It’s nearly over! The 2016 Capcom Pro Tour has wrapped up its last ranking event in the Europe region with Geek Weekend in the definitely-not-European city of Dubai. Two players from the EU leaderboard have now qualified for the Capcom Cup and all that is left is for sixteen others to take part in the qualification event at Milan Games Week, battling it out for that final European slot in the huge end-of-year event, recently confirmed to be taking place in Anaheim, from the 3rd to the 5th of December.
The top of the EU leaderboard is, unsurprisingly, 2014 EVO winner Luffy, who after a shaky start managed to string together consistent top eight finishes and even win two tournaments outright. Thing is, his points total is so healthy right now that he actually sits within the qualification spots on the global leaderboard, freeing up space for another player.
It’s this multi-leaderboard, multiple means of qualification style that the Pro Tour has adopted for 2016 that means that there is a fair bit of flexibility in who qualifies for the Capcom Cup. For instance, as I was writing the intro to this week’s column, Tokido won SEAM in Singapore, in a totally different region, but because he’s already qualified twice, he freed up another global leaderboard spot, which went to Belgium’s CCL, who was currently the highest point qualifier in Europe. This in turn freed up a spot for Problem X, who was likely sat around having his dinner on Sunday when he qualified for the chance at winning nearly $400,000. Congratulations to Problem, as he remains at the top of the UK’s SF players.
The other qualifier is one of this year’s surprise packages of the Pro Tour, Mister Crimson. After kicking the whole thing off by winning the very first Street Fighter V event with Laura, he has since added Dhalsim to his arsenal and posted consistent top eight finishes to sit fourth overall in Europe, which is the first open Capcom Cup spot. A very impressive year for someone who wasn’t widely known mere months ago.
The Last Chance Qualifier for the region takes place at Milan Games Week. Fourteen players have claimed their places, with two more open for the top two at a tournament that will be taking place the day before. Mister Crimson, Problem X, Luffy, CCL and Phenom are all signed up, and if one of those were to win this tournament, it would open up another qualification spot on the leaderboard. Still following? Good.
EVO finalist MOV has been at many EU events this year and has gained enough points in the region to enter the qualifier. He too is likely to qualify from his Global points total, which again would free up a space on the EU leaderboard. Xian won an event in Russia to qualify, but again sits quite high on the Global rankings and will likely earn his spot via those means.
Daigo Umehara, BigBird and Chris Tatarian have places in this qualifier, but have informed Capcom that they cannot attend Milan Games Week, so it is likely that the next highest ranked names on the EU leaderboard—Ryan Hart and Packz—will take up those spots, should they be able to make it to the tournament. According to a few tweets, FGCFruit will be replacing BigBird.
So that brings us onto those that need to win to ensure their trip to Capcom Cup. First up is I’mStillDaDaddy, who sits high on the EU leaderboard after a big win in one of the new online events and a top eight finish at VSFighting. He sits even higher on the CFN Online Leaderboard, showcasing what is a fair shout at being the World’s best Guile right now (and according to the current Global rankings, he’s the highest ranked Guile main).
Ireland’s Cobelcog has had consistent top 10 finishes during this Pro Tour and has set himself up nicely for this qualifier. He’s another player who sits extremely high in the online rankings and with his excellent use of Cammy—the ‘glass cannon’ of Street Fighter V—could beat anyone on any given day.
Dark Jiewa, the Chinese Ken player, has had a good year so far but that big tournament win has eluded him. He had a couple of top five placements at European events and that has sneaked him into the Last Chance Qualifier. He is also set to be included in the Latin America qualifier too, so whether he attends both or focuses his attention on a specific tournament remains to be seen.
A final interesting wrinkle is those two places remaining in the Last Chance Qualifier tournament. As mentioned before, a tournament will be taking place the day before to find out which two players are going to earn a spot. There’s absolutely no regional restriction as to who can enter this tournament. Because of this, Sako and Red Bull’s Bonchan, who has had a disappointing season seeing as towards the end of USFIV he was regarded as one of the best in the world, have thrown their names into the hat and will be entering, as they currently have no other means of qualification.
There’s still a few moving parts that could change things between now and Milan Games Week, but for the most part, the 2016 EU Capcom Pro Tour has settled down and left us with some truly elite players from the region heading out to Capcom Cup. Will a European be able to take that final qualification spot, or will one of the travelling players take it from them? It’s going to be an interesting month, as the other regions all play out their final events in the coming weeks, and we will break down their qualification events when the players are set in stone.