Xephavorites: NECXV Pool Play/Top 16

Which is your 'Xephavorite' of the list?

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Welcome to the first ever "Xephavorites" article. Just for the sake of introduction... What to expect with "Xephavorites?" Well, aside from playing the game, much like a lot of you here, I enjoy watching matches. Whether it's for comedy entertainment purposes, or because the skill is potent in the match, I'm a fan of the 'sport' that is Soul Calibur. This particular "Xephavorites" article will revolve around NECXV's Pool Play matches that might've been skipped over and/or top 16.

This isn't to say that "Xephavorites" article will only pertain to video play... but we'll cross that bridge when the times come. Also, as a bonus, every "Xephavorites" article will have a guest's input. This article @GreatOne1939 (will edit and add his favorite's when he's finished filtering through them) will be showing you his favorite matches from NECXV, alongside my top 5 favorite's. Without further due, let's jump right in!

1.) @Blueboyb VS @GolD ShaD (POOL PLAY)
This video gets #1 on my list because of how crucial this match was. Sometime's in pool play matches, you're going to see two heavy hitters fighting for tournament longevity. This is a prime example of two players who respectfully earning their rank in top 8, while having to face each other early on. Both player's looked pretty well matched versus each other in the first game, and the second game (first two games coming down to the last round). Though, as the set went on, GOLD Shad seem to adapt well to Blueboyb's "YOLO-esque" style of play.

Notice how Gold Shad put the pressure of 2A to interrupt Blueboy's 66B pressure. Even at disadvantage, Alpha Patroklo's 2A can interrupt because of how fast it is, not to mention the range. Shad's spacing also shined. His whiff punishments for 236A/A were on point and optimal (except when he used FC A+B and missed the 33B follow up). You also see shad Just Frame Twister Patroklos' 2A on whiff. Very, very scary. In all, Shad's punishment was looks pretty solid in this match, save for a few hiccups in the earlier games. That, along with Blueboyb not being able to recognize 1AAA, helped Shad pull the victory on this one.
Though, it breaks my heart that BlueboyB didn't take out the French representative, good show by both player's- this was a very high level match.

2.) @Thermidor VS @Reptile (POOL PLAY)
This match, of course, makes the list of Xephavorites. First and foremost, this match became hilarious REAL quick. Also, these two player's are highly regarded in the top percentile as far as North America goes. With Thermidor having claim 1st place at Final Round 16(?), and Canada's representative, Reptile, who usually places in top 8 when he travels to the states, this was a high profile match that may have been overshadowed because it was in pools.

For a brief back-story, gathered from conversations, Reptile was feeling very strong going in to this match. Where as Thermidor wasn't feeling as confident. That being said, in the first game, Reptile seemed to establish that he was going to take this no matter what Thermidor has planned. with a 3round-0 win, Reptile looked very strong, and his pressure was solid. Second game, Thermidor showed great adaptation. Notice how Thermidor handled Reptile running in for 66A, answering with CH 3AA, and then CH 33B. On top of this, Thermidor did not crumble at the pressure when he had a pixel of life left- remembering he had an aGI CE for heavy damage, and eventually, closing the game out at the end.

The third game is when it goes bonkers-crazy. Aeon having one of, if not, the best ringout potential in this game does not put fear in Thermidor. Nightmare having a strong ringout game as well, really shows in the later games. Thermidor's pressure in game three, round two, is a nice example of how strong Nightmare can be whether it's a wall or water behind the character. That being said, this video speaks for itself. Great job Thermidor for exploiting Reptile's mistakes, and, exposing the world to how cheap ringout's really are.

3.) @SCPartisan VS @Party Wolf (Top 16)
This one is a personal favorite of mine mainly because both players are very, very solid, and Party Wolf being an upcomer, showed why his play should be respected. If this match up stacks versus Xiba the same as normal Pyrrha does, then I applaud Party Wolf's victory even more. On a personal note, I had a side bet going on with @Ramon in this match. My bet going for Partisan's victory... unfortunately, I lost the bet. Fortunately, this video was recorded for the world to see.

