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Frosty Faustings 2023: Kotal Shines and Jax Flexes on The Meta

Sebastian Quintanilla
20 min

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Frosty Faustings 2023: Mortal Kombat Top 8 Recap
Although not a main event this year, MK11 still provides ample opportunity for hype in 2023!

Frosty Fausting XV 2023 featured a Mortal Kombat 11 bracket with a handful of notable great players on display, and the top 8 showed it. K-TOP, AlmightyAd0nis, Aztec, H-DOPE, Tento, Zintai, 2eZ, and iCeboogie all played through the two pools to secure a spot in the top 8 this year.

Winner Side Semifinals

K-TOP vs AlmightyAd0nis

Starting out fast, K-TOP, with his signature Jacqui, brought his opponents to the corner, but Ad0nis flipped the fight for a while before ultimately giving up the first stock of the fight. The second stock would follow a similar momentum curve, with Ad0nis taking the momentum but ultimately failing to secure the kill and take the loss. Both moved quickly to the next match, and although this time Ad0nis would pick up a round win on the back of a great breakaway into a fatal blow, he could not keep it up in round 3 against Jacqui's pressure.

The next set started slow, with both players on the defensive looking for an opening until K-TOP connected a strong combo but dropped the meaty follow-up; nevertheless, a quick goop on the floor later and the round as his. Ad0nis once again used Round 2 to prove a point and kicked off strong with a great D1 whiff to punish into a Krushing Blow that helped me bring it to Round 3. There he sustained K-TOP aggression for a while, and even got himself some breathing room, but Ad0nis was persistent enough to secure the W.

Aztec vs H-DOPE

A battle of the biggies, with Aztec taking Kotal and H-DOPE on Spawn for their first set and starting strong, forcing a double defensive bar from Kotal, but a well-timed combo and throw brought about a first-round win for Aztec on the back of a Krushing Blow, which would continue in the second round with another Krushing Blow early to drive H-FOPE's health down quickly enough to secure first set.

For set two, Aztec was caught on the backfoot halfway through but equalized the fight with a great meaty hit to connect Krushing Blow for the round win. Unto the second with a masterclass in spacing and defensive play.

To the disbelief of the commentators, H-DOPE then decided to switch over to Sheva in an attempt to recover the score down two sets, but Aztec showed why it was not a great idea by quickly pressuring him with projectiles to take round 1. Although the momentum shifted for round 2, with H-DOPE pushing Aztec to the corner and into Fatal Blow territory, Aztec flipped the script and secured himself a Winner Side Finals with a Fatal Blow to cap it off.

Lower Side Round 1

Zintai vs Tento

Moving to the Lower side of the bracket, it was Tento on Cassie Cage fighting against Zintai Shang Thung. A scrappy fight for round one saw Zintai picking up the advantage con, continuing on with a strong keep-away and projectile-heavy strategy. Although Tento was able to cut through some of the corpse drops and fire pillars, it all proved too much for him and a quick first set for Zintai.

Realizing he was going to have a hard time in the match-up, Tento made the switch over to Sun-Zero to have access to deep freeze and slide, both of which would prove immediately useful at the start of round 1, a better start for Tento, getting a reversal and bringing Zintai closer to death anytime before but not enough. Zintai was able to build up a strong momentum for round two, reading the slides and responding as needed to it, putting him up two sets up for the series.

For round three, the character carousel of Tento landed on Kotal as a last-ditch effort to claw back a set and bring the winning momentum to his side of the table. Once again, in the transition period, Kotal proved useful with his grabs, but once Zintai positioned him on the corner, things quickly switched into a defensive and sustained gameplay, waiting for an opening to lunge forward on his attack. Sadly once the opening was there, Tento had taken too much damage to secure round one, with round two following the same fate opening the door for Zintai to advance.

