How Final Round’s Hype Train Derailed the Meta

[Updated on March 27th, 2018]

final round logo

Final Round Was Just the Beginning

This last Saint Patrick’s Day weekend a major tournament called “Final Round” was held in Atlanta, Georgia. Final Round’s 21st event hosted a whole slew of games from Dead or Alive 5 to Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite. The games in focus, however, were Street Fighter V and Dragonball Fighter Z (a game we’ve given high praise to for its friendliness to casual and hardcore players). This is the first Major Tournament to showcase DBFZ streaming to a larger audience. There were over 300 local and international participants in both of the main stage games. We were privileged to see players travel from all over the world compete to see who was the best of the best. Japan, Korea, Brazil, Dominican Republic, United Kingdom, China and the United States were all proudly represented at Final Round.


A New Community Flourishes

“We peaked at 55K I believe during the Grand Finals, we were hoping for 60K.  But for us, we just want to put on a good broadcast for the viewers both at home and at the tournament, the numbers are an afterthought, but they do help. Most majors average between 4K – 15K depending on the game, where it is in the bracket, and the competitors attending, its a mix of things that really determines the amount of viewers we get.  But like we said earlier, numbers aren’t really a big deal to us, for us its about the type of broadcast that we produce and how that goes.”

Dragonball Fighter Z had 55 thousand viewers on Twitch. Many tuning in to Final Round witness the excitement as well as other viewers observing new international tech to incorporate into their play style. With so many viewers, this might be a record for Event Streamers, Bifuteki. As this is around 4x their higher traffic events they hit some bumps, particularly on Friday. However, they bounced back on the weekend to deliver a good show to their audience. Kitana Prime and Tasty Steve commentated during the main portion of the DBFZ tournament and riled up the Stream Monsters to get the hype train going.

After all, tournament hype is the heart and soul of  the fighting game community.

screenshot of the final round twitch stream

Here Comes the Hype!

There were many exciting moments during Final Round. Within this tournament viewers expected to see a rivalry between Dominique Mclean (SonicFox) and Goichi Kushida (GO1). The two fighters had a pre-tournament “first to ten” exhibition match. We saw two fighters matched up on the same team display a synchronized match.  Notable moments include an opening character being eliminated in 20 seconds, a magic pixel comeback, the landing of an instant kill move, and of course crazy combos and explosions everywhere.

The peak of the hype was centered around the grand finals between said rivalry. GO1 had to fight his way out of the loser’s bracket and beat SonicFox twice to claim the title. The first set ended with GO1 beating SonicFox three to zero. However, it was not a blowout.

Many of the highlights from Final Round can be found at Eventhubs. It’s just one of those things you have to experience in the moment. Many first time streamers were found in the DBFZ subreddit talking about how this tournament had them hooked and excited for many future tournaments.

meme with the guy with gf looking at other girl who passed by but with android 16 as the gf and adult gohan as the girl walking by

Changin’ the Game

The aftermath of a crazy hype tournament typically leads to shoveling more coal into the hype train. The excitement may be over but the fire within the fighters still burns. All the professionals will go back to their respective homes and continue to train for the next tournament, but the spectators and everyone else who plays this game will also do the same thing. Many spectating players will log into the game the very next day and put to practice what they had just witnessed in the stream before.

SonicFox was widely known as one of the best players for DBFZ. He’s a big advocate of using the character Android 16 and has many followers so it has become a trend to use that character. 16 is a genuinely good character and everyone will want to learn to play him for the sake of winning. Now that Go1 has taken the championship name with the character Adult Gohan, we begin to see the trend shift in a different direction.

Same formula: new champion takes the hot spot with a good character and many impressed followers want to replicate that. Adult Gohan’s strong toolbox consists of long block strings, solid hit confirms and tricky mix ups. The initial meta was that the community was using 16 as the “current top tier strategy”, but now that Go1 has shown us a new light we’ll be seeing less of 16 and more Adult Gohan. Many fighters logged on to play DBFZ today and witnessed exactly that. It always cools down after a while but many of these players really adopt these new techniques and the meta remains shifted.

dbfz character selection splash screen showing all adult gohans selected

On to the Next One

Final Round blew up more than many could imagine. With all the crazy things that took place it is only going to get crazier. By the time we get to the next tournament the game will have at least a couple new characters and maybe a re-balance patch or two. We can only hope to see a new challenger bring something new to the table next time and see the meta shift again. What is beautiful about this is that the whole community grows together to get better at this one game by discovering new techniques and practicing. Each time we see a major tournament someone is going to set the bar higher each time. This game is still only a couple months old so there is much to be seen in the near future.

In fact, GO1 and SonicFox are scheduled to fight for a third time this Thursday (3/22/18) as the opening for the Esports Arena Las Vegas tournament!

Daryl Pebenito

Post Author: Daryl Pebenito

An SF Bay Area native, perfect imperfectionist, and everyday legend. Photographer extraordinaire, master of analysis on the gaming scene, and creative professional. Sketching on the daily, traveling on the regular. He's a hot off the press graphic designer who's got fresh ideas that are even hotter. He specializes in photography, Illustration and packaging design, but has also done typography, web design, and print design. He's led multiple projects for clients around the Bay Area. He left California State University East Bay with a B.A. in graphic design looking to redesign the world for the better. He's passionate about everything design, art, and hip hop. Making things functional and aesthetically pleasing at the same time is something he wants to do for everyone. However, that just might be humanly impossible. So he'll start by doing so little by little.

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