Five unforgettable performances from the Intel World Open
A round-up of the best plays and champion title winning stories from the Intel World Open as told by SFV caster and host Logan Sama.
The Intel World Open wrapped this week and 11 Region Champions were crowned in a revised format which saw Street Fighter V players around the world compete online for an evenly divided share of the $250,000 prize pool. After a 2 month long journey featuring thousands of entrants, the online Region Finals were broadcast live from the ESL Arena in Katowice.
As part of the broadcast team I got to experience some incredible gameplay and I want to pick out 5 of my most impressive champions from the 11 different Finals.
TOKIDO - JAPAN & SOUTH KOREA
After an incredible upper bracket run which saw Korea’s NL beat 3 former Evo champions on his way to Grand Finals all sights were set on him for the second day of competition.
It was Tokido who managed to earn the runback in Grand Finals and the night of training and strategizing with some of the best minds in Japanese Street Fighter saw him counter NL’s frantic pace and take the title after some of the best gameplay we have seen in recent years.
It was Tokido’s humility and respect which saw him show the true heart of a champion.
"Today I knew if I won one match my next opponent would be NL, a very good Cammy player. So since yesterday I just focused on how to beat NL's Cammy," said Tokido in the post-win interview. "I asked my friends, they are very good players. I asked a lot of players, please give me some tips how beat NL. That was good for me."
FROZEN - SOUTH AMERICA
Nash is a character that was not seen in competitive play since being dominant in season 1, some 5 years ago. Very recently two emerged both in South America. RonaldinhoBRR from Brazil took victory in the Capcom Pro Tour event earlier this year. However the use of Nash’s explosive new look V Trigger 2, which was buffed in this season’s balance patch, made Argentina’s Frozen really stand out.
The two Nash specialists were destined to meet in the Upper bracket Semi Final and just like the Copa America, the Argentine won out over the Brazilian in an incredibly tense and evenly matched encounter which went down to the final game, final round.
And Frozen managed to close out an incredible performance by securing the victory in the Grand Finals and claim the Region Champion crown against experienced Brazilian pro DidimoKOF.
BRANDON - SOUTH EAST ASIA
Many looked at this Region Finals as a foregone conclusion with Singaporean Street Fighter legend and former Evo champ Xian the firm favourite to win. But those with an inside track in to the local form would know that experienced player Brandon has always been someone that gave Xian a hard time.
In the Upper Bracket Winners Final Brandon made sure to put the world on notice with a 3-0 clean sweep against Xian, completely neutralising his usually deadly Seth set play!
Brandon and Xian met once again in the Grand Finals but it was more of the same as Brandon crushed any hope of a reset with another absolutely dominant 3-0 victory to claim the SEA title in the Intel World Open.
CHRISCCH - NORTH AMERICA WEST
When West coast powerhouse Samurai was forced to withdraw from the finals, many were calling this a ‘free win’ for Capcom Cup qualifier Nephew looking past the rest of the bracket. 19-year old ChrisCCH was ready and waiting to prove that the West coast extends beyond California….
Despite this unbelievable comeback at set point down, Chris CCH couldn’t stop Nephew securing a 3-2 victory in the Upper Bracket Winners finals and heading in to day 2 of the Intel World Open with the advantage.
But after earning his way back to Grand Finals and resetting with an impressive 3-1 win, the shin Grand Finals went all the way to the wire with a last game last round situation once again…
A huge win for the young player who has seen his career rise steadily over the last several years and underlining the undeniable fact that West Coast Street Fighter is growing in new and exciting ways.
For anyone interested in learning more about his win, ChrisCCH did a 2 hour breakdown of the Grand Finals series. The VOD can be found on his Twitch.
"I think it's slightly Sakura favoured," said ChrisCCH when asked in chat about the Sakura vs Kolin match-up. (clip below) "Sakura's Fireball is an amazing tool in this match-up, but outside of Fireball my tools all kind of suck against Kolin."
"Kolin's backdash gets out of my mid-screen pressure so easily, it's even good against my corner punish. All of my buttons get whip punished by her so easily. Without Fireball this match-up is easily 6-4 or worse in Kolin's favour. You got to know how to use Fireball or this match-up is hopeless, but with the Fireball it really does control neutrals."
PHENOM - EUROPE WEST
Often overlooked as one of the powerhouses of modern Street Fighter V, western Europe showed out with a stacked bracket. Even though mainstay names like the 2 former Evo Champions, Problem X and Luffy, were missing there was a star studded line up. Which made Phenom’s decisive victory all the more impressive.
Phenom was made to work hard by Hurricane to come back from 2-0 down and grasp the win in the Intel World Open Upper Bracket Semi Final, the composure and elite pedigree shone through to see Phenom advance.
The way in which Phenom swept aside the talented young Takamura in Upper Bracket Winners Finals after the Belgian had just bested world class names like Infexious and Mistah Crimson really underlined his class.
Despite Takamura making it back to Grand Finals and posing a sterner test for Phenom, the Norwegian pro was able to close the set 3-2 and take the title with little difficulty. The pressing question on his mind was would he be receiving an authentic gold medal for his trophy cabinet!
The Intel World Open a massive success despite being purely online
The Intel World Open was an exciting event, and although it was disappointing that Covid travel restrictions meant we were robbed of the offline team format event that was initially proposed, the region locked brackets meant we were still exposed to so many great players from communities on whom we don’t often see the spotlight shone.
Now the attention focuses back to the Capcom Pro Tour as this weekend we return to North America for the fiercely contested Eastern region bracket. Follow @CapcomFighters on Twitter and Twitch to ensure you don’t miss any of the live action and of course check back next week on esports.gg for exclusive analysis of the event from myself!
Also if you missed the intro the talents were part of, here it is again: