The 2017 Capcom Pro Tour is winding down. Just ten events remain between now and the tour’s $250,000 championship, the Capcom Cup. There aren’t many more opportunities for players to climb up the leaderboard and secure one of the 32 spots in the final, and that’s bad news for some of the biggest names in the world of Street Fighter.
The Capcom Cup, which takes place on December 9th and 10th in San Francisco, will surely include most of the game’s stars, but not all of them. For a variety of reasons, some of the game’s most recognizable names find themselves in a precarious position. They are either outside of qualifying position or in danger of being knocked out of the field. It might be strange to think of a Capcom Cup without last year’s runner up, or without a two-time Evo champion, but both are more likely than you think. Here are five big names in danger of being left out of this season’s championship:
Ricki Ortiz (currently tied for 89th)
Ortiz made an incredible run at last year’s Capcom Cup, earning both a second-place finish and one of the biggest paydays in fighting game history. Unfortunately for her, the odds of getting a chance at a repeat performance are quite slim.
Personal reasons have limited her ability to travel. She attended 16 tournaments in 2016, but only about half as many this year. Her absence has been particularly noticeable in the second half of the year, as she has attended just one event since July’s Evo. She may not find herself in this year’s Capcom Cup field, but she’ll almost certainly be back with a vengeance in 2018.
Xiao Hai (currently 48th)
Around this time last year, Zeng “Xiao Hai” Zhuojun was a popular pick as the strongest Street Fighter V player in the world. He won a pair of talent-laden Premier events on last year’s tour, and also took top honors at the non-tour ESL Brooklyn Beatdown last October.
Things look a bit different this year. It isn’t the quality of results that’s the issue, as he finished among the top eight at both CEO and the Japan Cup. The issue is that, much like Ricki Ortiz, he hasn’t attended nearly as many Pro Tour events this year as he had last year. His entry into this weekend’s Dueling Dragon Dojo will be just his fifth at a 2017 Pro Tour event. The good news for Xiao Hai: The event takes place in his home country of China, where he has been tough to beat. A win this weekend puts him safely in the Capcom Cup field, but anything less leaves him with work to do.
Infiltration (currently 43rd)
Lee “Infiltration” Seon-Woo, who won Evo titles in both 2012 and 2016, dug himself a hole in the first half of this season. Battle Arena Melbourne, where he finished in ninth place, was the only Pro Tour event he attended before Evo. To his credit, he did have a very good reason for staying at home: he got married and decided to spend some time with his wife. Over the last couple of months, Infiltration has been making up for lost time. He has appeared in six events over the last eight weeks, scoring a win at the Manila Cup and rounding back into form.
Despite those results, he still has work to do. His most direct path to the Capcom Cup appeared to be qualifying for the Asian Regional Final, but he fell short of that goal by just five points. He can still compete in that event, but he will have to win a last chance qualifier first. Otherwise, he’ll need to scrape together somewhere between 200 and 300 points over the final weeks of the season to reach the championship event.
MOV (currently 36th)
Egami “MOV” Joe, who made the last eight of both Evo and the Capcom Cup last year, was one of several Chun-Li players who found success in 2016. When the character got hit with nerfs at the start of this season, many moved on to other characters. MOV was not one of them. He stayed loyal to Chun-Li, and his second-straight top eight appearance at Evo earlier this year proved that his loyalty was well-placed.
Still, he enters the final stretch of the 2017 Pro Tour on the outside of the Capcom Cup field. Evo was just his second Pro Tour event of 2017, and he has attended just four Tour events since then. He turned in a strong performance at EGX, but it wasn’t enough to dig himself out of his early hole. He will likely need to earn at least 100 more points—potentially more—if he wants another shot at the Capcom Cup title.
Momochi (currently 25th)
Momochi Yusuke rode strong Premier event performances to a Capcom Cup appearance in 2016. His victory at Stunfest, along with three other top-eight appearances at Premiers, had him into the field with room to spare. This year has been a different story; To date, he has entered six Premiers in 2017 and has not reached the last eight in any of them. He also had to skip the sole Premier event in his home country of Japan due to Pro Tour rules, as the event was organized by Shinobism, a company founded by himself and his wife, Momochi “ChocoBlanka” Yuko.
His saving grace this season has been his Asian Ranking event performances. A pair of victories and two other top-eight appearances have put him atop the Asian regional leaderboard and placed him into the Capcom Cup field… for now. If Momochi wins next month’s Asian Regional Final, then there’s no doubt about his place in San Francisco. But if he falters, strong performances by the players trailing him could mean a Capcom Cup without Momochi.