Rijeka, 05.10.2019 – When brothers clash, you know you’ll be getting a wild, unpredictable & hype match. That’s what everyone witnessed during SoulCalibur VI: Burning Soul Tournament held during the annual Rikon convention in Rijeka, Croatia.
Let me introduce you to the brothers
Matej “TejMaTeNay” Kucjenić: A regular high placing SoulCalibur 6 player at Crouch Guard’s tournaments & Rijeka’s top SCVI fighter. His skill & instinct during battle are matched by only a few. The character of choice – Tira. Matched made in have as she is unpredictable with her stance switched as he is in using both of her personalities. Be it poking & being annoying during her Jolly stance or dishing out huge chunks of damage in her Gloomy stance, TejMaTeNay knows frighteningly well how to use them at a high level of play.
Petar Kucjenić: Without him as a training partner, TejMaTeNay may have never been the player he is today. Peter sports a similar playstyle to his own brother, but with a different character, Voldo. Allowing him to be unpredictable both in mobility and attack, Voldo is an explosive character who’s hard to stop once he gets rolling & in the hands of a skilled user can be an oppressive figure against which pressing buttons is a death sentence.
From the earliest moments of the match Petar is trying to bait out a reaction from TejMaTeNay by going for a low poke, TejMaTeNay reading his brother as an open book effortlessly sidesteps, but is slow to punish giving Petar another turn to land his next attempt at a low poke. TejMaTeNay stops Petar’s pressure by using SoulCalibur’s unique mechanic, the Guard Impact. Trying to give himself some time to plan out his next few moves. Unfortunately for TejMaTeNay, Petar is one step ahead and moves into Voldo’s Mantis, a highly dangerous stance that evades high moves and is full of potent mix-ups that are safe on block. That brief moment of oppression was soon stolen back by TejMaTeNay, who in a daring moment didn’t respect Voldo’s plus frames after his low poke & landed the first launch in the match. After a brief footsie moment, Petar backs off, knowing that Tira’s Jolly stance is a bit too much to handle in the spacing department. Eating a hefty low from Tira, Petar decides to take a page from his brother’s book, takes a risk for a launch that pays off big time as it puts him in a healthy lead. Sadly, that moment didn’t last even a second as TejMaTeNay sacrifices a bit of his guard gauge to use Reversal Edge (RE), a new mechanic introduced in Soul Calibur 6 that’s a universal parry for all attack’s except for Break Attacks & Unblockables, and on a successful hit places both players in a Rock-Paper-Scissors mini-game where guessing wrong has a chance turn the whole match around! Chance is on his side this time as TejMaTeNay is awarded a stance switch from one of many Tira’s moves that transition into her far deadlier stance, Gloomy. Sadly, the joy didn’t last much for TejMaTeNay as he was knocked out of it with the next hit from Peter, as one of the other criteria for a stance switch is hitting 30% health or below (the other transition is guaranteed at 5%). TejMaTeNay, now face with a shortage of time goes in full pressure chipping away at Voldo’s health only to be stopped at the last moment by Peter’s round saving RE.
Round 2 was upon us, Petar makes the first move, goes into mantis stance and rushes into Tira only for TejMaTeNay to have the read with a sidestep once more, this time landing the punish and pushing Voldo closer and closer to the wall where he vents out all the salt from losing the last round putting Voldo’s health below 30% in the first 15 seconds. Petar finds a moment to escape the wall when he successfully air controls out of Tira’s juggle. I hear you already, “Air Control? What’s that”. Well, dear reader SoulCalibur allows the player to control their character out of a juggle if they find themselves in one, not much else to it, but it can make or break round if it comes to it. Back to the match, Peter, sensing the moment, pushes the attack, applying pressure, chipping away at Tira’s health in a mad dash to move as far away from the wall as possible. Another huge whiff from TejMaTeNay and Petar instinctively reacts with a Critical Edge (CE), immediately goes into Mantis stance, pushing the advantage, landing a Lethal Hit that puts the Health advantage clearly in his favor. Knowing that after 30% Tira gets a stance switch, he pushes for MAXIMUM DAMAGE to lower it even further to switch her again into Jolly stance. TejMaTeNay makes a break for it with an RE, that cost him the round.
Losing a round that was clearly his didn’t sit well with TejMaTeNay, and he starts Round 3 respecting Petar, who clearly expected him to rush in for a payback, leaving a huge gap between the competitors. Petar, not willing to risk a footsie war with Jolly, uses Voldo’s Mantis to cover the distance, TejMaTeNay, of course, won’t have any of it and sidesteps, sadly a bit too far for an effective punish. Both players trading blows now, but TejMaTeNay chips away at Voldo’s health with fast highs & effective backsteps leaving Voldo open to further pressure. We see TejMaTeNay backing off when Voldo’s finds himself closer to the wall, probably fearing that he might over-commit & get caught in Voldo’s CE. Petar seeing the gap goes into Mantis to get himself out of that sticky situation, TejMaTeNay trying to stuff him with a RE but guesses wrong, placing the shoe on Peter’s foot who lands two lows, but a miss-input gives TejMaTeNay the opening for a juggle that pushes Voldo back to the wall. Sensing desperation from Peter, TejMaTeNay makes a quick backstep with Tira as Voldo uses his CE, blocks it and goes for the round ending move.
