CNB|ChuChu, Capcom Cup 2014, and the Legitimacy of Online Qualifiers

By on October 28, 2014 at 5:42 pm
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Capcom Pro Tour’s presence throughout the year has given players from a number of unconventional locales the opportunity to throw their lot in with the rest of the world and prove Street Fighter is still the global phenomenon it was decades ago. From up-and-coming regions like Brazil, Hong Kong, and Mexico to the more unexplored talent pools of Portugal, Thailand, and Poland, competitors the world over have been able to secure their own ranking points through in-person events, more often than not in the face of visiting talent looking for easy victories.

Unfortunately, traveling to tournaments, even those in your own backyard, is a luxury not everyone in the world can afford. Whether it’s taking time away from your real job or just doling out piles of cash for airfare and a hotel stay, it sometimes just isn’t an option. That’s why, this year, Capcom partnered with Virgin Gaming (now known as World Gaming) to hold a handful of online tournaments for folks in the Americas and Europe, giving those who found themselves unable to get away the opportunity to earn points through netplay instead.

Though they haven’t affected the overall rankings in a hugely meaningful way, one player in particular has found regular success in these online competitions, and thus kept himself in the running for one of Capcom Cup’s coveted qualifer positions.

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Image courtesy of Batera Gamer

Eric “ChuChu” Silva, who hails from Brazil and represents CNB e-Sports Club, has competed in ten such tournaments since April, accruing 358 ranking points in addition to the 208 he earned at Revox 2014 (which was giving ranking status retroactively), FNF Championships, and Brazil Game Show 2014.

While far from a household name, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Silva compete on a large stage and prove he has what it takes to hang with the best. Like many, I first heard of the Brazilian competitor during the lead-up to Capcom Cup 2012. He, along with other strong regional players like BrenoFight3rs (who took home first with a close win over Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi), CNB teammate House, and Lord Saka, proved that their country’s qualifier was well-deserved.

Silva also gained more recent, first-hand success playing foreign competitors at Revox 2013, where he and House teamed up to face (and ultimately defeat) visitors Infiltration and Ryan “Laugh” Ahn in a quick Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition ver. 2012 team battle. As you can see in the video below, Silva’s Sakura handily dispatched Infiltration’s Akuma, a feat that, no matter what character you play, is not easy.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Ian, what prompted this ChuChu history lesson?” Well, now that Capcom Pro Tour has begun to wind down, we are starting to get a sense of the players who are definite shoe-ins for qualification through point totals alone. Silva is one of these players; after taking out competitors who have already earned a spot at Capcom Cup by winning a premier tournament, he sits at fifth in the overall rankings, nustled snugly between more well-known figures Ricky Ortiz and Du “Nuckledu” Dang. This, combined with the fact that he has earned a little over 60% of his points from online tournaments, has raised some concern as to if he “deserves” to compete at the prestigious event or not come December, mainly from eSportsMax’s Dexter “Tampa Bison” James.

Hopefully you’re thinking the same thing as me: “Of fucking course he does.”

I’m not going to sit here and say online play can be held to the same standards as offline, but it’s become increasingly clear that we can no longer count out netplay warriors just because of their arena of choice. When Street Fighter x Tekken was struggling to gain ground at major events around the world, its online community kept it living much longer than many would think it “deserved” to. Capcom paid their respects to that scene’s devotion by offering up half (that’s four out of eight) of Capcom Cup 2013’s spots to those who were able to qualify online. One of them, the aforementioned Dexter “Tampa Bison” James, was able to make his way to the grand finals and eventually take second place over players like Nuckledu and Alex Valle.

To me, this type of mentality is grouped with other sentiments that blame certain characters, archetypes, or attacks as cheap, unbeatable obstacles. It’s this type of self-defeating thinking that keeps players from achieving greatness for themselves, no matter what their definition of greatness may be. Have a tough time against Rose in Ultra Street Fighter IV? Use every opportunity to play against her not as one where winning is the only thing to achieve but also as a way to gain knowledge for future matches. Think charge characters are braindead? Pick one up to put in your own back pocket; you may learn that it takes a lot more effort to play them correctly than you thought.

The idea of not “deserving” a spot at Capcom Cup simply because you took a different path to get there is, to put it frankly, misguided at best and idiotic at worst. To put it in an arcade perspective, it’s like looking down on a player because, instead of having a full quarter to play with, they had to turn in a couple of dimes and a nickle to the cashier before jumping in line. It’s a means to an end; complaining that they were able to scrounge up the change they needed while you failed to find a quarter for yourself reeks like a weird mixture of ignorance and jealousy.

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Back before Capcom Cup 2013, we here at Shoryuken put together a trio of fun polls for the community to take part in, giving us a good idea of who the favorites were as we headed into the major event. You’ll remember me mentioning that half of Street Fighter x Tekken’s bracket was made up of online qualifiers, two of whom had also found success in offline play: Sareth “Sethlolol” Sok and (gasp!) Dexter “Tampa Bison” James. While the former lost out only to Infiltration in our poll, it was the latter who would go on to face the Korean master in grand finals.

And so, I have a question of my own: if James deserved a spot at Capcom Cup 2013 for winning a single online qualifier, why doesn’t Silva for taking four times that many, not to mention his first-place finish at Brazil Game Show 2014?

“Good luck to you ChuChu,” James quips to close out his article, “for if you lose, the viewers will quickly find out if you drop Chu Jelly upon defeat.”

That may end up being the case, but you know what we’ll find out about James at Capcom Cup 2014? Nothing, because he’ll be in the audience.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely the author’s and do not represent Shoryuken as a whole.