The Spectator’s Guide To SawCon 2022

Kusoge and poverty extraordinaires Fraud Krew will begin their second three-day SawCon online event this weekend, April 1st – 3rd. After the success of last year’s inaugural event, the organizers are back with another weekend full of panels, streams, watch-a-longs, and online tournaments open for the public to enter. As these are some of the most experienced people in under-represented fighting games, we are here to offer a guide to let spectators (or potential players!) know what they should expect from this weekend’s brackets.

One Must Fall: 2097

Throughout the early days of PC gaming, fighting games had a bit of a rough time on DOS. While competent releases could be found, like Sango Fighter, you are more likely to find clunky garbage like Brudal Baddle or kooky oddities like Xenophage: Alien Bloodsport. However one fighting game stood head and shoulders above the rest on that platform: One Must Fall 2097. With more single-player content

What To Expect: OMF 2097 has a solid combo system behind it with interesting nuances. Ground combos are unscaled and juggle combos deal 60% damage. However, air juggles will not allow you to use the same move twice in a combo, requiring unique attacks to continue juggle strings. Compounding this is a unique system similar to Guilty Gear’s weight; all characters fall at the same speed but have different hitboxes on their air hit animations, so combos are not exactly universal. Lastly, many stages in OMF 2097 do have stage hazards, so we could see some unintended interactions in the heat of a match.

It’s worth noting that one of the main mechanics in OMF 2097 is the ability to upgrade a character’s stats, which affects how they play. If you find combos for the game, it’s possible they are exclusive to stat upgrading.

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Dead Or Alive 2

Without trying to sound backhanded, there are no special rules or crazy mods being added here. It is simply Dead or Alive 2 as we know it, a very good 3D fighter now bolstered by the addition of rollback netcode thanks to Fightcade 2. Do note, this is the vanilla version so the additions seen in Hardcore or Ultimate will be missing.

What To Expect: For those who have never seen DoA in action, the core of the gameplay is based on an interaction triangle; Strikes beat Throws, Throws beat Holds, and Holds beat Strikes. Holds in DoA are catch moves that will grab an opponent’s attack and punish them for it, so brazen or obvious offense can be easily foiled by Holding the pressure. Another thing to look for is how Stun works in DoA, if a character is struck and stunned they are not able to attack or block, but they can slow-escape (wiggle the stick/press buttons to escape stun) or they can Hold an opponent’s strike.

With DoA2 being a recent addition to Fightcade 2, rollback netcode has allowed this game to see tournament play once again.

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Streets Of Rage 4 Battle Mode (Teams)

While known as one of the best beat ‘em up series ever made, the newest Streets of Rage game has significantly upped the ante when it comes to combos. As early as release, Lab Monsters were finding out ways to maximize combos with the juggle system and its emphasis on aerial combos, wall bounces, and ground bounces. Not content with a standard 1v1 affair, this event will increase the hecticness by making it a 2 v 2 team tournament.

What To Expect: Truthfully, I am unfamiliar with what a competitive SoR4 would look like, let alone a team tournament for it. Outside of expecting to see scrambles and bountiful help from stage hazards, I’m not expecting a whole lot of combo video-level juggles, as having a partner in the fray will make it harder for the opposing team to perform sick back-and-forth sequences.

As much as I’d love to link a combo video, for competition’s sake it would be more useful to show this video going over balance changes made in the Mr. X patch.

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Survival Arts

One of the signature games commonly ran within the Fraud Krew gang, Survival Arts is a Japanese take on the post-Mortal Kombat digitized fighter boom. While rough around some edges, it has shown time and time again to be an extremely entertaining tournament game. Before we get to what you should expect, what you should not expect to see is Hiryu, who has been banned after much deliberation. It’s a shame to see him go, but he absolutely is a level stronger than anyone else in the cast with his slow-moving controllable projectile, multiple jumps, and looping 50/50 oki off knockdown.

What To Expect: Survival Arts is not heavy on combos, being more about properly using the correct normals and specials to win situations. Examples of this could be Kane’s jumping HK buttsplash, Santana’s headbutt anti-air, or Gunner’s TK gunshot zoning. There are also different weapons you can pick up at each stage, some of these will lead to improved normals depending on the character and weapon in play.

For my money, the MooMaster double TK gunshot kill is the greatest round of Survival Arts ever put on tape.

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Avengers In Galactic Storm

It may not look like it at first blush, with its Lawnmower Man 90s 3D models, but Avengers in Galactic Storm has aged gracefully into the canon of what we consider a “Marvel” game. While lacking in the graphical polish of Capcom’s famous Versus series, Avengers In Galactic Storm contains the DNA of what makes those games so special, specifically big damage combos (if not outright ToD) and assist characters you can call during a match. The cast for this game is pure 90s comic book bliss.

