Tournament Coverage: East Brandenburg Open (EBO)

August 24th- Aug. 27th, While America had it's own major tournament (MLG), in Germany, East Brandenburg Open (EBO for short), was also going on. Big names such as Ring, Hyrul, Malek, Pantocrator, daGOTTh, JAG, and others that can be viewed further into the article, were battling it out for the "champion" title of EBO.

With the aftermath proving to be in Ring's favor, I thought I'd catch up with some of the top placers via EBO. As well as posting the results, links towards the videos, and pictures taken by our very own community members all the way from Germany.

East Brandenburg Open 2012
Silent Joel
Dark Slayer
Grunt Dude
Lelle Fust
Master Ari
PB Chucky
2nd Face

Team-Tournament Results (3v3):
1st: Trio Infernal (JAG, daGOTTh, Kerrigan)
2nd: Team U.K. (Hyrul, Silent Joel, Grunt Dude)
3rd: Kappamattring (Kappa, Matt-JF, Ring)
3v3 Video-Footage: (Di_PL's youtube)

National-Tournament (5v5):
1st: Frankreich (Malek, Pantocrator, Sazayel, Dranakal, Ryuga)
2nd: Ringland (Ring, Di, Crescent Moon, Heniek, Lelle Fost)
3rd: Deutschland (Kerrigan, Kalas, Dark Slayer, JAG, daGOTTh)


More picture's can be found here:



In the tournament, you placed first. Who was your toughest opponent?
Now that I think of it, my path in the solo tournament was relatively easy if I look at the characters used. I had to play against Ivy (Dropical), Phyrra Omega (Matt-JF), Phyrra (DarkSlayer), Leixia (Kalas) and Tira (Hyrul). All of which I know pretty well and I play them myself, so that was a confidence boost for me. Also none of those characters are particularly bad match-ups for Ivy, with the exception of Omega Phyrra maybe.If I have to pick my toughest opponents in the solo, it would probably be Kalas, Matt-JF and Lelle (whom I fought in groups, it was the only player who won against me in the solo tournament). I was surprised with how my matches against Hyrul went, to be honest I have never felt like that when playing in a tournament. It was almost like I knew what was going to happen next, I felt extremely confident and I knew there was no way I could lose.
What were your most enjoyable matches and why? Feel free to link me videos.
- Your favorite match that you played
- Your favorite match you watched.
It's hard to say which exactly are my favorite matches. Probably in 5vs5 tournament where I singe handedly beat the two strongest teams (Team Germany and UK), that was a lot of hype! I also liked my match against Lelle in groups, it was pretty close but I managed to end it in a flashy way, unfortunately it wasn't recorded. me vs Team Germany in 5vs5

The favorite match I watched has to be Jag vs Kalas. Both me and Kalas hate fighting against Asta (you get hit twice, you die haha) and Leixia vs Asta is pretty bad for Lei in my opinion because of the damage difference. Miraculously, Kalas has won. He was very patient and played intelligently, and on top of that he has eliminated one of my biggest threats. Knowing that I would not have to face Jag for a while boosted my confidence a lot and helped me later in the tournament. Kalas vs Jag

