Daigo and NuckleDu both score back-to-back Capcom Pro Tour wins
Nobody officially secured a place in Capcom Cup 2016 over the weekend, but qualification for the $250,000 season finale is all but assured for two of the weekend’s winners. A legendary Beast fought his way to a second straight victory—and a likely Capcom Cup berth—in Australia, while one of North America’s most popular players was able to Du the same in Texas. Elsewhere, a trio of players earned their first-ever Pro Tour victories and gave their qualification hopes much-needed boosts.
Here’s what happened during a busy weekend of Capcom Pro Tour action, and what it means going forward.
OzHadou Nationals 14
Umehara Daigo claimed victory in the Street Fighter V tournament at OzHadou Nationals in Sydney, Australia on Sunday. The win was his third consecutive top-two finish and his second straight Pro Tour victory after his triumph at E-Sports Festival Hong Kong last weekend.
It seems silly to think that Umehara Daigo wouldn’t be in this year’s Capcom Cup. Yet that’s where we were three weeks ago when Daigo had just 73 Capcom Pro Tour points to his name. Daigo’s problems were twofold: he wasn’t attending many tour events, and he wasn’t getting valuable first- and second-place finishes at the events he did attend.
It’s safe to say that Daigo has addressed both of those problems.
The win brought his season total to 393 points, which could be enough to qualify for Capcom Cup 2016. Even if his current total is not quite enough for qualification, Daigo is scheduled to compete at East Coast Throwdown in New Jersey and Lockdown 2016 in Portugal over the next two weeks, and he will be heavily favored at both events.
With just 122 points, runner-up Bruce “Gamerbee” Hsiang still has lots of work to do to earn a spot in this year’s Capcom Cup. But with two top-three finishes in the past two weeks, he appears to be rounding into form at the right time. With Daigo spending the next couple of weeks overseas, the next two weeks could be Gamerbee’s best chance to jump back into the thick of the qualification race.
Kumada “Itabashi Zangief” Hiromiki placed third, which was good enough to earn a spot in the Asian regional final as both Daigo and Gamerbee had already qualified. That may be his most likely path to Capcom Cup as he remains well outside of qualifying position.
Fourth-place finisher Kenneth “K-Brad” Bradley can call this weekend a win. The 16 points he earned at OzHadou didn’t significantly strengthen his position, but it did keep him within striking distance of the global qualification places. And with Felipe “Misterio” Torres’ failing to crack the top eight in Rio this weekend, K-Brad remains in qualifying position through the Latin American leaderboard.
Absolute Battle 7
Daigo wasn’t the only player to pick up back-to-back wins over the last two weeks.
One week after taking top honors at Summer Jam X, Du “NuckleDu” Dang claimed victory at Absolute Battle 7 in Dallas, Texas on Sunday. The win brought NuckleDu to 436 points on the season, good enough for seventh place in the global standings and likely enough to secure passage into Capcom Cup 2016.
After a loss in pool play to Rian “I.C.E.” Eddins, NuckleDu rattled off 11 straight victories in the losers’ bracket to take the tournament. The first seven of those wins came by either 2-0 or 3-0 margins, but his final victories were all thrillers. He eliminated Alex Myers 3-2 to eliminate him in fourth place, then knocked out Darryl “Snake Eyez” Lewis in third by the same margin to reach the grand final. Once there, he scored a pair of 3-2 victories over Antwan “alucarD” Ortiz to take the title.
AlucarD needed a win to get into the race for Capcom Cup qualification, and he came painfully close to getting that victory. In the first grand final set, he held a 2-0 lead and won the first round of game three before NuckleDu stormed back. alucarD had a 2-1 lead in the second set as well, but he could not seal the deal. Still, he earned a place in the North American regional final for his efforts as NuckleDu had already qualified.
Snake Eyez recorded his best performance of the season at Absolute Battle, but he still has just 40 points on the season and remains outside of the top 60 in the global standings. He is running out of time to play his way into the Capcom Cup field.
Ryan “FChamp” Ramirez had a weekend to forget. He failed to make it out of pool play after a pair of losses to eventual 13th-place finisher Angel “Windalfr” Ortega. He remains within striking distance of North American qualification, but he will need to regain his early season form to get there. Of the 142 points FChamp has earned this season, just four have come after June 1.
European Online Qualifier #2
Sean “ImStillDaDaddy” Dench opened the weekend by winning the season’s second European online event. Not only was the victory was his first ever triumph in a Pro Tour event, but it also marked his first ever top-four finish in the three-year history of the Pro Tour.
ImStillDaDaddy will need to follow his online success with offline success if he hopes to qualify for this year’s Capcom Cup. He had just five points to his name at the beginning of the weekend, so he remains well outside of qualifying position despite his victory. He did qualify for the European regional final, but winning that tournament will be no small task.
Runner-up Christ “Akainu” Onema is nearly 40 points behind ImStillDaDaddy, but might be the more dangerous player at the moment. The Frenchman appears to be coming into his own, as his second-place finish this weekend came just three weeks after his third-place run at VSFighting. Still, with just five Ranking events left in Europe, time is not on Akainu’s side.
Olivier “Luffy” Hay’s fourth-place finish was a microcosm of his season: a good performance that did little to improve his chances at qualifying for this year’s Capcom Cup. He has reached the top 16 in eight European events this season, more than any other player on the continent. But with no wins, his consistency has not been enough to keep pace with European leaders Younes “CCL” Lazaar and Nathan “Mister Crimson” Massol. Luffy can change his fortunes drastically with a win, but he’s running out of time to get that vital victory.
Fight in Rio
Thomas “Brolynho” Proenca boosted his Capcom Cup qualification hopes with a win at Fight in Rio in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday. Brolynho’s victory moved him into fifth place in the Latin American standings and earned him a place in the Latin American regional final.
Ninth-place finisher Misterio earned just two points at the event. He remains in third place in the Latin American standings, but with Latin American leader Justin Wong all but certain to qualify through the global leaderboard, Misterio’s current position is good enough to qualify for Capcom Cup 2016.
Argentina Pro Gaming Series
Chile’s Alvaro “Baek” Acosta won the Argentina Pro Gaming Series title in Buenos Aires on Sunday to earn a spot in the Latin American regional final. Baek earned his first Pro Tour points of the season, as did thirteen other players. None of the top sixteen finishers at the event had more than two points prior to the weekend.