Capcom Pro Tour 2021 Season Finals Recap

The Capcom Pro Tour 2021 Season Final was a true celebration of competitive Street Fighter V from around the world.  The event consisted of the 31 players who earned a qualifying spot to Capcom Cup this season as well as 9 select invitees against one another in twenty exhibition matches broken down by region.  We have a lot of exhibition matches to recap so let’s get to it! 

Day One

South Africa: BVD|BillyDate vs GG|Jabhim

One of the exciting changes to this year’s CPT is the addition of South Africa, which gives exposure to a pool of players that didn’t previously get enough attention.  BVD|BillyDate and GG|Jabhim met in Grand Finals at the South Africa 1 online premier, where Jabhim won the first set 3-0 in dominating fashion and BillyDate made a stunning comeback to win the event.  Jabhim won the rematch here 5-0 but it was nowhere near as one sided as the score suggests.  BillyDate’s Necalli had a big life lead in the final round of the first game but Jabhim’s Chun-Li made a big comeback to steal the round and the game.  There were several rounds like his where Necalli’s ability to do big damage gave BillyDate the lead but Chun-Li’s normal and special moves were able to check momentum and reverse it to give Jabhim the win.  BillyDate tried switching characters to Ed in the last game and on both rounds was within one hit of winning but Jabhim stole both rounds, the last one with a raw Critical Art.

Australia:  Travis Styles vs Pahnda

Travis Styles and Pahnda last met in the Australia premier event where Travis Styles beat Pahnda twice, 3-1 in Winners Finals and 3-0 in Grand Finals.  How Pahnda would adapt in preparation for the rematch here was the question.  Travis Styles plays a strong Balrog and the Akuma Pahnda uses, while still being a strong character, needs to keep mistakes to a minimum.  Once again Travis Styles had Pahnda’s number as he wins 5-1.  Travis Styles’ spacing, anti-airs and the timing of his Dash Punches and Turnaround Punches were too much for Pahnda to overcome. 

China:  DingChunQiu vs Joeyangho

Joeyangho’s Chun-Li had to fight his way through a gauntlet of Urien players at the China 1 event defeating all but one; DingChunQiu.  DingChunQui beat him 3-0 in Winners Finals and 3-1 in Grand Finals.  DingChunQiu came out strong with relentless offense and good whiff punishes to take a quick 2-0 lead.  Joeyangho adapted his spacing and turned the momentum with his own 2 game streak to tie it up 2-2.  It was DingChunQiu’s turn as the tide switched yet again and he won the next two games.  Joeyangho got one more win in the 7th game but DingChunQiu took the next game to seal this back-and-forth exhibition in his favor with a 5-3 score.

Asia Southeast:  Oswald vs IamChuan

The meeting between these two players in the Asia Southeast event this season was incredibly competitive.  Oswald’s Balrog beat IamChuan’s Guile in Winners Finals 3-2.  They faced off again in one of this season’s closest Grand Finals with IamChuan winning the first set 3-2 to reset the bracket but Oswald finishing him off 3-2 in the last set.  Oswald was in control for most of this exhibition against iamChuan with his Balrog consistently managing to get in close to get big damage combos.  IamChuan’s Guile got more aggressive starting in the 3rd game and would win 2 games but Oswald got the 5-2 victory.

East Europe/Russia: Jamie_TTM vs Papoi

Papoi’s Laura had a great run at the East Europe/Russia event early this year.  After being knocked into Losers Bracket early in top 16 he would go on to win the event.  Jamie_TTM with E. Honda looked like she was positioned to win that event until she met Papoi in Grand Finals where Papoi won the first set 3-2 to reset the bracket and 3-0 the next set to eliminate her.   Papoi had her number in that Grand Finals but for this exhibition Jamie_TTM opted for Luke, which made a huge difference.  Luke’s Sand Blaster ranged attacks and strong normals checked Laura’s attempts to start an offense.  Papoi adapted and got some wins using Laura’s Thunderclap game but even that was getting blown up by Luke’s uppercut.  Jamie_TTM went on to win this exciting exhibition 5-3.

South America West:  MK|NeroTheBoxer vs UB|Frozen

At the South America West event earlier this year UB|Frozen mostly played Nash and to great effect.  Once he got to Winners Finals against NeroTheBoxer’s Balrog he exchanged Nash for Kage and was beaten 1-3.  NeroTheBoxer would later eliminate Frozen in Grand Finals to win the event.  Frozen would start this exhibition using Kage once again with good early results with a win first game but NeroTheBoxer adapted and imposed Balrog’s offense on Frozen, winning the next two games.  Frozen won game four with his own big damage combo offense but NeroTheBoxer hit back again winning two more games.  Facing elimination, Frozen switched to Nash and won the next game by the narrowest of margins but NeroTheBoxer would eliminate him to win 5-3.

