A lot of things happened in Omaha, both VF and non-VF related. But let me focus on the VF part as people here probably want to read more about it. First of all, everyone somehow acquired better defense. I noticed that it was getting increasingly difficult to connect with either attacks or throws. I don't know why they became that way, as they could not have practiced much against humans since the NY gathering. But all those subtle things, fuzzy guard, half back-step, gave me quite a few troubles. Now moving into individuals.... Hiro (Wolf, Pai, Akira) His placement of the throws is what makes his Wolf deadly. Of course everyone can throw in the guaranteed situations. He distinguishes himself for his ability to guess right in the uncounterable situations, such as after the blocked elbow. Everyone was mixing up to defend against Wolf's guessing game; Hiro still somehow guesses right and connects with Giant Swing. Sumeragi especially feared this and always stayed a stride away from Wolf (but again, Lau vs. Wolf is a tough match-up for Lau). Hiro is also good at placing the throw, anticipating the opponent's dodge or forward-dash. I kept telling myself not to; but I still ate: PP, forward-dash(for throw), Giant Swing. And I cannot possibly escape Giant Swing in such circumstances. His Pai was notorious and known as 4-moves Pai. His Pai uses: PP, sidekick, roundhouse kick (while standing K), and throw(usually, b,d+PG or D_f+PG). His Pai will harrass you with many pecking moves, and when you get tired, it's the time for the throws. I realized, once again, the toughness of Pai's b,d+PG throw. I struggle and G -> eat another throw. Struggle and TE/attack -> eat roundhouse K. Either way I'll lose half of my life. One more thing about Hiro is that he plays seemingly random match. Those things that do not make theoretically but still work for him. Although Hiro advocates the use of many advanced defense techniques, he himself often becomes lazy and does not bother with those. Yet he still manages to get away with it. One such example is when my Lau went against his Kage. I blocked his high rising kick. So I promptly CD, anticipating his G-TE. If I don't see the throw-whiff (due to the G-TE), I will throw. If I see throw-whiff, I'd do Lau's roundhouse K + pounce to get good amount of guaranteed damage. Instead, Hiro simply crouched. No G-TE, or even the throw escape. I just got shocked and forgot to do anything. There are so many things that I can write about Hiro; but I'd have to give the space for others as well. And...I want to thank Hiro for the VF2 combo tape he made himself. Geez...Hiro complains that he has no free time, but that's a lie because the tape contained so many combos, both famous and obscure. It's too bad that we did not get a chance to get annihilated by Hiro in VF2....maybe I'll do that in Japan this winter. Hiro's cool stuff: Insane yomi "Mine-throw" (placing the throw, catching the careless forward-dash and dodge) Stagger someone -> low-throw (not guaranteed, but he knows that we will crouch) Crouch after his high rising kick is blocked (not recommended, but threw me off completely) Nelson (Shun, Pai, Kage) Among all the players present, I had the greatest trouble against his Shun. I could never catch this annoying old man. Nelson uses almost every move that Shun has, and at the right situation. His Shun will come in, peck a few times with low-P and low-K and see if he can get any openings for the throw or Chowan uppercut. And if he does not get it, he will retreat for a moment and harrs you from the mid-distance. Just when I thought I got him in my flowchart, he is no longer there. Vey clever. Nelson is also good at varying his throws. Rarely, people escaped his PG or d/f+PG. At the beginning of matcg, when Shun is not drunk, I'll go for the obvious PG throw escape. His Shun instead goes for d/f+PG and gets guaranteed behind throw, which still gives Shun 5 drink points. Later when you fear the combo from d/f+PG, Nelson does PG throw, adding more to the drink points. His Okizeme was great too. Of couse there is obvious u/f+E "cyclone", punishing the rising kicks. When you get scared to stick out the rising kick, he would force the guessing game from: Throw, d+P+K (and 4 more annoying sweeps), f+K+G (high damage, saved Nelson many rounds). You may say all these are basics, but Nelson was able to execute these perhaps the best among us. Nelson's cool stuff: Semi-machi (his machi is so subtle that I would not notice during the match. But when thinking back why I lost, it