Echo Fox’s Justin Wong holds an unfortunate record in competitive fighting game history: having taken part in every single Capcom Cup since its inception, he has not won a single match in a Street Fighter title in the event. Given that Capcom Cup started in 2013, this makes his competitive record at the event 0-8.
While we could go on indefinitely about why this is the case, the fact is that every year he puts on a strong showing on the Capcom Pro Tour, only to find his results at the final event to be lackluster — far below what we know he is capable of. Yet again, he finds himself in the thick of things at Capcom Cup, with a #14 seed. Will we see Justin break out of this losing streak — or will he extend his losing streak to 0-10?
If there are two things that Justin has done since last season, he has definitely worked on both perfecting his Karin play, and finding a secondary to do damage with. While not a particularly popular pick on the CPT, his Ed has become a serious threat, with Justin bringing out the character many times — including at Evo, Northern Arena Knockout, and the CPT North American Finals.
The patient play that he has patented with Karin — using spacing instead of a bevy of setups to his advantage — also fits well with Ed. He also uses some of Ed’s tricks and gimmicks (including fake fireballs) to his advantage to bait players into playing into his reactionary, defensive style. He also has the execution and spatial awareness to throw in some of his more situational combos, all of which rely on understanding exact spacing and timing to pull off.
Karin and Ed complement each other well. While Karin dominates much of the cast with her superior footsies and spacing game, she struggles against characters who can either build a wall to prevent her from spacing, or can punish her for being in that range. His Ed takes over in those matches, where he can both zone and hold grapplers out of their proper ranges — ranges that would otherwise favor them over Karin.
This combination of characters should give Justin an advantage, where he will fear very few — if any — character match-ups.
Strength of Schedule
It’s hard to say that other players put in more work on the circuit than Justin. That’s simply because he is one of few players to literally go everywhere. Over the course of 2017, he was able to make the top 8 in three out of six Premier events, while also winning ranking events at Toryuken and Buenos Aires True Salt. Further, he was able to make top 8 at a grand total of five out of seven ranking events, and narrowly missed the top 8 at Evo. This has been one of Justin’s best years in a long time.
In all fourteen events he competed in, he missed top 16 only twice: once at the start of the season at Final Round XX, and again at NorCal Regionals. It’s hard to debate his consistency this year, and he only got stronger as the year progressed.
Returning to His Throne
As the long-crowned King of Marvel, the release of Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite could be Justin’s biggest nemesis to glory at Capcom Cup. Not just a part of the Capcom Cup, he must also concentrate on succeeding in the Battle of the Stones tournament, which he received an invite for.
There’s zero question which game series has brought him more success. Both tournaments have a ton of acclaim attached to victory. The question comes down to focus. Will he be fighting harder in the game he’s worked hard all year to qualify for, or the one that he was handed an invite for, but loves more? This will be answered come Capcom Cup, for sure.
Matching Up and Stacking Up
Looking at the current standings, it appears that Justin will be facing GO1 first round. This could prove a difficult match-up for Justin, as both Ibuki and Menat can cause problems for Ed and Karin. While Karin against Ibuki isn’t the worst match-up, it can still be difficult. Ed against either character is problematic, effectively neutering his secondary. Karin can also struggle in the spacing game against Menat, which is something that Justin relies on. This makes his first round look bad from the start.
Let’s just say that Justin survives. There’s a wealth of players in the bracket that Justin has struggled against all year, including Punk, whom Justin has a losing record to by a long shot. Justin has constantly tested Punk’s reactions, only to see Punk pass every test. This shows some stubbornness in Justin to continue to try a failing strategy, but also shows that he hasn’t quite figured out enough to take it all the way in Anaheim.
He further has difficulties with his turtle approach to Karin facing up to Punk’s aggressive approach. We have thus seen him switching on the fly, utilizing both Chun-Li and Ed with no answer to Punk’s equation yet.
Justin has all the tools to do it, but the split in his attention may cause him to falter even more this year. Regardless of how long Justin has been in the game, everyone is prone to nagging doubts, and the pressure of not wanting to post another 0-2 record is probably hanging in the back of his mind.
While it’s easy to dismiss Justin and say that he will do so again, I believe he will finally break his cold snap to at least post one or two wins this year.
Check out our prior articles in the Capcom Cup 2017 Player Analysis series!
Additional source: XusesGB