What To Expect: A lot of AIGC touch of death combos follow one of two structures. The first being the more traditional Combo > Dizzy > Combo But This Time It Kills, the second being microwalk infinites. However, landing these in tournament requires enough setup where you might not see them as constantly as you think. Especially in the case of Shatteraxe, who, if you can do it correctly, can backdash in the corner repeatedly and never leave backdash invincibility. You can also call an assist while dizzy, so if you have one bar on you and get dizzied you can get a second chance at life.

A brief taste of the Touch of Death combos in this game

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Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition (Turbo 10)

Home console ports of Street Fighter II is a rabbit hole that will lead to some incredibly cursed artifacts. With the most faithful home releases being on the SNES, the Genesis was given a bit of a Frankenstine version of the game. Special Champion Edition is a two-in-one release, housing both Street Fighter II’: Champion Edition and Street Fighter II’ Turbo: Hyper Fighting. That all seems pretty normal, as the Genesis isn’t that far behind the SNES in capability, so to make for a more exciting experience this tournament is being played on the highest turbo setting possible.

What To Expect: The EXCITE setting this tournament is using comes from Hyper Fighting, so think about what Hyper Fighting looks like and now think about what Hyper Fighting looks like after Ryu did a fat line of cocaine. It’s going to be Street Fighter as you know it, but at a speed you most certainly do not know.

Putting the “Sick” in “Motion Sickness”

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Street Fighter The Movie (Arcade)

As odd as it may seem to say, Street Fighter The Movie The Game Arcade is the good one. This is another signature Fraud Krew tournament game, so there will be lots of battle-hardened entrants with amble tournament experience. Unlike the previous Street Fighter tournament, if you are unfamiliar with SFTM you should not assume that this fits neatly in line with your expectation of a “Street Fighter” game

What To Expect: There is a lot mechanically that separates SFTM from other games that share the name Street Fighter. What you should be looking out for are throw reversals, reversals of throw reversals (“Slammasters”), guard cancels that do not cost meter, taunts that regen health that do cost meter, and even some infinites. Akuma still absolutely does Akuma things, so not everything changes.

This is exactly the grime I live for seeing.

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WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game

This event could potentially outclass anything at this year’s Wrestlemania. WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game comes from the golden age of Midway arcade releases, having some of the smoothest graphics, snappiest gameplay, and the over-the-top surrealist attitude of NBA Jam. While coated in the paint of a pro wrestling game, WWF Wrestlemania operates much more like a traditional fighting game and is quickly being mined for beautiful glitches and delicious exploits.

What To Expect: There is a lot of grime in this game, Lex Luger had an infinite, Bret Hart has an infinite on Lex, I don’t even have the space to explain what’s going on with Yokozuna’s Salt Cancels, but the most common mechanic you’ll see is grappling. By grabbing the opponent by their head, you start an almost Killer Instinct-like mini-game where you can either throw the opponent or start a combo on them, but the opponent is able to reverse out if done properly.

D.J. Tatsujin has done a significant amount of work exploring WWF Wrestlemania Arcade. This video shows off various tech, some being useful competitively and others being fun glitches.

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Art of Fighting 3

With the Art Of Fighting series being quite small, you would be forgiven for not knowing that AoF3 is different from its predecessors. Whereas AoF1 and 2 are more traditional 2D fighters, AoF3 has been described as a 3D fighter like Tekken or Virtua Fighter, but in a 2D game. Wall carry juggles, emphasis on whiff punishing, and a neutral focused on poking all lead to a game that feels much more in line with a 3D fighter. With this being a rotoscoped game, it is one of the most beautiful sprite-based fighters you will ever see.

What To Expect: Much like a newcomer looking at 3rd Strike for the first time, do not be surprised to see someone taunt in match. Specials and Super Desperation Moves require Spirit Meter to perform and taunting will lower your opponents Spirit Meter. Also prepare to see knockdowns, damn near everything in this game will cause a knockdown.

There are a metric buttload of mechanics in AoF3, so thankfully Lichmassacre’s excellent video tutorial series can get you up to speed on what you need to know.

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MUGEN Roulette

Buckle up, as this could get wild. This MUGEN roulette will be a 4 on 4 styled event, with the 4 characters being chosen at random both for winners and losers. The TOs have come prepared in case things get too wild, prepared to kill off characters that do something crazy like softlock the game. If a game crash happens, the round will be reset but team size will be lowered to accommodate where the combatants last were in the fight.

What To Expect: Chaos

I better see the Timbs in action, deadass.

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SawCon 2022 Schedule

As much as this is a 3-day tournament, the schedule will also include other non-fighting game events that the audience can participate in. For a full schedule of the action at SawCon 2022, please visit the Horaro page the event schedule in your time zone. Registration can be done on any of the Challonge pages linked above and being in the Fraud Krew Discord will be required for participation.

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