With tomorrow being the day of Capcom Cup’s Last Chance Qualifier, expect a lot of fireworks. Last year proved to be just as exciting as Capcom Cup itself, with Nemo not only winning but surging his way into top 8 of the actual event’s bracket.
While Nemo’s victory may be big shoes to fill, he has shown that this qualifying slot is not one to be taken lightly. In fact, so strong is this berth that Capcom took measures to prevent the number one seed from being at a disadvantage by having to play the last chance qualifier winner.
So with that introduction out of the way, who will be the one this year who finds himself in the main bracket? Let’s look at the players whom I think have the best shot.
Bruce “GamerBee” Hsiang – Taiwan
GamerBee is not in Capcom Cup yet, and it’s not for lack of effort. Perhaps if he wasn’t the TO of TWFighter Major and had one more chance to scoop points there, it would’ve been a different story. This is someone that is hard to overlook. His Cammy may be on the same road as Mago’s, but he is still playing a character that has comfortable ranges to a former Adon player in SFIV. He’s definitely worth a look.
Chia-Chen “ZJZ” Tseng – Taiwan
Yes, another Taiwanese player. ZJZ may have the “I don’t even play this game!” option select down on Street Fighter V… but truth be told, for someone who barely takes this game seriously, he does well. His Menat has gotten some serious looks, with Punk actually footing the bill to bring him out for this.
In one of his few forays into the Capcom Pro Tour, he made top 8 at Tokyo Game Show. He also skated dangerously close to top 8 at SEAM as well. Remember that Menat was within sniffing distance of a win at LCQ last year in the hands of Infiltration, so I wouldn’t sleep on ZJZ at all.
Ryo “Dogura” Nozaki – Japan
I seriously thought Dogura didn’t care about SFV anymore. Having set his sights on Dragon Ball FighterZ over the year, he still put himself in a decent position coming into Canada Cup for the Capcom Pro Tour, but had his run cut short by Fuudo. His Urien is still strong, but he just played a more abbreviated schedule of Street Fighter this year. The fact that he’s even showing up shows that getting into Capcom Cup matters, so I can’t overlook him.
Joe “MOV” Egami – Japan
His lack of travel killed his chances of getting in outright. While Chun-Li always has an uphill battle, it’s made even more uphill by his sparse movement through the year, and then further compounded by the fact that he did better at 3rd Strike than Street Fighter V at Canada Cup — his last chance at points. But yet, MOV is still always hanging around as a threat. It’s still a possibility he could eke his way in.
Gustavo “801 Strider” Romero – United States
This is my dark horse pick for sure. His Laura made a lot of sense given his attachment to Abel and her being the closest thing to him. But when you see his G, you have to have a man-in-the-mirror moment and realize that this is the character he needed his whole life. Few people have seen a G of his caliber, and this could very well be what he needs to take this entire tournament.
There’s a few other sleepers that could possibly take it, such as Smug, Samurai, and John Takeuchi. But the five above are who I truly believed are poised for a big run in the LCQ bracket, so be prepared!
Verloren has had quite the rocky year. Once the highest-ranking Cammy on the Capcom Pro Tour, he subsequently went 0-2 at Capcom Cup last year. Ever since, he’s had issues capitalizing when need be. He finds himself the last person entering Capcom Cup via points: will this affect his performance?
Here’s the deal: from what I’ve seen, there’s not much that has changed on Verloren’s play or approach. Much like NL, he continues the aggressive approach. This is one thing about Korean Cammy play that seems to be a shared trait: aggression. This rushdown approach served him well across the Capcom Pro Tour in 2017. In 2018, it turned out well as well, getting him through to five top 8s across 2018.
Not as Potent
But what this evidenced is the fact that players have begun to catch on. Only in two of those top 8s did he crack the top half. This means that where his counterpart NL has done well at always adapting to what top players attempt on him, Verloren has done less well. This also could allude to patterns that top players are beginning to catch on to.
This could be something that he’s begun to address. It’s unknown if he has, but he could have very well made some major adjustments.
