Monday, July 22, 2013

Evo2013 Write-up, Part 2

Yeah, this one's quite a read.  The next one will be too, most likely.  Grab some snacks and get comfy.

I'll be totally honest; with such a large-profile match win under my belt, realizing that I'd made it into the top 8, and feeling like I'd conquered my nerves to perform well in front of so many people, I walked away from the second day feeling like the tournament was over for me.  I knew there was a top eight to play out, and that the remaining players were all a bunch of monsters.  But I felt like I could lose and stay happy.  This might not sound like the mindset one would want going into the third day, but it was actually important.

Going to sleep after day two, I became well-acquainted with the possibility of going 0-2 on the stage.  My first match would be against PP, who had two-stocked then three-stocked me the last time we played.  Then my next would be against HBox, against whom I had zero tournament victories, either rounds or sets.  Both these players had made me look pretty darn free in the past, and this was Evo.  It was my assumption that these guys would come out with guns blazing.  I knew they were better than me.  It was possible I would choke and play poorly while these guys played their best, and that I'd look like an absolute chump.

And on top of that, it would happen in front of thousands of people, plus stream viewers.  I had to face the possibility that on day three, I would be ruthlessly exposed.  I might play PP and lose, then probably play Mango again, who would get extremely vicious revenge on me.  I might beat PP, but then odds were good I'd fight HBox, who would also blow me up... then I'd be Loser's Finals, waiting for PP, Armada, Mango, or M2K.  When you write out the group of players in the top 5, I really looked out of place.  Every possibility (besides just winning, which was unlikely) looked pretty rough.

So the very end of day 2 was spent thinking a lot about this, and deciding on the mindset I'd carry into the next day.  There's a quote from the comic Wanted which is surprisingly inspirational, considering the source material is so puerile.

"The difference between a dream and a nightmare is how big your balls are."

This is a crude but deceptively powerful way to say "you decide whether you're living a dream or a nightmare.  You decide your emotional response to situations.  The good and bad of a situation depends almost entirely on you."  If I was going to go up on the big stage, I would go on my terms.  I would mentally shake hands with every possibility, and put a big smile on my face to confront them.  My reaction to these events would be my decision.  And this was my decision: if being on Evo's main stage was a once-in-a-lifetime event for me, I would choose to have the time of my life.

After all, what's the worst that could happen?  I could get completely murdered, play like garbage, and have everybody see... but the funny thing is, that happens to everybody at some point.  Every great player has been beaten in an upset, played poorly, looked free, and done it in front of a crowd.  You see it happen at Evo, a high-level player just gets stomped in a flat 2-0 or 3-0 in a matter of minutes.

So with all that in mind, there really was nothing that could happen to me on day 3, besides voiding my bowels in front of everybody I guess, that could really be that terrible.  I'd already choked and been 3 stocked on stream by PP and Armada in the past.  I'd already been 3-0'ed by Mango multiple times.  These things have happened.  And they weren't that awful and I'm not dead and I don't cover my face when I go out in public.  So really, why worry?

Those were the thoughts and ideas that ran around my head as I went to sleep.

Day 3

I woke up early and, once sleep cleared and I got a bearing on my own reality, I performed an emotional self-analysis.  I was happy.  Beyond happy to be in top 8.  But I noticed the thoughts running from my head, worrying about losing, and what I would have to do to play well, and blah blah blah.  So I took an extra long shower to remind myself of my goals.

Have fun.  Face my terrifying fate with a giant smile on my face.  No complaints, just put all my energy into enjoying my last tournament.  And if possible, get into my zone again, because there's nothing better than being totally focused on something.  It's an unrivalled state of mind.  I mentioned on my old blog and also here that some of the most content yet exhilirating moments of my life have been ones of absolute focus.  That held true at Evo as much as anywhere else.  If I could get in my zone, then the day would be amazing, win or lose.

So I was up early to get prepared, put on the shirt I picked for day 3; a collared shirt, eggplant purple.  Perfect.

