Arman “Phenom” Hanjani was far and away Europe’s best player in 2016. While known in the region for a while, he was able to let the whole world know his strength with a huge string of top 8s on his way to a ninth-place finish at Capcom Cup.
2017 has been another very strong year for Bx3|Phenom, as he has once again found his way to the biggest event of the year. Will 2017 be the year that he finds his place at the top of the heap?
Unleashing His Final Form
Last year, the Norwegian was the most consistent Necalli on the circuit. He was also one of the most disrespectful — one of the kindest ways to describe his play style. That hasn’t changed. He continues to play a very aggressive game, also putting players into situations where they’re scared to push buttons. He is great at setting up throw loops, but has also become better at making them think he’ll do so. This allows him to scare them into jumping so that he’ll get anti-airs, inevitably scaring them into bigger risks in trying to escape his pressure.
He’s also able to maintain momentum. Like Haitani, he isn’t scared to avoid using V-Trigger. Last year saw him ride V-Trigger for all it’s worth, but with the changing meta, he has now been milking Necalli’s strong V-Reversal as well. As far as well-rounded Necallis go, it’s currently a dead heat between Phenom and Haitani. Capcom Cup could well prove the difference.
Hot on the Trail
One thing that Phenom has done is stay strong within the standings. Currently he is still ranked within the top 15 of the SRK Rankings, but beyond that, his tournament results speak well for his abilities. In ten events, he finished in the top 8 six times, with one being a win in Germany in a field that featured fellow Capcom Cup finalists Problem X and Big Bird. Off the CPT circuit, he also finished third in a stacked bracket at Northern Arena Knockout, fourth in China’s LAN Story Cup, and won yet another event in France, which featured Problem X falling short of victory. He also finished just shy of toppling Punk’s dominance at ELEAGUE.
When you look even deeper in his results, only one event in 2017 that he has played in has seen him finish outside of top 16 — and that was Evo, where he just narrowly missed out. If you want to talk about results, Phenom has them in spades.
Wins are Key
The one thing that you could even say about Phenom in 2016 against Phenom in 2017, is that he had more wins in the previous year — two instead of one. That could almost be negligible if you don’t consider that one of his wins was in a Premier event, and the only event he won in 2017 on the tour was a Ranking event. This could simply be that he traveled more last year and saw a better chance at results. Remember that Phenom wasn’t necessarily projected to win DreamHack Summer last year when he did. This means that people had far less initiative to actually research his play prior to the event, and thus weren’t as prepared for what he was bringing to the table.
It’s quite possible that Phenom’s fame has been a thorn in his side this season, with more people prepared when they know that he’s there. This may be why he performed well against Japanese players in Japan and throughout all of 2016, but falters now. He has struggled against the likes of Momochi and Yukadon, with Nemo, Kazunoko, and Haitani also taking victories over him. Given that so many of these players are names he’ll have to prepare for in Anaheim, he’ll need to have made adjustments prior to arriving this week.
I never really count Phenom out. He has the work ethic to make the adjustments, and he always seems to come through when it matters. Whether he has the mettle to win or not is unseen, but it would be a disservice to him to count him out of at least a top 16 performance.
Check out our prior articles in the Capcom Cup 2017 Player Analysis series!
Additional source: RektScrub