(note: you can find everything here.)
How was the general "feel" of the tournament. Any problems with how it was ran/set up? Was freeplay suffice? Feel free to add any further details about the tournament as a whole.
EBO itself is a very unique event. For me it has more "family meeting" feeling rather than anything else. Players from all over Europe gather to play and have great time,plus there's a BBQ everyday. There is no prize money (although this year Namco has sponsored some prizes for the tournament) but the winners name gets engraved on an axe, which resembles the one of Astaroth's. This year we had three tournaments, 3vs3, Solo and 5vs5. All this was streamed, thanks to Di. As far as I know, there were no problems with how everything was run, except maybe the stream audio ;) The only thing I regret is not being play against everyone. Too many people, not enough time. Just like every year.
Did any new players catch your attention? Or, perhaps older players who've become better?
First thing that caught my attention was the number of Ivy players present. I'm glad that the Ivy community is alive and kicking. And there I was thinking she isn't a very popular character in SCV. Some of the new players that caught my attention were Dropical, Dodo, SoulAssasin, WhYYZ, Lelle , Vigo or ChaosK. All really good with great potential. Special shout-out to Dodo for beating me in 5vs5 tournament, it was an eye opener for me. As for the older players, I'm especially glad to see the UK community is growing strong, and that the French still support the game, even though a lot of them dislike it which also reflects on their level a bit. The soul burns strong in Germany as well, which is a good thing!
What do you do to prep for a tournament?
- Specific pre-tourney rituals
- Practice (online/offline) prep time VS certain players?
I mostly sit in the training mode where I practice punishments, just guards and general anti-character stuff. I try to play as many characters as I can to know their weaknesses and how to exploit them. It really helps me to react better to many attack strings, I know where to step/duck/interrupt/JG or punish. Online comes in handy too, but my connection is really troublesome and won't let me play with many top EU players, which is why I play a lot against CPU. I also have some people to play offline with and we organize offline sessions from time to time. I also need to thank Belial, he has helped me tremendously in understanding how this game really works.
Your character is Ivy, how do you feel Ivy stacks up against the rest of the cast?
I think Ivy is a good character and she has tools to win against everyone, but it's almost never a walk in the park. In my opinion, she has a lot of (slightly) negative MU's, so to compete at the highest level with Ivy, your matchup knowledge must be flawless and your execution on point. The more I play her, the more depth I find in this character. It's been many months, but I still feel like I have a lot to learn with her. In addition to execution heavy moves like iCS or 22_88B JF, Ivy has a lot of character specific combos/punishments (for example, Just Guarding some moves gives us free 3B, 6B8 combo on Normal Hit) that make her more fun to play than I originally thought.
What is your toughest match up as a Ivy player?
- Any match up Ivy particularly excels in?
Well, like I mentioned, I think Ivy has quite a lot of negative match-ups. In a nutshell, the worst match-ups are characters that out-damage her easily and/or can punish her moves even at tip range. So that includes characters Mitsurugi, Alpha Pat (imo her two worst MUs), Cervy, Phyrras, Natsu, Asta, Nightmare or Algol. Even if I know the MU perfectly, the risk/reward is still in my opponent's favor so sometimes in order to win there is no other way than just being a better player outplaying my opponent, haha. Ivy is pretty good against characters that have trouble punishing her long range moves at mid-to far range. The risk/reward becomes somewhat more balanced and it's easier to zone against them (examples: ZWEI, Yoshi, Leixia, Viola) but it's still nothing as threatening as SC4 Ivy, so honestly I don't feel overly confident in any match-up.
General Comments/Shoutouts:
I just wanted to thank again to G.O.D Mistmohre and G.O.D Waffel for organizing EBO 2K12. A shout out to every player I met there. I hope we will meet again next year. Also congratulations Xeph for winning the MLG Summer Championships


Toughest Opp?
It won't be to anyone's surprise that I found Ring my toughest opponent. Before the tournaments, we had managed to squeeze in a couple of quick casual matches. We played an extended session just before the solo, and he was 7-0 up before I managed to win one, much to my delight! He really knows his match-ups and could also read every single thing I did - ducking every throw, killing every sidestep. I think I hit him once with Updraft, and after that, he would pull me out of the sky with Ivy lick every time without fail. He knew what I would do before I did.

So I knew I was up against it when I played him in WF and GF. Maybe I should have switched characters, but I wanted to see if I could figure that match out with Tira. I thought maybe I should have switched to Nightmare, just to make the spacing game easier, but I doubt it would have made any difference to the 8-0 scoreline.
Best matches?
my most memorable match was against Grunt Dude. He had been beating me quite badly in recent times, and had become the UK's best player some time ago, which he backed up with two big tournament victories. I had done loads of anti-Xiba training, but was never able to put it into practice in battle. But this time at EBO, we met in Winners, and with the score at 1-1, I told myself that either I start playing my best now, or I will lose. And I managed to do it, stepping and JGing and managing the risks exactly how I wanted to. It was one of the best matches I have ever played, but it wasn't recorded and I don't think anybody saw it, except possibly Dranakal, so it will be forgotten sadly.

