Counting Down to Capcom Cup 2019
The time has finally arrived. After an entire season of nail-biting events, jaw-dropping storylines, and heart-stopping competition, the 2019 Capcom Pro Tour has come to a head. A year of Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition has boiled down to this: the sought-after, highly-anticipated and intensely coveted Capcom Cup, which crowns the best SFV:AE player in the world among their peers in the final tournament of the season.
Capcom Cup marks the crown jewel of the CPT, standing as the circuit’s definitive tournament that will seal one competitor’s place as champion within the hallowed halls of Street Fighter history. However, this year is different from the rest: this year, SFV:AE fans have seen incredible steamrolls, major comebacks, and last-minute domination from a few major names in the runnings - as well as an entirely new event series in the 2019 Street Fighter League.
Who will emerge the Street Fighter League champions?
Featuring top players from the United States and Japan, the Street Fighter League marks the first-ever official team tournament for competitive Street Fighter, adding a new flair to the game’s traditional 1 v 1 format. There’s more on the line than team pride, though: in fact, the SFL is pitting two countries’ best talent against each other, with teams USA and Japan throwing down at Capcom Cup alongside the main event, itself.
The Street Fighter League Global Championship follows two high-intensity seasons of the team tournament series, with last season seeing USA’s Team Inferno and Team Gale make the cut for season two. Despite Inferno’s previous victory (comprised of the #1 ranked Victor “Punk” Woodley, breakout Rashid main Jonathan “JB” Bautista, and Mike “Brolylegs” Begum), it was Team Gale and Team Frost that ended up advancing to the Finals, with Team Gale steamrolling Team Storm in a clean 3-0 run in the Winners’ bracket.
This means America’s NuckleDu, RobTV, Shine, Dual Kevin, Samurai, and SherryJenix will face off one last time to decide the final American squad who will fight Team Japan - a monumental feat, considering that the two Japanese teams are headed by none other than the 20th ranked Naoki “Nemo” Nemoto and Kenryo “Mago” Hayashi.
These captains aren’t alone: Nemo’s team includes breakout Zangief main Hiroki “Kichipa-mu” Asano and notable Rashid player John Takeuchi, while Mago comes as a package deal with BAM 11 victor Masahiro “Machabo” Tominaga and collegiate pro “Yuji.” Each country must fight against their opposing team to determine the two groups that will throw down in a showdown between the USA and the Land of the Rising Sun - a fight that will wrap up two season’s worth of storylines to decide the ultimate SFV:AE trio.
Fighters to look forward to at the Last Chance Qualifier
Although the Street Fighter League adds extra flavor to an already intense event, it’s not the only competition throwing down this weekend. In fact, fans are waiting with ears perked for the winner of the Last Chance Qualifier - the final opportunity for one player to secure the last remaining spot in Capcom Cup. With the other qualified players already determined, there are a few faces who stand out in the mix as potential favorites, not the least of which are FAV’s “Ryusei,” Midwest Mika main “ElChakotay,” and the ever-focused "Samurai.”
Young Urien main Ryusei has been making waves this entire season, nabbing a spot in CEO’s Top 8 and landing in 9th place at VSFighting, Celtic Throwdown, and even the recent North American Regional Finals, where he was knocked out of the Top 16 by none other than Masato “Bonchan” Takahashi. ElChakotay is another young talent, known for his explosive use of Mika, which saw him take multiple top placements throughout the year. While these two stand as hopefuls to knock heads at the LCQ, Samurai can’t be counted out, either, having made waves in Street Fighter League and this year’s Red Bull Conquest as Seattle’s SFV champion.
Giants of the 2019 Capcom Pro Tour
Once the LCQ winner has been decided, it all comes down to the final battle between the Top 32 qualified players. Although the 2019 season has seen a multitude of intense storylines, three names stand out in the mix - one of whom made Capcom Pro Tour history.
Adel “Big Bird” Anouche has rocked the CPT for its entire duration, boasting top placements year-round: but it was his performance at EGX and the European Regional Qualifier that dropped jaws across the FGC. For the first time in CPT history, Big Bird scored a double-victory at a Regional Final, taking both the Open Premier and the Final itself despite being ill. However, it’s not just EGX that put the UAE’s star on the map, as he likewise took second place at EVO. His scrupulously clean play brought him through the Losers’ bracket against names like “Fuudo,” “Fujimura,” and even Zeku main “Infexious,” but he was ultimately defeated by Bonchan in one of the most intense Grand Finals sets of the year.
Bonchan himself has had an immensely successful 2019 season, taking first place at Premier Events CEO, VSFighting, and even Celtic Throwdown- but it was his EVO victory that saw the King take his throne, winning the highly-coveted title of EVO Champion and finally securing the major victory that he had so long sought after as a top Street Fighter player. Having just announced the birth of his two children, Bonchan even has the parent power-up in his pocket - but will he bring the heat of Sagat’s Tiger Shot to the Top 32 in the face of the almighty Punk?
As is well-known, Punk suffered a brutal defeat at the hands of Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi at EVO 2017 after his breakout year in SFV. 2019 has proved to be his comeback season, though, with the young pro taking heads left and right by starting out the CPT with three Premier Event wins. In fact, Punk marks the first-ever player in CPT history to boast over 4,500 points, with a whopping four Premier wins under his belt among several top placements. Knowing the “Alpha’s” strength, there’s no counting him out of the runnings: but, much like a cornered tiger like Sagat’s Willa Maiu, the end of the season means a breakout for unexpected faces.
Hong Kong’s Yeh “HotDog29” Ho has, like his aforementioned peers, found success this season - but his breakout moment came at PPL Masters in his home country, which saw him defeat Zangief player Kichipa-mu in what he deemed an “impossible” matchup. That wasn’t the end of his success, though, with the Dictator main going on to take the NA Regional Finals at the season’s end against NuckleDu, emerging victorious from a nail-biting Grand Final that boosted him to 5th place in the Global Rankings.
While these players are sure to put on a spectacular show of strength, skill, and talent, there are a total of 32 fighters going head to head to determine the final champion of the 2019 Capcom Pro Tour. A year of battles has honed these competitors to a near-indestructible sharpness: now, all that’s left is to wait for the eventual victor. Who will emerge the champion? Menat’s crystal ball may let her see the future, but for SFV:AE fans, there’s no telling which World Warrior will come out on top.