The third and final round of the first season of NorCal Rivals featuring Street Fighter V took place this past weekend in Campbell, CA. There were quite a few upsets and shakeups in the bracket, which affected placings in the overall standings to determine which three players would advance to the Proving Grounds 3v3 finals in Santa Monica, CA. Placings in the overall top eight standings were also important, since if the region’s team wins the finals, the rest of the players who placed in the top eight will get flown out to Evolution 2017 as well.
With those details out of the way, lets get to what transpired this past Saturday. The first upset was Andrew “Lamerboi” Nguyen besting German “Ultima” Marroquin (who won last month’s event) 2-1 with a surprise Guile counterpick, sending him to losers in the third round of the bracket (with Miky “XSK_Samurai” Chea later eliminating him), finishing in 9th place. A couple of matches later, Kevin “Panoptic” Yates sent Pavo “Pavocado” Miskic to losers with his solid Nash play. Pavo would work his way through losers before finishing in 5th, losing to Rommel “ROM” Macatangay’s Vega in an extremely close 2-1 set that happened off-stream.
Despite these losses, both Ultima and Pavocado managed to secure enough points with their consistent placings from the last two Proving Grounds events to qualify for the 3v3 finals in Santa Monica. Just one more player needed to be found in the rest of the top eight for that evening.
Winners semi-finals was a classic brother-versus-brother match once again with Brian “BJ Unchained” Jeon facing off against Republic of Gamer’s Kelvin Jeon. Interestingly enough, both siblings decided to challenge each other by using their alternate characters in the first match, with BJ’s work-in-progress Karin defeating Kelvin’s strong, but rough around the edges Rashid. Kelvin would them go back to his main, Urien, to put down BJ’s Karin and tying the set 1-1. BJ would follow suit by picking Necalli and taking two quick rounds against his brother to seal the set 2-1 to advance to winners finals against Circa Esports Long “LPN” Nguyen.
LPN breezed through all of the bracket with nobody giving him a real challenge, up until winners finals where he would decisively lose 3-0 against BJ Unchained. After the first two games, not even a surprise pick of LPN’s original main, Alex, in the third game fazed BJ in the slightest and he made his way into the grand finals for the second time in a row, but this time with the safety net of being on the winners side.
With LPN now in losers finals, he would get his runback set from the first NorCal Rivals event against BJ’s brother, Kelvin, who made it into top three after defeating ROM’s 2-1 in a nail-biting set. Both players started the set with their respective mains with LPN taking the first game convincingly with M. Bison. Kelvin would then start a counter-pick war in the second game finally bringing out his Ibuki and taking the second game against LPN in similar fashion. Long would then retort with a counter-pick of his own by picking Birdie to have the advantage in the neutral game with superior normals and higher damage output. Long would out damage Bull Horn his way to a second game victory against Kelvin’s Ibuki who couldn’t really get his offense started with her.
In the third game, Kelvin would return to his original season one main, R. Mika, to hopefully exploit Birdie’s weak defense when he’s knocked down. Unfortunately for Kelvin, almost every attempt to get his offense going was thwarted by LPN’s strong mid-range game and he was able to secure a 3-1 win to advance into grand finals to get his next runback against BJ Unchained.
Every match in the grand finals between BJ’s Necalli and LPN’s Bison was back and forth, but in the end, LPN’s stubborn and overwhelming aggression–as well as some critical mistakes from BJ in the first set–was too much for him to shake off in the long haul. Long would go on to take both sets 3-1 each to win the third and final NorCal Rivals event of the first season.
However, since BJ didn’t place high enough in the first event (25th) and LPN didn’t attend the second event, both players didn’t have enough points to qualify to be on the team for the Santa Monica finals. The third and final player to qualify for the team was Kelvin Jeon, since not only did he attend all three events, but he got first, ninth, and third for each one–which earned him a lot of points in the overall standings. Also, lets not forget that the rest of the players who placed top eight overall still have a chance to go to Evolution 2017 if the NorCal team wins the finals in Santa Monica!
Congratulations to the three players who qualified to be on the team, as well as all the players who participated and placed in the overall standings! You can catch all the matches I talked about–and more–in the footage below.
NorCal Rivals Round 3 -Street Fighter V- Top 16 Results (58 entrants)
1st: Circa|LPN (M. Bison, Alex, Birdie)
2nd: BJ Unchained (Necalli, Karin)
3rd: ROG|Kelvin Jeon (Urien, Rashid, Ibuki, R. Mika)
4th: ROM (Vega)
5th: Pavocado (R. Mika)
5th: Lamerboi (Rashid, Guile)
7th: XSK_Samurai (Akuma)
7th: Kimo (Zangief)
9th: Ultima (Rashid)
9th: SRK|El Cubano Loco (Vega)
9th: Panoptic (Nash)
9th: THE_DTRAN (Birdie)
13th: DM|Nothingman (Dhalsim)
13th: Andy (Necalli)
13th: NO RESPECT (Urien)
13th: Ghodere (Zangief)
NorCal Rivals Season One Top Eight Overall Standings
1st: ROG|Kelvin Jeon (qualified)
2nd: Ultima (qualified)
3rd: Pavocado (qualified)
4th: BJ Unchained