Other highlights for me, in terms of my own matches, were in the 3v3 when I took on Kalas, Darkslayer and Pantocrator and managed to get an OCV, and my solid performances against Kerrigan and Malek in the solo (though I still feel really lame for using a random CE to take out Malek).

There were many great matches to watch. Darkslayer v Panto in the solo was an exact rematch from last year's Loser Bracket, with Panto prevailing again, though it wasn't as dramatic as the amazing 2011 match. Kalas's matches against Ring and JAG were also really exciting. He lacked confidence against JAG especially, and in their match he made a lot of mistakes - I guess due to nerves - but still managed to come through by continuing to pressure JAG and take a really memorable victory. And I think he was the closest to beating Ring out of anybody. I think he could have taken the first set from Ring in the Winners SF if he'd used his meter to maximise combo damage.

From a UK perspective, it was hard to top Silent Joel's matches against Panto and Kerrigan. Joel is tremendously strong when he plays well, but he finds it hard to control his own performance throughout a tournament, so for him to get to top 8 and beat a player like Panto was probably my favourite moment of SC so far. And he looked like he would beat Kerrigan until he so unfortunately threw himself out of the China stage. It was one of those heartbreaking moments, but I think he'll still see top 8 at EBO as a really great performance. It was also great to see Grunt Dude beat Panto and Ring in the team tournaments.
Feel of tournament?
The feel of EBO is unsurpassable in my eyes. The event is purely Soul Calibur and nothing more. If you want you can sleep in the venue, wake up and play Soul Calibur straight away. Most of the setups are on CRTs. which may seem like the dark ages, but it guarantees a lag-free experience and means you can just enjoy the game without pointless arguments.

If I could come up with a tournament and freeplay format of my choice, I would replicate it exactly. The only thing I would change, if I had enough budget, would be to have more matches recorded, and to have a top-class stream, but these things aren't really possible in the EBO environment, as it's held in a little village some distance from Berlin.
New/older players
It was great to meet a lot of new players. I enjoyed wacthing how ChaosK, a German Siegfried player, took on the Ivy matchup, always looking for opportunities to land SBH B, as he can fish for it with relatively little risk, and I was surprised to learnt that this was his first offline tournament. Also, during the 3v3, we played a team who turned up late. After I beat the first two players, a gorgeous girl sat down to keep the team in it, and, I'll be honest, I figured that maybe she wouldn't know which way round to hold the pad. So when she (Dropical) started pulling off iCS in the match, countered frame traps with 6KB, and broke 90% of my throws, I was pretty impressed. Also, this was Grunt Dude's first major SCV event outside the UK, and I think he did really well, making a lot of comebacks in the solo event when it looked like he was about to lose.

As for the older players, I think a lot of them would have hoped to have gone further in the solo event, including JAG, Dag and Darkslayer. I guess Kerrigan's was one of the best performances, as she stuck with ZWEI rather than using stronger characters like Natsu or Tira, and got through most of the tournament pretty easily. Kalas also did so well, as he was not even seeded for the event, but beat Darkslayer in the pools to top his group and ended up in 4th. So I think they'll both be really happy. But I can't really call them old! Even though they're more experienced than many of the others, they're both so young.
I try to avoid any ritual type stuff for tournaments. When your opponents have superstitions or specific preferences, like playing on P1 side or not talking before a match, that can give them a confidence edge for that match. But in the long term, if I can keep winning games without having to follow any kind of pattern or anything else, this can give me a lot of confidence for future matches, bacause I don't need to worry about these kinds of things at all, and can focus on the match itself.

Mental conditioning and preparation is still something I have a lot of trouble with, so I do try to avoid putting pressure on myself. I try to avoid focusing on anything until the match starts. If you think too much about winning - or losing - before a match, you can start thinking about it during the match too, and it is often very distracting. So instead I try to accept that I could win or lose any match that I go into, and not to worry about it, but simply try my best. I also avoid drinking any tea, coffee or alcohol before a tournament, to try to stay relaxed. I do get very nervous, but I don't mind that: I think it can help, like an adrenaline shot.

