This weekend is Sony’s 2nd annual Playstation Experience conference, and also the first day of culminating tournament for the Capcom Pro Tour, Capcom Cup. Vying for their cut of a hefty $350,000 prize pool, thirty-two Street Fighter V players representing 12 countries all qualified for slots in this double-elimination tournament by performing well throughout the year at other specific competitions. The tournament would most certainly have a few comebacks and upsets, but the first few matches played out in ways few expected.
To open the tournament, South Korea’s Seonwoo “Infiltration” Lee faced off against Jonny “Humanbomb” Lai Cheng from Hong Kong. Infiltration has had a banner year in the Capcom Pro Tour, taking 1st place at the first CPT tournament of the year and more recently, Evolution 2016. Humanbomb is no slouch either, with five Top 5 finishes, and a 7th place standing at South East Asia Majors last June (a tournament some pros consider the hardest tournament in the circuit). The community and fantasy brackets mostly agreed: Infiltration was a favorite to go to Grand Finals. From here, a crazy and unexpected string of events would start. Humanbomb struggled at first, but found answers to Infiltration’s tactics with Nash, and sent him to Losers bracket. To add insult to injury, Humanbomb was swept 0 to 3 in his next match versus France’s Olivier “Luffy” Hay, whose relentless R. Mika is as scary as it is hype. Infiltration would go to lose his next match to Kenryo “Mago” Takahashi, and be the first player eliminated from the tournament.
The next huge match to go off the rails was Daigo Umehara vs. Maryland’s Kenneth “K-Brad” Bradley. K-Brad went through great lengths to hone his craft with Cammy this year, attending and placing Top 10 in over 15 event worldwide. Daigo, a Ryu specialist and Capcom Cup 2015’s runner-up, has had a successful as both a player and the de-facto face of fighting games. However, while still a favorite for Top 3, many were concerned that Daigo’s approach to Ryu was leaving him somewhat behind. Those who believed the latter may have been right, as K-Brad started out 0-2, but showed the world what his “clean” playstyle is about. He ran back three straight wins to snatch victory from Daigo, sending him to losers in the tournament’s first round. Keita “Fuudo” Ai, close friend and co-host of “BeasTV” with Daigo, would later eliminate him in the Top 16 Losers.
A particularly shocking victory went to Dominican Republic’s Ray “DR Ray” Rosario, over another Finals-favorite Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi. Ray was considered an underdog at Capcom Cup, attended 3 events and one online tournament this season, but taking 1st at the CPT Latin America Regional Finals. Tokido took home first place at South East Asia Majors, where Ken-player Eita took 3rd. However, an impressive corner V-TRigger combo allowed Ray to take a convincing 3 wins to Tokido’s 1, and send him to loser’s bracket, where Eita would eliminate him. Like Infiltration, Tokido lost twice consecutively and was one of the first sent packing.
On another note, the United States players had a much stronger start this time. Last year’s Capcom Cup entrants only featured three Americans, but eight qualified this year. While Evil Geniuses’ Justin Wong was knocked out of contention early, teammate and veteran Ricki Ortiz and Team Liquid’s Du “’NuckleDu” Dang remain undefeated. Both are currently in the Top 8 Winner’s bracket.
Dang, one of our hometown heroes from Florida, has been on a hot streak this year. He is the first American to win a Pro Tour Premier event in two years, but won bot Canada Cup and the CPT North America Regionals back-to-back (the tournaments were just one week apart.) Ortiz, though having other a dozen Top 10 placements, was largely regarded as someone who could be eliminated early. Even with a few close wins and losses with Spinning Bird Kick combos and Critical Art, she’s getting maximum mileage out of using fierce punch to apply pressure and limit movement. Thus far, she’s beat the 3rd, 4th, and 9th place competitors of this year’s Evo.
Things will heat up even more on Saturday, as the Top 8 competitors will face off. All Top 8 spots pay out, so even those eliminated first will go home with a check. You can view the completed matches and tomorrow’s bracket at Capcom Cup’s Challonge page, and you can tune into the stream on Twitch. A teaser at an earlier event was thought to confirm that Akuma would be playable at Playstation Experience, but as the game’s creator “un-confirmed” that, now it’s anyone’s guess as to what new surprise Capcom has in store for us.