Taj agreed to be my coach for the day, so we headed to the hall together.  First, since we had some time, we went to the Beta Hall to check out the booth for Air-Dash Online, which I've been writing for, to test out their current build.  It was coming together, and it was a nice way to get my brain going without risking stress about the upcoming matches.  I messed around with it, gave my feedback, and said hello to the team.  Then after a bit of that, I went to the Alpha Hall to get ready.

There was a warmup TV set up to the side, and I was the first there.  Taj helped me warm up, and we used alternate characters, and laughed and joked and pretty much had a good time.  I remembered just how much I like the game, and thought about the fact that I was going to play my last tournament matches.  Nine years with no end in sight, and suddenly it was here.  It was sobering, but also made me feel a bit more determined.  Soon the other top eight were there, and we were having a rotation, and then soon playing teams matches to keep warm.

When KoF was going on, I decided I'd warmed up enough, and sat down to watch, and also try and meditate to reinforce my positive attitudes.  The thing about negative mindsets is that they can slip in the cracks of your attention; if you don't constantly proof yourself against them, bad thought habits will just creep in, over and over again.  So as I felt my tell-tale signs of nervousness--tension in my arms, grinding teeth, a semi-sick feeling rising in my stomach--I dissolved them with the same self-talk I'd been using all tournament.

Being up on the stage was strange.  I looked over at our Big Five, who'd all made it to top eight, and felt a bit out of place.  Especially since I was in Winner's Bracket with three of them.  When the Smash hype video played, and we got the little Welcome Back message, I won't lie, I teared up a bit.  It's an amazing feeling to share something you love with thousands of other people.  It's even more ridiculous to be one of the stars of the show.  The video finished, we clapped, and play began.

First were the loser's bracket matches, where Mango eliminated Ice and Armada took out Shroomed.  It reminded me, a little painfully, of the gap between the Big Five and everybody else.  Ice and Shroomed are both fantastic players, but Armada and Mango were just solidly ahead the entire time and controlled the pace of their respective matches.  I was now guaranteed to play at least two of these monstrous opponents, in front of everybody.

But, and this was almost entirely because of the inordinate time I spent to proofing my brain against the fear, I was excited.  I was happy.  I looked out over the Evo crowd and thought, "I'm here, and it's amazing."  I was less nervous than I get at locals.  I was less nervous about playing in front of all those people than I am about ordering my meals at a restaurant.  I am more nervous, right now, remembering the tournament than I was while participating it.  I have, with possibly one or two exceptions, never felt better in my life than I did up there.

My time on the warm-up TV before my first match was spent just maneuvering.  My controller's joystick had a tiny bit of drift to it--if you pushed up, it would continue to go up a little, even after you let go--but it hadn't been affecting me before, so I ignored it.  I just spent that time getting acquainted with my capabilities for the day, so I wouldn't exceed them.  That day I wanted to only stick to things I was confident doing, so I used my warm-up to assess my capabilities.  I felt pretty good, so that was a good sign.

PP and I had our strikes and bans set up in advance, so upon sitting down we just got going.  And normally I have a pretty darn good memory of what happens in tournament matches, and for the life of me, I couldn't recall the match.  The situations just faded from my head instantly.  If I made an error, it vanished.  If I was ahead or behind, I forgot the stock count and just played.  So I can't really give you much of a play-by-play, in many circumstances.  I remember that I spent most of game 1 on the back-foot, but I avoided giving away big openings, and I didn't let him crack me open.  He also didn't successfully bait me into hanging myself by charging into him blindly.  I just remember that I played evasive, landed my critical hits, and secured the win.  My final KO was actually off a technical error, when I tried to get an infinite but used f-throw instead.  PP was mashing so hard, however, that he locked himself out of the tech by hitting his triggers, and that pinned him at the edge in a perfect zone to hit him with d-smash.

