Board 8 > Tsunami's Post-Contest Analysis

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12/21/18 2:16:06 PM
I've considered doing PCAs in the past, and late in this contest, I started thinking about doing it this time. (And given Ulti's official "the more the merrier" stance, I probably will go back and analyze previous contests as well. Possibly even some of the ones from before I joined Board 8, but the ones since then are higher priority.)

I'm not as good at this as Ulti, but I'm also less likely to go on a rant, and I'm probably better than some of these other first-timers!

Match 1: Dante vs. Cuphead

Not much to say here. I actually entertained the upset pre-contest because I'm more dialed in to the speedrunning segment of gaming and Cuphead was an indie darling and a recent one at that, but as soon as I learned that Dante had gotten a new game and it was a return to the pre-DmC days, that was enough to get me to reject that idea.

Still, as we'll see in a few divisions, I was hardly the only one to think that an indie darling could actually be worth something!

Match 2: Chloe Price vs. Lightning

Final Fantasy has taken on Pokmon-like fandom trends--the most recent installment is bashed, and everything else grows in stature as a result. The first contest that XV exists, Lightning finally gets a win, and in dominating fashion at that. Chloe Price was considered a near-lock for the bottom of the Raw X-Stats after this, in part because Ganondorf was the favorite to win the division and would be fed to Link, but also because no one believed that Lightning was as strong as she looked in this match. Little did we know that the entire bottom half of the bracket would be trapped behind Link > Zelda!

But back to Lightning looking strong in this match: Life Is Strange is super-niche, while Final Fantasy is, well, Final Fantasy. And while you could vote in only some of the matches if you knew what you were doing, if you voted the conventional way, you had to vote in every match of the day if you wanted to vote in any of them. That vastly favors Nintendo and Square, and to a lesser extent Capcom/Konami/Sega. You know, the five companies with a member of the Noble Nine.

Match 3: Spyro the Dragon vs. Chun-Li

Poor Spyro can't catch a break with these fighting game females, can he?

That was the match that created "TJF", which was discussed quite a bit this contest. Spyro got a bad draw regardless, however, because a lot of characters with similar old-school credentials were able to impress this year. Spyro? Stuck behind a fellow gaming icon. Chun-Li might not be the first female fighter, but she's the first to reach mainstream consciousness. They even make fun of it at one point; she has a line in one of the more recent games where she reminisces about being the only girl on the roster.

As a result, the strength that Crash and Bomberman showed later in this contest came as a surprise. I'll talk about them in good time though.

Match 4: Ganondorf vs. Neku Sakuraba

Geez, Neku, what happened to you? Yes, The World Ends With You has always been niche, but it's still a niche Square RPG. And Ganondorf is strong, but not that strong. This was the match with the highest prediction percentage? Higher than Zero-Primrose? Squall-Hat Kid? X-Isabelle? Sora-Ryo? Heck, even Kirby-Guile probably belongs on that list. I mean, obviously Ganondorf was winning this, but...the only theory I have is that Neku was a proven loser, while those other matches I listed mostly had first-timers as the low seeds (Ryo Hazuki being the exception). Given that I've already admitted to initially having Cuphead before being talked out of it, I guess it makes sense that more people had those upset picks than this one.
Wait, I really left BKSheikah in my sig all the way until Advokaiser dethroned him as reigning Guru champion? I need to come here more often.
12/21/18 2:19:13 PM
Yes, if I needed to, I could make these a lot longer. But Ulti is still the gold standard, and besides most of what I'd talk about are stats. Which I still kind of did for Match 4, because honestly the fact that Ganondorf, a 4-seed, had the absolute best Round 1 prediction percentage, was the most interesting thing about that match.

I may get longer with more important matches.
Wait, I really left BKSheikah in my sig all the way until Advokaiser dethroned him as reigning Guru champion? I need to come here more often.
12/21/18 2:33:07 PM
Can you add the vote results (percentage and vote totals) for each match? Most of us don't have those memorized for each match and it helps bring context to your analysis.
Advokaiser picked Cloud in Guru and rained on my bracket.
At least I finished 20th overall!
12/21/18 2:55:50 PM
Match 5: Vivi vs. Yu Narukami

Vivi 19488
Yu 6534

This match was pretty much business as usual. Vivi was coming off that stunning upset of Mario in CBIX, while Yu lost to...who, again? *looks it up* Ah, right, Shadow the Hedgehog. Huh, Kat was the third-place character in that match? I could've sworn she was a 26, not a 25, though that's probably because of how forgettable she was (seriously, she's what, a Vita exclusive? Or was it PSP?). I only remember that she was even in that contest because of "Who Would You Have Sex With?", because she was one of two characters that basically had a free pass to the semifinals because she was the only female in her division, and honestly hers was freer because the other was Marisa and the Touhou characters were being held back by the question of "are they actually underage or is it just ZUN's art style?"

Match 6: Victor Sullivan vs. Aya Brea

Sully 10529
Aya 15510

Sully was one of the Guru noms, right? I know Aqua was one, but I forget who the other was. Aqua got a 2, so if Sully is the other, the difference in their seeding should've made this completely obvious. Instead, the Gurus only picked Aya at an 11-5 rate. Which is still far better than the casuals, who outright favored Sully, but still. Not a great showing. Kind of understandable since Aya hasn't been relevant for over a decade, but still, we've seen her impress in these contests before. This shouldn't have been that surprising.

Match 7: Tidus vs. Donkey Kong

Tidus 11216
DK 14826

While the casuals were being caught off-guard by Aya > Victor, the Gurus were being burned by DK > Tidus. I got this right, because I never trust Tidus in a close match. I honestly forgot that Tidus came out on the winning end of his close match with Shadow in 2004, and as such, that said match was in round 1 in 2004 rather than being sandwiched between Shadow > Wario and Mario > Shadow in 2003.

But yeah, this was a matchup of two legendary chokers; I said before the match that they'd somehow find a way to both finish below 50%. So no, I'm not pretending that I was confident in my DK > Tidus pick. I felt that DK's rep was based more on older results, while Tidus has been declining every contest, but neither character would surprise me by losing. I just guessed right. Apparently, the casuals agreed with me.

Match 8: Leon Kennedy vs. Dragonborn

Leon 17881
Dragonborn 8156

Leon got the doubling here, so it wasn't immediately evident that he was in trouble next round. Dragonborn had made round 2 in 2013, albeit against weak competition, and his game had done very well in 2015. Skyrim is a game that I expect to be a lot stronger than its main character, though, partly because Dragonborn is customizable. Honestly, Shepard being at least somewhat strong is a tribute to just how well-written Mass Effect is.

Match 9: Zero vs. Primrose

Zero 21676
Primrose 7543

Primrose is from Octopath Traveler, right? I'd never even heard of that game until this contest. It's fairly new though so I'm not surprised. I didn't expect much and that's what we got. The advantage to not being the primary PCA-writer is that I can get away with occasionally writing something this short for a meaningless early match like this.

At least this time the feminine name actually turned out to be a female. I think there was one character that I hadn't heard of that I expected to be female and they weren't.
Wait, I really left BKSheikah in my sig all the way until Advokaiser dethroned him as reigning Guru champion? I need to come here more often.
12/21/18 2:58:51 PM
swirIdude posted...
Can you add the vote results (percentage and vote totals) for each match? Most of us don't have those memorized for each match and it helps bring context to your analysis.

I considered it, but they'll be present in the wiki anyway and half the time I don't even bother looking up the exact numbers myself. Only when they're relevant.

I'm probably just rushing through some of these early ones, I'll admit. I'll edit them in to my matches 5-9 post, but there's not enough room in the match 1-4 post; I was bumping right up against the character limit.
Wait, I really left BKSheikah in my sig all the way until Advokaiser dethroned him as reigning Guru champion? I need to come here more often.
12/22/18 7:50:38 PM
Match 10: Zidane vs. Knuckles the Echidna

Zidane 12622
Knuckles 16597

Oh, wow, seeing the vote totals really does add context! Today's vote total is quite a bit higher than the previous day's, which suggests that Monika really was rallied; it just didn't make a difference. Ironically given that she was up against a Nintendo character, it was Square that got screwed over by this. Zidane wasn't winning this regardless, but it was thought to be a debatable match and it wasn't even close.

Knuckles got a better percentage against Zidane than he did in 2010 against Cecil Harvey Never Wins. Did Team Sonic boost, or is this just the seeming blanket deboost for any Square character whose game wasn't released between 1994 and 1997? Because seriously, FFVI/CT/FFVII were the only things that didn't look awful.

Match 11: Noctis Lucis Caelum vs. Master Hand

Noctis 12406
Master Hand 16817

Oh well never mind. I remember this match being a close one, but it clearly wasn't! Maybe I was thinking of the prediction percentage. 50.55% of brackets had this correct, the only Round 1 match to be within 51-49. (There was a Round 1 Legends match that had an even smaller spread in the Second Chance brackets, but all in good time.)

