This past weekend, Capcom hosted the first stop of their 25th Street Fighter Anniversary at the Marchesa Event Center in Austin, Tx. Some of the top players in the country, like EG Justin Wong, EG Ricky Ortiz, Wolfkrone, EG Floe, Jason Cole, Afro Legends, AGE Flashmetroid, AGE Vangief, and Jakob Davis, showed up for their shot at over $10,000 in cash and prizes as well as qualify for the finals being held in San Francisco this December. Standing in their way were the best Texas has to offer. Players like Austin legends Hsien Chang, Mopreme, and Arcade UFO owner Ryan Harvey, Dallas’s TWG Arthur Williams, Jewelman from Corpus Christi, and Houston’s Jan Del Rio, Crow, Broly Legs and Jumpsuit Jesse.
Saturday was the first day of competition. Players participated in qualification pools in order to make it to the top 16. Sponsored prizes were being given out for all of the qualifiers. Marque match ups in the pools popped up all over the place. One of the biggest news was Wolfkrone, one of the pre-tournament favorites, was knocked into the losers bracket of his pool by Louisiana’s Jakob Davis. EG’s Justin Wong, Ricky Ortiz and Floe qualified for almost every game, as did AGE Flashmetroid, Jason Cole, TWG Arthur and Jewelman.
In the Street Fighter 2 HDR Classic Mode tournament, Jason Cole breezed through his pool, as did other tournament favorites Afro Legends, Jumpsuit Jesse, and Crow. In 3rd Strike, Justin Wong, Mopreme, Ryan Harvey, Ricky Ortiz, Chris Tram, Christian Wilkholm, and Jason Cole advanced in winners. Meanwhile, Hsien Chang didn’t even qualify at all in the game that first brought him national prominence. Street Fighter X Tekken saw most of the heavyweights making it through, Justin, Ricky, Floe, Wolfkrone, Jewelman, Flashmetroid, and Jan. Kuwait’s Abdul-Aziz Akbar qualified after learning the game a week ago from superstar coach Hamad Akbar. In SF4 AE, it was almost a mirror image of SFxT with Team EG all qualifying. Jewelman, Jason Cole, Vangief, Jakob, and Louisiana UMvC3 pro Ranmasama qualified, as did Austin locals Viet, JerryTooBad, and Jonlo; San Antonio’s Devoy House; and Houston’s Jonathan Mireles, Jose Perez, Will Keidel and Bruce Brigham.
The top 16 brackets were run on Sunday. In HDR Classic, Ryan Yancey and Michael Utt were the big surprises as they knocked out Houston veterans Jumpsuit Jesse and Crow in the 5th place matches. Michael played Balrog(Boxer) and was able to overcome Ryan’s impressive T.Hawk in the next round before falling to former 2-time national champion Jason Cole. In the finals, Afro Legends also played Balrog and was just too much for Cole’s Dhalsim, taking the title in a 3 game sweep. The end of the 3rd Strike bracket could be best described as the battle of Chun-Li’s. Justin Wong and Ryan Harvey played a Chun-Li mirror match in the winners final, which was won by Justin. Then Ricky Ortiz used Chun to defeat Christian’s Dudley in the 4th place fight. As the crowd was lamenting an all Chun end to the tournament, Ricky switched to Ken to face Ryan. After splitting the first 2 games, Ricky stuck with Ken and pulled off the victory. In the grand finals, Ricky stayed with Ken vs Justin’s Chun, but was not as successful and Justin came away with the title and qualified for San Francisco.
In SFxT, once again Ricky and Justin were in the finals and fighting for another title. Both players picked mirrored Rufus and Chun-Li teams, and Justin would strike first blood by winning the winners final. Ricky would fight his way back for a rematch by defeating Choiboy2012, aka Hsien Chang. In the finals, Ricky started out on fire and dominated the first set in a 3 game sweep. In the last set, Justin was able to turn it around and hold on to take yet another title 3 games to 2. The AE 2012 bracket had a lot of familiar faces towards the end, Team EG were all sitting in the winners semi-final with Jakob Davis. In the losers bracket, Wolfkrone and So Sick Nash Fan both over first round losses to Vincent Rodriguez and Bruce Brigham to advance all the way to the 5th place fights.
After Ricky once again had to face Justin, Ricky finally got the better of him in a Rufus mirror match. Jakob held on to defeat Floe in the other semi. In the 5th place fights, Wolfkrone was able to come from behind and take out Justin Wong, meanwhile, Floe took out Nash Fan. In the 4th place fight, Wolfkrone was able to dominate Floe and sweep the set. Now he would have to wait to find out his next opponent, either Ricky Ortiz, or the player who defeated him in pools, Jakob Davis. The winners final would go down to the final game between Ricky’s Rufus and Jakob’s M.Bison(Dictator), but it was Ricky who was able to pull out the victory. Granted a rematch, Wolfkrone looked to avenge his earlier loss in the losers final. Jakob came from behind in the first match and took the early lead. Wolfkrone came back with a solid reply in game 2 to take it to the wire. Wolfkrone put Jakob directly behind the eight ball by taking round 1 with a perfect! Jakob came back with some solid play to take round 2, which left both players one round away from the grand finals and qualifying for San Francisco. Both players were pretty even down to about 45% before Jakob landed a long 9 hit combo followed by another quick combo and finished off Wolfkrone with some EX psycho crusher corner tricks. In the grand finals, it almost looked like the day had drained Jakob from his earlier fights. Sweating up a storm, which also could be due to conditions in the room, Jakob just wasn’t quite as sharp as he was in the winners final, and Ricky was able to sweep the 3 game set and finally take a title of his own.
Congratulations to all of the winners, and qualifers for San Francisco! The next qualifying tournament will take place in 2 weeks in New York City. If you enjoyed this article, then please subscribe to my Arcade Games column. Check out my Video Game Babes and Action Figures columns as well. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and my Blog for more news about anime, gaming, and other events in Houston.