The first of four Capcom Pro Tour regional finals kicks off this weekend with the European Final at Milan Games.
The seven players scheduled to compete should make for a compelling Top 8, as they are all varied in how they play. The first round will feature just one match that’s already happened previously.
(Record in Top 8 matches in parenthesis)
4 Phenom (10-8) vs. 5 Packz (8-11)
Head-to-head count in Top 8s: None
Outlook: This sets up to be a fast-paced, offensive-heavy matchup, given it is likely going to be Karin (Packz) vs. Necalli (Phenom).
This matchup also pits a player who’s been powered by the comeback vs. a player who can hold a late lead well.
Phenom’s closeout rate is .775, which is below the tournament average. However, he has a .216 late-round comeback rate, which is above average. That tells me the rounds involving Phenom have been very volatile. When the round gets into the late stages, Phenom is not out of it if he’s trailing. Then again, neither is his opponent if Phenom is leading.
Packz’s late-round closeout rate is .825, a solid number through 17 matches. If he can play at that level or slightly above, he can get past Phenom and go deep in the final eight.
What to watch for: A key for Packz will be whether he can win Round 1s. When he does, he is 23-16 and has blown just two late leads.
A key for Phenom is holding a late lead if a game gets to Round 3. He is 18-18 in Round 3s this year, but it could be 24-12 … he has blown six late leads. Round 3 is also his slowest round, averaging 48.94 seconds.
Game 1s have proved crippling and satisfying depending on the result. Phenom is 8-1 when winning Game 1, 0-6 when he doesn’t. Packz is 6-1 when winning Game 1, 2-10 when he doesn’t.
Both players are unbeaten — Phenom 6, Packz 5 — when going up 2-0 in a match.
Neither player has won when their opponent has reached two games first, which is incredible at this point of the season.
Phenom is 0-4 when he falls behind 2-0 in games and 0-3 when he loses Game 3 to fall behind 2-1.
Packz is 0-7 when he falls behind 2-0 in games and 0-1 when he loses Game 3 to fall behind 2-1.
3 Big Bird (13-8) vs. 6 Mister Crimson (10-8)
Head-to-head count in Top 8s: Big Bird 1, Mister Crimson 0
Outlook: Curious what Big Bird does in this match, given his numbers this year. He was one of three guys who had 10 wins in Top 8s but didn’t win an event until just a couple of weeks ago at Geek Weekend.
Big Bird has an .840 closeout rate and a .229 comeback rate. Not only is he able to hold onto leads, he can also rally if needed.
Crimson has a subpar .753 closeout rate. He will need to play just about perfect in late rounds to get a win over Big Bird.
What to watch for: Crimson, in Round 2s, has had a rough go. He is 29-41 in that round and has blown 11 leads.
Big Bird, in Round 2s, is 41-42 and has made 11 comebacks.
If both players play to what they’ve done in that round specifically, expect Big Bird to move on.
2 Luffy (11-7) vs. 7 Rass (8-1)
Head-to-head count in Top 8s: None
Outlook: This will be the test of online-only results vs. a player who has done well in online and live.
Rass’ Top 8 history has been through the two European online tournaments, getting to the finals in both and winning one. He will be a focal point for the online vs. live discussion, although I’ve said previously there’s no distinct statistical difference between online and live tournaments when the game is in progress.
What to watch for: This really comes down to whether Rass’ numbers will hold up not only in the live setting, but against one of Europe’s best.
Looking at his splits, everything screams of him getting at least past this matchup and even to at least the winners final.
Neither player has faced the other’s character in a Top 8. There have only been 16 games between the two characters, R Mika having the 10-6 edge.
The rounds between those characters have averaged 40.25 seconds. That’s closer to Rass’ 39.66 average than Luffy’s 46.92 average.
Boxer, against R Mika, has a .308 comeback rate and .692 closeout rate. R Mika, the other way, has a .174 comeback rate and an .826 closeout rate.
I would not be surprised at any outcome.
1 Problem X (19-8) vs. TBD
Problem X has won the past three tournaments he has entered and locked in his spot as the top seed going in, so he will have to wait to find out who he will face.
There are some matchups that favor him but also some others that might give him trouble if it lines up that way.
Here’s a list of potential European challengers and their European ranking.
8. Sunmate (0-0)
9. Infexious (1-0)
13. Cobelcog (0-0)
15. Takamura (1-1)
16. Atrosh (0-1)
18. Akainu (1-0)
Problem X has been strong in Round 3s in Top 8s this year. In that round, he’s 34-13 with a .900 closeout rate. The ability to win Round 3s at the rate he has is why he’s had this upward kick.
He also picks up the pace as the game progresses.
Round 1s: 50.23
Round 2s up 1-0: 47.51
Round 2s down 1-0: 46.39
Round 3s: 47.25
If Problem X can win the closeout rounds at the rate he’s doing it, he shouldn’t have any issues with the last chance entrant, regardless of who it is.