Midwest Championships 2015 is set to be run May 29, 30 – a Friday and Saturday – by the Kumite in Tennessee staff. MWC is a long running tournament series originally out of Chicago, IL. The previous tournament organizer, Jason “DreamTR” Wilson, moved it to Nashville, Tennessee in 2011 so it could be run at Game Galaxy Arcade. Since then Jason has focused more on building his arcade presence so this past year he agreed the KIT team should take the main organizational duties. We could not be more excited about bringing this event back to prominence in the FGC! More details including games, registration information, schedule, and streams will be announced in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

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This one was a doozy. I can’t believe a year has passed since I was here writing this same article about KIT 14. The entire year was crazy for team KIT as we attended over 10 large tournaments, expanded our roster of players, and made connections all over the country. We worked hard to get the word out about our tournament and in the end it paid off as we nearly doubled in size of attendees compared to our previous one.

We knew we wanted to capitalize on the success of KIT 14 and continue to grow. I said last year that KIT 14 was merely a springboard for KIT 15 so we knew we had to deliver if we wanted to keep our trajectory pointed up. Immediately after KIT 14 we started to brainstorm on what we could do to improve the player experience.

There were several things we changed or upgraded for this tournament. First we went up to a grand total of 15 main games. Our philosophy is to be as inclusive as possible to all scenes we invite to the tournament and early on we took on the challenge of somehow making sure every game received both stream time and some kind of guarantee. It is impossible to literally give every game equal treatment at an event, but to the best of our ability we wanted to try. I know it is common in the FGC, but as much as possible I try to avoid the term “side game” and its connotations. To accommodate this philosophy we ended up having seven official streams at the event. I think the players and communities enjoyed it, but it was a very difficult task to pull off.

I think the biggest change, and the one that seemed to raise the most eyebrows, was the disallowance of onsite registration. There are obviously some downsides to it – some players just cannot plan even a week in advance due to the nature of their jobs and it may decrease overall attendance. However, it helps the players by creating fixed pools – this way everyone knows how to prepare for the tournament and what time they will be playing. It helps the KIT staff even more by allowing us to prepare for exactly how much equipment we need and allows everything to run smoothly and on time since we do not have to worry about creating brackets on the spot. We thought the tradeoff was worth it and may even help us with our numbers in the long run. For our large three day events I cannot see us ever going back.

Since I have been asked privately many times about how I felt having a big event on the same date as KIT – I will answer here publicly the same way. KIT supports every tournament! Even ones that are (gasp!) on the same date. I love the FGC and want to see it grow as big as it can get! When it becomes a game of only how many people attend and how many stream viewers we can get then I have lost my way and need to pack it up. I enjoyed being able to advertise Canada Cup during KIT and hope we were able to lift up that event while ours was going on.

This year we had a 16 man Street Fighter invitational on Thursday night – essentially making this a 4 day event for me. I thought the pre-KIT tournament was a success as it gave us a chance to highlight one of our local Sponsors – The Score of Murfreesboro. Although it was some extra work, the players and the store owner seemed to really enjoy it and it was a great way to kick off the festivities.

Overall the tournament was a great success. For the most part the tournament ran on time as scheduled with the exception of early Saturday morning. If you talked to me any time from 10 AM to 2 PM on Saturday I apologize! Between things running a little late and logistical issues I was not in a good mood, but once things got going I was able to cheer up and enjoy the tournament. One stream unfortunately went down during pools, and I am truly sorry about that. Having 7 streams, while awesome, may have been one or two too many so I will look into how we can condense it while still providing a quality program. Something to think about and improve on.

Saturday night and Sunday finals were amazing! On Friday and Saturday during the day I have to deal with so many things running concurrently that I feel disconnected from the players – with greater numbers comes less individual time I can spend with everybody and this will become a challenge for me personally as KIT grows. On Sunday though, since everything is so spread out I get to spend a couple hours with each scene as I can focus on them one by one. The hype and the chants brought by every community is what I live for and what makes everything worth it to me.