Day Two

Europe West:  Momi vs VSLASH|Takamura

VSLASH|Takamura’s Akuma decidedly defeated Momi’s Cammy in Grand Finals of the Europe West online premier early this year.  Both players are very talented but Momi really needed to prepare to avoid history repeating.  Momi’s preparation was evident as this was a complete reversal of their first meeting.  Momi won this exhibition with a 5-0 score off the back of strong offense and some well-timed jump-ins. Takamura tried to switch characters to Ken in the fourth game but still lost and switched back to Cammy for the last game.  Momi put up a tremendous performance, only losing two rounds in five games.

Central America West:  RH|Gama vs Kusanagi

RH|Gama and Kusanagi both won online premier events this season with Gama winning the first Central America West online premier and Kusanagi winning the second.  The two players did meet in the Grand Finals of the first event, where Gama’s Cammy beat Kusanagi’s Sakura 3-1.  Kusanagi’s Sakura was brilliant here, pulling off a 5-1 win in this exhibition.  Kusanagi’s offense, neutral game, jump-ins and anti-airs were on-point.  Gama had some drops including a key one in the fourth game where he failed to pull off a Critical Art that would have given him the win.  Gama didn’t win a game until the fifth one, which turnd out to be his only one of the exhibition.  Kusanagi put on a show in this exhibition with some truly impressive Sakura play against a very strong Cammy player in Gama.

Central America East:  MenaRD vs Jimmy_DR

Central America East, specifically the Dominican Republic, is full of strong players that always bring the hype.  MenaRD is also Capcom Cup 2017 Champion as well as a contestant in Street Fighter League. MenaRD has been a big factor in the region’s rise and prominence and earned a spot in this exhibition by winning Central America East 1. Jimmy_DR is a relative newcomer and earned his spot with a win in the region’s second online premier.  MenaRD can play many characters at a high level and he went with Luke here, a choice that paid off handsomely.  Jimmy_DR’s Balrog won the first game but MenaRD adapted and won the next four, using his own normals and Sand Blaster ranged attacks to stifle Jimmy_DR’s offense.  Balrog is usually the bully but Luke turned the tables in this set with MenaRD winning decisively 5-1.

Brazil:  RonaldinhoBR vs Gust

RonaldinhoBR won the first Brazil online premier and has had some high placements at the Intel World Open and other events.  Gust got second place at the following regional online premier later in the season and is a relative unknown but has shown very strong E. Honda play.  RonaldinhoBR plays Nash, which is a character that can make it difficult for E. Honda to get in close.  Gust had a great start in this exhibition winning the first three games on the back of great reads on Torpedos, Hand Slaps and Butt Stomps.  RonaldinhoBR got his first win narrowly in game four to slow some of Gust’s momentum followed by two more wins to tie it up at 3-3.  Gust would win the next two games to win the exhibition 5-3.  RonaldinhoBR did a great job completely turning around the momentum to tie it up but Gust regained control in the final two games.

Middle East:  AngryBird vs Big Bird

The two players here have been fixtures in the Capcom Pro Tour for a long time with both having Capcom Cup appearances.  Both players were also on the same team in Street Fighter League where they won the Finals in season three and dominated in the fourth.  They are very familiar with each other’s play style and both are strong with more than one character so we knew going in that this would be an exciting exhibition.  In the Middle East online premier this season Big Bird came through Losers Bracket and met AngryBird in Grand Finals.  Big Bird won the first set 3-2 to reset the bracket but AngryBird won the second 3-2.  The character selection on this one was interesting.  AngryBird went with Rashid, which is a character Big Bird is known for, and Big Bird went with the new character Luke.  AngryBird’s Rashid got a good start winning two of the first three games but Big Bird seemed to get more comfortable with Luke as the set went on and won the next four games to beat AngryBird 5-2. 

Asia East:  NL vs Infiltration

Infiltration was one of the world’s most dominant Street Fighter players for years, becoming an EVO Champion and making multiple appearances in Capcom Cup.  He was able to play multiple characters at high level before that became more common in the CPT.  NL quickly established himself as one of the world’s best Cammy players and was a contestant in Street Fighter League season four.  Infiltration won the first Asia East online premier this year and NL won the second.  This was an exhibition between two world-class players and it certainly lived up to expectations!  It was a sensational set with high offense, big reads, and near constant momentum shifts.  It was the first set to go the full 9 games to decide with Infiltration edging out NL 5-4.  Some of these games were incredibly close with one player or the other snatching it away at the last second.  NL’s Cammy is hyper-aggressive and Infiltration really tried to slow the game down with Luke’s Sand Blaster with limited success. In the end the deciding factor came down to who could make more clutch plays.  Of all the great Street Fighter V play we’ve seen so far this exhibition was the highlight of the first two days.