This was Master Hand's first appearance in an "open" Character Contest, even considering how huge the field was in 2013, but he appeared in 2005's Villains Contest and upset a Final Fantasy character in Round 1 then, too. Though the prediction percentages say this technically wasn't an upset!

Match 12: Monika vs. Wario

Monika 10360
Wario 18869

I haven't gotten around to playing DDLC yet. I kind of got spoiled to the big twists thanks to this contest, at least regarding Monika, but I still think I'm blind enough to include it in the revival of my Blind VNs Playthrough topic...just as soon as I finish PLvAA. And Zero Time Dilemma, because back when I initially did the VN series in 2013, I ended up getting my sister into the Zero Escape series as well and now she's pestering me to getting around to the third game. And probably also Spirit of Justice.

...Maybe I won't actually bother reviving the topic at all. I tend to write things up in advance in Word, and the formatting doesn't always translate well to GameFAQs posts. Anyway, DDLC is available on Steam, so I'll probably just stream my playthrough of that on Twitch. I forget how long I have to keep the Guru winner in my signature, but I'll put my Twitch handle in my signature when I'm clear.

Oh, right, the match! I'm convinced that this board doesn't actually dislike rallies; they dislike rallies that they don't control. Had Monika gone on a rampage, there'd definitely be salt, but I don't think it'd be anything like 2013 or 2015.

Match 13: Yoshi vs. Shantae

Yoshi 21617
Shantae 7490

So I'm going to have to disagree with Ulti here and say that this was a decent performance by Shantae. Let's look at the facts: Shantae's debut game was released in June 2002 for the Game Boy Color--roughly a year after the GBA was already out. And for 8 years, that was her only game. Her next game was originally for the Nintendo DSi. It got a non-Nintendo release the next year on iOS of all things, but the series didn't get released on a Playstation or XBox system until 2015 when both the second and third games got ported to PS4.

A pseudo-Nintendo platformer character breaking 25% on a solid midcarder from the Mario series? Sounds good to me. Banjo couldn't break 25% on one of Nintendo's non-platformer characters in 2010, and he already firmly had his hand in the Microsoft cookie jar. Granted Pikachu is overall stronger than Yoshi, as we'd see in two rounds, but nevertheless, this is a respectable performance under the circumstances.
Wait, I really left BKSheikah in my sig all the way until Advokaiser dethroned him as reigning Guru champion? I need to come here more often.
12/22/18 8:42:33 PM
Match 14: Velvet Crowe vs. James Sunderland

Velvet 17773
James 11346

I initially had James in my bracket because he's the older character and Tales never wins in Character Battles except one other time. Then I remembered that this was likely a fodder match, and the higher seed was the one with the boobs. This line of thinking would let me down once in this contest, but this wasn't it.

Match 15: Pikachu vs. Scorpion

Pikachu 19337
Scorpion 9782

My first reaction when I saw the percentages on the matches in progress were "why is Pikachu not winning by as much as Yoshi and Kratos?" Then I remembered that unlike those two, Pikachu had a worthwhile opponent.

Scorpion had about as good a contest as he could've hoped for. He avoided the doubling against Pikachu, who proved to be very strong indeed, and with no shortage of dark horse runs in this contest, his 2002 Elite Eight run kept him in the conversation long after he'd departed.

Match 16: Kratos vs. John Marston

Kratos 21310
Marston 7811

I can't keep track of all these men with full names. Seeing just how close they are in the bracket, however, I really have to call Ulti out on including Marston on his list of characters that he thought would easily beat Shantae despite what the X-Stats said. I guess this is an SFF match as well? These percentages are very similar, so even if Kratos SFFs Marston just as much as Yoshi SFFs Shantae, you're still left needing a lot of rSFF in Yoshi-Pikachu to explain this one away. Also, I may not know a thing about Red Dead Redemption, but if it's the same genre as God of War, well, if it's a fodder match, I'd invoke genre hierarchy to give Shantae the advantage even before TJF.

Remember, this is GameFAQs. M-rated games aren't popular here at all.

Match 17: Sora vs. Ryo Hazuki

Sora 20542
Ryo 9195

Is there any bigger contest underachiever than Sora? Let's ignore Rivalry Rumble, because it doesn't count. Without looking, name the last time that Sora didn't have the absolute highest seed possible. A 2-seed in 2013, because the 1-seeds were prereserved for the Noble Nine, or a 1-seed otherwise.

Remember, there were no seeds in the fourway contests.

It was 2005. He was indeed a 2 in 2013, and a 1 in 2006, 2010, and 2018.

Now remember that all nine Noble Niners were in the main field in 2010, and there were indeed 4 Noble Niners in the male half of the 2006 bracket.

He wasn't the only one in this match with a long-awaited "3", but Shenmue has always been cult and this is not how a 1-seed should perform.

Match 18: Neptune vs. Pokmon Trainer Red

Neptune 7341
Red 22403

I was thrilled that Neptune's nomination rally got her all the way to an 8-seed. Nippon Ichi is reliably great for quirky RPGs. (Play Phantom Brave.) But this was an absolute nightmare of a draw. Ah, well, that's what happens with these niche characters. You get them in and they stink it up. Like in 2013 when I got three Touhou characters into the bracket. Biggest embarrassment ever; Marisa couldn't even challenge a Generic Two-Name Guy while stuffing votes. I wasn't involved with the stuffing, but I was heavily involved with the nomination rally so I'll wear that fiasco as a badge of shame.
Wait, I really left BKSheikah in my sig all the way until Advokaiser dethroned him as reigning Guru champion? I need to come here more often.
12/22/18 9:39:56 PM
Match 19: Crash Bandicoot vs. Cecil Harvey

Crash 16115
Cecil 13629

Cecil Harvey Never Wins became the new meme here, because he's frequently had winnable matches and he's just never managed to pull it off. But it's not quite like Gordon Freeman where he's losing to obvious fodder; the only truly questionable one, except maybe this one, was losing to Wrex in 2013 (when we still weren't sure if he'd win, but it was Pit that we thought he'd lose to). FFIV as a whole is 0 for Character Battles, but I don't think Cecil represents its best chance to break that trend. Even in obvious losses (e.g. his debut in 2005, against Kirby, though Kirby was still flying under the radar then), he underperforms. Rydia's two matches have been obvious losses and she's performed well in them. Her first contest was 2008 and she was in the same fourpack as Auron, but despite being SFF'd, she still came in third place, beating out a character who'd made Round 3 the previous year against legitimate competition. Well, against Ocelot and Kefka, at any rate.

Kefka actually advanced to that Round 2 match in second place behind Marcus Fenix. He lost to Marcus twice in 2007, and the very next year Marcus can't even beat Rydia with Auron in the poll. That's either the biggest single-year dropoff, the biggest LOLKefka, or Rydia has potential. Probably a combination of all three.

Female characters were boosting all over the place this year. Imagine what Rydia could do with an After Years pic. She probably wouldn't even sacrifice recognizability, and she'd have a tough TJF to take out.

Of course, given how most of our nomination rallies this year fared in bracket placement, if we tried getting her a Returners Nomination Rally we'd probably see (6)Tifa Lockhart vs (11)Rydia. Still, I think it's worth a shot.

Also the casuals didn't find this all that debatable. Over 73% got it right. The Gurus didn't even break 40% correct on this. LOL us.

Match 20: Big Boss vs. Ridley

Big Boss 16855
Ridley 12890

AKA the match where I started panicking re: Guru. Big Boss is very pic-dependent, since he can look a lot like Solid Snake sometimes, but not other times. I thought this year's pics were pretty good; you wouldn't mistake him for his son, but he still looked more like he did in his prime than as an old man. Ridley doesn't have any proper wins, either (though unlike Cecil, he at least got to ride Samus to some wins in Rivalry Rumble), but this is far from the first good showing he's had. He beat out Spyro for third place in a fourway, and he broke 40% in a threeway, which would usually be good for a win but the third character was one of the absolute weakest characters in the field. With Smash on his side, it feels like it's just a question of when he'll get his first win without Samus's help, not if. He just needs a better seed.

Match 21: Alucard vs. Princess Peach

Alucard 16635
Peach 12649

This was a fairly modest win for Alucard, far from the performance that would mark him as a favorite to win this division. Are we supposed to think Peach is strong now? Peach is the casual choice, one who gets more votes from recognizability than from popularity. Which would make her a decent candidate for the fodder line. I think she'd beat our current pick for that honor, though. But this isn't a good performance for Alucard and it makes this whole division look bad.