There was an incident this year at KIT. By the time of me writing this I am sure most of you have read about it or seen it. It was unfortunate for KIT and also on a personal level as I know all parties involved and how each was affected. On Friday night we had to ban an individual from the rest of the event – it was handled accordingly and know that we take this very seriously. On my end there is a lot to think about on how to prevent something like this in the future. It is not 100% preventable but it all starts with me and how I choose to brand and promote the event, and it is something I am thinking about a lot right now. You know I love hype, excitement, and even (friendly) trash talk but I also value sportsmanship and respect. I love the grassroots feel but at the same time I want to look and act like a professional. Are these things compatible? I think so, and it is my challenge to somehow blend them together. I do not harbor any ill feelings to any of the involved parties and hope everyone can get past this (even if the internet never will).

So there is a lot on my mind about the future of KIT and myself personally. My wife is pregnant with our third child (what am I going to do???) so an already full schedule is going to become even crazier. I have a career as an engineer that I need to continue to develop. But I have never been hungrier for success for KIT or wanted it as badly. By this point in my life I realize my excitement for the FGC will never go away. Every new game that comes out renews my interest, and when people talk about who the best players are I want who won KIT to be a part of the conversation.

A lot of people now have given me advice on where to go from here, and I will listen to it all. There are a lot of people out there smarter and more successful than I am. But at the end of the day I still need to do what makes me happy and that is to give the players the best possible tournament experience I can deliver. Be on the lookout for what we have next!

With Kumite in Tennessee 15 in the books I would like to thank the people who made it all possible. KiT continues to grow at a fast rate – we nearly doubled in attendance from our 2014 event! With growth comes the need for more help I am proud to say we are surrounded by the best group of people in the world.

First and foremost I would like to thank all of the players who attended the event and continue to support us. Before we were tournament organizers we were players, and at the end of the day you are the reason we continue to do this. It really makes me feel good to talk to everyone indivually at the event and to hear you had a good time. It gave me chills when I heard KIT chants duing the tournament. Keep playing the games you love and keep getting out to events!

To my wife Alette: Thank you for you support of me and your belief in KIT and all the hard work at the event. Most of all thanks for putting up with me – I know it can’t be easy!

To my partner Beely Bounedara: you put in the work year round to make this event a success! Thank you for being the calming force that keeps me sane. Can’t wait to see what we have in store for the future of KIT!

To my partner Charlie Dycus (the godfather): thank you for still doing KiT after all these years! It was a blast traveling around the country this past year just like old times – how about we do it again? Thank you for holding it down during the event.

To my best friend Jonathan Hunter: seriously, I don’t know why you do so much for me, but I really appreciate it.

To Zach Edwards: without all of your help KIT could not function nearly as smoothly. I love your passion and excitement for the FGC and your desire to help build up the scene. The Invitational was a great success!

To Mike Teeter: Best artist on the planet.

To Jeremy Martin: There are few people who sacrificed as much to make the game you love even that much better at KIT. You deserve the props for how well Killer Instinct turned out.

To Brandon Alexander: not much else to say other than I LOVE YOU MAN. lol

To Nolber Torres: I appreciate you coming out and really looking forward to what you have going in the future!

To Eric Small: Thanks for coming down to hang out for the weekend and for all the support of KIT over the last couple years. Looking forward to all your future events and the big things I know you have planned.

To Brian Stone (Cha Cha) and the Buffalo crew: I owe you guys big time!

To the game directors: Jeremy Griggs (Mario Kart), Matt Ellis (Anime), Jason Wilson (Street Fighter), Marqus Dawson (Marvel), Matthew Cronnon (Smash), Nick Guajardo (NRS), Josh McWhorter (Tekken) and Richard Smith (Killer Instinct) – every single one of you were outstanding at KIT! You kept everything going just the way it should by working together as a team. You made sure your games ran on time to fit into the schedule of the event and it was all possible because I had you. I know I can be a pain while the event is running but thanks for bearing with me. I love all you guys!

