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Round Four


Sunday, November 16th, 2008

Ulti's Analysis[]

Poll 3303
Round Quarter Final
Match # 60
Match Date Sunday, November 16th, 2008
Sephiroth - 36.70%
Sonic the Hedgehog - 24.63%
Dante - 19.42%
Kirby - 19.26%
Sephiroth first place (16pts) - 41.80%
Sephiroth second place (8pts) - 26.98%
Kirby second place (16pts) - 3.40%
Kirby first place (8pts) - 2.98%
Sephiroth - 68.78% (29,509)
Kirby - 6.38% (2,737)

The Crono/Vincent duel was not the last of this contest's surprises, and hell this match wouldn't be either, but this match was an absolute shocker. Sonic is lucky Crono lost to Vincent in 2007, or he would have caught a lot more flak than he actually got for choking this match away.

Shocking as this was, it wasn't completely out of left field because Sonic had just lost to Auron two rounds prior. Heck, he might have lost to Auron last round outright and not been here at all if Sephiroth wasn't in the poll. I covered how bad Crono looked for years leading up to his big duel a couple matches ago, but it's worth noting that Sonic has looked just as bad. He just doesn't have the choke artist pedigree and huge redemption story attached. In fact, his 2200 comeback on Crono in 2006 is what prevents him from being the weakest character in the Noble Nine.

But make no mistake, this was coming for quite awhile. Beginning with sis epic choke job against Samus in 2002 where he blew a 1500 vote lead in 3 hours, Sonic has been mostly downhill. He didn't lose the Noble Nine's win streak or anything, but he kept having these awful showings and was constantly mentioned as a potential weak link. I mean just look at some of these low lights.

When you pair Sonic's bad track record with how this contest was playing out, people came into this match thinking an upset was possible. But it wasn't Kirby they were looking at; it was Dante. Dante was fresh off of beating Master Chief (flipping their 2007 result), and Kirby wasn't all that far ahead of Dante this year. Dante got smoked by Sonic back in 2004, but given how this contest was playing out, who knows? Sonic and Kirby might split votes and allow Dante to squeeze through. We'd seen crazier things in this contest alone, plus Kirby didn't have some dominant first place performance in that match where Chief finished in third place. Dante was within striking distance if something weird happened.

Something weird happened alright, and people were more than correct to think an upset was possible, but they picked the wrong character. Sephiroth was always going to win first place here. Almost everyone knew it, picked it, and forgot about it. What next to no one knew was Kirby taking second place. Sonic was the favorite, that much is obvious, but the Upset Special for this slot was actually Master Chief. People thought a 2007 rerun was possible, so you can't fault anyone for picking Chief.

But Kirby? No one saw it coming. No gurus picked it, the Oracles all thought he would get last place, and the sitewide advancement percentage on Kirby here was only 6.38%. That's the second biggest upset of the year, topped only by Mewtwo's absurd 3.6% in the match against 3 Square characters. And remember, that percentage is added up and counts for people who picked Kirby to get first OR second place here. Anyone who actually picked Kirby to get this far had a favorites bracket or something.

The match itself was a total dud, which was the other surprise here. Sonic only kept it close for 5 minutes, and outside of one tiny push during the morning vote, he made no threat whatsoever at winning this match. He basically got his ass whipped for 24 hours, leaving no doubts whatsoever. I covered a lot of this during the Auron > Sonic upset from two rounds before, but I think a big reason Sonic looked especially bad in 2008 was anti-votes. The mid-2000s was the peak of anti-Sonic bandwagon hatred, and it hit its boiling point with a series of atrocious games with bad ideas.

I'd get into how trashy it all was, but a picture is worth 1000 words.

That is a real screenshot from Sonic Unleashed, which hit shelves two days after this match. If you don't think that piece of trash was a factor in Sonic doing so poorly in '08, you're nuts. It took a LONG time for him to shake that stigma off, and it mainly happened with the Sonic series becoming Nintendo's bitch. Thank goodness Smash and Sonic Mania happened, or the poor guy might still be in the dog house.


...I'll see myself out.

Stats and Analysis[]

It's hard to sum the match up beyond a simple "wut", but it doesn't hurt to try.

This match wasn't really talked about at any point until Dante won convincingly over the heavily favored Master Chief. At that point, Sonic's loss to Auron had sparked talk of a potential upset. Though, Sonic performed fairly enough in his round three, so any talk of Sonic losing quickly simmered down, and this match was, once again, considered a gimme.

Nobody seemed to notice the pink ball in the room.

When the match began, Kirby jumped ahead of Sonic in a flash. It was entirely possible that Kirby had a better board vote than the blue blur, so people weren't too worried. In fact, they thought it was funny to see Kirby hold the lead against a noble niner like this. (And they'd get to see it again!) But as the match continued, Kirby just held on to his lead. He would steadily decline as the match went on, and Sonic only started making cuts during the morning vote, but then he just completely lost momentum in the last half, and the straight lines just tell the rest of the story.

Now, you can try and argue that this is a case of some new "bandwagon factor", which would explain a lot of the strange occurances over the past two contests. Would some form of rallying behind Kirby explain Kirby's victory? Sure.

But it does not excuse Sonic's abysmal performance here.

The numbers Sonic put up in this match show him scoring 35% on Sephiroth.


Not a single member of the Noble Nine should be able to get away with failing to break 40% in this day and age without heavy SFF being involved. Whether or not Kirby got a bandwagon going doesn't matter. Sonic put up pathetic numbers against Sephiroth and Dante. Nothing can change that.

