Daigo wins at CPT Season Finals as Street Fighter gets a major update
© Jason Halayko/Red Bull Content Pool
Before the shift to the new meta, elite competitors from around the world slugged it out one last time in Street Fighter V – and the Beast came out on top once more.
In 2020, no trophy was on the line for the Street Fighter V Capcom Pro Tour circuit. Instead of a Capcom Cup proper, the global situation forced a pivot of the finals to an online-only Season Finals celebration of the world warriors, one that would determine each region's best player.
With some matches being salty runbacks from previous tournaments and others a brotherly rivalry, each bout was plentiful in plot and high-octane action in every moment. Let’s take a look at the highlights, including another remarkable victory for Street Fighter veteran Daigo ‘The Beast’ Umehara in his late-career renaissance.
Big Bird vs AngryBird
Going up against his long-time training partner and friend at CPT Season Finals was a tough ordeal for Adel ‘Big Bird’ Anouche. Amjad ‘AngryBird’ Alshalabi is a strong competitor, being tough enough to have fought on the Capcom Cup stages just like Big Bird, making him a formidable opponent. And because they're heated training partners, it’s always hard to tell who has the edge between the two.
In the Street Fighter League Season 3 fight card exhibition, and in the CPT EU and Middle East qualifier, AngryBird took victories over Big Bird’s Rashid with his Seth and Zeku combo. However, knowing his friend well, Big Bird decided to do something different at the Season Finals. In a move that shocked even the commentators, he selected G, the presidential powerhouse. Despite cycling through different strategies, AngryBird’s usual fast-paced style was brought to a halt and he fell to his friend’s ferocity. This was a victory for their region as well: the exciting match reminded the scene that the Middle East still holds some of the biggest powerhouses in Street Fighter V competition.
Daigo vs Gachikun
Daigo went up against Tsunehiro 'Gachikun' Kanamori in the most hotly anticipated match of the weekend. The former, who had maximised every iota of Guile, would have to see if he could withstand the storm that is Gachikun’s breezy Rashid. This time, the latter had something different in his arsenal – utilisation of Rashid’s V-Skill 2 that made many of his hit confirms lead into more damage by getting more combos. The downside, however, is that Rashid without V-Skill 1 to roll through the fireballs means Gachikun would have to heavily read the patterns of Daigo’s Sonic Boom projectiles.
At first, it was working. Gachikun was manoeuvering quite well and was keeping on equal footing with Daigo. However, eventually the legendary beast found the answers needed to take down the former Capcom Cup champion. Eliminating the threat of the new V-Skill, Daigo went back to comfortably running his gameplan and took down Gachikun. The set ended up as one of the night’s best and a testament to Daigo’s calibre even at the age of 39.
Shifting towards a new meta
The newest update to Street Fighter V was released soon after the finals ended and it brought a brand-new defensive mechanic called V-Shift with it. This allows players to have a parry like backdash that lets them avoid attacks or throws and also allows them to retaliate if done right. If done wrong and called out, they can be punished for their troubles. Since every character has this universal addition, it could help weaker characters stay in the game longer and have a chance to escape pressure or bad situations and turn them into favourable moves.
Alongside the the new V-Shift, the patch also came with dozens of changes across the board for all characters. Some, like the poster boy Ryu, have been buffed drastically. It’s been some time since he’s felt strong and longtime user Daigo will definitely be happy to play him again. Others, like the problematic Seth, had a few adjustments to normalise them in the game and align their abilities with the rest of the cast. It’s still early days, but Capcom’s promise to shake up the meta and the tier lists is looking like it’s on track.
Meanwhile, Dan, the newest DLC character, turned out to be more solid than most thought. While he requires a bar of ex-meter to really get flowing and a spot of execution, he's by no means weak. He also has a plethora of goofy yet well animated moves that capture his personality perfectly. Time will tell if Saikyo Style can reign supreme as the new patch develops and we move into a new season of pro Street Fighter in 2021.