Street Fighter V is kicking off another Major Tournament, this time a $250,000 invitational From sunny Atlanta courtesy of ELEAGUE. 32 of the best Street Fighter Five (SFV) players have been invited to fight it out over the course of the next seven weeks. All the action will be available on GINX Esports TV, starting at 11PM GMT tonight. Tune in on Tuesday at 10PM, and Wednesday and Thursday at 9PM.
Half the competitors are the top 16 players in the 2016 Capcom Pro Tour, while the other half is made up of an invite list from Capcom themselves.
Let’s get to know some of the Best players more Intimately in the groups:
Punk and Smug are two of the hottest players in the U.S. Smug has been a fixture in the Next Level Battle Circuit weekly finals, while Punk is the current ESL King of the Hill (we never got that dream Punk vs. Smug match-up due to Smug not being able to appear regularly), He recently had a mind blowing 7-0 group run at the Fighter Underground Tournament at SXSW, blowing everyone’s expectation for this 18 year old prodigy. If it weren’t for NuckleDu, Punk might be considered the best player in the U.S.
We’ve seen very little of Julio Fuentes, Ricki Ortiz, Brolynho, and Marn so it’s unclear how well they’ve adapted to the meta of Season 2. Frankly, these could all be considered a dark horse to make the finals.
The standout players in this group are Eita and PR Balrog. Eita had a great CPT 2016, so it’s obvious why he’s a favourite here, but Balrog (the character) has skyrocketed into the top echelons in Season 2, and PR Balrog appears to be having fun with the game again. That’s dangerous for the competition.
Justin Wong had arguably the strongest year in North America and he’s proven he can beat the best players in the world on any given day. Last year, he beat Daigo at Evo 2016 and GamerBee at Manila Cup 2016. But when it came to the biggest events, he faltered. Three straight years he’s gone 0-2 at Capcom Cup. He even admitted he choked at NorCal Regionals 2016 against Tokido.
The group of Death: four of these players were in the top 13 on the CPT 2016 Global Leaderboard: Tokido, Fuudo, MOV, and Xian. That’s three former Evo champions (Tokido, Fuudo, and Xian) , and two of them were Evo 2016 top 8 finalists (Fuudo and MOV.) These four alone are some of the greatest fighting game players of all time.
Nothing to hold your nose up at either, K-Brad had an amazing finish to the end of the last season. Beating a lot of expectations, He spent the better parts of three months sat as “king” in ESL’s King of the Hill and make consistent top eight finishes across KIT 201, Frosty Faustings IX, Undefeated 2017 and the North American and Latin American CPT Regional Finals
It’s almost Guaranteed that NuckleDu will be in one of the two final spots from this group. He’s shown very little signs of slowing down in Season two of SFV CPT. He’s won a few tournaments since Capcom Cup 2016 (DouyuTV U-League 3 and Frosty Faustings IX) and was dominant in the recent exhibition against Ricki Ortiz and Filipino Champ at the Lupe Fiasco event. The rest of the group is so unpredictable, it’s hard to gauge how any of them will fare in the regular season and the playoffs.
It is worthy to note and partly unfortunate to see that ELEAGUE has grouped all the European Talent into one group. Guaranteeing that only a maximum of two European players will make it out of the group stages. Nonetheless, ELEAGUE promises to be an exciting affair, and with a successful history of hosting leagues in Counter-Strike and Overwatch, SFV should be looking forward to getting the ELEAGUE treatment.