Is now a bad time to bring up that I had Big Boss > Crono in Match 130? Because I did. Not that this match should necessarily have made many of us panic, because Peach had as many Gurus taking her to win this division as Alucard did.
Wait, I really left BKSheikah in my sig all the way until Advokaiser dethroned him as reigning Guru champion? I need to come here more often.
12/22/18 10:21:13 PM
drooling while eating
Advokaiser is my rock
12/24/18 1:57:05 PM
I don't know what the purge rate is so safety bump
Wait, I really left BKSheikah in my sig all the way until Advokaiser dethroned him as reigning Guru champion? I need to come here more often.
12/24/18 1:58:53 PM
Man another contest analysis? I wonder why so many this year. Guess since it is the 10th battle and the 18th overall we felt it was time to do it!
So why we exist? What happens when we stop existing?
12/25/18 2:00:41 PM
So why we exist? What happens when we stop existing?
12/25/18 7:50:21 PM
Match 22: Yuna vs. Godot

Yuna 21248
Godot 8036

If the 8-9 match in this division wasn't enough to make it feel like the bracket was stacked against Board 8, this match sealed it. The first two 6-seeds we saw were complete and utter fodder (and they still went 1-1 because so were the 11-seeds), and then Godot draws...Yuna. Granted, the other five 6-seeds are midcarders, or at least former midcarders. And one of those 6-seed fodders was the Guru nom... but hey, if two of our picks were put against each other in the first round, it'd guarantee that one made Round 2!

Board 8 loves Phoenix Wright, and Godot is probably the most beloved single-game Phoenix Wright character here, with good reason. There's one other character that could challenge him for that title if we restricted it to one appearance in the main series, but he's been in both of the Edgeworth spinoffs.

It was definitely a nice accomplishment getting Godot into the field, but it's painful watching characters we love get fodderized. Let's not repeat this experiment with getting other PW characters in; we haven't even been able to get Edgeworth a win outside of Rivalry Rumble.

Match 23: Kefka vs. L-Block

Kefka 17628
L-Block 11661

No past champion has ever been completely absent from the field of a contest they were eligible for, though this would not be true had Brawl beaten Majora's Mask in GotD. And I don't expect L-Block to be the one to break that trend, if for no other reason that there's another past champion with a much better case for being dropped. (Also, I expect the next contest of any kind to be Game of the Decade in 2020, but let's be honest, Undertale deserves to make that field. It'll probably get anti-voted out of fear of a repeat of 2015, but it would be a crime if it missed the field entirely.)

The narrative that is often pushed around here is that Board 8 hates all past rally targets, but L-Block is in fact a beloved contest institution. Look no further than what hir seed was in 2013. L-Block has taken over CATS' former role as the joke character that Board 8 loves, except L-Block actually has some form of contest strength.

Speaking of Board 8's favorite jokes, let's give it up for the Clown Prince of Contest Wackiness! Though to be honest Kefka's recent results haven't been as uniformly weird as they're often made out to be. No, we didn't expect Kefka to make Round 3 last contest, but that's really only one unexpected result, not two. Only about 8% of Gurus took him to make it out of Round 1, and of those, 60% took him to Round 3. His two Round 2 opponents were heavily favored in their Round 1 matches, and they each had fewer picks to reach Round 3 than Kefka did to make Round 2. And that Arthas result? If I recall correctly, that was the result of Arthas winning an SFF battle against Diablo in fourways, since Diablo had beaten Kefka in Villains. But honestly it should've been obvious that Blizzard had declined significantly since Villains. It was a defensible pick--B8 even talked me into it--but Kefka's win shouldn't have been surprising, and only was because the board is conditioned to not expect Kefka to do what he ought to. In this contest... well, this is Division 3 so it's hard to say what "ought to" have happened. But the Kefka meme is getting a bit old.
Wait, I really left BKSheikah in my sig all the way until Advokaiser dethroned him as reigning Guru champion? I need to come here more often.
12/25/18 7:51:42 PM
Not changing this sig until I decide to change this sig.
Started: July 6, 2005
12/25/18 8:34:54 PM
Safer_777 posted
Man another contest analysis? I wonder why so many this year. Guess since it is the 10th battle and the 18th overall we felt it was time to do it!

Because I have an outsized e-ego and had only been avoiding doing this in the past because I was under the impression that Ulti was overprotective of his status as the chronicler of the past. Though IIRC even he didn't do a PCA for the Years Contest, so I'll be the first on that front.

Match 24: Kazuma Kiryu vs. Bomberman

Kiryu 11459
Bomberman 17829

This was a tough loss to take, because I initially had Bomberman solely on recognizability before remembering that he's Bomberman and has never been worth anything, and no way he's going to upset someone who got a 2-seed without Board 8's support.

Oops. Wrong on all accounts. Yakuza was a Board 8 creation, which alone would've been enough for me to stick with my instincts, but Bomberman... honestly hasn't been that bad! He's had a tendency to get tough opening draws, hence his only prior win being against a TV, but...

Yeah. Phoenix may have been a lot weaker then than he is now, but that's still 43.64% on Magus, 49.93% on Phoenix, and 52.91% on Crash. And we'd already seen Crash this contest, so it's no surprise that anyone in the know--which is to say, almost everyone but me--picked Bomberman in the Oracle. Kiryu had over 25% of Gurus, but only about 9.2% of Oracle picks.

Match 25: 2B vs. Cayde-6

2B 22970
Cayde-6 6555

How cute, 2B's total is in the 22,000s and Cayde-6's is in the 6,000s. Anyway I'd never heard of either of these characters, so I figured I'd go with the higher seed. Then I heard discussion about hentai and figured that made sense.

For some reason having a dash as well as a number made me feel that Cayde-6 was even more likely to be female than 2B. I guess because it sounds more robotic and roboticists in video games tend to be perverts who like "toasters with breasts". Cayde-6 is neither a robot nor a female, so this blowout is entirely expected. I guess I must have found that out in advance of the match, though, because I was going to blame my ignorance of these facts for why my Oracle pick was so bad, only to discover that my Oracle pick for this match was actually really, really good!

I feel like my picks in Oracle seem to always be either awesome or awful, never mediocre. I don't think that's actually true but I guess it's easier to get emotional about being near one end of the list than in the middle.

Match 26: Shadow the Hedgehog vs. Ness

Shadow 13801
Ness 15726

I was the guest picker for the Crew for this match, and I got it right for the wrong reasons. Sonic Team looked pretty awesome all around this contest, but not as awesome as everything Smash. So my theory that Earthbound would be stronger because it's been getting wider releases via VC and has inspired so many recent beloved games (like Undertale) was completely wrong, but a separate factor led to Ness having boosted anyway. Or did it? One match after expecting my Oracle to have been awful, I look to see that a match I thought I'd called really well, I actually got outperformed by literally everyone who hadn't picked Shadow outright.

Maybe I would've been better picking with my heart. SA2 was one of my favorite games growing up and has influenced nearly every one of my usernames across the Internet (yes, including this one, indirectly, the eventual last name of a character that started off as a Shadow knockoff but eventually became humanoid because I was RPing with a bunch of other edgelord teenagers. We all initially met through the official SA2 BBS, no less.)
Wait, I really left BKSheikah in my sig all the way until Advokaiser dethroned him as reigning Guru champion? I need to come here more often.
12/25/18 8:47:14 PM
He did do a years recap (telling his game memories), only 2008 he missed, hence this page without a summary.

Also, @ZenOfThunder, you skipped this in your late PCA this year?
ALL HAIL! King of the losers!
12/25/18 9:07:25 PM
Then again, by that logic, I should've picked Shadow outright! Which I might've done if I hadn't figured this was a three-point match. After all, new characters, especially those from new games, are always complete crap, right? So I couldn't afford to get this wrong. We'll talk more about that in Round 2's write-up, though.

Match 27: Terra Branford vs. Charizard

Terra 13935
Charizard 15531

This was the match where everyone started crying out that Charizard was a fraud. And with good reason, I suppose, even if all of those "awful" 2013 results suddenly looked really good by the end of this contest. Terra continues to look extremely good in these contests for no discernible reason, though obviously there's that whole thing about females boosting all over the place this year.

Obviously Charizard was in trouble against Bowser next round but honestly we all knew that his win in 2010 was a fluke. So I guess technically Charizard is a fraud, the same way Shadow and Tidus and Magus all overperformed in their contest debuts. There's another fraud worth mentioning but I'll save it for his first-round match.

Match 28: Bowser vs. Gordon Freeman

Bowser 22856
Gordon 6676

The original loser, accept no substitutes. We knew that Gordon would be one-and-done for the first time since his first win (not counting Rivalry Rumble), but this is embarrassing. Made me feel good about taking Bowser > Pikachu, though, which I hadn't felt comfortable with before because I expected Pikachu to be stronger indirectly. Turns out I was right about that part, but not about either Bowser or Pikachu reaching that match!

Match 29: Phoenix Wright vs. Chris Redfield

Phoenix 16375
Chris 12387

One match after GFNW lost in the first round for the first time since his first win, the contestant who gave him that win reached the second round for the fourth time in five tries since. Chris is one of the more pathetic RE characters, only managing to avoid the winless characters list because he ran into a Call of Duty character in 2010. In retrospect, this isn't really a good win for Phoenix.

