|Match Date||Friday, August 20th, 2004|
|Squall - 71.00%|
68 for - 0 against
|Squall - 79.82%|
In 2002, Jill Valentine went through Kirby and Bomberman in order to reach the Sweet 16, with Kane from Command and Conquer being the odd man out. In 2003, Bomberman and Kirby got stuck in a fourpack with Alucard and Ramza, with Alucard being the one to go through both Bomerman and Kirby. Ramza was the weakest link, and he was left out.
In 2004, we have more of the same. Bomberman and Kirby are both thrown into the same fourpack as a character who is clearly stronger than both of them (Squall), and a contest newbie who is clearly weaker (Kain). I don't know if this is a running gag or what, but at least it fits. In all three contests, we have had a character go through Bomberman and Kirby en route to the Sweet 16. However this year, the character who was the benefactor of this position -- Squall in this case -- was royally screwed over. Squall deserved far better a reward for upending Jill Valentine and Luigi last year than being stuck in a company-based bracket in which his fate would be to get his ass mercilessly beaten all over the place by Cloud in the third round. In a better bracket, people could have underestimated or overestimated the holy hell out of Squall. In this bracket, his role was all to clear. Beat up the weaker characters, then take the expected loss to Cloud. But more on that later in the contest.
Based off of 2003 numbers, Bomberman was only projected to get 30.88% on Squall in this match. He did nearly 5% better than what he was projected to, which bodes a few questions about the Final Fantasy 8 lead. First off, what was going on here? How could Squall return back to his 2002 level while characters such as Link, Cloud, and eventually Sephiroth, were all performing up to their current standards? Did Squall take a drop between last year and this year, or was it possible that Luigi and Jill were simply far weaker than what we first anticipated? Whether Squall truly took a dive or not remained to be seen, but if this had anything whatsoever to do with the Kingdom Hearts Factor wearing off, then this could only mean good news for Link. It was nice seeing Bomberman doing so well, but to see a match off by almost 5% of the original projection with little to no reasons is very odd.
Personally, I think that Luigi and Jill Valentine are simply far weaker than everyone thought after the 2002 contest, and that Squall looked stronger in 2003 than he truly is. Take creativename's 2004 Xsts as an example. Despite Squall's underperformance against Bomberman, 2004 numbers project Luigi getting 38.81% against Squall, and they project Jill Valentine to get a mere 34.89%. Squall's aura of power had little to do with Squall being that good on his own. Luigi and Jill simply made him look that way. I'm not saying Squall did nothing on his own, but when he can take an appeared dive in 2004 yet be projected to blow away some of his 2003 numbers regardless, it puts the strength of his opponents, not Squall himself, into question. For all we know, Squall may very well have remained constant across all three contests.