2eZ vs iCBoogie

2eZ came in as one of the favorites to win it and found himself in the lower bracket picking Sub-Zero as his champion against iCBoogie's Frost. 2eZ used a very interesting aerial approach to his Sub-Zero to control the fight's pace against Frost, leading to a very close end to round one with a Krushing Blow to confirm his first-round win. A similar theme would play out for round two, this time with iCBoogie taking the round at a very narrow margin. The decider for the first set kicked off with 2eZ clocking in his Krushing Blow and then pushing Frost to the corner for the victory.

iCBoogie pushed 2eZ to the corner to start the second set and took a solid chunk of his health off. Even though 2eZ seemed to recover in the second half, a failed execution on the combo resulted in him losing round one, no matter as in round two he got control of the corner and slammed Frost down, up and sideways to bring it once again to round three. Right on the cusp of a potential second-set win, 2eZ was again not able to convert the final string and, as a result, gave the win to iCBoogie.

2eZ then switched to Cetrion to expand on his area control and bring forth a more measured type of fight, with many small attacks from a distance. This resulted in him taking round one and making it look relatively easy with the Elder God. Round two seemed like it would be a continuation of the same, but iCBoogie connected a couple of good strikes to bring cetrion down, and even though he missed his Fatal Blow, a Krushing Blow and a combo follow-up were enough to bring it once again, to round three. There 2eZ picked up the momentum back and went up 2-1 for the series.

iCBoogie chooses to change up his variations for the fourth round of the series, bringing in a few more defensive tools with the ice shield to keep himself safe on his approaches and the ice dash to close in the distance and deny the keep away style of 2eZ. The changes were immediately noticed, with both moves helping him secure round one, but a strong corner control from 2eZ was enough to claw back round two for another decider. A strong Cetrion Krushing Blow and near corner fight favored 2eZ for the win, but a recovery combo and a Fatal Blow were enough to bring the series to a 2-2.

With things tied for the last match, Cetrion tapped out, and Sub-Zero was back in. No variation changes on the side of iCBoogie. The switchback seemed to favor 2eZ, even as he looked to be in a tough spot with low health, but just enough to connect a few strings and land the Fatal Blow to confirm the round victory with a quick followup for round two setting up 2eZ to advance.

Lower Side Quarter Finals

H-DOPE vs Zintai

H-DOPE went in on his Spawn, with Zintai continuing on with Shang Tsung, but round one was simply a horror for H-DOPE, as Shang was able to shut him down and take a first quick win. In the second round, H-DOPE started out much better, bringing the pain to Zintai and taking the second round to tie the set. Patience was the name of the game for round three, with neither player wanting to over-commit in their attack, but ultimately Zintai pushed through and brought H-DOPE down from a distance.

A change for set number two with H-DOPE moving on to Cetrion to try to counter Shang Tsung's gameplan, things looked up as H-DOPE got control of the corner and picked up the win, with round two following a similar format, although scary at times whenever Zintai broke through the pressure and started to build up that ranged damage.

The third set started right away, and Zintai fought off the pressure well enough to put in Fatal Blow levels of damage on H-DOPE, who would prevail and take the first round; the second round seemed more of the center screen pressure and kept away style of play. Both players try to either chip away at each other's health or land a strong hit to force a mistake on their opponent. With both low Zintai took the advantage late and brought the series to a tie-round. A critical teleport from H-OPE opened up the fight but right as a corner play was becoming clear, Zintai flipped the situation and got the win to score a point on the series.

A massive Krushing Blow started the fourth set first round with H-DOPE continuing to chip away from a distance with cetrion, but even as he almost secured a round win, a late Fatal Blow from Zintai was enough to take it from him. a double defensive bar usage for the breakaway on the second round on the part of Cetrion was almost enough to secure the tie, but an excellent recovery from H-DOPE meant he was able to bring it to the third round in which a corner fight resulted in a Cetrion win after Zintai failed to get a corner combo off at a crucial time.

A good start for Zintai's recovery as he took round one with the runback, but H-DOPE was not ready to give it up as in round two, the corner came into play leading to a small advantage that was solidified into a round win after dropping yet another combo that would have secured Zintai the win. Round three then saw Zintai once again on the back foot, and after missing a Fatal Blow, it was all done. H-DOPE sustained the fight and took the series 3-2.

