It was the day before Canada Cup and the venue had just opened. Players were handed their dog tags and VIP passes were given. There were setups where money matches were held for both AE and MVC3.
As soon as I got there I saw who I wanted to play for quite some time. That person was Justin Wong himself. I've always wanted to play him in both AE and Marvel.
The last time I had played him was during ReveLAtions and I lost 0-2 quite quickly. I finally got to sit down with him and play a first to three.
The first set was like a shock to me. My idea was to play the match-up the way I had played against Ricky Ortiz. However, I was in for a quite surprise.
Justin Wong was giving me nothing to punish. He played completely safe and overwhelmed me by walking me to to corner. Not only that, I was stumped on what to do against his defensive Rufus.
As soon as he got a knock down I noticed his change in patterns. He went on the offensive, but it was more of a defensive offense. He was very patient with his moves and made sure he invested in his attacks with little to no risk to him.
Justin Wong's throw setups were very smart. He had well timed frame traps to mix-up his throw game. The difference between him and Ricky are that Ricky uses more dive-kicks to his mix-up advantage compared to Justin. I thought that was very interesting.
To no surprise, I lost 0-3. I had lost ten Canadian dollars. I was intrigued and asked Justin to run it back. He said, "Sure. Same thing [first to 3 for $10]?" I nodded.
Unfortunately, the same thing happened (I lost 0-3) but it was slightly less horrific. I thought to myself, "Why am I losing to this style?" I tried to remember all the matches I had studied of Justin Wong and Ricky Ortiz while comparing them in my head.
Once again I asked Justin to run it back. He replied, "Do you want to think about it before we run it back?" I told him, "No it's okay. I already know what I'm doing wrong."
What I was doing wrong was playing two different people. I wasn't playing Ricky Ortiz. I was playing Justin Wong. A player who takes his time and slowly places his character in the best position possible while putting up a defensive offense.
What I mean by a defensive offense is that Justin gets a life lead, spaces his character in the most optimized way possible, and then makes a move while controlling space both fundamentally and with footsies.
I now understood that I wasn't going to punish Justin's mistakes if he wasn't going to make any. I now had to create a front while pressing on with offense. This meant that I had to play out of what I experienced and understood against Ricky. I needed to attack.
My movements started to become aggressive. My zoning and spacing of fireballs became offensive and I attempted to press Justin Wong to the corner. I slowly was challenging Justin's fundamentals and footsies.
In the end, I was able to take 3 straight games from Justin. He seemed to be more relaxed compared to his tournament play-style, but I was going to take whatever win possible to help myself stay confident during Canada Cup.
Justin said to me, "Do you know what you're not doing enough? You're not using the standing fierce. It's a good tool against Rufus." I agreed with him explaining I never really used it against Rufus to punish dive kicks and Rufus' other normals.
I apologized to him for adapting much too slow (at least for me). Justin replied saying, "No, that was just fine." He continued asking, "So was it $10 you owe me?"
I thought to myself thinking I could get away with just paying him $10, but I rightfully owe him $20 (I challenged him 3 times to a first to 3 for $10). I told him, "No, I owe you $20. You beat me fair and square I'm not going to do that to you."
To be fair, if it was anyone else I would do the same. I just wouldn't feel myself if I had walked away paying Justin (or anyone else, in general) the wrong amount.
I thanked him for the games as the venue started to close. Justin replied, "We can money match in Marvel tomorrow."
Has that ever happened to you before? Did you ever miscount a money match and rightfully corrected the score? Or have you ever had a situation where something just wasn't right during a money match and you spoke up to ensure an honest match? Leave a comment below and let me know! :)