There have been no Premier events over the last few weeks of the Capcom Pro Tour, but plenty of players have been claiming points at Ranking events. With two controversial events that need addressing, there’s rarely any downtime these days as the Pro Tour heads into an incredibly busy summer period.
Combo breaking bad
A couple of weeks back there was the Combo Breaker Ranking event in Chicago, which was eventually won by—you guessed it—Justin Wong, who likely has an untouchable lead at the top of the CPT table at this point. It was, for all intents and purposes, a really great event and certainly one that stepped up production and quality to match the new focus and increased size of the Pro Tour.
Unfortunately, a lot of the good was overshadowed by an incident, caught on camera, where CPT competitor Noel Brown was seen to inappropriately grab another attendee. A complaint was made, and Combo Breaker, the Capcom Pro Tour and Ultra Arcade (his sponsor) all washed their hands of him within the following 48 hours. Kudos to the Combo Breaker organisers themselves for taking the lead on that—getting a statement, evidence and acting on it—showing that there’s no place for this kind of behaviour in any setting, while Capcom themselves dragged their feet.
Capcom have finally decided which sponsors they’re not going to allow in their growing esport scene, and that’s anything they deem ‘adult or inappropriate’. That means Team YP, the esports team infamously sponsored by YouPorn, but also booze and vaping companies. Budweiser, who are of course one of the most recognisable drink brands on the planet, have recently been making a bit of noise on Twitter about esports, running a competition for people to vote on their favourite FGC competitors—possibly with a view to sponsoring them at some point.
It’s good to know that Capcom care about looking out for us grown-ups, but I fear this might be detrimental towards the growth of Street Fighter. More sponsorship means that these players can dedicate themselves to getting better at the game, attending events and competing. More top players competing will likely put more eyes on the scene, which will increase ad revenue, prize money… and that means more money for everyone!
Team Secret, EchoFox, Evil Geniuses et al are good to have in the FGC, but does your average gamer, perhaps interested in watching competitive Street Fighter, know who any of these teams are? They’re hardly Manchester United. In fact, it’s probably a good bet that the best known Street Fighter team is Red Bull, a recognised global brand that branches out across other sports—like Budweiser.
That Latin America Pro Tour table
Another Latin American Ranking event went down this past weekend in Bogota, Columbia, where Evil Geniuses’ K-Brad took first place at Fight! 2016. K-Brad is a member of Team EG who has been threatening a top place finish for a while, and now he’s finally claimed that 128 CPT points haul. Even so, the Latin America top ten is looking, well, a little international at the minute.
This clear regional split was supposed to allow for more local, unrecognised talent to shine through and potentially qualify for the Capcom Cup, but right now half of the top ten placed competitors are players from other regions. Maybe this will change as the year goes on, but right now the Latin America events seem to be being looked at by US players as a place they can go to grab a bunch of points while Justin Wong isn’t around to beat them all. It should come as no surprise that the CPT Latin America event that Wong did enter, he won. Second place? K-Brad.
The first Japanese Ranking Event took place last weekend—Tokyo Button Mashers 2016. The Top 8 was an absolute murderer’s row of top level Japanese players, with Capcom Pro Tour 2015 winner Kazunoku finally making his mark, finishing in first place, above Yukadon and the now newly Red Bull-sponsored Daigo Umehara. The losers final match between those two is an absolute must watch. Check it out in the video above.
Finally, there was the FFM Rumble event in Frankfurt, Germany. Most of the ‘big name’ players fell well short of a top 8 finish, save for Ryan Hart. Belgium’s CCL took first place and became the first player to win a CPT event with Chun-Li. A quick mention goes to UK player Packz, who finished 5th and has now been consistently finishing within the top 8 all around Europe. The next UK Ranking event is VS Fighting Birmingham in August, and it is going to be interesting to see which of the top UK players comes out on top.