The FGC Roundup returns to take a look ahead to the packed tournament action this weekend and the biggest stories within the fighting game community of the past week. The first stop is Frankfurt, Germany for FFM Rumble 9.
Last weekend’s Stunfest was, well, a disappointment for the European contingency of the Capcom Pro Tour. All eight top spots and any points available to players all went to Asian players. They certainly came to play, but none of them quite measured up, though this weekend is just as vital for many competitors. Those Pro Tour points are a valuable commodity and any means to earn them is crucial. Enter FFM Rumble 9 over in Frankfurt, Germany where four of the strongest players in the EU will be present in Red Bull’s Luffy, Cannes Winter Clash winner Mr. Crimson, Packz, and ProblemX making the quick jaunt over to FFM Rumble. Team YP’s Valmaster will be in attendance as well though it doesn’t appear likely he’ll even be able to represent his sponsor at the tournament thanks to the recent Capcom Pro Tour rule changes.
Overall this is an exercise in resilience for most of the pros in assembly at FFM Rumble this weekend. The disappointment of Stunfest is likely still stinging for most but who can bounce back from that? Luffy may be the best player in Europe right now considering his performance at Kakutop League 4 and other non-CPT events, but Mr. Crimson cannot be counted out as he has two ranking event wins under his belt. This is a long season, folks, and every opportunity to climb the regional boards and secure a spot in EU finals the better. Combo Breaker may be the big draw this weekend, but this one could be the one to pay attention to. Can EU start to rise in SFV?
The Trinity Heads South
Another stop on the Latin America regional leg of the Capcom Pro Tour kicks off this weekend in Tijuana, Mexico and a few big names in North America and beyond will all be stopping by to grab those precious CPT points. Chief among those is EchoFox’s Julio Fuentes and his fellow Trinity teammate, Brentt “brenttiscool” Franks.
Most of the biggest names will all be in the Midwest at ComboBreaker, yet some have opted to seek their points elsewhere. EG’s Justin Wong has been a massive gatekeeper so far this season and the current fifth place position for Julio can be improved upon with some points at Japonawa. A win at Japonawa could bump him up to third place overall and easily secure him a spot in the Capcom Cup Finals. Some might view it as ducking out on the real competition this weekend, but it’s a good decision considering just how long the CPT season is.
Can the Texas Showdown winner carve out his spot on the global leaderboards? Will Jiewa spoil those chances or will a local hero rise to the occasion? Find out this Sunday (7:30 PM ET/4:30 PM PT) for Top 8 stream on Team Lago.
Who Can Stop Justin Wong?
The Road to EVO rolls on with a major stop along the way in Chicago, IL for Combo Breaker. This is a tournament that, on a yearly basis, has some of the best names in the business all competing for the number one spot. 2015 saw the end of an era with the last gasps of Ultra Street Fighter IV and Team Liquid’s NuckleDu won last year, but this is a different game. NuckleDu hasn’t found his groove yet with Nash or R. Mika and his Guile still isn’t ready for primetime. Few people are as completely in sync with their choice of main as EG’s Justin Wong. He’s won four ranking events in a row, and many feel Combo Breaker will be the fifth. Many of North America’s best stand in his way though and the road to Top 8 will be a tough one.
Who can put a stop to the King of Chinatown and his excellent Karin play? A few names stand out from the pack including his teammate, Ricki Ortiz. She’s developed into a solid Nash player along with having a killer Chun-Li in her pocket. Circa eSports LPN might be a potential sleeper pick as well. Wong has stated in the past he has issues with Birdie. Will it be a possible wild card like his other EG teammate, kBrad? His Cammy is strong, but he has, as of yet, to take it to the next level and secure a spot in Top 8. The prime candidate has to be Panda Global’s Ryan “fChamp” Ramirez as he’s the only player to challenge Wong on this potentially historic run. His Dhalsim is, without a doubt, the best around and his consistent Top 8 finishes all this year make for a breakout performance possible at any time. Combo Breaker might be the weekend for fChamp.
Wong is scary right now. There’s no doubt about it. We’re mere months into competition with Street Fighter V, and few players are as comfortable with their character choice as he is. He continues to improve week after week and could very well be America’s best hope of taking gold at EVO in SFV. Beyond that, though, could he possibly bring an end to the reign of Infiltration at the top of the leaderboards as well in the future? The worst finish he’s had this year at CPT events is 9th.
Combo Breaker, presented by Team Spooky and BGCallisto, kicks off Saturday at 10 AM Central/11 AM ET. Brackets can be found at Challonge as per usual. Capcom has also mentioned that during the finals of SFV there will be a trailer of some kind presented. First glimpse of Balrog incoming? Maybe more? Tune in to find out.
Nintendo Partners with CEO Gaming for Smash Tournament
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) May 27, 2016
Twitter exploded after this announcement on the 27th as Nintendo of America will be partnering with CEO Gaming to put on the Smash Bros. Melee and Smash for Wii U tournaments at CEO this June. That means a few things as, likely, more money will be on the line but also potentially higher production value. CEO is always a big place for hype Smash matches but this year it will be especially big with NoA lending its support.
Fans couldn’t help but speculate further, though, as the tournament happens in the weeks following E3 and Melee HD an often mentioned possibility these days. The last time Nintendo jumped into sponsorship of tournaments (Genesis 3 and resuscitating APEX 2015) brought more attention to events, and this will be no exception. More setups and more attention never hurt. Stay tuned, Smash fans.
Street Fighter Crash Returns This Weekend
The week-long hiatus is over, and Crash is back with Top 4 action. Team Razer (Infiltration, Xian, and Fuudo), Team Topanga (Tokido, Momochi and Mago), Team Southeast (Poongko, HumanBomb and Gamerbee) and IsaCenter (Sandbag, 200won, and Sazabi) will be squaring off in teams competition starting at 1 AM ET Sunday (May 29th) on Twitch.
The storylines moving forward are compelling as we have yet to see the potential run back between Tokido and Infiltration, but others are just as interesting. Team IsaCenter, the only non-seeded team to make it this far, has shown they’re no joke with 200won’s R. Mika vortex work and Sandbag’s strong anchor play. Team Topanga and Razer had already faced off before though Momochi handled most of the heavy lifting there. This week will decide who moves on to Grand Finals and who will be left feeling salty. Judging from past weeks, this will be one of the best things to watch this entire weekend (ComboBreaker aside).
That will be it for this week’s FGC Roundup. We’ll be back next week with more tournament previews and the news that matters this week. Stay tuned, World Warriors.