|Match Date||Saturday, August 6th, 2005|
|Tommy Vercetti - 50.98%|
63 for - 30 against
|Tommy Vercetti - 37.66%|
When the bracket was first released, this match came up as being one of the hotter matches to debate before the contest began. Many people, myself included, questioned why. Kefka's Spring 2005 performance may have made him look impressive, but the fact is that Spring 2005 only has Kefka scoring an extra .24% against Base Link. Vercetti was above that by a good deal, so for Kefka to win this match, Vercetti would actually have to go down in strength. Kefka was only projected to score 43.89% on the man, after all. A widely used argument however was that Vercetti could go down due to the release of San Andreas, but detractors of this theory pointed out that it was a fairly ridiculous assumption. Cloud and Link don't go down when Square or Nintendo decides to release new games, do they?
But regardless of what you thought going into the match, it was unlikely that many thought that this would be one of the best matches of the entire contest.
Everything started off horribly for Vercetti early on as Kefka roared past him and was beating the crap out of him early on. Kefka began the poll by taking in well over 60% of the vote, and though his percentage leveled off in the 55% range within an hour, he still managed to jump out to an early lead of over 550 votes. Vercetti supporters noted that Kefka took the board vote from Knuckles and that Knux was far more beloved on the board than Vercetti was, but Kefka never managed to actually begin pulling away from Knuckles in that match. Against Vercetti, Kefka began the poll on fire and barely showed any signs of weakness, while Knuckles is an entirely different animal (Literally!) altogether. Knuckles is a posterboy for the day vote, while Vercetti hasn't ever traditionally been good with it. If Vercetti didn't start doing something to save himself, and fast, he would be well on his way to getting killed in a match that he was supposed to win going away.
Vercetti somewhat weathered Kefka's early storm, and for the next few hours, he stalled Kefka the best he could. Vercetti never made any real comeback signs, but he was constantly going 50/50 or winning small five minute updates every now and then. However despite Vercetti's best efforts, it seemed as if the best he could do was to simply cause Kefka to be slow in increasing his lead. For everything Vercetti was throwing at Kefka in an attempt to slow him down, it did little more than cause Kefka to spend five hours increasing his lead from 550 to 1100. And given that Vercetti was never anything decent with the day vote, the odds of him coming back on Kefka were slim to none at this point despite the fact that Kefka was traditionally an embarrassment during the day. Incidentally, Vercetti was doing little more than embarrassing himself. Here we had someone slated to win a match with well over 56% of the vote, yet he somehow managed to fall in strength after a different game was released in his series. Not that San Andreas has anything to do with him of course, but Vercetti's performance against Kefka speaks of the lack of staying power that Grand Theft Auto characters have in these things.
But right around this point, six hours into the poll, Kefka's horrible day vote began kicking in. It's not that Vercetti was necessarily beginning a comeback, but that Kefka himself was downright pathetic during the day. However, things started to get a bit interesting once Vercetti stopped stalling, won a few updates and pulled Kefka's lead down to 1000 votes in less than an hour. Not that most people noticed that there was even a possible comeback going on, given how slow Vercetti was in cutting votes off of Kefka's lead in the first place.
What then took place was arguably 18 of the most action-packed hours we'll ever see in a contest match. What set this match apart from other matches that have had comeback attempts in them was that this match felt more like a defensive struggle than anything else. Everyone remembers the 1993 Wild Card game between the Bills and Oilers in which the Bills came back from being down 35-3, but not many people remember low-scoring slugfests in which the losing team fights an uphill battle for seemingly the entire game before winning at the end. Last year's game in which the Dolphins beat the Patriots in those fugly orange jerseys would be a good example of that. How many people can honestly remember who caught that final TD pass without looking it up?
And that was Vercetti in his match against Kefka. He fell under a mountain early on, and had to scratch and claw his way to gain back every vote for the duration of the match. Vercetti had a way of winning a few small updates in a row, then stalling with Kefka for awhile. Then Vercetti would win a couple more small updates with a random large update thrown in for dramatic value before Kefka would recover and stall the match again.