AlmightyAd0nis vs 2eZ

Ad0nis came in with his Jax to try to overcome 2eZ's Cetrion, who from the very start pushed enough chip damage down range to take the first round. For the second round, Ad0nis was able to cut through Centrion's projectile and land a few good strikes well enough to pick up round two and carry the momentum to round three, taking the first set in great fashion, rocking a powerful Jax.

A runback from both players for the second set, with 2eZ taking a first-round loss to a heavy-hitting Jax. Teleport available and defensive bar in use, 2eZ was scrambling to pick up a second round, but with things on the wire as both players were in their Fatal Blow it was 2eZ landing his first and pushing for the third round. There, the Krushing Blows Cetrion used at the start of the set came knocking, as Adin0s made his way into 2eZ's space and landed a great punish Fatal Blow to win it.

Ad0nis then on match point going to the third set of the series and both players evenly match to push for the final round on the final set, even exchanging Fatal Blows to bring it to the ends of the ends. Ultimately 2eZ kept it clean and put up a point on the scoreboard to avoid the clean 3-0.

Fourth round, with advantage on the side of Ad0nis, who looked strong on the first two sets, but a quick third set with a bombastic final seemed to have deflated him and at the same time lit up the flames on the side of 2eZ to take the win with Cetrion. Once again, Jax's Fatal Blow brought in the win for Ad0nis for the second round and no defensive bar for the third round for 2eZ resulting in a massive win for Ad0nis.

Winner Side Finals

Aztec vs K-TOP

A Kotal vs Jacqui matchup that started out with a back-and-forth between the players, exchanging bars to cut through, with K-TOP taking the first and second rounds in quick succession. Undeterred, coming into the second round, both players stuck to their picks and even though Aztec was able to bring K-TOP low when it came time to close out a win, he failed to connect. Starting the second round with a Krushing blow was a good choice for Aztec, and he continued to gain momentum once in the corner, and he was able to earn his first win. Sadly, the third round took that away from him, and the series quickly dropped into a 2-0 in favor of K-TOP.

A quick corner push and a Krushing Blow opened up Jacuqi enough for Aztec to pick up the first round of the matchpoint set for K-Top. Aztec then fully stopped K-TOP's momentum by bringing another win, although things were scary for a time as he missed a hit and had to regain his turn with very little health to work with.

2-1 and with the energy favoring Aztec, he was able to secure a first-round win once again, but then gave up the second round a strong corner pressure on the side of Jacqui that fed into another strong final round for K-TOP, who escaped the corner, and made his way to a win on the upper side of the bracket.

Lower Side Semifinals

H-DOPE vs AlmightyAd0nis

Whether to Ad0nis' benefit or not, he was in for another Jax versus Cetrion matchup, as H-DOPE picked up the Elder God for the first set. On the first round, things looked bad for Ad0nis, as he dropped the first round to Cetrion's projectiles, but for round two, he was able to pick it back up with a couple of rocket punches to punish the keep away and close down the distance enough to secure the tiebreaker round. A missed Fatal Blow in the third round however almost spelled disaster for Ad0nis, but he was able to sustain himself enough to secure the opener win.

Zoned out once again for set number two, only able to deal a couple of hits before succumbing to a strong round one cetrion from H-DOPE. Ad0nis was able to push it back for a round 2 win, but at the cost of his Fatal Blow. Thankfully for him, H-DOPE missed his Fatal Blow on the decider round, and a quick command grab pushed Ad0nis into a 2-0 lead for the series.

Matchpoint for Ad0nis. A win here would take him to the lower finals, and a 3rd place finish at least, if not a full chance to take it all in a grand finals reset. H-Dope, seeking a solution to the problem of Jax's aggression, moved over to Spawn to try to jail down his opponent on the corner, which worked for a while, but all it took was a well-timed punch for Ad0nis to take round one. For round two H-DOPE's game plan played out perfectly, bringing Jax low and securing the kill from a distance and into a third round. A few projectile trades with both players going low eventually gave away with H-DOPE coming in close, but another great Fatal Blow from Ad0nis sent him to the Lower finals.

