I'm going to make a bold claim right at the start of this report...
This is the best tournament we've ever had.
Trust me, it was incredible. So sit back, relax, and enjoy.
Firstly I would, once again, like to complain about the severe lack of waterbenders taking part this month. I promised strong words would be given if the situation didn't change, so I am going to say that I am very very disappointed in all of you. And that next month the tournament will be held in the Fish Bowl Arena in the Northern Watertribe. Have fun!
Air - olvx, The_Red_Spirit, kopk1, Custoj, Woerr, Tankmanjoe869, AirbenderKai, Jtox
Earth - martdamp, FireLordIzumi, Porku, Zinnik,
Fire - Incta, PrincessAzula, Kedude,
Non-Bending - PowerfulPig
Making Reports Hard to Write - KevinY3 (I'll explain later)
As has become the standard for these tournaments, it was held in a Double Elimination format. If you don't know what that means (and quite frankly you all should know by now) it means that each competitor has to lose twice before they are knocked out.
Due to odd numbers, there was only one fight in the first round, between Incta and olvx. The fight was aggressive and fast paced, with both fighters remaining tight to each other. Incta takes a good win in a decent fight.
The second round saw some high quality fights. For avid followers of the Bending Tournaments, the big draw was between eternal rivals Porku and KevinY3, the defending champion. This fight perhaps didn't quite live up to expectations. Porku controlled things well with his earthbending, but Kevin was always mobile using her own non-bending abilities. Porku is able to force a win after Kevin continued to get hit by moves she cast herself. Porku kept his opponent at arms length and deserved the win.
There was a close fight between Custoj and Kopk1, as the two airbenders made full use of their movement abilities. Custoj had to fight his way back into the bout after Kopk took the early advantage, and looked comfortable. Eventually, Custoj completed his comeback and advanced.
The fight between PowerfulPig and Kedude was an unexpected highlight. PowerfulPig was making a return after he reached the semi final in the very first tournament, whilst Kedude had been building a reputation as a highly rated firebender, and one to watch in future. The fight was entertaining, with both trying to draw the other into their clutches. PowerfulPig appeared to be on top, but a perfectly timed flame blast from Kedude sealed his victory. A great fight!
Another notable fight was Martdamp vs FireLordIzumi. This all earth battle was as attritional as expected. That was until Izumi called for a timeout, explaining that he wasn't able to order his moves before the fight began. The officials eventually allowed the match to be restarted, but only after Izumi threatened to lodge a formal complaint against the officials! The restarted fight was as attritional as the first, both fighters traded blows but it was ultimately a dull affair, eventually won by Mart. A solid win that continued his good form from last month.
Elsewhere, The_Red_Spirit overcame PrincessAzula, in a fairly average fight.
Tankmanjoe869 took a fairly surprising win over Woerr, a good display from the newcomer!
Jtox took a dominant win over Zinnik after pulling off his tactics to perfection.
In another aggressive display, Incta defeated AirbenderKai in excellent fashion.
Once again, due to odd numbers, there was only a single fight in the first round of the losers bracket. Kevin vs olvx was the fight, and it was surprisingly tight. The defending champion had swapped from using non-bending, to using earth for this fight, and Kevin was not at her best in this one. A long, drawn out, battle eventually ends with Kevin victorious.
Kevin advanced to face FireLordIzumi in round two of the losers bracket. Kevin had decided to use water in this round, marking its first appearance in a tournament for a while. Both fighters stayed at arms length throughout, and the fight was a slow burner as a result. After some time, Kevin was able to draw Izumi into the water, where she pounced with a strong combo to seal a place in the next round.
Elsewhere, Kopk1 took a decisive win over Woerr, who really wasn't at his best in this tournament.
The fight between PowerfulPig and Zinnik was also a short one, as PowerfulPig took victory in a short and aggressive fight.
Another quick and brutal fight was between PrincessAzula and AirbenderKai. Azula took this one in handy fashion.
We love a good upset here at Dove's Tournament Reports, and we got a good one in this round.
Custoj/Yangchen came into the tournament with high hopes, due to his status as a server veteran. So when he came up against Tankmanjoe869, he was looking forward to a spot in Round Four. The fight didn't play out that way though, as Tankmanjoe played out an excellent tactical battle, drawing Custoj in close and keeping him on the back foot throughout. The result was something of a formality in the end, as Custoj never looked in control of the fight, a great endorsement of Tankmanjoe's tactics! Tankmanjoe advanced in excellent fashion, dumping Custoj in the losers bracket.