Match 30: Ike vs. Joel

Ike 17918
Joel 10840

See, it's not so hard! Just don't give your character a last name! Ike may not be that strong, but he's still a Smash character and Fire Emblem is still a series on the rise. This is a good performance for Joel, though I doubt he'll be returning since Ellie is supposed to be the main character in TLoU2.
Wait, I really left BKSheikah in my sig all the way until Advokaiser dethroned him as reigning Guru champion? I need to come here more often.
12/25/18 9:09:30 PM
Ulti totally did a PCA for years:
Advokaiser rekt me in the GameFAQs fall 2018 character contest!
12/25/18 9:13:11 PM
TsunamiXXVIII posted...
Because I have an outsized e-ego and had only been avoiding doing this in the past because I was under the impression that Ulti was overprotective of his status as the chronicler of the past.

I honestly used to think this, but now? Nah I don't care if there's 50 writeups per match on the wiki. The more the better, and people really do read those things. I see the numbers. You'll find it's way harder than I make it look though.

Add your stuff there on each page if you want, just let me make the actual pages (it keeps me organized and it's a personal tradition of mine) and keep my stuff on top. Past that go nuts.

==[[Tsunami]]'s Analysis==

^there's your header format

TsunamiXXVIII posted...
Though IIRC even he didn't do a PCA for the Years Contest, so I'll be the first on that front.

You should probably fix your "outsized e-ego", lack of any self awareness, and lack of reading comprehension if you want people to actually read and participate in your topics, just FYI. I absolutely wrote for the years contest.
Winner of the Spring 2004 "Best Game Ever" Contest ;
12/25/18 9:36:58 PM
Fuhlt nicht durch dich Sarastro Todesschmerzen,
So bist du meine Tochter nimmermehr-- eeeeeeeeeeeeeeehr.
12/27/18 8:25:28 AM
Huh. I guess that just proves how forgettable the contest was.

Funny, though, normally yelling at people for their lack of reading comprehension is my line! I'm also sadly very aware of what the board's opinion of me is.

And I know the format; I've been editing the wiki for years. It's just gone unnoticed because my GameFAQs main doesn't match my username for most other sites, Wikia/Fandom included.
Wait, I really left BKSheikah in my sig all the way until Advokaiser dethroned him as reigning Guru champion? I need to come here more often.
12/27/18 1:08:28 PM
So based on votes, Years was the worst ever? I mean only the final match went above 20.000 votes!
So why we exist? What happens when we stop existing?
12/27/18 7:52:53 PM
Yeah, but this one wasn't much better. The registered user bonus makes the totals look higher than they really are; if you look at the raw totals, this contest struggled to reach 20K early on as well.
Wait, I really left BKSheikah in my sig all the way until Advokaiser dethroned him as reigning Guru champion? I need to come here more often.
12/27/18 8:03:05 PM
I know there are two factors to drive people away from GameFAQs (games being dumbed down, and young people preferring to get help from YouTube, Reddit and wikis), but it's still depressing to see so little people in such a helpful site.
ALL HAIL! King of the losers!
12/27/18 10:16:37 PM
I suppose that makes sense. I probably get more advice from the message boards than the actual FAQs, at least for newer games. This place is a remnant of an older era.

I kind of liken it to how way back in the day, I got my fanfiction fix from individual fan websites that I found through Anipike--Classic Anipike, not the revamped version (though based on my timeframe, even the revamped version is probably older than 15 years old.) Then I discovered, and I've been there ever since. Now that site is considered a remnant of a bygone time, with most younger people preferring An Archive of Our Own.

Heh. Originally when I made this account, it was supposed to be XVIII, but then I forgot the password and I think I made it with an outdated email address so I couldn't recover it, so I decided 28 was a good number, too. Parallels what happened on, where I stubbornly tried to hold on to AOL after my dad switched us to MSN (lul on both accounts, I know) and ended up creating my first account on an email address I was about to lose. Ended up having to add the X (which is not the Roman numeral for 10; it's just an X and my headcanon for the character was a full-fledged robot as opposed to the cyborg original), and since that was my first proliferation, that's what I ended up choosing as my username when I wanted to unify my online identity. Except that didn't happen until fairly recently, and by then I'd built up so much Karma on this account that I kept it as my main despite it not matching my identity elsewhere on the Internet.

...See, told you that it was also influenced by my love of SA2 back in the early 2000s. I've had that name on since 2003.
Also known as Cyberchao X.
12/28/18 7:54:11 PM
@igordebraga But this is how the progress goes. I mean for example this happens when something better comes out we will gradually go to it and the old thing get's forgotter. Cell phones for example. The primary function of them was to talk to other people from whenever you wanted. And they do that. BUT the smartphones have so many more functions than the phones that came out 15 years ago.

So yeah you can use the old phones to talk but wouldn't you prefer the smartphones since you know they have other stuff that you can do too?

Same with this site. Sure it has faqs. And boards. But other sites have these things and more.

Also nice origin story for a username!
So why we exist? What happens when we stop existing?
12/29/18 12:36:35 AM
Match 31: Estelle Bright vs. Isaac

Estelle 10170
Isaac 18576

This was a 7-10 match featuring a new character from a niche RPG against a returning character from an RPG. You could make comparisons with certain 8-9 matches (although Neku wasn't making his debut when he lost to Laharl) and you would've gotten this right, or you could compare it to some past 7-10 matches in which DAT TOP OPTION was the one bringing the TJF and gotten this totally wrong. Admittedly, the matches in question were from Games Contests, but I still felt like those matches were a valid comparison.

Except Golden Sun's not niche. It was damn near a release game (I think it was released a few months in) for the Game Boy Advance, which came at the height of Nintendo's dominance over the handheld market. The series hasn't necessarily aged well, in part because it took seven years to get a third game and what we got was largely disappointing on multiple accounts, chief among them the gameplay but also that it explicitly ends on a sequel hook (Lost Age definitely ends with some loose threads, but it would've still been a decent place to end the story. Dark Dawn ends with "hey, remember that thing that seemed like it was going to be driving the plot for the first, uh, maybe at most a sixth of the game? You forgot? Don't worry, so did the characters, because it didn't come up at all once the main villains were introduced, but it's still a threat.")

Golden Sun and its characters have really never performed poorly. Isaac doesn't have that many wins largely because he always draws either Noble Niners or high Nintendo midcarders, but he hasn't done poorly, and of course we have Golden Sun > San Andreas and Felix getting 47% on Master Chief when Chief was still a midcarder.

Camelot, please get off your asses and make a fourth game, and make it more like the first two.

Match 32: Kirby vs. Guile

Kirby 21439
Guile 7341

It's hard to believe, given how beastly he is now, that it took until 2008 for Kirby to even face a Noble Niner. He wasn't losing to nobodies, but he was always knocked out by a fellow midcarder. Overall I feel like fighting game characters performed better than usual this year but it wasn't on display in this match. Maybe Guile's just weak.

Match 33: Squall vs. Hat Kid

Squall 21773
Hat Kid 6920

It's easy to look at this blowout and wonder how Squall managed to get so thoroughly embarrassed two rounds from now, but the answer is that he has a really weak opponent here. The enduring memory I have of Hat Kid's time in this contest is how frequently she was mistaken for a boy and someone had to correct someone else. That sounds like the epitome of obscurity to me.
Also known as Cyberchao X.
12/29/18 12:46:54 AM
Match 34: Garrus Vakarian vs. Ramza Beoulve

Garrus 14527
Ramza 14128

Our first match in which the users and the anonymous voters disagreed. In this case, the registered voters favored Ramza, but Garrus won the anonymous voters handily enough to overcome the registered user bonus. Also, it was an exciting match for quite some time. Garrus led at the freeze, Ramza took his first lead on the second update, Garrus had it again after the third by one vote, and then Ramza took the lead on the fourth update and started building. Or trying to; Garrus had the lead for four updates in the second hour as well and only three were consecutive. Ramza would eventually max out his lead at 256 at 1:10 AM before Garrus began cutting, but Ramza would not give up his lead easily. Here are the updates from the 5-6 AM hour.

Ramza leads by 18
Ramza leads by 23
Ramza leads by 6
Garrus leads by 3
Garrus leads by 7
Ramza leads by 3
Ramza leads by 3
Ramza leads by 3
Ramza leads by 9
Ramza leads by 10
Ramza leads by 13

Garrus would retake the lead at 6:55 AM, and after Ramza took it right back on the next update, Garrus took the lead for good at 7:05. It took only 4.5 hours for him to build that lead above 300, and it never dropped below 300 over the remaining 8 hours and 25 minutes, but also never grew higher than 419 (a little over an hour from the end of the match). It just sort of went into stasis again. I suppose it was kind of even for most of the match, which meant that Garrus going from trailing at 7 AM to up by 301 at 11:35 was enough to put the match away.

