GameFAQs contests are site-wide online popularity contests held in the gaming forum of the same name, which decide the user's best video game / character / series. They are usually conducted on the site's Poll of the Day, which gives everyone a chance to vote. A dedicated message board named Board 8 was created to discuss these types of events. Has its own namesake wiki, which should tell you that this contest is absolutely Serious Business. This article however will focus only on GameFAQs Character Battles since those contests fit within this wiki's theme.
The Great GameFAQs Character Battle is a series of mixed-gender popularity contests which decide the site's best video game character. It is one of the oldest currently-running tournaments, with its first installment dating back to July 2002. The series has 10 editions to date, with the latest edition held during Winter 2018. Most matches have their results displayed in real time, which allows certain kinds of voting strategies and tendencies to occur.
Unlike many contests, GameFAQs allows previous champions to compete in future editions. Six different champions were crowned over the course of its history, namely:
- Link (The Legend of Zelda)
- Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII)
- Mario (Mario Bros.)
- Samus Aran (Metroid)
- L-Block (Tetris) and
- Draven (League of Legends).
Link is GameFAQ's Greatest of All Time, having won five championships (I, III, VII, VIII, X), the most out of any competitor. He is considered extremely powerful to the point that he is used as a metric on judging the strengths of other characters, and has his own exclusive tier appropriately named "LAW = Link Always Wins".
Throughout the contest's history, an elite group of contestants called the "Noble Nine" has emerged. Its members are known for constantly finishing within the top eight, and consequently have a long history of only losing against each other in 1v1 tournaments; in other words, no one outside the group has ever defeated them in a 1v1 match. The members are:
- champions Link, Cloud, Mario, and Samus
- former finalists Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII), Crono (Chrono Trigger) and Solid Snake (Metal Gear Solid),
- and eponymous characters Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man.
The Noble Nine's win streak was finally broken in CBVIII after Crono lost to MissingNo. (Pokemon) in a shortened round 1 match. Since then three more characters have won against Noble Niners in "legitimate" 1v1 matches (all in CBX:) Pikachu (vs Mega Man), Tifa Lockhart (vs Snake), and Princess Zelda (vs Sephiroth, Sonic, and Mario).
- The Great GameFAQs Character Battle (Summer 2002) - Featured a 64-player single elimination bracket, split into four divisions. Won by Link after beating Mario in the title match.
- Character Battle II (Summer 2003) - Won by Cloud Strife after defeating arch-enemy Sephiroth in the final.
- Character Battle III (Summer 2004) - The final featured past champions Link and Cloud, with Link securing his second contest triumph after losing to Cloud in the semifinals the year prior.
- Character Battle IV (Summer 2005) - The bracket was split into 8 divisions of 8 players, but the format still remains the same. Mario won the final match against Crono. 2005 was the first edition to not feature previous champions; instead a "Tournament of Champions" was held after the main contest, with CBII runner-up Sephiroth joining the 4-man bracket stage. It was won (unsurprisingly) by Link.
- Character Battle V (Summer 2006) - While the format remains the same, the tournament bracket was split into two halves, each consisting exclusively of 32 male and 32 female characters. Thus, the final match shall be contested by a male and a female. Samus Aran became the first and only female champion after defeating male bracket winner Solid Snake. ToC participants (Link, Cloud, Mario, and Sephiroth) also sat this one out; instead they will join the two finalists in a separate event called "Battle Royale", which is a last-man standing tournament consisting of 5 rounds. You should probably know who won that one.
- Character Battle VI (Summer/Fall 2007) - The first tournament under site admin SBAllen, 2007 is marked with a different voting format, with each match featuring four characters, the top two advancing to the next round. The bracket was consequently increased to 128 contestants, split into 32 groups. Tournament lasted for seven rounds, and was won by ultimate underdog L-Block, overcoming Link in the final 1v1 match. Solid Snake and Cloud rounded up the podium, having been eliminated in the final group round.
- Character Battle VII (Summer/Fall 2008) - Same format as 2007. Link won his third title, beating Solid Snake in the 1v1 final. Cloud and Crono were the losers of the final group round.
- Character Battle VIII (Winter 2010) - The tournament bracket returned to 1v1 single-elimination format, now contested by 128 characters. The tournament ended in a rematch of CBIII's final with the same result, thus extending Link's championship tally to four.
- Character Battle IX (Summer 2013) - Themed around the number "9", 2013's matches were changed to a three-way (1v1v1) format, with only the top contestant from each match advancing to the next round. As a result, the bracket consisted of 243 (27x9) characters. Tournament lasted five rounds, with Draven controversially winning the championship over Samus and Snake in the final round. CBIX is also Link's worst result to date, having been eliminated in the third round (by Draven, no less).
- Character Battle X (Fall 2018) - Back to 1v1 matches once again, with a 128-player bracket split into 8 divisions. However, there's a new addition to this contest: division winners now advance into the "Legends" stage, where the Noble Niners (except Sephiroth) await to fight them in a double-elimination bracket. Link won his third rematch against Cloud in the grand final, extending his championship tally to five. Meanwhile, a Breath of the Wild-boosted Zelda defeated three Noble Niners en route to a third place-finish, while Mario placed fourth.
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