After coming so close so many times, Chris Tatarian finally scored the breakthrough victory he’s been seeking for so long.
Tatarian claimed his first major Street Fighter tournament championship when he won the Street Fighter V tournament at West Coast Warzone 5 on Sunday night. He became the first player to secure a spot in the Capcom Pro Tour North American final with the victory, and moved into a tie for fourth place in the Pro Tour standings.
While his name had never been at the the top of major Street Fighter tournament results lists, Tatarian has made some deep tournament runs over the past few years. He two finishes just outside of the top 16 at Evo, as well as at the most recent Final Round. He has top-three finishes at Hadocon 4, Winter Brawl 9, and the inaugural iBuyPower Cup.
Tatarian turned back the challenge of Evil Geniuses‘ Eduardo “PR Balrog” Perez to earn the victory, cruising to an easy 3-0 win in their meeting in the winners’ final. But their rematch in the grand final was another story.
In a grand final that featured non-stop offense from both PR Balrog’s Necalli and Tatarian’s Ken, PR Balrog won the first set 3-2 to force a bracket reset. Their second set was just as frantic and went down to the final round of the final game before Tatarian was able to finally put away his challenger.
Ryan “FChamp” Ramirez of Panda Global finished in third place after an impressive—and at one point, controversial—run through the losers bracket. After being sent to the losers’ bracket in his second match of the tournament by Tania “MillerTime” Miller, FChamp went on to win 11 do-or-die matches before falling to PR Balrog in a tense losers’ final that came down to the last moments of the final round.
Two of PR Balrog’s Evil Geniuses teammates, Justin Wong and Ricki Ortiz, tied for fifth place. Wong, who won Cacomp Arena Jam last weekend, was upset by Jesse “Commander Jesse” Espinoza in the round of 32 and was eventually eliminated by Filipinoman. Ortiz reached the top eight of the tournament on the winners’ side, but defeated by PR Balrog and FChamp in short order.
Christopher “ChrisG” Gonzalez and Jason “Jayce the Ace” Nghe tied for seventh place to round out the top eight.
While FChamp’s run through the losers’ bracket was impressive, it was somewhat overshadowed by his controversial match with LevelUpLive owner Alex Valle in the losers’ final of their pool.
FChamp won the first game and Valle won the second in their race to two. Valle won the first round of the decisive game, but accidentally paused the game during a Critical Art animation in the second round. Valle immediately unpaused the game and the two played out the match. FChamp won the round, but Valle would win the third round to win the decisive game.
As soon as the match ended, FChamp had a discussion with tournament co-organizer Eliver Ling to plead his case. After a discussion which also involved Valle, the decision was made to replay the third game.
There is no publicly-available list of rules for the 2016 Pro Tour. An archived version of the 2015 ruleset states that any player who pauses a game forfeits the current round, but any in-game rule violation that is not immediately reported is to be ignored. Under either circumstance, FChamp would have been awarded the second round since he went on to win the round after the pause.
The 2015 rules also give tournament organizers the right to change rules at any time at their discretion “to ensure that the tournament runs fairly and as smoothly as possible.”
FChamp won the replayed game, but he immediately implored Valle to play one more game to determine a winner. Valle agreed, as did tournament co-organizer John Rog, who was commentating the match. FChamp won the fifth game of their best-of-three to finally advance to the top 32.
For his part, Valle had no qualms with his loss. He took the blame for the situation in a series of tweets after the match and clarified that he would not have advanced had he won their impromptu fifth game.
There will be two Capcom Pro Tour events this upcoming weekend; Texas Showdown in Houston, Tex. and FrogByte in Pordenone, Italy. Red Bull Kumite, a 16-player exhibition which will include Justin Wong, is also this weekend.