The yearly multi-game tournament KVOxTSB 2016 will be hosted in Osaka from April 29th to May 1st. In addition to a first look at the new King of Fighters and a chance to play the console version of the latest BlazeBlue, KVOxTSB will host Smash 4 and Melee tournaments on Sunday, May 1st.
Currently, the event for Smash 4 is set at 116 entrants. Smashboards user Djent has kindly given us a preview of the big names to look for in this tournament:
Komorikiri is a multi-character wizard and one of Japan's strongest players overall. To date, he has used five different characters and won tournaments with all of them. In fact, he almost took KSB 2015, only getting stopped cold by Ranai in Grand Finals. Since then, adding Cloud to his arsenal has improved his odds against his long-time rival tremendously. This year, he is the clear favorite to win the event, but even titans can be slain by mere mortals. Sumabato 9 was a bit of an off day for him; he missed top 8 one of the only times in his Smash 4 career. But with wins at the previous two events in the series, he will still skip pools and advance to the final bracket.
Ranai needs no introduction. Along with Komorikiri, he has remained one of the most consistent threats throughout Smash 4 history. His win at KSB last year cemented him as one of the Smash 4 greats. It also earned him a paid flight to Genesis 3, where he finished 3rd in singles and won doubles with Komorikiri. However, despite reigning supreme over Kansai for the latter half of 2015, he has been conspicuously absent from the past several Sumabatos. Apparently, he's been busy playing Street Fighter V. Because he has no recent wins, he'll have to play pools just like (almost) everyone else.
SHIG | 9B finally hit his stride in Smash 4 after switching to Bayonetta. On top of an excellent performance at Shots Fired 2, he managed to win the last Sumabato without dropping a set while finishing 2nd the time before that. But his most important accomplishment for today is his victory at Karisuma 6. Because each of the major Japanese tournament series supplies at least one qualifying spot, 9B is guaranteed a place in the final bracket. Even when you're one of Japan's premier threats, avoiding the stress of pools is kind of a big deal. 9B has faltered against lesser opponents before, and the odds of that happening are now dramatically reduced.
KEN often gets overlooked for Japan's other top Sonic, Komorikiri. Which is surprising, considering the results he's been pulling with solo Sonic. KEN is no stranger to top 8 placings. He beat Rain and finished 2nd at Umebura 20, then placed 7th at Genesis Cup the next month. But he really turned it up this past weekend with his first offline tournament win at Umebura 22. Online the story is no different; he was ranked 1st for the January-March 2016 season. It's no surprise, then, that KEN will be advanced to bracket. It's time he got the recognition he deserves, and he'll be in a prime position to prove himself even more worthy of admiration.
Kamemushi has been on a killing spree lately. Umebura? Sumabato? SHIG Tournament? He placed top 8 at all of them. Just this past weekend he conducted a (bullet) witch hunt, with 9B, Nyanko, and Shu as the casualties. Apparently it doesn't matter if you play Bayonetta or any other top tier character. Kamemushi will probably end you with Mega Man, and if that doesn't work you'll just end up facing his excellent Cloud. His extraordinary consistency as of late (especially at Umebura tournaments) has earned him a free ride straight to bracket.
Nasubi is very likely the strongest active Wario main, as well as one of the few ones remaining. Despite a brief switch to Sheik, he returned stronger than ever after patch 1.1.5. He nearly won both Hirosuma 3 and Sumabato 8, beating numerous top players along the way. Unfortunately, both he and his character struggle with Bayonetta, which is bad considering 9B and ikep are once again in attendance. At least he won't have to worry about playing pools; his excellent performances have already earned him a spot in bracket.
Earth is a resident of Chūbu, the central region of Japan. He hosts and competes in the Karisuma series, and also travels to both Umebura and Sumabato. His tournament record is overall quite strong. He was the second highest placing Japanese player in Genesis 3 singles, and his win over Ranai at Pre-KVO 2016 means that he gets to bypass pools. However, he is by no means invincible; he missed bracket at Sumabato 7 and only finished 33rd at Umebura 22. His competition here is fierce as always, so he'll need to be in strong form if he wants to recapture success.
