This article is part of our Dragon Ball FighterZ series.
Two weeks ago at CEO 2018, Japan absolutely obliterated the United States in the Dragon Ball FighterZ Top 8. Despite the players from both nations being split down the middle in terms of representation, Japan knocked down every North American player one by one. Not one player from America won a single game in that Top 8. Not Eduardo “HookGangGod” Hook. Not Dominique “SonicFox” McLean. None of 'em. It was a rough day, to say the least.
That single rough day seems to have lit a fire under the asses of our North American heroes, however. Rather than rest on their laurels and lab on their own, they have all come together in an effort to close the gap between America and Japan.
One of the biggest boons to the success of Japanese players in the fighting game community has been the continued prevalence of the local scenes. Sure, we’ve got local scenes here in the States, but it’s nothing like what they’ve got in Japan. I mean, the competitive scenes for most fighting games were pretty much born from these Japanese arcades back in the day. Even as actual arcades have faded away, local scenes are still thriving.
Players like Goichi “GO1” Kashida and Ryo “Dogura” Nozaki play against each other every week at their weekly tournaments, which allows them to continuously level up. The phrase “iron sharpens iron” has never been more appropriate than when looking at how Japanese players have gotten so damn good at this game.
Well, they aren’t the only ones who can level up like this, which is where the Summit of Pawer comes in. No, that’s not a typo and I’m not referring to the Summit of Power that took place at the Summit House back in June. The Summit of Pawer is an epic lab session taking place at SonicFox’s place, hence the paw reference from everyone’s favorite fox.
Since Monday, SonicFox has been joined by HookGangGod, Jon “dekillsage” Coello, Supernoon, Steve “LordKnight” Barthelemy, Raynel “RayRay” Hidalgo, and Derek “Nakkiel” Brusca have been playing a ridiculous amount of DBFZ. SonicFox has basically turned his house into the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, as the players have streamed themselves playing for over 30 hours (and counting since Day 4 just started up Thursday afternoon) at the time of writing. Given these guys are all from different parts of the country, bringing them under the same roof for some extended lab sessions could be just what they need to get over that hump and show up against the Japanese juggernauts of the game.
Not only will this Summit give players a chance to get plenty of practice in with their current teams, it will also give some a chance to try out new lineups. One such player is none other than the exuberant fox himself, SonicFox.
As a refresher, SonicFox started off the year by playing Hit, Android 16, and Goku Black. After losing three sets to GO1 in the span of a few days between Final Round and an exhibition match at the Esports Arena in Las Vegas, he switched things up to Gotenks, Kid Buu, and Cell. That team served him quite well as he got his revenge on GO1 at Combo Breaker for his first win of the year. Then he went on to lose both Summit of Power and CEO, which led to him switching things up to his current team.
For this new team, he went back to his roots with the inclusion of Android 16, while bringing in some new blood in the form of Zamasu and Bardock. The most intriguing character of all is Zamasu, one of the newest characters to the game that dropped in the latest DLC a few weeks back. While a few players have picked up Vegito Blue, the other character that dropped alongside Zamasu, the pros have been more hesitant to bring Zamasu into the fold due to his unique and intricate playstyle. Never one to back down from a challenge, SonicFox seems to have taken to the character in a hurry if the Summit of Pawer is any indication. Just look at the mixups he’s come up with already.
These are just isolated moments from hours of gameplay and he did get knocked around his fair share, but the strengths of this character are clear. If SonicFox sticks with Zamasu and keeps putting in the time, he could surprise a few people with what he can do.
SonicFox isn’t the only one that has been getting the level up experience this week though. We’ve seen just about everyone pull out some strong wins against each other all week. One week of practice with this set of players won’t be the end all be all when it comes to standing tall against the best players Japan has to offer, but it certainly can’t help.
With VSFighting coming up next weekend and EVO two weeks after that, we won’t have to wait long to see the results of the Summit of Pawer. In the interest of parity (and my pride as an American), I’m hoping that this week will pay off in the form of a win at one of these upcoming tournaments.