This season of the Capcom Pro Tour was a virtual dogfight. With many new players making the cut into Capcom Cup this season, several heavy-hitters were left on the outside looking in. Further, some solid newer players just barely missed the cut as well.
Thankfully, most of them are taking their one shot at redemption in one of the most deadly pools this year: the Capcom Cup 2017 Last Chance Qualifier. While it is very hard to predict who will actually take the whole thing, this season has offered some people and stories that could seriously make Capcom Cup even more exciting. Let’s take a look at a few of my personal picks for making it out.
Grapht|Seon-woo “Infiltration” Lee (South Korea)
I know there’s going to be detractors on this one, but hear me out. Yes, he tanked hard after Evo 2016. Outside of a few Ranking events, he has had a relatively quiet 2017. He has had far more pressing issues in his life outside of the game, and even lost his Razer sponsorship.
But in the last month or two, we’ve seen more focus from Infiltration than before. He’s not used to being well beyond the cusp — he hasn’t been an afterthought in brackets since 2011 before he became an Evo champion. This, for him, is his chance for redemption. He’s been in Japan training specifically for winning this. He’s been practicing at home. I find it hard to believe that a fully-focused Infiltration can’t do this.
Qanba X Douyu|Zhuo-jun “Xiao Hai” Zeng (China)
My pick for top 3 last year fizzled out to back-to-back R. Mikas last year. Xiao Hai also had a disappointing 2017 in the game, and finished several spots off the cut this year.
However, we have seen glimpses of brilliance from him. He was able to defeat Tokido — fresh off the Evo championship — in August, in China. What tends to hinder him is study time — he focused a lot of time into KOFXIV in order to represent his country at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan, only to have a visa snafu leave him grounded in Beijing. He also suffers from a stagnant scene with bad online for Street Fighter V in his homeland.
He — like Infiltration — recently traveled to Japan to practice for the game. He has also hinted at using a pocket Rashid for some of his nagging match-ups. It is not outside the realm of possibility that Xiao Hai will show up sharp and find himself in Capcom Cup again.
Alienware|Naoki “Nemo” Nemoto (Japan)
We’ve talked about Dogura’s amazing Urien, but this guy is the original of the character. Most of the tech being used now stems from him, and he is still dangerous. He left a trail of tears in North America, falling primarily to players already qualified for Capcom Cup. But in this field, it’s really easy to pick him as a pick, as people still struggle with the creative play Urien players exude.
Grapht|Joe “MOV” Egami (Japan)
It is shocking for me to see MOV on the outside looking in. Twice making Evo top 8 with Chun-Li in both good and bad years for the character, he has shown that he has the passion to take this character to higher echelons. He has struggled to put a win on the map this year. He further was unable to pick up enough points in key events. But he has a good chance to make it in, if the bracket falls his way.
Brian “Brian_F” Foster (USA)
He has definitely been the second-best Balrog in the US right now, and quite possibly the world. He really started turning heads at Combo Breaker and hasn’t looked back. He fell slightly short at Red Bull Battle Grounds of capturing a slot, and this sort of thing sticks in your head until you rectify it. He’s got the character to make it work, and could possibly do so.
Broken Alliance|Marcus “The Cool Kid93” Redmond (USA)
This isn’t a joke, and neither is his Abigail. You saw mounds of players struggle with Abigail over the course of the season, and the character has a large swath of winnable match-ups due to his damage output, short V-Meter, and long health bar. While alucarD may have struck first blood with him, The Cool Kid has been the one to really show the character’s best attributes since.
He has momentum on his side as well after winning the Red Bull Battle Grounds LCQ, and a solid secondary in Rashid. He also has the power of diversion with his hype woman behind him, which can actually throw you off your game, if you allow her to! I don’t know if he’d be able to win the runback against Punk on the next day, but he’s at least a reasonable guess on making it out.
Check out our prior articles in the Capcom Cup 2017 Player Analysis series!