Second stop of my 2017 Capcom Pro Tour:
COMBO BREAKER – ST. CHARLES, ILLINOIS
May 26-28, 2017
Pheasant Run Resort
Cost of Trip
Normal Registration – $55
- Registered on Apr 2, 2017.
SFV – $10
ST – $10
Car trip – $120
- Instead of buying a flight to Chicago, I decided to get a ride in a large van (with a bunch of other NYC FGC players) to save money for my Evo trip.
Hotel – $90 (Split between 5 people)
- Skisonic booked the room for Thursday-Sunday but the rest of us (me, Smug, JB, JDragon) arrived on Friday so we only paid for Friday-Sunday.
Food – ~$50
- Food was very….limited around Combo Breaker. Needless to say, I didn’t eat much that weekend.
Instead of buying a flight like I normally do, I decided to save money for Evo by joining a rideshare in a large van. I was to be picked up around 7PM-8PM on 125th St in Harlem. I finished work at 5:00PM so I went straight to Harlem and waited in the McDonalds around the area. When the van arrived, it was a lot bigger than I expected. There were 4 rows of seats behind the driver and I had a spot to myself. There were ~8 other people in the van with me so I was surprised that I had two seats to myself. The ride from NYC to St. Charles took ~12 hours (with a couple pit stops along the way for bathroom/gas/food). The ride was incredibly long but thankfully, I pass out easily during long trips so once the ride started, I immediately fell asleep. I woke up at every pit stop but for most of the trip, I was asleep. We arrived at the venue ~9:00AM the next day.
The moment we arrived to the venue, I got out the van and went straight to my room for the weekend. The only person there was Skisonic; the rest of my roommates were not arriving in the room until later. I dropped off my stuff and took a nice shower before heading down to check the venue. The layout of the venue was rather unique because it’s a resort and not a traditional hotel. As you walk to the main ballroom building from the lobby, you pass through the outdoor pool, the indoor pool, and a smaller ballroom (The Casuals/Arcade room).
The main ballroom was not open to the public yet (it was set to open ~12:00PM so I just hung out in the casuals/arcade room in the meantime. When you walk into the room, there are tons of setups, with all sorts of fighting games. There was even a byoc (bring your own console) section where you could bring your own setup to play in the ballroom. Funny enough, there were MvC3 stations, Injustice 2 stations, GGXrd stations…but no SFV stations! I ended up playing some GGXrd casuals until 12PM (It was my first time playing Baiken against humans so I definitely lost every match I played T_T).
I saw Henry Cen roaming around the room and we decided to play some old school arcade games to pass the time (Centipede and Millipede). It wasn’t even 12PM yet but we decided to walk over to the main ballroom to pick up our badges and see if it was open. To our surprise, the main ballroom was already open with a whole bunch of people inside playing casuals already! We saw Kim1234 and the first thing he does is ask for my stick so he can play casuals -_-. To his luck, Smug had messaged me to inform me that he arrived to the venue with JB. I lent Kim my stick and went to the lobby to pick up Smug and JB. We went up to our room so they could drop off their stuff and chill for a bit. Then, we headed back to the main ballroom so we could play casuals and see everyone else. I found Kim playing casuals with an Akuma and after he finished his set, I sat down to play the Akuma player. From there on, I must have stayed on that station for the next couple hours just playing casuals with everyone who walked by. My pool was set for 5PM that day so I wanted to get as much practice as I could before my pool. However, the first wave of pools started at 3PM so I had to get off eventually. For the most part, I was beating everyone who asked for a set with me so I was feeling pretty confident in my pool play (For some reason, there were a lot of Akumas who asked for a set o_o).
When the first wave of pools started, I roamed around the stations to find people to watch. I found a good spot where I could follow both Arturo’s pool and Kim1234’s pool (they both had 3PM pools). Arturo had a pretty easy run through his pools from what I saw and I even got to watch his winners finals match against LPN where he won with a clean 2-0. Kim, on the other hand, had a close match against a Laura player during pools but narrowly won. He had been training for his match against Sako before his pool started and he got his wish: he was to play Sako on stream. He was beating the Akumas he was practicing with so I thought his set against Sako would be a little closer but it ended up being a clean 2-0 for Sako. Sako just seemed so prepared for the matchup and I’m not surprised because he beat Galtu Bison 7-2 in Topanga League. After that loss, Kim won his next match in losers and had to play another match on stream: Dankadillas Dhalsim from California. Kim didn’t seem too confident in the matchup and it showed in their stream match because Dankadillas won it in a clean 2-0.
