Semiij wins Kombat Cup S2 Week 8!
With the completion of Week 8, Kombat Cup Season 2 is quickly approaching its final leg! Last week’s champion, yungmonster, makes a return to defend his throne. There is no sign of Echo Fox Sonic Fox or Scar this time around, but other familiar faces stand in his way of victory. Read on for the results!
As quarterfinals unfolds, we see a familiar match-up between Semiij (Mileena) and RevetLeafing (Tanya). Known for his mastery of all three variations, Revet has always been a top-tier threat in the Kombat Cup, but Semiij harbors a consistent win streak against him. This set looks to have a similar outcome despite the handful of strong rounds where Revet’s Pyromancer Tanya consistently opens up Semiij with overhead cancels leading into low launchers. However, Revet gets in a hurry to anticipate throws and lets go of block in the middle of Semiij’s blockstrings, a decision that costs him games. Semiij’s skill at converting off staggers on hit propels him to a 2-0 lead in the blink of an eye. Revet immediately calls on his Dragon Naginata variation to change things up, but Semiij destroys all his efforts to approach from the air. Unable to adapt, Revet is eliminated from the Kombat Cup while Semiij advances to semifinals.
The spotlight shifts over to Noble Dragon and Noble Tweedy. Although they are teammates, they are also one of the fiercest match-ups we’ve had the pleasure of seeing for weeks. As they do spend a tremendous amount of time practicing with one another, they are fully aware of each other’s strategies. A large fraction of their matches consists of a slow yet steady chain of pressuring away at the opponent while slipping an occasional mix-up into the fray. Dragon takes it slow in approaching his opponent until he sees his opponent commit to an unsafe option, before either running or using an Assassin Dash to enter close-quarters combat. Tweedy’s efforts to anti-air Dragon fail at first due to the delayed float cancels, but later in the set, he changes up his timing so that the uppercut actually succeeds, earning him the match. Suddenly, all caution is thrown to the wind. Tweedy waylays his adversary with stylish combos that approach 50% damage while a flustered Dragon tries and fails to retreat from the fight. Tweedy’s strong defense combined with his adaptation leads him to a 3-1 victory over his comrade!
Despite this victory, Noble refuses to relinquish the spotlight, as iLuusions comes up to play against a Kombat Cup regular who has actually been turning a lot of heads with his Goro: EMPEROR KNICKS. In fact, KNICKS is responsible for SonicFox’s early elimination in the Sunday preliminaries! Knowing this, iLuusions goes into the match wary of his opponent’s capabilities. What comes as a surprise is how KNICKS is using absurdly slow specials, such as his unblockable sky stomp and his projectile, to dictate the pace of the neutral against his opponent. iLuusions finds himself unsure of what to do whenever Goro closes the distance, allowing the Shokan to subject him to an onslaught of plus frames while rapidly increasing his meter. When Luu’s Grandmaster Sub-Zero fails him (shades of Forever King vs. DJT at The Fall Classic?!), he switches to his Nimble Reptile. This pick ultimately fares no better against KNICKS despite Reptile’s highly damaging conversions using the green screen. Flustered now, Luu falls back to his Sorcerer Quan Chi for a final stand. In turn, KNICKS responds with a zoning playstyle until he trades with a trance. Never did the viewers believe they would see the day when a Goro thrived off defensive play, but not only did KNICKS make this approach effective, he closed off the set with a strong 3-0 outcome to eliminate Noble iLuusions!
With new blood set to appear in semifinals, the heat picks up from here on out. HARA Rewind (Raiden) returns to the arena to face last week’s champion, yungmonster (Jacqui Briggs). The threat of Raiden’s F4 attack actually makes yungmonster cautious about approaching him, but whenever Rewind tries to approach with an enhanced teleport yung is ready with an immediate reaction. In answer to this, Rewind decides to reappear at a distance instead of next to his opponent so that yungmonster would be hitting empty air, leaving him open to counter-attacks. The match is basically a contest to see who can earn the first hit and run away with the rest of the match, while being wary of both players’ safe reversal options. Eventually Rewind becomes too eager to assert his domination and begins jumping in on yung, who responds with his upper rockets. One particularly weird instance that happened in the first match is when Rewind teleported behind yungmonster but the upper rockets actually hit him out of his recovery from behind. This results in his first loss, but he quickly recovers and takes the second game with a sequence of corner combos. Nevertheless, Rewind’s eagerness for mobility leaves him open to the upper rockets again and again, and before the viewers know it, yungmonster blows out the Thunder God’s brains with a Brutality from his EX BF2 attack. Our defending champion returns to semifinals with a 3-1 victory!
It has been almost a month after Final Round where Semiij and Noble Tweedy faced off, but they meet in the upper half of Top 4 to contest one another for a spot in Grand Finals. Once again, Tweedy finds quite the success in challenging his opponent’s jumps with his D2, despite the hitboxes on Mileena’s air attacks. His patience in the neutral is also phenomenal, as is Semiij’s. But whenever Semiij wins out in the neutral and goes for pressure, Tweedy looks for throws and ends up eating full combos. He makes up for this deficit with an excellent read: after a knockdown, he runs at Semiij and times his teleport just right to avoid the sai toss and punish for a game-winning combo. This makes for a promising start for Tweedy, but for some reason he becomes somewhat impatient in Game 2 and jumps over Semiij, only to be anti-aired himself. Semiij’s defense against Kenshi’s mix-ups proves to be near impossible to break, so Tweedy is forced to rely on chip damage and throws a majority of the time. Semiij’s use of EX Fade has become increasingly rare, but in the few times it was used this set, he’d delayed it long enough for Tweedy to throw an attack and leave himself vulnerable to rolls. The matches are close, but ultimately, Semiij emerges victorious 3-1.
