Capcom Cup 2018 preview part 1 — here's our runthrough of who and what we'll see this weekend, from players to potential reveals

There are so many players participating, we're doing a two-part runthrough of the main event, and another one for the Last Chance Qualifier

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • December 11, 2018 at 8:04 p.m. PST | Comments: 22

One of the biggest fighting game events of the year is here to close out the year, and we're gearing up to watch it in all of its glory.

Of course I'm talking about Capcom Cup 2018, the grand finals of Capcom's main fighting game title, Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition.

Although I say grand finals, there's still a long way to go — we've got both a stacked Last Chance Qualifier to get through as well as the main event, which itself will host 32 players competing.

In short, it's going to be a very long weekend, and in case you need a refresher for what's going down, we're right here for you.

Given the magnitude of this event, our preview has to be split up in several parts. This is the first one, but there will be two more, one covering the higher seeded players and yet another one focusing on the Last Chance Qualifier competitors who are vying for that final spot in the bracket.

Now, let's get right in to the nitty-gritty of it all and see what Capcom Cup is set to offer us this year.

The Event

Where is it happening?

Capcom Cup 2018 is taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada, the same city where EVO is typically held.

When is it happening?

This upcoming weekend will kick off with the Last Chance Qualifier on Friday the 14th, while the main event will happen on the 15th and 16th.

What can we expect?

Obviously, there's going to be an absolute ton of Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition action happening at the event as usual, and with both the Last Chance Qualifier and the 32-person bracket main event, there's going to be no shortage of hype.

Besides this, Capcom has also promised to host exhibitions with top veteran players in Super Street Fighter 2: Turbo, so if you're more old school that's a definite thing to check out.

For attendees at the event, you'll be able to try out two of Capcom's upcoming big titles, namely Resident Evil 2 remake and Devil May Cry 5.

Of course, what most people are looking forward to is announcements. Capcom haven't promised anything, but we've seen a big reveal at every Capcom Cup since Street Fighter 5's intiial reveal so far, so it's a safe bet that we'll at least see the beginning of Season 4 unveiled at the finals. What exactly that will entail, though, is anybody's guess.

The Players

Throughout the year, competitors have fought it out all across the world to gain points and pushed as hard as they possibly can to make it into Capcom Cup 2018 in the end, and we now have 31 players standing, with the final player to be decided by the Last Chance Qualifier on Friday.

As such, let's have a look at the players set to compete this weekend, who they're likely to use, how many points they gathered this season, their paths to get here and what we can expect from them.


Country: United Arab Emirates
Expected Character(s): Zeku, Akuma
2018 Season CPT Points: 211

Although he's entering the finals with the lowest points of any of the non-last chance qualifiers, NASR|AngryBird really made headlines, first when he won the Ranking EventUltimate Fighting Arena using mostly Zeku, and then to a much greater degree when he took home the European Regional Finals at EGX 2018.

While he's by no means a character loyalist — he uses his very strong Akuma quite a bit as well — it was definitely his masterful Zeku play that put him on the map. For a character people have had a hard time placing, NASR|AngryBird truly showed that in the right hands, this is a character that can compete with the very best.

It's kind of given that anyone who enters with the lowest amount of points will be seen as something of a dark horse, but anyone who slept on AngryBird's abilities would be a true fool.


Country: Peru
Expected Character(s): M. Bison
2018 Season CPT Points: 231

After the unfortunate news that the Latin American Regional Finals champion Crossover would not be able to attend Capcom Cup due to visa issues, RES|Pikoro got his spot for being next in line.

That doesn't mean RES|Pikoro is unworthy of participating, though, as he's been a constant force in the Latin American region, showing up at tournaments and busting heads all year long.

Managing second place in a Regional Finals is no joke, and while it's unfortunate that the champion can't participate, RES|Pikoro will surely make his home country of Peru proud when he unleashes his deadly M. Bison on his unsuspecting opponents.


Country: Dominican Republic
Expected Character(s): Birdie
2018 Season CPT Points: 722

Rise|MenaRD should need no introduction for anyone who's been following Street Fighter 5. After all, he's last year's Capcom Cup champion.

Hailed as the best Birdie player in the world, MenaRD was already guaranteed qualification for this year's Capcom Cup due to winning the event last year, but he actually would've made it in regardless via points, although just above the cutoff.

He went in as a massive underdog last year, and while there are a lot more eyes on him this time around, he's definitely going to look to defend his title and make it a repeat performance.