As for training, you never know who you'll bump into in a tournament, so I didn't so any specific anti-character stuff, other than what I would normally do anyway. I just played online as usual with Grunt, Joel, Deathsm8, Sharman and the other UK guys, and even played some DOA4 with JAG, which was a lot of fun.

We stayed in Hamburg with Wil (a top UK player) before travelling to EBO, so we trained with him, and had some casuals with Ryuga, Chazy, Dag and JAG before the event.
Leixia and Tira are a lot of fun to play. I think Tira, in theory at least, is much, much stronger, but I still have a lot to learn with her. He has insane damage output when in Gloomy Side, but because you have to constantly monitor her moods, her Gauge, and her remaining health, she is a very challenging character to play. Her range is also hard to get used to, and she has many different moves to use in different situations, for zoning, punishing and the rest. Sometimes controlling Tira takes so much concentration that it can become really hard to focus on what your opponent is doing as well. And you have to be really careful about move selection, as her moves vary so much in speed and range that it is easy to make a mistake, and whiff or be interrupted.

Leixia has serious weaknesses, but is a much easier character to play. You can focus on 6KK for punishing, use FC3B to punish very unsafe lows and whiffed highs, and just try to annoy your opponent as much as possible with her excellent AA attacks. So it can be really fun to switch to Leixia and just enjoy the match, as it is usually far less mentally taxing than using Tira (though this may be because I only played Xianghua in SCIV).
In terms of matchups, I think both Leixia and Tira have problems with long range characters, and those who can use backstep effectively. With Leixia, you need to constantly read your opponent to keep the pressure up without being whiffpunished; and with Tira, you just need to be very, very patient, waiting for your chance to get in close and stay there.

Both versions of Pyrrha give Tira real trouble I find. Her slightly unsafe moves become very unsafe against The Stab. And her evasive moves cause all kinds of problems for Tira at mid range. Luckily I've found that it's not so bad for Leixia. Both Pyrrhas instinctively want to come in for close range combat, which is what Leixia wants too, and she has far fewer attacks that can be Stabbed. So other than eating a DNS B:4, matches vs Pyrrha feel more balanced than some other fights can be for Leixia. She also works pretty well against Viola, thanks to Guei/Crybabay, her general movement, and her good punishment and TC attacks.

Conversely, Mitsurugi can be a nightmare for Leixia, whereas Tira can really make Mitsu and other characters (like Sieg or Patroklos) pay dearly for their mistakes, thanks to her really high damage.

As for α Patroklos and Algol, I really don't know what to do about these characters, but luckily no-one used them in the solo event!
I think most of what I wanted to say will be in the shoutouts thread, but I am really pleased that so many people turned up for EBO 2012, especially as the game is really struggling in Europe without pro MLG events like in the US, and with the bigger EU communities struggling for motivation in this game.

In the tournament, you took 4th place. Who put you into Loser's and who eliminated you? Feel free to add comments on said matches. Also, in your opinion, who was your toughest opponent?
Just like in 2010, I had to fight against Ring in the tournament. And just like in 2010, the result was very clear. So yeah, it was him who sent me to losers. You can have a look at the match here:

I didn't play too bad in the first round and I almost got him, but I did not expect a random GI at the end of the first match at all. Looking at my videos now makes me actually quite confident - especially when taking into account that during the brackets Ring won against everybody in his way to 0, so I don't feel to bad about it. :)

After the tournament I had some casuals with Ring and I did ok (losing only 5:10 making this Ring's worst victory for the whole 3 days). To me there is absolutely no question that Ring was by far the best player at EBO this year. He has adapted so well to the new mechanics (e.g. makes perfect use of Just Guard and uses GI a lot which many players have already forgotten with the new meter system). And somehow he managed to infiltrate his opponent's mind all the time! :) It's a shame that somebody like him is not sponsored so he cannot go to events like EVO or MLG - I'm 100% convinced that he would have lots of success there, too.

Coming back to the initial question: The person who eliminated me was Kerrigan - the German Kayane. :)

To me she was the biggest surprise in the whole tournament. She did better than her brothers JAG and daGOTTh, and even Pantocrator could not stop her Z.W.E.I. I'm very proud that she is the best German player now.