With half of the Grand Finals occupied, EMPEROR KNICKS and yungmonster are more than prepared to fight for the other half. As Mr Aquaman correctly states, this match-up on paper looks to be uphill for Goro, but yungmonster’s awareness of the stomp prompts him to cease his zoning now and then in order to limit his openings. Sure enough, KNICKS comes stomping into his territory to play his pressure game. Understandably yung hesitates to hit buttons given Goro’s U1 anti-air option, but he’s also forced to contend with a mix-up between a command grab and a safe launching special. yungmonster quickly assumes the lead, but KNICKS steals it back with an amazing series of comebacks, one of which includes a knockdown set-up for an unblockable after he finds a full-screen anti-air with his projectile, all while holding on to a mere pixel of his health! KNICKS even takes a page from Semiij’s book by anti-airing yungmonster with his D1, opening the door for insane corner carry. However, KNICKS’s miracle factor awakens the beast in yungmonster. Now it is KNICKS’s turn to guess between plus frames, lows and overheads. After blocking Jacqui’s ground pounds, he tries to jump out but yung brings him back down to Earth for another max-damage conversion. Unable to reclaim his momentum, KNICKS is eliminated from the Kombat Cup, but not without receiving a wave of respect for an amazing display of his skill with Goro.
For our Grand Finals, we have a cat-fight with Semiij’s Mileena and yungmonster’s Jacqui. At first, Semiij practically runs a train over yung, who makes a momentary switch to his High Tech variation in the hopes of throwing a banana onto the race track. But when Semiij scores a near-flawless victory for his second win, yungmonster becomes the beast once again. Semiij begins the third game by chucking an interactable only to be met with an armored dash punch that awards all momentum to yung. The two compete in an occasional stare-down broken only by Semiij’s decision to jump, but yung immediately reacts with up rockets to make him regret his mistake. Additionally, we see yungmonster performing extremely fast cancels for his ground pound to instill fear into the Mileena specialist, leaving him open to blockstrings. yungmonster immediately becomes his usual aggressive self, but in doing so he disregards Semiij’s EX Fade which comes back to haunt him. Everybody’s heart rates rocket out of control when yung does not punish a tele-kick in Game 4, but he nevertheless takes the game with chip damage off of two blockstrings that jail into an EX Machine Gun. With Semiij’s rolls not punishing the recovery of Jacqui’s ground pounds, he begins using the tele-kick instead. After a close first round, Semiij entraps his prey in the corner and keeps him from escaping until the last signs of life drain from yung’s health bar…
1st – Semiij
Prizes: $250 and 150 league points
2nd – yungmonster
Prizes: $100 and 125 league points
3rd/4th – Noble Tweedy
Prizes: $50 and 75 league points
3rd/4th – EMPEROR KNICKS
Prizes: $50 and 75 league points
5th – HARA Rewind
Prizes: 50 league points
5th – Noble Dragon
Prizes: 50 league points
5th – Noble iLuusions
Prizes: 50 league points
5th – RevetLeafing
Prizes: 50 league points
Semiij (Mileena): 3 vs. RevetLeafing (Tanya): 0
Noble Tweedy (Kenshi): 3 vs. Noble Dragon (Kitana): 1
EMPEROR KNICKS (Goro): 3 vs. Noble iLuusions (Sub-Zero, Reptile and Quan Chi): 0
yungmonster (Jacqui Briggs): 3 vs. HARA Rewind (Raiden): 1
Semiij (Mileena): 3 vs. Noble Tweedy (Kenshi): 1
EMPEROR KNICKS (Goro): 2 vs. yungmonster (Jacqui Briggs): 3
Semiij (Mileena): 3 vs. yungmonster12 (Jacqui Briggs): 2
yungmonster came very close to becoming a two-time champion, but Semiij intercepts him and becomes our Week 8 champion! Well done to him for making such a triumphant return to the circuit!
Missed out on the excitement? You can watch Week 8’s archive here. Don’t skip over KNICKS vs. yungmonster, that’s a gem from the Kombat Cup right there!
We would also like to congratulate scarsunseen for winning Konquest S2 Week 8 last week. This win comes after weeks and weeks of participating in both Konquest and the Kombat Cup. scarsunseen is known for her mastery of Cyrax, a variation the community has largely ignored, but there have also been sightings of her Sektor in the Grand Finals with RevetLeafing.
Want to catch up on Konquest? See below for the links:
Kombat Cup Season 2 continues tonight with the Week 9 preliminaries! Tune in to the KC Stream.Me page at 6 P.M. EST tonight to enjoy another marathon of competitive Mortal Kombat XL. The Konquest series also continues with Week 9 this Thursday. Sign-up pages for both brackets are available and can be seen below:
Thanks to Kitana Prime and Mr Aquaman for casting the Week 8 finals for Kombat Cup, and thanks to Doughboy and VX Saga for blessing Konquest Week 8 with their dual commentary. We’ll see them and Big D back with us this week, and we certainly hope that you, the players, will continue participating as well.
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