Winning a Street Fighter V tournament with as talented a field as the one present at Taiwan Fighting Game Major 2016 is a difficult task. Winning such a tournament from the losers’ bracket is nearly impossible.
Taniguchi “Tokido” Hajime came within one game of doing the impossible.
Hayashi “Mago” Kenryo survived a tough challenge from Tokido in the grand final to claim victory in the Taiwanese Capcom Pro Tour event on Saturday. Mago became the fourth player to secure a spot in the Asian regional final, which will take place in November.
Mago entered the grand final with winners’ side advantage and he needed every bit of that advantage to secure victory over his former Mad Catz teammate. He lost the first set to Tokido 3-1 and quickly found himself in a 2-1 disadvantage in the second set before he turned things around and prevailed 3-2.
Tokido wasn’t the tournament’s winner, but he was its star. After losing to Naoto Sako in pool play, Tokido tore through the losers’ bracket. He eliminated seven players, including two Evo champions (Umehara Daigo and Ai “Fuudo” Keita) and two Capcom Cup champions (Sako and Inoue “Kazunoko” Ryota).
But Tokido once again fell short of victory. Taiwan Fighting Game Major marked the fourth time in four Pro Tour events that Tokido placed third or better, but he has yet to score a win this season. He finished second to Lee “Infiltration” Seon-Woo at both Final Round and NorCal Regionals, and finished third at Stunfest.
Sako and Tokido were far from the only Japanese players to shine in Taiwan. Japan produced 12 of the top 16 finishers at the event, including seven of the top eight.
Tatsuya Haitani finished in third place after losses to the top two finishers. The 32 points he earned was enough to maintain his lead on the Asian regional leaderboard, but his lead remains at just eight points thanks to Mago’s win. Mago did overtake Haitani in the global leaderboard.
Kazunoko finished in fourth place, followed by Sako and Nagata “Eita” Hiroyuki in fifth. Ai “Fuudo” Keita tied for seventh place with Lee “Poongko” Chung-Gon of Korea, the only non-Japanese player to crack the top eight.
Japan’s dominance of an Asian Pro Tour event is nothing new, as Japanese players have won each of the four Asian events this season. Frenchman Kevin “Saunic” Souvanheuane’s runner-up finish at Thaiger Uppercut was the only top-three finish for a non-Japanese player in those contests.
The next Pro Tour event to take place on Asian soil will be G-League, a Premier event which will take place in China at the beginning of July.