Red Bull and Team Method’s Olivier “Luffy” Hay just narrowly missed out on the top 8 of Capcom Cup last year. For him, it was a hard road only to find himself on the losing end. That failure made him more determined to end up on top this year.
With yet another berth into the event, will he put his loss last year aside and finally be the best in the world?
Last year, I commented on not only his affinity for large-breasted characters, but the striking similarities of Rose against R. Mika under the surface. One thing I mentioned was how safe Mika’s buttons are. That is still slightly true, despite some of the nerfs.
Luffy took full advantage of nearly every button Mika had, with everything outside of sweep being relatively safe. Losing the crouching fierce safety hurt, but he has still managed to optimize his play to work around it. He without question has made the character continue to work, and is likely the second-best Mika on the planet — maybe third, when NuckleDu brings her out.
Luffy has always been a player that has prided himself as one of the best in Europe. In the last two years, he has found his way into Capcom Cup by cutting his teeth on the best Europe has to offer. With the only international event he’s attended this year being Evo, he has made six top 8s out of the twelve European events he’s played in, and won one European online ranking event. He also had a solid showing at Evo 2017, making the top 48 of the field and showing he is a force to be reckoned with.
Off the CPT circuit, he recently wowed the competition in Japan at Red Bull’s Tower of Pride event. This is a pivotal tournament to do well in, as there was a solid contingent of Japanese players in attendance that he will have to contend with this weekend. Last year, I commented that he wasn’t fully tested against the rest of the world. This time, he has shown that to be untrue.
The problem is that Luffy has been streaky. Only winning an online ranking event is not the best indicator of confidence, and suggests that either he has confidence issues that are preventing him from winning events, or that Europe has him figured out. Does Luffy have patterns and tendencies that could come back to bite him in longer sets, which the entirety of Capcom Cup will be?
Tower of Pride was probably the turning point of the year for him. In other invitational events such as Red Bull Kumite and ELEAGUE, he was unable to capitalize and make it into the top 8. The latter event saw him fall to Xiao Hai whom he previously beat at Capcom Cup, and Red Bull Kumite saw him struggle as well.
Probably the most telling of how Luffy will do was his statements after Capcom Cup last year, where he argued that the wait time before playing exhausted him, causing him to perform badly. While they have made steps to address this issue, time will tell if that continues to be a problem at Capcom Cup this year.
I’m not sure where to place Luffy. On some days, he looks poised to do well, and on others, it looks like he’s banking on the next event to do well.
I’m usually wrong on estimates for him, and he thus becomes my Achilles’ heel to analyze. I would warrant a guess that he’ll make it to top 16, but suffer much the same fate as last year in falling short of top 8.
Check out our prior articles in the Capcom Cup 2017 Player Analysis series!