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Vayseth's Voyage: SUMABATO 9 Results and Review

Vayseth's Voyage is an article series written by The Big House 5's Wii U Head TO Vayseth straight from Japan. Every week, he will be bringing you articles on various topics regarding the Japanese Smash Community. Bringing Smash Communities around the world closer and closer together with every article!

Previous Articles:
Vayseth's Voyage: Japan's Top 3 Wii U Tournament Series
Vayseth's Voyage: KARISUMA 6 Results and Review


@SHIG | 9B's staff tirelessly sets up the venue while the line of Smashers outside get's longer and longer.

Everyone paying attention to Smashboards last week should have noticed a preview article for Sumabato 9 that went up courtesy of @FeS | Smapps. Sumabato 9 was hosted in Osaka by @SHIG | 9B last weekend. The event had a lot of upsets, a new Sumabato Champion, and multiple insanely high-level matches despite its rule set favoring newer players. Before moving forward, however, I suggest taking a quick look over both my previous article, "Japan's Top 3 Wii U Tournament Series", and the preview article for Sumabato 9 to get an understanding of the context of Sumabato 9 and Sumabato as a series, as their way of running tournaments is vastly different from the standards of North America.

Many Smashers tuned in to the stream over the weekend, and I appreciate all the support everyone gave SHI_Gaming on Twitch. I was even given the opportunity to get on commentary during the lunch break between pools and bracket, where @ケイ/Kei and I spoke with the chat and discussed Sumabato and its unique rule set. During that time, Kei summarized the goal of 9B's Sumabato series: "In Japan we do not have as many players as in America," Kei stated before stressing, "we have to make sure the players who do come have a good experience and want to come back."

Regardless of what reservations Smashers around the world may have about their rules, this is the most important thing to understand before evaluating them. The Smash community in Japan is vastly different from those in other parts of the world. While Japan may boast a large percentage of the world's top Smash 4 players, their scene is proportionately one of the smallest. In order to keep the average to low-level players interested and coming back, a lot of extra time and consideration must be placed on their needs rather than the needs of those at the top, who would undoubtedly attend tournaments anyway. As a tournament organizer, I have paid careful attention to these differences and what potential benefits they have for fostering a Smash community at the local level, and I am extremely impressed with their results.


@SHIG | 9B: Top Player, Top TO and manages to find time to commentate the tournament. He really does it all.

For those who have not read through my previous articles, the main changes to Japan's tournaments are: Pools are round robin best of one and the stages are limited to only the most neutral. Rules are minimized as much as possible so the tournament can be run efficiently and players have the opportunity to easily play against many different opponents. During pools, players play RPS and the winner of RPS chooses the stage from Final Destination, Smashville, Battlefield or Omega Gaur Plain. After a single game is played, players report how many stocks were lost to the pool captain, and they move on to play someone else.

The most important factor is no one ever drops from pools. Players are always separated into an "A League" and a "B League." The "A League" is, generally speaking, the top X players from each pool (Sumabato 9 took the top 4, totaling 64 players), and every other player gets placed into the "B League." The Top 64 players play out a double-elimination bracket, where players play best two out of three sets, and other than the stage list, very little differs from what players outside Japan are used to.

The "B League" is run with only single elimination, but it is also best two out of three, and the most important factor is that the top 4 matches of the "B League" are played on the main stage, with the top two players from the B League given the same opportunity to get everyone to cheer for them and enjoy watching their matches. This gives players who drown in pools the opportunity to play on the main stage and get the experience they need to work on their game. Both of the top players from "B League" said that they want to make their goal for next month's tournament to make it into "A League" and do their best there!

SHIG | 9B's staff also tirelessly worked to run both leagues simultaneously, while many were also competing in the event, commentating or streaming the event. There were always staff available to players with questions, and they made sure to clearly define which set ups were for friendlies and which set ups were for tournament use. Players at Sumabato get to play multiple players in pools followed by a competitive bracket followed by constant access to friendly set ups. Combine that with a rule set that is extremely easy to understand and allows for the tournament to run quickly, and we have the recipe for possibly the best local tournament format I have ever experienced.