Round 4 starts the same as the last one, with one major difference, TejMaTeNay lands the punish into a quick juggle lending him a good start in the round and good footsie keep the momentum on TejMaTeNay side as he chips away Voldo’s health. With the wall once more getting closer & closer, Petar gets in Tira’s face with a long-distance vertical, ending the momentum TejMaTeNay built, after which he lands another hit, leaving Tira in a stunned state, but is too slow to convert it into a combo, give TejMaTeNay space to RE his upcoming move.
Guessing wrong and being at a disadvantage, Petar tries to create some space, hoping that TejMaTeNay will want to end the round fast. Anticipating just that, TejMaTeNay rushes in only to backstep just as Petar was trying to poke him, landing a juggle and placing Voldo on the wall. Panic takes over, Petar whiffs & the comeback is real for TejMaTeNay!
The final round of SoulCalibur Match 1, full meter for both players, with a huge amount of respect between each other at the start of the round. Petar, learning from past failures disregards Mantis, and switches to a more poking game plan. Trading blows, TejMaTeNay ends the stalemate with a well-placed GI which is followed up by two Break Attacks, breaking Voldo’s guard guaranteeing a juggle. Feeling the pressure, Voldo Soul Charges, boosting his attack power and mix up potential. Trying to swing the round in his favor, Voldo rushes in with Mantis to put TejMaTeNay into a MixUp situation, forgetting that the man facing him is his brother who reads any attack patterns from him like an open book and sidesteps them with ease if only his punishes were on the same level. Clearly panicking now since he’s wide open to a CE from Voldo, TejMaTeNay uses RE but gets stuffed at the start-up frames. Not giving up and wanting to stop the momentum from Peter, he goes for another RE, spending the last of his guard gauge. The risk was worth as he gets rewarded with Gloomy after making the right read. Not wanting to give Peter any chance for a possible comeback, he goes into SC, making Tira an absolute damage monster while in Gloomy, ending the round & game 1 decisively.
Game 2 is upon us, this time we move from a walled-off stage into a fully Ring Out one where one wrong decision at the edge can cost you the whole round.
The usual round poking starts, with Tira taking an early lead, but is soon equalized by Peter, who gets in a few hits after evading an RE attempt by TejMaTeNay. Now clearly at a Health disadvantage, TejMaTeNay is pressing the attack after a huge whiff from Peter. Both now equal in damage taken, decide simultaneously to back off for a quick do-over of their gameplan’s. First to move with an attack was Peter, missing his target by a long shot. Luckily for him TejMaTeNay was slow on the trigger and missed the opportunity for a punish putting both players into neutral once more. Peter presses the attack just as TejMaTeNay activated his RE & scores (in his mind) the round defining move, putting Tira into Gloomy. With time not being on his side & TejMaTeNay’s Gloomy, Peter spots one crucial weakness, Tira’s low Guard Guage. In the last 3 seconds of the first round, Tira’s guard gets broken by Voldo’s Break attack, leaving her wide open to some serious damage which is barely enough to win Petar the round!
Peter started off Round 2 by backing off, clearly sensing TejMaTeNay Bloodthirst who’s fast to move in for some payback. Being too quick on the trigger, Tira misses her poke, Petar uses the opening to land the first hit of the round and starts mixing up TejMaTeNay who wasn’t having any of it and pulled out his trusty RE for a chance to go into Gloomy. Peter now wiser from the last round denies it with a swift horizontal. Not backing off from his approach, TejMaTeNay applies some serious pressure bringing Voldo’s Guard Gauge dangerously low, Peter in response tries to shut down the momentum that TejMaTeNay is piling up with a few lows only to get punished for his effort. Seeing no other option & knowing that a Guard Break is around the corner, he activates his CE and with its built-in backstep evades Tira’s launcher for some fat damage. Being below 30% health switches Tira’s stance into Gloomy & TejMaTeNay wastes no time & goes into Soul Charge. Now a force to be reckoned with, TejMaTeNay moves in for the kill, dishing out all plus frame & Break attacks bringing Voldo’s health dangerously low. Now on the very edge of the stage, his Guard Guage on the brim of giving up, Peter faces the possibility of eating numerous mix-ups that TejMaTeNay can dish out to send him out of the ring. Petar goes for a low poke to steal the turn for himself, but TejMaTeNay answers with a RE, confident it will be enough to end the round for him. The first clash is a draw, Vertical against Vertical. The following one decides the match since if it’s a clash the one who initiated the RE gets priority. We see both fighters move in, the air stands still, it’s a Horizontal vs Vertical & Petar takes the 2nd Round!
