With both First Attack and the LATAM Regional Finals in the books, the 2019 Capcom Pro Tour shifted gears from the Caribbean’s tropical waters to the snowy city of Calgary, Alberta for Canada Cup. As the final Premier Event on the CPT, Canada Cup offered its first-place victor 700 points and a chance at prime seeding for Capcom Cup - and players weren’t going to let this opportunity slip through their fingers.
A mass of players made their way to Calgary to secure last-minute points as the season dwindles to a close, with brackets full of top killers from across the globe. Western talent like Canada’s own Kyle “Brutus” Gallant, America’s Alex Meyers, Capcom Cup 2016 champ Du “NuckleDu” Dang, and more made major showings in the fray - including the famed Justin Wong, who made a splash in the competition with a surprising character choice.
“Can’t start the show without the star!”
Although Street Fighter League’s Derek “iDom” Ruffin notably picked up Poison as a counterpick option for potential Laura bans, he’s not the only American pro bringing out the whip-wielding Mad Gear member: Justin Wong likewise brought the pain with Poison’s deadly whip and Molotov combo at Canada Cup, choosing her as his sole character throughout his entire run at the Premier.
Despite the severity of Canada Cup’s spot in the CPT schedule, Justin didn’t let Poison’s status as a new character dissuade him from busting heads, taking out names like First Attack runner-up Olivier “Luffy” Hays and GRPT’s Joe “MOV” Egami using one of Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition’s latest additions. In a jaw-dropping turn of events, Justin went on to qualify for the Top 8 bracket, beating out Rashid mains Jonathan “JB” Bautista and Naoki “Moke” Nakayama to land in Losers’ Quarters.
Mago’s pop-off of the century
In fact, Justin stood as the sole American player in Canada Cup’s Top 8, facing a slew of Asia’s best talent like Naoki “Nemo” Nemoto, Li-Wei “Oil King” Lin, and Ryo “Dogura” Nozaki, who was responsible for knocking Justin into Losers’ side. Although this isn’t the first time a Premier has seen a lone American hero, Justin’s run with Poison wasn’t the only impressive moment from that weekend, which witnessed both hilarious and heartbreaking moments leading up to Sunday’s finals.
France’s Nathan “Mister Crimson” Massol hails as the seventh-ranked player in the European region, thanks to his skillful use of both Karin and Dhalsim - an equally unusual character pick. It was this World Warrior that he chose to use against Nemo’s Urien in Top 16, having already eliminated breakout Zangief main Hiroki “Kichipa-mu” Asano in a stunning 2-0 run. With a chance at making his second Premier Top 8 of the year, Mister Crimson challenged Nemo’s dominating playstyle and range with careful pokes and precision - but his Yoga Flame was ultimately snuffed out by the Illuminati VP, marking the end of a strikingly successful run for Crimson at the season’s end.
In contrast to Crimson’s heart-wrenching loss, pools added some good humor to Canada Cup, thanks to an unpredictable (and hilarious) reaction from Kenryo “Mago” Hayashi, who went head to head with Hiromiki “Itabashi Zangief” Kumada in the Winners’ Final of their pool. Taking the first game in a steamroll 2-0 run, Mago was comically relieved, as shown by the stream camera - but that wasn’t the end of his antics, with the pro giving a gut-busting pop-off after taking the victory.
“That girl is Poison”
Mago himself made the Top 8 bracket after defeating JB in Top 16, facing Oil King in Sunday’s Winners’ Quarter-Final. Although many eyes were following Mago’s performance, others in the crowd were trained on Justin Wong, who continued his Poison run as the final American hero against Nemo’s Urien. In a jaw-dropping turn of events, Justin put Posion’s strengths on display, easily getting through Urien’s zoning Metallic Sphere with EX “Love Me Tender.” Shocking the world, Justin defeated Nemo in a stunning 3-0 set - but his battle was far from over, as this scheduled him to face Xian’s near-surgical Ibuki for a chance at taking the Losers’ Semi-Final.
Despite Justin’s impressive Losers’ side streak, Xian’s Ibuki was as aggressive as ever, defeating the newly-crowned Poison main 3-1. This pitted Xian against Oil King, who ahd been knocked into the Losers’ Final by none other than Tokido - one of SFV:AE’s most consistent players and the third-ranked pro in the CPT Standings. Having already taken two Premier Events this season, and with multiple top placements under his belt, Tokido and his raging Akuma marked a significant opponent for the Grand Final - which came down to a runback between himself and Oil King, having defeated Xian 3-1 with Rashid.
Tokido takes all
With a slew of points on the line at the tail end of the 2019 season, it was do-or-die for Oil King, who’d suffered a close 2-3 loss against Tokido in the Winners’ Final. Now, armed with knowledge and Losers’ side momentum, it seemed like Oil King had a chance at turning the tide of battle: but this was not to be, as Tokido took a landslide victory over his opponent 3-1, securing himself as the 2019 Canada Cup champion and the first competitor ever to take 10 Premier Events in the CPT.
Currently standing in third place with 3,125 points, Tokido is one of the top-seeded players for Capcom Cup, which looms on the horizon ahead of the season’s final event - the North American Regional Finals, the last Regional qualifier and final Super Premier of the 2019 Tour. With Canada Cup witnessing a feel-good weekend full of team tourneys, hilarious pop-offs, and an old-school tournament feel, the hype is ripe ahead of the Tour’s last hurrah as the countdown to Capcom Cup truly begins - and with players scrambling for points, there’s no telling who will end up on top of the pile.