CEO 2015, held in Orlando Florida, has concluded and it was a thrilling event full of hype and upsets. Every top 8 match at CEO this year was riveting, with almost every one going the full 5 matches and many being decided on the last round of match 5. Check out the CEO 2015 results!
Kazunoko qualifies for Capcom Cup 2015
The level of competition at CEO was incredible, and several US players really stepped up and made statements, but Japan’s Kazunoko adapted to all challengers and took 1st place. Kazunoko has earned himself 256 Ranking Points and, more importantly, a qualifying spot to take part in the Capcom Cup at the end of the year.
CEO 2015 Results:Top 16
|7th||Qanba|Xiao Hai||Evil Ryu/Cammy||8|
CEO 2015 Highlights: The USA Makes a Statement, but Kazunoko Puts Japan on Top
We are around the halfway point of the 2015 Capcom Pro Tour season and the levels of competition and hype continue to escalate. In a previous post we said that SEAM 2015 was the fiercest Premier Tournament yet. Following just one week later was the latest Premier Tournament, CEO 2015. CEO 2015 was held June 26 through 28 in Orlando, Florida, and once again we witnessed a real spectacle in competitive Street Fighter. A real debate can be had about whether SEAM or CEO had the higher levels of competition, but nobody can debate that both were among the most exciting events to watch! From the perspective of a viewer, you could not have asked for a better pair of events to lead up to the biggest tournament of the year, Evolution Championship Series, which takes place July 17th through 19th at Las Vegas, Nevada.
CEO’s Top 8 this year was truly one of the best we could possibly have hoped for as a spectator. Nearly every single player matchup went the full 5 matches, with many being decided on the very last round of that last match! Every competitor brought their A-game to CEO and it was really something to witness, especially if you were able to watch it live. The entire Top 8 was bite your fingernails, edge of your seat action from beginning to end and every player matchup could have been a Grand Final at any other event.
The USA Makes a Statement
We have seen again and again this season that there are a lot of international players, especially from South East Asia, that are willing to travel to Pro Tour events, particularly Premier Tournaments. This trend has raised the level of competition at nearly every Pro Tour event this year to new heights. Players from the US have not traveled as much, instead seeming to concentrate on events on home turf. In addition, because there are so many top international players coming to events, it is hard for US players to even stand out in those events. Remember what we said above about SEAM 2015 and it’s level of competition? 7 of the Top 8 players from SEAM came to compete in CEO 2015. So this season has been a quiet one for US players thus far, but at CEO they came to play! EG|Momochi (Ken) was eliminated in Top 32 by 2 US players, with PIE|Smug (Dudley) sending him to Losers Bracket and CORN|Alucard (Hugo) getting the elimination win. 801 Strider (Abel) sent MCZ|Daigo Umehara (Evil Ryu) to Losers Bracket and YOMI|Dieminion (Guile) eliminated Infiltration (Akuma) in Top 32. When the dust settled, the top 8 looked like this:
PIE|Smug (USA) vs Kazunoko (Japan)
801 Strider (USA) vs MCZ|Mago (Japan)
EG|PR Balrog (USA) vs Qanba Xiao Hai (China)
YOMI|Dieminion (USA) vs Bonchan (Japan)
4 of the top 8 were players from the US, with each facing off against a player from Japan or China. The Grand Final was between 801 Strider (Abel) vs Kazunoko (Yun), fittingly putting the USA vs Japan. Both players were playing at the very top of their game the entire tournament, but Kazunoko came out on top 3-1. Even though Japan did take 1st place, the level of play from US players did not go unnoticed. 4 of the top 5 at CEO 2015 were US players (2nd- 801 Strider, 3rd- EG|PR Balrog, 4th- PIE|Smug, and tied for 5th- YOMI|Dieminion). Kazunoko himself, when interviewed after his victory in the Grand Finals by Mike Ross, said himself through an interpreter that he felt that the level of play US players had caught up to Japan at this point.
Here are just some of many stand-out highlights from CEO 2015:
Among all of the US players who stepped up at CEO 2015, 801 Strider stood above them all. He defeated MCZ|Daigo Umehara and YOMI|Dieminion in Top 32 and defeated MCZ|Mago and PR|Balrog in top 8. The only player he lost to in the entire event was Kazunoko, twice. Kazunoko sent him to Losers Bracket at the Winners Finals and eliminated him in the Grand Finals. What really stood out with 801 Strider is his poise even under the very worst circumstances. He was down 2-0 against MCZ|Mago, with Mago winning both convincingly. 801 Strider seemed to keep his cool and fought his way back and ultimately won the match, in one many epic matches to see live. Remember, Mago took 1st Place at SEAM 2015 and is without a doubt one of the top players in the world right now. It’s no wonder that 4 of the 5 spots in our Top 5 Moments of CEO 2015 video (see below) feature 801 Strider.
YOMI|Dieminion knows how to make an entrance!
For Top 8 at CEO each player was allowed to make a wrestling-style custom entrance to make their way to the main stage, which was set up like a boxing/wrestling ring. Some really embraced the concept. When Dieminion’s entrance routine started, the lights went out. Nobody could see. After a minute or so the lights came on, and to everyone’s surprise Dieminion was sitting next to his next opponent, Japan’s Bonchan, staring him down. Bonchan looked both amused and a bit uncomfortable, and after a few seconds extended a handshake to Dieminion. Dieminion drops the act, smiles, and shakes Bonchan’s hand. It was a moment that will be remembered for a long time. EG|K-Brad also made a notable entrance. In a way, Dieminion’s entrance is symbolic of how the US players stood out at CEO. Everybody wondered where the US was, and then “surprise!”, they are next to you staring you down.
Top 5 Moments from CEO 2015
Everyone in Top 8 deserves to take a bow
I can’t say enough how great this top 8 was, from beginning to end! Every single match was a sight to behold. EG|PR Balrog had been very quiet this year, with him saying previously that he was retiring, but he came back and punched some digital faces at CEO. Qanba|Xiao Hair from China has made top 16 several times this year and made yet another fantastic run, and seems to be the anti-Daigo! PIE|Smug was incredible, and continues to take Dudley to new heights. MCZ|Mago and Bonchan from Japan once again played brilliantly, and in both cases their top 8 losses were by the slimmest of margins. YOMI|Dieminion had one of the best moments in CEO with his sure to become legendary entrance but his Guile play was every bit as top tier. We’ve already sung our praises of 801 strider, so that just leaves Kazunoko.
Congratulations to Kazunoko, our newest Capcom Cup qualified player!
Japan’s Kazunoko is without a doubt one of the world’s best players and has been doing well all year. He has made top 16 multiple times this year prior to this event, but his win at CEO is a crown jewel on an already great year. CEO was stacked with amazing players, so getting a win here has to be right up there with getting a win at SEAM. He put on an amazing performance and gets a well-deserved qualifying spot at this year’s Capcom Cup.