Game point for Petar. Not willing to engage with a Guard Gauge that’s about to fail on the first hit, Peter gives himself some breathing room. Wanting to bait TejMaTeNay to come to him for a quick poke, unfortunately for him it misses for a fine punish by TejMaTeNay that takes Voldo to the edge of the stage. Luck blessed Peter at that moment as TejMaTeNay was unsure what to do next and gave him space to get his bearings and press for a counterattack that is swiftly stopped by a good place RE from TejMaTeNay, Peter tries to sidestep the incoming RE attack but was struck at the very edge of the attack (I know, puns). Peter, expecting that TejMaTeNay will go with a vertical to his horizontal chooses to go in with a kick not knowing that his brother was counting on that. Losing the RE clash pushes Voldo closer to the edge of the arena (more puns, yeey). As if we just reversed a tape for a few seconds, the exact same thing happens again. Peter gets out his RE, but gets parried by TejMaTeNay RE. Losing hope that he will make a comeback in this Round, Peter decides to Guard the next attack so his Guard Gauge gets broken and reset for the next round, basically handing TejMaTeNay the round win.
Peter keeps his distance & tries for a big low that, like foretold, whiffs hard giving TejMaTeNay a free punish for a good health lead at the start of the round. Peter tries to make a difference but gets stuffed by TejMaTeNay RE. Footsie galore fills up the match in the next 15 seconds with pokes from both sides. The slow game of cat and mouse comes to an abrupt end by another RE from TejMaTeNay which is won by Petar’s vertical giving him a chance to make effective use of Voldo’s Mantis stance. Eating a few attacks from the back, he activates his CE just as Tira’s hit was about to connect reducing the health gap significantly. Petar smelling victory, goes in for the kill with Voldo’s Mantis rush, getting a Lethal hit for the game-winning point.
1-1 – final game of the match!
Even though Petar has learned much during the past two games, his impatience still gets the better of him as he whiffs another Mantis stance rush, opening him up to some hefty damage in the first 5 seconds of the round. TejMaTeNay eats a few hits, but stops any possible pressure from Voldo with the tried & tested RE, gets the hit with his stance switching move putting Tira into Gloomy. Keeping his Guard up, Peter blocks the upcoming attacks, but TejMaTeNay gets in a few unexpected jabs putting Peter in a tough spot to get back from. TejMaTeNay goes wild and takes a risk with a RE, seemingly to bait his brother into opening up to some big damage. The gamble seemed to work as Peter started his offense & immediately gets shut down by TejMaTeNay who takes the 1st round.
2nd round had a more passive start. Petter backs off, slowly taunting TejMaTeNay with Voldo’s slow movement while in Mantis stance, edging him to try something. Proving that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, TejMaTeNay impatience costs him a good chunk of health from one of Voldo’s deadly mix-up. Putting Peter in a clear health lead in the first 15 seconds of the round. TejMaTeNay tries for another RE, but whiffs hard, luckily Peter was slow to react and missed his chance for another damaging combo. Voldo’s pressure ends with a few well-placed jabs from TejMaTeNay (and sneaky frame traps). Peter goes right in with a Mantis rush which ended up fatal as TejMaTeNay sidesteps it with ease and punishes hard with Gloomy’s horrifying damage output, putting both fighters at the same health level and pretty fast in TejMaTeNay favor. Now in some serious trouble, nearing the edge of the Arena, being close to Guard Breaking, Peter decides that being passive ain’t gonna cut it and makes a mad dash with vertical attacks to push the battle back to the center of the Arena. Peter tries to press his advantage, but TejMaTeNay has a clear read and whips out his RE in hopes of stopping any and all pressure, not the wisest of moves as he eats a launcher for his troubles, evening the health pools. Another RE from TejMaTeNay but Peter doesn’t fall for it and maneuvers to the side for a launcher. On OKI, Peter tries to bait, but TejMaTeNay, learning his lesson from the beginning of the match, escapes from a potential Ring Out, making Peter whiff his Mantis rush & punishing him with a round ending Lethal hit.
Matchpoint for TejMaTeNay, 2 bars for both players, and huge respect at the start of the round. Peter is first to rush in but gets blocked & poked by Tira’s low. Returning the favor, Voldo cleans his blade on Tira’s boots. The round comes to a short standstill where both players try to find an opening, Tira finds it first with her trusty horizontal jabs. Voldo tries to answer back but gets Guard Impacted & guard broken for his efforts opening him up a quick juggle from Tira. Peter tries to bait TejMaTeNay but he wasn’t falling for it, pressing his attack, pushing Voldo towards the edge. A missed GI attempt gives Peter the chance to switch sides with Tira, placing her near the edge in a cruel twist of fate. Expecting an attack, TejMaTeNay goes for a RE but whiffs hard, Peter’s uncertainty in the moment cost him the punish, allowing Tira a moment to Soul Charge, giving herself breathing room to get away from the edge & stop fearing for her almost busted Guard Gauge. Peter tries to answer back with a RE but gets launched for his troubles eating hefty damage and being placed in the most dangerous of spots, near the edge. Peter tries to answer back and stop TejMaTeNay momentum just for a second with a kick, tries to go for a Ring Out but TejMaTeNay sidesteps that attempt effortlessly. With nothing else left, Peter bets it all in a single CE, hoping his brother will fall for it. TejMaTeNay senses that his brother prepares to go all out and steps back, blocks the incoming CE from Voldo, and sends him into his watery grave, earning TejMaTeNay the victory in this epic and wild match!
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