Not that Kefka sat back and let Vercetti back into the match for no reason, mind you. After Vercetti spent two tough hours getting Kefka's lead from 1100 votes down to 900, Kefka realized that he was actually in a match again and started fighting back a little. From this point on, Kefka and Vercetti turned a potential blowout into yet another Ali/Frasier-like contest match. Every time Vercetti tried making a push to make a full comeback attempt in the match, Kefka Havoc Wing'd his ass back down into oblivion. The result of this were the two characters spending over two hours stuck between being 800-900 votes apart in the match. Every time Vercetti made the slightest hint of a push, Kefka shot it back down. When Vercetii was finally able to get the lead under 800 down into the 770 range, Kefka *again* managed to easily hit back.
Quite literally, Vercetti had to begin fighting the match of his life in his efforts to siphon away Kefka's lead, and he did this by winning updates in such overwhelming fashion that Kefka's attempts to hit back wouldn't cause so much damage. After what felt like hours deadlocked at a deficit of 800 votes, Vercetti took over 50 votes off of Kefka's lead in less than five minutes. This was the largest swing of votes in the match since it was a mere two hours old; and even though Vercetti was able to get the lead down to the 720 range, Kefka quickly hit back to get it back to 750.
Vercetti decided enough was enough, and cut Kefka's lead from 750 to 600 in all of 25 minutes. Kefka made a feeble attempt at preventing the inevitable, but Vercetti then spent a mere 25 minutes slicing Kefka's lead from 610 to 450. As one could imagine, the board began to absolutely lose its mind. Cheating accusations were flying all over the place, and for fairly good reason. Both characters were all over the damned place with their intake of votes, and how CJayC could look at this match and assume that nothing was amiss was a bit strange.
And when I say the board went crazy, that's.... an understatement. We may never have board explosions on par with 2002 or 2003 again (thanks for changing the poll starting time, Ceej), but this match was about as big an explosion as one could possibly hope for in present times. To put this in better perspective, we went through over six stats topics in one day. Granted most of the posts were nothing more than RI-style flooding, cheating accusations and various other forms of debauchery that one needn't read if they had fallen behind in their effort to catch up to where the stats topic currently was. And what was going on in the stats topic was actually very lighthearted compared to what was going on everywhere else.
To make matters even more hilarious, the two characters decided to stay stuck at a difference of between 400-500 votes for well over two hours. Much like their standoff back when the match was hovering at around an 800 vote difference, the two characters tore into each other like nothing else for seemingly forever. Whenever one character tried making any sort of a move in the match, the other was right there to keep the match at a standstill. And to make things even better, this was going on during the prime of the match; the late afternoon, in other words.
But much like their last standoff, Vercetti decided to end it himself by going nuts. After a duel that saw both characters practically kill themselves, Vercetti went on another massive push to bring Kefka's lead down from 400 to 300 in a mere 25 minutes. Kefka was able to stall Vercetti for a full hour after this, but Vercetti soon went on another massive push to bring Kefka's lead down to a mere 200 votes. Kefka tried his hardest to hold off Vercetti's massive evening push, and though Kefka stalled Vercetti quite a number of times, Vercetti's spotty periods of slicing large sections off of Kefka's lead soon tied the match.
But Kefka wasn't quite done for yet. Every single time Vercetti tried to break the tie and pull away, Kefka was right there to bring Vercetti back down, often in the form of insane vote intakes after Vercetti looked like he was about to run away with the match. Though despite a TON of cheating accusations being thrown around against Kefka, a very large part of Vercetti's comeback were large updates out of nowhere. Surely, neither character would have to resort to cheating to try and gain the edge in such a close match.
As the night wore on, Kefka managed to weather Vercetti's storm of votes. After all of the effort that Vercetti put into tying the match, Kefka was able to use the second night vote to break the tie and pull away. At 11:20 PM EST, Kefka led by a mere 30 votes and was in the fight of his life. One hour later, Kefka had all but sealed away the match by extending a once-tied match into a lead of 260.
But just as everyone was throwing in the towel, Vercetti had one final push left in him. He was able to prevent Kefka from getting the lead past 260, and after he nickel and dimed his way to getting the lead down to 240, Vercetti spent all of 15 minutes getting Kefka's lead down to 140.
