I was there, in person, and saw it just fine. He doesn’t like Spinal for the Maya MU. People do have pocket characters, and they do pull them out when there’s a MU they don’t like. Bass made it into Top 8 (against me) playing Spinal, because Cinder v Hisako is mildly crappy for Cinder. He picked the more favorable match-up. Just because Bass didn’t choose to go Spinal v Maya does not mean Spinal is somehow incapable of competing to win a tournament. That’s like saying that because Sleep didn’t pull out Aria in Top 8 that means Aria can’t win a tournament. She’s already proven that she can.
Aganos was “abandoned” because Maya/Aganos is a sucky fight for Aganos. If he’d run across Nicky’s Fulgore, it’s possible he’d have done the same. If he’d played Thompxson and his Jago, who knows what Mister J would’ve done? Switching off a bad fight doesn’t make a character unviable or prove that he can’t win a major - it means sometimes counterpicking is the easier and “safer” option than trying to clutch it out in a struggle MU. Rico only uses Glacius when he runs across a Wulf; that doesn’t mean Fulgore can’t win a tournament or that Glacius is a tournament beast - it means that Wulf v Glacius is a bad fight for Wulf, and Rico is grabbing every advantage he can.
I haven’t seen enough of Kan-Ra in S3 to make an informed opinion on him about viability. I do know that Fubuki’s Kan is ridiculous though, and I know that Kan took the Hypespotting tournament a few weeks back. It was a small tournament though, so I’m willing to simply let this one lie until we see those players compete in larger settings.
This is such a terrible argument that I’m genuinely amazed people still use it. If Nicky wasn’t playing Fulgore, you would not have seen a single Fulgore competing at high level in S3, period. That does not therefore mean that Fulgore is a bad character or that he is unviable at high level. Whether a character is “good” or not isn’t determined by whether or not x number of players play them - if a character has tools that are viable at high level then they are viable at high level, period. American players avoided S2 Omen and routinely him at the bottom of the KI tier list; in Japan they thought he was Top 3 all along. It doesn’t matter if no one does damage with TJ at a tournament; the character is defined by his tools, not by whether or not a bunch of players who may be playing him suboptimally to begin with manage to get 1st place, as if getting first is the only thing that matters when discussing how good a character is.
You’re throwing out random characters that you’ve never seen played at high level in S3 as characters that you can’t see anyone winning without, when there’s ample evidence that there are several strong contenders who’ve done fantastic in tournament. Arbiter has placed as high as Fulgore ever has in an offline tournament, and Kim Wu has placed higher when you add in the Japanese scene, or at the least ties with him if you only want to look at domestic. And that was before she was buffed. The bottom line is that KI has a swath of tournament-viable characters, and making some sweeping claim about how no one will win “without a top Shago, Fulgore, Sadira, Wulf, Jago, or MAYBE Rash” is nonsense. Only two of those characters are even generally considered Top 5 in the game.