In the first round, both players start off a bit sluggish. But, to it's defense, both player's seemed as if they were trying to get the beat on each other, with neither side budging too much. Partisan managed to take the first game, however, Party wolf's adaptation showed light in the later matches.

I was mainly impressed with how well Party Wolf utilized evasive moves. On top of having an active defense with evasion, his mobility was also a huge factor. Guessing right a lot of the times for verticals, and standing, guarding for Partisan's attempt to kill step. Another noticeable trait was the traditional adding of gauge pressure as Xiba. Party Wolf didn't break Partisan's gauge, but the pressure of a blinking red gauge can also be beneficial- as Party Wolf shows in this video. Very high profile match. Also, note, the coolest combo at NECXV was Xiba's 22B off axis in to 4B. So sick...

4.) @ShinjiUrahara VS @Ninjaguy446 (POOL PLAY)
This match makes the list for a number of reasons. For some people who were wondering what might have happened to Ninjaguy (note: Ninjaguy was discussed to being in top 8). My personal accusations that some may remember pre-NECXV, where I stated that Ninjaguy is a good Viola, but as a player, lacks some general match up knowledge. Also, it shows Shinji did some homework in the match up of Pyrrha VS Viola.

Shinji showed good fundamentals, and good implementation of basic match up knowledge when it comes to Pyrrha VS Viola. Notice the 3B spam, notice in the early games where Shinji implemented 236K for it's STC. Also, Shinji put in 22ks' and 22B's that connected more often than not. As well as Ninjaguy letting 44AA:BE rip, and Shinji answering back with 'month one' anti-tech of Pyrrha's aGI.

Ninjaguy didn't quite manage meter as well as he does, and, if you watch, you see that Ninjaguy didn't land his ToD combos at all. In the end, Shinji showed up and had more MU knowledge in this particular video. In short, this was definitely an upset at NECXV

5.) @Ringout vs @crna_ruka (POOL PLAY)
First off, I want to give a dap to Ringout for his top knotch execution. I don't think I saw one earsplitter or nut punch go un...-JF'd. Speaking from experience, I understand the type of pressure Ruka pushes in a match. That being said, Ringout handled himself fairly well throughout the set. Couldn't pull out the victory in the end, but, his match being so close makes it a crucial one. Especially seeing as Ruka was in top 3, and a top representative for Japan.

Though your execution was excellent, and you were able to take down two rounds, my advice would be to look in to punishment. Be it whiff punishments, punishment on GRD, punishment in general is a necessity to compete against the top players, especially someone who is using Patroklos. Using Lolo as a reference here, but utilizing Yoshimitsu's 6K could have maybe turned this game around. Also, after watching, I noticed that Ringout isn't utilizing Yoshimitsu's CE, even as a combo post nut punch on CH. Perhaps a runback should be hyped for the future if the opportunity arises. Good show Ringout, so very close.

@GreatOne1939 Favorites:
1.) @ZeroEffect317 VS @GolD ShaD

2.) @Fuzion VS @IRM

3.) @JJJ VS @crna_ruka

NECXV was definitely one of the most impressive tournaments the states has seen in a while. Many people put in time and dedication for this tournament, and it shows. After this tournament, I was very proud of the USA's skill level, and seeing a lot of people had leveled up. I only posted five, but there's many other videos that surprised me. It's sad since a lot of times (well, majority of tournaments) pool play isn't recorded, and as as a result, we miss out on a lot of high level matches, upsets, and generally funny videos.

So, I think I can say, as a collective, THANK YOU AVYLON for allowing us to get all our matches recorded. Also, thank you Bifuteki for streaming top 16 for us.

Stay tuned for the next "Xephavorites" article!
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Sean Ruben

Sean Ruben

After reviewing all these videos again I have to say that Thermidor VS Reptile is just too damn hilarious to not vote as my favorite.
Thanks for making the article and nominating me! Will you be writing these for every tournament?
No, thank you for the excellent match. To answer your question: Yes. I plan on doing more 'Xephavorites' articles in the future, some may not be specifically for a tournament. For example, possibilities to seeing "Xephavorites: Soul Calibur III!" are high.