I'll also say it for him, since I think Kevin's too good a sport to do it on his own; he wasn't playing his best.  Whether it's because he achieved his own dream by taking Armada out of Winner's, or because he was nervous, or whatever, he was not as sharp as he could have been.  On top of that, I'd been playing against Axe's ridiculously fast Fox and Falco for months in preparation, and PP's Falco did not exceed the speed and levels of technical pressure that Axe could do in friendlies.  PP could rush me down and get advantages, but this is the most important thing;  he could not mentally overwhelm me in that set.  In our last set, at Apex 2012, I cracked under the pressure of fighting his Falco, and ended up throwing out impulsive haymakers which he systematically dissected.  Evo was different.  I was fine to be backpedaling and rolling, I didn't crack under his pressure, and I kept my focus all match long, even when he got big hits of his own.

And, this is also worth mentioning, he nearly beat me in game two anyhow.  That's how good these people are, that I can be trained for the moment, and in my zone, and they can be a bit off their game while I have a loaded-gun of an infinite aimed at them, and they still end up pushing me to the limit.  On top of that, if you're a good sport, you don't discredit another person's victory just because you're not on your own game.  So it would be nothing more than faux-humility to do that in reverse and say I didn't earn it.  When I won game two to earn a spot in Winner's Finals, I jumped out of my chair and I was unbelievably ecstatic.  I brought a better, harder-hitting game to the table that set.  I think PP could have definitely played better, but the same is true of many people in many sets.  There's no point dwelling on it, at least from my perspective.

Top 3 at Evo was mine.  I'd dropped two of America's best players into Loser's bracket.  Despite trying my hardest to win the matches in front of me, it had not really occurred to me that this sort of thing might actually happen.

Winner's Finals ended up between me and Hungrybox.  We had played some warmup friendlies and I had a few lessons going in, which were: avoid over-extending to poke, light shield if he came in on top of me, and to take my time around the edge.  I had a basic gameplan, but when I sat down, I tried to think of what I should focus on.  Then I realized, there were so many thoughts in my head that I couldn't focus on any of them.  So I wouldn't.  I'd just play and win, or I would play and lose, and trust myself in the mean time.

Game 1 wasn't a complete slaughter, but he pretty much demonstrated total control.  I can barely remember anything I did to him during that match, besides getting a phantom f-smash on him.  People asked me if I felt bad about it, and I thought, "no, not really."  Not just because it wouldn't make a difference, but because I was essentially experiencing short-term memory loss.  I had to review the match to see what happened.  Nothing stuck with me at all, apart from vague impressions of how I could play better.  And for someone like me, who obsesses over errors and then self-destructs, this was truly optimal.  I didn't play so out of my mind that I wasn't making errors.  The errors just weren't compounding themselves, which is what usually happens to me.  I get frustrated by mistakes, so when I fall behind, my comebacks are a matter of not letting myself get depressed as much as anything else.

In Game 2, he set up a commanding lead, then caught Nana with a phantom rest.  I joked about it being pay-back for my f-smash, but the two were not congruent whatsoever.  That phantom rest saved me the game for me.  He certainly could have aimed it better, or he could have just gone for Popo and secured the stock and a huge lead, but either way, I later watched that match and thought, "dang.  I'm a lucky son of a mother."

I was still down by one stock, with a bit of percent tacked on.  But I managed to connect with good setups and outplayed him to bring him down to two stock, at which point things got rather dicey for me.  Because I managed to finish him off, and almost immediately on his respawn, he took out my Nana, with me at around 80 percent.  I had been forced super far behind against probably Melee's best attrition player, and now my big weapon wasn't available.  If I lost there, from this serious disadvantage, that'd be it for my winner's bracket run.

The thing is, I wasn't thinking about that, because the winner's finals were supposed to be three matches out of five.  But because of scheduling and time constraints, they were changed to two out of three.  Neither Hungrybox nor I knew that, and that's what saved me.  Because I proceeded to make one risky and aggressive move after another, and each one happened to work out.  Before I even knew what was happening, I'd built him to around 55 percent, and I was at 120.  I caught him with a forward smash that he DI'ed poorly, and I was so shocked that I dropped my controller on the floor, thinking I'd won.  But HBox survived, and I scrambled to pick it up.  On any other day, I swear, that would have snapped me straight out of my zone.  But this time I just grabbed and went straight back into it, completely focused, almost instantly.

