The 2016 Capcom Pro Tour makes its Latin American debut this weekend at Cacomp Arena Jam. The event, part of the Jam Nerd Festival in Brasilia, Brazil, will see many of the country’s top Street Fighter 5 players get their first taste of international competition in this game.
The last three Pro Tour events have been won by players who did well at the end of the Ultra Street Fighter 4 era. That’s good news for Keoma Pacheco, who won the only Latin American event on last year’s tour. That’s also good news for Justin Wong, who is one of three players from outside of Latin America who will attend this weekend’s event. But the season’s first event was won by a talented young player new to the international scene, and there will be no shortage of players like that on display in Brasilia.
How many players will use Alex?
Capcom’s “Season Pass” strategy for Street Fighter 5, with includes the release of a new character nearly every month, presents a new challenge to tournament players. Cacomp Arena Jam is the first Pro Tour event where Alex will be legal to play, which means it’s the first time this season that players will be forced to decide if they want to gamble with their character choices.
In Street Fighter 4 and other older titles in the series, any characters that were added to the game came in groups, either as part of an update or new version. Players who wanted to stick with their original characters would still have to learn whatever changes their character went through between versions, so all players would face some sort of learning curve. That’s not the case for anyone who wants to play as Alex this weekend, as they’ll have to pit their week-old character against players who have learned their characters since launch.
The game is still young, so the ‘penalty’ for learning a new character isn’t severe right now. Knowledge of the launch characters isn’t quite as fleshed out as it will be as the season goes on, so making a change now doesn’t put a player as far behind as a future change would. Still, there may not be many players who decide to take a risk and use the new grappler this weekend.
Will Latin America continue to be a home-away-from-home for foreign players?
A fair statement or not, many people believe that the Latin American region is the weakest of the four that make up this year’s Capcom Pro Tour. Players from the region won seven of the 13 Pro Tour events held in the area over the past two years, but six of those events had no players from outside of Latin America. Keoma’s triumph at last year’s Brazil Game Show was the region’s only win at a Latin American event that featured non-Latin American players.
Three players will be hoping to extend that run of visitors’ success: Americans Justin Wong and Kenneth “K-Brad” Bradley of Evil Geniuses, and Frenchwoman Marie-Laure “Kayane” Norindr of Red Bull. Wong, currently fifth on the Pro Tour in points, is coming off of a third-place finish at NorCal Regionals. Neither K-Brad nor Kayane have earned a Pro Tour point this year, but K-Brad came within one win of doing so at Final Round.
Which Brazilian player will step into the spotlight?
Whether it’s Breno “Breno F1ght3rs” Mateus taking down Taniguchi “Tokido” Hajime or Keoma knocking off Haitani Tetsuya, it seems that a local star shines bright whenever an international player tries to win in Brazil. The biggest name among those stars is Keoma, who has long been known as a threat in the Brazilian scene, but became a household name when he defeated Haitani at last year’s Brazil Game Show tournament. He went on to steal the show at Capcom Cup with his amazing Abel play on his way to a top eight finish. This weekend marks Keoma’s first Street Fighter 5 tournament, so his form may not be at its best.
Keoma is far from the only Brazilian player to watch this weekend. Sons of Asgard’s Thomas “Brolynho” Proenca, who previously played under the tag “Ibukiman,” finished third at last year’s Brazil Game Show tournament. His new teammate, Gregorio “DeathGun” Marinheiro, will be looking to impress at his first major tournament under the SOA banner. Also look out for AA Games’ Cristiano “BabyBrasil” Goncalves, who will look to make a big impact in two games: Not only is he looking for victory in the Street Fighter 5 tournament, but he will also face Justin Wong in an Ultra Street Fighter 4 exhibition during the weekend.