Lower Side Finals

Aztec vs AlmightyAd0nis

Kotal for Aztec and Jax for Ad0nis to kick things off. Their lots of patience was on display for round one as both players tried to land their big combos to start, but it was Jax pushing Kotal on the corner and landing the hits to take round one. A powered-up Ad0nis got the corner once again and landed another command grab, bringing Aztec low enough for a single hit to call the first set.

No defensive bar for Ad0nis to start round one of the second set put his back against the wall while Kotal used his attack bar to drain him of health, eventually landing a Krushing Blow and securing a round for himself. For round two, Aztec looked solid all throughout, mixing up his approaches to open up Ad0nis and bring the series to a 1-1.

A very similar start, with Kotal's pressure being enough to eventually claim Ad0ni's defensive bar and lead him to the corner, where Aztec built up good health to strike down his opponent for the first round. but the momentum would change for the second round with Ad0nis pushing the round to a last situation that would end with Aztec claiming another set for himself.

Having to catch himself to bring the series back to his side, Ad0nis changed the stage and bought himself time to think through the matchup. But once the gameplan hit the floor, Aztec burned it to a cinder by taking the first round quickly. But in the second round, Ad0nis fought back and was able to bring the fight to the corner and capture a round without Fatal Blow to bring it to a third. Once the corner was there for the taking, Ad0nis did not hesitate and took a third round as quickly as possible to match the score and bring about a 5th set.

A slow start with both players protecting as much of their health as possible, but a grab by Ad0nis on the corner opened the fight and brought Aztec into Fatal Blow range, but not enough to pick up a W for the first round with Aztec taking it instead. With Aztec feeling himself, the second round was quick and painful for Ad0nis, a last attempt was made but ultimately failed as he was taken out of the bracket in 3rd place.

Grand Finals

K-TOP vs Aztec

Heading into the grand finals then, and a replay of the Winner final with Aztec having to win the series to claim the grand finals reset. First round would have been a great way to cement that intent, but Jacqui's killing blow came in just in time as K-TOP sat at just 14 health. Needing to take the second round to bring momentum to his side, Aztec pushed onward to the corner and took a round for himself. Into the tiebreaker at the center of the stage, the advantage was on Jacqu's side before Aztec landed a duo of throws, including a Krushing Blow that was just enough to gain the first set.

A straight runback for the players lead to a quick round one victory for K-TOP on the corner with Aztec pushing out of that space for Round two and claiming it almost flawlessly. A side switch on the third round and a couple of amplified attacks were enough for Aztec to bring it to a matchpoint 2-0 against K-TOP. On the potential reset point, the command grabs made another appearance for Kotal, as well as the cat, to mix up his approaches and earn some solid victories and earn Aztec that grand finals reset.

No changes for the reset, as both players felt they had the tools available to secure a win. Round one would go the way of Aztec, as he read his opponent masterfully and pushed Jacqui into the corner and into a no-defensive bar situation. Round two gave us a Krushing Blow into a Fatal Blow and another set win for Aztec, who had all the momentum on his side at this point, having won 4 straight sets.

Some pushback from K-TOP looked scary at the start of the second reset set, but with enough time to adjust, the first round went the way of Kotal. A risky play on the second costed Aztec the second round, but he would manage it again to bring it to true match point. There he once again play the waiting game, staying at the defensive for an opening against Jacqui, but this time, it all went to the last bit of health with K-TOP putting a point up on the board.

With a 2-1 lead, it was either Aztec taking the reset and winning or for K-TOP to mount an incredible reverse sweep. Round one came through with his Fatal Blow and as Jacqui pushed back it was not enough, a whiffed Fatal Blow sealed the deal and Aztec took the victory in a dominant 3-1 fashion.

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