The Capcom Pro Tour 2016 at the Red Bull Battlegrounds in Seattle Washington is in progress, with the top competitors duking it out today, catch it live at the official Twitch channel. I was sent to the event by Gamer Professionals and we thank the staff for this opportunity. Once I arrived on Saturday I was greeted by friendly staff, a line of Street Fighter V contestants and a large tactical looking Red Bull SUV.
The schedule for the day was a 512 open player bracket tournament, these players would be fighting for qualifying spots in the Capcom Cup later this December, as well as prize money for the top five places. Between waves of said tournament the floor was opened up for casual play. Red Bull Battlegrounds provided free refreshments to attendees and contestants, which only fueled to intensify the competition.
Upon entry I was given a brief tour which included the many ‘gaming pods’, beautiful artwork including a Street Art battle, merch booths, announcers tables, the main stage and of course the Capcom Cup trophy. Two big screens hung on the back wall, both showing the current action or the commentators. These commentators were very knowledgeable and quick witted, making a much better show out of this fierce competition. There was a strong presence from locals of Seattle however a group from Alaska and a few others from across the world were also present.
During Wave One, which the losers of would move to the loser’s bracket for a second chance, the competition seemed about equal between most. That changed after the third or fourth match as the players started to get serious and the expertly skilled started to shine. Sportsmanship was demonstrated everywhere, some competitors even giving each other tips after a match. Early on popular character choices were almost predictable like Ken, Cammy and Ryu though a few showed a professional level of control with Ryu. However later in this tournament the more skilled competitors had to bust out their specialty choices like Zangief, Urien, Nash, Necalli, Mika and Alex. A couple of players stuck with their Ryu game through thick and thin, and they made it far.
Once the massive 512 players were narrowed down by defeat we could see quite a few promising names, some well known and some even local to Seattle. In the end Tokido from Japan won the day with serious competition from RB, Bonchan, Snake Eyez and Vagabond just to name a few. Each player showed serious knowledge of each character and the mechanics behind Street Fighter V. The commentators almost couldn’t keep up at times with the masterfully timed strikes and abilities, which made for a great show on Twitch.
As an impression of the event, it seemed targeted towards an online audience. There is nothing wrong with that however it limits things like vendors and their inventory. The booths at the Red Bull Battlegrounds did have an impressive booth for custom arcade style buttons and another booth selling shirts, hats and coats displaying the event. In the artwork area fans could view a lot of official art from Street Fighter over the years, even skateboards which were also for sale. Almost hidden in the back was a restored Street Fighter 2 Turbo arcade cabinet, which almost always had a line of enthused fans.