UK/Ireland:  The4Philzz vs Infexious

The4Philzz won the first UK/Ireland online premier event earlier this year and Infexious won the second one.  The4Philzz hasn’t been as prominent in the competitive Street Fighter scene while Infexious has been a top tier player since the Street Fighter IV days.  The4Philzz did turn heads in that first online premier where he beat many of the UK’s best players.  Infexious was also recently a contestant in season four of Street Fighter League.  Both players earned their spot here by defeating one of the world’s best players in Grand Finals, MOUSESPORTS|Problem X!  The4Philzz is one of the best Falke players out there while Infexious has several characters to choose from.  For this exhibition he went with Ken.  Falke can play at pretty much any range while Ken, despite having a fireball, really gets his damage up close.  At first The4Philzz did a great job of using Falke’s ranged options to keep Ken away and chipping away at his life bar, winning the first two games.  As time went on Infexious adapted and was able to more consistently get into that close range for big damage.  Infexious had to fight hard for every round with some of them going to timeout but he would go on to win the next five games in a row to win the exhibition 5-2, finishing it with a Critical Art flourish.

Day Three

Nordic/Baltic:  Rikemansbarnet vs Phenom

Rikesmanbarnet and his Menat made a big splash with his win at the Nordic/Baltic online premier earlier this season.  Phenom beat him at Winners Finals with Karin 3-0.  They would meet again at Grand Finals where Rikesmanbarnet won the first set 3-2 to reset the bracket and went on to win again 3-1.  Phenom has been one of the world’s top players for years, giving him a big edge in experience.  Rikesmanbarnet is a Menat character specialist but Phenom can play several characters, which makes preparing for this exhibition much harder for Rikesmanbarnet.  This challenge was realized when Phenom made the surprise M. Bison pick for this set instead of one of his usual mains, which paid huge dividends.  This exhibition was in Phenom’s control for almost the entire set.  Rikemansbarnet won the third game but the rest was all Phenom, who went on to win 5-1.  Menat wants to keep opponents zoned out at a distance until she gets V-Trigger but Phenom’s M. Bison got in reliably and was able to put unrelenting pressure on Menat until the defense cracked.

North America Midwest: RobTV vs EQNX|Brian_F

RobTV and EQNX|Brian_F are both tremendous players with years of experience in the Capcom Pro Tour as well as both being contestants on Street Fighter League.  RobTV has been the more dominant player in the region especially this year.  RobTV won both of the NA Midwest online premier events this year and both times it was Brian_F he beat in Grand Finals.  The wildcard here was Brian_F’s use of Oro, the character he used in this exhibition against RobTV’s Karin.  RobTV has played against Brian_F’s Balrog so many times that going with an uncommon character like Oro probably gave Brain_F the best chance for pulling out an upset.  The first game was pretty close, so even though RobTV won in the end it hinted at the start of a close, competitive set.  That was not the case, as after that first game RobTV imposed his game on Brian_F and never let go.  Karin’s movement speet, good normals in the neutral game and her big damage were all too much for Brian_TV’s Oro to contend with.  RobTV got a commanding 5-0 win, once again emphasizing his dominant status in the Midwest region and his rising status in the world.

France/Spain/Portugal:  Mister Crimson vs Kilzyou

Mister Crimson has been a highly respected player for the last few years but this year he’s reached a whole new level with his Dhalsim.  He beat many of the world’s best players at Red Bull Kumite earlier this year and beat Evo Champion Luffy to win the France/Spain/Portugal online premier.  He also showed his talents in season four of Street Fighter League where he also beat top players.  Kilzyou is a very young newcomer who won the second regional online premier with his Kolin.  Kilzyou and Mister Crimson did face off in the first event in Losers Semi-Finals where Mister Crimson came out on top 3-2.  Both players are incredibly talented but Mister Crimson had a clear edge in having so much experience in high pressure matches such as this one.  Mister Crimson’s advantage in experience shown brightly in this exhibition as he cruised to victory 5-0 against KilzyouKilzyou was within a hit of winning the second game but Mister Crimson stole it with a well-placed Critical Art.  This dominating performance is yet another feather in Mister Crimson’s cap this year.

