Last night saw the conclusion of the expansive Street Fighter 25th Anniversary tournament series at the grand finals event in Burlingame, California and double-champion Seonwoo “Infiltration” Lee of Western Wolves and Mad Catz awarded an insane chunk of cash as well as a brand new car. In the course of a single day, Infiltration would place first in both Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition ver. 2012 and Street Fighter x Tekken, make $50,000, and win the aforementioned mode of transportation, cementing his place in the fighting game community as the best player in the world today.
Infiltration would begin his day with AE 2012, making his way through competitors like Afterglow Elite’s Vance “Vangief” Wu, Kenryo “Mago” Hayashi of Mad Catz, and Razer’s Keita “Fuudo” Ai before hitting his first roadblock in the winners finals against another member of Team Mad Catz, Daigo Umehara. The Beast would utilize his patented Ryu and some unique fireball skills to make quick work of Infiltration, putting the Korean master on notice. He would drop to the losers finals to face off against Fuudo once more.
Though Fuudo would put up a much better fight this time around, he would again fall to Infiltration’s calculating Akuma gameplay to finish third. With Daigo’s earlier performance, it was hard to see Infiltration finding a way to win two straight sets, but he would do just that. Infiltration combined near-perfect reads and a willingness to change his own gameplay to keep Daigo on his toes, borrowing a page from The Beast’s own playbook and adapting perfectly from his defeat in winners finals. In a top three that included the champions of the past four EVO tournaments, Infiltration proved that his performance in Las Vegas this summer was only the beginning of his reign in fighting game community.
Later, Infiltration saw much of the same fortune follow him from AE 2012 to Street Fighter x Tekken. The odds-on favorite to take it all, Infiltration would defeat three top American proponents of the game (Paul “JiBbo” Mattock, Eternal Rival’s Danny “Tatsu” Le, and Peter “Combofiend” Rosas) in a row on his way to a winners finals match against Tokido. While this match was much closer than the winners finals in AE 2012, Infiltration lost to Tokido and was sent to the losers bracket to face Sareth “Sethlolol” Sok of CORN, a dark horse in the competition who single-handedly eliminated every member of Evil Geniuses earlier in the bracket.
Sok’s unique team of Law and Kuma would ultimately be swept Infiltration’s Rolento and Ryu, setting up yet another rematch for the Korean player in grand finals. In an effort to avoid placing Ryu against Tokido’s Dhalsim, Infiltration would opt to stick it out with JACK-X, although this choice had hardly worked in his favor in the previous set. Much like in AE 2012, Infiltration’s quick adaptation against Tokido eventually saw him as the victor, first resetting the bracket 3-1 and then securing his victory in another clean sweep.
Infiltration’s performances yesterday were the culmination of a long year of competition that saw him rise the ranks from top Korean player to arguably the world’s best in Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition ver. 2012 and Street Fighter x Tekken. His ability to assess his opponent and move towards exploiting their weaknesses in such a short amount of time is nothing short of incredible, and we’ll definitely see him atop the ranks of many more tournaments before his story is complete.
We would like to extend our congratulations to Infiltration and thank everyone involved with these grand finals and the qualifiers that came before them for an amazing tournament series.
Full results for this and other events at the Street Fighter 25th Anniversary grand finals can be found in our coverage hub.
(images via Mad Catz)