The players and storylines to watch at the CPT Asia Finals
While three events remain in the 2015 Capcom Pro Tour, there are no more CPT points to be earned. Street Fighter players who have spent the last nine months crisscrossing the globe in hopes of earning a spot in December’s Capcom Cup now know where they stand.
For the 30 players who have already made the field, the final events will be a chance to study their opponents, try out some new strategies, and perhaps pocket a few more dollars. For everyone else, these tournaments represent the final opportunities to earn a place in San Francisco and an opportunity to win a piece of the $250,000 up for grabs there. Two of these final three events take place this weekend, and both are part of Singapore’s GameStart 2015 convention.
The main event is the CPT Asia Finals, which will take place on Saturday and Sunday. The event, which features players who have earned their spots over the course of nine qualifying events across Asia, is the only round-robin tournament on the Capcom Pro Tour. The top two players at the end of the round-robin stage will play a first-to-seven set (or two, if the second-place finisher takes the first set) to determine the champion. As CPT Asia Finals is a Premier event, a place in Capcom Cup is on the line, but five of the nine participants have already assured themselves a ticket to San Francisco. The four who haven’t qualified will still need to be at their best, as the other players will still be playing for a piece of the $15,000 at stake.
Eight of the nine participants in CPT Asia Finals have already been determined. The ninth will be decided at CPT Asia Last Chance Qualifier, which serves as a kickoff to this weekend’s action. There will be no points at stake, so while the winner gets a chance to play their way into the Capcom Cup field, everyone else will go home with little more than a pat on the back. Viewers can expect high-stakes matches throughout the weekend, as Last Chance Qualifier will feature several players who will not participate in DreamHack Winter, the final CPT event of the year. For them, this will be the last opportunity to qualify for Capcom Cup.
CPT Asia Last Chance Qualifier - Nov. 13
No points awarded - Winner qualifies for CPT Asia Finals
Thursday, Nov. 12 at 11pm PT/Friday, Nov. 13 at 2am ET/7:00 UTC
Players to watch
Ghim Kee “Gackt” Eng, Team Razer - While work and travel issues prevented Gackt from going to as many CPT events as some of his competitors, he made the most of the ones he was able to enter. He earned a points-based spot in Capcom Cup with three straight finishes of third or better to close his season. If he can turn that momentum into a win, he will earn a chance to improve upon his third-place finish at last year’s Asia Finals.
Eduardo “PR Balrog” Perez, Evil Geniuses - PR Balrog is one of the few players from outside of Asia confirmed to attend this weekend’s tournament. He needed a finish of fourth or better at Canada Cup in order to qualify for Capcom Cup, but he finished tied for 25th. While he has already announced his intent to enter DreamHack Winter, he would love to take care of business and secure a Capcom Cup berth here.
Tatsuya Haitani, Team BrawL - Like Gackt, Haitani has not travelled as extensively as many of his fellow competitors. He has participated in only three CPT events outside of Japan this season: EVO, CPT Brazil, and Milan Games Week. His second-place finish in Brazil shows that he’s still as dangerous as ever, but his placings at EVO (tied for 33rd) and Milan (tied for 13th) show that a deep run is not guaranteed.
Yosuke “Kindevu” Ito - Kindevu took quite a bit of time away from fighting games over the past couple of years, but he looks like he hasn’t lost a step. He finished tied for 13th at his last two tournaments, but those tournaments were EVO and Milan Games Week, both Premier events.
Leslie Cheong - Leslie’s name might sound familiar to those who have followed Street Fighter IV for a while. He had a breakthrough 2011 season with a second-place finish at Canada Cup and a 25th-place finish at EVO, but he has rarely entered tournaments outside of Singapore since. He is still considered among the strongest Sagat players in the world, and his fifth-place finish at this year’s FV Cup proved that he can still be a threat.
CPT Asia Finals - Nov. 14 - 15
No points awarded - Winner (or highest-placing person who hasn’t won a Premier berth) qualifies for Capcom Cup
Day 1: Friday, Nov. 13 at 7pm PT/10pm ET/Saturday, Nov. 14 at 3:00 UTC
Day 2: Saturday, Nov. 14 at 7pm PT/10pm ET/Sunday, Nov. 15 at 3:00 UTC
Last Chance Qualifier winner (to be determined)
Masato “Bonchan” Takahashi, Red Bull - Bonchan, secured his spot in Asia Finals back in March when he finished second to the already-qualified Seonwoo “Infiltration” Lee at Double Elimination. Red Bull’s newest signee is coming off a somewhat-disappointing ninth-place finish at Canada Cup. Before that, he had made Grand Finals in each of the previous four tournaments he had entered, racking up wins at FV Cup, SoCal Regionals, and Ultra Hyakkishu Cup along the way. As he has already earned a Premier tournament, he cannot claim the Capcom Cup berth at stake here.