Everyone started going batty over Vercetti still having a shot to win this, but every time Vercetti made any sort of a push, Kefka was able to hold Vercetti at bay. Again, cheating accusations flew all over the place.
Right at around this point, CJayC signed onto AIM. He virtually never signs onto AIM unless something is wrong with the site, and given when he signed on, anyone could figure out what was coming next. In one IM window, I was listening to the grapevine about what was going on (I wasn't talking to Ceej, so don't ask for any AIM logs; not that I'd post such a log regardless). In the other, Leonhart was going nuts over Vercetti's latest comeback attempt. The contrast between the IMs was ironic in that Leonhart's side had no clue what about to happen, and I'm sure Leon wasn't the only example. Virtually everyone that was watching the match closely believed that they were watching something normal, or at the very least, believed that if cheating were going on that Ceej would have said something by now. Granted, Kefka's eventually turning a 100 vote lead into a lead of 140 within seconds certainly gave those crying cheat a good reason to wonder what in the hell was up, but more on that in a second.
At around 12:30 AM EST, CJayC implemented updates on the poll, and right in the middle of a match. This was a clear sign that something odd was going on, and a few people started calling for Vercetti's victory fanfare already. Unlike 2002/2003, the poll updates were in five minute increments rather than fifteen.
<shameless plug> "I Ran" is on Vercetti's bio if you're looking for a good Vercetti theme song >_>;; </shameless plug>
To make a long story short, CJayC caught a horribly obvious (see also: very stupid) cheater that was swinging votes in Kefka's favor via proxies and signed onto AIM to try and scare the guy; essentially, CJayC was about to announce that Vercetti had won the match due to cheating, and thanks to Ceej's being willing to tell some people this over AIM a few of us were lucky enough to hear about this before Ceej actually decided to announce it. Just for my own personal kicks, I decided to make a topic on Board 8 telling people that CJayC was about to announce Vercetti's victory (and that the reason he put poll updates back in place was so that potential future cheaters couldn't see the immediate benefits of their work and would hopefully be discouraged from cheating attempts in the future), and it was met with the expected OMG JOO KNOW NOTHING U LIAR LOLOL!11!!1!oneone nonsense. Figures as much (because really, you people are beyond predictable), but it made the following topic all the more hilarious to read:
Vote adjustment due to stuffing.
From: CJayC | Posted: 8/7/2005 12:49:27 AM | Message Detail | #001
Kefka has lost 1800 votes due to flagrant vote stuffing. The clear majority of the stuffed votes appear to have come from user "George Romero" (who even hinted that he was doing it in his posts here, and has since been banned, although it appears he had no valid entry in the contest). While there are probably many more than 1800 votes stuffed exclusively in favor of Kefka, that's approximately how many I can confirm were done by this group, and it's more than enough to set the balance right.
While there is, of course "vote stuffing" for both characters, this is a clear case where a few people have gone through extraordinary lengths to alter the vote, spending hour after hour stuffing votes. There was no vote stuffing to this order of magnitude for Tommy, so the vote totals have been adjusted accordingly, and new measures are being put in place to prevent this from happening again.
As a reminder, this is covered explicitly in the rules, and again, I have absolutely no stake in whoever actually wins in each day's bracket (not counting my own entry for fun, which, of course, I picked Kefka for).
And just for kicks....
21:45 | Kefka | 47186 | +123 | 50.06% | Vercetti | 47065 | +140 | 59.94% | Lead of 121 | (Down 17)
21:50 | Kefka | 45502 | -1684 | 49.10% | Vercetti | 47179 | 114 | 50.90% | Lead of 1677 | (Up 1684)
By the way, if anyone has a screen of that weird update that had two copies of each character and almost 200,000 total votes, feel free to post it. I forgot to save the link, for some reason.
As one could imagine, it was Board Explosion Central after CJayC decided to layeth the smacketh down on the poll. But he wasn't done yet:
A few extra notes on the adjustment.
