Punk wins DreamHack Austin title after amazing losers' bracket run
Victor "Punk" Woodley entered the weekend as arguably the best Street Fighter V player in the world. After his performance on Sunday, there may be nothing left to argue.
Punk made an incredible run through the losers' bracket to win the Street Fighter V tournament at DreamHack Austin on Sunday. The victory was Punk's second Premier event win of the 2017 Capcom Pro Tour, his first coming two weeks ago at NorCal Regionals.
Punk capped his title run with a memorable win over Ultimate Fighting Arena winner Haitnai Tatsuya. Punk won their first grand final set by a 3-1 margin to force a bracket reset, then held on to win a wild second set 3-2. The final round featured a wild sequence in which both players failed to combo into their Critical Art moves.
Haitani proved to be far stiffer competition than anyone else in Punk's path. In their two grand final sets, Haitani took as many games off of Punk (four) as the rest of the field did throughout the rest of the tournament.
That final proved that Punk is indeed human, something that was easy to forget while watching his losers' bracket run.
Just like at NorCal Regionals, Punk stumbled in pool play. This time, it was eventual ninth-place finisher Chris "CJ Truth" Jayson who pulled off the pool play upset. Punk responded with a 2-1 win over Jarrett "Magneto1080p" Austin and a 2-0 victory over Anas "Vagabond" Khan.
From that point on, his hitlist read like a "who's who" of the Street Fighter world. Punk beat Zeng "XiaoHai" Zhuojun, Umehara Daigo, Ricki Ortiz, Darryl "Snake Eyez" Lewis, Justin Wong, Arman "Phenom" Hanjani, and Ho Kun Xian to reach the grand final. Those seven players have won a combined 20 Pro Tour events since the beginning of last year, six of which were Premier events.
Punk beat them all by a combined score of 18-1.
"I certainly can't think of any road that has been harder," said commentator David "Ultradavid" Graham after the event, "[...] and he did it in insane 3-0, 3-0, 2-0, 2-0 [fashion.]"
His most impressive victory may have been his losers' final win over Xian. The Final Round champion had an impressive run on his way to an eventual third-place finish, but Punk picked him apart with surgical precision in a dominant 3-0 set that lasted less than six real-time minutes.
Xian's third-place finish was good enough to move him into third place in the global Pro Tour standings. Punk and Haitani entered the event in the top two spots, and their performances at Austin served to strengthen their hold.
Phenom finished in fourth place. Alex Myers tied for fifth place alongside Justin Wong, while Snake Eyez and Kishida "Go1" Goichi tied for seventh.