At long last, the Street Fighter League playoffs arrived last week, and four teams were about to duke it out to see who would play Team Japan at the Street Fighter League finals.
This night was a little different than the normal season, as it would have three team battles. The first was both teams on the winner’s side of the bracket. Whoever won this match would be the first team selected to fight Team Japan on the winner’s side. Those two teams were Alpha 3 and All-In, two of the favorites to win Street Fighter League since week one. To start the night off, Alpha 3 banned Poison targeting iDom, and All-In banned Kolin targeting Nephew.
The first match of the night was Nephew’s G versus SKZ’s Seth. There isn’t much to say about this match, as unfortunately for SKZ, Nephew completely dominated the match taking games one and two 2-0. This gave Alpha 3 the first point of the night as SKZ looked absolutely crushed. SKZ has played amazing all season, and as one of the youngest players in Street Fighter League history, he has a lot of room to grow from here. We will definitely be seeing great things from him in the future.
CJ Truth slows down the pace
Moving on with the night, the second match was CJ Truth’s Cammy versus 801 Strider’s Seth. CJ did what he does best and slowed the pace of the match to a crawl, the complete opposite of the match that just finished. Even so, Strider was able to take the first game 2-1. CJ then fired back taking game one 2-1, but Strider was able to make some great adjustments in the third game. Those adjustments led to Strider winning that third game 2-0, tying up the scores 1-1. CJ also looked disheartened after the match as he went back to his seat.
Next up was Punk’s Karin versus iDom’s Laura, arguably the most anticipated match of the playoffs. While iDom couldn’t use his Poison, his Laura was still available to him. Alpha 3 must have felt more confident in the Laura matchup, despite the fact that this is actually iDom’s main character. Punk jumped up from his seat after CJ finished, eager for his next match. He was clearly ready for this match, as Punk won both games 2-0, completely shutting iDom out with his own main, Karin. Punk was playing so well, and now Alpha 3 was on tournament point 2-1.
The fourth match was Nephew versus 801 Strider in a G mirror. This match was going to be very interesting as Strider has much more character knowledge and matchup experience with G than Nephew. Strider used that knowledge to his advantage right away, as he took game one 2-1 with some big plays near the end of the set. Strider continued playing at the top of his game throughout, winning game two 2-1 and tying up the scoreboard once again, at 2-2.
Punk declares his dominance
It all came down to this for both teams. Punk’s Karin and 801 Strider’s G for the chance to play against Team Japan for the top spot. Punk comes out of the gate swinging, winning game one 2-0. Now on playoff point, this was an extremely uphill battle for Strider moving into the possible final game of the playoffs on winner’s side.
Sure enough, it would indeed end there as Punk closed out game two 2-1. Punk popped off like we haven’t seen him do all season, after winning the final round with a perfect. Punk then turned to all of team All-In, stating that each of them needed to acknowledge him as the best. Love him or hate him, Punk is one of the only players in the world that can warrant that kind of popoff with the skill to back it up. Alpha 3 would face off against Team Japan on the winner’s side at the Street Fighter League finals.
The second match of the night was NASR versus Dynamite. Whoever won this match would take on team All-In to play against Team Japan on the loser’s side of the bracket. NASR predictably banned Balrog targeting Smug, and Dynamite banned Rashid targeting Big Bird. This did however leave Samurai with his main, Akuma, which is a force to be reckoned with. The first match was Angrybird’s Seth versus Gamerbee’s Cammy. Angrybird continued the trend of first match sweeps for the night, beating Gamerbee 2-0 in games one and two. NASR now had their first point for the night.
The second match was Big Bird’s G versus MenaRD’s Seth. A blind pick was called, presumably by Mena, which is a great advantage for him as someone who has so many characters to pick from. He ends up landing on Seth though as the match begins. Big Bird smartly uses G’s fast jabs to interrupt a lot of Mena’s strings and pressure. Mena bets it all on an EX Mad Cradle at the end of the third round, and loses that bet. Big Bird takes the first game 2-1, before Mena fired back in game two, winning it 2-1. This is after two very rare drops from him, not fully converting his Seth combos for maximum damage. The third game ended with Big Bird taking it 2-0, ending the set with a fantastic punish. NASR was now 2-0 and one game away from the loser’s finals.
