PG|Victor “Punk” Woodley completed his domination of the North American Capcom Pro Tour season by winning the NA Regional Finals at Red Bull Battle Grounds in Boston, and securing the top seed in next month’s Capcom Cup 2017. But before the Alpha was crowned champion, more than 270 competitors battled it out in the last chance qualifier for the final spot in the Regional Finals. Full results for the weekend’s tournaments are available here.
In a tournament filled with sponsored talent and East Coast underdogs, BxA|Marcus “CoolKid93” Redmond put together a monstrous losers bracket run with Abigail, defeating 10 straight opponents to earn his spot in the main event. After losing to Dexter “Tampa Bison” James in the first round of top 64, Redmond lost just two games total for the rest of the qualifier. Following a decisive 6-0 victory over Circa|Joshua “Wolfkrone” Philpot, CoolKid93 hoisted the Battle Grounds trophy and thanked his wife and his training partners through tears.
“I want to thank my wife, most importantly because without her pushing me and never giving up on me, or telling me not to do this; she just stuck by my side,” Redmond said on stage. “Of course she got mad at tournaments I did lose, we had a long talk when we got home, but I know she’s crying right now herself seeing this. And I’d like to thank my BxA|Squall, everybody that I play online, all of ya’ll helped me to get better. And my family too, for sticking with me too and not steering me the wrong way, and believing in what I want to do.”Though he had demonstrated a high level of play during ESL exhibitions and Red Bull Proving Grounds events earlier this year, Redmond didn’t score any CPT points during the season. But by the time he finished stomping through the qualifier, there was no doubt that he was a contender.
“It feels good, hard work paying off after so many tournaments,” Redmond said after capturing the qualifier. “[I’m] always one of the players that always puts on a good show or a good match but you don’t ever win.”
Redmond’s wife Joy flew in overnight to offer him her full support (along with her powerful voice) during Sunday’s finals. It looked like the rampage from the qualifier might continue, as Redmond rushed out to a 2-1 lead against the top ranked player in the world, but Punk made the necessary adjustments to shutdown CoolKid93’s reset heavy offense and move on. After disposing of Brian “Brian_F” Foster’s Balrog 3-0, Woodley found himself in the Winners Finals against Derek “iDom” Ruffin’s Laura.
For iDom, winning the Regional Finals meant a guaranteed trip to Capcom Cup; the New York City native entered just five CPT events this year, and finished fourth or higher in all of them except for Evo. Regarded by many as the world’s best Laura, iDom made quick work of Echo Fox|Justin Wong in the first round, and beat his frequent Next Level Battle Circuit nemesis Rise|Smug twice in the finals. This left Punk as the only obstacle in the way of a Capcom Cup appearance.
In Winners Finals, iDom captured the momentum on a suicide overhead in game one and pushed Punk against the ropes early. However after failing to capitalize during a scramble in the third game, iDom saw a 2-0 lead start to evaporate. After that, Punk didn’t drop a single game, putting on a masterful display with Karin and beating iDom six straight times between Winners and Grand Finals.
Rise|Bryant “Smug” Huggins took home third with Balrog after beating defending Capcom Cup champion Liquid|Du “NuckleDu” Dang in two sets, eliminating 801 Strider along the way. Huggins and Dang have crossed paths several times over the course of the season, trading results back and forth. On Sunday, NuckleDu lost with both Guile and R. Mika in separate sets by scores of 3-1 and 3-2, respectively. While Balrog is regarded as a difficult match-up for Guile, Du’s R. Mika was more successful in applying pressure, managing to beat Brian_F 3-0 and push Smug to the last game.Despite going 0-2 in the finals, Justin Wong came just one round short of an impressive comeback against Liquid| NuckleDu in losers. Wong chose Ed to start the set and despite catching NuckleDu a series of crush counters early, he struggled to find footing against Guile’s wall of defense. After an execution error gave Du an opening to win game two, Wong moved to his signature Karin. Though he often found himself playing from behind, Wong’s veteran patience helped him find the openings he needed to make comeback after comeback and force a final game. Even though the “Wong Factor” was shutdown in the end, Wong has shown that he is more than ready to compete at the highest level of Street Fighter V.
Red Bull Battle Grounds marked the culmination of a year’s worth of competition for many of the region’s best players. For some it was their last chance of the year to test their game against the very best, and they did not disappoint. Even players who had cracked the finals of Global Premier events earlier this year failed to make the top 8 of the last chance qualifier. The often underrepresented Midwest region saw three strong players (BxA|CoolKid93, Circa|WolfKrone, and Eric Contreras) reach top 8 of the qualifier, while New York City’s GeneralKills and SonicBoxx|JB represented New York.
Frequent CPT competitors like Samurai, EG|KBrad, Tempo|Alex Myers and Circa|LPN can still fight for the final last chance qualifier spot during the weekend of Capcom Cup; but the competition will likely be even more fierce, with more international players likely to attend.
Entering this weekend, iDom and Brian_F were the only North American finalists not qualified for Capcom Cup on points, but with Punk winning the region’s auto-qualifier spot and taking the weekend’s only available ranking points, North America’s second and fifth highest ranked players are left on the outside looking in.
Following PG|Punk’s victory, three of the four regional finals winners are players who had qualified for Capcom Cup based on points. Punk and Mousesports|Problem X were both ranked first in their regions, while Echo Fox|Tokido won Asia’s last chance qualifier, and then the regional finals. In the fourth case, the two top ranked players in the Latin American region chose not to compete; the Latin American Regional Finals was also the only one of the four events not to feature a cash prize.
Capcom Cup is scheduled for Dec. 9 and 10 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California, taking place alongside Playstation Experience, a multi-day gaming conference. Online registration for the Capcom Cup Last Chance Qualifier ends Nov. 29 and is capped at 256 entrants. You can find more details on the tournament’s smash.gg page.