Thaiger Uppercut was supposedly going to be just another low-ranking fighting game tournament. It may be a Capcom Pro Tour event but it was a Ranking event for Street Fighter V so not a lot of points will be earned for the winner. It was going to be a tournament where we would once again see foreigners from Japan and the USA dominate the local competition in Thailand. There were going to be some hype matches and some close rounds as it had some Street Fighter legends like Tokido, Sako and K-Brad joining the tournament. But, all-in-all, I was expecting Thaiger Uppercut to be just another tournament.
Technically, it was. As expected, the foreigners dominated as Tokido from Japan took home the 1st place trophy over Sako, another Japanese player. There were some extremely exciting and tense battles, especially during Top 8. However, I came away after watching this year’s Thaiger Uppercut as if I just watched something special and I think a lot of people within the fighting game community will agree with me that the Street Fighter V tournament for that event was something extraordinary. While the matches were great, what made watching them an experience all to itself was the incredibly entertaining commentary by DOtA caster, Xyclopz.
I’m not really familiar with Xyclopz as I’m not a huge fan of DOtA. Yeah, it’s strange as DOtA is one of the most popular games around the world but I never really got into the scene. All I know about Xyclopz is that he’s a “caster,” which is essentially a fancy word for calling the color commentary for the game. Since MOBAs like DOtA were never my jam, I never really got to hear the man do any kind of commentary before Thaiger Uppercut. But now that I have, I have to say I’ve learned a lot from listening try to commentate, especially with a game that he is obviously unfamiliar with.
I’m not saying Xyclopz knows very little about Street Fighter V to disparage him. It’s very obvious to a seasoned veteran like myself that he knows very little about the game based on the things he said while calling the match. It definitely seemed as if he didn’t know any of the player’s names or how popular they are in the fighting game community as a whole. He didn’t know the majority of the mechanics of Street Fighter V. He didn’t even know the names of most of the special attacks. Suffice to say, Xyclopz was a fighting game noob.
I should’ve been incredibly annoyed by his commentary as he would substitute his “own” names for the attacks, such as calling Balrog/Boxer’s dash punches the “1-2 step” or Akuma’s Hurricane Kick just the “spinning kick.” He also just kept on screaming that characters who have projectile attacks to spam them consistently without considering things like spacing, frame data and footsies. He tends to talk over his partner in commentary, making it an terribly one-sided soundbyte show. He also has a very thick accent and spoke with broken English consistently.
I should’ve hated Xyclopz’s being on the mic during each and every Street Fighter V Top 8 match as he didn’t know much about the game and he didn’t speak clearly. But, like everyone who streamed Street Fighter V’s Thaiger Uppercut tournament on Twitch, I thought he was probably the best thing in the tournament. Yes, there were some action packed and really hype matches but the thing that really kept me glued to the screen was listening to Xyclopz spout all of this nonsense.
Xyclopz’s commentary was entertaining to say the least. I totally didn’t mind that he didn’t didn’t know the moves and he would just describe what was happening on the screen like a 8-year old just explaining the awesome thing he just saw a few minutes ago. I didn’t care that he was just spouting really weird nonsense by saying things like Cammy can drill kick to the core of the earth. No, all I heard was a hype man trying his best to describe what was happening on the screen and doing his job: bringing the hype.
This is what color commentary is supposed to do. Sure, it’s supposed to describe the action, for sure. It’s just that there are so many times when professional commentators try to be a little too professional and forget to pump up the listeners and say things that may be outlandish but fits in the context of the action. He would also say some really strange but funny crap that may not made a lick of sense, like that weird analogy that Menat’s orbs always coming back and how it reminds him of how he would greet him mother when he came home.
The fighting game community, who are probably like me and have never really heard Xyclopz’s brand of insane casting/commentating style, became enamored with it. Of course, not everyone was fine with it, but based on the comments on Twitch while the tournament was going on, most took to his crazy way very well. There are even some fans hoping that they’ll bring Xyclopz to the larger venues like Evo and the Capcom Cup Finals this year. It is a nice and fun thought if Capcom does actually hire the guy to do future commentary for them. I don’t see this happening because he is a wild card and he did say some things that some people may find offensive. He already has a black mark for being sexist and unprofessional against a female DOtA player and Capcom probably doesn’t want to take the risk of him saying something obscene in a huge event like Evo or Capcom Cup.
Even so, Xyclopz did what a color commentator is supposed to do: bring color to the match. He did a phenomenal job and considering he didn’t have all that much knowledge of Street Fighter V, his performance was excellent. I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing him in future tournaments, particularly the smaller ones as he is incredibly entertaining. Oh, Tokido won Thaiger Uppercut but the moral trophy for the tournament really goes to Xyclopz’s casting skills on the mic.
What’s your thoughts on Xyclopz and how he handled casting for a Street Fighter V tournament? Let me know in the comments below!