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WA Psycho places Top 16 at Final Round XVII Featured
18 March 2014 Written by 

WA Psycho places Top 16 at Final Round XVII

Competing in only his 2nd FGC Major ever, WA Psycho was eager to get out to Final Round XVII in Atlanta, GA in order to prove that he could play at the highest level at one of the longest running and higher regarded tournaments on the East Coast. With game publisher Capcom designating this event as an official Capcom Pro Tour event, competitors from all over the world would make the trip to gather their Pro Tour points for a chance to compete at the highly anticipated Capcom Cup. It’s every FGC competitor’s dream to place Top 16 at a Major Tournament, and for Psycho this would be the start of a magical breakout in his eSports career.

Despite some early round jitters and narrowly escaping an early scare from D Slicer (Zangief), Psycho would shake the nerves, to meet OAR Raph (Evil Ryu) in Pool 20 Winners Finals. With both players appearing on stream for the 1st time on the day, nerves appeared to kick in as they both had issues with dropped combos in the early going. WA Psycho vs OAR Raph - Final Round XVII - Winner's Finals Psycho would get plenty of mileage out of cr. Jab in order to stuff Evil Ryu’s cr. MK throughout match 1 and would eventually end up taking it with relative ease. Despite dropping the 2nd match due to an anxious and rather questionable whiffed straight for chip, Psycho would regain his composure and dominate the 3rd match to qualify out of his pool in Winner’s bracket.

In his 1st match in qualifiers, Psycho would have face off against the legendary Mike Ross (Honda). After a strong 1st match where both players would push each other to under 10% health, Psycho would gamble; failing to hit-confirm his dash straight into Super, which would result in a 0-1 deficit. From there, Mike Ross’ experience would begin to shine; using his knowledge gained through playing other notable Balrog players (i.e. – Keno, Gooteks, etc.) to land well-placed frametraps in the 2nd match to send Psycho into Loser’s bracket, but not before narrowly averting a desperation ultra from Psycho. “You know you pushed something right?” WA MuRDA, who was coaching Psycho during the match, jokingly alluded to what he felt was a button input from Mike Ross just before the Ultra. “Yeah, I did! I thought it got me” Mike Ross would say back with a laugh before walking off the stage.

So as fate would have it, Psycho would have to go through a trio of Atlanta’s strongest players in order to play in Top 16 on Sunday – setting the stage for several magical moments to happen. In his first match in Loser’s bracket, Psycho would go up against Joyfull (Yun), who is among the Top ranked Yun players on Xbox Live. Psycho would end up dropping the 1st match on a dash straight chip attempt, which would auto-correct into an overhead. That would ultimately lead to a 2nd chance for Joyfull who fully capitalized with a wake up DP for the win. With his back against the wall, and recognizing his tournament life was on the line, Psycho would buckle down and would end up taking the next 4 rounds straight for the 2-1 win.

WA Psycho vs Mike Ross - Final Round XVII - Top 64 After his win, Psycho moved onto play in a Top 25 match against Shin Phoenix (Vega). After tying the score at 1-1 and going into the decisive 3rd match, Psycho would overcome a 60% health deficit by capitalizing on one of the few mistimed anti-air St. HK’s by Shin Phoenix, and converting the big damage combo for the win! It was the second match outside of qualifiers that he would come up clutch in order to stave off elimination; something that previously plagued him in his 1st Major, months earlier at CEO 2013, where he would get eliminated by pixels on a dropped punish after a whiffed fierce DP from Ace Kombat (Ryu). Psycho’s maturation as a player was growing before our eyes. Gracious in defeat, Shin Phoenix – who is regarded as one of the classiest players in the fighting game community – would approach Psycho, simply deeming the risk as “well played.”

With a trip to Top 16 on the line, the next match against Saltface (Juri) would live up to every expectation and more. With Atlanta’s finest gathered around to cheer on their local hero, everyone near the station could feel the tension in the air. Everyone except for Saltface anyway. “He was right next to Psycho while I was coaching; encouraging him during the match… Saying things like ‘Good stuff,’ or ‘Great set up.’ I’ve never seen that kind of sportsmanship in my 7 years of eSports.. Either that or he was trying to play some ingenious mind game strategy” MuRDA, who’s matches in tournament ended with losses to FNatic Perfect Legend and DRD Magnegro, would say with a laugh. “I lost to FNatic Perfect Legend earlier in the day, and he only told me I gave him his hardest matches [up to that point] only after he won. It would have been pretty strange to hear it during the match… It’s almost like you’re giving up a competitive advantage by doing that.” WA Psycho vs TS Sabin - Final Round XVII - Top 16 Regardless of his approach, Saltface would give Psycho all he could handle during the set. He would leverage perfectly timed low profiles, and mixups off of anti-airs to really stifle Psycho’s normally aggressive gameplay. With the set tied 2-2 and ironically going into the Final Round, Saltface would take a commanding 80% life lead in the deciding round. Psycho was down to about 5 points of health (any special would chip) before making the impossible happen. Saltface would go for the chip with an EX Fireball, but Psycho would react with raw ultra, bringing the life deficit down to about 5%. Psycho would still have his work cut out for him. Still only needing to chip his opponent, Saltface would go to his reversal EX Pinwheel to go for the chip. However, Psycho, who was looking for exactly that, would headbutt Saltface out of it, beating the move clean. This is where everyone’s hearts were beating out of their chest. With the match down to the wire after the hard knockdown, Psycho would have to make 1 more play for the win. After jumping back to avoid a potential chip move from Saltface, the situation was reset, and both players were looking for 1 hit to move onto the prestige of Top 16 on Sunday. Saltface would then throw out a Cr. MK, fishing to poke for the win, but Psycho would recognize the slow active frames on the move and would whiff punish it with St. HK to complete the miraculous comeback win! “I thought it was over… I was getting ready to console him and tell him ‘there’s always next tournament,’” CJ Truth would say of his fellow Orlando-based gamer’s match. MuRDA, who was coaching Psycho during the match added, “outside of maybe [WA] Vortex vs CJ Tahj at CEO 2012, it was really the craziest and most passionate off-stream match I’ve ever witnessed! I really wish we got either of them on tape… I went back and watched the stream that night, and during the Ace Unlimited/Arturo (TS Sabin) match, you could hear everyone screaming about our match – and the stream station was over 100 feet away! I’ll admit… I stood up… stopped coaching… I thought he was done. But the kid just showed why you never give up until it’s completely over.”

With his mind-blowing victory over Saltface, and perhaps exhausting all of his magic to run the Atlanta gauntlet, Psycho would qualify out of Loser’s bracket into Top 16, but would ultimately fall to TS Sabin (Dhalsim) 0-2 in his lone Top 16 match. Although his run would end there, Psycho would gain 2 Capcom Pro Tour points for placing Top 16, and is currently ranked Top 100 in the current Capcom Pro Tour standings!

Despite the Cinderella story ending in a Top 16 loss, Psycho would learn a lot of valuable lessons throughout the whole experience – including how black and white results are trumped by what is overcome along the way. Competing in only his 2nd major, he feels the sky is the limit for the future. “Hey, You’re Psycho right? May I take a picture with you?” a fan would ask at the end of his magical run. Psycho’s response was rather fitting to the question we were asking ourselves at the conclusion of the tournament, which was: ‘Are we going to see more magic from WA Psycho in the future?’ Psycho’s response: “Oh yeah, definitely!”

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