A Southern California Tournament Curse Plagues Top Smash Bros. Players

Call it a curse. Call it a jinx. Something is currently afflicting a series of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U tournaments. The Saga events are run by a group called 2GGaming in Southern California and are typically named after a player or players who have been flown in to compete. The problem is that, but over the course of 13 separate tournaments, none of these individuals have been able to win the competitions bearing their names.

And it all happened again, pretty much, just last weekend when the team leaders playing in an off-shoot event called Civil War lost earlier than expected.

Established in late 2015 2GGaming is an outfit dedicated to organizing and broadcasting some of the most exciting Super Smash Bros. for Wii U events in the world. Like others, they provide weekly competition for players looking for more regular play, but what truly sets them apart is the Saga tournament series.

Starting with Fatality Saga in December 2015, 2GGaming established a trend of naming their tournaments after specific competitors or regions and flying them out to the event. Fatality Saga was named after high-level Captain Falcon player Griffin “Fatality” Miller. But this first event established a different kind of trend, one that would see the featured player or players miss out on taking home the grand prize.

The winner of Fatality Saga was Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios champion, who was well into his run as the undisputed best Super Smash Bros. for Wii U player in the world. Fatality finished his tournament run at a respectable seventh. Little did the Smash community know what horrors awaited them.

  • The next event, ESAM Saga, borrowed its name from Eric “ESAM” Lew, a top Pikachu main from Florida. After making the trip to Southern California, he placed fifth in singles and second in doubles.
  • After that, Corey “False” Shin came in second at The False Awakens.
  • Phil “EE” Visu, who is known more for his broadcast skills than gameplay, picked up a single win in EE Saga’s special commentators round robin.
  • And in the most surprising turn thus far, Marcus “Pink Fresh” Wilson failed to crack top 16 at Fresh Saga.

In case you think this is all coincidence, it doesn’t just apply to one player at a time. A total of 11 players visited the United States from Mexico for the aptly named Mexico Saga; only three cracked the top 48. Cristian “Hyuga” Medina, the most successful Mexican competitor at the event, bowed out in 4th place. Midwest Mayhem Saga, which acted as a prelude to the 2016 installment of the Chicago-based tournament series, was a disaster for Midwestern players outside of Nicholas “Ned” Dovel, who barely missed making top three.

This curse has survived to present day, and made its presence known most extraordinarily at Civil War earlier this month. While not an official Saga event, Civil War was perhaps the most important Super Smash Bros. for Wii U event to date. With almost every top player in attendance as well as a high-level crew battle acting as the marquee matchup, it was, simply put, massive. The main draw was a showdown of two teams, one led by ZeRo and one by Elliot “Ally” Carroza-Oyarce. Too bad for those guys.

Both players, often considered the top two in terms of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U competition, picked up early losses. ZeRo’s came in the winners finals of his pool against Matthew “Xzax” Liberatore, a strong Fox from Northern California, while Ally fell to fellow Canadian Mason “Locus” Charlton soon after. Ally eventually made it to top 32 before being eliminated by ESAM, but ZeRo’s tournament run came to a shocking end at 49th, just two games after his first loss. According to his SSBWiki entry, this was ZeRo’s worst finish since 2011, spanning all the way back to the days of Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

By flexing its muscles at Civil War, the Saga curse claimed its most high-profile victims to date. It’s very real, and it wants everyone to know it.

Lots of competitive scenes have curses. The NFL has the Madden curse. Until last year, the Chicago Cubs suffered under the century-old Curse of the Billy Goat. Rapper Lil B has the proven ability to curse any NBA player that gets on his bad side, most famously when Kevin Durant and his Oklahoma City Thunder flubbed a 3-1 lead against the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 Western Conference Finals, missing out on championship glory. While it doesn’t have to do with mysterious injuries or eerie proclamations, the Saga curse is just as inexplicably persistent as any other you’d find in the world of sports.

2GGaming’s next event is unique in that it will focus on a character instead of a player. Greninja Saga is scheduled to pay homage to Smash’s most recent Pokémon addition, and it’s likely the organizers plan to invite strong Greninja players, such as Masaya “aMSa” Chikamoto and Dennis “iStudying” Kwarteng, to take part. That said, it may be smart for them to sit this one out. The curse doesn’t play games.

Ian Walker is a fighting game expert and freelance writer. You can find him on Twitter at @iantothemax.

from Kotaku http://compete.kotaku.com/a-southern-california-tournament-curse-plagues-top-smas-1793909897

Welcome to Fusion on Kinja

Hello, bienvenidos, welcome to Fusion.net.

I’m Dodai, the EIC of this thing. Some of you may know me from a previous Kinja site. And now, in a cinematic twist, I’m back—and I’ve brought the Fusion editorial crew with me.

