Street Fighter V has been surrounded in controversy since its release back in February 2016. A PS4 console exclusive that wouldn’t exist without the funding and support from Sony. Capcom is still in the middle of its comeback to being referred to as “Capgod” instead of the developer and publisher of disappointing big budget games of the past decade. The hype for SFV was huge, but despite being a technically sound game, it suffered through many flaws including lacking game modes, delayed DLC, and the installing of a rootkit on the PC versions. Throwing all of the drama aside, SFV still draws the best and most competitive players, 32 of which competed at Capcom Cup 2016 in Anaheim, California on December 2nd and 3rd.

All 32 players are big names in the scene who qualified for the prestigious tournament via a win in a regional finals event or global and regional point leader boards. Essentially you have to be really fucking good to get invited to this tournament and compete for a $120,000 first place prize (out of a total pot size of $350,000).

This, like most major fighting game tournaments, was a double elimination tournament meaning you have to lose twice before being dropped from the playing field. Once a fighter loses they are placed in a losers bracket competing against the other players who have lost. This leads to separate mini tournaments for the losers and winners, and the last player remaining in each meet in the grand finals with the burden on the victor of the losers bracket being assigned the task of winning 2 games in a row. I felt it was important to poorly explain how this tournament is structured to highlight how unbelievable it was for several high profile players to get eliminated so early.

Infiltration, Gamerbee, Justin Wong, Diago, and Momochi were all eliminated almost immediately. These five are like the Yankee’s of the 1920’s, huge recognizable faces of the fighting game community, especially in Street Fighter. After the community’s best beat up on each other, the top eight was made up of GO1, Kazunoko, Yukadon, Fuudo, Haitani, Ricki Ortiz, NuckleDu and MOV.

This is where I started watching, the final 8 on Saturday, December 3rd via the Capcom twitch stream. This was the same weekend as PSX, the Playstation Experience or as I like to call it, the Playstation E3, where new game information is revealed. Marvel vs. Capcom 4, the newest installment in the popular fighting game franchise was announced during these events.

I had the top 8 stream on in the back ground while I watched College Football and UFC, so it didn’t receive my full attention, but I did notice a few things. The intro from Mike Ross was painfully awkward. He gave his “I have been in this scene for a long time and the industry has grown so much” speech in a slow, waiting for applause manner. It is awesome that the eSport is so huge now and that many people have been involved since day one (I wrote about this during EVO) but this intro missed its mark of setting the stage for top eight. The remaining players were then introduced and made the walks to the stage also looking uncomfortable and awkward.

There were several conversations between the multiple commentating teams and some technical difficulties early on. But once the matches started, things became exciting. Ricki Ortiz made it to grand finals via the losers bracket to face the dominant NuckleDu. A lot was made out of the fact that both players are American, surviving a loaded pool of great Asian players who are known to dictate these big tournaments. The nationalistic crowd went crazy cheering on the Americans who upset Asian players in the two day tournament.

NuckleDu crushed Ricki in the finals winning the massive pot at just 20 years old. Ricki received a much smaller pot of $60,000 and Kazunoko received $25,000 with his 3rd place finish ($15,000, $10,000, and $5,000 was awarded to 4th, 5th and 6th place respectively).

This tournament was re-aired on Sunday night on ESPN2, further building on the credibility and power of the esport being broadcast on a massive sports network. Drama, upsets, and lots of media attention will make this year’s Capcom Cup one to remember.

Final standings are below:

Place Player Alias Characters
1st Du Dang Liquid|NuckleDu R. Mika, Guile
2nd Ricki Ortiz EG|Ricki Ortiz Chun-Li
3rd Ryota Inoue GGP|Kazunoko Cammy
4th Tatsuya Haitani YD.MJS|Haitani Necalli
5th Keita Ai RZR|Fuudo R. Mika
5th Joe Egami MOV Chun-Li
7th Atsushi Fujimura YD|Yukadon Nash
7th Goichi Kishida CO|Go1 Chun-Li
9th Zhuojun Zeng Qanba|Xiao Hai Cammy
9th Olivier Hay RB|Luffy R. Mika
9th Kun Xian Ho RZR|Xian F.A.N.G
9th Arman Hanjani BX3|Phenom Necalli
13th Daigo Umehara BST|Daigo Umehara Ryu
13th Nathan Massol MD|Mister Crimson Laura, Dhalsim
13th Hiroyuki Nagata GW|Eita Ken
13th Ryan Ramirez PG|Filipino Champ Dhalsim
17th Kenryo Hayashi Mago Karin
17th Naoto Sako HORI|Sako Chun-Li
17th Miky Chea WFX|Samurai Ryu
17th Ray Rosario GAM|DR Ray Vega
17th Yusuke Momochi EG|Momochi Ken
17th Bruce Hsiang ZW|GamerBee Necalli
17th Kenneth Bradley EG|K-Brad Cammy
17th Jonny Cheng HuomaoTV|HumanBomb Chun-Li
25th Seon-woo Lee RZR|Infiltration Nash
25th Thomas Proença F3|Brolynho Necalli
25th Chris Tatarian DNL|Chris Tatarian Ken
25th Benjamin Simon PxP|Problem X Alex
25th Hajime Taniguchi Tokido Ryu
25th Julio Fuentes FOX|Julio Fuentes Ken
25th Justin Wong EG|Justin Wong Karin
25th Ryan Hart Ryan Hart Ken, Guile