After the first set of pools was over, it was time for my pool. I went to check in but I already knew that I had a bye first round so I just watched the matches in my pool in the meantime. In particular, I wanted to observe my potential first round opponent (it would either be discovigilante or Captain Toad)
2-0 DaFeetLee (Laura) vs discovigilante (M. Bison)
2-1 DaFeetLee (Ibuki) vs Dougie (Necalli)
2-0 DaFeetLee (Ibuki) vs Unlucky (Vega) – starts at 9:27 of above video
0-2 DaFeetLee (Ibuki) vs Splyce|Fchamp (Dhalsim) – starts at 48:10 of above video
Notes: I had a feeling I would play discovigilante first round because I had been studying my potential opponents when Combobreaker pools were finalized and put online. I’m not a fan of the Ibuki vs M. Bison matchup and because I used to main Laura, I decided to pick Laura instead (I think Laura is M. Bison’s worst matchup and I like to use Laura against M. Bison and Balrog players). I had trained with Henry Cen’s M. Bison before Combobreaker and that training helped me secure a 2-0 win. My matches against Unlucky and Fchamp were both on stream (I was actually surprised because usually, my SFV pool matches are never on stream lol). My match against Unlucky almost took a wrong turn when I got hit by wakeup s.LK xx VT xx CA but I lucked out and won the first game (How…unlucky for unlucky). Against Fchamp, I had the first round but I completely botched my 2nd bomb combo and ended up losing the round. Then, I proceeded to lose the next 3 rounds in a row -_-. I was disappointed in my match against Fchamp but on the brightside (due to Combobreaker’s pool system), I qualified for the next day without playing Losers Finals of my pool.
There was a really sick match between Poongko and Daikoku_GO before my stream match, where it went down to the last game last round and last hit. Daikoku_GO ended up clutching it out to send Poongko to losers. After my pool matches were done, I decided to head back to the room to see if anyone in our room wanted to go grab dinner somewhere. When I got to the room, I found Smug and JB sleeping…they were obviously tired from their flight and their pools were tomorrow so they didn’t have to play at all. To their surprise, they did not know that ELeague had already played Top 8 up until Top 4 so I let them know the results. Also, they had already grabbed food for the day and brought it back to the room. They had a few leftovers which they let me have so I decided to just stay in and chill in the room with them. Top 4 of ELeague was soon and we wanted to watch all of it (They already had TBS on in the background waiting for ELeague).
Needless to say, the Top 4 of ELeague was amazing. Phenom caused a huge upset by sending Punk to losers 3-1 in their Winners Finals match. Everyone in the room was cheering for Punk so we hoped that he would pull himself together in losers. Then, Fuudo had the most ridiculous match against PR Balrog where he clutched it out in the last round with a huge comeback. Hot off that win, Fuudo then played the best he had ever played against Punk but Punk managed to pull it back together and win 3-2. Finally, Punk managed to beat Phenom in the runback 4-2 (thanks to an unfortunate CA drop by Phenom. A drop that costed him $110,000). Overall, ELeague was incredibly hype from start to finish and the Top 4 was a great sendoff for the event. I hope that they do a season 2 of SFV ELeague eventually. During this time, our final roommate, JDragon, had finally arrived to the venue and he joined us in the ELeague viewing.
The night was still young and Combobreaker has a 24 hour venue so we went to the main ballroom to play some casuals to finish off the night. But before that, we decided to head to Walmart (we met Dang at the venue and he suggested we go to Walmart) to grab some snacks/refreshments for the weekend.
Walmart was only a 10 minute walk from the venue and it was open 24 hours so we headed there around 12AM. The above video will give you a glimpse of our Walmart adventure. We bought arizona iced teas, snacks, hygiene supplies, beer, etc. to tide us over for the weekend. We also wanted to get some McDonalds after shopping but it was already closed by the time we got out. We walked back to the venue to play some casuals. I got to play Commander Jesse in a lot of sets to prepare him for Marn’s Ibuki. Jesse was way more aggressive than the Dhalsims back home and that caught me off guard. He was beating me pretty handily by the end of the night (I hate SFV Dhalsim so much…). I gave him some Ibuki vs Sim tips and wished him luck against Marn. It must’ve been ~4:00AM when I decided to head back to the room to rest for the next day.