Ramza has never won a match either, but he's not from a main series game like Cecil so we expect less of him. He barely beat out Laharl for third place in that Hogger match. Why do we keep nominating this guy? Also he has roughly the same hairstyle as Guybrush, who also has never won a match. Though in this year's match pic he just plain looked like a girl instead of a guy with a girl's hairstyle. Apparently FFT got some new port that gave him better pictures?
Also known as Cyberchao X.
12/29/18 4:20:37 AM
Yeah people just have very fond memories of FFT and rightfully so. Also he's in Dissidia and probably the other spinoffs so it's not like he's forgotten.
Fuhlt nicht durch dich Sarastro Todesschmerzen,
So bist du meine Tochter nimmermehr-- eeeeeeeeeeeeeeehr.
12/29/18 6:19:49 PM
Huh. I did not realize he was in Dissidia.
Also known as Cyberchao X.
12/29/18 6:27:40 PM
This also prooves that characters don't equal games.
So why we exist? What happens when we stop existing?
12/30/18 3:26:11 PM
Match 35: Metal Sonic vs. The Boss

Metal Sonic 12480
The Boss 16221

Zen's Metal Sonic rally was a rousing success, but he got a rough draw. The worst possible draw? No, there were stronger 12-seeds. The 12 line was actually really solid, with Charizard, Chun-Li, and Pac-man also on that line. Or is The Boss simply very lucky with her draws? This might actually be the strongest opponent she's beaten to advance in a match (either him or Nathan Drake in 2010, but I don't think Drake was ever really that strong), which is not to say that Metal Sonic is the strongest opponent she's ever beaten. Ironically, the only time she beat someone stronger was also the only time she didn't make it to Round 2! In 2008, she narrowly beat out Tails for third place in Round 1, with the top two spots going to Vincent Valentine and Zelda. Every other contest she's been in, she's made Round 2, but never Round 3. Normally an 80% success rate in Round 1 would suggest a sure midcarder, but it's not a sure thing in this case.

Match 36: Zelda vs. Ezio Auditore da Firenze

Zelda 21673
Ezio 7081

Above a 60-40, but not a doubling. This is a tripling. Wouldn't quite be a tripling without the registered user bonus since she won the registered vote more handily than the anonymous vote, but pretty close.

Assassin's Creed had some contest strength when the series first began, but it quickly got fatigued by the constant releases. This is the first Round 1 loss by any representative of the series in a Character Battle, as well as the first time since his game came out that Altair missed the field entirely.

Let me repeat that: This is the first time since Assassin's Creed came out that Altair was absent from the second round and the first time since ACII came out that Ezio was. Okay, yes, that's partly a function of how few character battles there have been in the past decade, but that is an astounding stat for a Western franchise.

This should've been an immediate sign of how ridiculous Zelda would be this year, but it was easy to just figure that Ezio had drastically weakened. He probably did, based on his seed (he was a 2 in each of his first two contests). But maybe not as much as it initially appeared, now that we know how strong Zelda is.
Also known as Cyberchao X.
12/30/18 5:41:49 PM
I didn't remembered that Altair was in all previous character contests. Still Ezio is the representative of AC games I believe.
So why we exist? What happens when we stop existing?
12/30/18 8:22:09 PM
Yeah. Assassin's Creed came out in November 2007, so 2008 was the first contest that Altair was eligible for. And he made Round 3 in that contest and Round 2 in 2010 and 2013.
Also known as Cyberchao X.
12/31/18 1:31:56 PM
Match 37: Aloy vs. D. Va

Aloy 13563
D. Va 15256

Outside rally? What outside rally? This was the second match in which the registered voters and the anonymous voters went in opposite directions, but it was the registered voters who favored the so-called rally threat. The raw votes still favored D. Va, though, as there were more total anonymous voters and, amazingly enough, D. Va's registered votes and Aloy's anonymous votes were identical, at 5205.

Or was this a case of one rally being swallowed up by another? D. Va wasn't the only rally threat in action today. Still, even with two rallybait characters in action, the raw votes fell short of 20,000. That wasn't true when Monika's match came around.

Still, this represented Allen's annual friendliness to rallies. Well, not annual because we don't have annual contests, but you know what I mean. L-Block only needed to overcome Laharl to reach Round 2 in 2007; Draven was threatening to lose to Jak namesake of one of the worst fourpacks ever; and Undertale got to start out against a game with an ending so hated that the company released a new ending. Rallies require momentum, and there's always at least one that gets the opportunity. (2007 had more than one. I'll lament this more later.) And here, a feared rally entrant was given an easy first match. Too easy, though; Draven and Undertale weren't strong enough to even beat their opponents without the rallies, and the board's reaction to those huge turnarounds assured that the rallies would be even stronger in future rounds. The only good comparison is L-Block, who got by on natural strength in Round 1 and benefited from LFF in Round 2. Once you've reached Round 3 when you're not considered "strong", even if you beat weak competition to get there, you start to build a bandwagon. We'd see that later in this contest.

Match 38: Jill Valentine vs. Fox McCloud

Jill 13234
Fox 15594


Okay I'm joking. But honestly, there's not much to say about this match. Two low midcarders went at it, they had a fairly close match, but not close enough to be exciting, and the winner was the one affiliated with Nintendo. The casuals were fairly split on this match, but still favored the right character (55.78% got this correct), as expected; the Gurus heavily favored the correct entrant (just under 7/8 of Gurus got this right), as expected. About the most interesting thing about this match was that the Oracles expected Fox to win more decisively. Maybe Jill outperforming expectations was part of why even in Oracle, DK's win over Leon came as a surprise. It suggested that RE hadn't fallen as far as we'd expected it to, when in reality, it had and Jill merely overperformed because this contest had by far the strongest TJF boost of any contest. That's probably going to be a running theme in this analysis, because it was the defining trend.
Also known as Cyberchao X.
12/31/18 1:35:54 PM
It could have also been because Fox declined in strength, hi Star Fox Zero!
"Nothing I could do!"
12/31/18 3:29:42 PM
Match 39: Shovel Knight vs. Captain Toad

Shovel Knight 13672
Captain Toad 15154

This was the first of two matches with a controversy over how a character was credited, and frankly, it was a stupid one. Yes, Captain Toad is not the same as a generic Toad, but it probably doesn't make a huge difference and definitely not with a bracket placement this obvious. A character from a major Nintendo franchise, even a D-lister like (Captain) Toad, isn't losing to an indie character from the current decade like Shovel Knight, and at the same time, there's no way he'd be able to challenge a medium-high midcarder like Aerith, nor could he win an SFF match against Waluigi (debatable at natural strength, but for Waluigi to get there he'd have to have the theorized rally strength.) So this was a nontroversy.

Oh, did I say "obvious path"? The casuals obviously thought otherwise. At 30.55%, this was the largest bracketbuster of the first round. The Gurus didn't exactly kill it, splitting 103-57 in favor of the Captain, but really, that still means that a greater percentage of casuals got this wrong than Gurus got this right. Usually that only happens when the Gurus' prediction percentage is really low.

Of course, maybe this really wasn't super obvious. The Guru Consensus came out fairly close to the actual result, but the individual picks ranged from Captain Toad 63.85% to Shovel Knight 64%. And I was among those that fairly heavily overrated Captain Toad.

This was the match I was referring to in the Dante-Cuphead analysis, and I'll admit, part of why I wasn't sold on Shovel Knight is precisely because I took a flier on the game in 2015. I figured that betting against GTA and WoW is never a bad idea and Chrono Cross is often hated for being a poor excuse for a sequel to Chrono Trigger. I was right to think that GTA:SA and WoW would embarrass themselves, but the former still managed to get past Shovel Knight. I had sole possession of the lead in Guru prior to SA > SK, too, after being I think the only Guru to perfectly call Division 6. It wouldn't have lasted because I had some weird late-round upsets, but it still stands out in my memory.

Also, Shovel Knight the game lost to a GTA game in 2015. Why would Shovel Knight the character be any stronger?

Match 40: Waluigi vs. Aerith Gainsborough

Waluigi 12271
Aerith 16553

Non-leads in Final Fantasy games often struggle to get decent seeds, but when they make the field, they do well. This year, some of the ancillary characters actually got good seeds, but Aerith wasn't among them. (Actually now that I think of it, Tifa had a decent seed in 2013 as well.) She's never had a great seed except for maybe in the split bracket in 2006, but she's 5-1 in Round 1 and the one loss came against Auron. There's this strange dichotomy with Final Fantasy: most of the leads tend to get anti-voted because of the perception that the series is this dominant force, but the real reason that the series is a dominant force is because side characters that struggle to get the nominations to make the field pull these huge seeding upsets. Aerith, Vincent, and Rikku all had seeds in the 20s in 2013 and they all made Round 2, and in Aerith's case, very nearly Round 3. Though I can't help but wonder if Link-Draven would've been as close with Aerith as the third character instead of Shepard.

