Japan’s biggest Premier event took place at the Tokyo Game Show, offering automatic qualification to the Capcom Cup for the winner. It was a total killing field, as three of the best players in the world—Xian, Justin Wong and Daigo Umehara—all failed to escape their respective pools, surprising everyone. It’s rare to see one talent like these guys go out before the top 64, never mind all three of them.
This opened the door for some players who had not yet won a CPT event to do just that, and the final was played out between EVO 2015 runner-up Gamerbee and Red Bull-quaffing, shirt-removing fan favourite, Team Secret’s Poongko. They met in the winner’s final, with Gamerbee sending Poongko into the loser’s bracket. After a match against last year’s Capcom Cup winner Kazunoko, Poongko went straight into his rematch with Gamerbee and actually reset the bracket, beating him 3-1 in the first set, before Gamerbee bounced back to win his first CPT event of the season in what was one of the best matches of the year to date. Gamerbee, of course, has now qualified for the Capcom Cup.
The next Premier event is at EGX in Birmingham this coming weekend, with Gamerbee in attendance. Can he ‘do an Infiltration’ and win back to back Premier events a week apart? It’s a stacked event, and many players are going to be gunning for him.
Online events: are they working?
Capcom always said that online tournaments were going to be a major part of Street Fighter V’s competitive scene, but that was before it had its frankly shocking launch. To this day it’s still not perfect, with the rollback netcode and some questionable matchmaking making for some unplayable matches at least a few times per session. However, they’ve gone along with online tournaments anyway and, predictably, not without some problems.
It’s worth noting that the Pro Tour’s online organisers have done everything they possibly can to minimise issues. They require you to check-in on a Discord group a good hour before kick off and make a demand that you play on a wired connection to reduce potential issues. We all know, however, that this won’t solve everything. Nor is it even detectable or enforceable. Players have taken to recording their own footage to show when their losses are somewhat questionable due to a lag-filled match.
Another controversial aspect is how they’re using the CPT ‘regions’ to group players together. Now, seeing as there’s lag when players on the East and West coasts of the US play each other, imagine the type of game you’re getting when you’re sat in London and matched up against someone playing in Israel. It’s not ideal and the ‘regions’ are likely to be shrunk in the future to avoid such obvious problems.
Finally, the question of the points dished out for these tournaments is the subject of much scrutiny. Winning one of these events nets the same amount of points you’d get for attending a Ranking event. It’s equivalent to a fourth place finish at EVO, after you’d battled through a bracket of nearly 4000 players! Obviously, a tournament win is a win, and if Capcom really are trying to make these online events an important part of the Pro Tour, then they need to be treated as such and that includes the prizes. But playing sat at home on your couch doesn’t quite equal the same level of pressure you’d get at a real live event.
The road to the EU finals
The EU Regional Final has been confirmed as taking place at Milan Games Week in October. The top 15 players in Europe will be put into a double elimination tournament, with the sixteenth slot being decided in a ‘last chance qualifier’ tournament that takes place the day before, to decide who takes a Capcom Cup place.
Right now, players qualified are:
It’s worth noting that American Ken player Chris Tatarian actually qualified for this tournament in this region, but has informed Capcom that he will not be attending and therefore has been replaced with Cobelcog, from Ireland. As you can see, there’s three players in there—Daigo, Xian and MOV—who would have to have significant travel arrangements in order to attend, so it’s not unfair to assume that there could be more slots available to local players before the bracket is finalised. We should find out about the other regional finals in the coming weeks— and check back next week for more on this weekend’s tournament at EGX!