Chris Tatarian

Country: United States of America
Expected Character(s): Ken, Akuma
2018 Season CPT Points: 772

Chris Tatarian's fate was hanging in the balance when the North American Regional Finals happened, but luckily for him the pieces fell in place the way they did, guaranteeing his qualification for Capcom Cup after all.

While there are a few players who are supremely strong with Ken, Chris Tatarian marks himself as by far the most loyal, sticking with the character for the most part through thick and thin, and the hard work has definitely paid off, with him securing wins at both Game Over and Never Give Up this year, as well as several top 8 placings besides that.

He isn't a complete loyalist, as he keeps a pocket Akuma for certain situations, but whether he'll actually bring him out or not is anyone's guess. It's clear that he focuses most of his playtime and passion on Ken, his main since Street Fighter 4 days, and that's who we're expecting to mainly see from him at Capcom Cup as well.


Country: Japan
Expected Character(s): Urien, G
2018 Season CPT Points: 781

Last year's Last Chance Qualifier who pulled off the performance of a lifetime, managing to claw his way all the way to 3rd place the very next day.

The mental fortitude required to ace a stacked tournament one day and do so exceptionally well in another the very next day is no joke, and anyone who's kept up with the Japanese scene knows that Liquid|Nemo is to be feared in any game he takes seriously.

With a Topanga win under his belt and several EVO top 8s during his Street Fighter career, Nemo is definitely one of the favorites to make it to the top 8 at this event with his fearsome Urien. While we saw him experiment with G a bit right when he came out, he seems to have cooled off of him lately, so it's really up in the air whether we'll see anything but pure Urien play from his side.


Country: South Korea
Expected Character(s): Cammy
2018 Season CPT Points: 850

South Korea has truly been on the rise in Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition, and the nation has been put on the map in a very big way compared to previous Street Fighter titles.

As one of the two Korean Cammys to blow up the Capcom Pro Tour in Street Fighter 5, Fursan|Verloren has shown that he's more than capable of taking on the very best.

Although his results fall somewhat short of his fellow countryman Cammy main UYU|NL, what matters is how you perform on this day, and Verloren has everything stacked in his favor if he can get the momentum going.


Country: Japan
Expected Character(s): Abigail
2018 Season CPT Points: 861

The big body aficionado himself, Japan's AB|StormKubo, made his return in a big way as soon as Abigail was announced for Street Fighter 5 last year.

The character has seen some buffs and some nerfs since then, but StormKubo will likely stick with the character even if he were to get nerfed straight down through the ground, and you can tell just by watching his face how much he's enjoying the character in any match he plays.

His road to Capcom Cup 2018 was a fairly arduous one, as he didn't actually win any events, but hard work and consistent placings netted him a secure spot in the event, and as a big body loyalist, he's definitely been putting in work to make Abigail's more challenging matchups work out for him.


Country: Japan
Expected Character(s): Kolin, Ken, Akuma
2018 Season CPT Points: 921

Characterwise, Momochi is a bit of a wildcard. Throughout the year, he's been using many different characters, and while his best performance this year, his 2nd place at Final Fighters China, was earned mainly through using Kolin, we've seen him gravitate more towards Ken lately.

He also has an Akuma ready for certain matchups, and we saw glimpses of his Cody right when the character was new, though we've seen nothing at all from him with the character since then.

Momochi always tends to be a multi-character specialist, and out of everyone qualified for Capcom Cup he seems like the most likely to just surprise everyone and pull out a character nobody is expecting from him. It remains to be seen which style of Momochi we'll be treated to this weekend.

DNG|Itabashi Zangief

Country: Japan
Expected Character(s): Abigail
2018 Season CPT Points: 923

The man who used Zangief so masterfully that he just had to have the character in his name has unfortunately been forced to drop his namesake in the latest season due to him simply not being good enough, though he did pull him out against OC|Gafro's Balrog at Topanga League earlier this fall.

In Capcom Pro Tour events, though, he's been firmly commited to Abigail, a much more stable grappling character according to most, and he's produced significant results with him.

As one of the most diligent players of the year, he's been racking up points all across the globe in event after event, and it's all been to prepare for the big stage here, at the end of the year. Given his love for grappler characters in Street Fighter, he's definitely no stranger to bad matchups, and anyone who goes up against him will have to be wary of his unorthodox and scary playstyle.