Also, how is Waluigi still a meme in 2018? He's been a meme for what seems like forever.
Also known as Cyberchao X.
12/31/18 4:10:04 PM
TsunamiXXVIII posted...
Why would Shovel Knight the character be any stronger?

Because Games =/= Characters!

TsunamiXXVIII posted...
Also, how is Waluigi still a meme in 2018?

Did you miss that there was a Smash Bros. game this year?
Advokaiser picked Cloud in Guru and rained on my bracket.
At least I finished 20th overall!
12/31/18 4:18:26 PM
Match 41: Geralt vs. Rosalina

Geralt 16779
Rosalina 13170

Okay, okay, I've learned my lesson already. I needed to be talked out of taking Binding of Isaac: Rebirth to upset Witcher 3 in Round 1 of 2015, and I underestimated it again here. It's an understandable mental block, though: Recent game, WRPG, this shouldn't be strong, right? Even though in both cases, the opponent wasn't exactly old either.

Geralt may not have entered the mainstream until The Witcher 3 in 2015, nor made his video game debut at all until 2004, but he actually made his overall debut just a few months after Link. Much was made of the fact that other characters that debuted in non-video game media were not allowed into the bracket, but Geralt was a 1-seed. Was this a trial run, or did Allen just rationalize it that a lot of gamers might not even realize that Geralt originated in a short story and then a series of novels, while everyone knows that Spider-Man originated in a comic book?

And make no mistake, I fully expected Rosalina to be weak. I get the feeling that a lot of people feel that she's been forced into too many of the spinoffs and was better as a single-game character. But she's still a Mario character, and with this division, that could have been enough for multiple wins.

Match 42: Ryu Hayabusa vs. Simon Belmont

Ryu 14743
Simon 15210

Oh hey a close match! This was the match where people really started talking about the Smash boost, even though Ryu Hayabusa had no real reason to hold on to any of his past strength.

Still, it's no surprise that this tripped up a number of people. Ryu Hayabusa is remembered for the two-day clash with Jill in 2004 and the upset of Master Chief in 2010. He had a reputation for being clutch. Simon Belmont... first managed to finish ahead of someone in a contest match when he came in second place in 2013, behind Gordon Freeman and ahead of Hades. In 2007, he finished comfortably in 4th place behind Sam Fisher, a character whose only win was against GFNW-era Gordon. But that doesn't even do justice to how awful Simon was in 2007, because the second-place character in that match was Raiden. Yes, pre-MGS4 Raiden isn't exactly strong, but how is Sam Fisher not horribly weak in the same poll as the protagonist of a Metal Gear Solid game? I first arrived to the board in 2009, so my first Character Battle was 2010, and I picked Simon to beat a newcomer because old characters > new characters. That was the match that Ezio won in order to get to that 2010 Round 2 match with Zelda.

Unlike then, I was in good company here, at least on the board. Nearly three quarters of Gurus got this wrong. The casuals got this right, though only at a 57.94% rate, so it's pretty clear that our knowledge of the past was what ruined us here.

And this was a close match. Most Oracles called it to be close, but not this close, so I got a pretty good position in Oracle despite having the wrong winner because I was one of only two Ryu H pickers to go under 51%. Oracle actually had a worse prediction percentage than Guru, 13 for and 61 against. wasn't ever really in doubt. Simon got off to a triple-digit lead in 10 minutes, 200+ an hour later, 300+ by the end of the second hour, and 500 less than an hour after crossing 300. To be specific, Simon's lead at 10:25 PM--just 2 hours 25 minutes in--was identical to his final margin of victory of 467, and a grand total of one update in between those saw Ryu Hayabusa get even a few votes closer than that.

Maybe Hayabusa would've been better off with another 48-hour match.

Oh, right, and this was another one where the registered and unregistered voters favored different characters, but the result remained the same. The registered voters were the ones that favored Simon.
Also known as Cyberchao X.
12/31/18 4:22:15 PM
swirIdude posted...
TsunamiXXVIII posted...
Why would Shovel Knight the character be any stronger?

Because Games =/= Characters!

I said "stronger", not "different in strength". Suppose I should've asked "why wouldn't Shovel Knight the character be even weaker?"

TsunamiXXVIII posted...
Also, how is Waluigi still a meme in 2018?

Did you miss that there was a Smash Bros. game this year?

Not at all, but I fail to see the relevance.

...Oh right that was how it got started, wasn't it?
Also known as Cyberchao X.
01/01/19 3:47:46 PM
Match 43: Sans vs. Pac-Man

Sans 8571
Pac-Man 21380

Pac-Man blowing out anyone like this is astounding, because Pac-Man is the King of the Apathy Vote. I figured that Sans, being a good character from a popular game, would beat him on natural strength. And from what I heard, Bayonetta was likely to be a major anti-vote magnet, so Sans would probably beat her even worse. And, uh, it wouldn't exactly take the bandwagon forming for him to beat Rosalina even worse than that, because as far as I can tell no one actually likes Rosalina and she only got my pick for Round 3 because this half-division was so bad. Sans ended up being the Ultimate Loser of this division, and I still only regret picking him to catch a bandwagon past Auron and Sonic (twice), not having him to Round 4. This division was largely unproven recent characters, proven fodder, and a couple of former low midcarders that were rightly expected to have fallen.

Oh, and Pac-Man. Pac-Man was there too. Also, this qualifies as a Guru upset, if only barely; Sans had an 83-77 advantage in Guru brackets.

Ironically, if I had incorrectly picked the next match, my bracket is probably better off for it in the long run. I'd lose the one point for Bayonetta > Riku, but pick up points for Auron > Riku (actually Auron > Geralt) and Sonic > Auron.

But back to what this meant for the near future. If Pac-Man was getting this type of percentage on Sans, well, suddenly Chloe Price's lock on the absolute bottom of the unadjusted X-Stats was no lock at all. Amaterasu has always been a consistent midcarder, and Draven is far more hated here than Sans/Undertale. It was clear that he was gonna have a bad time, and all that remained was to see just how hard he'd get dunked on.

Match 44: Bayonetta vs. Riku

Bayonetta 19289
Riku 10665

The Gurus were split even tighter on this match than the last one, Bayonetta ultimately winding up with the 82-78 advantage. At one point during the inputting of Guru brackets, Bayonetta was the favorite to reach Round 3 despite being an underdog against Riku. (The COOKIE did indeed end up with an impossible bracket, but only because of the double elimination format; Mario was a 78-67 favorite over Snake in the Legends semis, and with Mario-Snake so split it's no surprise that Cloud was the most common pick to win the Losers semi, but Snake was ultimately the most common pick to win the Losers final.) The Oracle Challenge broke 45-29 in Bayonetta's favor, with the Bayonetta pickers largely having a lower average percentage than the Riku pickers, resulting in a consensus of Bayonetta 50.49%. The highest pick was a flat 60-40, which was a full 2% contrast of the next highest picks.

64.40%. That's what Bayonetta got. Holy crap this was a blowout. Casuals got one over on us here; sure we ultimately wound up favoring the right character but they broke 70% in prediction percentage and a 45.60 is an awful score for a first-place Oracle prediction. Not the worst, obviously, since we've had matches where we were unanimously wrong (Magus-Knuckles 2005, for example), but not good.
Also known as Cyberchao X.
01/01/19 4:00:02 PM
I figured that Pac-Man's Smash appearances would propel him easily past a guy from a game that coasted on viral popularity, but at the end of the day, we all have our reasons for our predictions.
"Nothing I could do!"
01/02/19 5:08:35 PM
Match 45: Auron vs. Lucina

Auron 20132
Lucina 10630

On the subject of Creators' Pets, meet Lucina. She's basically a Final Fantasy lead--wangsty and androgynous. Except unlike those guys, she's actually female, though she pretends to be male (specifically, an earlier androgynous Fire Emblem lead) for the first half of her game because reasons. And because she's "What if Marth were actually a girl instead of merely looking like one", the Japanese part of the fanbase loves her and the rest...well, I guess they kind of like her too? Fire Emblem Heroes tends to reflect the wishes of the whole fanbase, unlike earlier entries where DLC was based on the results of popularity polls that were solely based on the Japanese fanbase because the games weren't even out elsewhere yet, and she hasn't received a new alt in quite some time so I guess maybe her popularity really is waning.

But yeah Lucina is an awful character and this is a good result.

Match 46: Magus vs. Vincent Valentine

Magus 14802
Vincent 15968

Remember what I said about forever-overrated FRAUDS? Board 8 still hasn't gotten over the fact that a match between two newcomers that was supposed to be debatable (although most people did eventually choose correctly) ended up being a 79-21 blowout, and that Vincent went on to upset Squall. Also there was something about a 4way match that reversed an existing 1v1 loss for Vincent? Bah, it's a fourway; it's not important. Besides, he was the lone PSX character against three characters that shared the SNES, one of which was Link.