From: CJayC | Posted: 8/7/2005 1:13:12 AM | Message Detail | #001
In case you're wondering how bad the cheating was for Kefka, here's a sample:
The yellow is Kefka votes, the blue is Tommy. The number (vertical) is how many votes out of each group of 1000 (horizontal) came from a IP range from a particular ISP. Based on the user logs, this was clearly perpetrated by a single person or at most a small group of people, and as such, cannot be allowed.
As I mentioned in the first post, this situation is explicitly covered by the rules: "we reserve the right intervene in the daily tally when there is a clear evidence of mass voting fraud". If that chart isn't clear evidence, well, then nothing's going to convince you. If you want to get angry at anyone, get angry at the people who caused it.
The match was essentially over, but the firestorm was only just beginning. Thanks to some idiot who thought that his opinion should matter more than the opinions of tens of thousands of other people, one of the best matches we've ever had turned into a match that was only dramatic because of vote-stuffing. All of those barrier jokes in the stats topic? Yeah, turns out that they were vote-stuffing barriers. The ironic thing is that ChichiriMuyo (and possibly even Nevest, I believe) practically pinned down what would happen through the rest of the match before it actually happened. Apparently some people were quicker to blame cheating before others.
However, the saddest thing in all of this was the fact that after the entire board was whining about cheating for practically the entire match, a great many people decided to turn around and act like the stuffer was someone actually worth being praised for his efforts. It was pathetic, and it only proves that any idiot can become popular on the internet if he's stupid enough. When Board 8 turns around and practically idolizes someone who did nothing more than cheat in an online popularity contest after whining about the possibility of cheating for an entire match, it goes to prove how truly mature some people are.
And given all of the attention from nowhere, our wonderful vote-stuffer did what was only instinctual: stretch out all of the positive attention for as long as he could possibly receive it. This soon led to him claiming cheating in virtually every close match we've ever had via AIM conversations with various people, though given how unbelievably stupid and obvious he was in a one-point match, I find it hard to believe that CJayC wouldn't have caught this guy years ago if the claims were actually true. But the board ate it up like candy and continued to think that they were dealing with some misunderstood genius, and the entire situation was nothing short of pathetic. I find it hard to believe that this guy got away with cheating in high-profile matches when he screwed up Kefka versus Vercetti. Give me a break. Besides, I IMd the guy myself. He changed his story around with every different match I asked him about, and though I was upset about the possibility of him getting away with cheating in other matches in the past for a few minutes, this was alleviated by him being one of the dumbest liars I'd ever seen. The key to having credibility while lying is consistency, and he sucked at it.
Besides, if you read the following post, even Ceej himself subliminally laughs at M410123's claims of past cheating:
From: CJayC | Posted: 8/7/2005 2:37:34 AM | Message Detail | #059
The whole reason I had the conversation with him, of course, is so it _would_ get re-posted, confirming that what I did was indeed find one person voting massive amounts of times. Not really devious, but an ulterior motive. Figured this was easier than posting "Yes, AyaneLuverGuy really does know George, I can see the usermap, and he's more than likely really talking to him on the phone".
As for his claims that he did this for Mario v Crono, I couldn't tell ya. From what I remember, all of the stuffing I saw was pretty much equal on both sides, so his claim that he decided it can be shared by many others.
By the way, this was posted by Ceej in a topic in which ALG was allegedly having a phone conversation in which M410123 (Romero's original account, for the curious) gave one cheating claim after the other. Dunno about everyone else, but I don't buy a single one of those claims given that the guy screwed up a one point match in which the winner was guaranteed to lose in the second round. No credibility at all, especially when Romero began using his friend's account to defend himself from the accusations of having no credibility.
This match eventually wound down to a close, but someone decided to have the match go out with a bang by vote-stuffing for Vercetti near the end. CJayC responded to the entire situation by posting this topic:
Oh, by the way, Tommy would have won regardless.
From: CJayC | Posted: 8/7/2005 3:02:58 AM | Message Detail | #001
Given the final vote differential was 2245, and I only removed 1800 votes from Kefka...
In other words, had I just not done anything at all, the same result would have occurred, minus all of the hullabaloo.
