Punk Picks up First Premier Trophy of 2017 Pro Tour in NorCal

Another weekend, another Capcom Pro Tour Premier event in the bag, and with a few players in attendance who already had a considerable CPT points total, a win could pretty much guarantee that they would be competing at the Capcom Cup this year, joining Du ‘NuckleDu’ Dang as the only currently guaranteed player.

Winner: Victor ‘Punk’ Woodley – Panda Global

It’s been coming. Last weekend, at West Coast Warzone – a Ranking event – Punk put a whole bunch of points beside his name when he took first place there. It was a fairly stacked tournament, but at the same time, a Premier event was taking place in Paris, and some of the elite players had prioritised attending that instead.

That was not the case this weekend.

Punk beat the best of the best, overcame some adversity and still had some of his characteristic arrogance in the tank to taunt at almost every opportunity he had on his way to his first ever Premier event win, one week after his first ever CPT tournament win in general! Just look at the list of players he beat to win here – EVO top eight contender Fujimura ‘Yukadon’ Atsushi, Justin Wong, Yusuke Momochi, Long Phi Nyugen, Keita ‘Fuudo’ Ai and then besting NuckleDu, resetting the bracket and then winning in straight matches after Du sent him into Loser’s bracket when they first met in Winner’s final. This is a young, talented player who is incredibly sure of their abilities and hitting a really hot streak at the minute. If Capcom Cup took place tomorrow, you’d bet on him to take NuckleDu’s crown, right?

Match Of The Tournament: Chris ‘NYChrisG’ Gonzalez v Kenryo ‘Mago’ Hayashi

Although the Guile v Karin match that took place in the Grand Finals between Punk and Du was an excellent set in its own right, the best, most thrilling match of the top eight was between Chris G and Mago. Both players are, of course, extremely good, but this set had some amazing moments. Mago fighting back from 0-2 down. Some of the most solid defence you’ll ever see from Chris G’s Guile in the first round of the final match – interesting, seeing as it was earlier this week Punk said that Chris’ Guile had much better defence that NuckleDu’s. Chris certainly made his case. It’s another great match between two elite players who take each other to the limit and showcase some of the highest level character knowledge.

There’s now a week gap before the Pro Tour fires out yet another Premier event, as Dreamhack hits Austin and brings with it what is set to be another stacked SFV event. Here’s the things on the rise and in decline after NorCal Regionals and stuff worth keeping an eye on as we head into yet another big tournament.

Stock Up

Du ‘NuckleDu’ Dang

Look, he got hit pretty hard in the Grand Final, but hear this out. Right now, Punk v Du is good for both players. Sure, Punk won the event, but Du did beat him to send him into Loser’s bracket when they met in Winner’s final. He’s still dropping near enough every other player who gets in his path and Punk is looking like he’s the perfect villain to Du’s, well, equally villainous ways! Both are young, extremely skilled and – brilliantly – absolutely full of themselves. They match each other in almost every area. Sure, Punk took this round, but there’s a whole CPT season left to go and you bet this won’t be the last time these two meet in a Grand Final. They might taunt and talk trash on one another, but they’ll be thankful for each other as they both enjoy the limelight and improve off of each other.

Masato ‘Bonchan’ Takahashi and Nash

Nash was regarded the best character in the game around this time last year. Three Nash players in the top eight at EVO and Infiltration absolutely wrecking house with him throughout the game’s opening few months. Slowly, people worked out the matchup and the Season Two patch hit him pretty hard. Bonchan was one of the best Ultra Street Fighter IV players, but seemed to lose his way a bit in Street Fighter V, with a lack of any true substitute for his favoured main Sagat. He stuck with Nash in this second season and in his hands, does not look like a character considered to be low tier. Bonchan used Nash’s arsenal to have an answer for almost everything and, with the character getting some buffs at the end of April when the rebalance patch drops, it looks like Bonchan might be having a lot more success in this year’s CPT.

USA, USA, USA

In stark contrast to last week’s Premier, when not a single European player made the top eight, half of NorCal Regionals was made up of US based players, including the entire Grand Final. Turf: DEFENDED.

Stock Down

Tatsuya Haitani

Last week’s Premier winner played a blinder in Paris, but up against a considerably more stacked tournament lineup fell outside the top 16. Not a terrible performance and the points gained from Ultimate Fighter Arena likely mean he’s going to qualify for Capcom Cup, but this is hardly a performance like Lee ‘Infiltration’ Seon-woo or Bruce ‘Gamerbee’ Hsiang, winning back to back Premier events in 2016.

Balrog

A character that has boiled the bile of most of the FGC because of his ridiculous damage output and his V-Trigger that can result in death if you so much as get touched once hasn’t actually featured in a top eight at a major tournament. Nash has. So it seems that although Balrog appears to be a monstrous character, the players at the highest level are very well drilled on that particular matchup.

Ryu, again

Another tournament, and again, no Ryu in the top 64. Buff please, Capcom.

Categories: eSports,FGC,Street Fighter 5