This year, Memorial Day Weekend isn’t just a federal holiday: it’s a fighting game holiday.
The holiday weekend has long been packed with fighting game action, but this year is on a different level. Street Fighter V fans will be especially spoiled for choice this weekend as Combo Breaker, one of the Capcom Pro Tour’s Premier events, shares the stage with the game’s two biggest invitational events of the year, the ELEAGUE Street Fighter V Invitational finale and the Red Bull Kumite. Each event is a highlight of the year on its own, but the three combine to make this weekend an all-you-can-eat buffet of action.
With so much taking place at once, it’s hard to know what’s happening and when. This guide will help you keep track of everything going down this weekend so you won’t miss a single Shoryuken.
ELEAGUE Street Fighter V Invitational – Finals
Quarterfinals: Friday at 5pm ET/2pm PT
Semifinals and finals: Friday at 10pm ET/7pm PT
Broadcast/Stream: TBS (semifinals & finals only) & twitch.tv/eleaguetv (all rounds)
The big questions: Victor “Punk” Woodley is arguably the game’s best player at the moment, but can the 18-year-old handle the pressure of playing for a life-changing amount of money? The legendary Umehara Daigo is starting to look dominant again, but can he survive the shark pool that is the losers’ bracket? Can Ai “Fuudo” Keita, who won Evo 2011 but has fallen just short of several major titles in recent years, finally come out on top? And, most importantly, who can handle the pressure of playing for one of the biggest prizes in fighting game history?
Why you should watch: Despite some early hiccups and a couple of questionable decisions, it’s hard to say that ELEAGUE has been anything but a net positive for Street Fighter V. The great matches have highlighted just how entertaining the game can be to a larger audience, and the finals will be no different. All eight finalists play different characters, and an argument can be made for any of the eight to win the $150,000 first-place prize.
Red Bull Kumite
Open qualifier: Saturday, 5am ET/2am PT
Main event: Sunday at 8:15am ET/5:15am PT
Player list (Note: The bracket for the main event is done by random draw at the beginning the event)
The big questions: Will Lee “Infiltration” Seon-Woo start to look like the player who dominated the first half of last year again? Can Frenchmen Olivier “Luffy” Hay and Nathan “Mister Crimson” Massol defend the pride of the host nation? Can any of the four ELEAGUE finalists scheduled to attend pull off a Trans-Atlantic double? And can anybody stop Takahashi “Bonchan” Masato, who has won three Capcom Pro Tour events over the past three weekends?
Why you should watch: The Red Bull Kumite team has put on an incredible spectacle in each of its first two iterations, and the 2017 edition will be no different. Few events deliver the big-match feel that the Kumite brings to the table. Besides the main event itself, Saturday’s open qualifier should provide a ton of exciting matches, and Sunday’s combo competition (11:30am ET/8:30am PT) is always a treat.
Pools: Friday at 4pm ET/1pm PT & Saturday at 11am ET/8am PT
Semis: Saturday at 7pm ET/4pm PT
Top 16: Sunday at 6:30pm ET/3:30pm PT
The big questions: With his first win of the season under his belt, can defending champion Justin Wong return to his dominant form from last year? Can Du “NuckleDu” Dang bounce back from a disappointing 9th-place finish at ELEAGUE? Will this be a statement weekend for rising Dominican Republic star Saul Leonardo “MenaRD” Mena Segundo? And can the U.S. hold off a strong Japanese contingent, including former Capcom Cup champions Inoue “Kazunoko” Ryota and Momochi Yusuke?
Why you should watch: After creating a reputation for being one of the most well-run tournaments on the Capcom Pro Tour, Combo Breaker was given Premier status this year. That upgrade means a great mix of players: strong US players like Wong, Chris “NYChrisG” Gonzalez, and Bryant “Smug” Higgins will square off with talented internationals like Bruce “GamerBee” Hsiang, Kumada “ItaZan” Hiromiki, and Kong “Verloren” Hyung-Suk. The upgrade also means a massive bracket, as Combo Breaker’s 650-player field is the largest of the year thus far.
If Street Fighter V isn’t your cup of tea, there will still be plenty on offer at Combo Breaker. The event will be the first event of the Injustice 2 Pro Series, as well as the game’s first truly major offline tournament. Eighteen other games—from the brand-new Guilty Gear Xrd REV2 to the classic Super Street Fighter II Turbo—will share the spotlight over the course of the weekend on the event’s six other streams. And regardless of which games are your favorites, the mystery game tournament and the auction events are always entertaining.