There's irony for ya.
Except that had you not done anything and allowed the vote-stuffer to continue without a hitch, Kefka wins. Pretty silly post, I think.
And lastly, CJayC's response to Vercetti's being the beneficiary of vote-stuffing near the end of the match, which he posted within the "Tommy would have won regardless" topic:
(For the curious: http://sc2k5.com/drupal/node/22?matchnum=2084&sort=time&type=ASC
Check out the last ten updates or so to see the Tommy vote-stuffing.)
From: CJayC | Posted: 8/7/2005 3:11:54 AM | Message Detail | #102
Yeah, I did see the Vercetti stuff at the end of it; odd thing though, it good portion of it (half?) came from a wide variety of IPs and ISPs, in China of all places. None of the IPs were known proxies, and given that they were from multiple ISPs, it can't have been one person doing it; it looked more like the Korean ISP floods during the Best Game Ever matches with StarCraft. *shrug*
Translated: "Starcraft may have cheated in Spring 2004, but the IP addresses are varied enough to where I can't confirm it for sure."
Am I the only one who thinks that admitting this was a horrible idea? Assuming that my assumption is correct, Ceej could have very well admitted that Starcraft did far more potential cheat damage than in the match with SSBM. Seeing how, if ever, this plays out in future Starcraft matches will be very interesting. Or maybe Korea just knows how to rally votes at the right time, who knows.
The only real issue I have is that one of the best matches we've ever had turned into one of the worst. It wasn't just M410123 doing the vote-stuffing, either. Tombs and GFA's owner both exhausted all of their accounts on the match by using a well-known glitch that CJayC can't fix. Tombs was put into Purgatory for publicly admitting this, while GFA's owner has since been axed (and possibly even KOSd, so he thinks) for an unrelated offense. The funny thing is that Tombs and GFA's owner were cheating for opposite characters and essentially canceled each other out. There was also a fourth vote-stuffer (who I won't name) that used the glitch to stuff 80 votes for Kefka. As for whether or not the 1800 removed votes factored in these other stuffed votes, we'll never know. The main issue with this is that Ceej can't fix the glitch without turning every match into what Pokemon/Xenogears Part 1 was.
A minor debate broke out about the validity (or lack thereof) of past stats and the affects on untouched cheating in matches, but Romero's complete lack of credibility in conjunction with the Starcraft example (take 3000 votes off of Starcraft's total against SSBM and watch how far it moves in the stats; hardly anywhere) put that to rest rather easily. In the end, we were left with new measures taken to prevent proxy cheating, poll updates were back in style, and the board was left scratching their heads with what to do next, as well as what exactly to make of what had just happened. All of this news had hit everyone in a span of just over two hours, and it took a long while for everything to fully digest and to look at the situation from a better perspective.
All over a one point match that meant next to nothing in the grand scale of things. However, this match was a return to form for the contest; we hadn't seen something this strange since Starcraft, and we wouldn't see anything quite like this for the rest of the contest. It may have only been one point, but it was something to talk about -- and in terms of things to talk about, this match delivered more than any other match would deliver through this entire contest. It's actually a shame that we didn't wind up with any true down-to-the-wire nailbiters in retrospect, because our best match wound up being a minor first round match. It was like Ryu H/Jill 2004 in that while it was entertaining, it was overall meaningless.
Now we’re getting into the nitty-gritty, the matches most people will remember as being definitive ones in contest history. This particular match is only so low because a certain cheater got a wee bit careless and ruined the fun for everybody, but it was still a damn amazing showdown regardless.
First off, these two were very close in the Xstats, and picking the winner of this was, for most, a tossup, so the pre-match hype was rather big. When the match actually began, there was all manner of crazy lead changes and comebacks and nobody really knew who was going to win even after halfway through the poll. Eventually the stuffer got caught and Kefka lost by a decent amount, but the excitement of the poll and the unpredictability of the updates made this one of the best matches of the whole contest.
Match Trends Edit
External Links Edit
- BARRIERS and Cheating result in one of the biggest Stats Topic explosions in history
- Match Updates
- Oracle Match Results