The Samurai versus the President
The third match was Samurai’s Akuma versus Smug’s G. Now, Smug is an extremely talented player, but his secondary pick was going to have a very tough uphill battle against Samurai’s main. Smug still showed that he had some tricks up his sleeve though, like knocking Akuma out of an EX Hadoken with a G Spin Kick. Despite all his effort though, Samurai was able to close out the first game 2-1 with a risky but confident walk up throw. NASR was now one game away from taking on All-In in the loser’s finals. Samurai ends the first round with an amazing conversion into critical art, and ends up closing the second round as well, winning game two 2-0. Team Dynamite was now out of the playoffs and the third and final match of the night between NASR and All-In was about to begin.
All-In decides to ban Akuma targeting Samurai, and NASR decides to once again ban Poison targeting iDom. Both of these bans make the most sense for both of these teams, taking out their worst matchups. The first match was SKZ’s Seth versus Samurai’s Ryu. Both the birds got hyped for their teammate, as he headed into a particularly rough matchup for Ryu. Samurai was still able to take game one 2-0, but SKZ adjusted very quickly taking game two 2-0. SKZ was able to pull it together and make game three a much more even match. However, Samurai was still able to take game three 2-0, putting NASR on the board 1-0.
Next up was 801 Strider’s G versus Angrybird’s Seth. Strider started the match out strong winning game one 2-0. But Angrybird was able to dominate the rest of the match, taking both games two and three 2-0. NASR was now up 2-0. It was all up to iDom then, as the third match began with his Laura versus a surprise Ken pick from Big Bird. While it was nice to see Big Bird return to his roots and use his original main Ken, it was the wrong matchup to do it in. iDom won game one 2-0 very quickly, and followed it up winning game two 2-1. All-In finally had their first point up on the board, but iDom still had two tough matches to go.
iDom keeps All-In’s hopes alive
The fourth matchup was iDom’s Laura versus Samurai’s Ryu, which is yet another tough matchup for Ryu. Most of Ryu’s matchups are tough, but this was against iDom’s Laura. iDom ended round one of game one quickly, with three Sunset Wheels in a row. iDom then ended the second round after a rare whiffed Tatsu from Samurai. Samurai was able to pull himself together in game two though, with some fantastic fireball pressure to zone iDom out. This proved that fireballs, when used correctly, are still a force to be reckoned with in Street Fighter V. After three back to back punishes, Samurai ended game two 2-0. Game three started off with a bang too, as Samurai did an EX Tatsu on wakeup, vacuuming in iDom. Unfortunately for Samurai, iDom was able to come back and take game three 2-0.
With both teams tied 2-2, iDom was one match away from completing a reverse OCV. The final match of the night was iDom’s Laura against Angrybird’s Seth. Historically, Angrybird has had the edge over iDom based on past matches. It now remained to be seen if history would repeat itself again. The last match of season three of Street Fighter League was about to begin.
In round two, iDom was able to get an almost full screen punish after Seth whiffed a V-Skill 1. But Angrybird was still able to take game one 2-1. Angrybird was then able to take it against iDom once more, winning game two 2-1 and winning the night for NASR. NASR will now play against Team Japan on the loser’s side of the bracket at the Street Fighter League finals.
iDom played amazing in these final sets, as did every player this season, but in the end it is Alpha 3 and NASR who will be heading to the Street Fighter League finals. After three seasons of being in Street Fighter League, Samurai is finally making it to the finals, and it is more than deserved. The Street Fighter League Finals were originally set to take place at Capcom Cup in the Dominican Republic. But sadly, these plans had to be scrapped due to COVID-19. The Street Fighter League finals are still currently scheduled for sometime later this year, but no specific date has been announced.
The Finals will have to wait, for now
However, the Capcom Cup finals event, which features several players from Street Fighter League, will take place next week. There will be six matches each day, with players from the same region who qualified for Capcom Cup 2020 playing against each other, plus four invited players. You can find the full info for the event on the Capcom Cup website. Then you can watch the event next week, February 20-21, at 7PM ET on the Capcom Fighters Twitch, Youtube, and Facebook channels.
It has been an amazing season full of upsets, popoffs, salt, and hype. I hope you have enjoyed watching this season of Street Fighter League as much as I have enjoyed covering it. To quote Tasty Steve himself, I dare you to find better Street Fighter, because you won’t.