Fujimura takes home the gold at Topanga League 7, but how exactly did it go down? His and the other players' journeys detailed in our final recap

It was a long way to reach the finals, but even once you made it there, these grueling three days definitely took their toll on each participant

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • October 10, 2018 at 10:58 a.m. PDT

After two weeks of intense sets and thinning the herd, Topanga League 7 has finally reached its climax.

It was just a few hours ago that FD|Fujimura stood victorious in the end, with a 5-0 set score in the final stage, an accomplishment which is rare even within Topanga history.

In this final stage, he had to go up against CYG|Fuudo, FAV|Sako, Gachikun, OC|Gafro and GRPT|MOV in first-to-7 sets, which is anything but a simple feat.

So how did each player do in this final stage? The scores are easy to see, and you can find the placements both in our Topanga League 7 results story and further down in this one, but let's take a deeper look at their journeys these last three days as they all vied for that top spot in the finals.

If you're curious about the player's paths to reach the final stage to begin with, we have several Topanga recaps for the earlier stages as well, though I recommend this one covering the offline preliminaries if you're curious about the heated battles that led directly here.

Without further ado, let's have a look at the final Topanga League 7 standings, and look at how we reached that point in the first place.

Topanga League 7 Final Stage Standings

# Player Character(s) Record Game Record GD
1 FD|Fujimura Ibuki 5-0 36-20 +16
2 CYG|Fuudo R. Mika 4-1 32-24 +8
3 FAV|Sako Menat 3-2 32-26 +6
4 Gachikun Rashid 2-3 24-28 -4
5 OC|Gafro Balrog 1-4 19-32 -13
6 GRPT|MOV Chun-Li 0-5 23-36 -13

The most interesting part of the standings, to me, and which is fairly rare to see in a Round Robin setting is that each player got a different score, making for a very clear ranking of them, without the need for any tiebreakers.

Now that you've got a good grasp of the final standings, let's analyze each of the top-placing players individually and how their performance looked these last three days.

6th Place — GRPT|MOV

After a fairly surprising victory in his offline preliminary group, where he managed to outrank CYG|Daigo, Surugaya|Machabo and FD|Haitani after some grueling sets, GRPT|MOV managed to solidify himself as one of the top 6 players.

Unfortunately, the finals group wasn't quite as kind to him, ending at a 0-5 set score, though the conents of these sets aren't properly represented just by the score.

There was no set where he won less than 4 games, so each of these 5 losses were actually fairly close, and GRPT|MOV showed some magnificent adaptation throughout them, really showcasing just how powerful Chun-Li as a character can be in the right hands even though her glory days of Season 1 are long behind her.

While it's a shame to end up last in any group, GRPT|MOV can definitely hold his head high and be proud of his performance in each and every set he played, and if there's ony player you should check the replays of, I recommend it be him.

We don't see him quite as often at overseas events, and his Chun-Li does things that nobody else does with the character, making it a beautiful sight to behold.

5th Place — OC|Gafro

Without a doubt, OC|Gafro was the dark horse going into the final group, despite being the only player to finish with an undefeated score in the initial online preliminaries.

Although he's far from an unknown player, performing quite well in Asian events throughout the year, it's just hard to match him up with the amazing caliber of players he's sharing a group with.

Though his only set victory was over GRPT|MOV, and his set scores aren't all that impressive against the other top players, the conents of the matches really showed how well he understands Balrog as a character, and he puts fear into the rest of the Japanese players with him.

Before their match, FD|Fujimura noted that ever since OC|Gafro switched to playing on a hitbox, he's become a much bigger threat than he already was, and the commentators agreed throughout the days that the hitbox switch has truly allowed OC|Gafro to bring out the utmost of his character.

Look forward to OC|Gafro becoming a bigger and bigger presence in the Street Fighter scene as time goes on. He's still a young player, but managing to reach a stage like this, with a type of controller so few players use no less, truly shows how adaptive he is, which is one of the strongest qualities anyone aiming to be a top player can have.

