Stats and Analysis Edit
|Match Date||Thursday, October 16th, 2008|
|Sonic the Hedgehog - 40.60%|
Magus - 24.33%
Sandbag - 23.62%
Commander Shepard - 11.56%
|Sonic first place (2pts) - 56.25%|
Sonic second place (1pt) - 34.69%
Sandbag second place (2pts) - 21.67%
Sandbag first place (1pt) - 11.36%
|Sonic - 90.94% (39,016)|
Sandbag - 33.03% (14,171)
- Sandbag advancing was the #1 most surprising result of Round 1
It's hard to believe that a match like this had such deafening hype, but that's what happens I guess when you have one of the most elite bracketmakers on the board taking a new contestant to the finals. Sandbag was thought by many to represent a perfect storm; Sandbag was to be the spiritual incarnation of ? Block. Combining both the franchise voting of what would be the site's hottest game with the tenacious power of joke voting, it would be the ultimate cap on a joke dominated contest.
Personally, I didn't think it would turn out that way - we'd already seen what an entity like Sandbag could do back when it was called Master Hand, and the format + an enhanced power for jokes wasn't going to put it that far above its gloved predecessor. Ultimately, however, I ended up biting the bullet and having Sandbag advance over Magus here anyway. The logic was simple: the pure Smash vote, even one hampered by Sonic (who has never really been embraced by the SSB crowd, see how Snake curbstomped him after they were BOTH announced for details), was going to be a force for the ever-slipping CT to contend with. Magus, in particular, has seemed to be on an even steeper slide than CT in general, although to be fair he was the most overrated to begin with. Whatever joke support Sandbag got was going to just push it over the top.
Now fast forward to the day of the match. After what we had seen from Mudkip, L-Block, and WCC, Sandbag hype was in the process of consuming the board. That tight Oracle spread you see in favor of Magus there is nothing but pitiful, wishful thinking on the part of bracketmakers holding out hope against all hope.
(why did we back Magus so decisively AGAIN, again?)
Oh, and the other competitors here! Sonic just had to go and perform at his 2007 level (believe me, we weren't asking much) to designate him as a near-lock (Sandbag, remember?) for the semifinals now that Master Chief had run out of GAME FUEL. Still, a strong performance would go a long way toward assuring that he wouldn't falter against Auron in Round 2, either. Commander Shepard would be content with staying above 10%, I think.
Well, the match started, and immediately one thing was apparent - Sandbag was no L-Block. Magus rode his awesome bracket support to an early lead... and lo and behold, he was hanging on! Many began to exult in the miraculous redemption of the Fiendlord; if Magus was holding against Sandbag in the Power Hour he surely had the match in the bag!
(of course CT has an even stronger early vote than any Nintendo character, but we'll ignore that for now)
Sonic, for his part, was doing TERRIBLY - Magus and Sandbag were combining for nearly 50% of the vote, and considering that Magus was on the top end of that comparison and Shepard was pulling 13% that Sonic was reduced to taking percentages we would sooner expect out of Sora or Dante.
And Magus would continue to hold on - it wasn't what you would call "dominance", but it was an impressive night vote. This would be no Kuja/Master Hand, within CT's first prime four hours Magus had built himself an 800 vote lead. The Europe/morning vote was as unkind to CT as it always is, but it merely stalled his momentum and Magus would recoup it and then some with the during school vote. By his peak, Magus had attained a lead of nearly 2,200 votes over Sandbag with well less than half the match to go. All he had to do was endure what was sure to be a tough, but survivable ASV. It's not an understatement to say that Magus looked more impressive than he had at any time succeeding Magus/Knuckles. No Noble Nine killer, but enough to safely put away a sack of sand.
Then the cuts started coming in. At first they were reasonable, something you'd expect out of a match with a CT character and the protege of Master Hand - 10, 20, sometimes 30 vote cuts. It certainly wouldn't be enough with the time 'bag had left, especially considering Magus was going to put on an epic rally come that last hour. That was CT's specialty, after all.
Then suddenly, those 10 vote cuts weren't coming any more. In their stead came slashes of 40, sometimes 50 votes an update. Not only was Sandbag's quota to come back falling dramatically with each update, but Magus was just falling apart. Heck, SONIC was tanking in percentage. The only character not being affected was Commander Shepard of all characters. Personally I think that was Mass Effect telling us it wanted to be the next KOTOR of these contests, but what do I know?