Naoki “Nemo” Nemoto - For Nemo, who earned his place in the tournament in May with a win at KVO x TSB, great performances against top players is nothing new. While KVO was his only win on the tour this season, he has finished no worse than fifth at every tournament he has entered in 2015. This includes a third-place finish at Red Bull Kumite, a fourth-place finish at EVO, and a second-place finish to Bonchan at Ultra Hyakkishu Cup. Like Bonchan, he already has a Premier spot in Capcom Cup so he cannot win one this weekend.
Kun Xian Ho, Team Razer - Xian, who won the CPT Shanghai Qualifier to reach Asia Finals, is the third player in the field who cannot claim the Capcom Cup spot on the line. He still has motivation to win, as he is looking to wash a bitter taste out of his mouth from last year’s event. Xian, who had already clinched a spot in Grand Finals against Mad Catz’s Daigo Umehara, picked three different characters—none of which was his main—in his final match against teammate Gackt. The ploy was apparently used to hide information from Daigo before their Grand Finals showdown. The result helped Gackt secure a third-place finish, but didn’t help Xian at all as he lost 7-2 to The Beast.
Lee Chung “Poongko” Gon, Team r/kappa - Poongko is an 11th-hour addition to the Asia Finals field. Infiltration initially won his place in Asia Finals with a win at March’s Nine States Tournament, but withdrew to participate at a Street Fighter V promotional event at this weekend’s G-STAR 2015 in South Korea. Poongko, who finished second at Nine States, replaces him this weekend. In addition improving upon both his fourth-place finish at last year’s Asia Finals, Poongko will be looking to get some rust out of his system. Although he’s secured at least a points-based spot in Capcom Cup, he has only participated in three CPT events since May’s FFM Rumble, and failed to place higher than 17th at any of them.
Zhuojun “Xiao Hai” Zeng, Qanba/Douyu - Xiao Hai has played extremely well as of late, with all five of his fourth-place-or-better CPT finishes coming since mid-June. His Saigon Cup victory, which secured his place in this tournament, was the first of three straight CPT events where he finished fourth or better. The round-robin format, however, has been one of his weaknesses this year. He finished sixth at January’s eight-man Canada Cup Masters Series and went 0-8 in April’s nine-man Topanga World League.
Kentaro “Misse” Nakamura, Team r/kappa - Misse might not be the favorite to win Asia Finals, but he may the player most likely to earn a Capcom Cup berth this weekend. Misse, who qualified for this tournament by winning the Taiwan Fighting Game Major, finished the season 17th in points among those who hadn’t earned a Premier spot, one spot below the final cutoff. Should one of those sixteen players ahead of him win one of the final two Premier events, Misse will make the Capcom Cup field. Poongko and Xiao Hai are both on that list, so if either of them wins this weekend, Misse will go to San Francisco. He can also qualify by winning this event, or at least finishing ahead of everyone excluding Bonchan, Nemo, and Xian.
Houjun “Dakou” Su, Qanba/DouyuTV - Dakou, who qualified for this event by winning Ze Fighting Game Championship, is the only player besides Misse who can still qualify for Capcom Cup without winning an event. Since he is one spot behind Misse, his path is a bit more difficult, as he would need players ahead of him to win both CPT Asia Finals and DreamHack Winter. Of course, he can take measures into his own hands and qualify directly by winning this weekend. That may be too tall a task for Dakou, as his performance at Ze was the only time this season he finished better than fifth at a CPT event.
Joe “MOV” Egami - MOV earned his spot here in August with a second-place finish at Hong Kong eSports Tournament behind the already-qualified Infiltration. Since then, he’s travelled to a few Premier events with limited success. His 13th-place finish at Canada Cup was the best of the bunch, as he finished 17th at both Tokyo Game Show and Milan Games Week. He will need a much stronger performance this weekend if he hopes to play spoiler.