In what is possibly the last chance for players in town to practice for Evo, Planet Zero Anime Center held a 2v2 team event for their latest edition of the longest running Street Fighter 4 tournament series in America. 8 teams of 2 signed up for their shot at tonight’s title. Last week, Marcus “Nytemare Raven” Ramirez reaffirmed his top billing by winning the tournament. This week he’ll face some stiff competition from #2 Kris “134” Hoffman and multi-tournament winner Ben Song. Former SBO SF4 representative Alex “Face” Ennis teams up with Showdown’s 3rd place finisher Juan “Fallen” Esquivel. This will be the first time that Raven has played in a team event without his normal partner Ren, will that come back to haunt him?
Action begins with “B Tier”, Raven and his teammate, SBO Arcana Heart 3 representative, Daniel “Last Blade” Lower, facing “Carry” feat David “Noobster” Tran and DeDe. DeDe is up first and picks Ibuki while Last Blade sticks to his Korean roots and picks Juri. LB takes out DeDe in straight rounds. Now it was up to Noobster’s Ken to save his team against Raven’s Blanka. Amazingly, Noobster bounces back from the brink of defeat and upsets the #1 player. Now it came down to the do or die match between Noobster and LB. Even more surprising was LB sweeping the match handily over Noobster. Perhaps Raven’s chances aren’t as bad as we thought.
Next up was “I Love Drunk Girls” feat Fallen and Face vs “SF Playing Hobos” feat Nookington and Cookie. Fallen playing Balrog(Boxer) faced Nookington’s Dhalsim first. Fallen takes the match in straight rounds. Cookie has been an enigma of late playing a variety of characters, this time picks Cody. He faces Face, who hasn’t been around as much lately, and probably won’t with 3rd Strike online coming out soon. Getting ready for that, he picks Yun. Team “Ben34” feat Ben and 134 faced “Radioactive Tsunami” feat Ren and Limekey. First up was Ben playing Ken vs LimeKey and his Rose. The anticipated match fizzled as LimeKey ran away with the match. 134 picks Zangief vs Ren’s Vega(Claw). 134 gets his shot at revenge for his teammate by taking out Ren. But it was not to be as LimeKey pulls off the impressive upset and knocking the highly touted Ben34 into the losers bracket!
Next on the agenda is “Treachery” feat Unorez(T Hawk) and Shannon King(Ryu) vs “Allday” feat Evil Buho(Honda) and Gladiator playing Balrog(Boxer). First up is Unorez vs Gladiator, and in another big upset, Unorez lands a clutch whiff dive setup into Ultra and pull out the victory! It was up to Buho trying to keep his team alive vs the veteran Shannon. Hope was alive after Buho took round 1, but Shannon calmly came back to knock “Allday” into losers. I Love Drunk Girls faced B Tier in the first Semi Final. Fallen facing Last Blade, ends with LB pulling off another impressive upset, Now Face fought vs Raven, with Raven winning in straight rounds. Treachery faces Radioactive Tsunami in the other Semi Final. Ren and Shannon fought first, with Ren winning it in a rout. LimeKey looked to knock out Treachery by defeating Unorez, he does so with a flashy Ultra finish and Team Rejects are all over the Winners Final!
Back in losers, Team Carry faced SF Playing Hobos. DeDe and Nookington started it off, the back and forth match ending with Nook taking it. Now Cookie faced Noobster, with Noob refusing to bow out so quickly. Now it was up to Noob vs Nook. In another close match, Noob actually dizzies Nook in the last round and attempts a flashy ending. Allday faces Ben34 in what will be an early exit for one of these teams. 134 holds on to a straight round victory over Gladiator, and Ben takes out Evil Buho to advance. Ben34 now faces I Love Drunk Girls. Fallen and 134 were up first, and we were all reminded about how good lariats were as 134 takes it in a surprising rout. Ben looked to finish off Drunk Girls against Face. Face fought back after a bad first round, but Ben held on and DP’ed his way to victory. Losers bracket continues with Treachery vs Carry. Unorez takes out DeDe, Noobster takes out Shannon in 3, and Noobster takes out Unorez in the rubber match.
Down to the Final Four! Team B Tier’s Last Blade faced Radioactive Tsunami’s LimeKey. In the battle between the biggest upset makers in the tournament, LB pulls off another. Now old teammates Ren and Nytemare Raven squared off. Raven looked to stamp his teams ticket to the Grand Finals, but Ren looked to keep his teams hopes alive. But it was not to be as Raven took the match in straight rounds. Team Carry and Ben34 fought in the Losers Final for a shot at Radioactive Tsunami. DeDe loses to Ben in 2, leaving it up to Noobster yet again to stave off elimination vs 134. It went down to the wire in round 2, but 134 ended it with a green hand. Now it was the fight for 3rd with Ben34 looking for revenge against the team that knocked them into the Losers Bracket, Radioactive Tsunami. Action starts with Ben vs Ren, after falling behind big in round 2, Ren throws his way back into it and takes out Ben in 2 rounds. In a simliar scenario, 134 faced LimeKey looking to hold off the trip home. After 3 close rounds, LimeKey comes back from a round down to eliminate Ben34.
Grand Finals has 2 teams featuring Rejects teammates Ren and LimeKey on Radioactive Tsunami vs Nytemare Raven and Last Blade on B Tier. LimeKey looked for revenge of his own against Last Blade, and gets a nice Ultra finish by punishing a whiffed EX pinwheel in Round 1. Round 2, LB holds a commanding lead, but LK hits another Ultra! But its not enough as an EX pinwheel hits through LK’s Lvl 1 super. In the final round, LB jumps over LK’s Ultra finally and punishes with another EX pinwheel for the win! Ren is the only man standing in the way of a second consecutive trophy for Nytemare Raven. Round 1, Ren is on the defensive early, but starts to fight back with pokes. Raven is too patient and punishes Ren’s blocked slides with ruthless low forward XX Blanka balls. Round 2, Ren is once again forced to sit. With his offensive game nullified, Raven is able to attack at will and takes the match and tournament! Congratulations to Marcus and Daniel for winning this week’s PZ SSF4AE tournament!
If you enjoyed this article, then please subscribe to my Arcade Games column. Check out my Video Game Babes and Action Figures columns as well. Texas Showdown Championships, the largest arcade fighting game tournament in Texas returns on April 6-8, 2012 to the Woodlands Waterway Marriott during Anime Matsuri 2012. Follow my Twitter, Facebook and Blog for more news about anime, gaming, and other events in Houston.