First thing to note is I was in unfamiliar territory. You’ll be able to understand as this goes on but yeah.
After beating Daymendou in Winner’s Top 8, I was going into Grand Finals with a bit of confidence, but due to the previous losses to him during teams I was definitely rooting for Bears to win between the two (even telling Daymendou this while walking up).
Prior to top 8 starting, I watched over Omito’s matches with Spike from the JESPA Qualifiers with the intent of learning ways to beat back dash on wake-up. As well as this I made sure to try and practice my execution to make sure things wouldn’t go awry. After all, Johnny routes are all so specific to each character. Another thing to note was that during casuals and teams I had no real strategy vs Slayer/Daymendou and was using those matches as a means to help formulate one for tournament. You can sort of see from teams that I had no real focus as opposed to my singles matches in Winners/Grand Finals. The last thing I took note of is that Daymendou complained about back dashes so I tried to use that (though I don’t know if he was setting me up or not but I’m sure that wasn’t the case).
The big thing I based my strategy around was 2 things:
- Using my meter to eliminate playing neutral vs dashes and dandy step
- Ways to beat back dash using coin , cS ->2K, delayed 2h, and late 5k.
All in all I feel my strategy went as planned and gave him a hard time. I went up 2-0 pretty quickly and this is where things fall apart. I committed the worst mistake I have ever done as a competitor: I lost focus and eased up.
Honestly this is a feeling I don’t think anyone truly can experience until you are in Grand Finals winner’s side. The comfort of knowing you have a potential 5 game safety net is all too tempting to relax, and with a 2 game lead is exactly what I did.
“Please let this be over with.”
There’s a lot of reasons why my mind wandered to that state:
- 10 a.m. pools to which I woke up at 8 and started warming up by 8:45 so exhaustion was setting in.
- I choose not to eat during tournament. My past experiences of eating during tournament has always had really poor consequences so I made it a thing to only drink water/soda. As well as this I had not really drank anything throughout the day. More exhaustion.
- This was my first time ever being in Grand Finals winner’s side at a major.
The first 2 points are merely situations I put myself in or have 0 control over so I don’t count those. The third point is the driving factor. If you aren’t prepared to focus for a long time this situation really takes you by surprise. It’s the most stressful position you can ever experience at a tournament by far. And to be up 2-0 at that, just kill me.
*I don’t really remember much of what happened as when I play in tournament a switch kind of turns on to where I’m fully conscious of what’s going on/what I’m doing but I eliminate info outside of key things that I feel played a big role to the matches*
As soon as I lost the first game, my confidence and focus were already drifting away. All I could think was “Please. Please stay down.” By 2-2 I knew what was going wrong and was forcibly trying to calm myself down but there was an unwavering anxiety in me (I’m not sure if the stream shows it since I haven’t looked over the matches still, but I was constantly telling myself to calm down during rounds). The “What ifs” wouldn’t go away at all. Upon the rest I dropped my head down. “FUCK” was all that I could think. I kept trying to will myself to calm down and it worked a little, but many unfortunate things started to happen that just piled on.
As a Johnny player, spacing is everything. That and understanding hurt box interaction. Points throughout the 2nd set I would tag Daymendou with 5k>2D(2) as a means to get a quick level 3. The only problem was Slayer has a pretty big hurt box on airborne hits so the coin would actually just juggle him rather than hitting him OTG. This happened I believe a total of 3 times and only on the third time did I finally ad lib and roll with the grey beat. Another issue that kept turning up was cS > coin > cS in the corner would be slightly off in spacing and I would get cS > coin > fS. I think this was an issue caused by Slayer’s air hurt box being big so I got pushed out, but either way it changed really straight forward combos into crucial drops. They flustered me in a “Why here? Why now?” sort of way. To top it off, during the latter games I would do YRC in neutral but would get blitz. Because of this I got punished heavily in game changing times. This definitely upset me the most, as a dash or dandy step that I was ready to punish as well as an air tech situation now became points where I just melted and died.
In the end I lost 3-2 last round. To be honest I’m surprised I could even push it that far.
Immediately after the loss I was extremely disappointed. Not angry in the slightest but just flat out broken. Once I shook Daymendou’s hand Kizzie came to console me but I just had to leave the room and let out the tears that were welling up. I didn’t know that the camera focused on me walking out. I guess this adds to the story but personally I feel it’s very poor to focus on something like that over the celebration of a hard earned win. I considered cutting my hair before coming to AA but couldn’t decide on a style so I just left it. Really glad too since I knew I had to come back for the awards ceremony and my hair could cover my face so no one could see the tears rolling down.
Things to take from the loss:
- Practice stuff vs Slayer
- Now that I’ve experienced what it’s like to be in winners side Grand Finals, I know how to be ready mentally next time.
- Every game I should go back to character select to re analyze. One of my greatest strengths (imo and from what people have told me) is my ability to adapt. This will also help me keep my composure.
- I should probably get back to exercising; healthy body, healthy mind.
Do I feel I was the best player there? Honestly yeah but I wasn’t fully there in focus and that’s what cost me (Not to discredit Daymendou because he played amazing and showed great mental fortitude). Next time I’ll definitely be ready.
See everyone at TSB(?). I’m looking to prove myself there.