While Japan's other players lie dormant, switch mains, or fall off, Atelier is keeping her alive. In the past few months, he's beaten Earth, ikep, Aki, and SH, all of whom have impressive resumes themselves. He finished top 4 at Sumabato 7, Karisuma 6, and Sumabato 9. However, he's yet to make it into Grand Finals at a really large event. Like most others, he'll have to play pools, but fortunately that looks to be very doable for him. And if he makes bracket, his odds will be as good as many of the players who got floated.
ikep was previously a very successful Rosalina main, having used her to beat the likes of Ranai and Komorikiri. But that didn't stop him from switching to an even better character. With more recent wins over 9B, Earth, Nasubi, and more, who can blame him? As a result of his victory at Hirosuma 3 (which wasn't his first tourney win), he's also among the lucky few who get a free pass on pools. This witch is poised to (literally and figuratively) reach new heights.
HIKARU is quickly rising to prominence with underrepresented characters. He got 5th place at both Sumabato 8 and Karisuma 6, which is further than any other heavyweight player has ever gone at either. And no, his brackets weren't easy. Though he isn't a free win for anyone, he'd really like to avoid Atelier in bracket. Rosalina poses a big threat to both of his characters and has ended his impressive killing sprees on more than one occasion.
Gomamugitya is one of several premier Lucario players in Japan. While Motsunabe is busy terrorizing Kantō, Gomamugitya has set out to conquer his native
Ri-ma isn't quite Japan's best Toon Link, but he is certainly the busiest. Though he lives on the southwestern island of Kyūshū, he frequently travels all over Honshu, appearing at many large tournament series. His biggest win to date is over 9B at Hirosuma 3 (a mere day after losing to another Bayonetta at Shulla-bra VI). He'll probably play HIKARU in order to get out of pools in winners, which could theoretically work in his favor if he plays the matchup right.
Ginko rarely attends offline tournaments, but when he does, he typically does very well. He beat Komorikiri and finished 3rd at his very first Umebura last summer. He then narrowly missed top 8 at both the Sumabato Qualifiers and Sumabato 8. In addition to his primary choices, he plays a number of other strong zoners proficiently; he's been seen using Wii Fit Trainer and Mewtwo as well. It's hard to know what exactly to expect from him, but know this: you will be impressed.
The zoners are out in full force at KSB, including You3 (Yu-san) . While there are many people who still doubt Duck Hunt's viability, he and Brood have shifted opinions among their regular competition. That's not to say it's easy being a dog. You3 has two top 8 finishes in the Sumabato series, but it's been awhile since he's done that well. Yet Brood managed to bounce back from a losing streak, and I think he will too.
Yamanyon is one of the strongest players from the often-overlooked Kyūshū region. Unlike more recognizable names such as Ri-ma and FILIP, he rarely travels to main island events. He attended Umebura 22 last weekend, making bracket but only going 2-2 in sets after that. "So what's the big deal?" you ask? Well, he's clearly the best ZSS player in attendance. And he also qualified for bracket automatically by doing so well in the Shulla-bra series. Competition may be steeper here, but don't be surprised if he pulls out some upsets.
Saiya and Souther are Kansai's two strongest Falcon players. Both have finished in the top spots of multiple tournaments; in fact, Souther managed 7th place at last year's KSB. This year will surely prove difficult for both, as they somehow ended up in the same pool! This is especially bad for Saiya, who has never performed particularly well in the ditto. Last time these two played, Souther edged him out 2-1. But this matchup could easily go either way, as it's been a long time and neither player has been all that active since.
Rin is known most not for his results in Japan (which are typically average), but for his break-out run at Genesis 3. There he emerged from a very difficult pool to finish in the top 32. He's yet to replicate that one excellent performance, though he did come close at Sumabato 7. At KSB, there's a good chance he'll face off against Ginko in pools. And if that happens, prepare for a long, drawn-out battle between personified diet and exercise.
