The Easter Europe and Middle East Capcom Pro Tour Qualifiers didn't show us much that we didn't already know
With the emergence of Angry Bird as the winner of the Capcom Pro Tour 2020 EMEA tournament, we now have our 11th entry into the Capcom Cup slated to take place next year. The competition has been chock-full of exciting matchups and some incredible players. I was particularly excited to watch the EMEA tournament as Europe isn't a region I am super familiar with, and I came out of it with some players that I will be excited to watch in the future.
As is the norm after every tournament, here is a rundown of the most exciting incidents that took place.
The top 16 tournament of the Capcom Pro Tour for the EMEA wasn't as exciting as I initially figured. While there were a lot of talented players on display, there wasn't much in terms of surprises. In fact, it was so bad that 11 of the 12 matches I watched ended in 2-0 wins for the victors, such was the dominance of the top players. The likes of Angry Bird and Big Bird practically steamrolled their way into the top 8, destroying all opponents in their way. There were relatively easy wins for White Ash and Duwactik with things only getting interesting in the top 8, where games got tighter, and margins were slimmer.
Now, the top 8 of the Pro Tour 2020 was such a sight to behold. The Birds (Angry and Big) were made to work for their victories against White Ash and Duwactik, and there were basically no easy wins from this point on. More importantly, the losers' bracket was an absolute slugfest with players making use of all their Street Fighter V skills in the hunt for victory. A lot of the fights were notable, for example, the incredible fight between Papoi from Russia and Hydramarine from Turkey. The former possesses a mean Laura, while the latter was one of the many Uriens on display. The fight was frantic and gritty, but Hydramarine held on to win at the end.
The Laura-Urien match came up again in the fight between Lohi and DrGulag, and while the latter was incredibly skillful with his aggressive Laura and sudden grabs, Lohi's quality shone through, and he was able to win the set.
In sharp contrast to the NA Capcom Pro Tour tournament, there were so many Uriens on display; I found it hard to keep track. Interestingly, all the Uriens were of high quality with Duwactik's and Hydramarine's really catching the eye in particular. The two eventually faced off in the loser's quarter-final, and I have to say, that was one of the most invigorating games of Street Fighter V I have ever watched. It had everything: intriguing, skill, drama, and of course, a winner. Duwactik came out on top and went all the way to the Grand-Final.
Speaking of the Russian, this was the first time I ever got to watch him in action, but he really gave a good account of himself. While he lost out to Angry Bird in the Winners Semifinal, he fought back valiantly all the way to the Grand-Final and was close to claiming a spot at Capcom Cup 2020. His fight with Hydramarine was notable, and as mentioned before, will go down as an epic for me. Both players picked Urien and Hydramarine raced to a 2-0 lead. As it looked like Duwactik was down and out, he showed some impossible resilience to stage a comeback and eventually win the game. Even more impressive was the losers' final where Duwactik was up against Big Bird. With the odds stacked against him, the Russian Urien user showed incredible skill and composure to send the competition favorite packing. Even after suffering two straight perfect defeats in the grand-final to Angry Bird, he fought back, and while he ultimately lost, he can leave the competition with his head held high.
Angry Bird and Big Bird came into the tournament as firm favorites, and the former came out on top. The two great friends met in the winner's final and delivered a pulsating match that made it clear why they are considered two of the world's best Street Fighter players. Angry Bird won the tournament mainly using Zeku, but he pulled out his Seth to play against Big Bird's Rashid. Seth is already a pretty difficult character to deal with, but in the hands of Angry Bird, he looked even more menacing, and it is expected we'll see more of Angry Bird's Seth in the Capcom Cup 2020. In addition, Angry Bird's win makes it the first time only one of the duo is in a major tournament. It will be surreal for Angry Bird to be without his great friend, but it is also a chance for him to really show himself outside of the partnership.
The regional tournaments continue with the Asia South East tournament taking place on the 19th of September, and as we hurtle towards Capcom Cup 2020, the excitement only continues to build.
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