I set my alarm for 11:00AM because my ST pool was at 12:00PM and I also wanted to watch some pool matches (especially pools with NYC players). I got down to the venue just in time to start my first ST match.
3-0 DaFeetLee (Chun) vs RyanHank (Ken)
2-3 DaFeetLee (Chun) vs Mek (Chun)
0-3 DaFeetLee (Chun) vs HANSON (Balrog)
Notes: My first pool match actually went on the ST stream. It was against RyanHank, a Ken player. He didn’t seem like he knew what he was doing with Ken tbh so I won in a quick 3-0 set. My next match was against Mek, a Chun player. It was a Chun vs Chun mirror and it went down to last game last round last hit. Unfortunately, I choked it up and lost the set 2-3. I immediately went on to play my losers match. I faced off against HANSON Balrog and lost 0-3 in quick fashion. I was definitely rushing myself too much and got hit by ST Balrog things. Pretty disappointed in how I performed in ST tbh (especially because Justin Wong didn’t show up to our pool so I thought I had a good chance of making it out).
I went to check up on Henry Cen’s SFV pool. He was cruising through his pool matches until he had to face SETHLOLOL, a very strong Laura from the midwest. The set was pretty much Seth’s; he was up one game and a round and Henry had a pixel left with Dhalsim. However, Seth did a greedy EX Bolt to try and end the set but Henry blocked it and made a comeback. From there on, Henry ended up winning the set 2-1, sending Seth to losers. It was a hype set but this meant that Henry had to play NuckleDu next on stream, which ended up being an easy 2-0 for Du. Regardless, Henry moved on to Phase 2 of pools and we had a long time until Phase 2, which started at 6:00PM. We found Lil’Evil who sadly didn’t make it out of his pool and DiegoM so we decided to head back to their room to watch some BOKU NO HERO ACADEMIA. It was Saturday and that meant a new episode of Boku no Hero came out that morning. And it was a good one too. We all sat around Lil’ Evil’s laptop (Even Shine came into the room to join us) and watched the Uraraka vs Bakugo episode, which was hype and full of feels! I likened their match to my match against Fchamp hahaha (Fchamp zoning away my Ibuki with Dhalsim, making sure that I never got a good hit in). After the episode, we went to a nearby Thai place that had good reviews and ate our lunch there. The food was reasonably priced and delicious!* Didn’t manage to take any pictures this time though.
*Sadly, this would be the only good meal I ate the entire weekend…
After our nice meal, we went back to the venue to prepare for Phase 2 pools which were coming up soon. I got back in time to watch JB face off against MenaRD for Winners Finals of their pool. I was confident that JB could beat MenaRD and that’s exactly what he did: JB beat MenaRD 2-0, 4 rounds straight. It looked so easy for him! I was so impressed. It was almost time for Phase 2 pools so I headed to my station to check in. I had checked the online brackets earlier in the day and saw that I had to face SD|Tempest first round. I was fairly confident in the Vega matchup because I play Chris Battle so much back home.
2-0 DaFeetLee (Ibuki) vs SD|Tempest (Vega)
1-2 DaFeetLee (Ibuki) vs Method|Mikeand1ke (Laura)
Notes: My match against SD|Tempest wasn’t too interesting. I just played how I always do against Vega and won in a decisive 2-0. I personally think Ibuki beats Vega and I practice against Chris Battle so much that there’s nothing really new a Vega player can surprise me with. On the other hand, my match against Mikeand1ke went down to the wire. Mike beat me pretty soundly in game 1 and was continuing to beat me up in game 2. I managed to turn it around and take game 2 with some cheap Ibuki mixups. Game 3 went to the last round and I had a good 50% lifelead on Mike. I didn’t confirm a combo properly and Mike responded with s.MK xx VT into mixup…You know the rest.