became more clear) Varying throw (although I could still escape some of his throws, I ate much more, even though Shun's throws are very limited. Combo accuracy (many of Shun's combos are stance dependent. Yet Nelson rarely missed Shun's combos. He also has an ability to maximize combo damage in many different terrain situations, something that only a few think and actually do right) Okizeme (as mentioned above) Sumeragi (Lau) Yes, he is still the fastest Lau, with dizzying Korean stepping and flawless sequences of attacks. His style is to confuse you with the fast stepping, and the moment he seizes an opportunity, he deploys Lau's punch moves (PPP, elbow-palms, etc.) and finishes you very quickly. He's also playing ever dirtier too. Half back-step -> crouch walk backward -> roundhouse K -> small pounce. To my knowledge, Sumeragi did not use those "dirty" tricks before. And even if I block the roundhouse K, that's not the end of it. Because Lau's roundhouse K is virtually uncounterable, Lau can play the reverse guessing game. I go for the throw, losing to the auto-knife. I do elbow, Lau simply blocks it. Sumeragi is also the master of so called advanced defense techniques. G-TE, Dodge-TE-G are the easy ones. But the stuff like: stagger struggle -> K-cancel (my throw will whiff) -> d/f, d/f+PG or Jacky's low-K MC -> (Jacky's elbow or throw) -> Punch-TE (which beats both elbow AND throw). Amazing. Oh one more, stagger struggle -> Dodge-TE-G (which avoids both slow attacks and escapes one of the throws, very useful against Kage's d+K+G/throw guessing game after the stagger). What else...his flawless execution of Uramawari techniques. You just cannot side-roll against his Lau because you are sure to be punished. I felt this especially after eating Lau's d/f, d/f+PG throw. My energy is low, so I will die if Lau stomps me. So my last hope is to side-roll to avoid the stomp. But the hope is only an illusion because Sumeragi will not fail to do Ura and double-palm/TA-punch for overkill. I saw that he was having problem against Hiro's Wolf. But it's just maybe Lau vs. Wolf thing. In my opinion, Lau is sure to have a big problem against Wolf with good defense. Elbow blocked -> 100pts guessing game. Throwing fuzzy guarding player is difficult. And Lau's sweep (f,d+K), Lau's only useful low attack, opens up for major punishment if blocked. Sumeragi's cool stuff: Advanced defense techniques Uramawari Fast stepping Lau's mad rush (when there is an opening) Ice-9 (Kage, Aoi, Taka) One things strikes me about his Kage: consistency of TFT combo. I, too, can do those TFT combos, but not at the rate Jeff can. After perishing against his Kage, you would realize how powerful Kage's TFT combos are. A simple b+PG command takes almost as much as Giant Swing and carries long distance for the ringout. He was also very consistent with vs. Aoi TFT combo (famous TFT -> Knee -> P -> b+K+G -> Kage-yaiba). Every time he went for it, he succeeded, as far as I saw. His Aoi is fast and looks very sophisticated. A lot of G-canceling, reversals at good success rate, Uramawari, just the way how Aoi meant to be played. Aoi's uramawari is not so easy to do either because it often involves 2 CD-cancel away from the screen. Hiro and I play Aoi too but more straightforward...or boring, frankly (as my Aoi strategy revolves around mid-kick and throws, which is still effective...but...). I can recommend Jeff's Aoi for any new learner who wants to see what's possible with her. He also plays Taka (I think he likes to use those underplayed characters). His Taka utilizes fast stepping and almost unending PPPs sequeces. But if I am to suggest something, Jeff's Taka should use more high-risk&high-return moves, such as Push (3 different kinds). I say that because Taka eventually faces his limitation when going against Jacky, Lau and such. He should trust his yomi and goes for BIG, something Jacky or Kage does not have. I hope Jeff is still alive as he had to face 2 midterms on the day when he returned, possibly much more formidable than his VF enemies in Omaha.... Jeff's cool stuff: Consistent TFT combos Fast stepping Ability to become "bitch" (Jeff usually plays very clean game; but he can also choose not to. I still cannot forget the Lion vs. Taka match, eith countless low punches from both sides). OK...I'm running out of steam as of now, and have to postpone my analisys of Omaha players as well as myself. Meanwhile, any sorts of questions/comments about the players are welcome; I'll try to answer them as much as possible from my memory.