NuckleDu: Defending His Throne
May 09 2017
When Capcom released Street Fighter V in early 2016 with the tagline “Rise Up”, nobody could have anticipated the levels the tide would rise. Yet here we are, a year after release and our new FGC reality consists of competing on primetime cable TV, slugging it out through a yearlong global pro circuit and fighting for prize pools in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
W know what you might be thinking, this article must be mistaken and it must be about some other esport. DOTA? League of Legends? CSGO? Nope, this is Street Fighter, this is the FGC and this is esports. The FGC—while at times contentious with the greater esports scene—has grown itself into a full fledged phenomenon. The FGC has reached these new heights through the tireless efforts of passionate FGC communities and hardworking community leaders who fostered growth—but kept the FGC flavor. We didn’t have to make too many concessions to reach the big stage and now it’s time for us to seize the moment.
The expansion of the Capcom Pro Tour and Turner Broadcasting’s powerhouse ‘ELEAGUE’ are at the forefront of the esports tidal wave. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of watching this growth is that our very own Liquid`NuckleDu, who began making a name for himself near the end of Ultra Street Fighter 4, came out swinging for Street Fighter V. NuckleDu is recognized by most in the scene as the best player in the world and is the current reigning Capcom Pro Tour Champion. There has never been a more accessible time to jump in and enjoy the action, so give it a shot, show off your Liquid fandom and support our rising star and current champion in these upcoming events!
Capcom Pro Tour 2017
Liquid`NuckleDu solidified himself as the #1 SFV player when he captured ultimate glory and made history by winning Capcom Cup 2016, the culmination of the globetrotting pro tour. With little rest between seasons, the Capcom Pro Tour 2017 kicked off in Atlanta, GA on March 12th where a win eluded our hero but he still found the podium by finishing 3rd place. Another strong performance from Du shows without question that while we may have had a break in tournaments, NuckleDu’s relentless play style and unmatched consistency is still a puzzle the competition struggles to solve.
There have been some major rules changes for this upcoming season. Most notably is that nobody can directly qualify for the finals by winning ‘premiere’ events anymore Everything will be based on points, with no auto-qualifications; except for NuckleDu. As the reigning champion of the Capcom Pro Tour, NuckleDu is the only auto-qualified player in the world and will be guaranteed a chance to defend his crown. This puts NuckleDu in a very interesting position for the tournament season as he doesn’t need to grind events for CPT points. It’s simply practice, money and pride.
Rules weren’t the only big change for CPT2017: it’s also become much more lucrative. NuckleDu’s victory last year net him $230,000, a record prize pool for the FGC, and it’s only getting bigger this year. Capcom announced an unheard of $600,000 (up $100,000 from last year) prize pool for this year’s pro tour which is only the base pool before any crowdfunding kicks in to boost the pot. The crowd funding last year added over $90,000 to the prize pool, so with Street Fighter's continued growth, it’s easy to guess that everyone competing this year is keeping their eyes on the prize. Should a repeat performance of last year occur, Du’s blossoming new fan base, Tampa Bay car dealers¹, will be forced to take notice.
Turner and IMG’s ELEAGUE
Capcom isn't the only company that is pushing this surge towards FGC esports. ELEAGUE, CS:GO powerhouse and newcomer to the FGC, didn’t dip their toes in the kiddie pool before reaching out to the FGC. They jumped straight into the ocean. Earlier this year ELEAGUE shook the scene with a blockbuster announcement of a 32 player, $250,000 invitational tournament to be broadcast on Twitch, YouTube and more surprisingly, TBS, a prime cable TV channel. The addition of FGC will complement their already wildly popular CS:GO league. On March 27th, ELEAGUE kicked off with an eclectic group of 32 pro players and community leaders split into 4 round robin groups to see who would advance to primetime television for the TBS broadcast. Each group of 8 only had 6 players advance and of those 6, only 4 will continue to the TBS broadcast. NuckleDu, nearly unmatched, won his preliminary round robin group going 6-1 and secured himself a group D playoff spot.
ELEAGUE continues with live Group D competition including NuckleDu, May 12th at 6:00pm EST across Twitch, YouTube and live.eleague.com. The TBS broadcast begins at 10 p.m. So if you want to see Liquid on TV, be sure to tune in and watch NuckleDu put in work!
Follow the action on Twitch, Youtube or (hopefully) your local TBS station and catch NuckleDu ‘Rise Up!’
As this is an exciting time for the FGC and Team Liquid we hope you’ll join us this year in cheering for NuckleDu as he hits the road to defend his title, goes car shopping, posts cute pictures of his dogs and enjoys some tea. Catch him at these upcoming events and follow his journey on social media below.
May 12th ELEAGUE – TBS / Twitch / Youtube
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