Mena RD Barges His Way Through The CPT 2020 Central America
While Mena RD's win wasn't much of a surprise, the Central American CPT still produced some exciting talent
A common feature of the CPT 2020 online tournaments is the introduction to players from different regions of the world that I have previously never heard of previously. The same was true of Central America as before now; I have mostly been exposed to North American and Japanese fighters. Of course, I have experience with the excellent Mena RD (popularly just called MenaRD) and Caba, but there were a couple of players that really caught my attention.
Unsurprisingly, MenaRD came out as the winner of this competition, but Caba, who won the first Central American CPT, didn't even make it to Top 16. There are now 15 people in the Capcom Cup for next year with four slots left for competitors, while the final spot will be granted to a fan favorite. Below are some of the things that stood out to me the most over the weekend's action.
The Dominican Republic has a robust scene, and this was evident in how many of the players from that country advanced in this tournament, but I guess the thing that stood out for me the most was how versatile many of the players were. I think I saw the most pocket characters in this region as many of the players were more than happy to select different characters for various fights. No one characterized this more than the champion MenaRD who used at least three different characters (Sakura, Abigail, Seth, and Mika) in the competition. This is also considering that MenaRD is well known for his excellent Birdie. This versatility was a huge reason behind the success of the one-time Capcom Cup champ, who was able to call on different characters depending on the matchup. MenaRD tore through most of the opposition using Abigail, the closest challenge being Kusanagi, a Mexican player who I have only just had the pleasure of meeting. Kusanagi made use of Sakura for the entire tournament, and the skill displayed was a joy to behold. I respect Sakura players as it takes a lot of skill to use a player with such little damage output to incredible effect. Kusanagi forced Mena into a bracket reset, pushing the champ to his limits in a grand final that I thoroughly enjoyed. But, at the end of the day, Mena took the win and is now on his way to the Capcom Cup.
Respect the elders
While we've seen the rise of a couple of newer fighters like SKZ and Takamura in the Capcom Pro Tour, we have also seen some of the veterans make their mark like Xian and Daigo. One of the players from the latter category that really caught my eye in this competition was Mono. Not only is he the best F.A.N.G I have seen on display in the CPT so far, but he is also someone who has done a lot for the Puerto Rico FGC scene. Mono is a tournament organizer and has been a Street Fighter player for years. So, his appearance in this competition was heartening, but more than that, his performance showed such nuance. He bested the likes of Crossover, Braulio the Evil, and Rasec before losing to 4th place Hermes Venatori.
With the emergence of the PS5, meaning that Street Fighter V is at an end, the Capcom Cup may well be the last major tournament before a new game comes along. Therefore, every high-level fight is a gift that we should all be grateful for. The Dominican Republic was well represented in this competition, but who region of Central America should be respected for its resilience and versatility.
There are still competitions for Asia East, Australia, North America West, and China. So, we still have a few tourneys to go, but you can feel the excitement ramping up, can't you?
Finally, congratulations to MenaRD for an excellent CPT run.