Even though I lost to her, I still think it's so interesting to have a look at all those matches to improve. Hyrul for example won against her with Leixia - so I like to compare our styles in those videos. There are lots of other examples, but what I want to say is: A lot of players have forgotten that it's not always the game's fault, if they lose. It is almost always better to take your time and think about why you lost instead of blaming everything else.
What were your most enjoyable matches and why? Feel free to link me videos.
- Your favorite match that you played?
This is one of my personal highlights: Me vs Malek's Ivy in losers.

When Ring sent me to loser, I knew I had to fight either Pantocrator or Malek - and was hoping it wouldn't be Malek, because our encounters in SC4 have been devastating and I didn't want to lose against two Ivy players in a row. I don't know how, but I won, lol. I was very lucky that I always did the right choice against his CE, but you need a little luck sometimes. :)

I also enjoyed my match agains JAG which I definitely expected to lose, but I was so lucky in the last round...

Favorite match you watched?
This has to be the Grand Final: Ring vs Hyrul.

Looking at the result - it was boring, because it was one-sided. But I think it's amazing to see how "easily" Ring gives Hyrul trouble with his incredible mindgames. You know a player is beyond good when he makes a character who isn't toptier look like a toptier (and the Ivy hate will never end!)
How was the general "feel" of the tournament. Any problems with how it was ran/set up? Was freeplay suffice? Feel free to add any further details about the tournament as a whole
Of all the past five EBOs, the tournament this year was, in my opinion, the best.

Firstly, I want to mention that it was the biggest EBO we ever had - over 50 - even during the best times of SC4 we couldn't even dream of a number like this. So we had 8 pools with 6 or 7 players each. Thanks to the great organisation of the GODs, there was a large number of consoles and TV's, so it was no problem to do all the pools at the same time (that has not always been the case at other EBOs).

Another highlight, as every year, is the moment when everybody has to draw his pool number out of my hat which determines their further opponents (and if and how they will make it out of the pool).


hat of destiny

In the past, some players complained that they don't want their names to be drawn randomly - so we came up with a way that everbody holds his destiny in his own hands. :)
After the pools, we had our beloved German barbecue outside and speculated about our upcoming matches. At 7ish p.m. we started the first round and continued with the winner and loser brackets.
Fortunately a lot of matches could be streamed and recorded - all thanks to Di who put a lot of work into that!

The tournament ended at 11ish and we continued with casuals. Some players also tried other games like VF5 or DOA4. Some even digged out old games of the 90ies (but since I was born in 91 I don't know any them, they look Stone Age to me!) The GODs said that even though the EBO is a complete SC-only-tournament, other games can be played in casuals, too, as long as nobody has to wait for a SC-match. And so we played until twilight - at least some of us (not including me) :).

Let me just say a few words to the team tournaments:

On Friday we had the 3vs3 tournament which the Trio Infernale consisting of the three brothers and sister clearly won. Altogher, I think we had 15 teams in a round robin style - so 14 team matches - a lot to play! Unfortunaley we started a little late so it didn't finish before 2.30am. However - it was a lot of fun with lots of surprising moments when some very good players lost. In one round everything is possible.

On Sunday we had the international tournament which was won by France. It was the same as on Friday except for 5vs5 teams.

And after that we had the award ceremony for all the tournaments - and for the first time we had shirts and games as prices sponsored by Namco, too! But who cares about games or cash? At EBO, the winner gets a trophy in form of Astaroth's axe! No MLG or EVO price compares to that. :) (I will add pictures later, people haven't uploaded them yet.)

It was a great event. Everything went fine.
Did any new players catch your attention? Or, perhaps older players who've become better?
Of course! Unfortunately there were so many new faces (and old ones) that it was impossible to watch everyone playing (or playing them for yourself).

New faces that stuck in my mind and deserve credits for making it so well for their first tournament were Dropical, ChaosK, Rome and DodongoKid form Austria! I was also impressed by the performances of dranakal from France, Matt-JF from Poland and Silent Joel from the UK who knocked himself out of winners so unfortunately. And of course there are those players who keep coming to EBOs for every year, and who keep getting better each time like Ring, Hyrul, Kerrigan, Fleshmasher or Pantocrator.