4th Place — Gachikun

At this point, it's hard to argue that Gachikun isn't the best Rashid player in Japan, and it's even debatable whether UYU|OilKing is still above him, though we'll likely get to see which of them pulls off a better performance at Capcom Cup later this year, since they're both sitting pretty with a high amount of points.

Gachikun managed to qualify from the absolute group of death in the offline preliminaries, grabbing victory in a group of himself, FOX|Tokido, DNG|Itabashi Zangief and Liquid|Nemo, which is obviously no small feat.

Unfortunately, he wasn't able to overcome the final stage quite as well, defeating the two players below him but unable to overcome any of the top 3 competitors.

His biggest struggle was against FAV|Sako's masterful Menat play on the first day, through which FAV|Sako was actually looking like the ultimate frontrunner, and while he performed in a more stellar fashion against both FD|Fujimura and CYG|Fuudo, he eventually lost in both sets.

Gachikun's usage of all of Rashid's tools and the way he's able to turn any situation into a perfect one, perhaps most evident in his set against CYG|Fuudo where he responded perfectly to his opponent's VT activation and kept the combo going around Nadeshiko's appearance, truly marks him as a prodigy with the character.

Gachikun is a player who has consistently gotten better ever since he first started to appear on people's radars with Sagat back in the Street Fighter 4 days, and given his amazing performances this year, we're likely to see him go even higher in the future.

3rd Place — FAV|Sako

Not much can be said about FAV|Sako that everyone doesn't already know — his legacy precedes him, and his unbelievable combo ability has been showcased already in highlight after highlight. However, his situation in Topanga League this year is something we can discuss more intricately without retreading old ground.

As one of the qualifiers straight out of the online preliminaries alongside OC|Gafro and CYG|Fuudo, FAV|Sako was looking extremely strong going in to the final stage of Topanga League 7.

That didn't change in the first day, either, where he pulled out a fairly close victory against GRPT|MOV first and then absolutely dominated Gachikun later in the day with a 7-2 score, solidifying him in the #1 spot almost instantly.

Fortune didn't stick by his side, however, when he was taken down by CYG|Fuudo in the second day, and later suffered another narrow loss against FD|Fujimura in the third day.

After these two losses, he was entirely out of the running for 1st place, but even so he managed to stay focused enough to overcome OC|Gafro's explosive Balrog play and landing solidly in the 3rd place spot.

As a former Topanga League champion from the Street Fighter 4 days, these long-set battles aren't unfamiliar to FAV|Sako, but with this level of competition, nothing can be taken for granted, and although his placing is spectacular, we all know he wanted more.

He'll have to readjust to shorter sets now, as we gear up for the Capcom Cup, which is an entirely different type of competition to Topanga. He's a former champion there, as well, so we already know he has what it takes to bring it home if the stars align for him.

2nd Place — CYG|Fuudo

Ever since the launch of Street Fighter 5, CYG|Fuudo has been seen as the eternal 2nd placer (a title previously held by RB|Bonchan during the Street Fighter 4 days) though he was thankfully able to break the curse for at least one event earlier this year.

In Topanga, CYG|Fuudo has been putting on a masterful performance and advanced out of his online preliminary group straight to the finals.

One of the most interesting parts of CYG|Fuudo's play during the first-to-7 offline portion of Topanga League this year was his heavy usage of R. Mika's V-Trigger 2, showing many interesting possibilities for this often overlooked ability.

While he did still revert to V-Trigger 1 in some matchups, it's clear he's been labbing this option extensively. It's been rare to see it in use after the first month or so after it was added to the game in the Arcade Edition update, so it's interesting to see a second wind for it at such a big stage event.

With a strong start in the final group, it became more and more evident that we might get a situation where two players who both had a 4-0 score would meet in a climactic final battle to settle everything, and that's exactly what happened between CYG|Fuudo and FD|Fujimura.