Then after a bit of maneuvering, I threw out a giant gambling desperation Hail-Mary up-smash.  I was facing backwards (because the hitbox is actually better behind, which almost nobody knows), and as I slid, he jumped out of shield straight into it.  Between the full-jump and his upward DI, I ended up scoring a kill of a total balls-to-the-wall guess.  This won me game two, and kept the set alive.

Game three went to Dreamland.  Because we thought it was three out of five, there were no stage bans, so I couldn't ban that level.  But it didn't take very long for me to secure a lead, and I kept him out with de-sync walls.  Fighting Jigglypuff is a nightmare for ICs when you're behind, because you have to reach into her space (where you're at a huge disadvantage) to catch her.  But if you're ahead, the situation is totally different.  You can control huge chunks of space with blizzards and smashes, and if you stay patient, you can avoid big momentum shifting hits.  Which is exactly what happened; as the game wore on, we were both on our last stocks, him at about 80 percent, and myself very low.  And he was very wary about approaching, because getting caught with a grab would mean death, and a random smash might mean death if he DI'ed badly.  And in an anti-climactic finish, I caught him DI'ing down with a back-air, and that was it for game three.

Me and Hungrybox got ready for game four, and as he was deciding his counterpick, one of the staff informed us that the set was over.  And we both stared at him, not quite understanding.  But that was it.  The set was best-of-three, I'd won, and I was in Grand Finals.

People have asked me my thoughts on it, and whether the change favored me or not.  It clearly did, because I won, but not as much in other ways.  We hadn't banned stages, but HBox wouldn't have banned Fountain of Dreams on me, and I would have banned Dreamland, which I ended up winning on.  The whole thing is a big cluster of factors that I won't presume too much on the hypothetical outcome.  I don't think I would have made my ridiculous comeback in game two if I'd known it was best-of-three, because the pressure would have been too much and I would have not played so darn risky.  At the same time, if he had just won that second game, that would have been it in his favor, and I would have had to accept that outcome.  I imagine I would have been really frustrated, since I was also thinking about how I would adapt and change up over the course of best-of-five.

The fact is, I took him down 2-1 and beat him on his counterpick.  It really sucks, but either one of us would have had to accept it.  And for what it's worth, I do not blame him whatsoever for being unhappy, because I would have been too.  But we were playing under the same conditions, and I happened to triumph under those conditions.

And that was three.  I'd beaten the three best Melee players in America and was in Grand Finals.  And I was pretty much stupefied.  But, in a lot of ways, the story just sort of ends there, anti-climactically.  Mango beat PP, then Armada, then HBox, then me.  He won 2-0, 2-0, 2-0, and 6-1 over me and became Evo's champion, and re-established a grip over the throne.  If you want to hear his emotional tale, then you'll have to ask him.  I imagine it's pretty awesome.  But this is how Grand Finals went from my perspective.

First off, Mango was playing like a total monster.  Where he wasn't sharp the day before, he was a razor.  During our set, he was also switching up his approaches and using more feints and baits, and as I caught on, he went back to straight aggression.  I think of it as a cycle of adaptation.  If you can match your pace to the opponent's (while staying one step ahead of them) then they are adapting just as you change.  And in Winner's QF, I had a handle on Mango's cycle.  I was shifting gears with him and not getting caught out like I'd been in previous sets.  Having the IC infinite available to me meant that if I could pin him down, however briefly, I could take his stock.  So he'd switch it up, bring things to even, and then I'd cycle quickly enough to match him and get some work done and keep the lead.  This is most noticeable in game three.

