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Street Fighter V will make its Evolution debut with a record 5,065 players competing in the world’s largest fighting game tournament. Starting Friday, July 15 the massive player pool will be whittled down to just eight finalists who will battle for a prize pool of more than $100,000 at Las Vegas’s Mandalay Bay Events Center. The finals will be simulcast Sunday, July 17 at 7 p.m. PDT/10 p.m. EST on Twitch and ESPN 2.
Five months into the Street Fighter V’s lifespan players have begun to solidify their approach to the new title, even as new characters like Ibuki and Balrog continue to add more wrinkles to the game’s fabric. Competitive Street Fighter saw a massive boom through six years of Street Fighter IV and SFV continues to build off that movement.
Grassroots tournaments and eSports entities alike have been working to foster growth for the community, and players have more resources than ever to take the leap into the competitive scene. Despite hiccups that plagued the game in its first few months, Street Fighter V continues to blossom and remains as popular as its predecessor within the fighting game community.
With players from more than 70 countries ready to run the gauntlet, Evolution 2016 will mark a turning point in the game’s early life span and give Street Fighter V its first true champion.
For the third consecutive year, Street Fighter publisher Capcom is supporting the franchise’s tournament community with the Capcom Pro Tour (CPT). SFV overtook Ultra Street Fighter IV as the CPT’s sole title for the 2016 Season. The CPT has offered ranking points and bonus prize money to players at some two dozen tournaments so far this season but Evo will be the largest of the year by far, dwarfing even the largest CPT “Premier” events.
The Capcom Pro Tour will culminate in the 32-man Capcom Cup, with players earning their way into the grand finale through ranking points and international qualifiers. The winner of Street Fighter V at Evolution 2016 will automatically qualify for the Capcom Cup and earn 1,024 CPT Ranking points, enough to guarantee at least fourth place in the global standings.
So far five players have qualified for the 2016 Capcom Cup by winning Global Premier events, including representatives from Japan, South Korea, China and Norway. The CPT leaders can be considered the favorites going into Evo, but the unpredictable nature of an open competition is sure to lead to some major upsets.
EG|Justin Wong leads the Capcom Pro Tour in points, but is the only member of the top five who has not qualified for the 2016 Capcom Cup. Wong (1) has won the last four North American Ranking Events, but cracked top eight at just one of the three North American Premier tournaments. Wong has the most Evo Championships of any player (8) but has not reached the finals for Street Fighter since 2009, Street Fighter IV’s first year at Evo.
Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi has arguably been the most dominant player internationally through five months of Street Fighter V. Prior to his 17th place finish at G-League this past weekend, Tokido had been the only player to finish top 16 in every CPT Premier event, with no placing below third. Tokido (2) qualified for Capcom Cup at Community Effort Orlando (CEO) in June, his only actual win on the CPT so far this year. After falling to RZR|Infiltration in grand finals at Final Round, NorCal Regionals and the Red Bull Kumite, Tokido was able to defeat his demon by a score of 3-0, 3-1.
Seonwoo “RZR|Infiltration” Lee is the only player with more than one premier victory, winning Final Round & NorCal Regionals in back-to-back weeks. Infiltration (3) emerged as one of the world’s strongest players over the course of Street Fighter IV, making four finals appearances over the game’s six years at Evo. Having already qualified for Capcom Cup, Infiltration has not been traveling as much as some of the other international competition, but remains a constant favorite.
Norway’s Arman “BX3.TP-Link|Phenom” Hanjani (4) shocked the Street Fighter world when he defeated Twitch|Daigo Umehara and RZR|Fuudo in the finals to win DreamHack Summer and qualify for Capcom Cup. The win followed strong performances at Cannes Winter Clash and FrogByte, proving to many that Europe is a real threat in Street Fighter V.
Yusuke “EG|Momochi” rounds out the CPT top five, having qualified for Capcom Cup at StunFest in France. Momochi has been less active during this tournament season but has proved himself to be among the game’s strong players, earning ranking points at four premier events so far. With last year’s Ultra Street Fighter IV Evo Championship and the 2014 Capcom Cup title under his belt, Momochi (5) has already proven his winning pedigree.
California has dominated North American Street Fighter V so far, with two members of the “SoCal Ken Trinity,” Fox|Julio Fuentes (6) and Chris Tatarian (11) owning the top North American CPT spots after EG|Justin Wong (1), another California native.
A number of familiar names have led the American field but few have shown that they have what it takes to get past the international competition. Liquid|NuckleDu (23), one of two Americans to reach top 8 in USFIV last year, managed to defeat three consecutive international opponents on his way to fifth place at CEO 2016 last month, so don’t be surprised if he puts together another stunning run to the finals.
Former FGTV roommates EG|PR Balrog (17), PG|Filipino Champ (18) and EG|Ricki Ortiz (33) are also no strangers to the pressure of Evo, with 24 finals appearances between them. Look for some East Coast players like F3|Alucard (44), L.I. Joe (153) and TS|Sabin (171) to try and make an impact despite the region’s relatively quiet showing on the Capcom Pro Tour so far.
Other strong American competitors include:
- EG|K-Brad (13)
- NVT|Flash Metroid (28)
- Wolfkrone (60)
- RB|Snake Eyez (92)
- Circa|LPN (47)
Japan has long been revered as the world’s strongest region for Street Fighter and fighting games in general. As one of the few places in the world with a surviving arcade scene, Japan has long enjoyed the benefit of advanced releases and a strong community culture built around arcades. However, with Street Fighter V getting a global, console exclusive release, that advantage disappeared.
