It’s that time once again! Another exciting season of Street Fighter action has reached its climax and with no more points to be gained from Ranking and Premier events, the 31 players making up this year’s Capcom Cup finals have been set, with one final place going to the winner of a Last Chance Qualifier tournament taking place the day before.
It hasn’t, however, been without incident. Last year’s winner – Team Liquid’s Du ‘Nuckledu’ Dang – is unable to attend the event (and we wish him the best) which means that last year’s runner-up takes his place in the tournament. This has, of course, gone to Evil Genius’ Ricki Ortiz, who otherwise fell outside of the top ranking players who qualified for the event. Her performance last year was nothing short of astonishing, but with her chosen character Chun-Li getting some serious nerfs at the start of the second season of SFV, it’s been a very different road to the Capcom Cup for Ricki. But she made it in the end.
The most interesting wrinkle of this coming weekend is the Last Chance Qualifier. A LOT of truly top players missed out on automatic qualification this year and a whole load of them are heading to the LCQ to try and take that final place.
A 156 player bracket is confirmed, with only a quick look at the smash.gg page revealing entrants such as last year’s Evo winner Infiltration, 2016 qualifiers Ryan ‘FChamp’ Ramirez, Kenneth ‘K-Brad’ Bradley, Ray ‘DrRay’ Rosario, Zhoujun ‘Xiao Hai’ Zeng, Joe ‘MOV’ Egami and Bruce ‘Gamerbee’ Hsiang. There is also a considerable force headed over from the UK in the shape of a handful of Gfinity Elite series competitors including Shakil ‘Shakz’ Ghazi, Afsar ‘Afii’ Ali, Shivan ‘Shivryuken’ Dass and fan favourite Sean ‘Imstilldadaddy’ Dench, all hoping to secure that match with Punk the following afternoon.
Realistically, this is a tournament full of players who could win the whole thing on their day. Not to be dissuaded, however, we’ve gone ahead and attempted to predicted the top eight anyway. Tune in on Sunday to find out if we were right!
Top Eight Predictions
Victor ‘Punk’ Woodley
Currently the best Street Fighter V player out there, with his Karin showcasing some of the most clean, punishing play. Despite coming up short at Evo, it would be a considerable surprise if Punk didn’t make it into the top 8. It would be the perfect end to the year for Punk, who didn’t feature at all in 2016.
Benjamin ‘Problem X’ Simon
Probably the most ‘in-form’ player right now, Problem X and his M. Bison have gained a reputation as the ‘final boss’ of the European scene for most of 2017. Winning multiple back to back ranking and Premier events earlier in the year to guarantee his place at Capcom Cup and finish 6th overall in the global leaderboard.
Hajime ‘Tokido’ Tanaguchi
Evo 2017 winner Tokido has had a much better second season after being reunited with his forever main, Akuma. A character that has plenty of options, massive damage output and a small but ultimately really useful health buff is extremely well utilised by one of the best Street Fighter players of all time. A possible winner? Absolutely.
Ryo ‘Dogura’ Nozaki
Dogura was having a fairly unspectacular year. That is, until he hit a run of form in October that resulted in him winning two Premier events within the same month, guaranteeing his place in the Capcom Cup. Playing as Urien, a character who can force some really tricky reset situations – one wrong guess and you’re losing a whole load of health.
Kun Xian Ho
Speaking of characters who can force tricky reset situations! Evo 20XX winner Xian did really well with F.A.N.G last year, but now he has a significantly better character in Ibuki, a character who has a V-Trigger that can change a match from a back-and-forth scrap into a quickfire guessing game. Guess wrong and you lose the round. In the hands of a truly elite player, this is a scary prospect.
Arman ‘Phenom’ Hanjani
An elite player who plays an elite character, Phenom is going to be a problem for anyone who has the misfortune of coming up against him. Possessing a brilliant combination of pure ability and a cockiness that leads him to try things like triple command grabbing Daigo Umehara, Phenom will definitely be a threat.
It’s been a decent second season for Haitani, who finished just outside the top 8 at Evo 2017 but with a couple of strong Premier wins under his belt to cement his place in Capcom Cup. Like Phenom, he plays as Necalli, a character who has a lot of tools, some considerable damage output and in the hands of one of the five Gods of Third Strike, could beat anyone in this tournament. Certainly enough to get into the top 8.
The Beast had a bad start to the second season, with his character Ryu getting some considerable nerfs, forcing a change to Guile. It proved to be a strong move, as he slowly started piecing together some good performances before hitting his stride, winning two ranking events and a Premier in the space of a month. After successfully guaranteeing his place in the Capcom Cup, Daigo disappeared from the tournament scene, grinding out some impressive stuff online in preparation for the 2017 finals.