Albeit showing a tremendous performance before that, CYG|Fuudo seemed to be fairly out of his element against FD|Fujimura. Whether he was having a bad day, or FD|Fujimura was simply more prepared for this particular matchup is hard to say, but the match started out very one-sided, and although it evened out slightly, it was too little too late for CYG|Fuudo at that point.

And thus, he ends up with yet another second placing. It's a position most of us would kill to be in, but it's hard to imagine CYG|Fuudo isn't feeling incredibly disappointed with himself after falling short yet again, especially at such a pivotal event.

1st Place — FD|Fujimura

What can we say about FD|Fujimura that hasn't been said already.

Impeccable decision making, perfect combo execution, deep game knowledge and nerves of steel, all together in one package, makes for a fantastically well-deserved Topanga League champion.

Although he fell short in the online portion to FAV|Sako, meaning he had to battle through the offline preliminaries for a spot in the finals, FD|Fujimura came back with a vengeance in the final stage.

None of his sets could be considered "free", but it was clear that FD|Fujimura was very much on top of his opponent's gameplans and prepared for anything they had to throw at him.

The biggest shocker was when the final set of Topanga League 7 started and FD|Fujimura took 5 games off of CYG|Fuudo in no time, leading to speculation that our very first 7-0 set this entire league may be the big finals.

CYG|Fuudo managed to grab on to a lifeline and made the set more interesting, but as noted above, it was simply too little too late, and FD|Fujimura took it over him with a 7-3 score, solidifying himself as the champion in the end.

With the year FD|Fujimura has had so far, after sticking with Ibuki when most players besides him and EVO 2013 champion RZR|Xian jumped ship, it's hard to not see him as the main target for player of the year.

That said, we still have Capcom Cup coming up, and that's going to weigh heavily in people's minds as to who's the MVP of 2018, but I don't think anyone would be surprised to see FD|Fujimura take that one as well. He's proven himself more than capable.

After this rundown of the final stage competitors and what led them to their placing, let's take a look at the Topanga League placings overall — with the online preliminary of first-to-3 sets which led in to the offline preliminaries with first-to- 7 sets, 24 players in total participated. Below, you can see the overall placings put in context. You can also see the prize money delegation at the bottom.

Final Placings

1. FD|Fujimura (Ibuki)
2. CYG|Fuudo (R. Mika)
3. FAV|Sako (Menat)
4. Gachikun (Rashid)
5. OC|Gafro (Balrog)
6. GRPT|MOV (Chun-Li)

7. RB|Bonchan (Sagat)
7. CYG|Daigo (Guile)
7. DNG|Itabashi Zangief (Abigail, Zangief)
10. Trashbox (Birdie)
10. Surugaya|Machabo (Necalli)
10. FOX|Tokido (Akuma)
13. SZY|Mizuha (Kolin)
13. FD|Haitani (Akuma)
13. Liquid|Nemo (G, Urien)

16. Mago (Cammy)
16. YHC-Mochi (Dhalsim)
16. GGP|Kazunoko (Cammy)
19. FAV|Ryuusei (Urien)
19. Uryo (Sakura)
19. FOX|Momochi (Kolin)
22. Mishie (Laura)
22. Nishikin (Blanka)
22. Powell (Cammy)

Topanga League 7 Prize Money Distribution

1st — 1,5 million yen ($13,529)
2nd — 600,000 yen ($5,412)
3rd — 300,000 yen ($2,706)
4th — 150,000 yen ($1,353)
5th — 100,000 yen ($902)
6th — 50,000 yen ($451)

Topanga League 7 was, as it is every time, a truly wild ride, and I'm happy that they brought it back in good form after the radio silence we've had since last year's league in early 2017. Hopefully, we'll get another installment of Topanga League next year. If we do, EventHubs will be here to keep you all updated with live results as always.

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