Red Bull Conquest has wrapped its nationwide call to Rise. Rally. Conquer. The second day of the Red Bull Conquest National Finals in Washington D.C. were a smashing success, with New York City claiming the title of top fighting game region in the United States. New York City emerged victorious and earned 52 points by the end of the evening, beating out other strong regions including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Chicago. With the winning region now determined, Victor “Punk” Woodley, Eli “LostSoul” Rabadad and Anthony “Mr.Whooppee” Castro have each earned a spot for Evo Japan 2019 taking place February 15-17 in Fukuoka.
For an overview of the event, please read on below — and check out the Red Bull Conquest National Finals smash.gg page for a full look at today’s results.
Day 2 of the Red Bull Conquest National Finals was a thrilling showcase of the nation’s most talented FGC players, with top 8 match-ups taking place across Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, Tekken 7 and Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2. Participants displayed skill and tenacity throughout the day in the hopes of helping their region win the Red Bull Conquest circuit.
Despite facing rigorous competition, New York City emerged victorious and was crowned the winner of the National Finals. New York City ended the tournament with 52 points, beating out second place winner San Francisco with 51 points and third place winner Los Angeles with 37 points.
New York City’s win was thanks in large part to Street Fighter athlete Victor “Punk” Woodley, who during a grand final reset swiftly beat last chance qualifier winner Alan “Nephew” Sun with a 3-1 victory in a crazy display of character knowledge during an unexpected Kolin mirror match. Punk was notably ecstatic for his two New York City counterparts in Tekken 7 and Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2, stating “I’m very happy for my teammates, this win is for them.” One of his teammates, Eli “LostSoul” Rabadad, was ultimately defeated 3-1 in the Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 grand final match against Hang “dot_Nova” Ren. While he didn’t win the Guilty Gear bracket, LostSoul was optimistic New York City would come out on top and in an interview after his win, urged amateur competitors in the FGC to “just keep pushing and don’t let your losses take you down!” In the Tekken 7 bracket, Jimmy “jimmyjtran” Tran won 3-0 against Joseph “Joey Fury” Bennett in the grand finals, however it was New York City’s Anthony “Mr.Whooppee” Castro who will be heading to Evo Japan. Mr.Whooppee went into the weekend “with a fighting mindset,” and is looking forward to Evo Japan.
Red Bull Conquest will host the Capcom Pro Tour North American Regional Final tomorrow, where the North American Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition champion will be crowned. The event will be streamed live on twitch.tv/capcomfighters beginning at 12:00 PM ET/9:00 AM PT. For a full overview of tomorrow’s stream schedule, please see below.
Sunday, November 18 – Day 3
Capcom Pro Tour North American Regional Final
12:00 PM: Capcom Pro Tour Regional Open Tournament Top 8
2:15 PM: Capcom North American Finals
7:00 PM: Day 3 Ends
Stream Link: https://www.twitch.tv/
We also some words in with the tournament organizer of Red Bull Conquest, Jimmy “ShinJN” Nguyen on-site at the event.
DaFeetLee: Red Bull Conquest is coming to a close. How do you think the event went?
ShinJN: I think it was fantastic. The goal of Conquest was to cultivate the FGC and bring the players together as one to represent their region, and we achieved that goal. It was fantastic seeing the players on the same stage doing interviews, shaking hands, and playing for their region. A lot of the players did not see their regional teammates for the first time until Conquest: NuckleDu didn’t even know his own teammates for Conquest before the event.
DaFeetLee: This year, Red Bull Conquest is taking place in Washington D.C. Is there a reason behind this location?
ShinJN: I was not a part of those discussions but if I had to assume, discussions happened and Red Bull chose Washington D.C. because Washington D.C. is getting into esports and the Entertainment and Sports Arena never had an esports event, so Red Bull Conquest would be the first one taking place there. It’s a really cool space in terms of build and infrastructure.
DaFeetLee: Do you guys plan to do this event again next year?
ShinJN: I haven’t been part of the discussions but I hope it continues. I think the team aspect of the tournament is so important. We have done individual events for so long and I think there needs to be change to promote teamwork and camaraderie.
DaFeetLee: What do you think about the format this year?
ShinJN: The previous year, we had the Red Bull Proving Grounds and Battlegrounds. This year, we decided to do three games. There are 3 main genres in the FGC: 3D, 2D, and anime. These genres have their own communities and while there is a lot of cross pollination, there is not a lot of collaborative work between the communities to play together. We thought it would be a very good idea to come up with an event that had a team aspect with a champion for each game.
When can players really talk to players from other genres? Playing in a team with players from other genres brings a lot of inner collaborativeness that would not be there otherwise. We initially announced that it would be a true team tournament where regions would face against each other in a 3v3 format but that changed due to some publisher agreements (we had to change to the event to three individual brackets). In the current format, you have to play in an individual bracket for the game you qualified in and earn points based on your wins in winners and losers bracket.
DaFeetLee: You guys chose Guilty Gear Xrd as the anime game. Why not Dragon Ball FighterZ or BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle?
ShinJN: When we looked at the games, we chose the games that really started it all. For 2D, Street Fighter started it all. For 3D, Tekken started it all. And for anime, Guilty Gear started it all. If we want to go grass roots and start from the ground up, those three games were the best choices.
DaFeetLee: This event had a lot of competitors for all 3 games, but I saw that there weren’t a lot of spectators. What should you guys do to attract more spectators?
ShinJN: In the FGC, we have a lot of saturation in terms of events. Also, this weekend, we were going up against DreamHack Atlanta. I believe that had some effect on our attendance. DreamHack having way more games at their event naturally attracts way more of the casual audience. That was our battle this weekend: our dates clashed. For the future, we will try to work around dates that are more free.
DaFeetLee: Have you talked to players about how they feel about the tournament?*
ShinJN: They love the team aspect of it. I haven’t heard much ideas for improvement because they are still digesting it. They love that Red Bull does events. They feel like this is how FGC events should be done. I think in terms of improvements, a lot of people were confused about the tournament format rules. We can always improve that. We could not really foresee publisher agreements so we will keep those in mind for next time.
*[When I spoke to the players, they really loved the amount of casual setups that were in the venue. At other FGC events, that is usually a big problem for players: there aren’t enough casual setups for warm up or training. Red Bull Conquest opened its doors at 10:00 AM and allowed the players to warm up/train for 2 hours before the brackets began. In addition, there were 32 stations for SFV and 16 stations for GGXrd and Tekken. The players got to play to their heart’s content until the venue closed! However, the players did comment about the lack of food options around the venue.]
DaFeetLee: My favorite part about Red Bull events is the entry fee. I paid ~$20 for 3 days at this amazing event. Why are the entry fees so low compared to other FGC events?
ShinJN: It’s not really about the money for Red Bull. It’s about the cultivation of athletes and players. It’s the same for the FGC. Red Bull wants to give them opportunities, give them the avenues to grow, and see how everything progresses from there. Nashville and Minnesota don’t have big FGC communities like New York and Los Angeles and we wanted to give them the opportunity to grow. As you know, a lot of people have been complaining about the lack of opportunities in the FGC on Twitter. Red Bull Conquest hits a lot of those points: it gives experience in understanding how events should be done, working with a professional team, and getting into an engaging experience with the hosts + the audience + the players.