People blamed Vincent's loss to Phoenix in 2013 solely on the pic sabotage, and while I agree that Vincent should still be naturally stronger than Phoenix, a bigger issue there was that people just didn't care enough about Vincent. Board 8 loves its Phoenix Wright, so we weren't going to abandon him to hop on the Mewtwo bandwagon. And let's not beat around the bush: everything that happened from the moment Draven took X and Ryu to the woodshed was centered around trying to stop him at all costs. We identified Pokmon as the one thing that might be able to muster up a strong enough counterrally should Link fail to stop the threat with his natural strength, and since the other Pokmon were too far away in the bracket and would SFF each other out before the finals, that meant Mewtwo was our rally target.

2010, however, showed exactly where Vincent really sits on the FF7 totem pole. Both he and Tifa faced Sephiroth, and one of them did a lot better than the other.

But here, he was up against Magus, another character that crushed it in his contest debut and has never lived up to the hype. It was only fitting that the two had to battle it out, and the fact that it was so close should tell you exactly how strong Vincent isn't. Vincent won with 51.89%, which is still comfortable enough, but every Oracle that picked this match to finish under 52-48 picked Magus to win it. With good reason considering that he was the underdog, but still, not one person who believed in Vincent to win it at all thought it would be this close.
Also known as Cyberchao X.
01/02/19 5:59:05 PM
Match 47: Shulk vs. Sub-Zero

Shulk 11517
Sub-Zero 19251

Xenoblade Chronicles was originally meant to be Japan-only, but the rest of the world made a stink and the developers caved. It was hugely acclaimed and beloved, a result, it was hard to get a copy at all. From what I can tell it really was interesting, but the battle mechanics were so awful that I eventually gave up on it. Even with the character you're directly controlling, your basic attacks are automatic, so it boils down to "dart in, hope that you actually get an attack off, dart away to avoid enemy attacks. Then somehow manage to build up your special meter because the bosses aren't actually vulnerable to anything other than the specials that are really hard to pull off." Xenoblade is the one entry in the Xeno series that has yet to do anything in contests, with Xenogears having once managed to beat a Pokmon game in a Games Contest (seriously, huh?) and KOS-MOS being something resembling a reliable midcarder. The game itself was a 3-seed in 2015 and got upset by Donkey Kong Country 2, which was by no means the only reason that I was the only one to get all eight Round 1 matches in Division 6 correct (three of them had Guru prediction percentages inside of 60-40, with the slight favorites only going 2-1), but was definitely the biggest deterrent.

Sub-Zero has a history of pulling seeding upsets, so this was a pretty easy pick. The casuals weren't terribly fooled, either, with Subby coming just shy of a 2-1 advantage in brackets.

Match 48: Ren "Joker" Amamiya vs. Claire Redfield

Joker 14278
Claire 16480

This was our second accreditation controversy, and the one that actually meant something. The name "Ren Amamiya" comes from the anime, not the game itself; like Yu Narukami when Persona 4 first came out and all of the SMT protagonists before him, the P5 protagonist was not initially given a "canon name". (Yu's canon name was eventually established by spinoffs.) As such, failing to credit him as Joker--especially in combination with an unmasked match pic--was tantamount to sabotage. I picked Joker in my bracket, but had Claire in my Oracle when it was initially believed that the single-word accreditation in the match would be "Ren". Turns out, I shouldn't have wavered on that when Allen changed it to what it should have been all along. So was this a case of old > new, or merely DAF? (Oh, come on, you know full well you're not looking at what she's got going on in the front. The picsmiths certainly weren't in 2013.)

At any rate, this represents Claire's first contest win, which is all kinds of hilarious because the 2002 X-Stats say she could have reached Round 3 if she hadn't been horribly screwed by bracket placement. She finished 13th, breaking 30%, in the Raw X-Stats, following a fairly close (at least by 2002 standards) loss to Tidus of all people. Then she disappeared until the Female Bracket in 2006, where she lost to Kairi. And after that she didn't return until that 2013 match that I linked the match pic from, where she literally has to deal with booty SFF.

Joker was later announced as a DLC character for Smash Ultimate, making everyone wonder if he'd have won the match had that happened earlier. He might have, but I feel like Claire could've still gotten by.
Also known as Cyberchao X.
01/02/19 6:25:17 PM
Match 49: Luigi vs. Miles Edgeworth

Luigi 22397
Edgeworth 6514

As I said before in the Godot write-up, Ace Attorney characters not named Phoenix Wright have been horribly weak and we really should spare ourselves the pain of watching them get blown out like this and not nominate them. This blowout tells us nothing about anything.

Match 50: Frog vs. Monokuma

Frog 22084
Monokuma 6829

Neither does this, and I really don't want to talk about it. I've never played a Danganronpa game, though I've had the first two games spoiled for me so they're not candidates for my blind VN playthrough topic. Maybe the third one could be, though. It's not terribly high up on the list.

Though giving Chrono Trigger a second chance is on the list of potential playthrough topics, because I hated its gameplay originally, but realized that the battle system isn't that different from FFVI's, which I played later and absolutely loved. So I truly believe that if I tried CT again, I wouldn't hate it as much as I did the first time.

Match 51: Master Chief vs. Goro Majima

Chief 19954
Majima 8963

Chief may not be worth much these days but he's still worth much more than a secondary character from a recent game that isn't an RPG. Still, this isn't a huge blowout which meant that I already knew I'd screwed up in my bracket having him win a second match.

Match 52: Nathan Drake vs. Miles "Tails" Prower

Drake 12514
Tails 16405

Remind me again why so many people thought Drake had any strength? Because he actually made it to Round 2 in 2013, the one year that 2/3 of entrants in each match were eliminated instead of 1/2? Yeah, that must be it. He narrowly beat out Pac-Man, and suddenly he's a midcarder?

These two had a common opponent in The Boss, and both lost, but Tails did so in down-to-the-wire fashion. Should've been obvious that Tails was the favorite, but because Tails always runs into strong opponents early, he gets underestimated. Not to mention he often gets hit with SFF.

45.68% against Alucard in 2002. 42.6% against Dante in 2004. Face it, Tails has never been fodder. A jobber, sure; for the longest time his job was to give up-and-comers a moderately strong but still winnable match to show that they were worth something. But the only loss that is in itself hard to excuse is the loss to Ezio in 2013, and that just proves that Assassin's Creed had the potential to be a force to be reckoned with in Character Battles if Ubisoft hadn't started spitting them out at such a high rate that they lost any semblance of quality control (and also if we'd had enough contests for them to make more of a mark before this happened). Tails is a low-end midcarder, and apparently, he always has been.
Also known as Cyberchao X.
01/04/19 6:47:56 PM
Match 53: Tifa Lockhart vs. Geno

Tifa 22399
Geno 8205

Geno is another one of those characters that has become a bracket mainstay despite never winning a match. He's now 0-6 after this loss, and none of them have been terribly close. There are many reasons for this. He's a side character from a fairly niche RPG, one that wasn't released in PAL regions until much, much later (via Virtual Console). Furthermore, its initial release was fairly late in its console's lifespan, a Super NES game from 1996, albeit still a good few months before the N64 came out. Unlike its Japanese counterpart, the Super Famicom, which was still getting new games in 1999, the SNES died out pretty quickly once the N64 arrived, with no games coming out beyond 1997. (Though the N64 did even worse, managing to essentially die out before the GameCube actually launched, resulting in roughly 85% of Nintendo's US releases in 2001 being for its handhelds.) And worst of all, he's extremely easy to SFF, being the product of a collaboration between Nintendo and Square, which means that either company's presence in a poll is bad for him. I don't think he's incapable of winning a match, because that last factor could easily work in his favor if he ever drew one of those overseeded nobodies we see so often, but it's an exercise in futility trying to make it happen.

Match 54: GLaDOS vs. Mewtwo

GLaDOS 11484
Mewtwo 19123

Even before the contest started, people were calling for Mewtwo to be exposed as a FRAUD, which was perfectly natural because he'd overperformed last time. The thing is, there was nothing "fraudulent" about Mewtwo's strength. As I stated during my write-up of Vincent's match, Mewtwo was our rally target because Pokmon was something we could rally around to try to stop Draven, and Mewtwo was the only one with a bracket placement favorable to doing so, as the others would SFF each other out before they could see Draven. 2013 wasn't Mewtwo's first deep run, however, so it was easy for a casual who merely looked at past results without actually comprehending them to think that Mewtwo was an absolute beast. (Mewtwo's first deep run, in 2008, was the result of extremely fortuitous bracket placement, advancing two rounds on natural strength and then taking advantage of triple Square SFF to advance out of a third-round fourpack in which he was probably the weakest character naturally.) This match, however, would not give the board what they wanted, as Mewtwo handily destroyed a character that had reached the Top 27 in 2013 and finished in second place in her Round 3 defeat. Of course, it wasn't truly surprising as GLaDOS was expected to decline--Games may not equal characters, but Portal falling from Top 16 in GotD to 14-seed fodder for Melee in BGE3, along with Portal 2 failing to reach the second round in BGE3 as a 5-seed, suggested that the series was already on the decline then. It's nothing to be ashamed of; it's not easy for a franchise to walk the line between oversaturation and irrelevance. By opting not to turn into a franchise zombie, Portal instead risked fading into the ether.

