Julio Fuentes has been the star of the fighting game world for the past week. But he had to cede center stage to a legend on Sunday night.
Justin Wong of Evil Geniuses defeated new Echo Fox team member Julio in the grand final of the Street Fighter V tournament at Northwest Majors late Sunday night. The win was his second on the Capcom Pro Tour this year and his second straight Northwest Majors win, as he won the Ultra Street Fighter IV tournament at last year’s event.
Wong secured a berth in the North America regional final with the win. He had already earned a spot in the Latin America regional final thanks to his win at Cacomp Arena Jam three weeks prior. Wong also moved into second place in the Pro Tour global standings, behind only Lee “Infiltration” Seon-Woo.
Panda Global’s Ryan “FChamp” Ramirez finished in third place, one spot ahead of Pandora House’s Long “LPN” Nguyen. Alex Myers and Chris Tatarian tied for fifth place, while Rommel “ROM” Macatangay and PandaTV’s Zeng “Jiewa” Xijie tied for seventh.
Julio’s Ken play was a step above most of the rest of the field through most of the tournament, but Wong and his Karin were too much to handle on Sunday. Wong cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win in the winners’ final, then won a tightly-contested 3-2 set in the grand final to claim the championship.
Julio had been the talk of the fighting game world in the week leading up to Northwest Majors. He won his first major Street Fighter tournament last week at Texas Showdown, then became Echo Fox’s first fighting game player just days later.
The runner-up also gained attention for being part of the self-described ‘Trinity’ of California-based Ken players—Julio, Tatarian, and Brentt “Brenttiscool” Franks—who have all turned in strong performances in Street Fighter V. Tatarian won West Coast Warzone the week before Julio had his Texas Showdown victory, while Brenttiscool was one of only two American players to finish among the top six at Final Round in March.
This weekend was no different, as all three members reached the tournament’s top 16 on the winners’ side. Brenttiscool was the lowest-placing Trinity member at ninth place, yet his losses came to a pair of Ken players; Julio and Jiewa. All told, four Ken players placed among the top 12 finishers
Another player who had a run of recent success was Eduardo “PR Balrog” Perez. PR Balrog had finished second at each of the last two events after meeting, and losing to, Trinity members in each of the previous two grand finals. Dreams of a third such final died on Saturday night when Kenny “Air” Lam eliminated PR Balrog in 17th place. In a strange twist, Air skipped the top 16 on Sunday to help run the Cineplex World Gaming Canadian Championship’s regional event in Vancouver.
Liquid’s Du “NuckleDu” Dang failed to earn a Pro Tour point after finishing tied with PR Balrog and six other players for 17th. NuckleDu may hope that a change in characters could change his fortune; Guile, his primary character in Street Fighter IV, can be used at next weekend’s Pro Tour events.
A character change did help Red Bull Athlete Darryl “Snake Eyez” Lewis this weekend. Snake Eyez finished tied for ninth place, but did so with Alex instead of his trademark Zangief. It remains to be seen whether the change is permanent, but Snake Eyez did tweet out a video earlier in the week meant to illustrate how Guile’s quick projectile recovery could cause problems for Zangief.
The name of the video: “We done fam.”