NuckleDu wins Capcom Cup 2016

December 04 2016

NuckleDu has made history. He became the very first North American Capcom Cup Champion when he defeated Evil Geniuses Ricki Ortiz and her fierce Chun Li play. It's been 14 years since an American has earned the highest honor in Street Fighter, dating back to AfroColes 2002 Evolution win for Super Street FIghter 2 Turbo. NuckleDu’s run was nothing short of spectacular. While everyone in the field proved worthy competitors, Du was unrivaled during the weekend as he blazed through the brackets with 3-0 and 3-1 triumphs. No one could come close to stopping his unwavering charge to victory.

NuckleDu had already established himself as the top North American player but tonight he has left no doubt about the very best in the world—he can now sit on his throne as the first Street Fighter V Champion. His name will be engraved on the Capcom Cup and his pocket’s will have to fit the massive $230,000+ first place prize.

There are never any free rounds in Capcom Cup; the competition is simply too fierce. The top 32 players of 2016 were selected through an intense tournament season that spanned the entire world. Everyone was tried, tested, and ready. However, after watching NuckleDu cut through fellow American XsK Samurai 3-0, teabag EVO winner and crowd favorite Razer Xian 3-1, absolutely brutalize multiple CPT Winner Qanba Douyu Xiao Hai 3-0, it became perfectly clear that NuckleDu was the man of the moment. It would take some unfathomable force to stop him. Japanese legend MOV—who was on an equally impressive tear through winners bracket—appeared to be that force worthy of the name, but even he was unable to detail the Du Train. NuckleDu likely saw MOV struggle at previous tournaments against Guile, and he decided that it was the perfect time to unleash some freedom as he selected Guile to the roar of the crowd. NuckleDu made it crystal clear that whatever MOV tried to do to prepare for this match-up, it wasn’t going to work. A few uncharacteristic execution errors from NuckleDu gave MOV some hope and leverage, but NuckleDu still marched forward with another 3-1 thumping.

The winners final was an unexpected clash of North American heroes and long time rivals Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid. NuckleDu was heavily favored in this match but in a tournament where the top 3 seeds went out 0-2, it seemed risky to be a favorite. Ricki tried desperately to solve NuckleDu’s aggressive, smothering Mika play but couldn’t find the answer and she fell 3-1.

Ricki Oritz was able to secure the runback by thoroughly trouncing last year's Capcom Cup winner, Kazunoko. The finals was set, EG vs TL, Chun-Li vs Mika…? Many were shocked to see NuckleDu’s Guile sidelined for the Grand Final. After all, NuckleDu’s Guile had previously beaten MOV’s Chun and he had consistently used Guile in the Chun match-up all year. The casters speculated that NuckleDu was saving his famous Guile for a potential bracket reset. Ricki had to earn the Guile because NuckleDu wasn’t going to allow Ricki to learn and adapt in two full sets. Yet the Guile never came; NuckleDu didn’t need him. He put his faith in the mix-up heavy pro-wrestler, Rainbow Mika, and he didn’t look back. Ricki was able to take a game but that was all NuckleDu was willing to give. With another astounding 3-1 victory, NuckleDu claimed the title he had wanted all year: The Best Player in the World.

Writer // Jeff Anderson
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