Is Infiltration losing his touch last minute, or will he be an unstoppable, multi-character monster come Capcom Cup?

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • November 8, 2016 at 7:45 p.m. PST | Comments: 35

The Capcom Pro Tour's very first Premier event, Final Round, saw more than 1,000 entrants for Street Fighter 5. The game was still brand new, and though people had their predictions based on games passed, no one was quite sure who would emerge as the dominant players.

When the dust settled, a very dominant Seonwoo "RZR|Infiltration" Lee and his Nash claimed the first place prize, and did so from the winners bracket. One week later the Korean player would repeat victory at the Tour's second Premier event: NorCal Regionals.

Having more than qualified for the Capcom Cup in December, Infiltration disappeared from the Tour for three months, (he did win the Red Bull Kumite shortly after NCR) and would be regarded as the undisputed champion of Street Fighter 5 during this time.

He would reappear for CEO 2016, and take his first second place finish thanks to Tokido, (the undisputed number two player at the time.) The moment doubt began to flutter about the FGC commons, Infil buried it with a win at the 5,065-entrant EVO 2016.

Then things seemingly started to go downhill.
The Team Razer rep would go on to attend only two more events on the Pro Tour after EVO: South East Asia Major and Canada Cup. As you'll see in the event history below, he went from four straight Grand Finals performances to failing to make top eight at either of these two tournaments:

Infiltration Pro Tour Performance image #1
Click images for larger versions

Infil also attended Brooklyn Beatdown back in October, and placed 13th there. The difference in this tourney was that he opted to use Balrog for some matches instead of using his Trademark Nash.

In an interview with ESPN, the EVO champ explained that he was no longer worried about tournament wins or money, but was focusing on building character experience.

Indeed he pulled out Rashid during his run at Canada Cup, (which would end in 13th place) and so the argument that Infil's prioritizing for information and experience over victories surely does hold some water. He did however, play Nash for the entirety of SEAM, and still only reached ninth place there.

So how do we analyze this transition from an untouchable start to the struggle Lee seems to find himself in now? We're hesitant to predict his Capcom Cup performance based on recent paper results, as Lee has proven time and time again to have game changing tricks up his sleeve.

Fans will recall that by the end of Ultra Street Fighter 4, his character arsenal covered about half the roster and each and every one of his pocket characters posed a threat at the EVO top eight level.

With the $120,000 first place prize on the line, has Lee been slow rolling his hand in an attempt to divert attention away from himself? Has his choice to not attend as many big league tournaments caused him to fall behind other top competitors at this crucial point in the Pro Tour season?

All bets are off until we see him perform at Capcom Cup, but one thing is certain: Infiltration has made things very, very interesting in leaving us at this cliffhanger before the final chapter of his 2016 Pro Tour story.

We'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the matter. Please chime in below and explain why you think Infil has either fallen behind, or is simply waiting to strike with full force.

Photo credit: Team Razer.
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