There were even more excellent tactics on display in the Jtox vs Kedude fight. Kedude makes good use of short and medium range attacks, but Jtox is wise to them and can adapt at a moments notice. Making perfect use of air's mobility, he dodges well and deals regular damage to his opponent. Jtox makes it look very easy with this victory, and sends a real message to the rest of the competition.
The most highly anticipated fight this round was between Porku, the four times champion, and Martdamp, the eternal underachiever. Mart looked like continuing his disappointing run of form as he failed to land any meaningful hits, leading to Porku taking a massive advantage. However, there was to be a twist, a well placed Earth Cage from Mart led to Porku suffocating in a wall. It would've been a complete steal if Mart had taken victory at that point, but Porku survived by the skin of his teeth, sealing his victory soon after. It was a walkover for Porku, who looked to be on course to make yet another final. As for Mart, his redemption arc looked to have hit a bump.
The fight between Incta and The_Red_Spirit was the quickest of the round. Red_Spirit was in good touch as he timed his attacks well, and dodged excellently. A good win for The_Red_Spirit, and he didn't let Incta anywhere near it.
As previously mentioned, there is nothing better than a good upset, and we've got another one here.
KevinY3 vs Kedude was expected to be a relatively easy fight for Kevin to win, but Kedude was keen to make good on his undoubted potential. Kevin was playing as a firebender in this fight, and her inexperience with this element showed. The fight was attritional from the off, with neither gaining a significant foothold. Kedude was able to make his greater experience with firebending count, and managed to grind Kevin's defences down enough to claim a tight victory, knocking the reigning champion out in a major shock.
Martdamp pulled off an efficient win over PowerfulPig, hitting regularly and accurately. An excellent way to comeback after his underwhelming showing against Porku. The redemption arc was back on track!
Custoj and PrincessAzula had a very decent fight against each other. Custoj made himself mobile and evaded Azula well, with the latter unable to make contact enough to cause Custoj too much trouble. A brief fightback from Azula wasn't enough to save them, and Custoj was able to advance in hard earned fashion.
The between Kopk1 and Incta was an easy victory for Kopk, as he pulled off an aggressive win with some well timed attacks.
Porku vs Tankmanjoe869 was certainly aggressive, both started strongly and looked to gain an early advantage. Eventually, Porku was able to pull ahead, his experience starting to show. Two good uses of earth cage allowed Porku to deal huge damage to Tankmanjoe, making victory inevitable. Nonetheless, it was a spirited performance from Tankmanjoe, who had done far better than anyone had suspected.
The second fight in this round was between Jtox and The_Red_Spirit. The fight was a display of pure domination from Jtox, who made good use of the 'hit and run' technique that defines airbenders. Leaping around the arena and landing some well aimed air spears led him to a very strong win, and possibly made him the favourite to go all the way.
The highlight of the losers bracket in this round was the fight between Martdamp and Custoj, both were desperate to advance. The fight began in tactical fashion, both fighters were able to counter one another with some good defensive moves. Custoj appeared to be the one with the momentum though, some good use of reflect meant that he was able to use Marts own shackle against him, a crucial moment. With Custoj seemingly on top, it came as a surprise when Mart was able to land the killer blow. Mart's excellent fortitude in taking the blows that Custoj was making allowed him to whittle him down and, eventually, take victory with an earth shatter. A very good fight there, and a contender for 'Fight of the Tournament'.
The second fight was a well fought battle between Kopk1 and Kedude. The tight fight saw both exchange good blows against each other, and the fighting was certainly hard from both. Eventually, Kedude made one too many mistakes and walked straight into the ultimate move of Kopk, sealing his fate and knocking him out.
The one fight in this round for the winners was one of the most hotly anticipated fights ever and, my word, it lived up to the billing. Everyone watching would agree that this is one of the greatest fights we've ever seen in these tournaments.
