As an avid baseball fan, it seems like I’ve already witnessed this play out. Two players were the clear favorites to win the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award. You had the one guy who had the numbers but also had the storyline to go with it. Miguel Cabrera was one of the catalysts for the Detroit Tigers, who propelled the squad to the American League Central title and, eventually, the pennant a month later.
But there was another guy, about a thousand miles away, who was doing damage in a new kind of way. Mike Trout, a rookie, was lighting it up for the Los Angeles Angels Of Placentia On The Tip Of Anaheim And Parts Of Disneyland Near Buena Park. Trout was an insane player not only at the plate, but also on the base paths and in the outfield. My first recollection of him was robbing a home run and then smiling about it like it was nothing.
So when it was revealed that Cabrera won the MVP, it didn’t seem like a shock. It wasn’t as if the Baseball Writers Association of America was giving it to a scrub. But to see him win by so many votes was jaw dropping, at least for me. Perhaps it was because that the Tigers won the division and the Angels finished third in the American League West in a year they were picked by some experts to win it all (at my Clark Kent job, I picked them to win it all in a rout. The jinx goes beyond speed runs, ha ha)
You’re probably wondering who I’m labeling Chris G and Filipino Champ as in this situation. Fact is, I don’t think you can, and I think it’s a total disservice to say that one had the Mike Trout sabermetrics and the other had the Miguel Cabrera traditional statistics.
Both had great years. You could count the number of times Chris G lost in a tournament after September. But then you’d have to remember what Filipino Champ did for the first half of the year as the Road to Evolution heated up. There’s the Morrigan-Doom factor. Then there’s the Dark Phoenix factor. Both had insane winning streaks. One was within a major tournament, the other was a string of tournaments.
As with the other end of year awards, I asked the three other writers at Corner Pressure to put in their one vote for Player of the Year.
Back in November, when I was really debating with myself who I was going to give my vote to, I thought about all that had happened throughout the year, as it should be.
Then I remember what I said prior to Evolution and again during Championship Sunday. If Filipino Champ won Evolution, he was going to change everything.
I’ve been around lots of different communities, where tactics are held in secret. I remember years ago, when top players in other games didn’t want to be filmed out of fear of their tactics getting exposed (the story of one scrub bringing a binder of plays a top Madden player ran at two different Madden Challenges was hilarious; the scrub went 0-2). And all of a sudden, Filipino Champ was going to start streaming his practices and be more open about what he was doing as he set a goal to win Evolution 2012’s UMvC3 tournament.
But more than that, I kept thinking of the other people who played with Filipino Champ prior to their big moments. Those other players made it a point to practice with him and get that training. And the majority of the time, it resulted in victory. He helped other players improve.
It’s hard to ignore that.
It’s also hard to ignore what Chris G did in the latter half of 2012. His dominance during the Big Two series is unfathomable, winning 13 consecutive tournaments, going 79-6 during the streak. He was 17-1 when facing elimination. The stats go against anyone trying to win three elimination matches in a row, and in one tournament, this guy won seven in a row.
Chris G won 28 and 27 matches in a row at a Big Two against live competition. That’s nuts. And he continued his dominance into the regional tournaments, using a brand of play that wasn’t exciting, but got the job done. He is the ultimate lunch pail player. Get in, get it done, get out.
For what the three other voters and I did, it’s not surprising. We ended up splitting 2-2.
2012 Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 North American co-Players of the Year: Ryan “Filipino Champ” Ramirez and Christopher Gonzalez.
My vote went for Filipino Champ.
Timothy's take: It's becoming a trend with this site, but do not equate us to fanboys -- we're just stating facts. Chris "Genuis" Gonzalez is my pick for POY of UMvC3. If such a thing exists as "boring Marvel," then Gonzalez has made it a consistent art-form. His victories are stale, dominant, and predicable; exactly what a POY is. Pair a top-tier team (Morrigan, Vergil, and Dr. Doom) and a fantastic player and you get tournament victory after victory. What many considered as one of the best top-8 EVO runs in Marvel was just the start of the dominant year that Chris G had. It goes from his winning streak at local tournament, "Big Two" to wins in big-time exhibitions (FT15 win over EVO champion Filipino Champ 15-10). It goes beyond that. He's so consistent that he's placed top-8 in nearly every major he's played (and over multiple games). All that was missing was victories in these majors. Until he started doing that too. Easy call for POY -- Chris G.
Dakota’s take: Damn. And here I thought that I'd be the only one to pick Chris G.
But, how can you not? Chris G's performances throughout the year were not only the most consistent, but the most polished. He brought his team to its apparent highest potential, then continued to master the ins and outs of his team. It was hard to ignore - his constant results placed him in the highest rungs of the community throughout the year, making it impossible for numbers of players to advance. He was a steel fortress in the brackets. Many of his victories seemed certain before they even happened, and even then he continued to impress.
If you don't have any haters, then you're doing something wrong. For Chris G, he gained enough hatred for his flagship play-style to fill an Olympic swimming pool, then he preceded to do laps that would make even Michael Phelps shed a tear. If Chris G was on stream, chats would blow up when he would succeed, stream monsters hungry for blood and hoping to see him fail. But he just wouldn't. His characters were dominant, especially his Morrigan, which became synonymous with Chris G himself. He has set the bar here in the Western Hemisphere for Morrigan play, but beyond that, he has also set the bar for consistency.
Then again, the results are all the proof you need. Chris G went far and beyond the necessities required to be Player of the Year.
Antonio’s take: This one's tough. Do I go with the EVO 2012 champ? The SBO 2012 champ? or do I go with Chris G? Either way I pick, someone isn't going to be very happy with my decision, because I feel that the POTY for UMvC3 can easily be any one of these three players -- F.Champ, Justin, Chris. I do feel like I have to take non-tournament milestones into consideration, because purely on tournament merits, all three stand equally.
That being said, Filipino Champ is my Player of the Year. One thing resonates in my mind when I think of Champ this year, and it's what he told Rose and I during our EVO interview. Champ opened the doors to FGTV, and along with that, the opportunity for players to scout out his training regiment on a pretty consistent basis -- at least early on. Not only that, FGTV provided a training ground for NorCal players through Fraud Free Fridays, as well as invited top players to come and practice up.
I feel Champ learned a lot from opening the doors to FGTV, and I'm truly sad I never got to visit.
Pictures by Michael Yu and Kara Leung.