Saturday, November 9, 2013

EVO 2013 King of Fighters XIII Grand Finals: Reynald vs. Woo, Round 1

In case anyone missed it. One of the few examples I can think of where someone gets truly bodied and it's also astounding to watch. (It helps that Reynald came all the way back from a 2-0 lead, but he then reset the bracket and did not lose a match in the reset.) Also thought maybe we could compare match notes and see what smart both players are doing.

0:00: Right at the start, Woo knows that Kim is gonna go ham because that's how Kim does things, so he downbacks and anti-airs with crouch C, one of the best buttons of it's kind in the game.

0:05: Woo's spacing is great here, he knows he can hit with sweep, and of course he pulls #TheClassic cancelling it into low parry for big plus frames. Reynald blocks.

0:06: Reynald back dashes, creating the perfect space for him to come in and poke with hop CD, establishing light pressure. Reynald takes a very slight gamble going for the overhead air D Hangatsuzan, which Woo blocks. The very grey territory between the safeness and unsafeness of that move on block makes both players comfortable to push a button, resulting in a trade.

0:11: Similar to the start of the match, Woo downbacks in anticipation of Kim going in, which he does, hopping in again with air CD. However, Kim is lower to the ground by the time Ryo comes out with Crouch C, thus the CD counter hits the crouch C and Ryo gets knocked down, but the normals also trade, sending Kim too far back for Reynald to capitalize on the hit

0:12: However, that trade does leave Kim at advantage, and Reynald runs in to begin pressure. Woo probably smells more air CD coming (not a bad guess against Kim) and has already jumped to challenge with Ryo's own air CD. Reynald however chooses to use stand CD from a fairly significant distance, an especially smart move at this point for multiple reasons. 1) If whiffed, Ryo has no real way to punish it considering the moves incredible horizontal range.  2) If blocked, Reynald is far enough to be safe, though the situation would reset, or he could cancel into EX Hangatsuzan and continue pressure. Kim's stand CD has a good AA hitbox (apparently, it must), so it catches Ryo whiffing the CD on the way down and counter hits. From this distance Kim can't really follow-up, and Reynald pauses briefly before just whiffing ground B Hangatsuzan, probably to build some meter.

0:14-0:22: Woo smells low pressure, jumps back, lands a good combo that puts him in a good situation. Kim players rarely use stand A from what I've seen, so likely the same work could've been done from a hop which would've been safer. Then again, I'm not the one in Grand Finals at EVO. However, he flinches somewhat on the follow-up, allowing Reynald to use passive move. Reynald possibly smells out Ryo's godlike sweep and thus decides to use far standing D, which goes over lows. It connects, which does allow Kim to follow up with low B, but Reynald misses the link, ending the blockstring on a stand B. This puts Woo at the perfect distance to stick out Ryo's amazing stand D, a low, while Reynald probably began to walk forward to continue pressure. It hits, and Woo confirms into EX Tatsu, then links into a DP and Drive Cancels that into D Tatsu, ending in heavy DP. It's a lot of meter to spend, but it puts him and Reynald in the corner with Ryo at advantage to begin applying pressure.

0:23: Woo presses C to begin Ryo's typical corner pressure, which option selects as a throw tech. Kim's close C is a good button, though Reynald was more obviously going for the throw. It would allow him to get out of the corner and Kim's throws are insanely good and easy safe jump setups. Woo jumps in and the air D lands, however it lands too high for a ground combo to connect, thus the C that would've continued the combo comes out again as a throw tech, as Reynald likely saw the high jump-in and reacted, thinking similarly to the earlier throw attempt.

0:24: Woo might've been getting impatient here, and jumps back in on a downbacking Kim. Never a good idea: Kim has heavy Flash Kick waiting.

0:28: Reynald jumps in with Kim's A, his standard jump-in, then cuts the block string short at 2 low Bs rather than the 3 into stand B hitconfirm that is Kim's BnB, instead staggering out the third one to test Woo's patience.

0:31: Reynald might've been bating to see if Woo would run it against the button whiff. Not a bad idea against most characters, but terrible when discussing Kim, because Kim has an incredibly fast and even partially invincible EX  ground Hangetsuzan, one of the most dangerous moves in the game.

0:34: Yeah speaking of that, Reynald sees Woo's footsie waddling and punishes with the EX, and when the follow-up forward, forward A misses, he quickly presses a meaty close C, which ends up hitting. He follows up with a standard light block string then backdashes to a neutral position.

0:41: Both were playing neutral, with Reynald hopping (but not jumping) and whiffing buttons to bait Woo in, but he underestimated the range of Ryo's awesome jump D, and that won the round for Woo.

Woo goes on to win the rest of the round, and another match, but Reynald then incredibly won three straight to reset the bracket, and then another three straight to become the 2013 EVO Champion.

- Austin C. Howe, Maryland, 2013

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