It was Jtox vs Porku, a rarely seen battle between two of the servers best benders. Jtox had the early advantage, staying in the air as often as he could, rendering most of Porku's attacks useless. Porku missed several big hits that may have brought him back in front, but Jtox looked in great form as he was able to land regular hits. With Porku looking increasingly desperate, he mounts a dramatic comeback. An expertly used earth shackle renders Jtox unable to counter, and Porku takes full advantage, dealing massive damage to Jtox and bringing him level. Now riding the crest of a wave, Porku goes on the attack again, a spot in the final firmly in his sights, he launches another shackle, but Jtox is wise to it this time. A windslam silences Porku, and forces him to leave that attack for the time being. Not willing to go defensive, he tries yet another shackle and lands it, with Porku taking advantage again. Jtox was now on the backfoot and retreating, but he makes a split second decision, going on the offensive and landing some heavy blows on Porku. In the end, it is a windslam that seals victory for Jtox, a fantastic fight full of twists and turns. Jtox reaches his first final, and was looking like the firm favourite to run away with the title.
Now let's have a look at the final three bouts in the losers bracket.
First up was Tankmanjoe869 vs Kopk1. The fight was close quarters, with both fighters trading blows in the early stages. Eventually, Kopk is able to land a good ult and take victory. For Tankmanjoe, it was a somewhat disappointing end to a very promising tournament for the newcomer. For Kopk, he lived to fight another day.
The second fight Martdamp vs The_Red_Spirit. Mart stamped his authority early by deploying his armour and shackling Red_Spirit, giving him the advantage. All in all, it was an impressive tactical display from Mart and, despite a brief comeback from Red_Spirit, it was a very well earned victory.
The Sixth Round saw Kopk1 face off with Martdamp for a place in the 'Losers Final/Semi-Final/Third Place Playoff'. This was where Martdamp fell last time, and he was desperate to make it one further this time around, otherwise he knew I'd write very sarcastic things about him in this report. We were treated to an absolute classic. Although it was slow to start, with both just hanging back slightly and sizing each other up, it soon picked up the pace. Kopk makes use of his mobility and avoids Marts assault for some time, but not for long enough. Mart is able to catch Kopk when he's not moving and he takes the lead. The impressive evasion tactic of Kopk had kept him in the fight for some time, but it would soon be all over. Mart lures Kopk in close, where he unleashes a series of devastating moves that end Kopk's valiant effort. Whilst Kopk licked his wounds, Martdamp celebrated his victory, he had advanced further than ever before and was now looking for one more performance to get him into the final...
In true Anime fashion, the Losers Final would be a rematch from earlier in the tournament. Porku vs Martdamp. This pair had played out a somewhat underwhelming fight in Round Three, as Porku never looked like being beaten by Mart. Now though, Martdamp had the chance for revenge, and a chance to achieve his destiny. Mart would need to be at his very best, like no one ever was, to knock Porku out, and that is what he delivered.
The match is cagey, neither fighter wanting to give the other an opening, and the tension could be felt by everyone in attendance. Both fighters started to come forward and trade some more blows, but the match is still tight and nervy. However, it is clear that Mart has learned some important lessons from the first fight with Porku, and he is looking much tougher than before. As Mart looked to land a potential killer blow, disaster struck. An surprise gift of fireworks to everyone in the arena led to an impromptu fireworks display amongst the crowd, causing the arena to fill with smoke (or 'lag' as we call it in these parts) bringing the fight to a halt. After the lag had cleared, the bout degenerated into a fist fight, but Porku quickly swapped back to bending and defeated Martdamp in underhanded fashion.
The devastation was clear for all to see, tears welled up in Marts eyes as he beat the ground with his fists and made a dramatic speech to himself, a soft piano soundtrack in the background. It had happened again, he had fallen at the final fence. The press would eat him alive, that sponsorship deal with Cactus Cola was in tatters, his supermodel girlfriend would never speak to him again...
"I want a rematch", said a voice. It was Porku.
Mart stood up, wiped his tears and he accepted. One final chance...
This time, Mart knew he had to fight. The J-rock started to play as the pair traded blows, and no doubt Marts internal monologue was about a new found respect for his opponent. The fight was as tight as the first with no one holding back. As the J-rock built to a crescendo, the fight entered its denouement.
"I'm sorry Porku, but I have to do this, I have to prove myself!" thought Mart. He went into a fighting stance and prepared to land the final blow.
"No...he...he's going to do it!" Porku screamed internally, knowing there was nothing he could do.
"Tatakae!!!!" screamed Mart, punching forward, a boulder flying towards his opponent.