As for SCV Tournaments current, and on going, they get an automatic "Xephavorites" list.
Yeah Xeph this awesome ! I am proud to have my fight be announced as one of your faves out of the many fights. I'm pleased that this one become a 'Thing' among the community. Now players will look forward to making your top 5 list.
I voted Shad vs Blueboyb at first, but Partisan vs PartyWolf is too good so I changed my vote.
Shad vs Blueboyb is great but it doesn't have that funny commentary.
I love how that other commentator is so embarassed by that other guy who can't stop laughing at Xiba's 2B+K sound.
I voted Shad vs Blueboyb at first, but Partisan vs PartyWolf is too good so I changed my vote.
Shad vs Blueboyb is great but it doesn't have that funny commentary.
I love how that other commentator is so embarassed by that other guy who can't stop laughing at Xiba's 2B+K sound.

LOL I think that was me (Bibulus couldn't stop laughing for like 5 minutes straight)
GreatOne1939's Favorites:
So, yeah holidays and all that has me running kind of late on this but I will try to do what I can now. While I won't/can't go in depth as to what moves these guys were using, and why like Xeph did, I will point out a few things that I saw in these matches that made them entertaining for me to watch personally along with maybe a few side notes and opinions on each players game play and what they were trying to do.
1.) @ZeroEffect317 VS @GolD ShaD

With this match the thing that drew me to it almost right off the bat was the known disparity in damage output between these two characters. ZeroEffect is definitely one of, if not the top Leixia player around. But would he have any success with his character, who is seen as low to mid tier at best by most people (I personally think she's better than people give her credit for but it really is an uphill battle for her due to her low damage output.)against another competitive high level player who uses a character who in most people's eyes is definitely at the top of the tier lists? The answer to me was definitely yes. Even though the final score may have been in Shad's favor, ZE showed that with good reads, poking at opportune times, good pressure, and running a strong mix up game Leixia is definitely viable even against the stiffest of competition. If you look at the match ZE made some really good reads defensively that was frustrating Shad a bit. Even though he lost those rounds early on it made Shad think twice about just going in and running train indiscriminately, like we all know aPat can do, throughout the entire match. Saying that though, I have to commend Shad on his patience in taking that damage as he knew that he just needed one or two openings and his character could more than make it up. ZE showed heart and skill in every match keeping them close and competitive but in the end the difference in damage, smart play, aggression, and conditioning by Shad was a little too much to overcome. Still a very entertaining match and one of my favorites at this tournament.

2.) @Fuzion VS @IRM

So I'll be honest initially I was going to pick this match just to pick at IRM as I so love doing (I still love you you big baby) but that would be doing a disservice to Fuzion who played beautifully in this match. I'm not sure what was going on with IRM in the beginning but he brought that weak shit with his random loop attacks and whiffing left and right and Fuzion did what everyone has seemed to forget to do against Maxi back step and punish that whore. There's not much to say on this video besides IRM looked like he came in weak and Fuzion put in that work. This shook IRM allowing Fuzion to ramp up the pressure game and cause IRM to make even more mistakes. It was a shock to hear IRM had lost (there jabroni, I'm basically saying you're good) but watching Fuzion play the match up almost perfectly really made me want to point it out. Maybe now people who have trouble with Maxi can now have a starting point on what they're supposed to do in the match up.

3.) @JJJ VS @crna_ruka
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I haven't watched through all of the matches yet, but one that stood out and flew under the radar imo was ZeroEffect vs Shad. Watch that one closely and the round counts W T F, Zeroeffect was in that ass for sure. Lost some unfortunate 5th rounds but honestly, with just a few changes I think he would've put Shad in losers in that set, playing very good.

Menace vs IRM was nuts in person, I think I yelled the loudest besides anyone beating Frenchies.
I've been meaning to look up Ringout and Sandman matches because I didn't get to see them play very much.