Sandbag blasted an ASV that would make Master Hand envious. I saw the 'bag eviscerate Magus by 80+ votes some updates, pulling in on SONIC'S level. It blasted by at 8 pm EST, kept its momentum going until 10 or so, and didn't even let Magus make consistent gains until that final hour... where he ended up coming back all of 150 votes in the end. This from the same guy that was able to shave off over 1000 votes off of Knuckles' historic upset.
And with that... it was all over. A match that really no one could be happy with if you'd invested anything in any character performing. Sonic looked like crap, crap enough to look like he'd let Master Chief back into the game and to work the Auron upset train into a frenzy - as long as he just met expectations next match, anyway. Sandbag had certainly done just about everything to disappoint his backers short of actually losing the match, Magus had managed to outdo his outdoing of embarrassing himself, and Shepard probably walked away with the most dignity intact. Which is a shame, because he hadn't started with any in the first place.
...instant classic, right?
Match Trends Edit
Match Prediction Edit
As cool as these last 24 hours have been, the next 24 might even top them! Time to see the Contest's biggest wildcard finally hit the stage-
The Sandman Cometh
He is the sleep stalker.
Lock up your son,
Lock up your daughter.
He'll come past one,
So prepare for the slaughter.
The Sandman Cometh,
To sing his lullaby.
Try as you might,
Try to defy.
But not past tonight,
In your grave you will lie.
Last Known Values
- Sonic - 36.54% (2007)
- Magus - 21.17% (2007)
- Shepard - new
- Sandbag - new
Let me be clear here- I'm not a fan of the 'bag, and would be overjoyed if he bombed out of this Contest, hard. I keep looking for ways for that to happen, but all of them seem like too much of a stretch. Sure, Sonic looks really good in this match pic, and sure Crono and Frog held up better than many expected in their matches, so maybe some kind of CT:DS hype effect is going around. And sure, Brawl hasn't turned former fodder into legit contenders this season as some had expected. But every time I try to make a case in my mind for one of those truths, a dozen even better counter points bounce back at me:
- Master Hand won a match... in the 1v1 format. and he was arguably even MORE of a joke, competing back when SSB was weaker on this site!
- WCC pulled in 32% of the vote
- L-Block and Dog snatched 46% of the vote between them, and that wasn't even against weak competition
- Magus earned 31% against PW/Bomberman/Crash... and 18% when Mario and Big Boss got involved
- Sonic Team is awful in this format, both in '07 and '08 so far
- Shepard has 360 appeal and won't just roll over and die, leaving less "legit" percentage for the other two options
- Brawl newcomers haven't been world-beaters, but Sandy was the star of the Home Run Challenge, arguably the most popular Melee single player challenge (and plenty popular in Brawl as well BTW)
Yeah, so try as I might I just can't come up with a way that the Bag doesn't outdo Magus in this one. Hopefully Sonic at least can stay comfortably ahead of him, so that we'll be able to stay confident in him being knocked out by the deadly Sonic/Auron combo a few weeks from now. With all that being said, here's how things should end up:
- Sonic the Hedgehog - 39.51%
- Sandbag - 23.98%
- Magus - 23.49%
- Commander Shepard - 13.01%
Bah, it looks so bad... but I just don't know what else to do!
Ngamer Says: Sonic > Sandbag
Next Day Review Edit
Oh man, this is one of the most intense nights in Contest history. Magus has blown a 2100 vote lead on Sandy and allowed the Bag to climb out to a 400 vote lead of his own, but now we're into the final two hours and he's attempting an epic Frogish comeback to save everyone's brackets (well not mine, but everyone else's). There was talk of trying to get a Magus rally going, but the trouble is- the boards have died! Only moments before Sandman surged into the lead the boards went down, and no one could post their disgust for about 85 minutes. Then they were back up for like an hour, but 45 minutes ago they passed away again and still haven't returned to life. If they don't come back up soon, and STAY up, this is going to be devastating for the Oracle. Not to mention Crew fans, who obviously will be pulling out their hair because they can't read my writeup before the match starts!