The Oracle Consensus for this match was less than 0.60% off, and the two worst scores were comprised of one overestimation and one underestimation. That's a sign that we knew what we were doing here.
Also known as Cyberchao X.
01/04/19 7:24:39 PM
Match 55: King Dedede vs. Revolver Ocelot

Dedede 15157
Ocelot 15457

This set a new Character Battle record for closest wire-to-wire 24-hour match, though still trailing DKC2 > Xenoblade in 2015 for the overall 24-hour record. The largest lead by either side was 328. The final margin of 300 is also #25 on the list of closest 1v1 matches, though unlike the previous stat, that's based on where things stood at the end of the contest rather than at the time that it happened. At the time it would've been #19. Dedede took the early lead and managed to get it out over 200 for a little while about 5 hours in, but Ocelot took the lead during the 10th hour and never relinquished it. This, like most results, was seen as a sign of Metal Gear declining, but honestly, Ocelot has always been like this. He debuted in the Villains Contest and couldn't even break 55% on Nemesis, but the very next round he got almost as much against Dr. Wily. Made his "regular" contest debut that summer and lost to Pac-Man. Ruined a bunch of Gurus in 2007 by beating Jill Valentine in what probably amounted to a neutral field re: the other two characters in the match (Cloud and Midgar Zolom), then ruined them again the following year by losing to Jill despite MGS4 being released in the interim. And then in 2010 he has a match very similar to this one, against Red, coming out on the losing end in what might've been one of the last gasps for "wait till the kiddies wake up" (12-hour match, midnight EST start, Ocelot led early but lost it at the end). This would seem to be a weaker character than he'd been going even with last, but it's long been my belief that each successive appearance in a Smash game strengthens a character. Captain Falcon was one of the original twelve and has become a decent midcarder despite hailing from a franchise that almost no one has played, and it seems likely that Kirby also gets more of his strength from being one of the original 12 than from his own games. Well, Dedede's now on his third appearance in Smash, dating back to Brawl. There's a chance he's not really that weak after all. It's tough to say since he didn't make the bracket in 2013 and wasn't in the Villains Contest in 2005 (not that he's really a villain in most of his appearances, but I'm sure he was eligible anyway), leaving him with only a single previous appearance shortly after Brawl came out in which he had to contend with another Brawl newcomer and two midcarders who were independent of Smash and of each other. At any rate, I think he deserves further consideration.

The Smash roster is so big as of Ultimate that an entire 64-character contest could be held without a single non-Smash character. That's a little frightening.
Also known as Cyberchao X.
01/04/19 7:58:34 PM
Match 56: Mega Man X vs. Isabelle

X 24693
Isabelle 5923

There's only so much that a Smash appearance can do for you, though. Animal Crossing is part of the long list of franchises that Nintendo initially thought would be unpopular outside of Japan, then decided (or were told) otherwise. It's far from the most successful franchise of that class, however; if I'm not mistaken, Pokmon qualifies as something Nintendo was initially unsure about bringing to other markets, and of course we all know the story of how Fire Emblem only made it to the western world because the localization team for Super Smash Bros. Melee defied orders to remove Roy and Marth from the game. We still can't get a conclusive read on whether Mega Man X or Mega Man Classic is stronger. Up until this year, I thought it was X, but Classic looked good this year. It seems silly to be talking about that in a match where X broke 80%, but there aren't exactly a lot of other opportunities to do so. I guess maybe I could've saved that for Round 2 though.

Match 57: Sephiroth vs. Wesker

Sephiroth 20400
Wesker 8625

This should've been an early warning that Sephiroth was off his game this year. Yes, he broke 70%, but the popular line was that Resident Evil had vastly declined.

Keep in mind that not only should Wesker be weaker now than he was when he faced Kefka, but Kefka should've been weaker when he faced Wesker than he is now. Yes, that was the first time Kefka had gotten his final boss sprite in a match pic, so it was probably a stronger Kefka than what we'd seen up to that point in contest history, but Kefka is definitely a character who seems to have boosted over time rather than declined. So unless a lot of our assumptions are incorrect, a stronger Wesker did worse against a weaker Kefka than this Wesker did against Sephiroth. Is anyone taking the Kefka > Sephiroth upset? ...Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if some people took that upset simply because Kefka has a reputation for strange results and beating his FF7 counterpart is about as strange as it gets. I don't think I would, even though I picked FF6 to upset FF7 in 2015.

Match 58: Richter Belmont vs. Captain Falcon

Richter 11496
Falcon 17531

AKA the point where the concept of "Smash Boost" eradicated all ability to think rationally. People were calling for the potential upset here because of Richter's appearance in a trailer, noting that he'd managed a higher seed than Simon despite merely being his Echo Fighter. Also there was something about a Castlevania series on Netflix. Based on Alucard's performance, and maybe even the Belmonts', the idea that the series caused a boost might have been valid. But "Smash Boost" doesn't help when you're up against a fellow Smasher, and it certainly doesn't help when you're up against someone who's been in more Smash Bros. games than you. As I stated just three write-ups ago, Captain Falcon is a midcarder entirely based off of being one of the original twelve. Quick, name the only contest other than Rivalry Rumble (where the nature of the contest forced Captain Falcon to bring someone else along) to feature a representative of the F-Zero franchise other than Captain Falcon himself?

It's Game of the Decade. F-Zero GX was a 12-seed, losing in Round 1 to Dragon Age: Origins. This result was extremely obvious and all the talk of an upset was silly. Nice showing by Richter, though.
Also known as Cyberchao X.
01/04/19 9:24:57 PM
So why we exist? What happens when we stop existing?
01/04/19 10:18:55 PM
Match 59: Amaterasu vs. Draven

Amaterasu 25584
Draven 3439

Remember what I said about poor first-place Oracles? Yeah, nobody had Amaterasu winning this handily. This is somewhere between a septupling and an octupling; the highest anyone predicted was merely between a quadrupling and a quintupling. Arti took first place with a prediction of 82.28% and only three other Oracles had Ammy breaking 80%. I was one of them, which honestly surprises me because I usually have a mental block about predicting huge blowouts. This place was AntiBlowoutFAQs for a while in the early 2010s, and I had some horrendous Oracle predictions on the biggest blowouts of 2015 because I refused to go much higher than the low eighties even on obvious blowouts like Ocarina of Time vs. Hearthstone. I mean, granted, "low eighties" is exactly what I did pick here--82% even--but it worked because Oracle consensus was in the low seventies. Interestingly enough, exactly as many Oracles picked Ammy to fail to break 60% as picked her to break 80%, but three of the four that had her under 60% had Draven winning outright.

Also, I feel it should be mentioned again that in 2013, Draven was legitimately the Guru favorite in his Round 1 match. 64.08% picked him to beat Jak and Chie, though only 2.04% picked him to beat Ryu and Mega Man X the following round. That's how weak his opening draw was. I talked about this during the Aloy-D. Va match. Allen does this every time, and he'll continue to do it. I'd give a hypothetical, but given how infrequent contests are, there is a 0.00% chance that anything already released would have the rally potential. Unless it's something Pokmon-related, because that's always a possibility. We had Mudkip and Bidoof in 2007 and Missingno in 2010.

I could totally get behind a Mimikyu rally. Of course, given how infrequent contests are, by the time CBXI rolls around we'll probably be rallying behind a Gen IX Pokmon.

There was also something that went around the board for a bit in later rounds called the "Lineal Noble Nine." Basically, it was a hypothetical scenario where beating a member of the Noble Nine would make a character a member of the Noble Nine, but rather than expanding, the defeated member would lose their status. It doesn't take into account past results, so it's not like that "defeating one is defeating all of them" argument. At the start of the Legends Bracket, it looked as though there could be as many as eight original Noble Niners in the Lineal Noble Nine, and Amaterasu was the one non-original Noble Niner whose spot in the Lineal Noble Nine was safe. As it turned out, there were only five original Noble Niners thanks to some weird upsets--up from the four that were there entering the Legends Bracket. The idea of it consisting of eight actual Noble Niners and Amaterasu was well received. She's beloved here. Combine that fact with how hated Draven is for hijacking the 2013 Contest, and it added up to a huge blowout. I hinted at this in my L-Block write-up, but it seems highly likely that whenever Character Battle XI comes around, it will likely mark the first time that a former contest champion misses the field entirely. I can't imagine that he'll get any nominations from the regulars, and since we only get a contest every other year and 2020 is reserved for a Game of the Decade contest, we probably won't see CBXI until 2022, at which point Draven's run will be nine years old and few trolls would feel the need to try nominating him again.
Also known as Cyberchao X.
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