As a side note, when you shift gears just as the opponent does, it makes it look like nothing they do can work.  It gives you an illusion of omnipotence, like every option you pick is godlike.  It feels unfair to be on the receiving end.  You feel powerless, or stupid, often both.  It's an effect Mango has on people.  And that's exactly what he did to me in Grand Finals.  In winner's, because he wasn't as focused (whether it was not taking me seriously, or whether he needed some caffeine or some sugar or whatever), he simply wasn't staying a step ahead of me.  But in GF, he did.  He had me looking high when he wanted to come in low, he picked excellent recoveries, and blew threw my defenses nine times out of ten by attacking the moments I'd be vulnerable.

I managed to secure a single game, mostly because the crowd was chanting "6-0," and I thought, "sorry, I'm not that free."  Because when you are looking at a champion's story, you are also looking at the story of all his opponents.  And yes, it would have been hype for him to 6-0 me and blast through everybody with a perfect record on day 3.  But even though I couldn't keep pace, I had no plans to give up until the set was over and done with.  And this isn't to make it sound like I'm looking for hollow, moral victories in the place of a resounding defeat.  But my goal, the entire tournament, was to stay focused on the game, not worry about wins and losses, and have a good time.  I didn't want to win Melee, I wanted to win the game that I've been playing in my head for nine years.  And by staying focused and digging in my heels and not giving anything away, I was able to do that even in the face of the world's best player.  It was by playing that internal game that I was able to get up on the main stage and turn a stressful nightmare into a dream come true.  And even if it sounds pathetic, I managed to squeeze out a win against the best player and say I didn't give in until everything was said and done.  Because I have quit, and given up in the past.  But this time I didn't.  This time I was better.  That means something; I'm going to remember that I had that fortitude and carry no regrets from Evo, for that reason.

More notes on Grand Finals:

Being a perfectionist, I thought back on what I could have done differently, even though at this point it doesn't matter.  But these are my thoughts.

The fact is, I could have still won.  It's easy to look at Mango playing his godlike Fox and think, "yeah, nobody's beating that," but I don't believe in insurmountable problems.  He has to commit to punishable decisions to win.  I had my biggest punishment available to me.  If I made the right calls and kept pace, that would have been enough to secure victory.  What conditions would have made that possible?

First off, I should have been on the warmup TV to stay sharp, but I just watched him play all his matches.  I started off set 1 pretty clunky, missing wavedashes and short hops, and those all gave him openings and alleviated pressure without effort on his part.  Without them, the match would have looked a little different.  But I was so absorbed with being in Grand Finals that I didn't think as much about playing the matches.  So I'd warmed up heavily before playing PP and HBox, but not Mango.  Meanwhile, he got to establish a massive cache of confidence and warmup by tearing through Armada, PP, and HBox.  Staying warmed-up would have given me slightly better odds, so that's one factor.

Second, even though I avoided giving into despair, my edge for winning wasn't as prominent.  I let myself get a bit lazy; again, I was so enamored with the fact that I'd made it to GF that I didn't proof my mind and prepare it to play those matches.  So besides keeping my hands warmed up, I let myself think things like "well, I don't mind if I lose now."  I tried to dismiss the thoughts, but they slipped in and decreased my sharpness a bit.  It's one thing to be in the moment and focus on what you're doing without worrying about external factors; it's another to let thoughts slip in that keep you from exerting effort.  Mango wanted it.  And I wanted it and didn't sandbag or SD or quit, but my edge could have been sharper.  That's very much an issue of mental conditioning and focus; the mindset of a champion is something you build and train, and mine wasn't strong enough to last me.

Third, Mango had a huge amount of mental momentum.  I could have taken time to try and disrupt it wherever possible.  Whether through extending my infinites to annoy him, set up more defensive walls to keep him from attacking whenever he wanted, or just taking longer in between matches to break his flow, I could have actively contributed to errors and frustration on his part.  It might not have helped, but I didn't even explore the opportunities.

