Starting on the night of Monday the 26th of November, the GameFAQs Character Battle X contest — a massive Internet popularity contest for the best character in videogames — will be entering its second and final phase: The Finals Division.
(Vote here when it starts, as well as all the days after!)
(Catch up on all prior and current coverage of the Character Battle X on KoopaTV with our index, including the original 128-character bracket!)
Quite frankly, the schedule from here on out is a bit of a confusing jumbled mess. The main bracket had 128 characters, and in the Divisional Finals, it went from 16 to 8. Those 8 winners of the main bracket are now facing 8 historically very strong characters (Character Battle X means there have been 9 previous character battles, so we know who is very popular already) — Link, Mega Man, Cloud Strife, Crono, Solid Snake, Sonic the Hedgehog, Samus Aran, and that awful plumber Mario.
Because there is now a Loser Bracket (double-elimination), the bracket will be a lot longer than what it would otherwise be. Some days will have two matches. Some days will have one. Because it would be a nuisance to have my weekly Thursday article keep covering this contest (I have other things I want to write about before the year ends, you know), I'm just going to put everything into this article. You can give me THANKS for that.
Therefore, anticipate this article to be continually updated between now and December 14. I've already created headings for the different sections of the Final Division that matches the GameFAQs schedule. (All matches start one calendar day before what GameFAQs says, unless you don't live in the Western hemisphere.)
Winner Bracket Round 1, Nov 26–Nov 30
Who is going to pick Ganondorf over Link? Pretty unfortunate for Ganondorf, but screw him. Vivi should be here.
I have a lot I could say against Link, but writing about Ganondorf for the past four rounds before this has actually made me dislike him more than when I started.
(8) Mega Man
Mega Man is the only guy from CAPCOM in the top 16. None of the top CAPCOM guys managed to make it out of the “baby bracket” alive, so Mega Man needs to avenge his fallen comrades Mega Man X and Zero. (And Phoenix Wright!)
Besides, if it isn't already clear, I don't like what Pikachu currently represents. Yes, Pikachu is the mascot of all Pokémon... but Pikachu is ESPECIALLY the mascot of the GAME FREAK efforts to casualify the Pokémon series and make it dumb for some mass audience.
Pokémon is already for a mass audience.
(4) Cloud Strife
Alright, it's time for me to start saying bad things about Cloud.
Let's start with my article about my opinion of him being in Super Smash Bros. 4. I admitted there that I disliked Cloud before he was announced, and that I anti-voted him in previous GameFAQs contests. But then his trailer was really awesome — the best trailer of any of the downloadable content characters. Then I bought Cloud and I had a Pocket Cloud that I played with. Cloud has a very low skill floor (he's very easy to play with) and a very high skill ceiling (he's a top tier character). That's pretty fun.
Still, it's actually really degenerate for the game that there is a character like Cloud. (Plus, Jigglypuff can't do anything to him.) His frame data is impeccable. His range is awesome. His hitboxes are among the best. It's unwise to try to camp him out because he can just charge Limit and make you approach him.
Guess I'll go back to anti-voting Cloud.
Alucard, on the other hand, has had an amazing run in this tournament where, per THE PLAN, he has finally won a division for the first time in contest history. (And he's been around since the beginning in 2002.) KoopaTV is already on record for supporting him in this contest (against the will of Masahiro Sakurai). We'll try to keep doing that.
Alucard probably won't win, but hopefully he can do better than when Cloud beat him in 2002 in the very first contest.
KoopaTV has a mandate from our Koopa Kingdom royal sponsor to vote for King Bowser Koopa at every possible opportunity, so we will vote for him above any other character left in this tournament.
Of course, our royal sponsor is King Bowser himself.
(3) Solid Snake
Why am I picking Snake over Zelda?
Well, there are three ways I can think of Snake. There is EVERYONE IS HERE! Snake for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. That's pretty exciting. Goofy cardboard box man. Then there is the Snake that allows for the awesome music in Metal Gear Solid to happen, like Snake Eater and Calling to the Night.
And then there is having a one-to-one relationship between Snake and Hideo Kojima, and my opinion on Hideo Kojima is pretty much my opinion on Keiji Inafune — it ain't good. At this point, I associate Kojima with that freaky Death Stranding... thing, and Geoff Keighley's The Game Awards. (Which will happen on December 6, and I'm not looking forward to live-reacting to that at ALL, especially since that's on my article day!)
Still, if I don't associate Mega Man with Inafune, then I'll refrain (for now) from associating Snake with Kojima, so I'll vote for him over Princess Zelda. Zelda has been less and less likable since The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and quite frankly, I found her insufferable in her memories in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Since the whole story of the game revolves around those Zelda flashbacks, that's not good.
(6) Sonic the Hedgehog
This is little more than anti-voting Sonic. I have no attachment to Auron, but when I think of Sonic, I think of a streak of awful games lasting longer than some of his fans have been alive. (It's important to note that Sonic Mania wasn't appreciated on this site.)
I also think of Sonic's obnoxious moveset hasn't been fixed in the ten years from Super Smash Bros. Brawl to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. To this day, I still don't know the functional difference between Spin Dash and Spin Charge. He's awful to play against.
(2) Samus Aran
This has little to do with how I feel about Metroid games — I tried playing Metroid on Nintendo Switch Online the other day and it's a horrible experience and far from a polished game. Still, I sort of like Samus as a concept.
On the opposite end of King Bowser is our nemesis, Mario. He will be voted against in every match he's in. Hopefully there aren't many of those left for Mario, and Sephiroth can slay him.
