Cannes Winter Clash 2016: an exciting start to pro Street Fighter V

SFV Laura Ryu

The first event of the 2016 Pro Tour took place this past weekend and, as was somewhat expected with a game that had been out for ten days by the time of the tournament, it was chaos. Top players getting beaten, newcomers rising up and some big names returning to the top eight. Cannes Winter Clash 2016 delivered on all accounts.

Mister Crimson, a new challenger

Your first Pro Tour event winner of the Street Fighter V era is the relatively unknown Mister Crimson, a young lad who has been having some success in the French Street Fighter IV scene. He may not be in the Guinness Book of Records or be in the top 10 leaderboard online, but using new character Laura he went straight through the winner’s bracket to take first place, besting both Ryan Hart and Phenom (who laid waste to the loser’s bracket on his way to the final) pretty decisively.

I’m sure there will be a few critics who put this win down to the fact that the game hasn’t been out too long or that his choice of character hasn’t been fully figured out yet, but the way he utilised Laura’s command grab to put fear of blocking into his opponents before pressuring them with some of her more unsafe options—and some sick resets—showed that Mister Crimson will definitely be one to watch in European Pro Tour events for the rest of the year. He wins 128 points on the Euro and Global leaderboards and a spot in the last chance Capcom Cup qualifier for Europe. Remember the name!

Luffy, EVO champion and the new game

So, Luffy—newly sponsored by Red Bull—was eliminated in the pools stage. He came up against Kindevu, who finished top 16 at EVO 2015 and won the USFIV tournament that took place the day before, and the aforementioned Phenom and went out before the Top 32. Now, that’s not an easy pool by any stretch of the imagination, as both players went on to finish top 8, but is this the first sign that some of the best players in Ultra Street Fighter IV are going to have a bit of a tough time transitioning over to SFV?

Think about it. He used Rose in IV, nailing her one-frame links, was highly skilled with using the focus attack and Rose’s excellent backdash—things that are either gone or significantly less important in Street Fighter V. He’s a great player and has plenty of time to improve over the course of the Pro Tour, but this is the first major upset of 2016 and definitely not going to be the last. Who is going to fall early in the first US and Asia events?

On the other hand, you’ve got Ryan ‘Gootecks’ Gutierrez, who by his own admission wasn’t the biggest fan of how Street Fighter IV played and lapsed somewhat when it comes to competing in tournaments, but appears to have gained a renewed passion for competition since the launch of SFV. Travelling over from LA to compete this past weekend, he finished in the fifth overall, only being bested by Ryan Hart and Phenom. Points on the Global leaderboard and a solid start to the 2016 Pro Tour overall.

The results

With Mister Crimson winning, the rest of the top 16 (Pro Tour points are given out to the top 16) was filled out with some veterans, some familiar names from USFIV tournaments and a few other new names.

  1. Mister Crimson [Laura]
  2. BX3TPL|Phenom [M. Bison, Necalli]
  3. FA|Ryan Hart [Ken, Vega, F.A.N.G]
  4. Mordesai [Vega, Zangief]
  5. Gootecks [R. Mika, Ryu]
  6. VSL|Myakyo [Vega]
  7. FA|Big Bird [Ken]
  8. Melty|Will2Pac [Laura, Nash]
  9. Kindevu [F.A.N.G]
  10. Duppsko [Birdie]
  11. Piccolo [Nash, Ryu, Necalli]
  12. Kuja [Cammy]
  13. Kilmor [Karin]
  14. Juni [Nash]
  15. BX3TPL|Veggey [Birdie]
  16. UM|Isam [Karin]

The entire top 8 can be watched here. I highly recommend checking out the Phenom v BigBird match, which starts at 34:00. It’s a razor-close matchup between two players who really understand their chosen character’s strengths.

Teething troubles

We’re two weeks removed from the launch of Street Fighter V and things are a touch better than the launch week disaster, but still far from where they need to be. A bit of server maintenance has, for the most part, fixed ranked and casual matchmaking, but Battle Lounges are still a bit of a coin toss. The worst part of the SFV online experience so far, however, is the constant ragequitting that occurs. The problem stems from the fact that right now there is absolutely no punishment for anyone who quits out of a match. Believe me, I’ve tried it.

Before the game was released, Capcom informed reviewers that the leaderboards would be reset the night before launch. So, free of any kind of responsibility, I did some tests. Whether that be in the first round, second round or even in a match winning Critical Art animation.If you drop, you don’t lose any ranking points or even your win streak. For a competitive game that is really pushing online play as a key part of its esports strategy, this is completely unacceptable. Attaching a couple of the game’s achievements to reaching specific online ranks certainly isn’t helping matters, as you’ve got achievement-chasers trying to scrub their way to a gold rank and that pointless reward.

It’s not the ragequitting itself that is the problem—I mean, who hasn’t dived out of a game they’re losing in a fit of the finest, purest salt? The issue is the lack of punishment. Ragequitting in USFIV resulted in a tax of 128PP, which is a healthy chunk of points to lose just because you couldn’t take a beating. Right now, you get off free, and as people creep ever closer towards that gold ranking and the final achievement, the problem gets worse. Player LiangHuBBB documented over one hundred people quitting on him in a week:

Capcom have acknowledged this. They recently stated that they have no date for a long term solution, but in the short term they would be taking action against the worst offenders if players provide video evidence—so if you’re running Shadowplay or streaming your game, that would suffice. Having such a manual, hands-on solution likely means that if you’re dropping in almost every game you can expect the CapCops to chuck a punishment at you. The rest of you, for now, can probably afford to still drop the odd game if sodium levels hit critical. Nothing is going to happen, after all.

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