This match made me, at least, feel bad about riding Crono and Mega Man for being the weak links of the Noble Nine. When Crono loses, it's to the tenth strongest guy. Mega Man was being SFFd by an elite level opponent. Sonic was fresh out of excuses the second Sandbag exited the contest. Sonic will always return to the field, but God knows how he's going to do now. This was a complete disgrace to his name.

Match Trends[]


Ngamer's Same Day Analysis[]

Match Prediction[]

As for what's coming up tonight, eh... I think there's potential here for an interesting result, but I've been forced to lower my hopes due to Sonic looking a little too good last around. Let's see what I mean.

X-Stats from Round Three

  • Kirby - 37.97% (based on '07 Leon)
  • Dante - 34.49% (based on '07 Leon)
  • Sephiroth - 34.68% (based on '07 Kratos)
  • Sonic - 28.31% (based on '07 Kratos)

Kirby, you monster! Alright, so obviously that isn't fair considering how Leon was being held way back by Dante while Kirby sat there in an ideal position, but still, it goes to show how dangerous the puffball can be with the right positioning. Meanwhile Seph and Sonic look awful, but that goes back to Kratos not having any reliable performances last season due to L-Block; adjust him up to something more reasonable and Sonic moves right into Kirby's range.

As I mentioned, I was really pumped for this matchup right after Dante knocked MC out of the bracket without breaking a sweat, despite Leon acting as an anchor (presumably) to his strength all day. Plus Kirby had looked fantastic, which got me excited for Kirby being able to make deep cuts into Sonic's Brawl/Nintendo base- possibly enough to let Dante sneak through for the advancement! But then Sonic went and had to ruin everything by scoring 28% in R3. Dang! To be clear, I still think the Blue Blur is in for a major hurting versus last round due to not sticking out like a sore thumb, but he just did too well there to bet against him. Also, he once again looks solid in these pictures whereas nothing from Dante really stands out to me. Also, silver-haired badass SFF? Not sure I entirely buy that, but eh, Dante would need a few more factors working in his favor to pull this off, so regardless I can't see it happening.

So Sonic > Dante... but can he at least top Kirby? I think so! Leon's gone, which should naturally be a huge weight off his shoulders, and now Kirby no longer gets a free ride against mature opponents, so I see him coming back down to a more natural strength. Kirby probably comes last here, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him keep it very close, perhaps with a strong morning vote after Dante creates a decent lead in the dead of the night.

Sonic > Dante > Kirby, pretty close between all three. Is that going to leave any room for Seph to impress? I don't really think so. Sure he looked great in R3, but he's the kind of entrant than can eat PSX/2 action stars like Auron and Kratos up for lunch. I could see him damaging Dante somewhat that way, but Kirby figures to stand up much better against him, and if Sonic brings his A game for the second round in a row it'd be easy to see him stumble into the mid 30s. If instead he amazes us and shoots for 40 once again though, oh well, at least a showing like that would increase Snake's R5 chances!

Sephiroth >> Sonic > Dante >~ Kirby, sounds about right, now let's pot and stir this up quick so I can get back to this PPV!

  • Sephiroth - 35.83%
  • Sonic the Hedgehog - 24.70%
  • Dante - 19.93%
  • Kirby - 19.54%

That looks... like I'm undershooting Seph. Come on big guy, surprise us again!

Ngamer Says: Sephiroth > Sonic

Next Day Review[]

The other day I called Pikachu > L-Block the most pleased I've been with any result in many years. Well, I stick to that, but Kirby > Sonic is making the Hall of Fame also, as the most hilarious result in a long long while! I wasn't able to check the poll until 15 minutes in, once Lesnar/Couture was over, but my reaction was just to go "what the heck?" ...and then start cracking up. Stat's reactions only made it more funny! I still don't understand how this is possible, but oh well; it sets us up for what could be entirely really absurd result between a weakened Cloud/Seph, a Snake weakened by splitting Brawl, and a Kirby who will once again stand way way out against three mature PSX stars. Oh boy!

External Links[]

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2008 Contest Matches

Round One
Zack > Wario
Link > Zidane
Marth > Duke
Altair > Lucario
Luigi > Liquid
Bowser > Phoenix
Mario > Zelda
X > Mudkip
Samus > Nightmare
Ganondorf > Frog
Vincent > Falco
Scorpion > Gordon
Crono > Amaterasu
L-Block > Ryu
Alucard > Falcon

Pikachu > Arthas
Cube > Tidus
Mega Man > Nero
Ryu H > Zero
Snake > Vivi
Sora > Fox
Squall > Yoshi
Cloud > Midna
Mewtwo > Pac-Man
Big Boss > Kirby
Master Chief > Raiden
Leon > Riku
Dante > Hogger
Sonic > Sandbag
Auron > Sub-Zero
Sephiroth > Tifa
Kratos > Jill

Round Two
Link > Zack
Duke > Altair
Liquid > Luigi
Mario > X
Samus > Ganondorf
Vincent > Gordon
Crono > L-Block
Pikachu > Alucard
Mega Man > Cube
Snake > Zero
Squall > Sora
Cloud > Mewtwo
Kirby > Master Chief
Dante > Leon
Auron > Sonic
Sephiroth > Kratos

R3 and following
Link > Zack
Mario > X
Samus > Vincent
Crono > Pikachu
Snake > Cube
Cloud > Mewtwo
Kirby > Dante
Sephiroth > Sonic
Link > Mario
Samus > Crono
Cloud > Snake
Sephiroth > Kirby
Link > Crono
Snake > Cloud
Link > Snake (Finals)
Classic > CD-I (Bonus)