The Staff of Sumabato 9 announce the tournament and venue rules and give a lecture on desyncing wireless controllers.
Sumabato 9 did not disappoint on the top player side either. The most notable upset of the tournament was probably @Fuwa (Marth) defeating @Komorikiri (Sonic) in Winners Round 2. The translated bracket can be found here thanks to @juddy_96. As predicted, @HIKARU (Donkey Kong // Bowser) and @Atelier (Rosalina and Luma) continue to dominate every tournament they attend. These two players have been the most consistent threats in bracket recently, and there is no sign of them slowing down. @Nasubi (Wario // Mario) also played incredibly well, proving his results from last month's tournament in Hiroshima were not a fluke. However, no one right now is at @SHIG | 9B's level. Viewers might be crying out "$5.99! $5.99!" in response to SHIG | 9B's recent dominance with Bayonetta, but his post-tournament comments stressed that he too feels that Bayonetta needs to be fixed. Right now, he says, she is at a Metaknight-in-Brawl level of dominance.

Here are the Top 16 Results from the "A League" and the Top 4 Results from the "B League":

A LEAGUE
1st SHIG | 9B (Bayonetta, Kansai)
2nd Nasubi (Wario // Mario, Kansai)
3rd Atelier (Rosalina & Luma, Kansai)
4th Earth (Pit // Corrin // Fox, Chubu)
5th HIKARU (Donkey Kong // Bowser, Kansai)
5th Tea (Pacman // Bayonetta, unknown)
7th Kie (Peach, Kansai)
7th ikep (Bayonetta, Chubu)
9th Masashi (Cloud, Kansai)
9th Aki (Ryu // Diddy Kong, Kansai)
9th Fuwa (Marth, Chubu)
9th Rizeasu (Marth // Lucina // Robin // Ike, unknown)
13th Lickey (Metaknight, Kansai)
13th Komorikiri (Cloud // Sonic, Kansai)
13th Ruri (Rosalina & Luma, Kansai)
13th YuriAIR (Captain Falcon // Samus, Chubu)

B LEAGUE
1st Shibakou (Ike, Kansai)
2nd Uni (Ness, Kansai)
3rd SHIG | JUN (Kirby // Mario // Megaman, Kansai)
4th Takenoko (Pit // Metaknight // Wario, Kansai)

The last aspect of Sumabato 9 that I felt went relatively unnoticed was their rules regarding Mii Fighters. At Sumabato, you may use fully customized Mii Fighters except for Mii Brawler, who is restricted to only one change. Before all the patches and DLC characters, @Komorikiri was dominating Sumabato with Mii Brawler, so they limited its customization to being able to change only one B move (you may change either up B, side B, down B or neutral B from default, but not all of them; pnly one change is allowed from 1111). After following up with them, both SHIG | 9B and Komorikiri said it was a long time ago and they might have to revisit that ruling sometime. I then asked if they could record some matches of a fully unlocked Mii Brawler piloted by Komorikiri versus 9B's current Bayonetta, and they laughed and said they would consider it. Unfortunately, Komorikiri has not played with the character for some time now.

This is a very hot button topic in many parts of the world, and this is the first time I have seen Mii Fighters allowed in tournament with full customization options available. @ケイ/Kei was the only player in the A League who I saw occasionally played a Mii Fighter, and they seemed to have absolutely no effect on the tournament. The most interesting thing was not a single player seemed to think Miis being legal or illegal mattered in the slightest. After coming from North America, where battles over Mii legality are fierce, seeing a completely neutral stance towards Mii Fighters has been extremely refreshing. It is definitely an interesting aspect of Smash 4 Rules and Regulations that I plan on reviewing again soon.

Unfortunately, it looks like I will be unable to attend April's Umebura event in Tokyo. However, I am pleased to announce I have been asked to staff one of Osaka's biggest FGC/Smash Brothers tournaments: KSB | KVO x TSB. It will be the next major Melee and Smash 4 tournament in Japan, and I am really looking forward to it! Tune in next week for a slight change of pace, where I will talk about aspects of gaming culture in Japan.

Sayonara until next week.
 

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