|Match Date||Sunday, August 15th, 2004|
|Knuckles - 60.99%|
71 for - 7 against
|Knuckles the Echidna - 44.33%|
Don't let the final score of this match fool you. Knuckles was in quite a bit of trouble in this match for quite a long time. Coming into this poll, Knuckles was expected to break 60% on Kefka with absolute ease based off of 2003 numbers. When you factor in that both Luigi/Pac Man and Crono/Conker shoot down the theory of Crono/Kefka SFF in 2003, there was little reason to believe that Knuckles wouldn't be able to steamroll Kefka in this poll. Most of the people who follow stats already knew this, and anyone who dared bring up how they felt Kefka had a chance was laughed at.
But as the poll began, we were all shocked to see that Kefka was not only holding his own, but building a lead as well. Despite the Lettuce Kefka match pic, the fact that Knuckles was the overwhelming favorite on the board, and despite the fact that Knuckles was expected to break 60%, not just win, based off of 2003 stats, the board caught fire during the first few hours of this poll. Kefka's lead was relatively small -- around 130 votes at the most, if I recall -- but despite every attempt that Knuckles made to take Kefka's lead away, Kefka held his own and hung on tightly for the first few hours.
The board was fun to watch during this time, but after the Sega morning vote kicked in, Knuckles began doing what he was expected to do right from the start. Knuckles not only came back against Kefka with ease, but he made a massive push at the poll and never looked back. Still, Knuckles put forth a very disappointing performance despite recovering from his early setback. The entire theory of Crono/Kefka SFF in 2003 started coming up again, and whether or not it truly existed was the hot topic for the entire match.
Personally, I don't think this match proves that there was any SFF during Crono/Kefka at all. Take a look at the prediction percentage for this match. Well over 55% of brackets thought that Kefka was going to win this match despite Knuckles' past performances in this contest. There is also the Lettuce vs Enchilada factor; lettuce is far easier on the stomach than enchiladas for many people. Kefka getting the lettuce pic, in all seriousness, may have helped him get a large amount of the early support in the match. When you pair that with the bracket voters, it isn't hard to imagine Kefka taking the early lead. When you add all that to the people who fill out their brackets under the "Square characters always win close matches" clause, Kefka's performance doesn't come with as big a surprise factor as it did when we were all watching the poll in the first place. Something caused all of those people to go with Kefka, and it certainly couldn't have been last year's performance against Pac Man. Square could very well be on the rise in these contests, and thanks to the fact that Final Fantasy 6 has mainstream appeal on this site, Kefka could very well have been one of the recipients.
Crono/Kefka SFF in no guarantee simply because of this one match. I just feel that Kefka was an anomaly in the stats, and Knuckles helped prove my theory in the next round. Knuckles may be the weakest character to win a match in all three contests, but maybe this is because he's always stuck against Snake in the second round? Just a thought.
Stats and Analysis Edit
This match provided some interesting debate before the contest. Though Knuckles had more contest success, Kefka was the 7 seed to Knuckles' 10. Kefka was coming off of an embarrassing near-loss to Pac-Man, while Knuckles was smarting from another Snake loss, and set to suffer another.
Kefka opened this match up with a bang, hanging onto a 100+ vote lead. But it only took half an hour for Knuckles to cut up this lead. During a war of attrition that lasted 3 hours, Knuckles finally got the lead himself, but his margin increased very slowly. After 3 hours, the lead started to increase more, and by morning, Knuckles had taken Kefka out of the match.