I finished the tournament in 49th place, the same placing I got at my last CPT premier (Final Round 20)! I was pretty salty but that only means that I have to play better next time. I stayed to watch the rest of the Phase 2 pool matches, which were very exciting to say the least! Once it came down to Top 16, the only NYC player left was Smug and to get into Top 8, he had to defeat Mago’s Karin. Smug ended up beating Mago in a decisive 2-0, which cemented Smug’s spot in the Top 8 on Sunday! Once the tournament ended for the day, we stayed to play casuals for the rest of the night. JB even managed to order Papa John’s delivery for dinner because we didn’t want to leave the venue to find food.
So many people were still in the main ballroom playing casuals after the tournament ended. 24 hour venue is seriously the best thing a major could have. I got so many games in against players like Fubarduck, Ed Ma, 801|IPeru, 801|Strider, etc. Eventually, I had to leave the ballroom just so I could eat the cold pizza that was waiting for me back in our room. Thankfully, there was a microwave in our room so I just heated it up and dug in. I went right back to the ballroom to play even more games. I even managed to get something like 30+ games against SETHLOLOL’s Laura, who asked me to play against him. We went back and forth, doing all sorts of mixups against each other and I got a better feel of the Ibuki vs Laura matchup. A group of players even started playing SFIV casuals (Poongko, Alex Myers, SD|Pnoy, etc.)! I got on for a bit and played against Poongko’s Seth with my rusty Yun. We went 2-2 and he switched to Ryu to beat me in the tiebreaker. This all went on until ~7AM when I finally decided to head back to the room to get some much needed rest…
This time, I didn’t have an alarm set because the tournament was already over for me and SFV Top 8 was the final event of the day. I woke up to JB and Skisonic watching the Red Bull Kumite finals and quickly got on my own phone to join them. I managed to catch the Grand Finals where Nemo destroyed Gachikun 6-1 in the runback (I saw that Gachikun had beaten Nemo 3-1 in winners). It was sick watching Nemo’s Urien again after so long. After the set finished, I went down to the venue and passed by the artist gallery booths. I spotted a Baiken print that I just had to buy! The booth had its prints going for $15/print but you could get 2 prints for $20. I decided to get the Baiken print + an Anabel print (Anabel is one of my favorite Pokemon characters, especially her Sun+Moon version).
I took my prints into the venue and looked for some casuals. To my surprise, ALL the stations were still up from yesterday! That was my favorite part about Combobreaker (besides the 24 hour venue of course). Usually, most majors (that I’ve been to) don’t have setups on Sunday because they want more seating for the finals. However, the main ballroom was so big for Combobreaker that they could keep the setups up for casuals throughout the whole day. I watched a couple good sets between Punk and Itazan but eventually, I wanted to play casuals as well. I found a station and planted myself down. From there on out, I played so many different players (Notable names like SRM|Marshmallow, Ice Effect, 801|Peru, etc.). It was great practice and we were playing FT3s so I got to cycle through a ton of different character matchups. It didn’t take long until Verloren showed up and asked for a set against me. I had not played Verloren since Final Round so I wanted to see how I would fare against him now. He beat me in a clean 3-0 to kick me off the station -_-
I walked around to find more foreign players to face (because I don’t get many chances to play the internationals in sets). I found Yukadon on a setup so I decided to wait in line to face him. He was destroying everybody who went up to face him…so when I was up to face him, I tried to change that. It was my first time ever playing Yukadon but I could see how strong of a player was when I faced him. I managed to get a game off him but I couldn’t beat him in a full set. There was a pretty big rotation to face Yukadon but I went back on it because I wanted to keep playing him. Even Verloren showed up to face him. By the time SFV Top 8 started, there was a big mass of strong players in the back of the room, waiting to play against Yukadon. He got up eventually and Verloren took his spot.
There were a lot of West Coast players around me like Dankadillas, NickTanella, Commander Jesse, Alexis Pinto, etc. and we were all watching the SFV Top 8 while waiting in line to play casuals. At one point, Ed Ma asked if he could get a set against me so I found another open station where we could play. We ended up playing a ton of Laura vs Balrog games and I taught Ed some stuff about the matchup and why I thought Laura wins it. He was impressing me with his Balrog though (his fundamentals are still so good!) and he took a good number of games off me!
My favorite set of the SFV Top 8 was probably Sako vs Chris G: Not only because of Sako beating Chris G’s Guile with Chun Li but also because of the drama that ensued during the match.