SHIG | Shimitake is hard to get a read on, and not just because he plays an evasive character. One day he'll place 5th at Sumabato, beating fantastic people along the way, and the next his performance will drop back to mediocrity. He is obviously very capable, but he has yet to attain the consistency of a top player. He projects to fight Masashi in Winners Finals of their pool. Given the skill of the players invovled and the inherent volatility of Pika:Cloud, it should be a great match.
VGBC | aMSa makes his triumphant return to Smash 4 after months of inactivity. Previously known as the best Greninja, he was (and likely still is) a huge fan favorite. He helped pioneer the character's devastating combo game, paving the way for others such as Some and iStudying. Unfortunately, he's going to have to make it through Ranai if he wants to emerge from pools in winners, and the matchup between little children and frogs always seems to favor the former group.
Shogun 's biggest win to date is Komorikiri, which puts him in an elite category. He's also beaten Atelier and Nasubi in matchups not considered easy for Fox. Despite his excellent peak performances, you never see him finish top 8 at the largest tournaments. Which is a shame, because he has what it takes in theory. Perhaps this could finally be his day? If he makes it through his rather difficult pool, that will be a good sign.
If you've been following Smash for a long time, you'll surely recognize Fuwa and Masashi . Both were active during Brawl's heyday, and Masashi was even a strong competitor in Melee before that. Yet even with all that experience, no one expected them to knock Komorikiri off the Sumabato throne! That's exactly what they did at Sumabato 9. While neither of them have many top placings yet, a win of that magnitude nonetheless establishes both as serious threats coming into KSB.
nB | PaoZ is not a common sight at Japanese tournaments, mostly because he is actually from France! He is currently staying in West Japan and will get to test his skills against their best players. He has quite a tough road ahead of him; he'll likely have to beat Rin and/or Ginko just to get through pools. But playing new groups of people often leads to rapid improvements. If you're counting him out now, you could be in for a big surprise.
You're probably tired of reading by now, so just know this: the above list is not exhaustive. In addition to everyone already mentioned, you might also catch some footage of the following: Nojinko , Lagnel , Lucia and Lickey , SHIG | JUN , Chart-yatsu and TatsuTsuyo , Dol , Ruri , Kei , KENT , and more. With this much talent in attendance, no round will pass without some never-before-seen player or character matchup. Be sure to tune in early to catch all of the action!
Eight of these players have already been placed in the final bracket for performing well at designated past events: KEN and Kamemushi (Umebura), Komorikiri and Nasubi (Sumabato), 9B (Karisuma), ikep (Hirosuma), Yamanyon (Shulla-bra), and Earth (Pre-KVO).
The winner of the tournament will receive travel assistance to a tournament of their choice. Ranai, the winner of last year's tournament, was able to attend Genesis 3 because of this. The reward will be similar this time around, so we could see some of Japan's top talent play at EVO 2016 or another big tournament.
Ranai's victory at KVOxTSB 2015 enabled him to compete at Genesis 3 and show the world his amazing skill.
User @juddy96 has translated the bracket pools for Smash 4. View them on Challonge here. Pools for both Melee and Smash 4 will start at roughly 9 pm EST. Finals for both games will be streamed from 4 am to 8 am EST. GODSGARDEN will be streaming Melee and some of the Smash 4 pools. SHI_Gaming will handle the majority of Smash 4's streaming, except for the Top 8 matches, which will be streamed by GODSGARDEN in Japanese and Team Spooky in English. Vayseth, author of the Vayseth's Voyage series here on Smashboards, will be TOing for the entire event and commentating on finals (in English, so on Team Spooky's channel). He also will be livetweeting about the events on his Twitter account. Follow him to say up-to-date on all developments during the tournament!
If you're curious about what else KVOxTSB 2016 has to offer, be sure to check out this post too.
What are your predictions for this tournament? Will there be any upsets? Who will win it all? Let us know in the comments section! And be sure to thank Djent and @juddy96. This would not have been possible without them. And don't forget to follow Vayseth!
(This article was written in corroboration with @Gearface. Be sure to thank him as well!)