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This Capcom Pro Tour Nordic/Baltic Regional recap comes today because I was out at a chess tournament on Sunday.
It takes 2 hours on bike to get to the venue, then a 6 hour tournament and 2 more hours on bike to get home.
Sunday morning I got to the venue early and caught the last 5 games of the CPT stream live. Seeing Phenom in Grand Final was not a surprise. Him being 1 win away from claiming the title was not a surprise either.
The five games played that I saw live? That was wild and surprising.
Rikemansbarnet won the title, and there was so much that went on in the championship series I want to dissect it all here.
Rikemansbarnet becomes the sixth player to win a CPT event using Menat, and I’m kind of stunned at how many CPT events have been won by a Menat user. It’s been 2 years since a Menat won a CPT event. Zenith won the 2019 Latin America Championship Top 8 to earn a spot at Capcom Cup.
I'm staying away from social media for the most part for one more week but I'm sure Phenom’s decision to go with Necalli in Reset Final, then with Cammy down 2-1 generated some debate.
I don't want to believe it is a zero-sum answer. The hot-take, black-and-white result is that Rikemansbarnet figured it out and defeated Phenom.
Pie mentioned it on commentary, that Karin was working, 1 round from winning the event, was there a need to switch?
Then again, Jammerz also was correct, that Necalli in Reset Final gave Phenom an attack option that he didn't truly have in Grand Final with Karin. Even though the rounds were tight, the options that were shut down suddenly became more viable.
I wanted to view the whole of the championship series instead of nail it to only Game 4 of Reset Final where Rikemansbarnet rode the momentum to the finish line. And with that I'll share some bullet points that I thought of or came up through commentary.
Entering Sunday, this was the CPT Top 8 matchup history for the three character matchups that eventually happened in the championship series.
Menat 12, Karin 7, Match value 1.39 wins to Menat
Necalli 20, Menat 11, Match value 1.84 wins to Necalli
Menat 35, Cammy 32, Match value 0.72 wins to Menat
Although match value is still something fairly new that I’m trying to implement into my stats, seeing these numbers make me believe there wasn’t anything we should have been surprised about prior to each character matchup starting.
Back to character select
In the first 20 CPT Top 8s, 104 players have gone back to character select following a loss, aka take a timeout. Those players were 49-55 in the game that followed.
The match value of those 104 games is 1.76 wins. So you can look at the game record and say the odds don’t favor those who take a timeout. However, it has resulted in a net positive. Players are getting more out of taking those timeouts than the record indicates, so it is worth it to do it.
However, there is one slight note about this — of the 64 players prior to Sunday to take a timeout, Kusanagi is the overwhelming leader in taking a timeout, having done it 12 times. He’s also 10-2 in those following games, and his match value is 2.64 wins. I’ve talked about this in a previous issue.
If we take Kusanagi out of the equation, the remaining 63 players are 39-53, and the match value is -0.88. Here we see Kusanagi really is driving the timeout stat. The other 63 players have not gotten much out of taking a timeout.
The 104 timeouts mean there’s been about five for every Top 8 played.
On Sunday, there was only one timeout, that coming from Phenom when he made the fateful decision to go with Cammy.
In all regular season Top 8s I have, Phenom before Sunday was 6-2 when taking a timeout. His match value of those eight games combined was 1.09 wins, fifth best all time among 500 players in the database over these 6 years.
Just having that as the note, Phenom taking a timeout is not something to bet against.
I looked for all of the times a player went back to character select trailing 2-1 in Reset Final. There were only 2.
Nov. 17, 2019: North American Regional Final Open Tournament, NuckleDu (vs. Hot Dog 29). Lost the following game, lost the match.
Aug. 6, 2020: CPT Online North America West 1, XsK Samurai (vs. Nephew). Won the following game, lost the match.
Taking the timeout can be a debatable decision. Switching characters is right up there as well.
It’s not just the opponent who has to adjust, but the user as well. I talked about this when Billydate won the Republic of South Africa event. He didn’t use Ed at any point in the Top 8 until Reset Final and clawed to a win.
Phenom was all Karin until he went to Necalli to start Reset Final on Sunday.
However, each aforementioned switch was at the start of the match when it’s 0-0 (because Grand Final and Reset Final are two separate matches). Phenom got 3 games with Necalli before going with Cammy.
Those two timeouts by NuckleDu and Samurai I mentioned earlier? Samurai took the break but did not switch character. NuckleDu took the break and went from Cammy to G.
But unlike Phenom who went Cammy for the first time, NuckleDu had already used G within that Top 8, winning 6 games with that character.
When Phenom jumped
The jump option for Phenom didn't come to mind until Reset Final when Jammerz began to talk about it. Then it became evident it was important in Game 1 of Reset Final.
Let's look at that as a whole. I noted all of the times Phenom's character jumped in the championship series and placed the results into four groups:
Empty jump or the attack missed entirely (Empty)
Landed a clean hit, no counter (Landed)
Rikemansbarnet blocked (Blocked)
Rikemansbarnet countered or traded (Countered)
Pair what happened with Phenom along with who he used and the score of the game, and let’s see whether there’s anything worth noting here.
If we add the totals, he jumped 9 times with Karin in 13 rounds played, 23 times with Necalli in 8 rounds played and 14 times with Cammy in 2 rounds played.
There were a couple of Karin landed attacks that came off of a stun but it’s still worth noting he did really well in the opportunities he did jump, as rare as they were. I think Pie said similar on commentary between Grand Final and Reset Final.
When Phenom switched to Necalli, he jumped more often to generate offense that way, and it worked.
With Cammy, Rikemansbarnet saw it coming more times than not. And championship point was, well, um, something.
In the rounds where Phenom jumped, he was 8-10 (4-3 Karin, 4-4 Necalli, 0-2 Cammy).
Pair that down to when he at landed at least one clean hit, he was 7-5 (3-0 Karin, 4-3 Necalli, 0-2 Cammy).
Overall, Rikemansbarnet just had the answer more often when Phenom jumped.
There was one final part I wanted to look at, and this from Rikemansbarnet’s perspective. Entering Grand Final, he had a 28.4 percent tournament win expectancy — based on the scenario and history of the CPT events played — that’s because he had to win twice.
Here’s how his match and tournament win expectancy moved with every round and game result. I’m showing the match and tournament percentages side by side because they are different.
Match win expectancy is based on it being any 5-game series played in the Top 8. Tournament win expectancy is based on the specific point in the bracket and which side the player is on..
It looked bad after Game 3 of Grand Final, where he was down to a 23.2 percent chance to just force Reset Final. But his tournament win expectancy was still 36.1 percent, a little more than a 1-in-3 chance to take it all, the goal was to first get there.
I’ll get questions about what happened after Game 4 Round 3. It’s likely that those behind 2-1 spend all their juice just to tie it and eventually drop the next game. That’s obviously not what happened on Sunday.
That Game 3 in Reset Final was more crucial than I realized. It was a near 30 percent swing toward Rikemansbarnet. And that was one of the closest games played in the championship series.
Overall, this was one of the wildest championship series played this year because there was a lot to go through. The stats are everywhere when it comes to the decisions. Rikemansbarnet had enough to get through everything Phenom brought.