Dominique “SonicFox” McLean is widely considered the best Mortal Kombat 11 pro around. The four-time EVO champ has been dominant since the game came out last month, already winning two Next Level Battle Circuit tournaments and the Summit of Time Invitational, so it was a huge shock when he lost in the grand finals of Combo Breaker last weekend to Brad “Scar” Vaughn.
Or was it? Scar’s cerebral defensive style was the perfect counter to SonicFox’s super aggressive high-risk play. Over and over Scar let SonicFox overextend with risky pokes and forward dashes, only to backstep out of harm’s way or hit him in the face with projectiles.
Should SonicFox have swapped to a more defensive playstyle to better match Scar? Maybe. But is he even capable of that? SonicFox is an all or nothing player, the kind of guy who is just as likely to near double Flawless you as he is to walk straight into a fireball on tournament point. But that’s just who SonicFox is, when he gambles, he goes all in — but he’s so good, most of the time it works.
Just look at SonicFox’s match against Andrew “Semiij” Fontanez in the losers’ semifinals for proof. SonicFox started the match playing Erron Black, one of his favorite characters, but quickly lost the first game, going down 0-2 to Semiij’s Kitana.
SonicFox then swapped to Jacqui Briggs, generally considered his main, for the second game. While he won one round, he still lost 1-2.
Down 0-2 and facing elimination, most people expected SonicFox to stick to Jacqui, but instead he made the insane decision to swap to Skarlett, a character that most people consider mid-tier, and who SonicFox hadn’t played all weekend. He would need to win three straight with Skarlett, and he wouldn’t be able to swap characters again because only the loser can change. SonicFox went all in.
In game three, SonicFox took the first round with ease, but ended up getting corner trapped in the second round and saw his health trickle down to just 4%. He managed to catch Semiij with a Krushing Blow throw, but then went for another incredibly risky all or nothing play by throwing out a full-screen siphon. Fortunately, Semiij wasn’t expecting it and it landed, giving SonicFox his first win.
In the fourth game, SonicFox’s aggressive play paid off again, and he evened up the series with a perfectly executed counter Fatal Blow to finish it.
With Semiij clearly rattled, SonicFox played even more aggressively, going for risky throw mixups and half-screen siphons even while at just 8% health and with Semiij’s Fatal Blow available.
His high risk plays worked though and SonicFox completed the reverse sweep, winning 3-2 overall and taking the last six rounds in a row. After swapping to Skarlet he didn’t drop a single round.
Against Semiij, and with his tournament life on the line, SonicFox bet on himself and won. Maybe instead of sticking to Jacqui or swapping to a more defensive style in the grand finals, what SonicFox really needed to do was go all in again.