Further of a Dive
But to make matters worse, all of those top 8 finishes were prior to Evo. During Evo and after, his performance continued to deteriorate. His best finish after this point was top 16, and just barely at that twice. Beyond that his performance has suffered. He also traveled far less in 2018 than 2017, which is another big detriment to his success. Had he gotten out there more, his points may have been higher, and he would have a higher seed going into this.
Because of all of this, he now has found himself against Justin Wong. Menat tends to be problematic for Cammy, especially one whose only gear is to push forward. While Verloren has a 2-1 record on the Capcom Pro Tour against Menat, Justin’s turtle playstyle will most certainly be a brick wall that Verloren will have a hard time breaking through — if he manages to get in at all.
Of course, if Verloren gets in, then that becomes a major issue for Justin. But that’s if he gets in, and Justin has faced enough Cammy players to know how to keep one out.
Anyone rooting for Verloren to make an improvement on his unexciting first Capcom Cup are probably going to be disappointed. Let’s not forget that if it weren’t for the removal of Infiltration from the event that Verloren wouldn’t be in this tournament at all.
While even being on the bubble to get in if someone drops out is still a feat, it’s not as amazing as getting in outright. And there’s been nothing stellar from Verloren that hints that he will make a major run at Capcom Cup this year.
Mikado Arcade’s Street Fighter Carnival 12 is a multi-game tournament series designed to promote high-level gameplay in a wide variety of legacy FGC titles. We’re well into a month of arcade battles and the action isn’t slowing down — here’s two more VODs, featuring Samurai Shodown II and The Last Blade!
You can follow the action of SFC12 by subscribing to Mikado’s official YouTube channel. For the night owls in the US, you can even try to catch them when they livestream.
No one could have been happier when Abigail was released than Atlas Bear|StormKUBO. Famously making his mark within Ultra Street Fighter IV as a Hugo main, he struggled to find his footing in the competitive landscape of Street Fighter V with Alex.
People shouldn’t be surprised at his success this season, after his stunning performances at Capcom Cup Last Chance Qualifier last year and Evo Japan. So will he be able to maul his way through the bracket in 2018?
One thing that StormKUBO is known for is using big characters with mobility and good buttons. This was evidenced by his early Street Fighter IV pick of Rufus, and his subsequent switch to Hugo. In Street Fighter V, this started with Alex, and then Abigail. While the former in Street Fighter V struggled because of his buttons, Abigail has those in spades.
This is why he has been dangerous. He loves to have long-reaching normals, and good confirms that deal a lot of damage. He has also been heavily innovative in his conversions off of hit confirms, which makes him a very dangerous foe.
He’s also one of the best at making it very hard to get away once he gets the momentum going. Obviously it’s really hard to get out of Abigail’s sweet spot once he’s in it, but StormKUBO finds himself in that spot more often than not. It’s just the mound of experience he has in using the character — and other characters of the like — and how he makes people sweat in his approach.
More Counter-picks to Go Around
While Itazan may have issues with some of the more traditional Abigail counterpicks — Menat, Guile, Rashid to name a few — StormKUBO has dealt with more, primarily due to character unfamiliarity. The most famous example being GamerBee’s usage of Necalli at NorCal Regionals. While some of it makes sense on paper, the V-Skill which could be used to keep Abigail out was not the biggest factor for how GamerBee won this.
More or less, StormKUBO lost a poking game that Abigail should not be losing to Necalli. And more often than not, you will see StormKUBO lose sets you just couldn’t foresee him losing to. Whether it’s unfamiliarity or nerves, somethings going wrong.
Can’t Run Away
What makes this worse is that much like Itazan, StormKUBO doesn’t really have a counter-pick he can bank on. If he were to switch to Alex at all, it would actually be to his detriment to run a far worse character with more liability on mobility than Abigail. Nor would you really expect a surprise counter-pick of one of the top 5 to come out of him, or even the higher tier pick of Bison that Problem X utilizes. This presents problems for any big body player who shows up on the scene.
