From Final Round to the Evolution Championship Series, the 2019 Capcom Pro Tour has seen a slew of action from top players around the world - and with Southeast Asia Major on the horizon, it’s time to take a look back at the season’s best moments ahead of the Tour’s next Premier Event.
Beginning with a big bang
The 2019 CPT kicked off with a bang at Final Round in Atlanta, Georgia, with Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition prodigy Victor “Punk” Woodley taking the victory over Yusuke Momochi to secure a whopping 700 points. However, that wasn’t the end of Punk’s reign, with the Karin connoisseur going on to take Lyon, France’s The Mixup in April and even the esteemed Combo Breaker in May.
With three Premier victories under his belt, Punk appeared to be the unquestioned champion of the 2019 season - but Masato “Bonchan” Takahashi’s breakout win at CEO in June rocked the global rankings, sending him soaring to the top in wake of Punk’s dominating reign.
That was far from the last time fans would see Bonchan in Grand Finals, though, with the Red Bull pro going on to take Birmingham’s VSFighting in July. Despite Punk and Bonchan standing at the top of the charts, the Tour’s first-ever Super Premier Event promised an unpredictable outcome, with the Evolution Championship Series standing as one of the most surprising tournaments of the year.
Bonchan’s EVO victory
As one of the largest fighting game tournaments of all time, EVO boats a slew of competition from across the globe. 2019 was no different, seeing talent from the UAE, Britain, China, and even New York in SFV’s Top 8 bracket. With the likes of Zeku main DC “infexious” Coleman and Street Fighter League’s Derek “iDom” Ruffin in the mix, EVO’s Top 8 showdown was a sight to behold - as was its Grand Finals, which came down between Bonchan and Adel “Big Bird” Anouche, whose stellar use of Rashid saw their fight go to the final game, final round. Bonchan emerged the victor in a nail-biting final sequence, with Big Bird living on the magic pixel, the crowd going wild at this momentous victory for one of Street Fighter’s most celebrated competitors.
With Bonchan taking the first Super Premier in Capcom Pro Tour history, the Tour moved onward, seeing another Premier Event in Dublin, Ireland for Celtic Throwdown 2019. It seemed that Bonchan’s winning streak wasn’t over, just yet, with the pro taking the championship over UYU’s “NL” to secure yet another Premier victory.
Momochi's Super Premier win
China’s PPL Masters came shortly thereafter, bringing with it one of the CPT’s wildest Grand Finals yet. M. Bison main “HotDog29” threw down with Zangief player “Kichipa-mu” in what he considered an “impossible” matchup, managing to take the win in spite of facing off with SFV’s muscle-powered grappler.
The second out of four Super Premier Events followed PPL Masters, taking place at Tokyo Game Show 2019. The Asia Premier saw some of Japan’s best fighters take the Top 8 stage, as well as the UAE’s Amjad “AngryBird” Alshalabi and Big Bird - but it was Momochi who took the win, securing 1,000 points and jumping to fifth place in the global rankings against Kenryo “Mago” Hayashi.
CPT Standings at SEA Major
As it stands now, Bonchan sits in first place on the CPT Global Leaderboards, with Punk close behind, having won Paris’ Ultimate Fighting Arena this past weekend. With Tokido, Fujimura, and Momochi in third, fourth, and fifth place, respectively, the current standings are stacked with top-tier talent: but the CPT isn’t over, by far.
The Southeast Asia Major is coming up fast, taking place in Singapore and promising to sport East Asia’s strongest players. Standing as both a Premier Event and the Asia Regional Final, SEAM boasts two major competitions in a single weekend - events that saw two Rashid mains come out on top just last year.
In 2018, Red Bull’s Kanamori “Gachikun” Tsunehiro took the Asia Regional Final, while Big Bird won the Open Premier - two fighters who would make major splashes later in the competition, with Gachikun winning the 2018 Capcom Cup and Big Bird making second place at EVO 2019.
With SEAM 2019 just around the corner, there’s no telling which of Street Fighter’s top players will make their way into the Top 8 bracket. Considering the impressive showings from Punk, Big Bird, Momochi, and Bonchan this year, the stage is set for one of these giants to make a serious wave in the standings - but with SFV boasting a slew of talent across the globe, fans are waiting with bated breath for what could very well be an unpredictable outcome.