To the rest of the volunteer bracket staff: Nolber Torres, Rob Haile, Adam Perry, Adam Wandler, Josh Cansler, Jeffrey Abell, Scott Jackson, Chandler Pecora, Papstr, and The GeeksGamers crew – you guys were amazing.

To the Broadcast Team: Jonathan Oudthone (PandaXGaming), Calvin Lofton (VGBootCamp), Arturo Sanchez (NYCFurby), Shaun Swain (NYCFab), Roger Howard (UltraArcade), Patrick Smith (SixFortyFive), and Paul Nguyen (FunkyP) – you made an awesome team to work with. Thank you for your professionalism and knowledge to work through all of the inevitable issues that come up. I could not be happier about how it turned out – we somehow streamed every game!

To all of our staff: Justin, Elisha, Jessica, Kenny, Tiana, Delishia, and everyone else who took a shift volunteering – thank you for all the hard work!

To all of KIT’s sponsors: Dyamic Custom Beadworks, GamesterGear, The Steam Co, Geeks and Gamers, Eighty-Sixed Clothing, Game Trader, The Score, BigEGaming, Ultra Arcade, and Canada Cup Gaming – thank you so much for believing in KIT and supporting the FGC. I look forward to seeing more great products and events from you!

To the all the people I know I will miss in this shout out post: I am sorry! Thanks for supporting!

Keep supporting the FGC everyone – the future is bright!

After an amazing three days of intense matches, the dust has settled and the results are in.

Ultra Street Fighter IV
1. DL|WTHamad (Fei Long)
2. EG|JWong (Rose, Rufus)
3. EG|HelloKittyRicky (Rolento, Rufus)
4. CoinUp|Ludovic (Chun-Li)
5. EG|K-Brad (Cammy, Decapre)
5. Perfect Legend (Yun, Akuma)
7. TL.DSC.BP|Cast Blanka (Blanka)
7. YG|Joel (Ryu)

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
1. EG|Justin Wong (Wolverine, Storm, Akuma)
2. KIT|Cloud805 (Zero, Vergil, Dante)
3. GB|NotEnoughDamage (Zero, Dr. Doom, Vergil)
4. Full Schedule (C. Viper, Dr. Doom, Amaterasu)
5. Boost|Jan (Hulk, Shuma-Gorath, Haggar)
5. SteamCo|IFCYipes (Nova, Dr. Strange, Spencer)
7. CTRL|Flux (Zero, Vergil, Dante)
7. NB|ElitheCurry (Captain America, Nova, Strider)

Injustice: Gods Among Us
1. EMPR|Jupiter (Martian Manhunter)
2. Blind Ducky (Raven)
3. RM|HoneyBee (The Flash)
4. CR|WoundCowboy (Sinestro)
5. CR|Whiteboi (Doomsday)
5. KIT|Forever King (Batman, Aquaman, Solomon Grundy)
7. RM|Biohazard (Bane)
7. Deg (Zatanna)

Tekken Tag Tournament 2
1. Inkognito (Bryan/Bob)
2. Kodee (Heihachi/Kazuya)
3. WayGamble (Lei/Leo, Unknown/Feng)
4. KIT|Lil Majin (Armor King/King)
5. pokchop (Bryan/Bruce)
5. SwordOfDios (Lili/Anna)
7. B-Lo|Joey Fury (JACK-6/Marduk)
7. AL-Crishin (Devil Jin/Kazuya)

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U — Results
1. EMP|Mew2King (Diddy Kong)
2. CT|Esam (Pikachu)
3. STVG|StaticManny (Sonic)
4. Reflex (Wario)
5. Jester Kirby (Rosalina & Luma)
5. KDG|Stingers (Diddy Kong, Rosalina & Luma)
7. STVG|Phuzix (Sheik)
7. KMan (Dr. Mario, Captain Falcon)

Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-
1. FF|ElvenShadow (Faust)
2. blackSNAKE (Venom)
3. KIT|Lil Majin (Leo Whitefang, Chipp Zanuff)
4. Boost|Jan (Potemkin)
5. KrazyKorean (Millia Rage)
5. Doren2k (Elphelt Valentine)
7. kid viper (Elphelt Valentine)
7. zinac (Faust)

Dead or Alive 5: Ultimate
1. MC|Kwiggle (Christie)
2. Sweet Revenge (Gen Fu)
3. E-Mann (Kokoro, Christie)
4. SRM|HoodlesTK (Rig)
5. Shin Ryujin (Jann Lee)
5. Lopedo (Alpha-152)
7. Crazy Steady (Helena)
7. F-Fyre-T

Killer Instinct — Results
1. SteamCo|CD Jr. (Maya)
2. Ricky Walker NS (Fulgore)
3. RM|Grief (Sadira, Spinal)
4. Anime Freak AJ (Sadira)
5. Bass NS (Spinal)
5. EMPR|Saltface (Orchid)
7. GGA|Dizzy (TJ Combo)
7. UCC|Mattikus (Jago)

Mortal Kombat 9
1) Perfect Legend (Kung Lao, Kabal)
2) GGA|Dizzy (Johnny Cage)
3) KIT|Forever King (Kung Lao, Cyrax)
4) GGA|16-Bit (Kitana)
5) GGA|Wafflez (Smoke)
5) G4s|Claude VonStroke (Johnny Cage)
7) SteamCo|CD Jr. (Jax)
7) Syknis (Sonya)

Super Smash Bros. Melee
1. EMP|Mew2King (Sheik)
2. GK|Eikelmann (Ganondorf)
3. Iori (Peach, Captain Falcon)
4. CT|Esam (Samus)
5. 2KrunkVillain (Luigi)
5. KDG|Stingers (Peach)
7. SS|PB&J (Fox)
7. Spade (Samus)

Project M
1. EMP|Mew2King (Fox, Captain Falcon | Others)
2. Iori (Captain Falcon)
3. CT|ESAM (Samus, Pikachu)
4. KDG|Stinger (Peach)
5. TheReflexWonder (Wario, Ivysaur)
5. Moist (Captain Falcon)
7. KMan (Captain Falcon)
7. Mr. Pickle (Wario)

Blazblue: Chronophantasma
1. SKD (Ragna, Izayoi)
2. TS|LordKnight (Kokonoe)
3. Team Dai|Urichinan (Litchi)
4. Eshi (Amane)
5. Dollar (Taokaka)
5. 482|Rayjizzle (Azrael)
7. Jackie Chandler (Ragna)
7. Nobodyexe (Jin)

Soul Calibur 5
1. Astasoth (Astaroth)
2. Hisoka (Leixia, Pyrrha)
3. SaltyFist (Z.W.E.I.)
4. MysticBill (Natsu)
5. SwordOfDios (Patroklos)
5. KIT|Lil Majin (Cervantes)
7. Unknown (Natsu)
7. Fyre (Patroklos)

Persona 4: Arena Ultimax
1. TS|LordKnight (Margaret)
2. SKD (Yu Narukami)
3. IPG|Colpevole (Chie Satonaka)
4. 482 Rayjizzle (Akihiko Sanada)
5. DMac (Mitsuru Kirijo)
5. Dollar (Yosuke Hanamura)
7. Nobodyexe (Aegis)
7. Mo the Hawk (Chie Satonaka)

Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late
1. TS|Sabin (Hilda)
2. CTRL|Flux (Vatista)
3. WA|Argenrost (Waldstein, Gordeau)
4. KIT|Shinblade (Gordeau)
5. Nalmat (Seth)
5. Yasha (Eltnum)
7. Team DAI|Urichinan (Byakuya)

Mario Kart 8
1. Kitana Prime
2. MaxNinja