Fusion’s website began, as many things do, as an experiment. And now, two years after launch, we’re joining our new Gizmodo Media Group family on Kinja. We’re also part of a TV network, and you can watch all the stuff they’re doing here (they’ve got a new look too)!

What is Fusion?

We’re really into news, politics, investigations, and justice, whether that’s for Standing Rock, for Flint, for women and their reproductive rights, for Latinx folks charged with crimes, for people in the Bronx who like to read, for trans people and their voice therapists, for brown girls on scripted shows, for black people on The Bachelor, for people learning to orgasm after sex reassignment surgery, or for women in comics. Speaking of comics, we’re into those too.

We’re dedicated to giving a platform to underrepresented voices—the young and the broke, people in the military, the disenfranchised, indigenous people, artists and writers excluded from the canon, and women, whose bodies are constantly policed.

We also translate some of our stories to Spanish, and do original reporting en Español también, because our readers are really into that. And we make videos across a bunch of platforms, whether that’s being on the scene and broadcasting live from protests, or traveling to Mexico to talk to some “bad hombres,” or chronicling the fight of water protectors in North Dakota.

Who are we?

Dodai Stewart—I write about issues of culture through the lens of race and gender and I’m obsessed with KDrama.

Jorge Rivas follows the national conversation on immigration. He recently ran next to a 13-year-old girl finishing the LA Marathon, just days after her father was taken away by ICE.

Nidhi Prakash writes about underrepresented communities far and wide, from Syrian refugees in Greece to Chinese immigrants in Mexicali.

Katie McDonough covers politicians and policy as they intersect with other things: power and identity, labor and how we work, media, and culture.

Charles Pulliam-Moore is a professional nerd who writes about inclusion and representation in the geekier pits of pop culture.

Ashley Feinberg is the author of the best story you will ever read about Trump’s hair.

Jack Mirkinson blogs in a pinch and has many opinions about musicals.

Isha Aran opines on pop culture, representation in media, and your new faves.

Rafi Schwartz covers everything from the inspiring educators of Standing Rock to subway-based cricket crimes.

Katherine Krueger blogs about politics and national news, with the occasional piping hot take about movies thrown in for good measure.

Molly Osberg went inside a “millennial rehab” for 20-somethings who don’t know how to be adults.

Hamilton Nolan has reported from glamorous places like a KKK convention and a Berkshire Hathaway annual convention.

Carla Javier looked at how strict voter ID laws make it harder for trans people to make their voices heard at the ballot box.

Anne Branigin profiled the ways two very lit women are redefining the Bronx.

Aleksander Chan likes to write about men who are white.

Nona Willis Aronowitz just spent a month in Texas, and also has an inbox clogged by confessions of woke misogynists.

Alex Pareene will run the politics desk at Fusion, and is into saying “Fuck everything and blame everyone.”

Edgar Reyna is a translator and writer connecting Fusion’s digital bridge to Mexico.

Rafa Fernandez edits Fusion en Español, and is our Mexico correspondent.

Jen Sorensen is an award-winning political cartoonist. A fan of visual storytelling about the world we live in, she’s based in Austin, Texas.

Felix Salmon’s greatest wish is that his adopted U.S. avoids the fate of his native UK.

David Boddiger is our weekend soldier and a card-carrying member of the Anti-Bigot Squad.

Joyce Tang is into thoughtful essays about race, reporting that challenges how we think about class, and “scandalous women” getting new narratives.

Alexis Madrigal has spent the past few months (OK, more) obsessing about shipping containers, which are really just a metaphor for how capitalism works right now.

So that’s us in a tl;dr nutshell. What’s new with you?

from Kotaku http://fusion.net/welcome-to-fusion-on-kinja-1793844505

Overwatch’s Orisa Isn’t Living Up To Expectations

When Orisa first launched onto the Overwatch PTR, she felt like a formidable, deadly tank who could lead charges or back up her teammates in the worst of situations. Weeks later, after she’s landed on both console and in Competitive Mode, there’s been a consensus: Orisa isn’t going as planned.

Before her release, the tank lineup was a little thin. The sturdy, shield-carrying tank Reinhardt was—and remains—a near-necessary pick for several maps and modes. Most teams choose at least two tanks, with one really tanking and the other acting as a high-HP DPS who can provide backup if the first tank dies. And Reinhardt is widely considered the only hero suited to be the first task. So, after deciding to add another tank, the Overwatch team tried to figure out why Reinhardt is so crucial.

In Orisa’s introductory video earlier this month, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan pointed out that while the tanks Dva and Winston are “disruptive” and “defined by their mobility,” and while Roadhog is punishes out-of-position enemies, Reinhardt is a bit more of an “anchor tank.” An anchor tank, Kaplan explained, is a focal point around which teams build and position themselves. Orisa was designed to be another “anchor tank.”

