The Street Fighter V tournament is arguably the main event of Community Effort Orlando and 2016’s iteration lived up to the hype. Now in its sixth year as an event, CEO brings together the best fighting game talents from all over the world to duke it out. As a sanctioned stop for the Capcom Pro Tour, a win at CEO is worth more than just the prize purse. The final match was a familiar clash of Pro Tour titans, Tokido vs. Infiltration.
After fighting through the group stages, our round of top 48 was packed with huge global talent. Four of the top five ranked players on the Pro Tour were in attendance as well as several other heavyweights such as Mago and Onuki. As the early stages of the bracket began to play out some very familiar storylines began to emerge.
Eating Up Capcom Cup Slots
Infiltration looked unstoppable as he has in the past several Pro Tour tournaments. The Korean powerhouse only dropped a couple of sets during his entire run to the finals and it appeared he would once again be grabbing a big prize purse, huge tour points, and taking up another auto-qualifier slot for this year’s ultimate tournament, the Capcom Cup.
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The Capcom Cup has changed its rules this year. Last year if a player won a qualifying event, he would get his ticket to the Cup. However, if he then won another qualifying tournament the tournament slot would go to the runner up. The change means that a player can win a qualifier and secure his slot, and any additional wins at qualifying tournaments the spot will be given to no one. It seems Capcom decided that the auto-qualifying spots were for winners only, second place no longer cuts it.
The rule change had many players concerned after seeing the dominating fashion in which Infiltration had run through the top 48 bracket. After all, he has already secured his spot in the Capcom Cup after winning the Final Round tournament in Atlanta. Infiltration had also gobbled up another Cup qualifying win at this year’s NorCal Regionals in Sacramento. Seeing him steamroll his way into the finals in his third straight qualifying tournament made many assume he would be adding the CEO 2016 belt to his trophy case, but Japan’s Tokido had other plans.
Tokido Comes Back
Tokido made quick work of his opponents in the groups and the first several rounds of the bracket. That’s when he came up against the man who would prove to be his biggest test during CEO, Infiltration. Losing their first meeting in the brackets 3-1, Tokido’s confidence seemed shaken. His Ryu play began to look sloppy. He stayed alive barely seeking out victories against both Daigo and Momochi. Those wins, and a sweep against Haitani, put him at the top of the losers’ bracket. The sketchy wins pitted him, once again, against Infiltration for the finals.
Coming out of the losers bracket, Tokido would have to win two full matches to claim the title. As if winning twice was not difficult enough, he also had be sent to the losers’ bracket initially by Infiltration. Not only that, but Tokido and Infiltration had met in the finals of a tournament twice already this year. Infiltration was able to top Tokido in both tournaments and seemed to have his number. The matchup had potential to either be Tokido’s triumphant revenge, or Infiltration’s mark of complete domination.
Tokido stuck with his Ryu as Infiltration elected to stick with Nash. After a hard fought first couple of rounds, Infiltration looked like he was going to once again get the better of Tokido. But after the first few sets Tokido began playing out of his mind. The spacing and clean combos were on another level. Tokido hadn’t played this good since he was sent to the losers’ bracket a few rounds earlier. After fighting back to win the first match, it all came down to a single best-of-5 match. Tokido could smell blood.
Showing few mistakes and no mercy Tokido finished the tournament in a big way. Cleaning up the final match winning the best-of 3-0. As if to leave a bookend on the tournament, he even closed the last set going untouched for a perfect.
The big win at CEO has granted Tokido an automatic entry into the Capcom Cup later this year. The entry which had been denied him by Infiltration already twice this year. Tokido also won 256 tour points, placing him in second place on the global standings.