Loser Bracket Round 1, Nov 30–Dec 2
Mega Man, easy. How the heck did Mega Man even lose to that electric rodent?
Praise Lord Bowser.
I'll say it again: I have no attachment to Auron, so...
Sephiroth has a cool theme song that I listen to every so often. I have no idea if Tifa has a leitmotif. That's not a good sign!
Winner Bracket Round 2, Dec 2–Dec 4
Contrary to what I wrote in the footer, I want Link to win this. Partly because I'm mad at Pikachu for beating Mega Man.
Link and Pikachu are sort of similar. I'm fans of their respective franchises (but I've always been a much bigger Pokémon fan than a The Legend of Zelda fan) but I don't really care about their protagonists. The last time I cared about Link himself was also the last time I cared about Ganondorf and Princess Zelda — in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. I never cared about Pikachu.
I don't like the last games they've had and the direction their franchises are going — open-world with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and gross casual thing with Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu!
I guess that puts Link up top a little.
The battle of who the Square Enix representative in Super Smash Bros. really should be.
I liked Zelda as a character in at least one game. I never liked Sonic at any point in his history. He has a neat Twitter account, I guess. I like the KoopaTV Twitter more.
GET THE PLUMBER TO THE LOSER BRACKET.
Loser Bracket Round 2, Dec 4–Dec 6
This match happened already. Mega Man needs to win the rematch!
This match happened already. Bowser needs to win the rematch!
I'm sort of surprised that Sonic is still in this tournament. At least Bowser goes and ties with him. Bye, Sonic!
This matched happened already. Samus won the first time and she should win again! (I dislike how this bracket was constructed, since in normal tournaments with a loser bracket, losers go on the opposite side so they don't have immediate rematches.)
Winner Bracket Semifinals, Dec 6–Dec 8
The classic match-up that basically got referenced in Cloud's artwork for Super Smash Bros. 4. In the reaction log with Cloud's trailer, I posted that artwork and as a caption I said it could've been a GameFAQs contest.
Well, this isn't the final round, but it's Link vs. Cloud in the GameFAQs contest!
And as I'm always going to do, I'm voting Link. At this point, do I need to really give justification? Well, I will if you comment and ask for it.
Look at the two The Legend of Zelda characters here! Link will win his match... and if Zelda beats that horrible monster Mario, then the winners finals will be two The Legend of Zelda characters. Is that a sign of how much GameFAQs loved that 1998 Nintendo 64 game, or is it a sign of how well-received The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was by almost everyone except me? Either way, whatever makes Mario lose is what I'll support.
Loser Bracket Round 3, Dec 8–Dec 9
Crono is responsible for all of Bowser's losses in this tournament, which isn't great. And while I like Chrono Trigger, a lot, Crono is the least interesting guy in that. Similar to how Ness isn't interesting in EarthBound.
I really don't have much to say at this point of the contest. Sorry I don't know how to make Snake vs. Samus interesting. Um, at least I liked Samus's role more in Subspace Emissary? I don't know.
Loser Bracket Round 4, Dec 9–Dec 10
Repeat match, repeat pick. Crono should've lost to Mega Man not only because Mega Man is better, but it would've avoided a repeat match-up.
Another repeat. HOPEFULLY SAMUS WILL WIN THIS TIME? I think Samus is preferred by the Super Smash Bros. fanbase vs. Mario (she's just bad as a playable character but favoured in terms of... coolness), so the launch of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate should drive Samus fans in!
Winner Bracket Final, Dec 10–Dec 11
Zelda did a fantastic job eliminating Mario from the Winners Bracket. Now she can get eliminated by Link.
It comes down to obviously feeling more attachment for Link than for Zelda, who is absent most of the time. Neither are particularly interesting on their own except for select games.
And if I really want to, I can bring that The Legend of Zelda cartoon into this, where Link is a pervert and Zelda is a stuck-up jerk. I guess I'd rather take Link.
Loser Bracket Semifinal, Dec 11–Dec 12
Mario probably cheated in beating Samus in the rematch. (Of course, I can confirm that Samus was cheating too, but...) Despicable. Cloud needs to cut that fat plumber down!
Loser Bracket Final, Dec 12–Dec 13
Zelda beat Mario and brought him to the Loser Bracket. Cloud beat Mario and knocked him out of the tournament. Now they fight for who gets to have a rematch against Link in the finals.
Quite frankly, both Zelda and Cloud should be rewarded for their great service. I'm much more familiar with Zelda, however, so I guess I'll vote for her because I don't really have much to say positively about Cloud.
I'll vote for Zelda now, and I'll consider purchasing Final Fantasy VII alongside Final Fantasy IX when it releases on the Nintendo Switch. That'll benefit Cloud more than my vote in the tournament, I think.
Final Battle, Dec 13–Dec 14
I already voted for Link when this match happened a week ago, but to be totally honest with y'all, I'm going to be checking the vote results hoping that Cloud will at least improve his score since that match. Cloud got some real positivity points for beating that plumber. Clou won't win the match, but... Perhaps he can just do a bit better. Good will!
This article will be updated pretty much every day once the contest starts again on Monday, so perhaps that can satisfy your longing for KoopaTV content when other KoopaTV staffers don't publish anything when they are supposed to. That said, to make this fairly predictable, Ludwig is pretty sure that his preferences are Bowser > Mega Man > Alucard > Crono > Pikachu > Link > Samus > Snake > Zelda > Sephiroth > Cloud > Auron > Ganondorf > Tifa > Sonic > Mario. If you think Ludwig should change his mind, that's what this comments section is for. This article will have a lot of relevance from a timing perspective for a while, so don't feel like you're commenting on something old! (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)