With all of that said, StormKUBO actually has a better bracket situation than his Abigail counterpart. He faces off against NL first, who has a poor record against Abigails. He also has yet to lose against NL.
The next round could be more difficult. Daigo already has the advantage in picking Guile. Depending on the stubbornness of Punk, he could have the advantage by picking Chun-Li. So while StormKUBO could flirt with a top 8 finish, he may not get there.
Despite seeing a bit of a fall from grace following some increased damage scaling and startup on some key normals in last August’s Dragon Ball FighterZ balance patch, the latest update actually slightly improved the personification of perfection by increasing the initial hitbox on his 2S, as well as making it blow the opponent back on hit. Though this seems like a very minor and inconsequential quality-of-life change on paper, it has actually granted Dr. Gero’s greatest creation access to a new Sparking Blast loop that can be performed when he has foes cornered or is even in the corner himself.
As rooflemonger explains, the new combo can build around 3 bars of Ki, can be start off of a very match-practical starter in his 6M overhead, and can be looped as long as hitstun decay will allow, but will generally allow 3 reps of 2S. Cell can also perform the sparking loop while he is in the corner, due to his Perfect Attacks having slight invulnerability to air attacks. For a full visual demonstration of the loop, complete with inputs displayed, check out rooflemonger’s video below.
Momochi is now the lone representative of Kolin. While she may have had a strong start early in the season, the character’s popularity at the latter half of the season waned. But with his ability to play the character, he has earned a Capcom Cup berth yet again… Will this year be different than last?
Let It Go
Last year saw Momochi in the midst of a character crisis. Bringing out Zeku and Bison in Winners Bracket, he put his back to the wall and ran Ken all the way through Losers Bracket. The result was a disappointing top 16 finish for the former Capcom Cup champion.
One of the things that Momochi was famously chided for by Punk was that he should pick a “real” character: someone whose deficiencies didn’t put him at a disadvantage. Momochi did so with Kolin, whom he was able to use to create the very aggressive style he was known for while also using amazing reactions to cause people to be afraid to push buttons against him. His usage of parries and mixups has made her very dangerous in his hands.
The Unsponsored Assist
I think one thing that surprisingly works in Momochi’s favor is that he famously lost his sponsorship with Echo Fox near the end of the season. While it can be demoralizing to lose a sponsorship, for Momochi this could be a blessing in disguise. The pressure is off to prove yourself in front of your sponsor. Now it’s about just playing for yourself.
Many top athletes always feel like they play better when they don’t feel any major pressure to win. Some of the best underdog stories come out of just going out there and doing your best, and being shocked at your best being better than everyone else’s. Certainly, Momochi hasn’t been winning lately, but being able to just play for himself could be a benefit for him that he hasn’t had since signing with Evil Geniuses in 2010.
The Flip Side
The problem with that pressure coming off could be that Momochi does exactly what he did last year, and use Capcom Cup to experiment with new characters. He no longer feels like he has to prove himself, which could make him even more loose in his choices. This is something he has done throughout his career. 2014 saw him using Cody, Juri, and Ken all in Evo top 8, making his choices more erratic. It was only 2015 onward that saw him more steadfast in his picks until last year changed that.
Any evidence you need that Momochi could knee-jerk back to his old main — or anyone else, for that matter — would be on display at SoCal Regionals against Chris Tatarian. While running the mirror may have been a respect thing, it’s that lack of cutthroat attitude from Momochi that makes me wary.
To top it off, his school and his newly founded esports team shows how many coals he has on the fire to begin with. Competing is starting to take a back seat. He’s still a loose cannon that will be fun to watch, but he’s definitely a long shot at the title.
Itabashi Zangief started off the season with ranks 1-10 of Top Ten Anime Betrayals of All Time. Having for years been a steadfast Zangief main, the massive nerfs the character saw in Season 3 forced his hand in switching to Abigail. For the most part, he has stood pat on his switch.