Country: United States of America
Expected Character(s): Karin
2018 Season CPT Points: 933

Emerging on the scene in a big way last year as the most dominant player of the year, REC|Punk was the guy everyone was talking about when it came to Street Fighter in 2017.

While he had a bit of a slump earlier this year, his results have been on a significant upswing since he re-comitted himself to his early Street Fighter 5 love, Karin Kanzuki.

He still brings out other characters on occasion, but it seems like a pretty agreed upon fact that even in rough matchups, Karin is the girl to go with for Punk, though it's likely we'll see a Kolin pick if he goes up against Kolin himself. Outside of that, hopefully we'll see him stick to his main girl, and see the same 2017 Punk we all fell in love with.


Country: Japan
Expected Character(s): Cammy
2018 Season CPT Points: 993

Many players made a switch to Cammy this year for Season 3, and Mago has arguably been the most successful of them all, producing strong results with the top tier character, although one could argue that his previous main Karin was hardly a slouch either.

A long-time veteran of the Street Fighter scene at the top level, Mago is something of a mainstay at grand events like Capcom Cup, and seeing him find his groove more consistently this year has been great for anyone who's followed the scene since at least the 2009-2010 era.

Ever since the switch to Cammy, he's showed no signs of looking back, and it's highly unlikely we'll see any other pick from him. Given the prevalence of Cammy at the top levels of Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition, though, he definitely has his work cut out for him if he wants to overcome the others and get to the very end.


Country: Japan
Expected Character(s): Nash, Karin, Sagat
2018 Season CPT Points: 1012

In many ways, RB|Bonchan feels like a character crisis personified, always going back and forth on which characters to pick, though he seems to have found a solid groove this year with Nash, Karin and the rare sighting of his Street Fighter 4 beau Sagat.

As probably the best Nash player in the world after the character got some pretty substantial nerfs after Season 1, Bonchan optimizes the character at every turn and always manages to turn heads with the impressive displays he shows off.

That said, he's low tier for a reason, and for matchups he thinks Nash just can't handle, he tends to fall back on Karin instead, who he's been working on since Season 2 to counter these very characters. Where Sagat fits in to this equation, if he fits in at all, is currently unclear, but Bonchan has been unwavering in his desire to use Sagat at a high level, so he might surprise us all at Capcom Cup.

CJ Truth

Country: United States of America
Expected Character(s): Cammy
2018 Season CPT Points: 1023

CJ Truth has been a solid contender in the American scene since way back in the early days of Street Fighter 4, when he was quite the youngster, and while we've seen him perform well in Street Fighter 5 as well, he really wasn't on anyone's radar for Capcom Cup this year.

That is, until the North American Regional Finals happened at Red Bull Conquest, where he started off by winnnig the Open Premier, and then managed to get to second place in the North American finals, losing out at the very end to Punk.

Closing out his season in such a spectacular fashion put him on the map instantly, and he's heading to Capcom Cup with huge momentum on his side.


Country: Singapore
Expected Character(s): Ibuki
2018 Season CPT Points: 1063

A former EVO champion from the Street Fighter 4 days, RZR|Xian is consistently one of the strongest Asian players at any event he enters, and is the only one of two Ibuki players to manage to bring the character to the heights of winning Capcom Pro Tour events.

He's had many top 8 placings this year, but only managed to close out the a #1 placing at FV Cup in Malaysia earlier this year, showing that he's had a hard time keeping it together until the very end.

That said, he's a heavily seasoned player with a very strong character, and you can bet he's been giving it his all in preparation for the main event. Xian is definitely hungry to bring that Capcom Cup trophy back to Singapore, and maybe this could be the year where all of his hard work pays off.


Country: Japan
Expected Character(s): Rashid
2018 Season CPT Points: 1114

In Street Fighter 5, Asia is known as the realm of amazing Rashid players, as almost every notable competitor with the character hails from the East, with RB|Gachikun being one of the competitors leading the charge.

Although we're not seeing as big of a Rashid presence this year as we did last year, Gachikun has remained consistent and finds himself rewarded with a spot right in the middle of this year's Capcom Cup.

While Rashid did get toned down a little bit in the Season 3.5 patch, tournament results make it very clear that this is still a character with a lot of juice, and for players like Gachikun and the to-be-detailed-in-part-2 UYU|OilKing who have enjoyed him from the very start, the nerfs have seemed entirely inconsequential to their tournament performance.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this rundown, and look forward to the next piece being published tomorrow.

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