Another week of Capcom Pro Tour action is in the books, and the chase to become one of the 32 players to compete for $250,000 at Capcom Cup 2016 is starting to take shape. Nobody officially secured a berth in the season finale last weekend, but one of Asia's best likely did enough to secure a spot. Elsewhere, one player seized control of the European race, and a strong player in the Latin American region made himself a contender.
Here's what went down this weekend, and what it means for players hoping to qualify for this year's Capcom Cup.
VSFighting 2016 (Europe)
Belgium's Younes "CCL" Lazaar defended the pride of his home continent by winning the Street Fighter V tournament at VSFighting in Birmingham, UK on Sunday. Players from outside of Europe had won three of the previous four Capcom Pro Tour events on European soil, and a trio of players from the United States had hoped to make it four out of five.
CCL held off American challenger Chris Tatarian in a series of back-and-forth matches to end the tournament. CCL scored a 3-2 win in their clash in the winners final, but Tatarian would take the first set of the grand final by the same margin. The Belgian was finally able to secure the title with a 3-1 victory in the decisive set.
CCL's Awsomniac teammate Christ "Akainu" Onema finished third in his first major tournament outside of his home nation of France. Ryan Hart, the highest-placing British player in the field, placed fourth.
Tatarian was one of three American players in the field. Brentt "Brenttiscool" Franks tied for fifth place alongside Britian's Afsar "Afii" Ali, while Kenneth "K-Brad" Bradley was eliminated on Saturday during pool play. Peter "Flash" Susini was also scheduled to attend, but travel issues forced him out of the field at the last minute.
Despite his loss in the grand final, Tatarian's second-place finish earned a place in the European regional final as CCL had already qualified. Tatarian had already qualified for both the North American and Latin American regional finals earlier this season. Tatarian, along with CCL and Akainu, also earned free entry to EGX, a Premier event which takes place next month in Birmingham.
What it means
CCL, who had just one point through the first three European events, now holds a commanding lead in the European standings, 85 points clear of Benjamin "Problem X" Simon. More importantly, he is more than 130 points clear of Nathan "Mister Crimson" Massol, the closest player who can knock him out of Capcom Cup qualifying position. His spot isn't secure just yet, but CCL is in firm control of his own destiny.
Tatarian didn't quite earn enough points to lock down a Capcom Cup berth this weekend, but the weekend is still a win for him. Once Premier event winners are excluded, at least ten players will qualify for Capcom Cup through the global leaderboard. By that measure, Tatarian is now in sixth place, more than 100 points clear of safety.
Both Ryan Hart and Brenttiscool turned in solid performances, but both needed bigger weekends to kickstart their struggling campaigns. Both men sit about 150 points outside of qualification.
Olivier "Luffy" Hay earned just one point from his 13th-place finish this weekend. Thanks to CCL’s performance, he now needs to make up a 100-point deficit to reach Capcom Cup contention. With half of the European events already in the books, Luffy is starting to run out of time.
Online Qualifier #1 (Asia)
Ho Kun Xian of Singapore won his second Pro Tour event of the season with a win in the season's first Asian online tournament on Sunday. Xian, who reached the grand final from the winners' bracket, lost 3-0 to Thailand's Thum "MindRPG" Homchuen in the first grand final set but scored a 3-1 win in the second set to claim the title.
MindRPG was the only player from outside Singapore to finish in the top four places. Dixon "GambleBoxer" Pang finished in third place, while Neil "SKZ" Chong of Singapore finished fourth.
What it means
Xian's place in the 2016 Capcom Cup is all but certain. His win means that he now has 438 points, which should be enough to secure qualification in all but the most unlikely scenarios. Xian will certainly want to earn more points for seeding purposes, but he can view the rest of the season as preparation for the $250,000 championship event.
MindRPG's strong showing here could be too little, too late. He will need to do a lot of traveling to turn this performance into a run at Capcom Cup qualification, as he only earned just one point from the season's lone Thai tournament, Thaiger Uppercut.
Online Qualifier #1 (Latin America)
Mexico's Antonio "Kusanagi" Medrano claimed victory in the season's first Latin American online tournament. Kusanagi secured the title—and a place in the Latin American regional final—by defeating fellow countryman Sebastian "ElTigre" Aguilera 3-0 in the grand final. Kelvin "KelvinZetsuei" Vargas of Brazil finished third, one spot ahead of Saul Leonardo "MenaRD" Mena of the Dominican Republic.
What it means
In the blink of an eye, Kusanagi is now a major factor in the Capcom Cup qualification race. He is now in third place on the Latin American leaderboard behind co-leaders Kenneth "K-Brad" Bradley and Felipe "Misterio" Torres. Kusanagi's third-place finish at Japonawa shows that he can compete offline, but he lives over 500 miles away from the closest remaining event.
Despite a second-place result here, ElTigre will likely need to do some work offline to make Capcom Cup qualification a reality. Even if he were to win the second online event, he would merely tie the current leaders. Thunderstruck in Monterrey, Mexico seems to be his most likely offline event, but winning there will be a much different challenge than some of the matches he played during this tournament.
Of the other 14 players to earn points at the event, only two had any Pro Tour points before the tournament: Brazilians Keoma Pacheco and Thomas "Brolynho" Proenca. Their respective 9th- and 13th-place finishes did little to help their chances, as Brolynho stands at 17 points and Keoma has just 10. Both men will each need big results at the two remaining Brazilian events to get into the Capcom Cup qualification discussion.