The Tokyo Game Show (TGS) has been wowing crowds for 20 years, and in 2016 it was host to the Japan Cup leg of the Capcom Pro Tour (CPT). Players from around the world piled into Tokyo on September 17th and 18th for a chance to qualify for a spot at the Capcom Cup later this year, as well as national pride and CPT points. While it wasn’t a perfect setup (multiple blue tooth devices being active on certain PS4s, matches crammed together, poor streaming coverage), the competition was very fast and a foreign champion was crowned at the end of it all.
With top players getting sponsorships and prize money these days, the world of E-Sports and the fighting game community are becoming increasingly globalized. It’s not un-common at all for players to fly out to a foreign country for a chance at glory. Just as recently as a couple of months ago, we saw South Korea’s Lee Seon-woo (better known to the gaming community as Infiltration) win the EVO tournament in Las Vegas. While our American fighters didn’t take home the ultimate prize, it was still good to see some familiar faces in the competition.
Among those representing the US were Chris Tatarian (@Chris_Tatarian), Justin Wong (@JWonggg , Julio Fuentes (@juliofuentes408), gllty (@gllty) and Gootecks (@gootecks). I did manage to catch some of the CPT stream live, but it’s my understanding that a lot of good matches were simply not covered. During the time I was able to watch live, I was fortunate enough to watch Gootecks carry the stars and stripes into battle.
He won his first match as Mika against a pretty good Juri, which was a pleasure to see in its own right. However, he lost his second match to a tricky FANG, and lost yet again to Miyazawa’s Ken as Ryu (the finishing blow came after a missed EX Dragon Punch that got crush-countered), thus eliminating him from the tournament early on.
Of the Americans who I follow, Chris Tatarian and Julio Fuentes ranked the highest, landing amongst a handful of others in a tie for 25th place. Most other fan favorites were eliminated fairly early as well, including Japan’s own “beast”, Daigo Umehara, who has been struggling late in his career. Not surprisingly, high-profile players (such as Tokido and Infiltration) who already qualify for the Capcom Cup were not in attendance.
The two fighters who remained standing at the end were Taiwan’s GamerBee and South Korea’s Poongko, who played Necalli and Cammy, respectively. I don’t even know where to begin with this fight. While both players brought their A game (thanks for keeping your clothes on this time, Poongko), the offense on display was sick. Perfectly timed v-skills, hit-and-run tactics, and an absurd amount of seemingly random Dragon Punches and other unsafe moves ruled the day. It made for an exciting watch, but even commentators Mike Ross (@ThatMikeRossGuy) and Zhi (@zhieeep) had to laugh at the “crazy” fighting on display in a Grand Finals match. Once the dust settled, GamerBee emerged victorious as the champion of Japan Cup 2016.
Closing Thoughts and Opinions
It’s interesting seeing all of the different thoughts on the current aggressive meta game in Street Fighter V. If you watch three different pro streams, you’ll probably get three slightly different takes on it. On the one hand, it does seem a little insane seeing people play so recklessly at such a high level. Even during the pools at EVO, some pros were venting their frustration on Twitter at the “crazy” play coming from amateurs. However, there are those that come from an older school of thought, such as Alex Valle, who say everyone should stop complaining and just learn to adapt to the new meta. While I tend to lean toward that side of the fence, I see the merits of both camps (not-so-pro tip: rushing in on knockdown and holding down-block at the last moment seems to bait plenty of people at lower levels into the infamous “wake-up DP” which opens them up to all sorts of unpleasantness).
Another thing to note is that while the current “high tier” seems to be well established with characters like Ken, Chun Li, Cammy and Nash, some other characters are starting to fall into their own across the globe.
Necalli has taken a couple of tournaments, Rashid is starting to become more popular, and not long ago, UK’s imstilldadaddy (@imstilldadaddy) took an online tournament with Guile. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see if the mix of characters becomes more varied at high levels of play, as well as the online ladder.
With Urien coming out soon and “season 2” on the horizon, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Street Fighter V. Check back next week for my review of the September patch, and don’t forget that Brooklyn Beatdown is happening on October 1st and 2nd!