Calamari Cup 3 looms around the corner. The third installment to a popular online Splatoon tournament series is set to feature some of the best talent in the Splatoon community. While the previous two have featured a group stage to single elimination format, Calamari Cup 3 will be adopting a simpler format, going for a straight Double Elimination bracket.
Along with the changes in the tournament series, the young Splatoon competitive scene itself is experiencing its own growing pains. Many teams that were once dominant have become defunct in the last few weeks, while teams that are currently leading the scene have either remade their rosters or adopted new teams altogether. Two such teams competing in the Calamari Cup 3 epitomize this trend. One is a new team with old members looking to stomp the competition once more. The other is an old team with new faces aiming for the elusive gold.
KUSA HUKAHI is a new joint venture between American and Japanese players out to make a name for themselves. They made their debut as a pickup team in King of the Valley where they steamrolled their way to a Grand Finals victory, beating out strong teams such as NSTC and All Star Squads 1. The partnership between ex-Retro Squids members (Static, DogFace) and Japan (Yuryo.boy, Yukari) has proven to be a strong combination. Furthermore, Japanese charger player Nekura, a player known for his tricky maneuvering and a three-time champion of the Inkstorm series with his team, Omohide, will be joining KUSA HUKAHI for this tournament.
KUSA HUKAHI logo
This is the first time a team featuring strong Japanese players has entered more than one event in the west. Usually, Japanese teams have only gathered for the Inkstorm series, a large tournament with monetary payout. It’s not unexpected for this to happen, as many Japanese players are forced to stay up into the early morning hours to play in a tournament featured in North America. Furthermore, many players have considered Japan to house some of the strongest teams in the scene, as evidenced by their dominating runs in Inkstorm. Many Japanese tournaments have featured more than a hundred teams, making them the largest competitive Splatoon events. However, as KUSA HUKAHI is making a second appearance in another western event, this may be the start of Japanese teams reaching out and making regular appearances at western events.
KUSA HUKAHI's victorious run in KotV, knocking out Cyberbullies, Koopa Clan, NSTC, and All Star Squads 1
Another interesting facet is whether or not this will become Static and DogFace's main team. The Carbon Roller/Zink Mini Splatling and 96-Gal Deco mains, respectively, have been together since the formation of their old team, Squidtastic Melody. From there they went on to create Overlook, which would go on to become the strongest team in the late fall months as Team Nintendome. Both players left at the team’s peak and have spent the month bouncing from team to team. It seems that with their new team, KUSA HUKAHI, they have found another team that will take them back to the top of the scene.
Meanwhile, an older team is looking to reemerge, this time with a new lineup. Choke Squad has been one of the top 5 teams in the history of competitive Splatoon. Their consistent placements in the Top 8 of nearly every event they enter and strong matchups against top teams display their talent and skill. However, despite winning sets against top teams such as Paradise and NSTC, Choke Squad, true to their name, have never won a single event. This time, after a month and a half hiatus, this team is coming to shake off the rust. But that hiatus unfortunately came to the loss of two key members: their charger player, rezb1t, who recently moved on to join JFG after subbing for them in a previous event, and Pocket, who left the team for personal reasons.
Choke Squad logo
Thus, Choke Squad went out to recruit players to beef up their roster as well as fill in missing gaps of their strategies. The new acquisitions to Choke Squad include chilly (formerly of Octarian Legion), Lux (formerly of Wabi Sabi), Sorapol (formerly of Retro Squids), and Jayseph (formerly of Retro Squids), thus bringing up their roster to eight. These four new recruits will be joining Choke Squad stalwarts Danny, SkyeKuma, Boba2007, and Bliumage. Calamari Cup 3 will be the proving grounds for this new team. Choke Squad looks to reassert their strength and finally claim a win for themselves.
In a way, it's somewhat appropriate that the first time KUSA HUKAHI and Choke Squad will actually meet each other in the Calamari Cup is in Winners Finals, with captains Static and Danny respectively facing each other once again. In the early months, Choke Squad clearly beat out Overlook. But during November, with the new Team Nintendome additions, it was Nintendome advancing over Choke Squad. Now, with Retro Squids officially defunct, the remnants have found themselves in KUSA HUKAHI and Choke Squad. New lines of rivalry have been drawn, with familiar faces on both sides.
However, KUSA HUKAHI and Choke Squad aren't the only teams gunning for the gold. KUSA HUKAHI will have to contend with fellow Top 8 contenders Koopa Clan, the strongest French team, or JFG, with their newly official acquisition rezb1t. On the other side of the brackets, Choke Squad will have to face up against NSTC, considered currently to be the top western team. With more than 32 teams competing, Calamari Cup 3 is poised to provide us with the freshest competition yet.
Calamari Cup 3 (hosted by @Demiose) will take place on Saturday, January 23rd 2016.
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Calamari Cup 3 - The Tides of Change