people, and no one could decide where they wanted to eat. After standing around outside for 5 minutes talking about it, I finally just started walking in a direction and people started following me. I actually thought we were going towards the food court but my sense of direction blows and I led us back to Hooters. Another group of people wanted to meet us there anyway so we ended up checking in and there was like 30 fucking people who were gonna sit together. While waiting for our table to get ready I played some more blackjack and won 60 bucks, but then I went back and played some more and lost 40 of it, bummer. After we finally got seated, we ended up filling 2 huge tables, and I guess there were a few people at a smaller 3rd table. I didnt even know who most of the people were. There was also a full table of Marvel players in there who left a bit after we got our food. The waitress totally fucked up and brought my food all late like after the entire table got their meals and some people had even finished all their food. Luckily one of the guys with us, Scyther, decided to take the challenge of eating 50 wings since someone said if he could do it, they would buy his food, so I still had some time. Unfortunately the food tasted shitty as hell this time and was literally just dripping with nasty grease. I was honestly feeling sick after eating like half of them. I was still hungry but just couldnt eat anymore after eating about 16 of the 20 that I ordered. Eventually we were getting ready to go. Scyther actually managed to eat all 50 wings and didnt even throw up! Props to him. However, the problem that we now were presented with was that the fucking stupid Hooters staff didnt feel like splitting up the check between the tables so we all had to pay together. This isnt an easy task, espessially when the small 3rd table of people left early and totally underpaid and didnt leave anything for tip, and half of the other people like didnt put in enough money. We spent like over an hour there arguing with the waitress about being overcharged (they put stuff on our bill that no one even ordered) and they also didnt even bring all our food out. Eventually everyone was getting so tired of all this bullshit, Pat the Millia player just threw down like 50 bucks and payed the differences so that everyone could just get the fuck out of there. I honestly didnt want to pay more than I owed since the service and the food was so fucking shitty, but I felt bad seeing Pat throw down all that money, and I figured I won enough this weekend, so I gave him 20 bucks to help him cover the cost of the stuff everyone else either didnt pay or we were over charged for.
After we got back to the hotel room, we pretty much just played games for the rest of the night and watched some vids on Jeff's computer. At one point I went down with Hellsap one of the Cali player rooms and won a few money matches and played some more casuals. After a bit I went back to my room. I ended up staying up all night since my flight was scheduled for 9:40 am. I chilled with the guys in the room a bit longer and eventually it was time to head to the airport. I was generally just tired as hell, and kinda crabby from the Hooters BS and just from being exhausted. I got on my connected flight to LAX and then took my long 11 hour flight back to Tokyo. I slept a bit of the way but at least they had Iron Man on the flight which was sweet since I hadnt seen it yet (good movie btw). When I got off the plane I unexpectedly ran into Fubarduck who I didnt even know was on the same flight as me the whole time. He would be going to SBO as well. After that, I took my long 4+ hour train ride back to my apartment, got picked up by my girlfriend, and spent all that time up until like right before typing this blog post with her.
Thats about all there is to it. Evo was tons of fun and I'm really glad I won because I would have really regretted it if I didnt, and that money really helped cover my cost of visiting the US for 3 weeks. Tomorrow I will wake up and head to Tokyo for a loooong weekend. Not just any weekend... Tougeki Super FUCKING Battle Opera weekend! Time for lots of serious practicing and partying. Hopefully we can fuck some shit up in the last chance qual! Im gonna keep my Evo momentum strong and Faust some bitches. Nani ga deru ka na? Prepare for the fucking storm!