The Fighting Traveler, Vol. I

LAST TIME ON DRAGON BALL (FIGHTER) Z...

I wrote about my experiences at Winter Brawl & Chinatown Beatdown. Both were wonderful, amazing and left me wanting more. I told myself I'd go out to more local events whenever possible and since my last article, I've attended & participated in several events, thoroughly enjoying myself all the while!

First, we have Neos City Brawl, A Pokken Tournament DX local hosted by Panda Global's very own Coach Steve and his partner, ReyDelEmpire. It's run out of a local card shop on Monday nights and the competition is FIERCE. I've 0-2'd all three tourneys I've entered in, but what I've enjoyed most about Neos City is the atmosphere. It's a tiger's den for Pokken players, but they treat you like family; it's a tight-knit community of players pushing each other to improve. Right now, my favorite player of the bunch is InC|RoksoTheSavage, someone I've seen make Top 3 regularly. He's a good teacher, a great guy and definitely someone to draw inspiration from if you're serious about leveling up your Pokken game. Overall, Neos City Brawl is something I can see myself supporting long-term because of the accessibility (10 minutes from my house), the scene is great and the game is super fun, despite me not owning the game!

Next up is Dragon Ball FighterZ's Battle for the Belt, a two-day event held at Microsoft's Mixer Studio in Midtown. While I ended up watching the first day on stream, I was able to watch the second day in person, and the production quality was amazing. Josh Saleh was a wonderful host, and the commentary duo, IFC Yipes and Persia, was a pleasure to listen to as the eight players who made it out of their Day 1 pools duked it out, with FOX | Dekillsage emerging as champion. It was one of the first events where I've attended purely as a spectator and I realized sometimes it's fun to just sit back & watch talented players showcase their skill.

A few days later, I attended SKILLIONS at Next Level, a monthly event hosting Vampire Savior, along with a different arcade side event every month. For this particular SKILLIONS, Mach Breakers: Numan Athletics 2 was the game of choice. It's a pretty fun game that only uses three buttons, but requires fast rhythmic tapping for a handful of the events. I'd tried the game a few days before, so I had an idea as to what to do. During the tournament, I squared off against Hard Bread, a SKILLIONS regular and a favorite to win Mach Breakers. Due to his prior experience with the game, combined with my knack for quickly picking it up, we were a highly anticipated match that would hopefully take place in the Finals. Unfortunately, we met much earlier at Quarter-Finals, where I emerged victorious. I then went on to make it to Finals, losing to Joshez at the dreaded Beast Hole event. Despite the bitter defeat, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at SKILLIONS and will definitely enter more arcade side events in the future!

Finally, we have Bum's Birthday Bash, equal parts tournament and birthday celebration. There was great food, delicious cake and more competition than you could throw an arcade stick at! I'd decided to enter Street Fighter -- going 1-2 -- and play casuals, and this is how I met Carmen "YungWitch" Wang, a fellow Bison player & Kofi "Koustics" Miller, a relatively new player who gravitates toward Abigail. Between our intense sets, along with sets against other players in between, it was definitely a night to remember. I was glad to be a part of such a memorable experience in honor of Bum, an event organizer who runs locals out of his own apartment; he's given a lot to the community and it felt great to give back. It also felt great to finally have a group shot with the local Skullgirls players from when I'd first started: Muñoz, Dekillsage and SonicFox! Alas, Keninblack had left prior to the shot, but we felt him in spirit!

It was a fun month & a half and I still have a lot more events to attend. Look forward to my writeup on the Cinco de Mayo Chinatown Beatdown (especially the results from the anticipated showdown against Hard Bread in Mach Breakers!), Combo Breaker and several more!

Next stop, Orchard Street...

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