It made contact. Porku fell. Martdamp had done it. With both fists raised in triumph, and the crowd screaming his name, he fell to his knees. He had finally matched his potential, he was a tournament finalist. His destiny still awaited him though, in the Grand Final...
It was Jtox who awaited Martdamp in the final. Jtox had made his victory over Porku look relatively easy compared to what Mart had just experienced. This would be the fight of Marts life, as Jtox had just become the clear favourite in many peoples eyes.
The final was a chastening experience for Mart, Jtox had him on a leash from the very start and gave a fantastic display of airbending mastery. For Mart, it was painful. He was barely able to register a hit, perhaps his fight with Porku had taken too much out of him. Jtox was truly fantastic to watch, he rushed around, going close to hit Mart whenever there was an opening, but made sure to feint every so often to keep Mart on his toes. Mart had bad luck as several of his shackles missed his opponent, if they had made contact it may have swung the fight in his favour. Jtox, like the archetypal anime final boss, had little mercy for Martdamp, and could've perhaps ended the fight sooner than he did. Maybe it showed how much he respected his opponent that he didn't want to give him even the slightest opportunity to land a blow. Mart stood as strong as an ox, taking as many blows as he could, he wanted to draw this out as long as he possibly could.
It wasn't to last though, Jtox simply had too much of an advantage, and too much control over the fight. One of the longest finals we've ever had, ended in a whimper for Mart, as Jtox snatched the title from his grasp, taking a well deserved maiden championship.
Martdamp was disappointed, but we all know that the protagonist can never win the big prize, just ask Ash Ketchum. He can stand tall today, it was a remarkable run and a fantastic way to cap a superb return to form. How will he fare in Season 12 of 'MartDamp, the Earthbound Fighter'?
For Jtox, his debut tournament was a very successful one. He had shown true mastery of his bending style, and some incredibly well thought out tactics that allowed him to sweep aside the competition with little hassle. Should he return to defend his title, it will take someone at the peak of their form to take it away from him.
Best Fighter - Martdamp has had a tough time of it in these tournaments so far, and I've been very mean about him in these lighthearted reports, but today he proved the naysayers wrong. After his agonising defeat to Kevin last month, it was going to take all of Marts untapped potential to follow that performance up with an even better run this time around. Like every anime protagonist, he had some adversity to overcome, and the whole world (i.e. his fellow admins) against him. His run to the final was not easy. He had to overcome the record title holder, Porku, two veteran fighters in Izumi, and Custoj, and a former semi-finalist in PowerfulPig. Building on his rock solid tactics from last month, Mart overcame them all and reached the final in brilliant fashion. Sadly, he couldn't get over the final hurdle, and he was forced to settle for second place, just like the perfect anime protagonist he is. We still need to drag this storyline out for another 324 episodes, Mart!
Best Fight - After some rather underwhelming fights in April, I'm delighted to say that this month was a smorgasbord of truly excellent fights. The winner of this award is Porku vs Jtox in the semi-final. When you get two veteran fighters together, you get brilliance, and we got that here in droves. Honourable mentions must go to Mart vs Kopk, who were winning this award until the previously mentioned fight happened, and also to Mart vs Custoj.
The "Why are you making this difficult for me???" award - This goes to KevinY3, for changing her bending every round, meaning I actually had to pay attention!
The "It's not Bonfire Night/4th July/Divali" award - This month the award is being given to the former champion, and notorious football hooligan KevinY3. A minor incident with a command saw Kevin gift everyone in the arena a firework. 'No problem', you may think, but no. After everyone had lit set their fireworks off, neither of the two combatants could see through the thick smoke...or 'lag', as they call it. This meant the fight had to be restarted. Well done Kevin!
Funniest Moment - That last award links neatly into this one! Due to the previous incident the two fighters, Mart and Porku, ended up fighting hand to hand, in scenes that wouldn't look out of place in an East London pub (pre-lockdown, that is).
Once again, a huge thank you to Cheesesandwich, Vincebobogunoosh, Martdamp, and Guokao for helping to put these tournaments on, they wouldn't happen without you!
And a special thanks to KevinY3 for taking some excellent notes during the fights, which helped to make this report even better.
Be on the lookout next month, as we have been promised a live commentary option, courtesy of our own Vince and Zuko. Keep an eye on the Discord closer to the time for more information about this!