In the entirety of Street Fighter V’s lifespan at Capcom Cup, only one player has always been labeled as massive threat: Tokido has dominated the circuit for three straight years, always putting himself up there as one of the top seeds. In 2016, he found himself seeded second, playing a less-than-optimal character for him in Ryu. He routinely found himself in top 8 at every event he went to, only to find himself eliminated in two quick games — against DR Ray and Eita.
In 2017, now with his trademark Akuma, Tokido reprised his role as the #2 seed, and dominated the field. It was still ultimately not enough, with MenaRD coming out on top in Grand Finals.
The only thing that changed this year was that Echo Fox|Tokido has only gotten better. Now firmly holding to the top seed in Capcom Cup, will he be able to overcome everything to finally clinch a Capcom Cup title?
There is no way that people can sleep on Tokido anymore. While it was easy to dismiss him in the era of playing multiple titles as less likely to win any one title, his shift in focus to a singular title has made him the man to beat any time he comes to an event.
And people have seen this and said to themselves, “Challenge accepted.” Being the undisputed best always comes at a cost, and that cost is that you have painted a target onto your back, begging people to best you. Having that large of a target is quite the measure of a player, as it tests your mettle more than anyone else on the circuit. If players felt like they could make Tokido buckle under this pressure, few have come close; it seems as though this type of target on his back has only managed to strengthen Tokido, not only in his resolve, but his abilities.
While last year saw him exhausting a database full of Akuma tech, we haven’t seen as much originality from him recently. Rather, what we have seen is a near perfection of everything already at his disposal. This is not just about his gameplay — we have seen his mental fortitude strengthened more in this year than last year. We may be looking at the most complete player on the circuit that has ever existed, and it’s an amazing sight to behold.
The Murderface World Tour
Tokido is definitely the most well-traveled player this year. Having been across multiple continents this year, he basically replicated Punk’s amazing run in 2017. He captured three premier titles (Canada Cup, NorCal Regionals, and Tokyo Game Show) and two ranking events (Thaiger Uppercut and Battle Arena Melbourne). He also just happened to be runner-up at Evo 2018, in one of the most staggering runs to attempt to retain his title.
While Punk started to show signs of faltering after his Evo runner-up placement, Tokido was well prepared to deal with the loss, with two of those three Premier titles coming after losing at Evo. If we were looking for how he could deal with failure, he answered us with an exclamation point.
Tokido always seems well-poised for whatever comes up in the bracket. He has done a solid job of dispatching players left and right, and seems to only get better the further he goes in the bracket.
However, Canada Cup showed that the world is catching up to him. As evidenced in Grand Finals, Xiaohai managed to make it close — resetting the bracket then losing 3-2 in the final round of the reset. Tokido was not as efficient as he always seems to be, meaning that people could possibly be picking up on exactly how to beat him.
But that’s not the only issue on the table regarding his preparedness. Remember his demise against MenaRD in Capcom Cup last year? SEAM saw him nearly lose to Australian ROF’s Birdie in pools; a mere combo drop was what separated ROF from beating Tokido. Let’s also not forget that he fell short to Problem X’s M. Bison at Evo, or how he was put into Losers Bracket at Evo Japan to Japanese Cammy Powell.
It feels as though Tokido is always well prepared for the biggest threats — not only names, but characters — in tournament. But he sees himself struggle for players and characters that are less-expected in tournament scenarios. This could be detrimental coming into Capcom Cup because…
The Curse of the Top Seed
There is mathematically no way for Tokido to relinquish the top seed for Capcom Cup. With the Last Chance Qualifier, there is a high degree of likelihood Tokido will not be fully prepared for his very first opponent. There’s a realistic pool he could draw from to prepare for, but he would then focus far less on each and every person in the pool. With his inconsistency against unfamiliarity, this could be a problem — and every top seed at Capcom Cup since 2016 has faced this. In 2016, the top-seeded Infiltration lost his very first round against HumanBomb. In 2017, Punk lost to the LCQ winner Nemo. This could also be Tokido’s fate.
Let’s not ignore that extenuating factors could have caused the two upsets: Infiltration had been well off his game since winning Evo 2016, and the times he showed up at events saw him in a diminished capacity. Punk was on a confidence/results slide after losing at Evo 2017. Neither of these have happened to Tokido. He hasn’t stopped grinding since Evo, nor has he stopped winning. The random factor of the LCQ could affect him, but he’s less likely to have this happen than Punk or Infiltration, in my opinion.
The key match, however, will remain his first round match. He must do what others have failed to do in his seed: win. Should he do this, his stock rises through the rafters.
There are still some players that he has struggled with littered through the field, including Xiaohai, Problem X, and last year’s champion MenaRD. The difference factor will be if he prepared for Xiaohai, and whether he prepared for the less-familiar match-ups of Birdie and M. Bison this year. Should he do this, you’re looking at the Capcom Cup champion.