The results though, haven’t changed. Through six CPT Premier events, 60% of the finalists have been Japanese, though China’s G-League was the only one to be held in Asia. Twitch|Daigo Umehara (27), RZR|Fuudo (8), Mago (12) and YOUDEAL MJS|Haitani (9) lead a field of Japanese players who could be every bit as threatening as the global leaders.
Other Japanese players to look for:
- GGP|Kazunoko (17) – Capcom Cup 2015 Champion
- HM|Eita (16)
- HM|Go1 (22)
- DNG|Itabashi Zangief (48)
- HORI|Sako (70) – Capcom Cup 2013 Champion
- AW|Nemo (57)
Europe is often considered a dark horse at Evo. The distance between the players can sometimes make their strength hard to gauge, but a number of competitors have put together consistent results across the region’s CPT ranking events. France in particular has fielded a number of strong players, including 2014 Evo Champion RB|Luffy (25) and Melty|Will2Pac (24).
Unfortunately a number of Europe’s top ranked players will miss out on Evo, but for many of those who do attend, it will be their first time facing off against American competition.
European players to watch for:
- GWAK.FR|CCL (20)
- GG Halibel (29)
- FA|Ryan Hart (44)
- Valmaster (48)
- LLL RSD MBR (117)
Evo plays host to players from more than 70 countries, gathering the world’s most talented players. China’s Qanba.Douyu|Xiao Hai (10) has emerged as an international force after a slow start in Street Fighter V. After failing to break into top 16 at Final Round and NorCal Regionals in March, Xiao Hai made the switch to Cammy and hasn’t looked back. He returned to the Pro Tour with a fourth place finish at StunFest, and became the fifth Capcom Cup qualifier after winning G-League this past weekend.
G-League runner-up RZR|Xian (7) of Singapore is a past Evo Champion who has proven that he can win anywhere in the world. Though many of the strongest international players hail from Southeast Asia, it would be foolish to turn a blind eye to the rest of the globe. Innova|Keoma (83) emerged as a dark horse during the 2015 Capcom Cup season as Brazil’s sole qualifier, upsetting Japanese and American players on his way to 7th place. He’s played in just one CPT event so far, but don’t be shocked if he rises to the top once more.
Other international Players of Note:
- Marn – Vietnam
- TS|Poongko (69) – South Korea
- GamerBee (68) – Taiwan
- HumanBomb (81) – Hong Kong
- PandaTV|Jiewa (29) – China
Note: The Capcom Pro Tour awards ranking points to the top 16 players at Premier events and the top eight players at Ranking Events. For the purposes of this data those players are considered finalists.
Ryu, Ken, Necalli, Karin, Chun-Li, Cammy and F.A.N.G have been present in every Premier Top 16 so far. With the exception of F.A.N.G, those characters also have the most appearances overall.
Despite Ryu’s strong numbers, Twitch|Daigo and Tokido account for eight of his 10 appearances together. In comparison, nine Chun-Li players combined for 13 appearances over the same span. R.Mika’s seven top 16 appearances belong to six different players, with RZR|Fuudo being the only one to repeat.
Only 3 of Cammy’s 13 appearances have resulted in top 8 or better, but Qanba Douyu|Xiao Hai and GGP|Kazunoko finished 1st and 7th, respectively, at G-League this past weekend. While considered by many to be the strongest character in the game, Chun-Li has yet to capture a Premier title. HM|Go1’s third place finish at G-League is the best for any Chun player so far.
Alex & Balrog, both downloadable characters, are the only members of the cast without a top 16 appearance at a Premier event. Guile, another downloadable character, was used in a single game as a counterpick at DreamHack Summer by FA|Ryan Hart. BX3.TP-Link|Phenom (M.Bison) and Lamerboi (Rashid) are the only players to play in top 16 with their respective characters.
When looking at the top 8 results from the full Capcom Pro Tour, the dominant characters become much more apparent, with Ryu, Ken, Karin, Chun-Li and Necalli showing up at the top once more. Nash also sees a large jump in usage in comparison to the premier results, but through 20 top eight appearances across the Pro Tour, RZR|Infiltration is the only player to take first place with the character.
Laura and M.Bison have seen impressive results across the CPT Ranking Events, but few players have been able to replicate that success at Premier events. As Street Fighter V continues to develop we can expect more players to break into the finals with more technical characters like Dhalsim and Vega as well.
Through 25 CPT events only 8 characters have been on the winning side of the grand finals. Karin’s results are boosted by EG|Justin Wong’s five CPT wins, the most of any player. Each of Cammy’s three victories belong to a different player and Ken’s five wins are shared between EG|Momochi, HM|Eita, Fox|Julio and Chris Tatartarian, who has won twice.
BX3.TP-Link|Phenom played both M.Bison and Necalli in the grand finals of Frogbyte, giving each character an additional appearance. He is the only player so far this season to use more than one character on their way to winning a CPT event.
Evolution 2016 will feature three different streams over the course of the weekend for Street Fighter V. Check below for times and links to the appropriate channels. Full Evo Streaming Schedule
Pools: 8am-Midnight (11am-3am EST)
Pools: 8am-Noon (11am-3pm EST)
Pools: Noon-4pm (3pm-7pm EST)
SRK Evo 3
Pools 8am-2pm (11am-5pm EST)
Pools Round 2: 2pm-6pm (5pm-9pm EST)
Quarterfinals: 6 p.m. (9pm EST)
- Shoryuken.com – News & Results
- Complete Evo Pool Listing
- Capcom Pro Tour Standings
- Evo Tournament Rules & Information