Nobody from the top4 this year was in the top4 last time. I thinks it's great that we have such a big diversity here.
What do you do to prep for a tournament? Specific pre-tourney rituals?
There are basically none. :) Normally I just play a lot and try to figure out some more strategies for difficult match-ups. But I'm generally too excited to see everyone again so that I can't train effectively. :)
Practice (online/offline) prep time VS certain players?
Due to my other activities in real life (I'm going to medical school and training to be a doctor), I don't have as much time as I want to visit my Soul Calibur friends. Some years ago I used to play a lot with Sacharja who is responsible for me being a part of the SC-community now. I have one sparring partner who live close to me, but I've only played him twice so far. I visited the Trio Infernale in March, the Padbreakers in Berlin in May and played a lot with Synraii when I was in England. I've also been to the Impact Finals in London in March where I played against ShenChan for example. But most of my training goes into online mode where I played a lot against Dark Slayer, Matt-JF, ChaosK, Rome and Sacharja. I would love to play against Ring, but we can't connect. =/

So yeah, actually, I've had two offline tournaments in SC5 so far: the Impact Qualifiers in February and the EBO in August - that's it.
Your character is Leixia, how do you feel Leixia stacks up against the rest of the cast?
After all the things I already said in the Leixia SA and the things I achieved, I really don't wanna sound lame, but I'm pretty sure Leixia is in lower mid together with characters like Aeon and ZWEI. But calling somebody "not good" does not mean "absolute crap". I think Leixia has a realistic chance to win against almost everyone. She's got lots of gimmicks and easily avoidable stuff, but I haven't seen a player reacting to it correctly all the time. But comparing her to the toptiers, she's just too weak in the damage department to face them on the same level.
What is your toughest match up as a Leixia player?
The match-ups I personally hate are Leixia vs Mitsu and Leixia vs Cervantes, because they have both a move that dictates the way the match-up has to be played (Mitsu 4B and Cervantes aB which is completely spammable against her at midrange). Her match-ups against Natsu and Alpha don't look too promising for me either. Well, and I have always hated the Voldo-match-up, but that's more a personal thing :)
Any match up Leixia particularly excels in?
The only match-ups I'd spontaneously say she excels in are against Raphael (who doesn't?) and ZWEI. However, I personally feel very confident fighting against characters like the Pyrrha's even tough they are a 4:6 for Leixia in my opinion.

To all those match-up and tier list stuff: I only want to add that making those lists is good, but it's only one side of the medal. Take my way through the tournament: I won against Mitsu (Dranakal), but lost to Ivy (who is not that incredibly bad for Leixia) and ZWEI (which I see in her favor) - so don't live and play in certain lists all the time, it will only hold you back in my opinion.
General Comments
I've already said so many things - I want to thank everybody who was at EBO for making it that enourmous event, everbody who keeps playing me on PSN and everybody helps me and makes me improve over all the past years. I found so many friends and got to know lots of different people (and countries because it made me travel a lot in the last years like Berlin, Cologne, London, Paris, Cannes...) - I sincerely hope that SC5 is not about to die and that we can have another big patch.

Also, I hope that next year we can have even more players at EBO - maybe somebody from the US?

Thanks for the interview!

All in all, the tournament seems like it had a good overall vibe. We should all give a round of an E-pplause for our placers at E.B.O. I'd like to thank Ring, Hyrul, Kalas for taking the time to answer the interview questions- not to mention, the large amount of content. Make sure you check out the high level play once all the videos are finished uploading. Thanks again guys, hopefully I'll be around next year to provide us American's with coverage from our communities major, overseas.​

- Xephukai​
Sean Ruben


Wow!!! After watching a few vids I'm so thrown at how beastly Ring performed. To be able to read like that is insane! I hope you're saving that pot money to come here for NEC. I'm sure the entire US would like a chance to wax that ass! lol
Yeah, Europe is scared of the powa. Malek went home and told him of the decimation he received at Evo or something.
I absolutely loved watching this tournament. Since I speak to some of the players both online and offline, I felt a lot closer to the action than I did watching MLG.
Little bit late, but great article and interviews. Extra kind of you Xeph to shine a light on this event, after your great MLG win overshadowed it.