We were all cracking up at this guy randomly showing up during the match to “calm down” Chris. It was even more funny when we found out that he was waiting to be ejected out the venue.
After the SFV Top 8 ended, it was finally time to end all casuals for the weekend. The tournament organizers had to pack up all the equipment at the end of the night so we all left the venue to find some food. Random moment of the night: a guy came up to me and offered me a swig of his vodka while calling me Xiaohai…I was not sure if he was being serious or if he was just joking but I took a swig of his vodka anyway ^_^. Anyways, I found Smug, JB, Dang, and Lud and we all decided to find some dinner around the area. We first looked up a nearby restaurant that was open that late at night. Smug and JB took the first Uber there and Lud, Dang, and I would follow after in a second Uber. Before our Uber arrived, Smug called to let us know that the restaurant was already closed…they had to take an Uber back to the venue so we could decide on a backup. We quickly found out that almost nothing was open that late at night; our only options were White Castle or a place called Steak n’ Shake. Apparently, a ton of FGC peeps were planning to go to Steak n’ Shake but we decided to go to White Castle. We ordered our Ubers and headed to White Castle…only to find out that the actual restaurant was closed. Only the drive-thru was open that late at night and our Uber drivers had already left. We were SO SALTY!! The worst part is that a car passed us in the parking lot and mocked us…I came to find out that it was an Uber with Kim1234, Ice, and LPN. They had already gotten their food and were headed back to the venue!
We wasted so much time trying to find food around the venue and we ended up wasting so much money on Ubers going to closed restaurants. We all decided to just head to Walmart to grab TV dinners to finish off our trip so we ordered an uber XL so we didn’t have to order two separate Ubers. When we got to Walmart, we search around for edible TV dinners. We ended up finding a frozen Chinese food section and we bought ourselves some fried rice + sweet chicken. Lud wasn’t too hungry so he bought himself a small cold sandwich. We took a salty walk back to our hotel room to eat our food and chill until the morning. We watched some TV, ate our food, and chatted for the rest of the night. We all took a very short nap before we had to leave for our respective destinations. My rideshare van was ready to leave ~5:00AM so I headed down around that time and met with everyone from the van before heading back to New York.
- 24 HOUR VENUE! I cannot stress this enough. This was the absolute best part of the event. No matter what time of the day, you could head down to venue to play casuals in any game you wanted. There were so many available stations so you never had to wait in a long line to play. So many players were playing until the crack of dawn!
- Not only that but they kept the casual stations up on Finals day (Sunday)! There are some tournaments that pack up their stations on Sunday so they can provide more spectator seating but I love it when they keep them up so the players can continue playing, even after most of them were eliminated.
- The actual resort itself is very nice. There was an outdoor pool and an indoor pool. I never had time to go to them however because I was only focused on playing that weekend but if I ever wanted to relax, I had those choices to go with.
- There was free wifi in the venue! You don’t get much reception in the main ballroom but they had free wifi in the venue for most of the weekend (It wasn’t working for most of Saturday though but that was the only day that I had problems with the wifi).
- The SFV tournament itself ran smoothly and there were no delays when transitioning from one set of pools to another. There were no hiccups on my side and all the stations had headsets if you wanted to use them! I love it when tournaments provide headsets for you.
- NO FOOD OPTIONS AROUND THE VENUE! St. Charles is a pretty small city and as a result, there aren’t many food options. Within walking distance, there was a Culvers, McDonalds, IHop, some other small restaurants (Thai) and Walmart/Subway. At the end of every day, it was ~10:00PM and that meant that almost everything was closed by that time. We had to resort to Walmart for most of the weekend…
All in all, I loved Combobreaker! It’s probably my favorite major now outside of Evo. There was a lot of hype coming from everyone (top player and casual player alike) after last year’s Combobreaker and it did not disappoint this year. Almost everyone was at Combobreaker (US top players and foreign top players), even though ELeague and Red Bull Kumite were on the same weekend. It was my first ever Combobreaker, my first time going to the Midwest, and my first time entering a Midwest FGC tournament. I decided to skip out on CEO for Combobreaker this year because I’ve gone to CEO for the past 2 years but I had never gone to Combobreaker. It was truly an amazing experience and I hope that I can go again next year!