Fourth, even though I'm stating the obvious, I could have just been a better player.  I still don't consider myself anywhere near the apex of Ice Climbers play, as far as efficiency, edgeguarding, timing, and execution goes.  Really getting in my zone and focusing was a rare phenomenon for me, and I could still improve on that state of focus.  Being the best IC player in the world doesn't mean that I reached the best level of IC play available.  Taking all that stuff into account, I would have stood a better chance and might have taken the tournament.

Then again, I might not have.  Because your opponent is always a factor, and Mango was playing like a beast.  And if I'd thrown those extra challenges in his way, it's very possible he would have risen to them.  Maybe this would have translated into more stocks gained in the games I lost.  I may have lost 1-3 then 2-3 rather than 0-3 and 1-3.  I can't say.  It would have been better odds, but no guarantees.  There are no guarantees, not when your opponent is another human being who wants, just as much as you (or more), to overcome the opposition and take home the trophy.

I'm only saying I could have done better because I have never, throughout my career, believed there was a player I couldn't beat.  I've seen people assume that they will lose going into matches.  They stop digging for answers.  They stop trying to better themselves, when faced with a defeat that seems inevitable.  And quite honestly, that's just wrong.  If you're playing Melee with Mango and Armada, or you're running against Usain Bolt or playing Chess against Magnus Carlsen, when you face champions, you hunt for victory.  You scrabble in the dirt for one more rock to sling.  You never roll over and say, "well I guess I'm not as good, I guess you're the champ, I guess that's it."

You can shake hands once the match is over.  You can say, "he outdid me" or "she was the better player" or whatever you want, once the match is over.  I've given up mid-match, I've lost my resolution during tournaments before.  I've caved into the negative self-talk that convinces me the other guy is gonna trash me and I should just let it happen.  Sometimes I've forfeit or quit, to save them the time.   And those are some of my most hated memories.  So even now, I'm going to think back on that match and consider what I could have done better, in case there are lessons to learn that I can apply elsewhere.

Aftermath

There were lots of handshakes and hugs for my performance.  It was, after all, the highest major placing of my life.  I beat the three best players in America back to back to back, which is something nobody outside their group had done.  Everybody familiar with me who knows how passionately I pursued this game, and anybody who has strived to reach the top of anything will know how big a deal it is.

On a personal level, even it was for just one big tournament, I got to conquer the demons of stress and nervousness and anxiety that had kept me from really reveling in the thrill of competition.  I got to play in my zone on the big stage and make some waves.  For a brief moment, I got to sit at the top of the world, with every other competitor eliminated or in the loser's bracket, and I got to be somebody else's final boss.  I can't honestly say I reached my initial goal of being the best player; my few moments of triumph didn't last very long, and I didn't put up as much a fight as I'd have liked at the end, but I got a taste, however brief.  I got to sit on top of the world of Melee before somebody came and knocked me off.  So yes, I'm pretty happy.

Afterwards, my friends and I went out to eat.  I got to buy a big meal for a giant group of pepole (it feels amazing to do that, and it was something I'd wanted to do for a long time), and then also gave a random waitress a massive tip (because I always wanted to do that too).  I wandered around, watched Marvel and Street Fighter, got appropriately hype, hung out with some of my favorite people in the world, and the tournament just wound down.  I was exhausted, but after dinner I ended up in a state both zombified and wired.  So I wandered and conversed with friends, and talked about Melee and the tournament and random topics with people until 5 in the morning, when I finally slept and my Evo ended.

*

Next update will be later this week.  I'm going to talk about a bunch of stuff, including retiring from competitive Melee, my thoughts on my career and Smash in general, and where I'm going from now with respect to competitive gaming.

Expect it on Wednesday or Thursday.  See you then, and as always, thanks for reading.

19 comments:

  1. Top tier as always. Much love from Norcal.

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  2. Great read! Even though you're hanging up the controller, I hope you continue writing these for a long time.

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  3. Please don't retire wobbles I love you.

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  4. Great read. I hope you do well in your future endeavors! You look like you'll do well as a commentator/blogger. =)

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  5. Good work, Wobbles. You're awesome and with that attitude you'll be successful in whatever you do.