The character certainly helped him get into Capcom Cup. Now will he be able to reprise his role in the top 8 with a big body?
One of the most exciting things about watching Itazan play last year was how aggressive his Zangief was. Well, when you take that aggression and multiply it, then you get Abigail.
This is one of the reasons why Itabashi Zangief’s transition to Abigail has been so smooth. He has few problems getting in, while also hitting like a truck any time he gets a touch. He also adds a few additional mixups beyond what Zangief ever had. This has been a great thing for Itabashi Zangief, who has always been able to condition people to fall for the few mixups that Zangief did have. The ability to do this in a myriad of ways has made him especially dangerous.
Big Body, Big Problems
The problem is that with a big body character, you run into so many problems. While Itabashi Zangief has done well with the character, the problems are inherent. Characters like Rashid do well, given his multi-hitting projectiles cause issues with Abigail getting in, while its upward arc also shuts down his air game, where the character has jump arc issues. Zoners also still reasonably well, with Guile holding down the fort very well.
This is reasonably what we can expect in his very first round, and he’s paired up against NuckleDu. While Du has lost to Itazan this year, one could expect that his Guile will be prepared to go up against him now — or at the very least, He’ll bring out G to cover the neutral at the beginning of the match, then level up in order to deal with the end game to out-hit Abigail with his V-Trigger I.
But even worse is the army of Menats that Itazan could face… he’s only beaten one out of seven. While he may have time for that — unless of course he ends up having one in his way in Losers Bracket — he still has to get through possibly Akuma, Rashid, Kolin, all with decent multi-hitting and zoning moves that can cause Abigail problems. Given his narrow win-rates against all of them, save for Kolin (a character we haven’t seen him face) this could be an ugly road for Itazan.
He’s got a character that can plow through people, provided he gets in. Against characters that make him struggle in that respect, the only character he can switch to is a character that suffers in the same regard. For him to also be facing one difficult character right out the gate makes me pessimistic about his chances.
It’s hard to count Itazan out, but the odds are he doesn’t make top 8 based on the road he has ahead.
When Street Fighter II first introduced a unique cast of 8 distinct playable characters back in 1991, Capcom created an inevitable power gap between the fighters, as their unique and individual gameplay styles meant that they could not all be truly equal in power when matched up against one another. As natural competitive spurt began to grow among the community, players began to try and decide which characters were the absolute best in the game, giving birth to character rankings known as tier lists.
Though lists are ideally created with the use of a calculated and researched match-up chart, displaying which warriors have the best and worst individual spread across the entire cast, most players simply create them off of personal feeling and power estimation — making them fallible, since it is not always based off pure battle data.
Norvil examines what determines a match-up score, as well as using titles such as Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Super Street Fighter II Turbo to explain the differences between games with both tight and spread-out gaps in character strength, as well as advising players on how they should approach tier lists and theory in order to use them constructively.
You can see the full video below. (Upcoming Episode 20 of EFG will focus on which type of controller to use for your favorite fighting game.)
In addition to the very long list of character changes — including an answer to the vocal outcry over things like Azwel’s backdash and Ivy’s step-killing 2A+G — there’s some interesting changes to system mechanics, as well. Perhaps most notably, a hold-over glitch from SoulCalibur V is finally getting fixed: it was possible to buffer sidestep inputs during CE startups and have all the sidesteps come out after the Super Flash. This famously made Astaroth’s command grab CE worthless, but if the patch notes are to be believed, this’ll be no longer the case.
For those patiently waiting for SouCalibur VI’s second guest character, it looks like you won’t have to wait much longer: NieR: Automata‘s 2B is set to arrive in the game on December 18, 2018.
The announcement was made via the game’s official Twitter account. 2B will arrive in SoulCalibur VI as part of the game’s version 1.10 patch, alongside some balance changes. In addition to this, a second patch to version 1.11 is also set to be released in the near future, and is set to bring more gameplay changes as well.
In the meantime, check out these screenshots of 2B, and her alternate color, nicknamed “2P”.