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“We felt like players needed more options in that anchor tank role,” Kaplan said. “We hope that in Orisa, there’s now another option to a low-mobility tank but one that brings a high amount of protection in her protective barrier.” A team would “get behind” Orisa, whose 900 HP barrier shield defends them, “along the lines of Reinhardt’s barrier shield or Winston’s barrier bubble.” It’s got a short cool-down and a long range, so she can keep it up for a little and run off to attack. On top of that, her “Fortify” ability would strengthen her defense, thickening her skin so other heroes’ enfeebling abilities would bounce off her.

Imagine players’ disappointment when they learned that Orisa was not, in fact, the next Reinhardt. I originally judged her early PTR incarnation as a “dynamic, deadly” tank who’s “not strong enough to solo-tank” and “will depend heavily on her team’s strategy.” It’s clear now that forming a team around Orisa is a very bad idea. None of her abilities stand out as high-impact or team-driving. If you just read her ability list, she seems like a tank, but when you’re playing her, she sure doesn’t feel like one.

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Right now, Orisa is not fulfilling players’ hopes for another Reinhardt, nor does she satisfy how players understood Kaplan’s “anchor tank” spiel. Orisa is squishy, has poor agility and cannot tank alone, or, really, tank much at all. With 200 health and 200 armor, she is certainly not a central anchor of her team, because anchors are sturdy and don’t die every few minutes when unattached to Mercy. Her “Halt” move, which gathers together enemies, and ultimate attack, which increases nearby teammates’ damage by 50%, can make allies super deadly, but it doesn’t offer much in the way of defense.

Truthfully, she’s a sort of support DPS. You can find her a few feet behind her team, pulling enemies together, shooting from behind her shield, and, in most circumstances, from behind Reinhardt’s, too.

“She doesn’t really feel like the traditional tank in most games,” Overwatch YouTuber JoeKing Overwatch said in a video yesterday addressing players’ widespread complaints about Orisa. On Reddit and Battle.net, players are saying that her basic architecture formulates her as more of a side dish than a main course. By design, she can’t be the next crucial tank. “I was expecting her to be similar to Reinhardt or maybe somebody like Winston, with a shield you can put on the ground. But she really isn’t quite like that,” JoeKing Overwatch said. Orisa doesn’t have burst or high damage. Orisa players have to be quite protective of themselves, while balancing team defense and gunning down enemies, a strategy he calls “poke game.”

Similarly, in a video titled “Everything Counters Orisa,” YouTuber YourOverwatch points out that everybody picks Orisa, but everything counters her. Without movement abilities or more than 400 HP, she’s pretty damn vulnerable if someone gets behind her shield. “This is a finger,” YourOverwatch explains. “What really counters Orisa is when people press left click against her.” Against a Symmetra or Mei, she’s done for since she has no movement abilities and 400 health. YourOverwatch shows a handy visualization comparing Orisa’s headshot hitbox to several planetary bodies:

“Everything Counters Orisa”

What does that mean for her future? It’s easy to forget that when Sombra and Ana were released, Overwatch players deemed them weak and unusable. Players considered their kits interesting, but disjointed and situational. Now, after some clutch patches, Ana is a near-necessary pick for competitive teams, and after Sombra’s recent buff, players don’t quit games when she’s chosen anymore—low praise, but an improvement. More importantly, both are really fun to play.

A large part of the Overwatch community is built on agreeing and disagreeing about necessary or unnecessary balance patches. Several players believe that Orisa is quite good, but others are upset that she simply does not do what she was allegedly designed for. Whenever Blizzard releases the next new hero, players will undoubtedly complain that he or she is unplayable or overpowered. Satisfaction is not much of a possibility. And yet, it’s worth pointing out when gameplay gets a little stale—I’m looking at you, Reinhardt. Overwatch’s balancing is kinetic. Orisa sucks now, but will she suck later? Probably. But between now and then, Blizzard might get her right.

from Kotaku http://kotaku.com/overwatchs-orisa-isnt-living-up-to-expectations-1793908863

What game devs can learn about design from 24 years of Magic: The Gathering

“How do I make nice, simple, clean things that people can understand, but when you add it all together, it’s something that there’s depth to?” …

from Gamasutra News http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/295029/What_game_devs_can_learn_about_design_from_24_years_of_Magic_The_Gathering.php

What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Weekends are for reminding yourself that even though the workout routine you just started isn’t super impressive, you gotta start somewhere, and getting some exercise will make you happier than lounging around. Also, video games.

I am so excited for the PS4 Gwent beta this weekend I can’t even tell you. Playing Gwent against real people is going to be a disaster. I can’t wait for all the cool ways I’m gonna lose.

I’m also going to play some Overwatch, because my roommate told me I’ve been playing too much The Witcher 3 and she misses me. She also just bought The Witcher 3 on Steam sale, though. Please check back in a few weeks to see if The Witcher has ruined my household.

What about you? What are you playing this weekend?

from Kotaku http://kotaku.com/what-are-you-playing-this-weekend-1793907710