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|Match Date||Friday, July 5th, 2002|
|Alucard - 51.41%|
Ignore the prediction percentage and the odds for a moment. Very few people, if anyone on Board 8 saw this coming. Granted, most of the people who had played Symphony of the Night before the 2002 contest figured that Alucard would be stronger than our board made him out to be, but to date, SOTN has sold around 1 million copies, and that number was lower two and a half years ago. As critically acclaimed as SOTN and Alucard were coming into the contest, few people outside of Castlevania fans even knew who he was, let alone picked him to win. Though the prediction percentages and the odds may suggest a lot of faith for Alucard, some of this was undoubtedly due to Alucard's seeding. To be blunt, very few people on the board had heard of either Alucard or Symphony of the Night before this match. The general assumption was that Tails would win because Tails was the character that everyone had heard of. I myself had Tails not only winning this match, but the next one as well.
But a conversation that I had with NeoElfboy (one Mario/Cloud match away from a perfect North Division that year; check the archive of the first stats topic for proof) foreshadowed the other point of view of this match. Not only was Alucard very much mainstream enough due to the Castlevania name to win the match, but Sonic was a series in decline for years prior to this contest. Everyone talks about how popular Shadow the Hedgehog is and all right now, but Sonic Adventure 2: Battle was released in February of 2002, months before the 2002 contest. NeoElfboy used the Sonic declining logic to take Alucard to win this match, and obviously, the theory had some merit to it. Granted he used the same logic to pick Tidus over Sonic, but we'll ignore that >_>
When the match began, Alucard jumped out to a fast lead that he would never come away from. Tails made a decent run at chipping down at Alucard's percentage later in the match, but as everyone fully knows by now, chipping away at the percentage does not mean chipping away at the lead. The Alucard/Tails match, as well as the mayhem that ensued because of it, was the match that begun the tradition of arguing percentages versus vote totals. Isn't it amazing that after two and a half years, people still cannot grasp the concept of a small percentage drop not equaling a comeback? Thanks to virtually the entire board rooting for a Tails comeback, this ugly little tradition got started, and it has unfortunately yet to end.
Of course, Tails's efforts were all in vain. As close and exciting as the match may have seemed at the time, a 5300 vote difference at the end is a convincing win by today's standards despite the fact that it was the closest match yet to be seen in a contest poll at the time. Tails's fans accepted the loss by the time the match ended, and by the time the match ended, we were well on our way to one hell of a contest. Through five matches, we had seen three major board upsets, as well as a massive DK underperformance. Only Mario seemed convincing by this point, but even that match looks tame by today's standards. As vocal as Tails's supporters were that day, Alucard managed to thrust himself into the limelight, and as everyone knows, his match with Tails was no fluke. It may have seemed like a fluke at the time, but one quick look at the rest of his contest matches obviously suggests that Alucard is for real in these contests. He may not be elite, but he is no slouch either. And as good as Alucard beginning his tradition of surprises was, Tails began an unfortunate tradition of first round disappointments in his own right. It would take another two years before he would finally break his slump.
Stats and Analysis Edit
Before the Match Edit
Despite what the prediction percent showed almost everyone on the board thought Tails was going to win. Back in 2k2 nobody on board 8; outside of Castlevania fans heard of Alucard and even then some of them were taking Tails to win the match. This was one of the many round 1 matches in this contest where people took the character that they heard of over one that they know nothing about. Even though no one thought Tails would be as strong as Sonic or Knuckles, they thought he shouldn't have to much problems with Alucard, while some people thought he would be able to beat Duke Nukem as well.
After the Match Edit
Alucard started with the lead and ran away with it. All Tails was able to do was to use the Sonic morning vote and cut into the percent during the morning and day. Cries of comeback were heard in the board and almost every single one was replied with "cutting into the percent =/= comeback". Despite being close it wasn't very interesting, it was one of those matches where it was close, but the loser did next to nothing at trying to comeback. Even though this match isn't close by today's standards it was the closest match so far in the contest and it would stay like that for the next two weeks.
Interesting Facts Edit
- First match to have "cutting into the percent =/= comeback" replied to people when a character wasn't really coming back.