North America West:  ChrisCCH vs Nephew

Both of these young players are up and comers in the fighting game community out of the North America west coast. Nephew has been more prominent lately with strong CPT performances with his Kolin and being on Street Fighter League for multiple seasons.  Nephew won both of the North America online premiers this season, the second one beating ChrisCCH in Grand Finals.   ChrisCCH is rising up fast, making a memorable appearance at Red Bull Kumite.  In the online premier Grand Finals against Nephew ChrisCCH came in from the Losers Bracket and won the first set convincingly 3-0 to reset the bracket before narrowly losing the second set 2-3.  In this exhibition Nephew’s usually strong Kolin had a lot of trouble establishing consistent offense against the high-powered Luke used by ChrisCCH.  Luke’s strong normals and hard to deal with Sand Blaster ranged attack are just two challenges that Nephew’s Kolin had to contend with.  Nephew put up a fierce fight and even got a crowd-pleasing double KO in the second game but managed to only win one game in this set.  ChrisCCH was so good at knowing when to stay on defense then transition into offense that he cruised to a 5-1 win.

Japan:  SNB|Higuchi vs GYOGUN|Mago

Mago is one of the legends of Street Fighter, being one of the world’s top players for over a decade over multiple iterations of the game.  He would be the very first player to qualify for Capcom Cup this season, winning the Japan 1 online premier event.  SNB|Higuchi is another young up and coming player alongside ChrisCCH being the youngest in this event.  Higuchi got a lot of attention with his win at the second Japan online premier. At the event his Guile beat many of the best Japanese players and put on an incredibly one-sided performance against Sako’s Menat in back-to-back sets to win 3-1 and 3-0.  Mago clearly had the experience advantage here.  He has changed characters several times and he surprised many by starting this exhibition with Luke instead of his Cammy.  Higuchi’s Guile checked him pretty well and won game one, prompting Mago to go back to Cammy in the second game.  Higuchi’s Guile sent on to win against Mago with a 5-2 score.  Higuchi’s Guile looked prepared while Mago’s play wasn’t as tight as it usually is, dropping several key combos that cost him rounds and games.  Higuchi used all of Guile’s tools to check Mago’s attempts to get in close and establish offense.  This exhibition was a real stunner and surely raised Higuchi’s profile tremendously.

North America East:  PANDA|Punk vs XSET|iDom

These two players have had a rivalry over the last few years.  Punk is of course arguably the best player in the world and has been extremely dominant for years.  iDom really hit a new level in 2019 when he beat Punk in Grand Finals at Capcom Cup 2019 to become Champion.  They’ve played each other many times including at Street Fighter League.  These are surely two of not just the best players in North America but arguably the world.  Punk plays many characters at a high level while iDom mains Laura and more recently Poison.  This was one of the most sensational exhibition matches of this event and it went the distance with all nine games down to the final round needed for a winner.  Every single round of this set was a war with iDom’s Poison trying to keep Punk’s Karin away.  Punk took an early lead winning four of the first five games but iDom kept on fighting for every inch and clawed his way back to a 4-4 tie.  Punk changed his character to Cammy for the last game and as with the rest of the exhibition it was a constant back and forth with both players scrambling for advantage.  In the final round both players were in a position where one hit could end it and Punk landed a successful Spiral Arrow to finish one of the best matches of the year. 

Japan:  HITBOX G8S|Kawano vs MILDOM BST|Daigo

If you’ve been following the fighting game community for any length of time you need no introduction to the legendary MILDOM BST|Daigo, arguably the greatest player in Street Fighter history with decades of experience.  Daigo won the third Japan online premier where his Guile beat HITBOX G8S|Kawano’s Kolin 3-0 in Winners Semi-Finals.  In Grand Finals the two players met again where Kawano won the first set 3-2 to reset the bracket but Daigo won the second 3-0.  Kawano would win the following Japan event with a win over Tokido.  Although there is a huge experience gap between the two players you would not have guessed that when watching this exhibition.  Daigo’s Guile mixed the ranged pressure of his Sonic Booms with normals up close to make it a challenge for Kawano’s Kolin to get in.  Kawano showed a lot of patience, sometimes blocking Sonic Boom after Sonic Boom as he inched forward and waited for an opening or to get a jump-in.  The games were close but Kawano managed to close more of them out early, winning four of the first five.  Daigo is never down until he’s out and he managed to start a comeback, winning two straight but Kawano closed the door by winning game eight to win the exhibition 5-3. 

The Capcom Pro Tour 2021 Season Finals was an incredible event featuring three days of thrilling Street Fighter V: Champion Edition play from the world’s best players.  This event was a true showcase of talent from all corners of the globe and the new region of South Africa exposes fans to new up-and-comers.  It was a fitting finale to a great year and we look forward to seeing you next season!