Capcom Cup 2020: Xian's CPT Win Shows The Strength Of South East Asia
Xian was a favorite to make the Capcom cup and while he duly delivered, it was not an easy ride
Kun 'Xian' Ho emerged as the winner of the latest CPT South East Asia tournament after the most exciting set that I have seen so far. While Xian was the overwhelming favorite to book a place at next year's Capcom Cup, his journey to the top was certainly not a piece of cake as he battled some of the most talented Street Fighter V players to win.
Xian is now the 12th player eligible for the Capcom Cup, and anyone else hoping to qualify from South East Asia just lost their last chance. As you probably know, Idom, the winner of Capcom Cup 2019, is an automatic qualifier while 18 others are left to battle it out and win their blocks. The final spot is given to a player voted by the fans, and his addition will bring the number of participants to 20 for the Capcom Cup.
Also, watching those fights really left me with the impression that South East Asia has some of the most remarkable fighting game talents. It was a long weekend of Street Fighter V action over in the Capcom Fighters YouTube channel, but at the end of a satisfying event, I was left with a couple of thoughts about what transpired and how it affects the FGC as a whole.
Jedidiah Jimenez, better known as Potato09, was interviewed just before the top 16 commenced, and he turned out to be just the nicest guy. He was soft-spoken, intelligent, and incredibly humble. So, you can imagine my shock when I actually got to see him play. Potato is a completely different animal when he uses R.Mika, and the level of disrespect he had for opponents was a joy to behold. His Mika's style seemed pretty straightforward: suffocate opponents and lock them in a corner, but opponents struggled to deal with his tactics. His first match against Angryeggtart went by with little incident for Potato as he battered his adversary to submission, barely letting him do anything. His next game against H-tail was a lot more problematic. H-tail whipped out the Karin and pushed Potato to the edge, but he clutched the game with some nifty footwork. H-tail went for a switch and brought out his Juri, but Potato still won the game with his signature aggressive style. Potato's run ended when he came up against Thum 'Mind RPG' Homchuen as he lost to the latter's M.Bison, which is a great segway to the next interesting bit.
Just as with last week, where I noted that there were a lot of Uriens, this tournament also featured quite a number of Bison players. While this is not scientifically proven, it seems that certain regions have preferences for some characters. For instance, last week with the EMEA, there were many Urien players, but there weren't any in the South East Asia side, which I found interesting considering how well thought of Urien is as a player. On the other hand, I noticed up to three Bison players, and it makes me wonder; why are some regions drawn to certain characters? Could it be nationality? (Bison is from Thailand), but this argument might be seen as weak since Urien's birthplace is unknown. Maybe if more Japanese players use Ryu and Honda, the theory could carry more weight.
The last Nash
Nash is an underrated character in Street Fighter, in my opinion, but very few people seem to share this view. This is evident by the low number of pros that use him. Therefore, I was so excited when Christian Aron Jonathan Manurung (AronManurung) rocked up to the completion with a Nash. Not only that, but he claimed to be the 'last Nash' ( a pretty bold claim), but Aron showed himself a capable holder of that title as he played with the speed of thought and discipline that you would expect of a high-level Nash player. He was knocked into losers' early on by Oswald but then proceeded to embark on a really impressive comeback campaign. His match against Kiteorca, in particular, caught the eye with how technical it was. Orca was using Honda, and the two kept trying to read each other. It made for a pretty entertaining watch with Aron taking it at the end. Though he lost to Oswald, his is a name I will remember for some time yet.
Bravery lives up to his name
Gavrel 'Bravery' Saw came into this tournament with the reputation of being Xian's disciple, but by the end of the day, he deserves all the respect he has gathered for himself. Using Cammy (with a sick zombie costume), he completely smothered his opponents with relentless attacks as he won game after game. His efforts were rewarded with a place in the winner's final, but he lost to eventual winner Xian. Not done yet, he won against Oswald in the losers' final to set up another date with Xian in the grand final. If anyone was expecting a walkover, they were sorely disappointed as we were treated to a festival of Street Fighter excellence as Bravery reset the bracket and pushed Xian to the very edge. He lost, but he can hold his head high, knowing he is one of the most impressive players in this Capcom pro tour. Even more impressive is how 'brave' a lot of his decisions were. He knew when to throw a mixup, when to get opponents in the corner, and even showed the ability to rein in his game when necessary. If I get to vote for a player to make it to the next Capcom cup, odds are it will be Bravery.
Xian takes it all
Capcom Pro Tour is the last chance qualifier for those who hope to make it to the Capcom tournament, making every game an intense slugfest as the participants understand that they only have one shot. Xian understood this maybe even better than most as he has so far never missed a Capcom Cup. Billed as the overwhelming favorite before the weekend, Xian played each game like a champion, but he was made to work for his victory. As mentioned above, he eventually won out against Bravery, but what stood out to me was his interview afterward. Xian has proven to be a model member of the FGC as his Versus series acts as a showcase for the best South East Asia has to offer. It wasn't lost on anyone that his disciples, Brandon and Bravery, did so well in the pro tour. Also, the top four best-placed participants of the Capcom Pro Tour were from Singapore, which further highlights the excellent job the likes of Xian are doing in the community.
Next week will see another set of players try to make their way to next Spring's showpiece, and with another competitor confirmed for the tourney, I am literally bursting with excitement.