Three Questions for the Northwest Majors
The Capcom Pro Tour returns to center stage on Saturday after a weekend out of the spotlight.
Last weekend saw two Pro Tour events take place; FrogByte in Italy and Texas Showdown in Houston. Yet most of the attention was on Red Bull Kumite, one of the biggest Street Fighter V events of the year. The invitational event included many of the game's big names, which softened the fields at both of the Pro Tour events.
With Kumite done and dusted, all eyes turn to Des Moines, Wash. for the Northwest Majors. The Pacific Northwest's biggest event of the year includes most of the top West Coast players. With Florida’s Du "NuckleDu" Dang and New York's Cole "Flux" Tocci scheduled to compete, the field also includes more east coast names than we’ve seen at the last two American events.
Can Brenttiscool make it a Trinity trilogy?
While Lee "Infiltration" Seon-Woo's continued dominance of the Street Fighter V scene has been the story of the year, the rise of "The Trinity" has become one of the hottest topics of the last couple of weeks. The Trinity is composed of Chris Tatarian, Julio Fuentes, and Brentt "Brenttiscool" Franks; three friends from California who all happen to be great Ken players. Tatarian won West Coast Warzone two weekends ago, and Fuentes won last weekend's Texas Showdown—he was also signed to esports organization Echo Fox earlier today. Brenttiscool will hope to make it three straight wins for the crew this weekend, but it won't be easy.
The Northwest Majors field is loaded with talent, not the least of which is Eduardo "PR Balrog" Perez. PR Balrog finished second to Trinity members the last two weekends, so he will hope that the third time's the charm. Ryan "FChamp" Ramirez and Zeng "Jiewa" Xijie, who finished third at West Coast Warzone and Texas Showdown respectively, will also be in attendance. They will all hope to take the title away from defending Northwest Majors champion Justin Wong, who enters the weekend in third place in the global Pro Tour standings.
Can Snake Eyez return to winning ways?
Success in Ultra Street Fighter IV has not been a perfect predictor of success in Street Fighter V, as evidenced by last weekend's Red Bull Kumite. All 16 players in the field for the French event were incredibly strong in Ultra, but not all of them have reached the same heights in SFV just yet. One of those players is Darryl "Snake Eyez" Lewis, who went 0-2 at the invitational event and has earned just two Pro Tour points this year.
Is it time to hit the panic button? Not quite. Snake earned a point at each of the two Premier events, tying for 13th in the loaded fields of both Final Round and NorCal Regionals. Plus, of the 440 Pro Tour points he earned last year, Snake Eyez earned 80 percent of them over the final two-plus months of the season. Snake is certainly capable of making a late-season push, but some better results early in the season will make that push a lot easier to make. A strong run at Northwest Majors would go a long way to getting back on track.
Can Gllty continue her recent rise?
In the first days of Street Fighter V's release, two Dhalsim players quickly separated themselves from the rest of the American pack: FChamp and Arturo "Sabin" Sanchez. While FChamp has found some early Pro Tour success, Sabin—who is in Japan this weekend to help stream KVO—has yet to notch a point this season.
Even without Sabin, there may still be two Dhalsims near the top of the results list this weekend. Leah "Gllty" Hayes is one of three players who placed in the top 16 at both West Coast Warzone and Texas Showdown (the other two are Brenttiscool and PR Balrog). She has yet to make it beyond 13th this season, and the Pro Tour structure rewards high placings more than consistency. She'll need to start making deep runs at events to have a chance of qualifying for Capcom Cup, but she just may have one of those in her this weekend.