A pair of Asian players scored victories on the Capcom Pro Tour on Sunday, but it was a Brazilian player who claimed the week’s biggest prize.
Just five weeks remain in the 2016 Pro Tour’s “regular season” and the fight for places in this year’s Capcom Cup is growing more and more intense. One player was able to secure a place in the season championship, while another established himself as a potential favorite to take it all.
Here’s what happened on the Capcom Pro Tour this week and what it means going forward:
EGX 2016 (Premier)
For both of the finalists at the Capcom Pro Tour event at EGX, it was a case of deja vu all over again.
The win, his second Premier event victory in as many weeks, further solidifies Gamerbee's spot as one of the hottest players in the world. He has now placed third or better in each of the last six Pro Tour events he has entered and is now ranked fifth in the global Pro Tour standings.
Gamerbee's win meant that no player earned a direct invitation to the Capcom Cup this weekend. Instead, an additional player will qualify for the season championship through the global leaderboard.
While it was another dream week for Gamerbee, Ryan Hart had to relive a nightmare.
For the second year in a row, Hart was denied a Capcom Cup berth by a Taiwanese player. At Milan Games Week 2015, Hart faced Arubi "RB" Kao in the losers' semifinal. Had he won that match, Hart would have qualified for the Capcom Cup by being the highest-placing finisher who had not already earned a spot in the championship event. Instead, RB defeated Hart to secure his own path to last year’s final.
Hart is still in contention for a place in this year's Capcom Cup, but will likely need to win one of the last three European events to qualify.
Onuki "Nuki" Shinya battled through the losers' bracket to finish in third place despite a series of controller malfunctions.
Nuki's first malfunction came during his losers' quarterfinal match with Wilfried "Will2Pac" Jean-Baptiste, who defeated him earlier in the tournament. Nuki won the first match and had a life lead in the third round of Game 2 when his stick malfunctioned. By rule, Nuki forfeited the round (and thus, the game) but battled back to win the set 3-2.
Nuki's stick died again during his losers' final match with Hart. In the opening round of the fifth and decisive game, Nuki held a significant life. Hart began a combo that could have given him the round win just before Nuki's controller malfunctioned. Hart maintained his cool during the 10-minute delay that followed and won the set.
Umehara Daigo finished in fourth place. Will2Pac tied for fifth place alongside Arman "Phenom" Hanjani, while Claude-Eric "Hurricane" Diboti and Marcus "Packz" Parker tied for seventh.
What it means:
Players on the bubble of Capcom Cup qualification were relieved to see Gamerbee hold off Ryan Hart. Gamerbee’s win now means that 11 players will qualify for the Capcom Cup through the global leaderboard, slightly lowering the cut line.
Hart’s second-place finish is a good result, but he still has work to do to qualify for the season championship. He will likely need to earn about 100 points over the final few weeks of the Pro Tour season to get into the qualification conversation.
It was a rough week for the players atop the European regional standings. European points leader Younes "CCL" Lazaar was a late scratch for the event. The three players chasing him could not take advantage of his absence, as Nathan "Mister Crimson" Massol, Olivier "Luffy" Hay, and Benjamin "Problem X" Simon all finished ninth or worse. None of these four players are currently in position to qualify through the global leaderboard, which means that these four players are fighting for just the two European leaderboard slots.
Kenneth “K-Brad” Bradley failed to advance beyond pool play, but his global points haul is likely irrelevant at this point. His path to the Capcom Cup is through the Latin American leaderboard, so his hopes almost certainly hinge on what happens at next weekend’s Treta Championships in Brazil
Never Give Up 2016 (Latin America)
Thomas "Brolynho" Proenca did not claim one of the top two positions at this weekend's Latin American Pro Tour event, but he walked away as the event's biggest winner.
Brolynho's third-place finish in the Street Fighter V tournament at Never Give Up in Santiago, Chile on Sunday was good enough to secure him a place in this year's Capcom Cup. The top two players in of the four regional leaderboards are guaranteed a place in Capcom Cup, and Brolynho can finish no worse than second in Latin America.
The result guarantees that Brazil will be represented at the Capcom Cup for the third straight year. Eric "ChuChu" Silva qualified for the inaugural edition in 2014, and Keoma Pacheco placed seventh at the event in 2015.
As for the rest of the tournament, Zeng "Jiewa" Xijie of China held off Taniguchi "Tokido" Hajime of Japan to win the event. The win was Jiewa's first of the season and put him in the heart of the Capcom Cup qualification race.
Jiewa reached the grand final by defeating Tokido 3-2 in the winners' final. Tokido got revenge in the first set of the grand final with a 3-0 win, but Jiewa won the second set 3-2 to end Tokido's comeback hopes.
With the win, Jiewa is within striking distance of qualifying for the Capcom Cup through the Latin American leaderboard. If he attends the Treta Championships in Brazil next weekend, he can secure a berth in the season championship with a win. Depending on how others fare, he can finish as low as seventh place at the event and still qualify for the Capcom Cup.
What it means:
With his place in the Capcom Cup secure, Brolynho's decision to skip the Treta Championships—the final Latin American Ranking event of the season—will not come back to haunt him. He will be at ESL's Brooklyn Beatdown instead, where he can start to prepare for the high-level international players he will face at the Capcom Cup.
Brolynho will be joined in Brooklyn by K-Brad, who currently, and barely, holds the second Latin American leaderboard Capcom Cup qualification spot. K-Brad leads Felipe "Misterio" Torres by just one point and leads Jiewa by three.
Misterio and Jiewa are far from the only threats that K-Brad faces. A whopping 14 players have a chance to surpass him in the Latin American standings if they attend the Treta Championships next weekend. Three of those 14—Misterio, Jiewa, and Antonio "Kusanagi" medrano—can do so without winning the event. Alvaro "Baek" Acosta, who tied for seventh place this weekend, can tie K-Brad with a second-place finish at the Treta Championships.