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  6. Very good read, Wobbles. I learned a lot, even though I am a Brawl player. Excellent mentality! I'll use what I've learned here to conquer my dreams and goals. Congratulations once again, Wobbles! You did AMAZING! And screw the haters who hate on your character, :P, they don't know what they're talking about!

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  7. A lot of people have given you heat for wobbling, perhaps that you "aren't really on the Big Five's level." What are your thoughts on this?

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    1. Well, they are right, and I'm not quite on that level. It's not just about being able to scratch the Big Five, but also how I handle players who haven't reached their tier yet. And I have way more holes in my game, less control, etc.

      The thing is, I've also picked a character that has ridiculous punishes, modified by certain glaring weaknesses. I was able to cover those weaknesses enough, and play to my strengths enough, that I could win that day; the power of a big punish game is you don't give people time to learn. That's the start and end of that discussion. I played well enough to win given the tools I had available. My skill and consistency and aren't enough to do what they do regularly, but I played at my peak at Evo, and it was enough to stand on the same floor for a brief period of time.

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  8. Dude after reading this blog I knew you could overcome your demons on the grandest stage. I was cheering for you the whole time. I have one question that I forgot to ask during your Reddit AMA: what did you say to Mango after he clenched victory?

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    1. I can't remember. Something like "Good job man," or something.

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  9. We love you wobbles!

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  10. nice write up, but yea an Mango was just on point and a beast. I don't think anyone blames you for going 1-6 lol. Honestly, even talking to Armada and PP, they said Mango was a monster a la GF. Garnering 1 against him was good enough. imo. and it's a nice mindset you have, that there is no one you can beat. whether or not i agree with it is another story, but it's a (very) respectable stance. from what i saw, mango was at the peak of his game, in the moment, with all of the proper calculations done >in the moment<. Hindsight will always be 20/20 if you are an objective person, the difference is whether or not you are able to see these things in real time, I believe that is what separates Mango from others in that. He is known for his adaptation

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  11. Hey Wobbles! i hope you enjoyed the hammer i gave you. You're my hero man.

    -Jyphlosion

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  12. I first knew you as that really good commentator, wondering, "Man, he sounds like he knows the game so well... how come i never see him play?" Then you came out of nowhere, winning Kings of Cali, and now, as you said, "You were someone's final boss." It's always sad to see someone go at the height of their glory, but I believe it's always best this way. You're the man, Wobbles. I look forward to hearing more from you in the future. In whatever you set out to do.

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  13. Let me just tell you Wobbles, if you didn't retire, I would definitely consider you to be among the top 5. No matter how lucky/unlucky the situations were, no matter how nervous everyone was, the performance at Evo was outstanding, you outplayed PP and Hungrybox several times.

    Mango is a different story, I have no idea how he plays the game but he does it in a way that I don't really understand.

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  14. http://www.rapidjoy.com/di/2UJO/20b43170.gif

    salt.gif

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  15. Wobbles, as an IC main I've always admired your skill and innovation, and I've studied many of your sets trying to learn what I could from you, but I've also always said "Wobbles is the best in the world, but Chu Dat was the best IC of all time." After your performance at EVO, though, I stand utterly corrected.

    You have surpassed my expectations in every way possible. In my book, you have become the greatest player to ever use the Climbers. I'm eagerly awaiting someone to eventually dethrone you, but until then,

    you are the King.

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  16. it's really rare, i think, for competitive gaming success stories (let alone champions) to be people who i feel are deserving of real respect

    it's easy to gain my 'admiration' by being really really skilled or having fancy play or intelligent analysis, it's easy for me to 'root' for people who are really charismatic or quirky or whatever. it's easy to 'win me over' but there's a really big difference between 'winning me over' and actually becoming someone who i am sincerely proud and delighted to be able to point to as a representative of competitive games.

    just wanted to sort of reflect on why your evo run (and overall recent success) has held a lot of significance for me

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