A pair of online Capcom Pro Tour events will take place this weekend in Latin America and Asia. But the most important event of the weekend may be VSFighting 2016 in Birmingham, England.
After watching players from another region take the lion's share of the points at the last Capcom Pro Tour event, Europe's best Street Fighter V players have a chance to bounce back. The last few Pro Tour events on European soil have not gone the way of the host continent. Over the last four European events, Asian competitors have scored three wins and taken nearly 68 percent of the points at stake. Those results mean that Pro Tour points are at an absolute premium for European players, and those hoping to qualify for the Capcom Cup can ill-afford to see more points leave the continent.
The good news for European players is that no Asian competitors are expected to make their way to Birmingham this weekend. The bad news is that there's still a chance that foreign players can take the bulk of the points at stake this weekend. Four American players are expected to be part of the VSFighting field: Chris Tatarian, Brentt "Brenttiscool" Franks, Kenneth "K-Brad" Bradley, and Peter "Flash" Susini.
With so much at stake in Birmingham this weekend, here are the three biggest stories to follow when the action kicks off on Saturday at 5am EDT (2am PDT) on Twitch. If you’re interested in the two other events you can find them at the Capcom Fighters Twitch channel, with Latin America on Saturday at 3pm EDT (12pm PDT) and Asia on Sunday at 4am EDT (1am PDT).
Can the Americans make the most of their European vacation?
The four American players in the VSFighting field aren’t just there to take in the sights. All four have hopes of reaching the Capcom Cup, and this weekend could be key to their campaigns.
This weekend is an opportunity for either Tatarian or K-Brad to lock up a Capcom Cup berth. A win for Tatarian would bring his point total to nearly 400, which would almost certainly be enough to secure a place in the season finale. K-Brad would go to just over 350 with a win, which would be close to absolute safety.
It's a different story for the other two Americans in the field. Flash enters the weekend a few places outside Capcom Cup qualifying position despite his fifth-place finish at Defend the North. Brenttiscool is in more dire straights, as he has not finished among the top eight at any Pro Tour event since Final Round in March. He is in desperate need of a big result this weekend.
Can CCL and Mister Crimson continue to surprise?
Thanks to his victory at DreamHack Summer, Arman "Phenom" Hanjani has ensured that at least one European player will make their first-ever Capcom Cup appearance. Two other European players in the VSFighting field hope to join him in the 'Capcom Cup debutant' club: Nathan "Mister Crimson" Massol and Younes "CCL" Lazaar.
France's Mister Crimson opened the season with a surprise victory at Cannes Winter Clash in February. He has finished among the top 16 at four Pro Tour events since then, the best of which was his fifth-place performance at Sonic Boom last weekend. CCL has rounded into form more recently, as the Belgian won FFM Rumble in late May and placed fourth at Sonic Boom.
Both players enter the weekend on 145 points, just outside the top 20 in the global standings. A win would not be enough for either player to lock up a Capcom Cup spot just yet, but it would make qualification far more likely than not.
Can Luffy finally get a Pro Tour win in 2016?
Olivier "Luffy" Hay's 2016 season has certainly been solid, but it hasn't been quite as good as we've come to expect over the past couple of years. Luffy won 12 Pro Tour events over the past two seasons, including a victory at Evo 2014, but he has yet to claim a Pro Tour win in 2016. That lack of a win means that he enters the weekend on the fringes of Capcom Cup qualification.
That's not to say that he hasn't performed well this year—far from it. He claimed second place at Hypespotting earlier this year, and his third-place finish at Sonic Boom last weekend was best among Europeans. He was also one of just two Europeans to finish among the top eight at DreamHack Summer, the other being eventual winner Phenom. Another strong performance this weekend—and perhaps an elusive win—may very well be in the cards.