|Match Date||Saturday, July 8th, 2006|
|Castlevania - 44.61%|
35 for - 127 against
|Castlevania - 31.49%|
When the bracket was first released, Halo was an entrant that a lot of people put faith into due to past contest stats. Granted Halo isn't exactly a transitive entity, but its performance has still been impressive. Relatively, anyway.
Master Chief has twice come back from being down over 2000 votes in a poll. And if you're one of those people who believes that "winning the day vote" entails not getting your ass whipped as badly during the day that you did during other demographics in a match, then I believe Master Chief has won the day vote in every match he's ever been a part of.
Which brings us to Halo itself. Sure Halo lost to Starcraft as a 1 seed, but Halo did come back from being down 1045 votes in that match, plus it used a killer day vote to build a 1100 vote lead for itself before utterly collapsing. However, given what Starcraft did later on in that contest, Halo's Xst strength was clearly not a fluke. And given that Halo did better against Starcraft than Kingdom Hearts did in that same contest, Halo > Kingdom Hearts was perhaps the best "upset" pick of the contest. Then again, look ahead at the prediction percentages for the entire contest. Halo > KH was the casual pick for this fourpack.
The problem with thinking of Halo so highly is that no one bothered listening to the few Castlevania supporters lying around. Halo biggest strength (it's in every match) is also its biggest weakness. Halo, much like the Jacksonville Jaguars, plays down to competition. It'll almost never blow anything out, save for utter crap. So even though it can be in match with things like Starcraft, midcarders like Donkey Kong can hang with it as well. The power of no transitivity and a site-wide hate of Xbox can do that.
Which made this match all the more interesting. Most people expected Halo to win, but most also expected Castlevania to put on a show early. In fact, given Alucard and SOTN's voting trends, some predicted that this match would feature the biggest comeback of all time.
The first part of this came true, at least. Halo grabbed a small lead via bracket voting early and led at the first freeze. Castlevania fought back to a small lead at the second freeze. From there, Castlevania exploded en route to whipping Halo's ass. It built a 1000 vote lead within an hour and a half, and showed no signs of slowing down throughout the night. By the time three hours was up, the lead was 2000. By 4:30, 3000. Yet this was the only contest match ever in which something went down by that much and the losing side was calling the match in the favor of said loser, even though it wasn't coming close to winning any updates.
Granted Halo has a nice history of coming back, but Castlevania was winning updates with 55-60% of the vote. Nothing short of a small miracle was going to save Halo if it didn't get its ass in gear in a hurry. But it never happened.
And one needs to look into that for a second just to see how insane it really was. Halo took the day vote in every single match it had ever been in before it faced off against Castlevania. Every one. Felix, Aeris, Starcraft, Crash Bandicoot, Frog, CATS, Donkey Kong and Crono all felt the burn. Yet Castlevania, master of completely sucking ass with the day vote (I'm fairly sure that all matches involving CV in the past saw drastic percentage dropoffs), took the day vote from something historically known for working miracles with it. Sure Halo won an update every now and then... by like single digit votes. Castlevania took the day vote in stride; instead of winning updates in the 55-60% range, it dropped to a measly 51-55% range en route to CV easily dispatching Halo by over 11000 votes. It's as if there was no difference between voter demographics at all, which would eventually go down as one of the biggest shockers of the entire contest. This was a match in which people called for Halo's victory because Castlevania was "only" up by 4000 votes at 6:30 a.m., which says a lot about past voting trends.
Halo has been exposed as a fraud time and time again in these contests, yet people (including me) retain faith in it. I was one of many that had it beating Kingdom Hearts (<_<), and many people even had it beating Metal Gear, as evidenced by the low prediction percentage for Metal Gear winning the division. Xbox hate has died down a little bit, but still very much exists on this site. This was also a possible warning sign for an "It's not a series" mentality taking over the contest, given that Halo is only two games. Sure two games is technically a series, but still.
But the real warning sign here is the top half of Division 128 being overrated to hell and back. Halo tanked. SoulCalibur tanked. If Wind Waker and Metroid Prime were in this contest, I'm sure they would tank. And Gordon Freeman tanks no matter what.
Though before ending this, some credit to Castlevania. It's a series that has spanned across every console generation and most consoles outright. It may be a niche series, but it clearly had enough strength to hold its own from day one even with the horrid day vote trends from the past. The best answer for why CV won might have come from the Halo 2 boards itself: "Castlevania is the better, more important series".
Match Trends Edit
One of the unspoken rules of the contest is that every single match involving Halo or Master Chief must be entertaining or interesting in some way. (The sole exception to this is Master Chief vs. Crash Bandicoot, 2004. Because, c’mon, it’s Crash Bandicoot.) When the series bracket was announced, the 6-seeded Halo faced stiff competition in Round Two from Kingdom Hearts… but first it had to get past Castlevania. Despite the fact that Halo and Master Chief have a reputation for tanking to holy hell in the past, most of the board put its faith in Halo to make it out of Round One without a second thought.
I don’t know much about voting trends in terms of day vote and night vote and afterschool vote and the like, but I do know that Halo is supposed to be crazy with the day vote. Well, Castlevania laughed at Halo’s great day vote and absolutely buried it, en route to a 55-45 victory. What happened here? Well, it’s also commonly accepted that anti-votes are an innate property of Halo/Master Chief; at least until this year, Xbox hate ran rampant on this site. That and few people bothered to think about Castlevania as being an influential series with a game on damn near every platform. A satisfying upset for the few who managed to pick it correctly.