Street Fighter League 2020 Preview: Who do you think will take the top spots?
From tomorrow, all eyes will be on the Street Fighter League season three. This piece looks at the teams and how they might fare
While 2020 has been a very difficult period for all of us in one way or another, there have been a few silver linings. The CPT has provided excellent entertainment, but, personally, I am incredibly hyped for the Street Fighter League Season 3.
The annual competition suffered like everything else from the pandemic and had to be postponed, but, thankfully, it will now continue. So, from tomorrow, and for the next 16 weeks, some of the illest Street Fighter V players in the universe will duke it out against each other for a chance to play in the grand finals against the top two teams from Japan.
The Street Fighter League pro-JP is already in its third week, and if the production value is anything to go by, the North American version is set to be so entertaining. I am a tad ashamed to admit that this will be my first experience with the Street Fighter League, and while I am familiar with all the players and teams taking part, I have, before now, never followed the league, so there is a bit of novelty to look forward to. However, with the lineups that we are expecting to see, even veterans within the community will have an amazing time with the tournament this time around.
Street Fighter League Season 3 comes with all the smoke you can expect from an SFV competition, and some of the pre-season games have already given us a glimpse of what we can expect. There are six teams taking part in Season 3: All In, Dynamite, UYU, Alpha 3, Psycho Shinobi, and NASR Esports. All the teams are stacked with incredible talent, and even after the unfortunate withdrawal of 5 players, the teams are still filled to the brim with high-caliber players.
Below, we'll take a look at each team and what we can expect from them this season.
- Derek "iDom" Ruffin
- Niel "SKZ" Chong
- Gustavo "801 Strider" Romero
Very few people can confidently bet against a team with the reigning Capcom Cup and Street Fighter V champion. All In is made up of some incredible players, including iDom, who is considered one of the best SFV players in the world. Apart from his incredible Capcom Cup win, iDom has also done well for himself this year. In addition to his indomitable Laura, he also has Poison in his pocket and has become so proficient with the latter that you could even say that he has 2 mains. This is important as one of the easiest ways to shu iDom down was to use the player ban mechanic to stop him from using Laura. However, with his mastery of Poison, it now seems like there is no stopping the former champion from dominating the league. Beyond that, in SKZ and 801 Strider, iDom is flanked by some serious talent, with the latter a well-known name in the FGC. Strider is best known for his G, but he also has a Lucia and Laura in his pocket. Meanwhile, SKZ, while a little newer to the scene, is nonetheless a player that one cannot underestimate. He not only routinely does well in any competition he enters, but he also has qualified for the next edition of Capcom Cup tournament with a scintillating display in his region to take the top spot. With his devastating Seth, he is sure to keep his opponents on their toes. However, this team's chemistry is probably suspect, and it might be fair to say that perhaps the players don't know themselves as well as some of the other teams. Also, the disruption that the withdrawal of Arman "Phenom" Hanjani might cause is still unknown. This is certainly a team that will be entertaining to watch.
- PG | Victor "Punk" Woodley
- Chris "CJ Truth" Jayson
- Alan "Nephew" Sun
The name Alpha 3 is apt as every single team member feels like an Alpha. In Nephew, Punk, and CJ Truth, this team has three of the best in Street Fighter V from the United States. While controversial, Punk is undoubtedly an extremely gifted player and is considered the best player in the world for some. While he didn't manage to qualify for the Capcom Cup, he is still an incredible presence to have in any team. He is a Karin master, and you can expect that many teams will look to have that character banned to try and slow him down. Also on the roster is Nephew, who did win the CPT North America West #1 competition, taking it against END| Shine to qualify for next year's Capcom Cup. Nephew has Kolin as a main, and his ability to pressure opponents will come into great use for this competition.
Speaking of rushdown specialists, Truth is a true master of the art and is well-known for ensuring that his opponents don't know a moment's peace as he pressures them to submission. With three powerhouses on the team, Alpha 3 has to be considered as one of the favorites for Street Fighter League season 3.
- Bruce "GamerBee" Hsiang
- RISE | Bryant "Smug" Huggins
It is difficult to look past the withdrawals when analyzing Team Dynamite's chances in this league season. Less than a month ago, they seemed like possibly the most powerful team in the whole competition, boasting Smug, who was the winner of the CPT NA East #2, Problem X, a former Evo winner, and Nuckledu, who is also a Capcom Cup winner. However, the last two had to withdraw from the competition to be replaced by Dominican powerhouse, MenaRD, and Street Fighter veteran GamerBee.
That said, the team is still insanely talented, and the positive energy of MenaRD, coupled with the experience of GamerBee, is sure to be of help to the team. Street Fighter League season 3 is sure to be filled with surprises, so don't rule out team Dynamite.
- NASR | Adel "Big Bird" Anouche
- NASR | Amjad "AngryBird" Alshalabi
- NASR | Miky "Samurai" Chea
Big Bird and Angry Bird have a friendship that is deemed legendary, and Samurai is a grounded Akuma player that has quietly risen up the rankings. The chemistry between the Birds is the major consideration when analyzing NASR Esports. The two friends have faced off against each other so much that they know themselves inside out. This also helps them coach each other through matches, which could be pivotal for their league run.
Meanwhile, Samurai is no slouch, and his ability to adapt will be key for this group. The only worry is that Samurai's Akuma could become a target for the ban, and then the team's hopes will rest on his ability to use a pocket character. This is certainly a team to watch out for.
- Talon | Yeh "HotDog29" Man Ho
- Cristhoper "Caba" Rodriguez
- RZR | Kun "Xian" Xian Ho
Psycho Shinobi is another team that suffered the loss of a member with Infexious also among those who had to pull out of the competition. His spot was taken by Caba, who is known for his hyper nature and cool use of Guile. He is more than a worthy replacement and paired with HotDog29, one of the best players in the world, and Xian, who is a Capcom Cup winner and more recently, the victor in the CPT SE Asia tournament, Shinobi is set to cause a ruckus in Street Fighter League season 3.
UYU | Li-Wei "Oil King" Lin
UYU | Jonathan "JB" Bautista
UYU | Andrew "Kami" Armstead
Team UYU also has the misfortune of missing one of its players, NL, but at this point, it's a general thing that the players just have to get on with. In terms of strength, UYU is a really balanced team with Oil King bringing his vast experience of competitions into play with his incredible Rashid. For me, UYU is something of a dark horse as both JB and Kami, while talented, aren't as well known in Street Fighter as some of the other names in the competition. That said, we saw a bit of what Kami can bring during the pre-season games, so we are at least sure that he will make things incredibly entertaining.
Street Fighter League season 3 is so difficult to call, and I feel that my calls could very well be incorrect. But, I will take a plunge and say Alpha 3 and NASR Esports are my choices to make up the top 2. For the former, it is the roster as I believe that a combination of Punk, Nephew (both of whom have mad chemistry), and Truth is a deadly combination that could be really difficult for other teams to handle.
As for NASR Esports, I can't look beyond the powerful bond between the Birds and their proficiency with their characters. On top of that, both players have also trained with pocket characters so much that even the possibility of a ban isn't as daunting as one might think.
You can, of course, catch all the SFL matches on the Capcom Fighters YouTube channel and watch all the top-ranking gamers fight for supremacy.
What do you think? What teams are you backing to take the top spots in SFL season 3?